Reflections on Leaving the Classroom

Today I can no longer introduce myself as “Maths Teacher” as I leave the classroom. Though I might still use my former job title for introductions at parties to make things simple.

I move from the classroom to take up a training and consultancy role supporting schools looking to implement change and embed technology for the benefit of learning. That is less snappy isn’t it!

As I move on from the classroom after 13 years I thought it worth taking a moment to reflect. Telling other teachers you are leaving the classroom was hard, not just the ones you are leaving your tricky classes with! My own reasons were varied but an opportunity came up at a time I was traveling 54 miles to my school. I have also come to the decision that the way schools work can improve for the benefit of teachers and students. I don’t see myself as someone who would necessarily implement this change from within by moving up so I have another route to take. I have had great feedback from my educational technology (edtech) training and speaking events so I am going to embrace this and work to support schools with change.

Technology

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My Chromebook trial with a year 9 class back in 2013

In my first classroom after PGCE training I had an overhead projector to project notes and develop diagrams on. However, don’t be fooled into thinking I am that old. Within a year I had a Smartboard installed and smartnotebook was my lesson planning tool for years. My own view on interactive whiteboards is they are not a cost-effective resource for schools to invest in, despite replying on mine for many years. It proved invaluable for demonstrating concepts but I feel sure that £2000 per classroom could be spent more effectively. I never had a chance to try out my ideal scenario of whiteboards (normal dry wipe ones) on every wall and surface but I must take this opportunity to apologise to the classroom cleaners who removed dry wipe pen from my desks every day. If there is one legacy I have from my time in Maths classrooms it is writing on desks.

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A-level learning

My embracing of technology for learning was due to two factors. Firstly the summer I tried out twitter and discovered teachers sharing! The second factor was a teacher called Dan File who joined our Maths faculty as an advanced skills teacher (AST). We could be found in school beyond 6pm most of the week getting excited about ways we can change learning in our lessons that didn’t work the way we wanted. He joined us having pioneered instructional videos at his last school and we both set about populating our youtube channels with videos. Exam paper solutions to avoid that boring lesson when you go through the exam paper… instead “watch the videos of the questions you got wrong”. Then children started requesting videos so we moved to revision videos. We tried our own versions of the flipped classroom with classes too.

One part of our work which was most important was our efforts to get parents through the doors of the school to see what we were trying and why we were trying it. We we trying to get their kids more excited about maths and make them achieve more. We were willing to fail infront of our classes trying something and take the feedback on board to improve. We had some of the best results in the school’s history over those years but that wasn’t because of technology, it was because we had a dedicated department open to trying things out. And in subsequent years the politics of education has made it hard to hit those results again… so a bit of luck and timing too.

Trying new things in schools take effort, determination and a bit of nerve to seek forgiveness instead of ask permission.

It’s easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission.

Grace Hopper, 1986

Culture

Good culture is easy to break and hard to build, however the school’s culture is critical to success. What makes it possible for teachers to walk through the doors in the morning with a spring in their step instead of dread? Many teachers are going into work with dread, fear, stress and concern. I have been fortunate to work with teachers who are so committed to their students they put phenomenal hours in and take incredible pride in doing all they can to help students achieve. However, in some schools the culture is such that even working at their limit teachers feel they are not doing enough, failing or letting someone down.

Culture is the difference between a teacher spending an evening planning an parental engagement activity or just marking another pile of books.

Culture is the difference between teachers choosing to spend their Saturday at professional development events or sipping on a Lemsip (other medicinal products are available) so they can be ready for next week.

Culture is critical and every school leader will agree, but their words, actions and emails contribute to a culture that doesn’t bring the best out of their colleagues or leaves them unable to manage the workload.

Get the oxytocin flowing and your school will improve more rapidly than you could ever dream. Avoid your school being cortisol factory!

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Read “Why Leaders Eat Last” by Simon Sinek to learn more about hormones and leadership

Leadership

I have spent time in head of faculty roles, working within a school leadership team and alongside school improvement partners in a Multi-Academy Trust (MAT). There are things you learn in leadership and things you discover you bring to it. You learn more about your leadership skills when you leave a role (because that is when people choose to tell you), and the weaknesses… come on, we all know our weaknesses don’t we? The challenge is whether to hide them or address them and I think I have done both at times.

If you read anything else on this blog you may spot my interest in deign thinking. I was aware of the term for a while in passing on social media but it was something I understood better and its place in education first via Tom Barrett and Ewan McIntosh. Sometimes referred to as user-focussed design, design thinking is a culture and set of tools that schools can use to super charge their improvement. Get empathy and find the problems you need to be solving before any ideas get thrown around. Develop a culture where ideas are not precious and owned by individuals. I strongly believe that schools who embrace a design thinking culture could reap profound results in the way their staff think and work. Design thinking provides an empathetic view of the way your school works (or doesn’t) and gives the chance for democratised decision making to prevail. Earlier I mentioned making your school oxytocin rich… this is how you can do it.

I wrote abour the results of our maths faculty a few years back. These are sometimes attributed to me as head of faculty. It is easy to let that stick (with good results) and accept #fakenews. The reality is very different and something I have learnt to be more honest about over the years. I was lucky. We are often judged against our best moments, which are often lucky. I had great teachers in the faculty who came to work and worked hard with integrity every day. I had good leadership who asked me direct questions but let me try things. I preceded some of the changes that have taken place to GCSE’s and A-levels in the last few years which have taken measures to make the qualifications more rigorous. My point is, think team. I see some teachers coming into the profession with an expectation that they should be ordained with promotions and more pay too quickly. Teaching is a fickle beast so take your time to tame it before you put your head in its mouth.

Change

To give a clear understanding or my own view of education’s rate of change in relation to other industries consider the London Marathon. If the elite and club runners represent the nibble industries able to change and even lead change then I see education as Lloyd Scott (look him up), well intentioned, honourable, hard working, but so very slow.

The challenge I am taking on, leading schools to embrace technology to support learning, is a backwards problem. I hear “We need to use more technology” but I have to ask “Why?” and the answers are not convincing yet. Here is another reason to utilise a design culture of finding problems worth solving; attainment gap, accessibility, aspirations are all worthy causes and we haven’t even reached the b’s yet. A teacher in US will have his class voluntarily arrive at school 2 hours before school starts to come to his lesson. The reason? He has arranged a video call with someone on the other side of the planet as part of their current topic. Technology made it possible but is not the reason he does it.

Would your kids arrive at school for 6am for your best lesson? This has resonated with me and I pass the baton on to you… but let me know if you want help making it the case!

Thanks

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Here are some of the people who have helped me enjoy, survive and even thrive over the last 13 years… (Making a list like this is dangerous but hey, if you are not on it there are two possible reasons…)

Jeff Place, Jon Chaloner, Jack Mayhew, Hugh Proctor, Dan File, Pete Taylor, Tom Barrett, Ewan McIntosh, Allison Mollica, Jon Neale, Dean Stokes, Oli Trussell, Mark Allen, Donna Tueber, Ashcroft twins, Christina Dimitrantzou, Matt Duffield, Evan Scherr, Dan Taylor, 10a1, Asiq, Glyn digital leaders, Keri Cloete, Martin Giles, Simon Brown, Tom Able Green.

 

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(1 of 3) Measuring the Impact of Technology on Learning

How do we measure the impact of technology used to support learning?

In the first of three posts I reflect on technology’s role in education and how we can measure the impact as we utilise it in our classrooms.

Learning is a complex system, particularly in schools where we try to turbo charge it from 9am to 3pm. The measure of that learning can often be less complex, such as a letter or number to quantify the learning or benchmark the progress since the last check.

Technology has always been part of learning…

Chalk, slate, paper, pens, books and calculators… but we are specifically referring to new technology that has become so ingrained in our lives, therefore schools are grappling with whether and how to embed this technology in learning. If a school gives every child an iPad, will this improve learning? Of course it won’t, any tool is simply a small part of the system but we have become used to measuring impact on learning so much in schools we need to be able to measure the impact of technology on learning but it is crude and dis-ingenuous to measure the impact simply in results. However, schools can spend heavily on technology when budgets are shrinking and the investment needs to be justified.

Measuring Impact in Schools

The measures we are used to are

  • Results
  • Lesson Observations
  • Progress indicators

If I were to visit your school and say

  1. “Implementing technology to support learning will improve results.”
  2. “Lessons with technology are better than those without.”
  3. “Learning with technology will improve student progress”

I sincerely hope you show me the door as I almost definitely don’t have evidence to back the statements up. Furthermore, if those silver bullets existed you would already be using them.

However, I do strongly believe that there are some learning experiences that technology can enhance, improve and provide that are not possible without it.

 

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There are times we have reflected on lessons and note that mini-whiteboards, post-it notes, laminated cards or highlighters could have made the lesson more successful. This is not because it saves paper, looks pretty but because it improves progress, understanding, explanations, discovery, feedback and so on. Hence, I aspire that technology sits less as an entity on its own and becomes ingrained in learning and teaching. There are fantastic tools freely available to teachers that can enhance feedback (The Education Endowment Foundation and Hattie have research to suggest this has a significantly positive impact on learning. For balance you may wish to also read @LearningSpy’s blog post summarising some objections to the use of effect size and this post questioning the statistics in Hattie’s work) to students or facilitate more effective group work or peer review.

If I were to visit your school and say

  1. “Implementing technology saves teachers time.”
  2. “Lessons with technology allow for more personalised learning.”
  3. “Learning with technology will improve student engagement”

I hypothesise that I would be much less likely to be shown the door. Technology can be a distraction, irrelevant or a positive impact on learning and I suggest the measures we use to assess the impact of technology need to be discussed and a clear set of agreed measures brought in to general use. The team at Google for Education tried this with a vote on twitter:

Technology used to enhance personalised learning requires some cultural change in schools as it challenges the teaching styles of many successful teachers, the learning preferences of good children and the digital literacy of both groups. Alongside any implementation of a change to embed technology in learning is a need for training, discussion and a clear vision for learning. The training deficit that I have become aware of as I try to embed technology in learning was highlighted more publicly in late 2015.

On 15 September 2015, The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) published a report called “Students, Computers and Learning” on technology in the classroom and snippets from it formed rather sensationalist headlines, including this one on the BBC website.

Computers ‘do not improve’ pupil results, says OECD

The report looks at computer usage across a number of countries and compares outcomes. Using OECD’s Programme for International Assessment (PISA) results from 2012 the report identifies “no appreciable improvements in student achievement in reading, mathematics or science in the countries that had invested heavily in ICT for education”.

Do we ‘invest’ in ICT for Education?

Is investment in ICT for education or technology for learning simply monetary? My school has an investors in people plaque in reception and I am pretty sure that doesn’t mean they pay more than other schools. However, the reference to investment in ICT in the OECD report is a quantitative measure. Despite the media headlines the report is detailed and aware of the data it has and has not used when summarising the findings.

Technology can amplify great teaching, but great technology cannot replace poor teaching.”

OECD: Students, Computers and Learning: Making the Connections, 2015

Schools will have to choose the level and focus of investment in technology for learning. Whether that takes the form of devices, training, open discussion, design thinking projects, bring your own device (BYOD) policies or even new learning spaces is a big and difficult decision for school leaders to make. Especially as the impact of these measures are unclear, hence this blog post.

The discussion around technology in schools is often confused,  school leader. There is a distinct difference between school provided technology to support learning and a personal device used by a student. This distinction can be overlooked in the discussion that surfaces via bloggers, newspapers and those with vested interests. An Ofsted spokesperson was quoted in the Times Educational Supplement (TES):

“Pupils bringing personal devices such as laptops or tablets into school can be extremely disruptive and make it difficult for teachers to teach,” an Ofsted spokesperson told TES.

This quote is then translated into this headline:

Ofsted warns against ‘extremely disruptive’ tablets in school

Richard Vaughan – TES December 2015

Here is a response to the TES article, (Ensure you also read a follow up post including Ofsted’s response as the reference to disruptive technology was specifically to do with technology in schools not for the use in learning) including a search through Ofsted reports for references to technology’s impact on learning.

The decision six months ago to equip all students with tablet computers has not been universally welcomed by parents and carers, but the positive impact on students’ learning is obvious. The computers help students to work independently, they give all students equal access to online resources and they provide an excellent communication tool between teachers and students.

Ofsted Report June 2012 – Secondary (School overall judged as Outstanding)

The impact of technology on learning to this inspection was ‘obvious’ so we know it when we see it. The impact measures suggested by this inspector are

  • Independence
  • Equal access
  • Effective communication

Did this school implement tablet computers because they identified weaknesses in these areas? When I work with schools advising them on their use of technology to support learning the first document I request is the school development plan as there is no point developing technology or the use of it in anything that does not support the key focuses of that school. Therefore the measures have to be the same measures schools put in place every day, week term and year.

The OECD report summarises the implications of the findings and suggests that schools are not yet able or ready to embed technology in learning and leverage the potential. I agree, that we are yet to develop a clarity on how we want technology to blend into pedagogy and schools. I feel this provides more support for a drive to agree tangible measures for the impact of technology. What is the problem we are solving? The implications section concluding the OECD report implies the following potential benefits of technology in education:

  • Equality
  • Digital Literacy
  • Teacher and Student Collaboration

I suspect a search through school development plans will find many that want equality, more officially known and closing the gap. A number of approaches can support this and technology, planned and implemented well, can help. However, a poorly executed implementation of technology can bring into sharp focus the inequality between students. We often hear educators present the now familiar concept that “we are preparing our students for jobs that don’t exist yet” (if I had a penny…) and therefore the use of technology in schools is necessary to prepare them for the world they are going into. However, I didn’t have any such preparation and I think I am doing fine. Technology is already allowing teachers to share and collaborate and we have dumped millions of mediocre to poor resources onto our blogs, social media and resource sites.

What would your measures of impact be?

In part 2 of this 3 parts blog series I want to focus on the tool versus the teacher.

 

Google Educator Groups

Google launched Google Educator Groups (GEG), which are for educators in geographical areas to connect about using Google tools in and out of the classroom for learning.

Connecting

If you are a Google using teacher in UK:

  1. Join our community
  2. Bring a colleague

Some groups are growing fast and some have hosted events already. In the UK we have around 150 members in a Google+ community and a twitter account @GEG_UK followed by fewer people.

Getting the group off the ground has lead me to think about a few things:

  • How many teachers have access to Google Apps for Education in the UK at this point in time?
  • Are they interested in connecting with other teaching using the tools?
  • Are schools considering Google Apps for Education as a VLE alternative?
  • Are there teachers using their own personal Google account for their classes failing to get interest from school leaders for Google Apps for Education?
  • How can we get every teacher using Google Apps for EDucation to connect to the GEG UK?

Purpose

I have been involved in setting up the GEG UK and we have been discussing what the role of the group could be and how to grow it. So far much of the conversation has been via Google+ and we have broadcast several Hangouts on Air to discuss ideas about the group. Discussion seems to return to some key ideas about engaging the wider teaching community in the tools we find work well in our classrooms and across our schools.

Thanks to Mark Allen for creating this poster

Events

How can we speak to school leaders about Google Apps for Education and do they want to hear it? Do they appreciate what GAfE could do for their organisation and do they see technology as part of effective teaching and learning? It would be facinating to hear from school leaders not currently using GAfE and hear their view on technology for education. This desire has lead us to look at being present at conferences school leaders attend. If you host school leaders and would like to facilitate this discussion please let us know.

Can we get every teacher in the UK at a Google Apps for Education School to join our community and attend at least one event.

Sharing Best Practice

I feel that above all the GEG’s can be a place to find and share quality learning and teaching with others utilising Google tools. This can help others see the pedagogical value of technology in education.

If you read this please bring a colleague to the Google+ GEG UK community and grow the network.

Enjoy

Ben Rouse

Unleashing Student Potential with #GAfE

This weekend I am fortunate to have been invited to run a session at the Apps Event in Frankfurt, Germany. This post is meant to accompany the session and give everyone access to the resources and some additional links related to Google Apps for Education and the potential it has to get the most out of our students if used effectively by good educators.

Resources from the Session

My presentation can be viewed here and comments are welcome.

The collaborative document, which the audience add to during the session, can be viewed here. After the event anyone can add comments to the document.

For other Google tools check out my school training blog

Other Presentations

Here is a presentation I gave at BETT 2014 (edtech conference in London) which forms part of the session in Frankfurt.

Here is a teachmeet presentation I gave about flipping my classroom, having started making instructional videos.

I hope every gets something to take away from the session.

 

Enjoy

Ben

#ocTEL 0.1 Big and Little Questions

I have enrolled in an open course with Association for Learning Technology (ALT) for discussing and developing ideas around technology enhanced learning#ocTEL.

I am leading on the deployment of Google Apps for Education at my school (I have blogged about this on this blog) and despite some great progress in some areas I feel I have not sufficiently communicated that technology can underpin outstanding pedagogy to our staff. There still appears to be a view of technology as an additional and separate teaching tool rather than something that is a part of teaching and learning similar to a set of red, amber and green cards or a mini-whiteboard and dry wipe pen.

Therefore, I enrolled on the course to try and discuss technology enhanced learning with other people in order to better convey to my colleagues the benefits of using technology for learning. I also wanted to take this course as it is something I may suggest to other colleagues and it seems right to have taken it myself.

Our first activity is to reflect on our own practice and ambitions for developing our teaching

My Big and Little Questions are…

Why is technology not considered an essential part of every teacher’s practice?
How can technology enhanced learning be embedded in the professional development of teachers?
How do I reliably assess the impact of technology for learning?
Are too many teachers scared of social media?

You decide which are big and little.

I hope to share more soon

Ben Rouse

Going Google at my school: Part 5 – Presenting to Governors

Overlooking the fact that I referred to 15123 and “one hundred and fifty one hundred and twenty three” (I teach mathematics) and forgot that the governors didn’t need a link on the main site as they have all they need shared in Google drive (this doesn’t seem a particular error until you recall I was there presenting on technology for learning)… the presentation I gave to the governing body on the progress of technology for learning at our school was a success.

In order to make an attempt to stick to my allotted 15 minutes I spent the evening prior to the governors meeting creating a screen-captured video of the items I wanted to demonstrate. I chose this over presentation slides or a live demo as the first is restrictive and boring and the second is fraught with danger of slow connection or getting lost in tabs on a browser.

The video gave a tour of the following aspects of the school’s development of technology for learning since June 2013:

  • WordPress splash site for students and staff to login provided by realsmart
  • Sites created by faculties linked off the splash site
  • Sites that allow “login with Google” students can use (codeacademy, desmos, padlet, etc)
  • Google Drive
  • Why involving the students is essential and how the digital leaders had begun to impact upon the use of technology for learning.
  • Usage statistics via the Google admin site
  • Feedback from the Chromebook trial

In summary I presented that the tools for learning are in place and the take up is gathering pace but it will take time for it to embed in our practice. The devices were generally welcomed and seen as a benefit to learning by staff and students who used them, however our infrastructure lacks the ability to support a number of devices in one place.

I hope that some progress can be made on the infrastructure at the school in order to see the potential of the Google Apps for Education (GAfE) tools that teachers and students are discovering day by day as something they can use to enhance learning in our school.

Thank you to C-learning for the chromebook trial, realsmart for their training and MIS to Google link, staff who have given the tools a go and the students who are engaging with the learning opportunities through GAfE.

Keep evolving educational technology for learning.

Ben Rouse

Going Google at my School: Part 4 – Sharing the Vision

Having negotiated the first term of the adoption of Google Apps for Education (GAfE) I have presented to Leadership on the progress and been working with the technical support team on how they can support the change. I have tried to give advice based on my experiences so far for anyone looking to lead on the adoption of GAfE or other cloud-based solutions to improving your school’s technology for learning provision.

Go the whole hog

If you are about to embark on a similar journey and are looking to adopt GAfE or maybe office 365 I would strongly suggest making sure there is an appetite from leadership and technical support for a wholesale adoption integrating all the tools rather than any hybrid. We currently have a hybrid of legacy Microsoft email and Google drive and sites. I am keen to move to a complete GAfE adoption but this change is something that will feature further along my roadmap once the need for this is made clear to Leadership by generating pressure from staff and students once they realise the limitations of the hybrid.

Form the vision with experienced educators

Mark Allen has extensive experience of introducing GAfE in schools, having taken a school down this route in 2007. I was fortunate to be allocated to Mark’s team at the Google Teacher Academy in London in December 2013 and his advice has been valuable. Mark offers consultancy for anyone taking on this change in their school.

Dan Leighton has also integrated GAfE in educational contexts some years ago and is a regular contributor on leadership and technology for learning. Dan is someone I hope to visit in 2014 to gain insight into integrating chromebooks into schools as he has had success at this.

In my limited experience here is some advice on how to manage the change with the key people who will help you make your venture a success in the school, enhancing the learning.

Working with Technical Support

The technical support team at my own school have exclusively worked with Microsoft infrastructure for many years and this change has taken them outside of their comfort zone. Our GAfE account is supported by realsmart who have provided a days free GAfE training. It has taken some time to get the training organised for the technical support team as they are very busy setting up schools who join our academy chain.

I have struggled to sell the vision to the team and therefore this is something I advice you to consider. How will you get the technical support team on board. In some cases the change will be driven by the team and in these cases the change will be easier.

Some of the barriers I have encountered are

  • Getting Chrome to be the default browser (It is not technically a problem but generating the support is)
  • Justify the benefits of GAfE in terms the technical team appreciate (learning is not as persuasive as you would hope)
  • Prioritising training for GAfE in order to be able to manage groups and administration of Apps.
  • Concerns over privacy. However this argument feels very similar to when students say “when will I ever use this” in class. This usually happens because they do not understand.
  • The technical team had been considering other VLE providers and strategies for some time and I have brought about change they were not anticipating.

I am trying to work as closely with the technical support team as I can in order to share my vision and plan for this with them. If I could go back this is something I would have liked more time to do before the whole school role out.

Presenting to Leadership

I have presented to the Leadership team on four occasions so far.

  1. June 2013: Proposal for adopting GAfE in order to get support and approval.
  2. Sept 2013: Plan for rolling out GAfE and the impact on students.
  3. December 2013: Update on progress
  4. December 2013: Training for using Google drive for all link meetings

After each session I have left frustrated but when I get individual feedback from members of LMT they are very positive. I have struggled to pitch these sessions correctly. When presenting to teaching staff I tend to aim for inspiring uses and then use a blog, instructional videos and drop in training to build the basic skills. This has been supported by digital leaders, student leaders who are helping drive the GAfE adoption across the school.

I have not taken this approach with leadership assuming they would prefer to see what the key steps are to making this work and how that is progressing. However, I think this needs reviewing. Within the leadership team there is a vast range of technical ability from the very willing and able through to the complete technophobes/cynics. Therefore I encounter all the behaviours you would expect of a year 7 class in a computer room when encountering a new task. Some forge ahead while others require one to one guidance throughout. Having not gone for the “wow” factor I have failed to share some of the vision with leadership and therefore I think they are not clear on the route we are taking and the potential benefits.

Here are the key areas to address if presenting to your leadership team:

  • Impact on learning: Difficult to initially quantify when introducing new technology as the key benefits are engagement, collaboration and developing 21st century learning skills. Saying this will not help… The ideal approach to this is to have a trial group using GAfE, or technology for learning tools as appropriate to the route you are taking, and collect data from this trial.
    • Student and teacher feedback on their experience, in the form of a questionnaire or discussion on video.
    • Invite outside speaker already using GAfE or equivalent in to school to meet with key stakeholders.
    • Circulate research, though in my experience getting everyone to read this involves persistent positive persuasion.
  • Cost: GAfE is free unless you decide to include third parties to connect MIS data or organise Google Drive.
  • Share the vision: This is the part I have underperformed on.
    • Create a roadmap for leadership to view which highlights the steps to success and place responsibility for some actions on others (delegate ownership)
    • Show some exciting uses such as Google+ hangouts (connected classroom from Google is an exciting proposition). Collaboration on a Google document, (note of warning below)
    • Cloud computing where the device is not important, whoch could be demonstrated by creating a film of “A day in the life of a GAfE student” (I will have to make this now!)
    • My presentation to a staff conference workshop on Technology and Education
  • Keep technical requirements low: Try to avoid a live demonstration unless you are 100% confident it will work without any problems.
    • What is someone uses their iphone/ipad and does not have the correct app, has never logged in to their account. These are best avoided and dealt with on an individual level.
  • What your proposed strategy can achieve that the current situation cannot.
    • In some cases this might be achieving the seam under one login.
    • Using the GAfE tools provides a connected environment that you can pick up on any device with an internet connection.
    • Best way to present technical stuff is to make a video prior to the meeting and show it.

Roadmap to your Vision

In creating your roadmap, try to give responsibility for completion of a task to a person, such as making chrome the default browser. Meet with that member of staff before sharing the roadmap and work with them to give you a sensible time to investigate how to achieve it, test it and role it out across the school. What support and training will need to accompany the change. You will need to regularly find key stake holders and enquire about their progress, what barriers are they encountering and offer to help remove them. This might be by putting them in contact with someone who has managed such a task elsewhere and can guide them through it.

Presenting to staff

I am presenting to staff on the first day back after the festive season and I have decided to approach it like this:

  • Identify a  need
    • In my own school’s context, we achieve very good results but in a challenging job market are we allowing our students enough opportunities to experience interesting learning that will inspire them and provide them with a stand-out CV.
  • How technology for learning can address it
    • In my school’s context, by adopting the GAfE tools in their entirety we give the students access to connect via Google+ (if older then 13) collaborate on their work with their peers (life skill relevant to the job market). Manage and organise themselves independently (they will be expected to do this in employment) and technology can be an excellent tool to support this.
    • Provide students with tools to lead (we have a student leaders scheme beginning this year and getting each team to use Google+ could be a great opportunity for them)
    • Connect with other orgnanisations such as companies, universities and other schools in regular discussion and dialogue in the form of Google+ communities, blogs and collaborative documents). This can raise expectations and motivate students.
  • Inspiring ideas
    • Some examples are my digital leaders using Google+ and that some of them are connecting with new communities of students leading on technology in schools.
    • The digital leaders are creating apps for staff, providing them with tangible ways they have used their expertise to contribute to the school and community.
    • Imagine a class having a Google hangout with a scientist working in cancer research, or monitoring seismic activity on the pacific rim, or engineer on a construction site for a event such as an olympic games or world cup.
    • Students creating a weekly podcast on a particular subject area each week using Google Hangouts on air.
    • Steph Ladbroke‘s class did a project on the rainforest, using technology they made connections and the project culminated in the class engaging with a local company that changed its packaging to a more sustainable source due to members of the class writing to them and meeting with their local MP.
  • What you can practically aim to achieve this week, month, term.
    • For each teacher this will be different, some examples will be provided and there responses will be collected.
  • Support to help you achieve these

This was a big post so well done and thank you if you read this far. I think a few smaller but more regular posts might be in order. As always your comments and feedback are appreciated. If you would like to visit me to see GAfE in action please do not hesitate to contact me.

Ben Rouse