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.
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…
Some really smart ideas to integrate the use of Google Docs into our teaching and students’ learning.
Two sites that caught my attention [and that of my students] this week:
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
"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:
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…