Tuesday, 23 June 2015

What have I been doing with my time?

I'm sorry that this blog post is late.  Like many people, we have been having a nightmare of a time with ICT in school thanks to county-wide problems.  As a result, I have spent the majority of this week either trying to get onto the Internet, troubleshooting ICT problems or trying to think of work-arounds.  

I haven't been anything like as industrious as many of you.  I have virtually abandoned the Staff Blog (my original idea) as I was the only person posting and there was no audience for it. Having said that, I attended an on-line BTEC Firsts course yesterday that suggested that student blogs (individual and collaborative) was the way to go when evidencing process in my subject area.  I may have to revisit the idea of a class blog.

We held a Digital Safety evening where we invited the students to present and the parents to attend.  The focus of the evening was celebrating opportunity whilst recognising potential pitfalls.  The students (YR 9 and Cybermentors) wanted to have the chance to reassure parents and answer any of their questions.  Kate Jowett our PSE coordinator talked about Cybermentoring and the support that pupils could expect to experience in school; PC Winfield talked about the law and the Internet; one student talked about the connection between cyber bullying and teenage mental health and I reflected on the changes that have happened and are about to happen with regards to ICT in school.  I also supplied the cakes! The turn-out wasn't great - I think that the staff and pupils outnumbered the parents - but those who did attend had strong opinions.  Some parents were very concerned about what their children were doing on-line; one mother not only checked her daughter's computer usage, checked her phone and tracked her physical whereabouts using her daughter's phone's GPS, but also got her two grown-up sons to do the same. 

We have been trying to introduce student e-mails via HWB+, but have encountered many problems.  My admin status was removed - the only person who had admin privileges was a cookery teacher whose name is first on the alphabetic list.  We had to have all of the passwords reset when I accidentally broke the Data Protection Act. We were unable to see the usernames and details of the duel-entered students; when we were given the details, they didn't work.  I can't send e-mails to students registered in Rhymney even though I teach them - I have been blocked by their host school admin.  Our idea, once things are up and running, is to integrate all of our current systems, Moodle, HWB +, Gmail, Office 365, Dropbox, iPads, Android tablets etc. to provide a blended and adaptable systems to serve/ enhance teaching and learning within the school.  I have written Staff/ student/ parent guidelines to support the introduction of student e-mail.

We have been revising our personal mobile devices policies.  From September, students will be allowed to use their own phones and tablets at certain times in school.  There is some opposition from staff and parents about this, but it has been decided that in the interests of progression this needs to be done.  Use will be at the discretion of the individual teacher and we will not be going down the full Bring Your Own Device route.

I have been stealth training (on a needs basis) to increase the skills of teaching and support staff. Areas covered included Excel, Class OneNote (on-line and desktop), Office 365, QR codes, IDoceo, Socrative, Explain Everything, template creation in Word and Excel, e-mail, using iPads to support learning, iPads for support staff, video editing using IMovies (Mac and iPad) and introduction to Lenovo tablets.  I have been asked by the Science department to provide an inset on getting the most from a VLE.

Sadly, there has been no progress made regarding updating our current Moodle site.


  1. Seems like so much more when you take step back and list all that you've done! Loads of great work here, Liz! I really like the idea of combining the individual merits of each of the wide variety of technologies at your disposal. Best tool for the job!

  2. Yes looks like you've been busy! You always get problems when working with tech, happens to me all the time! jdu isis oa iah ajaia - see!