Archive for the Category ◊ ICT Cluster ◊

Action Plans – where do you start?
Thursday, August 05th, 2010 | Author:

I’m currently writing an ICT action plan for my new school. I’ve visited there for about 5/6 days in the past term and am starting to become more familiar with it so I know the sorts of ICT that are in place at the moment and I also know where I’d like it to go. Now I know you’ll be thinking that it isn’t my decision or my place to decide where it goes in the school. Surely it is the leadership team, the head or the governors and you’d be right, but one of my roles is to give them the ideas and show them the potential, then together we can mould that into a clear direction and vision.

So…the plan. I spent about an hour browsing for various ICT action plans online and in the end I stole ‘shared good practice’ with a number of them to combine it into a template I liked. In my old school, I made one from scratch and was never really happy with it but it did a job for a very short term, but now I needed something better. For this plan, I’m working on a two-year cycle, more than that seems crazy in the current climate and with technology moving so fast.

Next I scribbled down some ideas, these included a new website, blogs, twitter, google apps, new assessment and so on. I now had to think about how I get these into an action plan.

For example, I know I want all classes to blog, but why? What is the purpose? What is the outcome? If I’m going to do it anyway, does it even need to be on the action plan? By the time the plan has been reviewed and ‘signed off’, the blogs will be in place anyway! So is my target ‘for every class to have and use a blog’?I needed a different idea.

I used an idea from a plan I’d found and wrote 6 major goals. These were:

  • Communication – To improve communication with parents and the wider school community as well as showcasing the learning that is going on within our school
  • Resources – To ensure that we have the resources and network to cope with future development both in school and at home
  • Curriculum – To ensure that our curriculum is brought up-to-date and continues to stay relevant, engaging and challenging for the children within our school
  • Staff Development – To ensure that staff have the relevant level of skills to use ICT effectively in all areas of the school
  • Assessment – To monitor the ability of the children within our school
  • E-Safety – To ensure that all staff, parents and children are aware of the benefits and dangers of using computers and knowing ways in which they can reduce the risks

From this I have begun to look at the ICT Mark framework. Now I know that not everyone is a fan of the ICT Mark, but I think it is a great place to start. When looking at my resources goal, I looked through the ICT Mark statements and looked to see what would make us a ‘1’ or a ‘2’ and ensure that my action plan was targetting the tops of these levels. This included making procurement sustainable and including different audiences when purchasing. I’ll certainly be including children when it comes to reviewing new software.

For the blog example above, that will eventually become a curriculum area, but for now it falls squarely into the communication goal. I want teachers and children to share their learning online so that parents, peers and the wider world can see it.

Now as I said, I am new to the school so my action plan will not be complete for a while, but I am currently writing it in a blue-sky sort-of way, but also trying to make it manageable. What can we do with the resources, staff and budgets we have available? Once I have written this I will of course share it with the head teacher so he can remove things that are not needed or add in other bits. We will of course link it to the school improvement plan, but I haven’t had chance to see this yet so again, I am writing this with a bit of an open mind!

I know I should probably wait until I get in to school in September before doing most of this, but I also know that my head is very keen on some of the ideas I’ve shared with him so far and that this plan will be used and adapted. Plus, I probably have more time now than I will in September! Once we are happy with it, I’d love to share it (probably in cut-down form) with parents and children so that they know where we are headed as a school.

So how have you gone about your action plan? Do you ever stick to it? How many people are involved in writing it? Do you share it with parents (or children)?

ICT Cluster Spring 1 – Roundup Pt2
Friday, February 05th, 2010 | Author:

Part 1 of the Roundup can be found here

WallWisher –
What does it do?
Wallwisher allows you to create an empty space or wall and collate children’s comments. You can create any name for your wall so you can make it easier for your children to remember e.g.
This can then be embedded into a VLE to show the children’s learning or their ideas.
Possible Uses
Starting a topic: What do you already know about_____? What would you like to find out about___? Or later on, what have you learnt about ____ ?
Top Tip
This doesn’t work with Internet Explorer 6, so if you still have that, you’ll have to wait until you get an upgrade. For EdICT schools, this should be happening in the next few months.

MyEBook –
Examples – from @colport
What does it do?
MyEBook allows you to create an online book to showcase children’s work. There is an over-13 limit on it, and some books are not suitable for primary, but if created by the teacher, they could be used within a VLE or website. You create a book, choose a template or blank book and start dragging photos, sound or text onto the pages. You can add and remove pages at will. Why not get the children reading the text in a story or their work and upload that too? For an exmample of this, look at the Wallace and Gromit book from the link above.
Possible Uses
You could have a book for 1 child over a year, showcasing their work and creating a portfolio of their learning or create a class book to showcase all learning from a particular topic.
Top Tip
MyEBook links to online photo sites such as Flickr, Picasa or Facebook, so if you have pictures online already, you can link to them to save you uploading.

Animoto – (Free 30second long videos) (Free, longer videos)
What does it do?
Animoto allows you to upload pictures and create an online presentation. Create a free account, choose some pictures and then upload them. These can then be manipulated and re-ordered if necessary. You then choose a soundtrack from the library or upload your own and then finish. Within 10minutes or so, you’ll have a presentation video that can be linked to or embedded within a VLR or website.
Possible Uses
Uploading pictures of a DT project so that the photos show the making process from start to end. Picture 1 being the materials and picture 8 being the final car/sandwich/model.
Top Tip
Why not get the children to record some audio to upload onto their presentation?

The next session will be on March 18th at Hulbert Junior School and we will make it a 4:15pm start this time as that seems to be when I start anyway! If you can get there for 4, you’ll be treated to tea/coffee and some biscuits too.
The next session will be looking at blogging. This will be a mixture of getting the children involved with blogging, getting YOU to start a blog and sharing examples from other teachers too. Don’t be scared about it, I only started in December, so we can all be new at it together! Brilliant for reflection and I will show how it can be brilliant for CPD too. I might also try and fit in a brief bit about convincing you all to join Twitter too…but we’ll see if time allows.

I am running a Home Access meeting for parents at Hulbert next week, (8th February) so will post resources after that.

ICT Cluster Spring 1 – Roundup Pt1
Wednesday, February 03rd, 2010 | Author:

So, another ICT cluster has finished and this one seemed to fly by like a whirlwind! I think I probably tried fitting too much into a short space of time. I promise next session I will slow down and give more playing time! (and find a room with a decent projector)
So here is a round-up of some of the things we did, and didn’t, cover. I will also send this out on twitter and hopefully people will add examples below too.

The purpose of this session was to show you some of the exciting websites that I have found recently, the majority through Twitter. These range from time-saving to collaboration-based tools. After meeting with some teachers before Christmas and one of them stating that there seemed to be a lack of innovation from Lead Teachers and above, I thought I’d try my best to lead by example. Who knows if it worked or not!

So, what did we look at? (BTW, all of these are free.)

Delicious –
Examples: or
What does it do?
It allows you to store websites and favourites online so that they can be accessed from anywhere. Now this might sound like a small thing for some people, but if you think a bit bigger, such as creating a school account like @simonhaughton has done, then collaboration becomes much easier. I showed this at an inset day at the start of term and the teachers added their favourite sites, within an hour we had 50 websites for them to share. even amongst this small number of teachers, they were all adding websites that others hadn’t heard of. This means that next time they want to find a site for poetry, it might have been found by someone already. Very useful indeed. Next step? What about a Hampshire-wide account? hhmmm..might need some thought!
Top Tip
If you create a school account, make sure you decide on the tags beforehand. Otherwise, you’ll end up with KS2, KS 2 and Key Stage 2.

What does it do?
Primary Pad is a tool that allows you to upload a word document or start from scratch and then have multiple users adding to and editing the document at the same time. Sounds chaotic? It can be. But now that @johnmclear has limited it to 6 people per pad, it works brilliantly for small groups of children. We have used in Hants to plan testing for Wizkid, we were all online plotting our next steps in real-time. It’s quite a lot of fun too!
Possible Uses
Why not get the children to collaborate on a story or piece of writing? Poetry? Playscript?
What about teachers editing a policy?
Top Tip
Go to and providing someone hasn’t put that word on there before, you can make a new pad. This means that you can have a pad tailored for your class or group, much easier to remember than using the random letters at the end!
Also, let the children try it first, then decide on rules. They can edit and delete each others work, so session 2 may need some rules!

What does it do?
Wordle takes a selction of words you have typed or pasted and create a collage of them with the more frequent words appearing larger than the others. The best way to see this is to copy and paste a news article from a site such as and then try to see the key words of the article. I showed this using Andy Murray’s match report and the key words were ‘Murray’, ‘Tennis’ and ‘Open’. Useful to see if a child has written one word more than the others.
Possible Uses
Why not ask the children to list different words for ‘said’ or ‘walked’? Write the main word e.g. ‘said’ 3/4 times, then the others will appear smaller. Great for a vocabulary display or a way of creating a wordbank before starting a poem.
Top Tip
When typing words, put ~ between them. This way, the words stay together e.g. once~upon~a~time would stay together as a phrase. Perfect for story starters! More tips can be found at

Part 2 will follow with Wallwisher, MyEBook and Animoto as well as details of Home Access

Next meeting: Thursday January 28th 2010, 4-5pm
Hulbert Junior, Waterlooville, PO7 8ED.

Ideas to Inspire

I will be showing some new technology and websites that will hopefully change the way you work, improve your organisation and improve collaboration. I have a few sites I want to show and all are free. There will also be guides and ideas of how to use them.

The idea is that I want to be innovative and showcase some fantastic web 2.0 technology that you probably haven’t seen. There has been an explosion in free online software for classroom use recently and I have been working with a few teachers across the country via Twitter to develop some resources to aid the use of these sites. I want you to leave the session inspired with at least 1 resource or idea to use in the classroom the next day.

We will be showing sites such as:
Interesting Ways to…
Google Reader

The cluster is open to anyone from schools in Havant or the surrounding areas. If you can make it there, you’re invited. We often have people from Petersfield, Fareham and beyond!

Please email me if you wish to attend.

ICT Cluster – Assessment
Tuesday, December 29th, 2009 | Author:

Autumn 2009 Assessment Links

Below you will find details of all of the websites used or referenced within the Cluster meeting.
HIAS ICT Moodle – Click Primary and then assessment
Skills linked to QCA schemes of Work.
I Can statements – KS1 and KS2 linked to QCA topics
Assessment in ICT
I can statements for KS1 and KS2 for QCA Schemes of work. Includes Year-by-year progression grid.
Pupil Self-assessment Sheets
Prompt sheet to help assessment
What is ICT capability?
Abbotswood Assessment

My Information Dilemma
Monday, December 21st, 2009 | Author:

I’ve been having a tough time figuring out what to do. I want to share ideas with people and try and give them one place to look for them. I have my Twitter feed. This is generally followed by strangers or friends found through Twitter. I also have this blog which was set up because everyone seemed to be blogging and I wasn’t. I thought it would be good to see what it was all about. Then I have my website. This is a Joomla-based website for my ICT Cluster. As well as the day job, I run an ICT cluster for around 50 schools. Some meetings we get 15 people, some we get 50. I wanted them to have somewhere to go to find out information, but none of them use Twitter.
So what’s the solution?
Maybe I should cut-down the website completely and just have cluster and ICT Mark information? The rest of the site is less important and was put on there to help fill it up a bit.
Maybe I should point them all to this blog? For now I have put the links on the blog page so that they can use my Twitter feed or delicious links if they wish. But it still lacks a space to give ICT mark information or useful dates.
Maybe I should have the invite/agenda of cluster meetings as a blog post, they can then use the labels/tags to find cluster agendas?

Any suggestions?

Ps: Jack Bauer interrogating Santa. Very funny, but a couple of rude words