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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
Looking Ahead to 2010
Thursday, December 31st, 2009 | Author:

I write this blog with about 11 1/2 hours left of 2009 and we are about to enter the tenties/teens/whatever we’ll call it. Predicting the next decade would be impossible, so I’ll just talk about some of the targets I have for 2010 instead.

Professionally, it is going to be a massive year for me. First up there is the BETT show in January. When I was at University doing my teaching degree, the Bett show was a jolly on a minibus. We used to go up there, wander around and see who could get the best freebies. I once got a blue fleece with a tiny MS Office logo on the back. Quite nice, but still had a geeky side to it which meant it was reserved for home use! Now Bett has become something different. Last year I went for two days with the view of acquiring software demos/freebies for our VLE, Studywiz. The idea was that we could put some software and titles online and schools could use them and then buy more. We found some great stuff from companies like iboard for our younger children or SUMS for numeracy work, but little else. Most companies didn’t see VLEs being a big thing despite the government targets.
This year Bett is completely different again. It is now a 3-day event for me. On the Thursday I am doing a presentation as part of the Teach Meet Takeover and then Friday a short 7minute talk as part of Teachmeet. I haven’t been to one of these events before, but it should be good to attend and meet lots of inspiring teachers, most I have only ever tweeted with!
On the Saturday, I am a lot more relaxed as my girlfriend will be joining me, so we can wander round and collect free pens! I should say she is also a teacher, I don’t see BETT as somewhere to take a date!

In March, we have the first Primary VLE conference in Hampshire. We are hoping to have 120 people attend and listen to teachers talk about their use of the VLE and this should be a great way to network with colleagues, help with issues and listen to inspiring ways of working with children. We have already planned to use Wallwisher and Twitter to collect ideas throughout the day. As well as paper, pens and post-its of course.

Hopefully the use of the VLE will continue to grow and develop. We will be launching our Beacon Schools project in January, enabling the top schools to get some recognition for their hard work and commitment so far. This excites me a great deal and hopefully the schools will see a great benefit to them too.

My secondment comes to an end in July and I have the difficult decision to make of returning to my old school or finding a new direction. Many people say you should never go back, it isn’t the same a second time and maybe they’re right. It would be a huge challenge to go back. But maybe things have changed too much and I will find a different challenge elsewhere?
Jobs don’t tend to be advertised until February at the very earliest, so I have some time to look and see what’s about. I think I am quite happy looking for a ‘normal’ class teacher role. I can worry about promotion later in my career. I would love to be in the classroom using some of the fantastic tools that are available now and spreading the collabortive message. I guess I will have to see what sort of jobs are available in the Spring term!

On a personal level, this is also a big year as we move into our first house together in 3 weeks! Scary stuff!

Anyways, wherever you are reading this, enjoy your New Year and I look forward to working with many more people over the coming months. Everyone I talk to gives me inspiration and ideas. I hope I can pass some of it on to others!!