Posted 1 year ago

ich bin Deutschlehrer. ich bin Deutschlerner.

I’ve recently changed my role in the school that I work at. It felt appropriate to change my blog to reflect my new responsibilities. So here I am now.

Come and join me. I look forward to seeing and hearing from you there.

Thanks for following.

Posted 2 years ago

My new "eee!"-learning

My first effort to curate some content that is pertinent to the key ‘e-learning’ issues I am currently concentrating on.

Whilst most might be relevant, please use your own filter [brain!] to decide which bits to skip…

Click and enjoy!

Posted 2 years ago
A school VLE is a concept based on a set of principles and desired outcomes for learners; it is not a product.
Posted 2 years ago

I’ve been using Edmodo with my classes, and have seen a real sense of engagement growing as students share ideas, keep up to date with homelearning, and see it as a useful resource to help socialise their learning beyond the classroom.

A key aspect of evaluating my students’ use of Edmodo is determining  whether or not it is able to deliver the concept of a VLE, when used in conjunction with Google Apps for Education.

My judgement at the moment is that ‘Yes’ it does. Time to widen its use…


Posted 2 years ago
Posted 2 years ago

An interesting initial review of Diaspora*. I look forward to the follow-up posts.

Posted 3 years ago

Little bit of e-safety for you to share with everyone

Two sites that caught my attention [and that of my students] this week:

How Secure is my Password?

Does what it says on the tin: simply enter your password and the site will tell you how secure it is. Would it take seconds, or trillions of years to hack your password? Nice feature includes tips about features of the password that you enter, suggesting ways to improve its security.

Password Bird

Having shocked my class with the poor quality of password they had chosen, I then offered them a way forward. Password Bird takes the effort out of having to generate a secure password. Simple. Effective.

Please share with others.

Posted 3 years ago


Attended a TeachMeet at Clevedon School yesterday. Despite being scheduled for the penultimate evening of a long term, I found it inspirational. Simply spending time in the company of other like-minded professionals, all of us determined to find ways to enhance student learning, energised me.

Two colleagues of mine lead on our in-school TeachEats, which is currently a scaled-down version of the Clevedon event. Importantly, both events lead to the same outcome: teachers leaving the session with heads full of two kinds of ideas:

- quick wins: something I’ll try out with my learners tomorrow, or a resource I’ll add to my portfolio

- deep thoughts: something which sparks an idea for a project that could change things for the better in the area I work in.

The best kind of CPPD. Contextualised. And all you need to invest in it is your time.

Posted 3 years ago

Now, where was I…?

Interesting how priorities can shift so extremely.

One minute I find myself ‘connected’, the next, I disappear into the ether for a while. And I’m comfortable with that. I had more important things to occupy my time and feel good that they received more of my attention.

Life is one long and enjoyable effort to keep as many [never all!] plates spinning, and feeling happy that you’re looking after the right plates at the right time.

Thank goodness for plastic plates. Guess I’ve just picked this one back up off the floor.

Posted 3 years ago
Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.
Ira Glass (via nefffy)
Posted 3 years ago

Google Forms for the classroom

An excellent collection of ideas about how to get started using Google Forms in your classroom. Already ear-marked a few for tomorrow…

Posted 3 years ago

Google Apps for Education: staff training v2.0 [don’t forget the learning]

"e-learning, or learning?"

This is the thought that stuck in my head following this week’s Google Apps training session. I was with the geeks. In fact, I was with the übergeeks who had come back for more! We dealt with the discussions feature in some depth, annotating a document all over the place: enjoying being able to reply, resolve, reopen, send email notifications about comments. All useful aids for effective marking.

Two key issues arose, which face most of us when exploring ways to use new technology with a classful raring to test it to destruction:


"Aargh! I’m losing control in the class: they’ve wrecked it!"

A common experience, especially if we expect the technology to do everything for us [which it can’t!]. We shared some useful classroom management strategies to help us respond to issues that arose, and then got into ideas about being pro-active to prevent potential challenges arising.


"Is it just automation?"

What if the best teachers do all that on paper? Do they need to duplicate it with Google Docs? Are we just using these toys for the sake of using them? I would argue not. Being able to access pieces of work, updates, feedback, responses and questions about learning anytime and anywhere is so much more than just adding a comment to a document. The sooner we stop treating Google Docs as just online-MS Office, the better. Once we’d explored the ways that the document resides at the centre of the process, and that all work on it was seamlessly integrated into how we communicate about it, we [the übergeeks] got it. My mantra became the oft repeated [but all too easily ignored]:

"Don’t forget the ‘learning’ in ‘e-learning’!"

Simple advice, really. We are, after all, in the business of learning - it is our core purpose.

The challenge for us is to strike the correct balance between evangelising about the tools, and securing psychological buy-in from all staff: demonstrating that we’ve not ‘forgotten about the learning’ is the only way to get this done.

Posted 3 years ago

Google+ is the natural evolution of social media. It could provide real excitement and empowerment for learners. I am keen to explore its potential. So should you be! Find out more at

Posted 3 years ago

SSAT Leadership Symposium

"See you in the ning!"

An odd way to bid farewell to someone you’ve spent a day’s training with, especially as you’re both in the middle of a busy train station. But there you have it. Here’s a quick summary of my experience:

SSAT Leadership Symposium in 20 words

Alan November: transforming education through technology

And after my 20 words, the challenge is to clearly define a collaborative task based on the ideas shared, and the connections made. Having internalised and reflected on all the ideas thrown at us during the session, I think I’m there with it. More to follow once actions start…

Posted 3 years ago
Managers are people who do things right; leaders are people who do the right thing.
Warren Bennis