Remote Lessons in a Boarding School

landscape-1436398_1920Recently events have conspired to have me stuck in my flat whilst I should be teaching – never ask me about BT engineers… HULK SMASH!!!!!! I was able to manipulate it so these lessons were with my Sixth Form classes. I decided to take a leap and teach the lessons whilst at home, which, in my case, is on School grounds. Pupils could be at home or in class where my colleague would keep an eye on them. Most took the opportunity to stay at home. Continue reading “Remote Lessons in a Boarding School”

Remote Lessons in a Boarding School

New Mobile Phone – Hello Moto

Yes, bamboo...
Yes, bamboo…

Motorola Moto X – it’s made of bamboo! And some chatter about battery life at the end…

sad face

Sadly I smashed my Nexus 5 by throwing it out of my pocket onto the tarmac whilst riding my newly acquired second hand BMX (thank you Gumtree). Screen repair was possible because the device still worked, but it was getting a little slow, and so a new handset was required. I have an EE SIM only deal that includes calls, texts and 10Gb of data for £10.00 pcm with no contractual obligation. Therefore, I buy my handsets outright. In the past, I was aware of all the handsets on the market; the latest and greatest shiny!

Not now though. So, I needed to do a little research using the web and twitter and facebook to ask my friends and acquaintances what they were aware of. Suggestions of the Linux phone and iPhones came in, but the best value handset out there at the moment appeared to be the Motorola Moto X with Android. This appeals because it has the most *vanilla* android experience on the market, as well as a serious attempt to provide a top-end handset for less money, as documented here. So, I sourced the best price I could find on Amazon, but I noticed another seller was based 20 miles from where I live, so off I trundled to part with £285.00 for my new phone from HandTec.

One of my pupils is going to repair the Nexus 5 and then I’ll sell it to offset some of the cost of the new shiny.

I’m really pleased so far. All features seem good enough for me. Also, it has a couple of clever Moto tricks, for example, whenever it suspects I want to use it – pulled out of pocket, or picked up, or my hand passes over the screen – the lock screen comes on so there is no need to press the power button. Simple and efficient. It also locks quickly by itself but keeps checking to see if I am looking at the screen and remains active whilst I am.

I’m enjoying not having to be overly concerned about battery time. Isn’t it pathetic and manipulative that batteries are not replaceable in handsets? Battery life seems the most frequent complaint and, there is no doubt that battery performance deteriorates with time. Why are retailers not offering a battery swap? I presume because they are often selling new handsets and they would rather encourage you to part with more cash. A quick search shows how I could replace my own Nexus 5 battery, for less than £20.00. You can do it for iPhone 5 too with instructions on YouTube. But if you’d rather not do it yourself, you can search for a repair centre to do it for you.

New Mobile Phone – Hello Moto

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: http://eyedzard.deviantart.com/art/Need-To-Think-Outside-The-Box-202783112 (labelled for re-use on search)
Source: http://eyedzard.deviantart.com/art/Need-To-Think-Outside-The-Box-202783112 (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.
  • Apple.com uk site has evidence on it. (? https://www.apple.com/uk/education/)
  • 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: havord.lara@apple.com

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.

Paul

  • 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

FrogOS at Frog13

Frog13
Frog13

Last Tuesday I attended the Frog Conference for 2013. Frog are a modern and agile company and this event was exceptionally well organised with attention to the wider picture and the detail of delegate needs. Having been invited to join a panel in the afternoon discussing whether or not the ‘traditional’ learning platform is dead, I was treated to a hotel room and a lovely meal with staff and fellow contributors on the Monday evening. Thank you very much to Frog for being such generous and friendly hosts.

All talks and presentations will be available soon here I believe.

So, what are my thoughts on Frog and the announcements that were made? Well, first of all it is important to note that Frog made a great effort to place teaching and learning at the heart of the conference and any delegate would be able to attend presentations on classroom practice or on Frog features being used. I wanted to attend more presentations than I was able to. This is a good thing! Should there be any factual inaccuracies in this post, please let me know and I will correct them.

The good

  • Frog Moments App; text, images and video straight from the app to your frog drive. Could be useful.
  • Frog Drive App; think Google Drive or dropbox style cloud file storage. Potentially an excellent solution for managing files from iOS (Android was not mentioned) onto web.
  • Frog Play; visual grade book that records progress. Couldn’t quite see the detail but it looked to be pretty useful.
  • FrogOS sites look great.
  • Frog Store; a place where all Frog material can be shared. I think it is the intention that this will be like the app store or google play in that some stuff will be free and others at a cost. Quite how this will take shape is not clear.
  • PinPoint; this is a search engine that trawls specific services, e.g. Google images. Interestingly, Google require a payment for inclusion of the image search results because it bypasses their advertising system. Frog will pay this levy, which indicates how highly they value incorporating the rest of the web into their learning platform. Also, because everything is still linked to the web rather than downloaded as an image and re-uploaded into your Frog, Frog are able to track the usage of each resource. This will form part of a rating engine that will ultimately help teachers locate well-used (and therefore better quality?) resources to incorporate into their learning material.

The bad

  • I did not see Frog3 and FrogOS being integrated. For all current Frog schools using Frog3, the major concern is how will all the current Frog work be married with the new Frog? The platforms are written in an entirely different code. The former is not supported on anything other than Windows and Internet Explorer. I was a little disappointed not to see this but when I asked the question on twitter earlier today, the very charming Frogger, Lucy Evans, replied.
Lucy's response to me on twitter
Lucy’s response to me on twitter

 Followed by a further response from the ever-helpful Frogger James Shackley:

James' reply (tweets in reverse order)
James’ reply (tweets in reverse order)

So, it looks like it’s coming – watch this space!

UPDATE 28/6/13, James sent me this video link for Frog3 and FrogOS: http://vimeo.com/69091946

The ugly

  • Other than the two apps demoed on the day, I believe (please correct me if I am wrong) Frog does not work on smartphones despite being HTML5-based. It doesn’t quite render on the screen size as I documented here. Tablets are fine. This could be a deal breaker for BYOD schools that allow the smaller devices to be used in class. Although the two mobile apps do deliver some workflow functionality that will connect to Frog Drive, which have significant potential in incorporating smart phones into your Frog workflow.
  • I’m not concerned about this with one condition: I want there to be a notifications app that delivers your notifications feed from FrogOS onto your handset. Pop-up notifications, with the user able to switch certain ones on and off. For example, if a pupil submits a piece of work or contributes to a forum on one of my courses, I’m not sure I want to be pinged on my phone. However, if they send me a message of some sort, I want to know about it ASAP so my intervention can unblock their progress.

There was a lot of very positive chatter about Frog OS. It looks very impressive because of the simple means of creating content and contacting groups and curating learning. Should you be starting fresh with Frog, FrogOS is definitely worth considering.

The Traditional VLE is dead

I was also invited to be part of a panel discussion questioning whether or not the traditional VLE (as defined by Becta back in the day) is dead. The good news is Frog seem to have a clear understanding that trying to be all things to all users is not the way forward. Learning platforms need to be agile and provide a hub to help all users find what they are looking for in reference to the group of people they are working with. Be that, for example, a class, a year group, or a sports team. There are many ways of doing this but each school will need a hub of some sort where their users will first look for support. Equally, if you would like all your teachers to provide an online element in their work, you need to provide a platform which is set up for them to use. Also, the pupil population need an online presence: school council, student voice, eco-council, sports teams, clubs and societies. All these different groupings, in my experience, want a place where their audience will expect to find their content and communique. A learning platform, such as Frog, delivers this in a simple format to suit a broad range of users. Another reason for having a learning platform is that a teacher who has never used online tools before might well need a school-provided service to get started with. One of the Year Heads at my school was never a big ICT user but has used the launch of Frog in our school as a lever to design pages and update them weekly with news and events and advice for her year group. If the school did not employ a platform of some sort, this would never have happened. The welcome knock-on effect is her increased usage with her classes.

As Gareth Davies mentioned in his opening keynote, other learning platforms are stopping development. It might be they are falling by the wayside. Frog are not; they are growing. You can no longer pretend that the technology is working. You cannot keep telling teachers that this is what must be done. You must provide as flexible a platform as possible to enable your community to build and share and navigate their way through school and through learning. I am in no doubt that Frog are working hard to achieve this with FrogOS. I am anxious to see the integration with Frog 3 but they are working with urgency to get this sorted. I suspect it will not be a perfect solution but a transitional vehicle from the old to the new.

For each school, I think it is important to identify your core purpose for online provision and decide what is right for you. I anticipate we will be sticking with Frog in their mission to be the best learning platform. There are many ways to skin a cat. The traditional VLE is dead in as much as it has evolved into something lighter, faster, and inclusive of all internet-based things. However, this journey of evolution is not a smooth process and it will not have a destination. Right now, the best you may hope for is some stability whilst we teachers continue to develop effective methods of using the internet as part of the staple learning diet.

I have tried to include the most important things from my experience of the day but I will have probably missed a few. If you have any questions I am happy to answer them via the comments.

FrogOS at Frog13

Jose Picardo: This is how I work

I am José Picardo and this is how I work

I’m the one wearing glasses.

Blog: http://www.josepicardo.com

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/josepicardo

Current job: Currently Head of MFL at Nottingham High School, but I’ve recently been appointed Assistant Principal at Surbiton High School as from September 2013.

Been a teacher since: 2004

Location: Depending on when you read this, either Nottingham or Surbiton (see above).

Current mobile device: iPhone 5 and iPad 2.

Current computer: iMac (27 inch – love the large screen for multiple windows).

School-issued devices: Macbook and iPad 2.

One word that best describes how you work: Chaotic efficiency (Two words. I know. I cheated).

How do you manage your calendar/diary?

By syncing across devices. Thanks goodness for the Cloud.

How do you manage your lesson planning?

I’m an early riser, so I like to get to school early and plan my lessons for the day. I rely heavily on a vast collection of resources (both digital and more traditional) and my colleagues for inspiration.

How do you manage your marking?

Currently not very well. Like most teachers, I’m really busy at school, so most of my marking is done at home in the evenings or at weekends. Family life does suffer as a consequence.

What’s your best tip for term-time weekends?

I try and spend as much time with the family as possible. Though this is not always possible. See above.

What do you do during school holidays?

We try to get to Spain at least once if not twice a year. Family time is a must. I also try and find some me-time that is usually dedicated to reading a lot about the things that interest me such as teaching, learning and learning technologies. Yes, you read right. I am that sad.

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?

No technology is absolutely necessary for life. Though my smartphone comes pretty close.

What offline tools can’t you live without?

My car. It’s magic. It takes me where I want to go.

What’s your main workspace like?

I’m the keeper of a messy desk but a tidy mind. I know where everything is and I know how to get it.

What do you listen to while you work?

Other people. I’m a good listener. Ah, do you mean music wise? I like to work in silence. But I do like music on other occasions. My taste is eclectic. The recently played tab on my iTunes says Pearl Jam, Radiohead, Alt-J and Daft Punk.

What’s your best time-saving trick?

Get other people to do stuff for you. Seriously. I used to try and do everything myself. This is not good for your health and should not be tried at home.

What’s your favorite to-do list manager?

It was Wunderlist but I’m a big Evernote user, so I’m drawn to their brand new to-do list manager.

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without?

My potato peeler and garlic press. Life’s too short.

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?

Getting easily distracted.

What’s your sleep routine like?

No siestas. Sorry to disappoint. There goes the stereotype.

Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert?

I can be either when I need to be.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

The grass isn’t greener on the other side. It’s greener where you water it.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Always more garlic.

I would like to I’d like to see Drew Buddie and Ian Yorston answer these same questions.

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Many thanks to José for agreeing to post here. Other This is how I work posts are available here.

 

Jose Picardo: This is how I work