Friday, 12 February 2016

THE WONDERFUL DIGITAL LEADERS AT RUFFORD PRIMARY SCHOOL


We started the digital leader group 2 years ago at Rufford Primary School. The members are drawn from each class in KS2. It’s interesting to see how pupils from different year groups work together and learn from each other. The original members were chosen by teachers but we have switched to having an open application system and hopeful Digital Leaders (DLs) are interviewed by a panel of pupils. Using this method, we have just recruited 6 new members.

The responsibilities of digital leaders are to help teachers, pupils and visitors with any IT problems they might have. They are skilled at connecting computers and tablets to the various boards and LCD panels around school. We meet after school once a week where we explore different things. This year we started by looking at online quiz tools. Each DL made a resource and delivered it in their classrooms. We have also learnt about cryptography and made some videos using greenscreen technology. Next half term we will be using the sublimation equipment to make mugs and trying out the codebots.

It’s a privilege to be a digital leader. It’s also a privilege for me to work with them. They are a lively, articulate and committed group. I see them grow in confidence as they learn new skills and contribute to the school community by helping others.  If you haven’t started a group at your own school then give it a go. Yes, it’s extra work, but the benefits more than outweigh this.

I hope you will find time to watch the videos that they have made. We welcome feedback and any suggestions you might have.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Breakfast Seminar in March


Cath Marsh from Clicker is hosting a FREE breakfast seminar in our region on March 15th. The focus will be improving reading and writing with Clicker 7, the award-winning literacy support tool. We really hope that you will be able to attend.


From planning, to writing, to proofing - Clicker includes all the tools your pupils need to succeed. New for 2016, Clicker 7 builds on previous versions of this much-loved software to provide the ultimate cross-curricular literacy toolkit. iPad apps also available.



The seminar is from 8:15am to 10:00am and the details are below:
Nottingham Breakfast Seminar
15th March 2016
Nottingham Village Urban Resort, Brailsford Way, Chilwell, Beeston, Nottingham, NG9 6DL

For more information please click here

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

MY VISIT TO BETT 2016


I was fortunate to be allowed to attend BETT in London last week. The exhibition provides an opportunity for companies to showcase the products that they have created to support schools using technology. It’s a huge affair and increasingly attracts companies and delegates from Europe and beyond. In addition, there are seminar areas offering a rolling program of drop in talks. In my experience the most useful of these are given by teachers showcasing what they are doing in the classroom.

I attended a talk on using Minecraft in the classroom. It alleviated any concerns I had and enthused me to give it a go. I just need some money to buy the edu version and a school to work with! Rising stars are bringing out some materials later this year and there is a free sample to download from their website. This explains really well how to manage Minecraft so that it provides a safe environment for children in school.

I also attended a talk on Power Bi in the Microsoft area. This is a free downloadable tool or part of Office 365.  I’ve looked at this before as its tagline is” bringing data to life” which definitely appeals to me. The talk wasn’t useful to me as it was geared towards academy trust management but I still think it’s a useful area to explore.

Some products really excited me. Codebug is a cheap (Surprisingly it’s cheaper to buy this from Rapid Electronics than directly from Codebug) programmable device with a 5x5 LED display. The programming is done using a web tool and it’s powered by a watch battery. At £12.50 each I’ve already ordered some for my digital leaders to have a go with. I recently used some crumble boards at Carrington School and was amazed by how easily they applied their programming experience gained in Scratch to another drag and drop programming language. One of the most impressive things I’ve seen this year. I have high hopes for the Codebugs.  

If you are an iPad school you probably use the Explain Everything App. They now have a resource (annual subscription) which allows simultaneous editing by pupils of a file. A bit like a wiki but using all the wonderful features of Explain Everything. This really impressed me.



Sometimes you see something at BETT that isn't relevant to your role but you can see it's usefulness nevertheless. This was the case when I visited the VEO stand. They have a tool that can be used in lesson observations. Observations are videoed using a tablet and key moments are tagged using a variety of fields (eg, type of questioning, type of activity)f or later reflection. Targets can be negotiated on the basis of the data gathered and teachers can be paired with colleagues who can support them. I have passed the information onto a colleague but if you are looking for a tool to help with observations this might work for you.

Another useful thing about BETT is that you can look at things and decide that they would not meet your needs, thus saving your school money. It would not be appropriate for me to mention those here! If you get the opportunity to go next year I would recommend it. Careful choice of seminars would be great CPD.
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