SM

Getting Savvy With Social Media: EdExec Live

On June 18th I will be speaking at EdExec live about social media. My talk is entitled “Getting Savvy With Social Media”.

To help promote my talk I wrote a short blog post on social media, giving a taste of what my talk will be about. You can have a read below.

Head over to the EdExec live website to read the original post and click HERE for tickets.

Using social media is a scary prospect for many schools and teachers. There are a lot of schools who don’t fully understand social media and what a powerful tool it can be for teaching and learning as well as for marketing.  It’s hard to relate to social media if you don’t use it yourself which is why it’s so important to have an expert in your school. This expert can help train members of staff, write an expectable use policy as well as mange and lead you social media strategy.

There are a number of options when considering social media, which include Facebook, Google+, YouTube and Pinterest, but my personal favourite would be Twitter. It’s easy to understand and manage; it’s uncomplicated and gives short bursts of teaching and learning as well as marketing.

Using social media enables schools to broadcast information including achievements, open days, school trips, sporting results and anything else that promotes the school in a positive way. This is fantastic not only for current students and parents but for prospective parents too.

Teaching and learning can also benefit greatly from the use of social media. Having used Twitter and Facebook for these purposes I’ve really been able to see the value of it. Not only is this great for students and teachers but it shows current and prospective parents the impressive things that departments are doing.

When using social media, schools need to be aware of some of the pitfalls. Common mistakes are tweeting from a work account instead of a personal account by mistake, posting images of students whose parent have requested not to be photographed, spelling mistakes, sharing links to articles that have not been checked and sharing incorrect information.

Matt Britland is director of ICT at The Lady Eleanor Holles School. He’s also an ed tech consultant, an avid tweeter and blogs for the GuardianIf you want to learn more about social media, don’t miss Matt’s seminar at EdExec LIVE 2014. 

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The Classroom of 2018: Video (Speaking)

Back at the end of November 2013, I took part in a series of talks organised and sponsored by Zurich called ‘Future History Now’.

My talk was entitled the ‘Classroom of 2018′. The talk has now been published and you can watch it below.

In my talk I mention the need for decisions about technology that affect teaching and learning being made by a teacher, the Director of ICT for instance and not just by an IT manager. Although I didn’t say it in this talk, I want to make it clear how important IT managers / network managers are in schools. They have the technical knowledge to make things happen. I realise I may cause offence to some but that was not my intention.

I also did an interview entitled ‘What will the classroom of 2018 look like’. You can read my interview by clicking on the link below and going to page 43.

‘What will the classroom of 2018 look like’

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Emerging Technologies And Devices In Education

Last year I wrote an article for the Guardian on the future of technology in education. This article focused on ‘The Cloud’ and its impact on education, whilst only briefly mentioning devices. As its now 2014, I thought it would useful to revisit this subject and take a look at some things to look out for and how they can be used to support teaching and learning over the coming years.

Tablets

Schools are taking tablets very seriously at the moment and many are investing in new devices. Apple has a bit of a strangle hold in education with its iPad but with an influx of cheaper tablets more and more schools may opt for Android devices like the Tesco Hudl. Microsoft are trying to get involved with its new Surface 2, so 2014 or 2015 may see Apple losing its grip. For me, the iPad is my prefered device but it is expensive and schools need to decide how tablets will be used to support teaching and learning before they splash out. From a personal point of view Apple need to make some improvement in order to keep ahead. Not all schools want to go 1:1 and there needs to be far better ways to manage devices used across the school. Multiple profiles on devices would be fantastic as would true multitasking with apps working side by side, some operating systems are already offering this. Apple and other providers need to start talking to schools if they want us to invest money in their devices. Tablets are not always suitable for some needs, Google Chromebooks are making headway in schools as many are looking at adopting Google Apps, which is free for education use.

Wearable Technology

Wearable tech is all the rage at the moment, especially smart watches. Samsung and Sony are both getting in on the action and lets not forget the Kickstarter funded Pebble watch. Apple are also rumoured to be getting in on the action this year with their iWatch. These devices are a great way for students and teachers to be connected to their smartphones. Emails, texts, reminders about homework/assignments/lesson plans or even notifications from their social networks could all be useful in a education environment. The usefulness of these devices will all depend on how productively students and teachers are using their smartphones. The next big device in wearables is of course, Google Glass, although it has a vival on its way called iOptik which looks like an exciting product. These sorts of devices could be used to easily film and share lessons, searching the internet whilst doing something at the same time, easily taking photos/videos, using augmented reality to interact with the environment inside or outside of school or pushing resources to students devices, among other things. Students could watch educational videos anywhere and without the need of a tablet or computer. There are a lot of possibilities but will students and teachers be willing to use these sorts of glasses?  Privacy is a concern, as is the problem with monitoring such devices not to mention the cost.

Virtual Reality (VR)

When people think of Virtual Reality (VR) they envision The Lawnmower Man and the 90’s. However, with the advent of products like ‘Oculus Rift’ people are really beginning to see the possibility of a product that actually work as intended. Originally designed for video games, it won’t be too long before it is adopted by others, especially when you look at the current trend of ‘gamification’. VR could bring a fantastic immersive experience into the classroom in all subjects. I love the idea of students exploring environments or historical moments in time without leaving the classroom all the time feeling like they are actually there. Combine this with motion sensors like Kinect 2.0 and you have something really special. Could VR be used by absent students or distance learning students so that they can a virtual presence in the classroom? Its sounds like something from a science fiction film but this is certainly something I would love to see. Imagine all the people that would benefit from this technology. This will not replace a traditional classroom, simply extend upon it.

Motions Sensor Devices

Another piece of gaming technology that has exciting possibilities are motion sensors like the Kinect 2.0 that comes with the new Xbox One or a stand alone device like Leap Motion. I love the idea of students and teachers being able to augment and control what they see on the board or screen. This could be 3D models of the human body all the way control to basic controls of on screen presentations. Think about how Kinect 2.0 could be used in design and technology. You only have to look at this video of Kinect and Oculus Rift from NASA to get excited about the possibilities, a powerful educational tool indeed when combine with VR. Doctors are already using it during surgery and its just a matter of time before it start to be used more in schools. Some educators are using Kinect with applications like scratch to make interactive games, whilst teaching young people how to code. With this new technology, the sensors are so powerful they can work out the heart rate of an individual or the pressure exerted on parts the body. PE, Games or Science anyone? This is another example of the gaming world crossing over into education.

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Animoby – The iPad White Board App (Videos Included)

If you are looking for an alternative to Explain Everything you should check out Animoby.

Its free on the Apple App Store as well as Google Play. It has some great features and what I like the most is the UI, it is very user friendly.

Create quality presentations using VOICE and a variety of design tools (draw, paint, type, image), and publish or share via e-mail. Animations are created when users pick a tool and simply touch the screen, and voice can accompany designs by the press of the record button. Unlike other apps that create presentions, Animoby’s sharing process is simplified due to compact file sizes it uses.

I have also been impressed with the some of the editing options for things like images. All in all a great app and well worth downloading.

 

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Zurich’s Future, History, Now – The Classroom of 2018

Future History Now is a series of films, articles and events designed to stimulate a positive way of thinking about and planning for our futures against the backdrop of major demographic, technological, workplace and social change.

Welcome to 2018! (From the Future, History, Now website)

I gave a talk at the first event on the 28th November in Central London on the classroom of 2018. It was a great evening that included some awesome talks.

Hopefully, there will be a video available soon.

SM

Developing An Effective E-Safety Policy (Presentation Included)

This is one of the presentations I gave at the ‘How to Deliver an Effective Computing Curriculum’ day by Government Knowledge on 12th November.

Special thanks to Alan MacKenzie (@esafetyadviser). For more information head over to his website: www.esafety-adviser.com