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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
My Review of 2011
Tuesday, December 27th, 2011 | Author:

Well that’s been a pretty good year hasn’t it? I thought I should probably review it a bit before writing targets for next year. I don’t think this will be in any particular order but hey, it’s my blog, so I can choose the order 🙂

The year always starts with the BETT show which for many, many people is the chance to go and see what products are available to purchase but for me I agreed to help organise the Teachmeet event. This ended up with me sort-of co-hosting it with Ian Usher, although he took the main chunk of the talking duties. It was a good event and people seemed very happy so I think we did a good job!  The highlight of BETT this year was meeting so many amazing people and it is so nice to put faces and twitter names together (especially when they are as fab as Chris Mayoh and you end up on a trip to the theatre/pub). The next BETT event is just a few weeks away and will be even busier than the last one. This time we take children to present on various stands so it will be a great event I’m sure.

One amazing moment of the year was the appearance on BBC Click which came about due to Mr Thorne and a contact with the BBC. We were invited to appear to discuss why and how we were including game design in our curriculum. So the BBC came in, they watched a lesson and spoke to some children. I think it looked amazing and I was very proud of the children and they represented out school brilliantly!

Talking of children representing our school, we were invited to have a small stand at a Hampshire headteacher conference were we were due to discuss our innovative curriculum grant. We had used the grant to work with other local schools and to start blogging and using Google Apps. Despite not having an internet connection we managed to show screenshots of our work and the people attending seemed very happy. We took three children with us and they were outstanding. I stood back at one point and just watched them talk to headteachers, teachers and advisors and I beamed. It was hilarious watching Sam talk to one headteacher, he said “this is our blog, we use it to share learning with the world and then the world write back. If you want to know more, here is Mr Addison’s card, he’s busy talking to some other people right now but he likes helping schools” and he promptly handed my card over, shook their hand and wished them a good day. Not bad for a Year 4 child. It put him top of the list for BETT 2012!

On a professional level, being invited to present at an event or conference is always an honour, so getting invited to run a workshop at the Northern Grid conference was a fantastic experience. I felt humbled just looking at the list of other presenters and I thought there was some mistake when I was invited. I shared the workshop with Jan Webb and it seemed to go down quite well which is all I can ask for. Sharing ideas is always a great experience and it was wonderful seeing people like Dughall McCormick and Dan Roberts choosing to attend our workshop.

Oh and I almost forgot, being shortlisted for the Scholastic Education Blog Awards for Teacher Blog of the Year was also quite exciting too!

I wrote at the end of last year about my targets and plans for this year so I should probably evaluate how they went…

Curriculum – We’re well on the way to embedding ICT across the curriculum and although there is still a long way to go. I have created the www.ictplanning.co.uk website which is nearly finished so I will be adding more ICT plans in the coming months.

Google Apps vs Live@edu – This time last year we were deciding between the county-led Microsoft offering or the free Google Apps suite. After meeting with Microsoft in January, they shared the costings with us and they were laughable. TO be able to share documents online in my school would be £2,500+ per year compared to Google’s £10 a year (for the domain address). There really wasn’t a competition between the two and the more we use Google Apps, the more our decision looks like a fantastic one!

Children – As mentioned already, our children are phenomenal and the digital leaders are going from strength to strength. We have a large team of them doing all kinds of different jobs across the school and 2012 is going to be an even bigger platform for them to share their excellence with others. They make me very proud indeed.

Blogging – This time last year our school had finished one term of blogging and we had just reached 43,000 hits. 12 months later we’re just short of 300,000 and in term time, we get around 800 page views a day. I’m not sure how, but it’s great that people are interested in seeing what our children are up to.

So that’s what has been happening in 2011, it’s been a great year 🙂

I will write a blog post in the next couple of days to share my targets for 2012, it’s going to be a very big year!!

What have been your highlights of 2011? Do take a look at the #bestedu2011 hashtag for other people’s highlights of 2011.

 

I want to end with a special mention to the following people who have helped make my year. This is by no means a definitive list but I want to thank them all anyway. If you are part of the network of Twitter people that I communicate with, then thank you too. Without you I don’t know what I’d do. So, here are my stars of the year…

@zoeross19 – For helping me with my Google Certification process and for being my sidekick (or boss) when we have been training people how to use Google Apps. She’s been a star.

@deputymitchell – For services to blogging. Your school may never be able to match what he is doing, but he is leading the way in getting schools to blog. I feel honoured to have him amongst my friends.

@dughall – A top, top bloke. He knows a lot about loads of different things and is always on hand to help with a project or idea. He is also responsible for my highlight of the year. Watching our Year 1 and 2 children Skype-ing with Santa is a true delight. It makes me laugh everytime and the children (and teachers) love it.

@oliverquinlan – When he left teaching I thought he was crazy but in just a term in his new post it has been great to see the effect he has had on trainee teachers at Plymouth. They have a bright future ahead.

@ohlottie – For being a lovely person to talk to. I’m glad we finally met this year and I feel proud to have helped her with some of the things she’s been doing in her school.

@simcloughlin – I met him for about 5 seconds at Bett this year in a crazy spell on the Saturday and it wasn’t enough. His blog has been a great read throughout the year. He doesn’t post often but when he does, there are lots of great ideas in there.

@kvnmcl – If I could be a child again, I’d want to be in his class.

@simonhaughton – For his fantastic help all year, especially when it came to recording my TV appearance (and the many, many appearances that Charlie had on TV this year!)

@2simpleant, @brainpop_uk, @chrisrat, @andreacarr1 – Amazing people who work on the ‘dark side’! Just kidding 🙂 These are people and companies that really listen and put teachers and children first. Thanks guys.

@girlyrunner1 – Dawn has just left our school and there will be a hole when we go back in January. Her class blog was amazing and she would take any stupid ideas I threw at her and try them out. She also threw some my way too which helped a lot! I wish her all the best in her new role. She’s going to be an amazing deputy-head.

@charliedeane – I’d probably get told off if I didn’t include my beautiful fiancee…she’s helped me with loads of ideas and projects and not moaned (much) when I work too hard. She’s also started doing silly crazy things in her classroom too 🙂

Category: blogposts, General Thoughts  | Tags:  | 2 Comments
Looking back…(and forward a bit)
Thursday, December 30th, 2010 | Author:

I wrote last year about my predictions and plans for 2010 and looking back, it seemed like I only planned for the first few months of the year! I talked about Bett, which is always a highlight, our Hampshire VLE conference and the need to look for another job. All that happened of course but so much more besides! So what was I busy doing this year?

Bett/Teachmeets

Yes, I attended Bett and yes I attended Teachmeet. I went first and presented on the use of Voki, and thoroughly enjoyed myself. Since that first Teachmeet in January 2010, I have now organised Teachmeet Hants along with Gideon Wiliams as well as supporting others including Bev Evans and Tim Hand as they organise their own Teachmeets. I have presented via video at many more throughout the year. As we come to the end of 2010, I am in the midst of organising the big one, Bett 2011. Quite a huge jump within a year! Looking ahead, the next Teachmeet Hampshire will happen soon. Hopefully before Easter but I need to speak to some people and find some venues. Yep, venues. Hampshire is massive so hopefully we will have one in the north and one in the south to keep people happy.

Other Conferences

This time last year I didn’t even know what a Google Teacher was and now I am one. It was a great achievement and I was honoured to attend. Thanks again to Tom Barrett. Also this year I attended the Microsoft Innovative Educators Forum and was very happy to see @ideas_factory and @deputymitchell honoured for their amazing work.

VLE/School

I finished my contract with the local authority and am now back in school. It was a great two year post and I enjoyed it. I hope the work I did, along with my fellow consultants, will have a big impact on the schools and children within Hampshire. But things move on and I’ve been in my school a term now and it’s crazy to think of what we’ve achieved already with 40,000+ blog views and 13,000 to our school website just since September. This is fantastic and I am truly amazed. I have big plans for next year in school and I will blog about those tomorrow.

Sharing

I have also been involved in the Vital Primary ICT Forum for the past few months along with @colport. This is a great area for sharing practice with other professionals and trying to help in the crazy world of ICT. I have also been helping when possible with UKedchat and this has become a huge event each week for teachers to share ideas and discuss key topics within school.

Personal stuff (aka the important bits)

We moved house in January and we’re all settled, a friend commented that it looks like we’ve been here forever as it looks perfect. Which is a good thing. Other than that, we got engaged in the Summer so now have a 2012 wedding to prepare for!

My first month
Thursday, September 30th, 2010 | Author:

It’s been a busy month. 4 weeks of term have gone and I feel like I haven’t stopped for a second. I know I wrote about my first week, but we have achieved so much more since then.

Hardware:

There are still a few minor niggles and not all of the software has been installed, but we are definitely getting there. The netbook trolley is now booked out most lessons and some have been ‘borrowed’ by KS1 so they can do small mini-ICT with their children too. The flip cameras have gone down a storm ad have been used to add to our blogs (below) and to just showcase PE lessons and drama.

We also bought a visualiser which was very quickly nabbed by a Y5-6 teacher and has been used to show marking on the board, children’s writing and the best bit? Showing children how to sew. £85 well spent and I think we’ll be getting more very soon!

Software:

We had a LOT of software in school. This included CDROMs that I’d never heard of and were not used. So we have tidied up a lot of it, thrown some, installed some and invested in others. I will be making guides and help notes for all software in school so teachers are aware of what we have and what it does. But in just 4 weeks we have had teachers using 2paint, 2diy and next week starting on 2Create a Super Story too. This includes a quick go at Purple Mash, J2E and iboard too. I’ll blog about those later!

Blogging:

The original plan consisted of two classes starting a blog this half term with the others having a go later on once it was up and running. That went out of the window right away. Class 6 loved the idea and then they started. So the plan became ‘let’s have 3 classes trialling it’ and then another started and another and the plan was torn up (electronically) and we let teachers have a play. I now have the situation where a teacher feels bad as she is the only one in Year 3-4 not blogging so wants to do it and try something whizzy! At the time of writing our blogs have been viewed 5,100 times in 4 weeks. That is just mental. I’m amazed how quickly staff have taken to it.

We are now at the stage where I have stopped approving comments on blogs and I have passed this on to the teachers. Also, 3 of the blogs contain videos, 1 of children making pizza, 1 of children reading out their literacy and another of our emphatic cup win. We have used video so much already I am considering setting up class accounts on Viddler. We had set-up one account but I soon realised that it would work better with 1 per class. It gives a 2gb limit and isn’t blocked like youtube or vimeo.

Website:

Both the blogs and the website went down very well with staff, governors and the PTA and it has now been launched to parents. Reactions seem positive from the few I have spoken to and hopefully it will develop into a huge resource for parents, children and staff.I intend to make guides for how to use various resources and include them all on the website in appropriate language for different audiences. This includes our Facebook guide and will include guides for the websites and tools we use in school.

The Governors and PTA now have logins so that they can add useful dates, minutes and other documents too.

We have also added a CEOP button so that any e-safety problems can be reported to either us or CEOP.

One issue with using the website and blogs is the use of photos. We have around 35 children who cant have their image online and through some careful negotiations and explanations with parents I am slowly reducing that number. I want to ensure the blogs and website showcase our school and I want to include the children in that journey too.To do this I need to have the support of the parents and I think they are happy to join us for this ride!

Planning:

Someone asked me how I plan ICT. Currently it is ‘let’s see what is cool and shiny and let’s go for it’. It is sort of linked to the topic and it’s going very well but it isn;t linked to the national curriculum or QCA. I am probably meeting a lot of the objectives, but that isn’t my main aim at this stage, that will come later. I have planned up to half-term for everyone and will spend the next couple of weeks doing the next half-term. I now have copies of all curriculum planning for the rest of the year so I can begin to plan ICT in a more strategic way to ensure it matches to the rest of the curriculum and enhances it rather than being a random stand-alone subject. Luckily there are a few other teachers I know via Twitter who are helping me to plan all of this!

Mondays:

My Mondays are for working with teachers and showing them how to use something or supporting them if they need it. What with start of term and inset we’ve only had 2 Mondays so far but on both I have worked with teachers and it has gone well. This coming Monday I will be team-teaching with a teacher to use 2Create a Super Story. I can’t wait as I’ve never used it with children either!

Other stuff:

I’m not all about ICT and in fact only teach it for about 5 lessons a week, but it is my main focus in school. I have learnt lots already in just 4 weeks and I have to be hugely adaptable as I will be teaching an able 5-6 maths set one day and learning number bonds to ten the next. It’s great fun in one class as Milton the monkey joins in with our numeracy work 🙂 (yes it’s the year 1-2 class!)

I was talking to a couple of teachers today about how much we achieved in just 4 weeks. It’s been incredible. In the next 2 months we will be ensuring we have a solid ICT action plan in place, putting AUPs and policies together for staff and putting a more structured ICT curriculum together. As well as trialling various software, running e-safety events, introducing a VLE and cloud solution and trying to keep up the momentum we’ve started! Oh and my girls’ football team will be having their first matches too!

PS…And yes, 4 weeks have gone already. I’m not in school tomorrow and September is over so I make that 4 weeks! 🙂

My 2009
Monday, December 28th, 2009 | Author:

So as we come to the end of the year, I thought, like others, I should look back on what has happened over the past 12 months. Looking back is always scary, because it means you also have to look forward, but it is incredible to see how far we/I have come.

For those that don’t know, my day job at the moment involves teaching teachers using Studywiz, the chosen Hampshire VLE. At this stage last year, I had been in post for a term, and we were about to start with the second batch of schools. We had 70ish schools using the VLE across the county and we were slowly finding our feet.
Fast forward to now and we are about to start the final push to bring our total schools to around 420 across the county. We have a VLE conference planned for the end of March and constant comments from teachers about the enthusiasm of their staff and children. This has been a very good year for the VLE! One group on Studywiz has over 600 people in it already. I wonder if we can get this past 1000 before we finish? We have schools using Studywiz to discuss the XFactor results

For me personally, I have learnt a massive amount. Most of this is due to the huge potential of Twitter. I wasn’t using it at the start of the year, probably didn’t see the point. Now, I can’t get enough of it. Whether it is listening to @tombarrett‘s latest idea, discussing studywiz with @primarypete_, finding out about new ways to use 2DIY from @porchester or listening to @chris1974 tweeting about the xfactor, it has been an enjoyable and very rewarding experience.

With Twitter, it is all about who you follow. Follow the right people and it can bring you a wealth of knowledge. I am constantly being sent new websites or ideas to try. Teachers always say that the best way to share ideas is to talk to other teachers or to visit their classroom. Blogging and Tweeting allows this without having to step outdoors. Very useful indeed. My inset next week will see if I can convince non-ICT people that blogging is useful!

As we sit on the edge of 2010, I am excited about the potential of some new technology that others have been using in class for a while, but because of my secondment, I haven’t had chance to use yet. Sites like MyEBook or Animoto keep giving me ideas for sharing ideas with an audience.

I wrote earlier about the problems I had been having organising information for the ICT cluster and I think that I will have this sorted in the next week or so, it’s all looking good indeed! I’ll write about my professional and personal targets later in the week.

Ian Addison
@ianaddison