Tag-Archive for ◊ ict cluster ◊

Why bother blogging?
Sunday, March 21st, 2010 | Author:

First off, this blog post is not going to give the definitive answer to blogging, many other sites have done that before and some are examples are listed below. This post is designed to give people some ideas, some links and hopefully get them into blogging either personally or with their class.
This half-term, my ICT cluster were meeting to discuss blogging and the presentation I showed can be found here. I started planning the session by asking my Twitter network why they blog and what they saw as the value. I collated these answers and pasted them into a Primary pad (this pad actually). I then thought it would be useful to show these as a Wordle and that looked a bit like this:

This was used as a starter to discuss the potential of blogging and you can see that ideas, learning and audience are three of the key things that people appreciate when blogging.

As part of the blogging session, we looked at examples such as @deputymitchell‘s excellent Year 6 blog, @OliverQuinlan‘s wonderful blog that he showed at Bett and @charliedeane‘s blog which is very much in its infancy.

@tombarrett asked a few months ago if anyone had a blog, (here’s his blogging stuff) but if you start a blog or if you want to share it, then please do.  I’m sure I can pair you up with another school and you can share your learning with them.

Hopefully some of the teachers from the meeting will now start blogs with their class and hopefully if they do, some of you will help them out and add some comments on to their blogs too.  I’m still a blogging beginner, but I find it useful and it’s a great way to share ideas. What if no-one reads it? Well that’s up to them I guess.

Do you have any comments about blogging that you can share with my ICT Cluster?

Category: Blogging, blogposts  | Tags: , ,  | One Comment
CPD provided by twits
Tuesday, March 16th, 2010 | Author:

What’s the point of Twitter? You hear about it on the news and in magazines and it seems to be something celebrities use to share information and useless facts with the world. But is there more to it?

The way that I explain it to people is that it all depends on who you follow. Think of it like the printed word. If you buy Heat or More magazines, you’ll learn about celebrity nonsense, if you read the sport section of the paper you’ll learn about Beckham’s foot injury or the further demise of Portsmouth. It’s the same with Twitter, follow celebrities and you’ll hear what they have to say, but follow teachers and a whole new world opens up.

I’ll admit that when I started, I followed people like Stephen Fry (@stephenfry) but I soon learnt to explore and find teachers instead. The best way to find people to follow is to look at the followers of someone you know. You can see who I follow and then check out these people and see if they are of interest to you as well. You will find people within Hampshire such as Phil Bagge (@baggiepr), Bruce Waelend (@htbruce) and Dave Whittle (@13scidave) and many more in the outside world too, teachers, deputies, head teachers and other various ICT folk.

To be honest, the first month or so is a bit weird. You see what looks like a few good ideas and lots of short websites and it can be overwhelming. An example is below, due to the 140 character limit, websites need to be short, but it looks confusing. Simon has referenced two websites. The first is a post on the school site saying how great the school leavers’ video was (the second link). From this one tweet, you can get an idea about letting children comment on your school website and also using a service such as vimeo to store videos. One simple tweet can encourage a number of ideas

Teachers often say to me “What if no-one listens?” or “I haven’t got anything interesting to say”. I always try to explain to teachers that someone somewhere will listen to you. As Lisa Stevens (@lisibo) said, “What seems like something simple and mundane for you could be a lightbulb moment for someone else”.

So how do you use it? There are three main ways of accessing Twitter. From the web, from your PC and from your phone. From the web, you can go to the Twitter website (www.twitter.com) and type in your messages and tweets. The downside is the constant need for refreshing the page.

From your PC, you can install software such as TweetDeck which will collate your tweets and organise them into columns and groups for you making it much easier to use.

On your phone, you can use a number of different apps such as Tweetdeck on Android or Twitterific or Echofon on Apple iphone. This helps to keep up to date with your tweets while on the move. For me, this is when I really started using Twitter, being able to check it at break or when I had 5 minutes spare was really useful and meant I was able to access CPD anytime.

Using Twitter is simple, to tweet, simply type a message in less that 140 characters and press send. Everyone’s username begins with @ so mine is @ianaddison. So if you wanted to say hello, simply type: Hello @ianaddison, I’m on Twitter. This will then be highlighted for me to see.

If someone says something that you want to pass on, re-tweet it. This involves copying their message, but putting RT at the start. This way people know it started somewhere else, like below.

This tweet came from Doug Belshaw (@dajbelshaw) originally, but I wanted to pass it on to others.

That’s about it really, it can be addictive, and it can be a bit overwhelming at times, but it really is the best CPD resource I’ve ever used.

Why don’t you be brave and try it for yourself? Below, I have put a few people that you might want to follow.

@ianaddison – Ian Addison < That’ll be me

@simonhaughton – Primary school ICT manager

@deputymitchell – Deputy Headteacher

@baggiepr – Phil Bagge

@primarypete_ – A teacher in Preston

@SchoolDuggery – UK Education Matters

@Joga5 – A literacy advisor from Lincoln

@dughall – ICT Advisor

@charliedeane – Year 3 teacher in Petersfield (and my wife!)

If I haven’t mentioned you, it’s not because I don’t value your tweets, it’s just that I could only put a couple of people to get newbies started!!

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

Part 1 of the Roundup can be found here

WallWisher – http://www.wallwisher.com/
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. www.wallwisher.com/wall/ianaddison
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 – http://www.myebook.com/
Examples – http://www.myebook.com/mr_hill_3-4H 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 – http://www.animoto.com/ (Free 30second long videos) www.animoto.com/education (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 – http://www.delicious.com/
Examples: www.delicious.com/ianaddison or www.delicious.com/parkfield
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.

PrimaryPad http://www.primarypad.com/
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 www.primarypad.com/whateverwordyoulike 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 http://www.bbc.co.uk/ 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 www.delicious.com/ianaddison/wordle

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

My favourite finds at BETT
Wednesday, January 20th, 2010 | Author:

I know that BETT finished ages ago (well it seems like it anyway) but it has been a busy few days packing boxes and such like so I haven’t had chance to post about my BETT finds. Some of these are obvious and some less so. What I have tried to do is also contact the company to find out more information to help you out. There is nothing in it for me, I just liked what I say and thought some of you might like them too.I must say that this post is aimed at my ICT cluster, but obviously, if you find it useful, that’s great!

So in no particular order…

Brainpop www.brainpop.co.uk/freetrial
(30 day free trial)
Brainpop seemed like a great resource for explaining difficult subjects and ideas. These also include quizzes to test the children’s knowledge. The videos inject humour into the range of topics and would be useful for teaching children about a range of different topics.

Class Petwww.scholastic.co.uk/classpet
(3 month free trial)
I was initially attracted to the Scholastic stand because they were playing a huge part in TeachMeet Takeover (as were BrainPop). I was around presenting and attracting teachers to the stand to listen to the ideas that were being shared by other teachers. After a while, I had a look at their demo of Class Pet and liked what I saw. You can easily assess the children using a number of objectives and activities. Activities can be assigned to specific pupils so that they can assess themselves at their own pace. This looks like a good way of using ICT to assess maths and literacy. 

Anithings http://www.anithings.com/try.html
(15% discount for Hampshire schools – email me)
Anithings was one of the products and companies being showcased on TeachersTV in the run up to BETT. I was immediately drawn to the characters that could be used within the animations. Younger children will love the cartoony creatures, but you can add and adapt the characters too. It is easy to move them around the screen and then the final animation can be embedded as a flash file. Maybe it’s just the googly eyes, but it is good fun!

2Simple2Create a Super Story – http://www.2simple.com/super/
(30 day free trial)

As always, 2Simple have delivered. There are many blogs already about their incredible new product so I will let you read those below. It easily lets you create stories, information texts and anything you like really. Characters are dragged on to the screen and then manipulated in a number of ways to animate them and move them around the screen. Sound can also be put in very quickly and easily. The finished article can then be saved as a flash file and put into a VLE, blog or website. Great for sharing with parents or for extending learning after the lesson.
Read more from some of the experts:
2Simple Blog
Bev Evans – @bevevans22
Simon Widdowsden – @xannov
Simon Haughton – @simonhaughton
Mark Warner – @markw29

Not really new but…
(Reduced rate until Feb half-term 2010 for Hampshire Schools)
Espresso is a fantastic resource when it is used well. I used to use it all of the time at school, it made searching for content a nice, simple task. I would often use the resources for assemblies or as part of my input. Espresso have made two major changes recently. Every video can now be embedded into a VLE, making it very simple to share the videos as part of a discussion or a test or maybe even a blog. They have also just launched a home access module allowing the pupils the opportunity to explore the resources themselves at home.

i-board was my favourite find of Bett 2009. A whole host of inexpensive, fun activities for Key Stage 1 children. This year I was given the fantastic news that these are now completely free. Fantastic news for anyone with KS1 children. They are so good that many Year 3/4 teachers have used them too.

What did you see at BETT? Have I missed something?

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 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6yUCbqAGrg