Archive for the Category ◊ About Me ◊

Looking ahead to 2012
Saturday, December 31st, 2011 | Author:

2012 is going to be pretty big, probably the biggest year of my life so far in fact…but I’ll come to why, a little bit later. I’ll start with my school-based targets and projects for the year ahead.

The main projects that I am working on are all inter-connected and it will be a huge relief when they are finally finished. Although some of them will never be finished because of the nature of them, they will at least be in a better position to share with the masses.

Firstly, ICT planning. I wrote a few months back about my ICT Planning menu and my thoughts and visions for a new ICT curriculum. This has taken shape quite nicely recently but the more that I play with it and tinker with it, the more I think I need to make some changes before it is fully finished. I need to finish the assessment side of things so that the levels and objectives are clearly laid out and I need to make sure that there are lots of how-to videos on there too. These will also be added to www.undertenminutes.com which has been neglected of late. I have started writing some lesson plans for the site that give a ‘first look’ at a particular tool so that a teacher can take the lesson plan for say Popplet or Google Sketchup and try out a basic activity, they can then plan further lessons once they feel comfortable with the software.

Next? ICT Assessment. Alongside an exciting (or dull) ICT curriculum needs to be assessment. How do you assess it? How do you know if the children are making progress? I’ve started creating badges for different ICT areas. The idea is that a child can complete a task or project and they will then apply for a badge. This could be Bronze (level 2) or whatever they think theyt have achieved. The difficulty is finding levels and tasks to assess some of the areas. What does Level 4 in video editing look like? Or a Level 5 blogger? Do we need to assess like this? With the current national curriculum, we probably don’t, but what about for the pupils or teachers? Wouldn’t it be useful for them if they could see progression in research skills or digital literacy? I’m going to aim for the badges and assessment tasks to be written by February half-term and for us to be trialling them after that. It might work, it might not. But it has to be better than us not assessing ICT and then writing generic statements when the reports are written.

Another area that I have started concentrating on is home learning. With all of these amazing things going on, how do parents keep up? My plan is to create a site (well the site is created, the plan is to populate it) with content on different areas that parents are encouraged to use at home. The areas that I will focus on tend to be the traditional ones that parents ask about such as times tables, spelling and phonics but with some additional areas such as typing practise and learning french. The site will combine free tools that are out there as well as paid-for content that we have in school. The parents will then know where to find useful resources rather than being forced to ‘Google’ them or pay for content themselves. This will be ready by half-term too.

If 2011 was the year of blogging, then surely 2012 will be the year that the Digital Leaders will come to prominence. This year I have massive plans for my digital leaders. This starts next week with a range of different presentations at the BETT show but it will continue throughout the year when I will include them in most things that I do. They will be testing the ICT Assessment badges before the other children, they will be helping me to create resources for the planning site and they will attend conferences and meetings with me too. I want to organise a Kidsmeet later in the year and they will be at the forefront of organising this, contacting people and planning the content. They are eager to share their knowledge and it is my job, and my duty, to give them platforms to do this. I have already created a site, www.digital-leaders.co.uk, which can be used from digital leaders from my school and others as we start to build up a network of the amazing work these young children are doing.

The last thing that I want to push in 2012 is sharing. Yes this gets done through Twitter and in small pockets,but I want to really push this across the county and beyond. The Hampshire BLT site launched in the AUtumn term and I will be involved in hosting and running events for them to ensure that teachers get the chance to try new things. This will start with sessions on blogging or game design but I want to extend this to cover anything that the teachers want to discuss really. We will have to see how well this goes, but there is a definite need for schools to share more ideas and this could be a platform for them to achieve it.

Is that enough to be getting on with? The main target that I have as an ICT Coordinator, and it encompasses the first few on this list, is to make myself surplus to requirements. There are many times I’ve visited schools and seen that there is an amazing teacher in one subject or another and you wonder what would happen if they left. Now’ I;m not planing on leaving, but I want to get ICT to a point where I could leave and it wouldn’t matter. I want to ensure that the planning and assessment of ICT is embedded so well that I can just be there to help it tick over rather than to consistently create or innovate new things. The target that I was set was to get this in place by July 2012 and I think that we might achieve it in some areas, then I can use the next academic year to keep it moving slowly along. It’s a big ask, but something that needs to be done.

So why is 2012 so big personally? Firstly, I’m going to be running my first half-marathons in the next 6-10 weeks…but in-between those, at the end of February I turn 30. This is always a bit scary. There are mixed feelings for big birthdays, when you turn 18 or 21 these are seen as exciting birthdays but 30? That feels different. It feels like I need to be a grown-up.

There’s also the other big event of the year too. No not the Olympics, but the wedding. I get married in August and it’s starting to feel real now. I’m really looking forward to it and I think it will be an amazing day, I can’t wait to spend it with friends that I don’t see nearly often as I would like to. There are lots of things planned for the run-up to the big day and I am really looking forward to every aspect of it. Now I just need to shift some weight so that I look better in the honeymoon photos!!

So what are your big moments of 2012? What have you got planned?

Category: About Me, blogposts  | Tags: , ,  | One Comment
Certified (part 2)
Friday, December 09th, 2011 | Author:

Over the past couple of months I was contacted with the opportunity to be a 2Simple trainer and because I love their products, I jumped at the chance. Today I have been given the official go-ahead to use the logo and tell other people. So that’s what I’m doing.

The training that I will provide will not really focus on how the software works but why you should use it in your classroom. Figuring out how it all works is straightforward enough, but the really important bit is seeing how it makes a difference to children’s learning and how it can be embedded across the curriculum.

To find out more about their amazing software, take a look at their blog: http://www.2simpletalk.com/

So if you’re in the south of England, feel free to get in touch and I’ll help where I can.

Alternatively, feel free to search for a trainer in your area by visiting this site.

My First Week
Saturday, September 11th, 2010 | Author:

Wow…talk about a baptism of fire! I’m writing this after the first week in my new role. It’s been a crazy, scary, exciting, tiring week.

First, a bit of context. As some of you will know. I’ve been out of the class for two years. I’ve been training teachers on how to use the Hampshire VLE and generally this meant working days of 9-3 with an hour or so travel either side. However I did work extra at home and at weekends too, but a lot of what I did involved working on my own ideas or working to my deadlines. School is totally different. You HAVE to have the work done for the next day otherwise the children will have nothing to do. This is even more important for the PPA teacher. Which is me.

My new role consists of Monday out of class (more on that in a bit) and then PPA covering 7 different classes from Tues to Fri. This ranges from Class 5 who are year 1-2 right through to classes 9/10/11 who are year 5-6. So yes, I need to be adaptable!

Over the summer we had a new network put in. Schools often do a bit of new ICT stuff, we did the works. We had 34 new netbooks. We upgraded the network ports to gigabit so it all runs faster. We installed a Meru managed wireless network. We upgraded to Office 10 and Windows 7. We didn’t do it half-heartedly at all! However, this has meant an interesting week on the ICT front.Luckily we have amazing tech support from the guys at Agile so any hiccups were sorted by Monday evening.

The main issues we had involved the change of Office. We found that it is very different to Office 2003 and buttons have moved or disappeared completely. For example, you used to click twice to scan a document directly into Publisher. Now we can’t find the scan option. I’ll be Googling it this weekend.

The netbooks have been a dream. They’ve been used about 8 times now and they’ve been amazing. I was using them with my 5th class before realising that the trolley wasn’t charging inbetween uses. They still had 2+ hours left! Truly fantastic. If buying netbooks for school, make sure you ask for 6-cell batteries. Makes a world of difference.

Although new to the school, I did spend 5 days there before the summer so people knew who I was. This has probably helped as I’ve had 10-15 questions a day about ICT. ‘Can I borrow you for a minute…?’ seems to be my new name. But it’s good. I want the staff to be happy to approach me and I want them to be excited too.

We started blogging with some classes this week. We tried it with Class 5 (Y1/2), Class 6 (Y3/4) and with Class 10 (Y5/6). We’ve also used Wallwisher and Prezi with the older ones and Poisson Rouge with the little ‘uns. We explored the world on Google Earth and I’ve already had teachers asking if they can start writing on a blog too. That’ll be next week…

In class the tech went well although we had a few small connection issues with Wallwisher as it had a ‘blip’ on Tuesday but the teacher saw it, loved it and wants to make her own. We managed to get a class of Year 1-2s logging on independently for the first time ever too! I’ll be trying that with two more classes on Monday. Then there was Prezi. Prezi is a fab tool but it does require an email address to log in. @primarypete_ confirmed that I could get lots of children logging on with one email address so we did that. It worked well as I could show them all at the end of the lesson through that account too. One thing to watch out for is the Save information. Prezi saves every minute or so, but occasionally it said ‘reconnecting’. It never reconnected so I told the children to press Back and reload their work if this happened. They did and it seemed better. I’m not sure if this was because we had 30 logged in on 1 account or if it was the wireless. Their work turned out great though!

On the ICT side of things it really has been fantastic. My two biggest concerns are that the office are having problems with Office 2010. Some of the county-provided templates aren’t working and it is slowing them down a lot. Currently county have no support for Win7 or Office 10, but as @dfearnley pointed out, maybe we should’ve checked that before upgrading. The other thing is that the ICT suite hasn’t been touched yet. People are using the netbooks in class which is great, but I wonder if they will still feel the need to use the suite? Hopefully they will!

And now non-ICT stuff. The biggest problem I’ve had is names. I know some teachers that have problems with learning names and some that can do it in an instant. I think I’m more towards the latter. I work in 7 classes which is roughly 210 pupils. I have never met so many Alexs (Alexi?), Adams and Amys in my life. I am getting there, but there are just so many to remember!!

I’ve learnt that PPA teachers don’t get lunch breaks as they need to move their stuff from 1 class to the next, mark the morning work and prepare for the afternoon as well as sorting any ICT issues, but it’s been great. I’ve had such a good week and I know it’s only going to get better.

I’m looking forward to Mondays which have been set aside for ICT training and team teaching. I’m looking forward to working with parents and governors and showing them our blogs and new website. I’m looking forward to forming letters using Playdough with Class 5 on Wednesday and I’m looking forward to developing my teaching with Year 5-6 as well!

I know I’ve waffled and jumped all over the place, but that sort of reflects my new job! It’s a little bit of everything with a bias towards ICT. Thank you to everyone who has helped with ideas or commented on the blogs so far. It’s going to be a good year!