Friday, November 29, 2013

Creativity for an Unknown Future - A Tool for the Curriculum

Use This Grid Strategically to Embed Creativity in Your Curriculum


To prepare children for the uncertainty of the future we need to ensure that we are promoting creativity within our curriculum. In order to do this I have curated the most commonly cited methods that help to ensure that children think creatively. 



Simply choose one of the elements to focus upon each half term. Ensure that they are securely embedded in your curriculum by planning for their use carefully, including them in planning documents and sharing practice between staff during an evaluation period.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

MUST WATCH: Richard Gerver - Leading Change

Author of my favourite book- Creating Tomorrow's Schools Today, Richard Gerver discusses the process of change


Friday, November 22, 2013

Educational Book Recommendation

Despite the advent of the kindle and e-books, educational books are still best bought in paper. Here is my recommendation to support your own research and development. 

Creating Tomorrow's Schools Today

"...Education is the platform for our success or failure, but is our system still fit for purpose? Will our children be equipped to face the challenges the future holds: the rapidly changing employment patterns and the global environmental, economic and social crises ahead of us? Or will our children grow up to resent their school years and blame them for their unfulfilled potential and achievement?

Creating Tomorrow's Schools Today explores these questions in the context of early schooling and primary education, presents powerful arguments for change and highlights strategies that offer a solution...." from the Bloomsbury website

Richard Gerver sets out how the school that he led developed their own curriculum. The curriculum he sets out seems to be both inspirational  and then very real and within reach at the same time. Key  Skills sit along side innovation and enjoyment. This is a model of the true creative curriculum.

This book is immensely enjoyable and very easy to read. Whether you are leading a school and want to see flashes of inspiration or are looking to redevelop your curriculum to take in the broader range of disciplines, you will definitely get something out of reading this book. It should be on every teacher's bookshelf.


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Educational Book Recommendation

Despite the advent of the kindle and e-books, educational books are still best bought in paper. Here is my recommendation to support your own research and development. 

Evidence Based Teaching by Geoff Petty

"...Evidence Based Teaching is for teachers with some experience. It makes use of the most rigorous research on what has the biggest impact on achievement, and shows how to use this in your teaching..." from the EBT website 
 Geoff Petty analyses the collection of research by Marzano from America and John Hattie from New Zealand in terms of the effect on learning. You will be surprised as some common myths are shown to be not so relevant (class size, finance etc) and less surprised at the methods that are the most effective. 

This book also looks at how to make best use of these methods and further how to conduct evidence based research in your own classroom so that you improve the learning of the your children. For anyone with a thirst for more educational insight. Easy to access and understand. This is a must for anyone's educational library. 


Friday, November 1, 2013

Tweetdeck - As esssential as Twitter

Educational Tool Recommendation

If you use and recognise Twitter as an essential tool for Education: used for keeping up-to-date on the latest educational thoughts and developments; communicating with a network of people for answers to educational conundrums, then Tweetdeck must be also considered as an essential.

You create an account then sign into it with your twitter and Facebook accounts. Where as I don't use it with a Facebook account, it allows me to sign in with my personal twitter account (used for following the football and comedy etc) and also sign in with my educational twitter account. The account I dedicate to all things teaching. This is the account I spend the majority of my working weeks using. but with both accounts attached I can switch between the two at will to browse or to tweet and keep both audiences separate.


Tweetdeck can:


  • send tweets from either account
  • filter to multiple streams, searches and hashtags
  • schedule tweets
  • be accessed via a chrome add-on
  • be downloaded to the desktop
These functions make it as valuable an add on as twitter itself. Don't open twitter, open Tweetdeck.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Educational Blog Recommendation

Blogs are hard to keep up to date with. Here are my recommendations of educational blogs worth reading.

Edutopia 

Edutopia has a lot in it. It is a huge site with article after article of the quality that you would normally find on a pay site. But this is the George Lucas Foundation education site and his philanthropic gesture (alongside Bill Gates and others) is essential in the current climate of education reform both in the UK and the USA. Education is currently stuck in a rut focused quintessentially on standards, measuring children against these standards and then beating them into submission with the results. Anybody, with even a smidgen of an academic brain about them, knows that the education system must change in order to prepare our children for the future. Edutopia is out there spreading the word. Quality reading around the right ideas. 

Some good articles worth checking out:

http://www.edutopia.org/blog/summer-reading-for-educators-2013-mark-phillips - Summer reading

http://www.edutopia.org/blog/tech-in-schools-defining-terms-matt-levinson - Technology in Schools terminology.

http://www.edutopia.org/schools-that-work?page=1 - Schools that work

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Apps for Educators

Apps for phones and computers whether desktop, laptop or tablet are those mini programs that provide the user with the best experience based on their needs. Although there are so many recommendations for apps for educators out there, I am amazed at how few are used. 


Evernote

The definitive in note-taking, list making, curating websites and blogs, clipping articles to share with peers, writing a shopping list at home that is accessible in the shop and for many, the very engine through which they run their businesses. 

Evernote's beauty is in its cross platform simplicity, synchronisation and web browser add-on. Whilst perusing twitter feeds and the many websites and blogs that are recommended, find one that you enjoy and might want to share - with the add on to Chrome or Firefox or other browsers, simply press the clipping tool and the page is clipped into your Evernote notebook. From there it can be emailed to those with whom you wish to share it. 

Download onto your phone and at the airport you can retrieve your online flight details with the press of a button. It even synch's between different platforms so if you use a PC at home but have an iphone - Evernote shares the same info. 

Linked Social Media - A Cautionary Tale

How's your social media network coming on? Do you feel that Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, Youtube and Blogger are providing cpd as good as anything else (and in some people's cases - better)? Do you have Twitter and Facebook connected?

I am knocked out by the connections that these social media give me. I have an endless supply of up-to-date articles about the latest tech and reminders of good solid educational practice. I have an educational twitter account and a website and Facebook page called House of Teacher. Each is interconnected with the other which means that I can update one and the others update too.

But my enthusaism was unchecked. I had also unwittingly linked my youtube account to my twitter account. Two weeks ago I created playlists for each of my babies. Series of videos that would keep them quiet for twenty minutes after dinner. It was lovely. The children woudl sit at the computer and sing nursery rhymes, phonic songs and my two year old was learning the properties of shapes. Meanwhile my wife and I would have a quiet cup of tea after dinner.

As is usual with the advent of a second baby, my dedication to upkeep my tweeting wanes every few weeks. So it took me some time to return to my twitter account and even then it was only when I noticed the side bar on my blog telling all my followers that I had been adding these videos.

Now in this case it is pretty harmless, but the lesson is therein. Link your accounts by all means but think carefully, nay plan carefully - map out what you are doing and what is linked. That way you can be sure that you are showing, displaying, informing or telling what you want to tell and not opening up your whole life.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Educational Blog Recommendation

Blogs are hard to keep up to date with. Here are my recommendations of educational blogs worth reading.

Kathy Shrock's Kaffeeklatsch

The goddess of all things ed tech. Kathy reports on all the latest developments and often gets her hands on tech before it has been released.This is a good example of such an article.http://blog.kathyschrock.net/2012/09/wipad-ipad-wireless-projector.html?view=sidebar Kathy is a great exponent of PLN. That is using ed tech in a collaborative/networking way. This post is a great example of why to connect to good educational blogs and tweeters. http://blog.kathyschrock.net/2012/04/i-love-my-twitter-pln.html?view=sidebar

As well as her blog she is an excellent tweeter and well worth following.  @kathyshrock

Finally - have a look at Kathy Shrock's Guide to Everything

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Use Your Favourites Toolbar Properly

You probably fall into one of two categories: those that never use there favourites and have to search for everything from scratch, those that use their favourites but it is just a huge long list of everything you have regularly looked at and all those other things you linked for no apparent reason. 
Use your favourites properly. Create a number of generic folders such as:

  • Home
  • Work
  • Hobby
  • News
  • Children
And just add the things that you will need to access regularly. Alongside this you can add a folder of maybes or possibles - those websites that seem interesting and you might want to come back to but you can't yet decide. 

Favourites really comes into its own when you use the same browser across multiple devices - desktop, laptop, tablet and mobile - use one such as chrome with a signed in account and voila - websites are at your fingertip the same on every device. Therefore projects for work or for hobbies are not limited to particular times and devices. 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

App for Educators

Apps for phones and computers whether desktop, laptop or tablet are those mini programs that provide the user with the best experience based on their needs. Although there are so many recommendations for apps for educators out there, I am amazed at how few are used. 

Twitter

The best example of the app, for everyone who knows, out there. Twitter feeds teachers and educators with everything they need to know. 

My own twitter feed can be found at @mcdermottrich

At a simple level teacehrs just need to search a few hashtags which include:
#edchat, #ukedchat or #education. These will provide a whole new world to teachers out there. 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Educational Blog Recommendation

Blogs are hard to keep up to date with. Here are my recommendations of educational blogs worth reading.

Harvard Business Review 

Business based magazine and blog articles that are as relevant to the management and leadership of schools as they are to the business world they are aimed at. Keeping employees happy or ensuring that communication is honest and efficient are principles that apply to both worlds. Articles aren't overly wrong and I find the titles help me to identify the ones most relevant to me. Intelligently written without getting into hyperbole and technicalities.

The principle that people fall into the two categories of giving and taking and that boundaries have to be drawn to create a balance in employees.