Another Remote Lesson on Slack and Google Docs

This morning I ran another remote lesson with my Lower Sixth class. Important to stipulate there are only six pupils. We tackled the environmental impact of technology in 40 minutes. This consisted of a surface dive into the general area and then breaking into pairs for deeper dives into specific areas. A Google Hangout at the end to sum things up (plenary). Below you can see the anonymised conversation from the Slack channel. But before that you can click here to see the outcome of the lesson.

At the end, I set homework to read the material the other pairs had assembled, and to read the textbook section on this topic. Interestingly, the textbook is less than two pages. The reason for doing this work is to help the pupils be aware of the issues surrounding the impact computers are having on the natural environment, both good and bad. I will follow up in class with an essay-type exam question that tackles this issue but requires material not directly cited in the specification.

Slack conversation

## This is quite long so I have highlighted and commented on what I think are key points in the flow of the lesson. It is important for me to read through the message thread and reflect on whether or not I made good decisions. Typos are left in. Some text has been removed but not much.

daibarnes [11:26 PM]  ## reminder message sent night before

@channel remote lesson in the morning. See you logged on at 0830.

—– Today December 3rd, 2016 —–

daibarnes [8:08 AM]  

Today we are going to investigate the environmental impact of computers. This has different strains to it. The impact of production of hardware. Disposal of obsolete hardware. Contributions to global warming through manufacturing and use of technology including the Internet. However there are positive environmental impacts as well. Use of technological science to understand exactly how to protect the environment by solving problems caused by humans. ## introduction text


Start by looking into the general area for a little while

daibarnes [8:16 AM]  

Your aim is to deep dive into one area – three different areas to work on in pairs on a Google Doc – 1. the harm computer manufacture is causing to natural ecosystems and biodiversity. 2. the methods and efficacy of recycling and how the computer industry is taking measures to be more green. 3. the use of technology to solve the environmental problems caused by humans (not just those caused by tech).


@Student 3 @Student 5 morning Gents – can you ping the others on their chosen flavour of notificationised media please?

Student 3 [8:17 AM]  

yes I will tell them on the fb group ## pupils have a facebook group for the class



thanks @Student 3

Student 2 [8:19 AM]  

whos deciding who does what

daibarnes [8:19 AM]  

you are


@Student 2 is in charge of research allocation ## allocation of responsibility allows me to manage other things

Student 2 [8:20 AM]  



@Student 3 @Student 5 you can do 1

Student 3 [8:21 AM]  


daibarnes [8:21 AM]  

first of all is the surface dive into the topic – familiarise yourselves

Student 2 [8:21 AM]  

@Student 4 @Student 1 will do 3

daibarnes [8:22 AM]  

oh – sorry – should stipulate that @Student 2 and @Student 6 cannot be a pair because they are in the same room


aren’t you?

Student 3 [8:22 AM]  ## pupil suggests integrating Google Docs into Slack, which I did and created a Google Doc to be a base for our notes. It automatically shared the doc with all those in the Slack channel.

Several People Are Typing — The Official Slack Blog

Google Drive + Slack

Create and share without losing your groove.

Reading time


2 min read


Oct 19th at 5:00 PM

Student 2 [8:22 AM]  

but that just makes the job a lot more efficient



daibarnes [8:24 AM]  

shared a file

Environmental impact

Document from Google Drive

Click to open in Google Drive

1 Comment

daibarnes [8:24 AM]  

Not sure how this will work but lets use it as a top level doc to aggregate all our work.

Student 3 [8:24 AM]  

I will delete mine

daibarnes [8:25 AM]  

can you all edit it?

Student 2 [8:25 AM]  

does anyone have any good websites?

daibarnes [8:25 AM]  

i do

[8:25] ## previously found source material

Student 6 [8:25 AM]  

@daibarnes Student 4 is downloading slack

daibarnes [8:27 AM]  



Technology and innovation:  New and existing technologies have the potential to transform society’s impacts on the environment, how we minimise those impacts and how we carry out our business more cost-effectively. From remote sensing to DNA analysis, from big data to the ‘internet of things’, we need research to help us exploit these benefits

daibarnes [8:28 AM]  

uploaded and commented on a file




Click to view


extract from this doc

Student 4 [8:29 AM]  

Here sir

daibarnes [8:30 AM]  

no @Student 1 yet as usual


he’s gone green!!??


@channel On the GDoc, place generic links for surface articles ## at channel notification pings everybody with short instructions


then create a doc per pair and link to it once you have done the research

Student 2 [8:32 AM]  

commented on daibarnes’ file Collaborative_Research_Priorities_for_the_Environment_Agency_2016-2020.pdf

this is quite a dense document

daibarnes [8:32 AM]  

to work fast you will need to paste extracts and sources in your docs


it is – use CTRL+F


Student 4 [8:36 AM]


9 technologies that promise to clean up the planet

Whether working on better maps or organic batteries, these firms are at the forefront of developing tech to help the planet. (85KB)


Student 4 [8:36 AM]  

sir would preventing rather than solving be better?


daibarnes [8:37 AM]  

same sort of thing @Student 4 but yes


daibarnes [8:38 AM]  

@Student 1 good morning! 


daibarnes [8:38 AM]  

over to the doc please? let’s get this party started




@channel okay – let’s split off into our pairs please.

Student 4 [8:43 AM]  

@Student 3 @Student 5 this might help


Ecological Impacts of Technology

Research about the negative and positive impacts of technology on today’s society.

daibarnes [8:43 AM]  

Itchy brain – love it.

Student 5 [8:43 AM]  


daibarnes [8:44 AM]  

you will notice it is hard to actually find stuff on google – the algorithms do not help much – you have to experiment with your keywords


this is what can happen when so many web pages are written – google starts to show how useless it can be – we should do a test sometime to see how our search results differ if we search the same keywords.


@channel you have 15 minutes to do your deeper dives – return at 0901

Student 2 [8:49 AM]  

Student 6 and i r working on a separate doc if youre wondering where we are

daibarnes [8:49 AM]  

I assumed you all are! _fingers crossed nervously_


Student 5 [8:59 AM]  

there are alot more articles against technology than there are for technology saving the environment

daibarnes [9:00 AM]  

@channel okay – back in the room please


Can you share your work onto the Google Doc so everyone can access it? ## pupils pasted their findings in the outcome doc linked to earlier


@Student 5 that is true and tells its own story



Google Hangouts

Click to join now. If the call is over, start a new one with up to 10 friends.


Another Remote Lesson on Slack and Google Docs

Social Media and Me

I have been working with a colleague to create a social media website that aims to provide succinct advice to our pupils about the use of social networks, and what to do to get out of trouble. The site goes live in September and will form part of a wider social media campaign in boarding houses. The idea is to include the link on a series of posters Hannah created (embedded below). The aim is not to answer all the questions, but to provide accessible guidance on what to do if things go wrong, an overview of some of the main apps, and a few links to find out more. Continue reading “Social Media and Me”

Social Media and Me

Jigsaw24 Apple iPad Conference December 2013

Today I went to Prior Park College in Bath to attend the Jigsaw24 Apple Conference. They do iPads rather than tablets. And have some pretty cool ideas, offer schools excellent support, do great insurance that covers the gap when pupils don’t pay and sell iPad at the lowest cost I have seen. They genuinely seem to be a friendly and effective bunch of people. We have a contract with them, but I am not sure exactly what for as I write – they deal with our ICT Services Department.

It was few in number but interesting. There was no hashtag. These are just my notes lifted from evernote and edited a little. Please forgive the lack of detail in places and haphazard formatting. My thought on the matters arising will come later following an enlightening walk and a coffee with this lovely man I met there (but cannot remember his name; burning moment of shame) and I need to think about it all a bit more.

Source: (labelled for re-use on search)
Source: (labelled for re-use on search)

Lara Havord

  • Education manager, apple UK (now a team of 6 people – only 6??).
  • iPad can ignite hunger for learning.
  • Apple committed and passionate about education.
  • All about the teaching and learning and the good learning outcomes.
  • Lara ran (still runs??) Regional Training Centres.
  • They are there to provide advice and support to any school that wants it.
  • Close link to schools.
  • Always happy to talk.
  • Use resellers like jigsaw but can contact directly.
  • All about individuals. Learners. Solve problems. Create.
  • Apple Distinguished Educator programme.
  • Research. Looking at impact of tech in schools.
  • uk site has evidence on it. (?
  • Hull uni report on research in Scottish schools.
  • And Longfield iPad research report listed by NAACE.
  • ItunesU. Fantastic free resource. Rich store of material created by top educators in the globe.
  • iBooks Author.
  • Referencd SAMR & TPACK.
  • Free apps now include gband and iMovie.
  • But iCloud is the online access winner.
  • Apple TV. AirPlay.
  • Accessibility. Tools and features.
  • Why iPad in education? Lists apps listed above more or less. 95000+ educational apps.
  • But, identify key apps to realise your educational vision.
  • However, education collections exist to help you browse edu apps. iWork stuff.
  • Really about what you do with them and who supports you. RTCs. Apple Professional Development ADP. Resellers.
  • Encouraged to make the most of our apple technology. Get fee training from RTC. Consider ADP.
  • It is all about excellent teaching and learning.

Film. Apple promo for education. ContacT:

Mike and Paul

  • Flagship trainers. ADEs.
  • Certified APD specialists.Importance of vision and plan course in the apple catalogue.
  • SLT course.
  • Looking for transformational activities going on in case studies? In the evidence?
  • The course looks at how we are going to reach goals, what the goals are and how we might adapt existing plans.
  • Planning how to present those ideas to key stakeholders. Staff. Governors. Parents.

The plan:

  • The goal/aim is the third stage. Recommend 1-2-1 deployment. Evidence supports this.First stage. Where to start. (Class sets, cited as the most difficult way to use iPads in school – oh dear). Often felt to be deemed successful mainly because of novelty shiny value – everyone’s excited. There will be struggle. Mike and Paul are here to support us.The second stage can be hard. Difficult second album analogy overused.Discussion points:
  • Deployment model. Nigel (teacher presenting later) has done this. Splitting them into smaller groups might be better.
  • Technical support demands for class sets that aren’t there for 1-2-1.
  • Esafety.
  • Digital leaders. Staff – cascade existing skills. Largely experiential collaborative learning process. Access on personal basis and in school preferably before using in school.
  • Apps. Paid? Which ones and why? Training plan targeting specific departments and apps.
  • Road ahead vision. Strategy. Tablets around for a while. We can/should plan their use.


  • Course provides opportunities to get hands on devices.
  • ItunesU. Looks like nice content for classics dept on there.
  • Also interesting resources on iPad in classroom. Subscribed to a couple.

Sarah Paddock. Teacher.

  • On twitter.
  • From prior Park Prep school. Trial for two months. 1-2-1.
  • Made sure infrastructure was good allowing movement between rooms etc.
  • Meraki with MDMA and light speed through jigsaw.
  • VPP.
  • Card free apple IDs for pupils and staff.
  • Apps made via requests.
  • Student workflow solution achieved via google apps.
  • Padagogy wheel mapped to blooms.
  • Pupil, teacher and parent surveys before and after trial.
  • Parent and pupil meeting before and after.
  • Updates throughout the trial.
  • Staff twilight training once a week. Including troubleshooting.
  • Pupil digital leaders meet once a week.

Ian Barker. Latin teacher

  • On twitter.
  • Socrative. Loves it for vocab testing.Digital leaders presenting. Helps with dyslexia because of changing text size. Mind maps like popplet. Apps: book creator. Send to iBooks. Showed his books. Signed contract beforehand. No games 12+. Teacher can look at iPad any time. Pic collage. Next DL. Y7. 2 month trial. Very happy at first. Teaching same material in a different way. Socrative again. Latin. Maths.Explain everything in art. Book creator. Complete topics quicker. Own pace. Prep fun.
  • The trial has been more successful than they had hoped. Jigsaw were a great support. Buying iPads for all staff in Jan 2014. And then think about pupils for next academic year.
  • Questions about Google Drive.sharing folders for each class with subjects in them. Student shares work with teacher which triggers email and prompts marking.Showbie for sharing. Edmodo do as well. Or paid for solutions that give access to network drives on iPads.

Notes from lunch

  • BYOD issues because range of devices meant that intimidation for teachers. Not knowing how to get things going/working. Not same apps etc.
  • Casper MDM. Great means of authentication. Meraki free but bought by Cisco for cloud security tools. MDM might not be sustained.
  • Parental purchase. Parents expect usage of device.
  • iOS7 seems to create issues with lag when streaming video. Jigsaw said this had never happened on previous OS.
  • Also an issue with Apple TVs requiring schools to group these dynamically via Bonjour so you only see those in immediate vicinity.

Lightspeed Systems

  • Est. 1999. In Europe since 2005. Protecting over one million students in UK.
  • Work with all the big players from technical side.
  • Three solutions make up mobile learning essentials…
  • Manage devices
  • Keep safe on internet on school owned devices at home
  • Collaborate with MyBigCampus

Selling points:

  • Commitment to education
  • Educational rich features
  • Comprehensive reporting
  • Focus on mobility, 1:1 or class sets
  • Easy admin, delegate admin down to classroom level.

Mobile device management:

  • Hierarchical design. Delegate admin to teachers in classroom to open or close access to resources, e.g. Turn off cameras.

My Big Campus

  • Learning platform. VLE but new generation.
  • Social networking approach. shared storage. Device apps for access. Public resources, once used on MBC, is categorised and made available through their search engine. Build community of users. Teachers can communicate on EduTalk feature. Linked with web filtering solution so that web access used on site applies. Teacher uses a resource and it’s auto unblocked on school network. Filter works at home as well. Policies granular. Redirects YouTube and Google to education versions. Strict safe search enforced, images blocked are blocked on websites as well. Lockouts for repeat offenders. Email notifications triggered. Overrides is a soft block e.g. Nudity in art will auto trigger reauthentication. Web zones controls what students do on internet in your classroom. White and black list sites possible.
  • Video. Samuel Lister Academy. On youtube.

Paul and Mike again

  • Accessibility features on iPad. Lots of great things for Progress Centre.
  • iBooks. Text book store. Hands on usage of all related features.


Nigel. Teacher.

  • Learning spaces. iPad trolley. Vision tables (flat projection). Idea paint on walls.
  • Showed iPad as chopping board video.
  • Class set in music.
  • Learning. Looking at other schools. Trial. Change perceptions.
  • Students. Enjoyed collaboration with google drive and calendar. Independence to get unstuck through web. Find info in seconds when I want it. No incidents of theft or damage, staff embraced project.
  • BYOD mainly web based research. Parental concerns around device liability. Teachers did not use them regularly. Not as well liked as iPads.
  • Geography stand out subject. More academic progress made compared to control group and Geography used the iPads the most.
  • Giving parents iPad options. iPad mini. Ipad2 and iPad air. Bought for FSM pupils.
  • Change team. Group of staff tasked with making his happen. Help to launch to parents and helping to develop pedagogy across subject areas. SAMR model wheel.
  • Video. Book as new technology.
Jigsaw24 Apple iPad Conference December 2013

ICT Innovator AUPs for teachers

Image source:
Image source:

Acceptable Use Policies are a necessary and important document – contract – for teachers in any school because it is imperative that we are protected from the potential danger working online can bring. Following an intense scrutiny of safeguarding and child protection at our school, we published a strict and comprehensive Staff ICT AUP. For example, staff should not connect with any pupil on facebook until one year after they are of school leaving age, and only then with caution as through siblings and friends it can connect you to current pupils.

However, two years on we have included in the new ICT strategy a review of this policy to incorporate a section for innovative teachers who want to employ a new service without seeking formal permission via the various committees in place to oversee the use of ICT.  For example, I have been managing Sixth Form coursework using a project management tool called trello, logged into through pupils and teachers Google Apps for Education accounts. Or, should a teacher want to investigate and explore the use of edmodo in teaching and learning, they need to go about this in a risk-aware and cautious way without their enthusiasm being thwarted by bureaucracy. Equally you do not want to let every teacher engage pupils via services, that facilitate private and untraceable communique, without being aware of the risks involved. The common sense approach is simply not enough in this day and age.

There is extensive discussion of the issues involved and some research collated here on Scott McLeod’s blog, which also demonstrates that this issue is not only a concern for my school. Check out the links on Employee AUPs for material specifically relevant to this area.

We are proposing a clause to the ICT AUP whereby a teacher can sign up to be an ICT innovator and thereafter explore the use of such services with only an email being sent to a designated person. It might be that usernames and passwords, for the accounts being used, need to be shared which will allow monitoring of some sort. This will all be discussed in detail with the school’s child protection officer and the relevant committees. The priority is to enable teachers and pupils to exploit the innovations that specific web services can provide in a protected and safe way that does not impede the momentum of the creative spark that initiates the process. Our core purpose is to empower users who want to use technology to enrich teaching and learning.

If you have any thoughts about this, please do comment. Once the AUP is written, I will share it on a new blogpost.

ICT Innovator AUPs for teachers

Editing Google Presentations on an iPad mini – Appser

This is a big deal for schools using Google Apps and iPads. I discovered appser on twitter today, an app for editing google docs on an iPad like it was a desktop. [tweet]

Google Apps (for Education or not) are pretty popular amongst educators working online. And so, for some, are iPads. But the two do not work well together – there are major limitations. I imagine this app is exploiting new features of Google Apps and maybe they will become native soon, but until then, presentations do not play friendly with iOS. So, let’s see if that’s about to change.

These images are my first foray into editing a presentation using appser. The captions detail what is being tested. Only main features are addressed. Appser starts like Google Apps in any browser with the black bar across the top and Drive open displaying your docs. It basically behaves like the desktop version of Googles productivity suite. The images are deliberately small – the captions say what’s going on – nearly everything appears the same as the desktop/browser version.

Editing text boxes: click into the box and then press the keyboard button bottom right to show the keyboard.
Some times an error message appeared. It crashes. Each time you refresh the doc it shows that another user is viewing the document (but that’s only you a minute ago).
Inserting an image behaves the same until you have to access your camera or camera roll. All good.
The camera roll appears like this. Same as the wordpress app on iOS.
Here is the image (screenshot of google earth volcano). All good.
Image can be resized and moved with your finger.
You can rename the file the same as on the desktop version.
When choosing a new theme, the crash happened again.
But the theme did change at second attempt. And, if you touch and hold, like copy and paste on iOS, you get the sub-menu for Google presentations.
Another crash when changing the animation of the image. Did not get this to work.

Overall, this app is doing a good job. The crashes (total of six whilst making this quick pres.) mean it is not good enough to rely on yet but it is free! The crash messages are annoying and have something to do with offline docs needing to be manually reset. I couldn’t find an answer to this.

To scroll you have to use two fingers, which is unique to this app IME, and you have to remember to do it at first. At the time of writing, there are no editing features available for presentations via Google Drive or via the Google Chrome app. So, if you are a GAfE school and have some iPads, maybe you should put this app through it’s paces. I liked it so much, I wrote this.

Update: Appser was removed from the App Store in January 2013. I couldn’t find an explanation as to why. The company applied an upgrade to v2.0 and it was removed as documented here on AppShopper: It displays in iTunes as not available in UK Store but I believe this is showing similarly in all regions.

Found the company post about the removal (

We are removing Appser for Google Docs from the App Store. From now on, you won’t be able to download it anymore.

We know that some of you really loved it. We loved it, too. We needed it. But, there is only that much we can do on top of Google’s app. Appser can never become a top-of-the-line product. And what’s the point of working on it if it can never get there.

Therefore we decided it’s in everyone best interest to cease development and remove the app from the store.

On a lighter note, we just updated Presentation Note and are working on some really cool products that will launch later this year.

Stay tuned!

Alas and alack, it’s not coming back!

Editing Google Presentations on an iPad mini – Appser