Thursday, 25 September 2008

Leadership Model /Updates/ Teachmeet & News

South Park in the dark

Welcome to another ICT Update
In this issue:

  • Flickr pool of Redbridge Images
  • HMI validate Nintendo research
  • A different model of ICT Leadership
  • Feedback
  • TeachMeet Scotland

Welcome to another entry from Redbridge Primary ICT. This week (amongst other things) I have spent an evening at a secondary school in Havering where Penny Patterson from Havering, gave a very interesting talk to parents on E Safety. 

Penny's talks are always excellent, using just the right balance of practical advice, warnings and an emphasis on the positive benefits of the Internet for today's children. Some Redbridge Head teachers will have been along to the LGFL E Safety Conference, which Penny organises each year. These events feature speakers from BECTA and CEOP and are a good way to get a balanced picture of the issues around ESafety. Watch this space for the date of the next Esafety conference.

I have also spoken to Headteachers this week at the forum meeting. We looked at Photosynth, AB tutor, policys, IWB use and I mentioned the Redbridge Film awards, which will be launched next month. Heads were shown a brief overview of Windows Movie Maker

One site not mentioned, that enables teachers and pupils to grasp many of the more technical aspects of cinema and how this is aligned with the curriculum is Film

Leading Teachers have also looked at Photosynth this week and have created an Ilford Synth. We looked again at the work of Tim Rylands and his work with Myst. It struck me and others, that what using an on-screen 3d environment does is it gives the class a shared vocabulary and experience that they can use to write from, without having to rely on memory. 

Surely Photosynth is an excellnt visual tool for both many EAL and SEN children who need a big visual scaffold to kick start their writing.

This was a clip we watched of Tim Rylands using Myst,originally shown on Teachers TV:

Flickr Pool of Redbridge Images
Flickr is a community of photographers of all abilities, who share their photography online. Users who share a similar interest or location often form groups to share their images in a group 'pool'.

We have such a pool in Redbridge, and it contains a diverse range of photographs, everything from fly tipping to spooky forest landscapes. Many of these images could be used in Literacy or Geography.
(please note I would not recommend children search for images on Flickr)

Nintendo Brain Training HMI work with LTS Scotland to validate research

Our own small scale work with theses devices has moved onto another of our shools, and we look forward to hearing about how this has had impact on learners. While in Scotland, HMI and Learning and Teaching Scotland have worked together to evaluate the impact of children using these devices. The BBC carried the story today and we are told that in the study of 600 pupils in 32 schools:

  • There were improvements in concentration and behaviour
  • The children who played Brain  Training for 20 minutes each day improved their Mental Maths score by as much as 50%
  • The time taken to complete the tests decreased
  • There was no difference or benefit in using the game at home
  • Less able children were most likely to improve 
  • The study also found an improvement in attendance and a decrease in lateness

Another model of ICT leadership

One of our leading teachers is able to manage the huge role of ICT coordinator in her large  busy primary school in an interesting and effective way. Anca at Highlands primary leads ICT, and a team of advocates or representatives of the subject who champion and promote ICT enthusiastically in their year groups. This model definitely works and the impact and innovation don't just stay in the hands of the ICT Coordinator. Anca told us about her work this week in leading teachers, see the video below:

Feedback - Using Google Forms

This week in Leading teachers we looked at Google forms, part of Google documents. They offer the teacher a very versatile tool as they allow the creation of quick and easy surveys. Once created, the webaddress for the survey can be shared and dat can quickly be captured by a teacher for:

AFL - asking children how well they understood or what they would like to know next
CPD evaluations following staff insets or for just generally gauging staff opinion on an issue or school based initiative
Literacy units in Key Stage 2, which ask children to survey their peers about significant authors

I am using a Google form this week to find out about the Internet habits of a class I am working with on Internet Education.  I am sure we can think of many uses for this new tool, however by far the greatest thing about Google forms is that they can be embedded in a blog, see below.  

Please take 2 seconds to complete the survey below and we will display the results in next weeks blog post:

Note this is anonymous

Teachmeet Scotland
Last night was Teachmeet @ the Scotish learning Festival, which had echoes of the last Teachmeet which we held at the Teachers Centre back in Summer term. Teachmeets are gatherings of teachers who come to share about how they are using technology creatively within Teaching and Learning. They are usually organised by both word of mouth and social networking tools.

Unfortunately I was not able to fly up to the event, but our own John D'Abbro was there presenting his work with Becta, and Nicholas attended virtually through Flash Meeting. ( A  sort of video conference) 

The great thing about Teachmeets is the sharing and equality, you can attend and speak or just come and listen, or attend online. Either way you come away with a head full of ideas and web links. 

Nicholas has written an article of his impressions of Teachmeet here and if you want to watch the whole event you can see a playback here.

News you might have missed:

This from BBC news:

Low-income homes to get net links

Parents on low incomes who have not provided their children with computers and internet access will get "vouchers" to do so, the government has said.

The scheme to tackle England's "digital divide", available nationally in a year's time, will cost £300m.

It will cover broadband access, software and computers if necessary.

read more here

Teachers' details on missing disk

A computer disk containing the names and addresses of more than 11,000 teachers has gone missing in the post.

The General Teaching Council (GTC) said in a letter to teachers that the disk went missing after being sent via Parcelforce to its Birmingham office.

read more here

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Updates from Anthony and Nicholas Week 3

It has been another varied and busy week in Redbridge Primary ICT. The picture above shows the two new Asus Windows version, which RM came to show me this week.

(more details in a subsequent post, but for now let me just say they are very nice)

In this weeks issue:

  • Maths ICT and Ofsted

  • Self registering on an IWB

  • Clicker - as a communication tool

  • Free multimedia control software for upper KS2 - 'How tos' now live

  • New feature in You tube - Nicholas tells us how to avoid video nasties
Maths ICT and Ofsted

Today sees the publication of an Ofsted report on the state of Maths in our schools. There are some mentions of ICT and these are as follows:

  • In the survey schools, primary pupils had some opportunities to use ICT in mathematics but there was scope to develop this further. Typically, one or two pupils at a time used a couple of computers in a classroom to practise basic skills. Many schools had a separate computer suite, where lessons across a range of subjects enabled pupils to learn how to use ICT as a mathematical tool, for example using spreadsheets to generate number patterns or present statistical information, but using it to enhance learning in mathematics was more limited.

  • The interactive whiteboard featured in many (but not all) primary and secondary classrooms, bringing positives and negatives to teaching and learning. Good practice included the use of high-quality diagrams and relevant software to support learning through, for example, construction of graphs or visualisation of transformations. Pupils enjoyed quick-fire games on them. However, many of the curricular and guidance documents seen did not draw sufficient attention to the potential of interactive whiteboards. Additionally, too often teachers used them simply for PowerPoint presentations with no interaction by the pupils.

  • A negative effect of interactive whiteboards was a reduction in pupils’ use of practical equipment: software is no replacement for hands-on experience, for example in measuring angles and lengths. Teachers generally underused practical resources and games to develop pupils’ understanding of mathematical ideas and help them to make connections between different topics.

An example of the above is given later on in the report whereby a teacher is showing the class 3d shapes on screen. Even though the shapes can be rotated on-screen it is still essentially a 2d representation of 3d objects. It is therefore difficult for children to gain a full appreciation of the properties of these shapes as they have not handled them for themselves.

Self registering with the IWB

I have been working with some teachers in early years on using the SMART Board and their digitalis camera.One simple activity for the board is self registration. This is simply importing all of the class photos onto a notebook or flip chart page, and then allowing the children to drag and drop their picture from left to right. The activity can be improved further by cropping each picture and by grouping each image with the child's name.

Here is an example that one teacher created this week.

Self Registering

Teacher wishing to create a self registering tool for lunches can use an this free online tool found here, or on the image below

Clicker as communication Tool

I have long since been an avid fan of Clicker as a great tool for children of all abilities. It can allow children to build up sentences very easily through using words and phrases as building blocks, and as such it makes a great Word Processor in Key Stage 1. It can also free children from the dread of the blank white screen, as teachers can add Clicker grids as a scaffold and support to unsure writers. Furthermoe it can be used to create presentations and 'on-screen' books.

Last summer I worked with Dan (ICT) @ and Scott (SALT) @ Hatton school on another use of Clicker. Many children both in the school and within the Outreach service make use of 'All About Me' books. These allow the child who struggles to communicate a way to share information about themselves using a combination of PECS symbols and relevant digital images.

I knew that if we created an electronic version , then the book could contain a greater number of durable pages as unlike the paper version, they don't fall out! Furthermore this e version would allow the words to be spoken back and allow for smooth navigation as readers would be working on a PC a medium that many children are far more motivated by.

I have created a short film showing the difference between the two books below, though please note I still think there is huge value in the paper versions, it would just be good to see the paper copy in use alongside it's electronic counterpart.

Free Multimedia Control Software for Upper KS2

Many of you will remember SCRATCH, free control software which we showed you last year at Subject Leaders. Some teachers were eager to use this new and exciting programming tool, though they were unsure where to begin. Now a consultant from Bradford has put together some helpful lesson plans and tutorials to help teachers get going.

If you have not seen Scratch before, then here is an introductory video made by its creators, MIT:

The lesson plans and tutorials by Paul Scott, are available from the Bradford learning Platform.

New feature in You Tube

We all know the issues with the 'other' content on youtube, that we don't want out children to see. Embeding the video in a blog, like below, is one way round that. But at the end it still give you other related videos - depending on what you search for these might be unsuitable. Click play and skip to the end to see the suggested videos.

Now on the You Tube website itself - next to the embed code is a little gear icon - click on it and you will see what is below. Here you can change the colour of the video player, add a border if you want and most importantly remove the related video results.

Click below and now skip to the end - look no results. Very quick and usable tip. Enjoy.

Links just in

Teachers are piloting multi touch screens - this from the BBC news

Nintendo - Make 10 - could this be the new game that we all want to use with our class on the DS?

How to sheets for the Digi-Blue Camera- these from the Welsh Grid For learning

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

National Poetry Day Event

Another Video Conference event - you may have missed the details for:
This also comes to me from Mina Patel

Hello again everyone, you may have heard about this Video Conference from Brian too.

However once again I hope you are able to forward this message onto your Literacy/English advisors KS2 and KS3/4 and to schools who you know may wish to take part. The schools could take part in the poetry writing competition only if they wish, or just the Video Conference, or take part in both.

National Poetry Day - October 9th 2008 – London Event (and Competition!) by Videoconference hosted by Havering LA

LGfL partnering with Havering LA would like to invite you to take part in this National Competition. The theme for this year’s National Poetry Day is `Work`. So in order to celebrate this, we would like children to write poems about different jobs. We are delighted that authors Alan Peat and Gervase Phinn have been secured to judge the finalists. Deadline for handing in competition entries is September 30th.
Please visit this link to read about the prizes and rules:

We would also like to invite you to take part in a videoconference for primary and secondary schools during National Poetry Day, on October 9th 2008, starting at 8.50 am and ending at 3.15pm. Please visit to see the programme for the day.

Schools do not need VC equipment to take part, just the school’s internet connection, to watch and participate in the online forum, so please register at:



Black History Month Event Final Call

This just in from Mina Patel

Hi there everyone, guess you may have already heard about this VC event from Brian.

However, I just thought I`d send you all an email so you could possibly forward this to your EMA Team, or schools you personally know that may want to take part.

Final call for Black History Month Video Conference – Register before 26th September, 3pm.

The London Grid for Learning, working in partnership with Redbridge Ethnic Minority Advisory Team and ICT team, would like to invite schools to take part in a videoconference for KS2 during Black History Month - 'People of Achievement Past and Present' on October 1st starting at 8.50 am and ending at 12.10pm.

There is now a `new` updated programme – so please go to:

Schools can take part via video conference or via the live stream and using the live forum. Schools do not need VC equipment to take part. Just an internet connection needed.

We have celebrities and guest speakers……. DJ Spoony , Dr Funke Baffour and Sandra Agard presenting on the day.

Please register before the 26th September on:

Friday, 5 September 2008

Updates week 2

'Beebot Island'- a display in Fullwood Primary

I hope you have had a good first week back. The week immediately after summer is often fraught with technical difficulties and paper jams in the IT room as new peg labels, timetables and Literacy Plans churn out of the printer.

Thank you for the emails and news sharing this week. I have enjoyed seeing new ICT rooms in some schools, fresh displays in others and of course teachers who are keen to show their new class new software.

I went to Fairlop Primary this week to talk about the Asus machines and I am keen to see how they get on when Key Stage 2 take these with them to Glasbury. The children will be using these mini notebooks to create diary entries of their week, using Open Office software. They may even use the small but formidable web cams to shoot mini clip videos or stills for the Fairlop blogs. We look forward to the blog posts later this term.


In this issue:

Welcome to our New Adviser for ICT
Institute of Education Primary ICT Conference
A Redbridge school at the National Handheld Learning Conference

SMART Notebook -are you 10 yet?

Focus on :
Spelling City

Welcome to our New Adviser for ICT

Alex Rees joins the Redbridge school improvement service from a secondary teaching background taking up the post of School Improvement Adviser (ICT). Prior to teaching he enjoyed working in the IT projects team at the Barnardo's Head Office in Barkingside, but once qualified as a mathematics teacher he has held a variety of teaching and ICT management roles across Essex. These roles include being Director of Faculty at Greensward College; ICT Coordinator at a large KS1-KS5 independent school; and Director of eLearning in a secondary comprehensive school.

He has successfully lead project management teams on implementing VLE's, building new ICT-rich school facilities and embedding data management solutions. Alex has also acted as an independent consultant for a number of secondary schools and related organisations including the SSAT. Alex lives in Maldon on the Essex coast with his wife and their 8 month old baby and enjoys making music, playing football and sailing dinghies to relax.


Thank you to Bob Drew for passing on the details of the

Institute of Educations ICT Conference:
Dream or Virtual Reality

A one day conference organised by the school of early Childhood and Primary Education, Insitute of Education and the London Knowledge Lab.

19th November
@ the Jeffery Hall
9:00 am- 4:00pm
The programme includes the following research informed talks:

  • 'Children's learning in the age of digital media' by Professor David Buckingham
  • 'Children's perspectives on 'out of school/in school' ICT 'by Dr Neil Selwyn
  • 'How Effective is Cool? - Learning through mobile technologies'- Professor Rosie Luckin

There are also 'Learning Conversations' led by Primary Practitioners focusing on innovative use of ICT, as well as Lunch, an exhibition and a Bookshop.

Further details from Sue Grant from the Institute or call 02076126588

There is also the Hand Held Learning Conference next Month from the 13th to 15th of October @ the Barbican, click here for further details, we are proud that our own Dawn Halybone form Oakdale will be representing, read on...

Nintendo DS Project to Feature @ International Conference

Dawn Halybone tells us about her participation at the Handeheld Learning Conference next month. She writes,

Very exciting news following the use of the consoles at Oakdale. During the Summer I was asked to submit a paper for consideration to speak at the International conference for Hand Held learning to be held at the Barbican from Oct 13-15th! The paper was accepted and I have been asked to speak during one of the break out sessions on the Tuesday. The session is entitled 'Game On' and is sponsored by Nintendo, it is being chaired by Chris Deering, former President of Sony Computer Entertainment and will focus on the questions:Do games consoles and off the shelf games titles have a role in learning?How game-based learning is challenging all the rules? The conference so far has 1000 delegates, 150 confirmed speakers and 50 exhibitors, so will be an amazing opportunity to showcase the work that we are doing in Redbridge!

SMART Notebook 10

Many of you who use a SMART Board will be switching to Notebook 10. This is the biggest update from SMART for a long time and includes some long sought after features and some old favourites made easier. For instance you can now finally include tables within a SMART Notebook, while the magic pen allows you to easily focus on, magnify and highlight an area of the screen. Expect to see demonstrations of these features over the next few weeks here on this blog, but in the meantime, here are some helpful tools we have found on the web to introduce your staff to what's new in 10:

Focus on

This week Nicholas and I have found two free apps which we think will make your whiteboard zing.

This is an excellent resource for teaching the weekly spelling list, which children often slavishly copy into their books on Monday morning. Teachers can post spelling lists online, which the class can then locate on the spellingcity website. They can then play games and/ or do an electronic version of Look/Cover Write Check, all before they complete a test. The test is marked and the site identifies which of the spellings the student got wrong. For more on this, watch our mini clip below, and take a look your self @


Photosynth is a new tool from Microsoft, which I think is the new Photostory 3, in that it is easy to use and has the 'wow' impact in the classroom. Though I must stress Photosynth is not a musical slideshow tool.

With photosynth you upload a batch of images you have snapped of an object, scene or object and then let Photosynth use it's new technology to analyse the photographs and look for reference points. It then matches these points and stitches the images together. The result is a panorama of an area, that can then be magnified in a style very similar to Google Earth.

The applications for classroom use of this tool are huge, this could mean a new way into story writing, where children and teacher explore an area such as the spooky woods in 3d, before describing the setting in their books. There could also be application of this tool in Geography or school journey, every child could take an image or images of the same are of the Zoo, London, Shopping area etc in order to create a class synth.

Watch the video below and visit to begin making your own. Once you have done this, you will be able to view those made by Nicholas and myself, at the foot of this entry.