The theme of the conference was ‘Excellence for All’, and I have to say that the SSAT delivered , each aspect of the conference itself was excellent.
Wednesday started for me with Dylan Wiliam extolling the importance of assessment being the key to good teaching. He was as inspiring a speaker as ever, as those of you who watched his recent TV program would know. In particular I was impressed with Dylan’s ability to demonstrate his techniques within a ‘classroom’ of 400 educators, and also his incredible use of research evidence to support his teachings.
Wednesday Keynotes came from David Hemery, former 400m Hurdles Gold medal winning Olympian, he was telling his story and promoting www.21stcenturylegacy.com , part of London 2012′s legacy programme for schools. He was followed by Sugata Mitra, telling his engaging tale of children teaching themselves using the Internet, from his hole-in-the-wall Mumbai slums experiment to his recent work in Gateshead. This was an engaging tale that at first seemed to question the need for teachers at all! As with all the speakers, more to follow in a future blog-post. I would add that I was fortunate enough to chat to Sugata over coffee following his talk, a charming man. Continue reading →
Inspired by Simon Job, this is a post about how I surf the torrential tidal wave of information that is out there on the Internet, how I filter it down into a manageable stream to consume and how I save the best bits for later.
Last week I began hearing some twittering about ads appearing on Edublogs blogs. A little investigation on the Edublogs forums showed a post which, to be fair, dates back some months detailing the fact that ads will be added at random to free accounts. They can quickly be removed for $40 a year as part of the Edublogs Supporter scheme.
As you will see on the forum post and twitter link above the backlash has begun. Whilst it seems unfair to kick a free service I can’t help feeling let down by Edublogs. The service was always heavily promoted as being free and ad free. To suddenly turn on ‘in post’ Google ads without so much as an email to members informing them of this decision is disappointing. There are already tales of inappropriate adverts involving guns, dating agencies etc appearing on school blogs. The fact that these are planted inside posts makes it appear as if the author is promoting them.
I’d been thinking on and off over recent months that I should really own my own little part of the Web, so really I should thank Edublogs for spurring me on. The process of buying a domain and importing this blog was easier than I thought. I will detail the process in due course for anyone who is interested. Whilst costing a bit more than $40 a year, I’m pleased with the result.
I think it is important that we teach pupils to manage their on-line identities, and it will be increasingly important what employers, pupils and parents see of us online. If someone wants to find me then I think mrstucke.com is an obvious place to look!
So farewell Edublogs, I hope you get over this hurdle. I am thankful for getting me started so easily on this journey but I’m off to pastures new….
I can’t quite describe how elated I am! Ignoring lastyearsfiasco, these tests have narrowed the curriculum, the teaching opportunities and pupils enthusiasm for the subject for years. The league tables that accompanied them often narrowed a school’s focus onto just the key Level 5 boundary pupils.
Computers for Pupils is a £60 million, two-year programme (2006–2008) aimed at helping some of the most disadvantaged secondary school children improve their education and life skills by putting a computer into the home and providing internet connectivity. It aims to narrow the achievement gap between those children and their peers. Up to 100,000 pupils in England are expected to benefit from the initiative.
108 local authorities are involved in the programme, with funding allocated through the Standards Fund Grant. Local authorities identified as having eligible schools and pupils attending in their area have been given funding to make this happen. They are also receiving help and advice covering all aspects of the scheme.
Our school has been allocated 270 laptops, which is obviously a fantastic thing. However we have nearly 900 pupils so it has also become a somewhat divisive issue. The allocation has taken into account a number of factors, including something of a post-code lottery. Explaining to one pupil why they have a laptop and another why they haven’t has been awkward today.
With the possibility of internet access also being provided in the near future this is overall great news. We have been making good headway with online homeworks in Maths, using MyMaths and Achieve, and this will dramatically cut the number of pupils who cannot complete these at home.
I haven’t seen the machines yet, as ever with technology I suspect that had they will have missed the boat with the range of excellent low cost laptops that are seeping onto the market such as the eeePC.
This worries and saddens me as I can see the quick result of this will be even more aggressive and restrictive censoring of the internet by school network managers. There is so much excellent material available on YouTube and other similar sites it is a shame they are nearly always on the banned list of websites.
I think that this is another knee-jerk reaction by the press and by the out-of-touch teaching unions. It is another example where we should be taking a pro-active stance of educating our pupils in the safe and responsible use of the Internet, rather than just blocking access. Stiff punishments of those responsible for this type of bullying need to be applied as they would for any other form.
Admittedly it does sound like YouTube themselves need to improve there systems for the rapid removal of offending videos.
I’m a little gob smacked and a little jealous at the news from the BBC that Knowsley council on Merseyside plan to abolish the classroom and timetable as we know it and turn all 7 of their secondary schools into learning centers personalised to each pupil.
It seems that this sort of revolution in how our schools and our learning is organised has been talked about for a very long time, to finally see a Council willing to make the leap of faith is heartening.
It will be interesting to see how this plan fairs after the teaching unions have had their say!