teaching

Optimus Education: Computing Conference 2014 (20% Discount)

On 15th October 2014 Optimus Education are holding another one of their amazing Computing conferences.

The conference is called “Deliver and Assess Outstanding Progress in Secondary Computing“, click the link to go to the website.

I spoke at last years event and it was a fantastic day with some great speakers.

If you would like to attend this year, Optimus Education have kindly offered a 20% discount to the readers of my blog.

The promo code is ‘Britland‘.

 

The flyer for the event is embedded below, you can also download it from HERE.

My presentation from last year is below, it is entitled ‘A Guide to Creating a Creative Computing Lesson that Engages Students‘.

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’

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.

Do teachers need to be qualified? Don’t ask such silly questions

This article was originally published by The Guardian on 28th October 2013 and was a response to Anthony Seldon’s Guardian article.

Surely it goes without saying that teachers should be qualified? Apparently not.

The idea of unqualified teachers working in school is nothing new and Gove has made it clear for sometime that he feels experts in their field should be able to work in free schools and academies. It would appear that all it takes to be a teacher is subject knowledge and a passion for the subject. Can you imagine how easy teaching would be if this was true.

Our job is far more than that, which is why gaining a teaching qualification is so important. When I think back to my training year, I can see that it was the hardest 12 months of my life, closely followed by my NQT year.

I was eager to be a teacher but wouldn’t have lasted five minutes without the sort of formal training I received not only from my school but from university. Teaching is hard, students can be challenging, the job can affect you in ways you never expected. Working towards a qualification prepares you for this.

I trained alongside some incredible people at university; people that ran their own tech companies, computer programmers, some trainees with first-class degrees – people who, on paper, would be far better teachers than me. I can imagine these people would be exactly the sort that Gove would love to see in schools. The problem is, many of them did not cope well. They found it hard to deal with behaviour and students’ social problems. They struggled to communicate their vast knowledge to students. Lots of people drop out. If they had been employed by a school straight away rather than starting a PGCE they would have quit, leaving students without a teacher.

Is it not fair on the unqualified teacher, their colleagues or students to employ them without having proof that they can meet a national minimum standard. We should not be experimenting with this.

If a school sees potential in someone and wants to employ them as an unqualified teacher, then great. But that school should be willing to train this member of staff up and get them qualified. If they are not willing to train them up, I think questions need to be asked.

Could employing unqualified teachers be about saving money? They are certainly cheaper. Will unqualified teachers be less likely to be unionised? Is this an advantage for schools?

Finally, how would students and parents feel about this? If you want a carer for your child you want one with qualifications. It’s important, it gives parents confidence that carer can do the job. Social workers need to be qualified. And, teachers are social workers too, of sorts. It does not matter if you are in a free school, academy or independent school you will have to deal with pastoral problems of different kinds.

I absolutely understand that those without a teaching qualification have much to offer. My advice is to do your training, get a qualification and join a union. Teaching is so much more than standing in front of a class and knowing stuff. I wonder if Gove has heard of pedagogy. Knowing something doesn’t mean you can teach it. Teachers should be qualified.

A Guide to Delivering Creative Computing Lessons (Presentation)

This is the presentations I gave at the ‘Design and Deliver an Outstanding Secondary Computing Curriculum’ conference by Optimus Education on 15th October.

It was a really great day and I saw some fantastic presentations and talks.

(Digital) Information Literacy – Top 10 Tips for Parents and Teachers

  1. Explain that not everything on the internet is true

  2. Ask your child/student to compare information from different sites when doing research. Some sites may be biased or have a political agenda

  3. Trustworthy sites may be associated with trustworthy organisations

  4. Question what you read and look for other opinions

  5. Use keywords when searching the web to make your search more accurate. Do not just type a question – select the most important words

  6. When searching for websites and images etc try refining the search using the search tools so you are more likely to find what you want. These options are just underneath the Google search bar

  7. Encourage your child/student to read the whole article or page

  8. Information should not just be copied and pasted. It needs to be read, understood, digested and questioned

  9. Encourage your child/student to use well known sources. For example: NASA, BBC etc.

  10. Avoid using sites such as answers.yahoo.com. Anyone can contribute to these sites and the information may not be correct or accurate. If you are using Wikipedia, make sure you look out for mistakes or things that may not be true.

Year 9 Class Presentations: 2013-2014 Computing Curriculum (Free Resources)

This is the final set of classroom presentations for my Computing curriculum. You can find a link to my Computing curriculum booklet below:

Mr Britland’s Computing Curriculum 2013-2014

Last week I posted all of the presentation for the Year 7 projects and yesterday I posted the Year 8 presentations. These are for both students and teacher and include lots of useful resources.

This post contains the presentations for Year 9.

Feel free to download and use this curriculum. If you use this booklet, its projects or ideas and would like to make a donation for its continuing development, please use the link provided. I would like to keep giving this document away for free so any donation would be amazing. Please click to be redirected to my donation page.

1. Your Digital World

2. Graphic Design: Album Covers

3. Algorithms and Google

4. Programming: Raspberry Pi and Python

Year 8 Class Presentations: 2013-2014 Computing Curriculum (Free Resources)

As I am sure you have seen, I have just published my Computing curriculum for 2013-2014 which you can download from here:

Mr Britland’s Computing Curriculum 2013-2014

Last week I posted all of the presentation for the Year 7 projects. These are for both students and teacher and include lots of useful resources.

This post contains the presentations for Year 8.

Feel free to download and use this curriculum. If you use this booklet, its projects or ideas and would like to make a donation for its continuing development, please use the link provided. I would like to keep giving this document away for free so any donation would be amazing. Please click to be redirected to my donation page.

1. How the Internet Works

2. Graphic Design: Magazine Covers

3. Visual Programming: Kodu Projects

4. The Web: HTML5 and CSS3