Tag-Archive for ◊ ukedchat ◊

Top 5 Posts of 2012
Friday, December 28th, 2012 | Author:

Before writing a review of 2012, which will take a bit of thought, I thought I would share the top 5 posts on this blog throughout the whole of 2012. What this top 5 does show is that all of these posts are over a year old (the BETT one is 4 days from its first birthday). This appears to be because it takes a while to build an audience. The Bett Show post is 6/7th on Google’s search page for “Bett Show Tips” and search for Digital Leaders and my tag is 4th on the results page. Another thing that the most popular posts show is that the ‘how-to/guide’ type posts seem to get more hits than the reflection-type posts. Maybe teachers are looking for people to show them how to implement these tools in their classroom.

But hey, I’m just glad that anyone finds these posts useful!

Top 5 for 2012…

1. Bett for Beginners

This will be re-produced and updated in the coming days, but for now, the 2012 BETT guide is the most popular blog post on the site. This post gives a few tips and hints to getting the most out of the annual BETT show.


2. How to Get Started with Google Apps for Education

Another post getting an update and a revamp is the guide to setting up Google Apps for Education. This has been popular since it was written and this year alone has had just under 5,000 views. I have started re-writing it to take recent changes into account and that should be due in early 2013.


3. Come and have a #ukedchat

This post is getting quite old now, but it gives a very brief overview of ukedchat, the weekly twitter discussion forum. There have probably been many more posts about it which are better and more up-to-date, but this still had 3,000 hits this year!


4. Primary Digital Leaders

Written in December 2010, this post laid out the plans for Digital Leaders in my school. This all started after a discussion with Chris Mayoh and Dawn Hallybone at a Microsoft event in November 2010. We had just seen Daniel Stucke talk about his digital leaders and we planned a few ways forward for our own schools too.


5. Manga High – an overview

With 2,500 hits this year, this post gives an insight into Manga High which used to an expensive online resource but for the past 18months or so has been free. My children love using it and it really challenges them to think quickly.

What are your targets for next year? #ukedchat 08-09-11
Thursday, September 01st, 2011 | Author:

On the 8th September I will be hosting the #ukedchat session and as usual, I’m doing things a little differently – (although thinking about it, I’ve done this a few times, so it’s not that different for me!). Instead of the normal vote, I’m going to pick a topic for the session. I really wanted the session on September 1st, but hey…

So the topic will be: ‘What are your targets for the new year?’

This could be something like:

  • improving writing or maths
  • starting a blog
  • being a ‘proper’ teacher (if you were an NQT)
  • being a teacher (if it’s your first class)
What are your targets for this year? What new things will you be trying? What advice have you got for others? What could we be trying? Maybe you want to get involved with Quadblogging? The 100 word challenge? Google Apps? Who knows!
This is the chance to meet with other people and discuss ideas for the year ahead. Hopefully you will get at least one other person trying the same thing and you can ‘buddy-up’  with them and have a talking partner for the year?
If everyone meets one new person and takes away one idea, it will have been a success. You can start discussing this in the comments below if you like, or send a message and add the #ukedchat hashtag. Then join me at 8pm on the 8th September. See you then!
My #ukedchat Annual Roundup
Thursday, July 14th, 2011 | Author:

The last #ukedchat of my academic year is due to be hosted by…me! I say my academic year because many people have already broken up for summer but hey, some of us will plough on until the 27th (!!) of July.

So, on Thrusday 21st July at 8pm, join me on Twitter to discuss a round-up of your school year. That’s right, no voting this week, it’s my chat so it’s my rules.

So what have you done this year that has worked really well? What hasn’t worked? What have you learnt? What are you going to try next year? What new tools/methods have you employed within your classroom or school?

Also, I don’t want this all about tech!!! Have you used a great new strategy in writing? Have your children suddenly understood something because of a new method you’ve tried to teach subtraction? All ideas are welcome.

The benefit of there being no vote is that you have a week to write a blog post, collate examples and share these with us on Thursday night, should you so wish.

So, join me for a chat, nothing heavy, and be prepared to share, share, share and be inspired. I promise* that you’ll take away at least ten new ideas that you can try in your classroom next year.

*all promises must be taken with a pinch of salt

EDIT – I’m really sorry but I have some good news and some bad news. The bad news is that I won’t be hosting ukedchat this week as I am helping with the Y6 production. The good news is that Mr Dughall McCormick will be hosting instead.

Category: blogposts, Conferences / BETT  | 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?


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.


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.


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!

Engaging parents pt2 #ukedchat
Friday, August 13th, 2010 | Author:

As posted yesterday, this week’s UKedchat looked at ways to engage with parents. The discussion was even better than expected with loads of people joining in to share their ideas, concerns and strategies with the masses. We even extended the discussion by 15minutes to cram it all in. Thanks to everyone that participated.

The archive is available here: http://ukedchat.wikispaces.com/ukedchatArchive so I will let you have a look through in detail if you wish, but I want to summarise some of the things that I picked out.  Lots of ideas were repeated by different sources, so I will not try and quote everyone, I’ve just spent almost two hours going through the archive for the evaluation as it is! So…what came out of the discussion?

There seem to be a number of different elements to the discussion, these being workshops, communication and sharing learning.

Workshops tended to be literacy, numeracy or ICT related. Generally we are trying to tell the parents something about a new strategy in school. Timings are an issue, do you run these sessions before school? during school? after school? evenings? The issue with doing it in school time is that of teachers. How would they be released from class to present or talk to parents? If after school, how do you deal with the issue of toddlers and babies? Can you have a creche? I liked the idea of running parents evenings while the school disco is on, this means parents are already child-less for a couple of hours so babysitting isn’t an issue! However people reported a better turnout when children came along to the sessions with their parents, so maybe that is the answer?

I remember at my old school, we drew a grid one parents evening. Along the grid were times (9-12, 12-3, 3-4, 4-6, 6-8) and down the grid were days. We asked parents to put a tick in boxes that would be good times for them to attend workshop sessions. After 40+ ticks, every box had something in it. Not helpful at all. One person suggested an issue with the name workshop while another called them BOATS (bring our adults to school). I don’t think the name is a problem, trying to get parents into school is! Can you bribe them with food and/or drink? or prizes as suggested by one person! Someone else suggested that if you make the topic exciting for the children, they will bring the parents in for you.

So once you’ve got them into school, what do you do with them? Who runs the session? Is it run by the head? The Numeracy/ICT leader? or children? Can you involve children to make it feel less threatening?

What about those that didn’t turn up? Videoing the session seems to be ok, then putting it online for parents to watch later. Will anyone bother?

Sharling children’s learning was another major area. Some people raved about the use of blogs and VLEs while others were worried about privacy and/or other teachers’ lack of interest. This can be an issue and it will take a good leadership team to see the benefit of online learning to ensure it is a whole-school approach.

Reports were mentioned. Who do we do them for? The parents in the chat last night said they generally skip to the general comment. So if we spend ages writing them (and hate it) and they don’t read them, who are they for? That’s a discussion for another time but people were willing to talk about video or audio reports as well as presentations and ebook style portfolios to store learning. Are these discussions happening with head teachers too? I love the idea!

Do you have parents in to help in school? Do they come in and read with children or do they share their expertise? How do you go about finding their expertise in the first place? It’s great to get them involved though.

Would you film your lessons? Someone suggested streaming it live. I think I’d prefer it recorded so I could choose to upload or not depending on how it went. Not that I’d only want to share perfect lessons (if they exist) but just in case something happened and you were streaming live via your blog or VLE!Photo permissions were mentioned, some guidance is here

Communication is also an interesting area for parents. Some parents complained that communication is a one-way forum. The home-school agreement is something the school dictates and they have no say over. Surely they should help write it or at least be consulted on it? I know not everyone uses it, but to reach the top levels of ICT Mark, parents and the whole school community must be consulted on policies and such-like. Does your school do that? Someone suggested yesterday that we shouldn’t ask them as they wouldn’t be able to help anyway. In my school I will be suggesting we write it, but ask for their opinions and views before finalising it. The final copy will also be shared online.

How else do you communicate with parents? Email? SMS? Website etc? It can be tricky to manage it all. One thing we are doing in our school is that news will go online. I will then post this once on to our VLE which will send it via RSS to our Twitter feed and to our website. I want as many examples of post-once read-everywhere as I can. Our blogs will be similar. Once writte, they will automatically post to Twitter, our VLE and our website. Saves me a lot of work! To see it set-up, but not really in use yet, visit our website: http://stjohnthebaptistprimary.co.uk/ You’ll see our tweets and blogs coming together.

There was also a clear primary/secondary divide where primary teachers have face-to-face time but secondary teachers rarely see the parents of their children. So that is something else to consider, how can they manage it?

What will I take from last night’s chat? Lots. As the new teacher and PPA, it is hard for me to have much influence in school but then I am the one that is changing a lot of the ICT. I will be around after school everyday top ensure that parents can have their questions answered about the VLE, Cloud computing, E-safety or whatever. I want to help them and I want to listen to them. I will also be involving the governing body and the PTA from a very early stage.

We intend to have parent workshops at various times and these sessions will be recorded and posted online. As mentioned earlier, news and learning will be shared on the web too.

All ICT policies and plans will be shared with parents for discussion and for viewing on the website, hopefully this will extend to other policies as we move forward.

I am also looking forward to the little things such as getting parents in to work with their class while we teach ICT. We’ve just bought 34netbooks and some parents may be curious. I’d love to get them in to a lesson to work with their child. I will definitely be planning for this in future. I would also like a parent-child drop-in ICT club. Not necessarily with a focus, but with the opportunity for children to share with their parents while having teachers on-hand to assist if needed.

There were so many fab ideas last night from BBQs to Picnics to ‘Boys night’ where dads and boys came to learn about literacy but girls weren’t invited. Ukedchat really showed its potential yesterday and I am honoured to be a part of it, there are so many fantastic teachers out there with so many fantastic ideas. Let’s go and do it. Let’s go and change some things in our school and then let’s share how we got on. I can’t wait!

Just an aside – as we finished,  someone asked if there was a network of parents somewhere discussing how they can engage with teachers…how would their conversation go?

Other blog posts from last night’s chat:

@colport – http://bit.ly/b2GoRL

@joannec23 – http://bit.ly/ad8KF5

@tonycassidy – http://tinyurl.com/3ylr9tw

@theheadsoffice – http://bit.ly/dt7fFL

Engaging parents (#ukedchat)
Thursday, August 12th, 2010 | Author:

Tonight sees a change to the usual #ukedchat. Usually there is a vote and we try to decide which topic is most worthy of discussion. But this week I’m in charge, so no vote this time. Last time I moderated, I suggested parental engagement as a topic but it didn’t win and then last week, the subject of parents came up a few times  during the chat so it seemed right for our first non-vote topic, we would look at:

How do we engage with parents?

So when discussing this, I’d like you to think about things you do in your school already or things you’ve tried before. Also, what are you planning to do with the parents in your school? It is important to remember that ukedchat is about the non-techy ideas and solutions as much (and maybe more) than using ICT.

Do you involve parents in workshops? Do you put on any events for them? Do you train them on how to use various bits of software? or numeracy strategies? or any new thing that happens in your school? How do you keep this up? What about for non-attendees? How do you cope with them? Do you provide guides or do you video sessions? How do you entice the reluctant ones  into school in the first place?

What about when writing policies or action plans? Do parents have a say? Are they shown it when it’s written? or do they not see policies ever? One aspect of a ‘high-scoring’ ICT Mark is that policies and plans are written in conjunction with the whole school community. Does your school do this? How?

Can the children see their child’s work online? Is this through a blog? a VLE? or somethig else such as MyEBook/Animoto?

Can children see reports online? Are you thinking about this? What is the best way of doing it?

There are many areas to think about when discussing parental engagement that it makes a great topic for a UKedchat discussion. I hope you will join us tonight at 8pm on Twitter or at the very least, read through the archive later on. I’ll post links to that when it’s ready.

Oh…if you’re not sure what ukedchat is, check out my previous post here: http://ianaddison.net/?p=288

Category: blogposts, General Thoughts, UKEdchat  | Tags:  | 6 Comments
Come and have a #ukedchat
Thursday, July 01st, 2010 | Author:

So what did you do this evening? Did you have a stimulating chat about education? Or did you watch some mind-numbing nonsense on TV? There’s a need for both of course, but let me tell you about the my evening.

Something new started last week. Well, it kinda started ages ago, but it only came to the Uk last week. #Edchat is a hash-tag on Twitter. What you do is you meet online at a certain day and time and you discuss a topic with other teachers. It could be anything and the topics are voted on throughout the week. #edchat is based in the US, so time is an issue for UK-based people. That’s where @colport came in and suggested #ukedchat (do you see what he’s done with the name? clever, innit) The thing with including a hashtag, is that you can search for it and just find those tweets.

I’m writing this just after the second chat where we looked at what we would want from a new curriculum. 98 people took part in the hour-long chat and I know many, many more must have been lurking and reading the tweets.

Each week a couple of people, myself included some weeks, moderate the chat. There isn’t really a job spec for this role, but I see my job as having two main elements. Retweeting great posts or discussions to share with a wider audience and also disagreeing or commenting on tweets to promote (or provoke?) a conversation.

For those not on Twitter (yes, some people haven’t been converted yet) or those that couldn’t make it, @colport archives the chat afterwards for people to read through, why not go and take a peek here

I still get people wondering why I take part in CPD outside of normal hours, but you know what? #ukedchat and Twitter make me think a lot harder about my teaching than any course I’ve ever attended.

So, either join us next Thursday from 8pm for a chat or at the very least, peruse the archives and catch up with what was being said.I’ll now let you get back to watching Big Brother/Emmerdale or whatever it is you would’ve been doing.

Find out more at the ukedchat page: http://ukedchat.wikispaces.com/