Tag Archives: Classroom

Desks of doom #blimage

Desks of doom! #blimage

In response to Steve Wheeler’s invitation, here’s my response to his #blimage request. But first, Steve explains #blimage as:

“You send an image or photograph to a colleague with the challenge that they have to write a learning related blog post based on it. Just make sure the images aren’t too rude. The permutations are blimmin’ endless.” Steve Wheeler, 2015

The above (banner) image is an edited version of the challenge, an image Steve set those of us who takes up his challenge – a row of fairly old flip-top desks.

The thing is, I hadn’t thought of these for years, but I sat at one from when I started at secondary grammar school to when I left after completing my A-levels! That’s a looong time (including resits)!!

So, what do they mean to me?  Continue reading


How has technology transformed the classroom?

Last month I was asked to provide a few lines about how I believe Apple has transformed classrooms. Unfortunately for the organisers I didn’t want to concentrate on just what one company, or even one single piece of technology., has done to ‘transform’ or enhance the classroom. I also don’t agree we should concentrate on one single entity or company as being more important than another. So I wrote a more generic piece about my experiences with changes in technology, as well as its use, who uses it, and why, in classrooms. From this they could take a few choice snippets as it suited them. Here’s what I wrote:

“Classroom learning, and for that matter learning in general, has been transfdormed by the rise of mobile computing. Smartphones and tablets have brought about the ‘always-on’ availability of anyone with the funds to buy the devices. Being connected to the Internet enables interaction and engagement with networks of learners from any locations, from coffee shops to shopping centres, to libraries and schools – it is this that has transformed the use of technology for learning.

The rise of the App Store, whilst not a ‘technology’ per se, has brought about such a change in approach and delivery of learning resources to teachers, parents, and children – at no other time have so many passionate and talented individuals been able to design and implement such a varied range of learning resources, and have the ability to reach a global audience. This is the power of the App Store (once you filter out the dross and poorly designed Apps).”

Continue reading

Facebook Guide for Educators: A tool for teaching and learning

Facebook Guide for Educators

Facebook Guide for Educators: A tool for teaching and learningThis guide, written in collaboration with many organisations including Apps For Good and the Gates Foundation, is “aimed at educators working with young people within schools, colleges, universities, work based learning, formal and informal learning settings.”

“The guide aims to be practical and hands on, but is not exhaustive. Innovative uses of Facebook are being developed all of the time and as such we have created a Facebook for Educators Page run by educators for educators, to share their experiences and recommendations across the UK and beyond.”

By looking at how Facebook is already being used it reports on how it could be used to

  • support subject teaching across the curriculum,
  • support out of school hours learning,
  • encourage informal social learning,
  • enable easy communication between students, teachers and parents, and to
  • support the development of digital citizenship skills  Continue reading
The Myth of Average: Todd Rose at TEDxSonomaCounty

Designing for the average student [video]

In this TEDx talk Todd Rose compares the difficulties and issues encountered by the US Air Force in the 1950’2 and 1960’s in a severe drop in performance in it’s fighter pilots to the drop in performance in today’s education. The comparison is the design of the cockpit / classroom.

YouTube: Todd Rose, the myth of average

Guess what .. the Air Force found out the hard way that there is no such thing as the ‘average’ pilot. Todd argues that isn’t it about time that education and policy makers figured out that there is no such thing as an ‘average’ students, and that we should be more flexible in how we design learning. Continue reading

The Classroom of Tomorrow #edtech

I just saw this video and wanted to share it … but also to criticise it, sorry.

YouTube: The Classroom of Tomorrow

On the face of it it’s a good and well presented demonstration about how mobile or modern technology can be used in classrooms .. but this is what disappointed me:

  • The student at the start is using his device in the classroom. While this is obviously the point of the video I would have thought that the classroom of tomorrow has no walls, no boundaries – so this student could have been anywhere (school, library, friends house, cafe, home, gym, bus-stop, beach, car, etc.).
  • The students in the gym are doing nothing and looking bored while their instructor works something out on his phone. A good instructor would have had them warming up or doing something before getting the device out, and not let them sit around?
  • Continue reading
Venn Diagram on Learning Attitudes

Learning Attitudes #eLearning

Credit to Joachim Stroh on Google+ for this graphic, in honour of the post by Euan Semple called “Dumbing down and victimhood“:

Venn Diagram on Learning Attitudes

Euan’s original post states:

“I have to confess I get frustrated when people complain about technology dumbing us down. The fear is often expressed that short attention spans will be forced on us by Twitter’s 140 character updates or that we will all succumb to mob mentality as memes sweep through Facebook.”

and Joachim replies in his G+ post:

“I think because of the tremendous changes we see in education and at work, the sets (attitudes) are beginning to overlap more and more. In Euan’s words: ‘Most of us will be all right’.”

Thank you both – the image above is a great encapsulation of learning as it stands now for many, the mix between ‘have-to’, ‘need-to’, and ‘want-to’, nicely grouped into School, Work, and Life. Thankfully there is little in my learning that is ‘have-to’, a little of ‘need-to’ and plenty of ‘want-to’ – perhaps this is why I like what I do and have a passion be better at it?

Introduction to Technology Integration #edtech

YouTube: An Introduction to Technology Integration

Watch this, it’s great:

“What I think is really exciting about what we’re seeing now is that technology is being used to fundamentally transform what the classroom is, fundamentally transform what you can do with the classroom.”

“I think to define technology integration it’s really using whatever resources you have to the best of your abilities. Technology is a tool, it’s what you do with that tool, what you can make, what you allow the students to make, that’s really what technology is about. If you can do this lesson without technology, that’s great. But if you can do it better with technology then that’s why you use it, that’s why you use tools.”

“I am truly seeing a world where the person who’s in the role of teacher is really the facilitator, and if you can facilitate your students to create great work and work alongside them to do that, that’s amazing to me.”

“It’s not about the mode of creation, it’s not about the tool. It’s about the learning, it’s about the process, it’s about the look on my student’s faces, the fact that they can stay focused, motivated, engaged, and they’re sharing ideas really makes learning joyful.”

David Hopkins

Social Media and the Classroom

From Professor Kahlil Marrar and Assistant Professor Eric Landahl at DePaul University, this video is a great introduction, from the academic point of view, on why social media can or should be used in the classroom, but also how:

“I think that our role is to sort of guide students towards seeing social networking sites as not simply this implement they can use in order to discuss ideas that do not relate to their education. Rather it could be tools they can use for their education: to advance their education, to collaborate on projects, to talk about homework assignments, to perhaps engage in peer review of one anothers works.”

“The nice thing about social networking is it allows you a sort of  an early warning about problems, and it also allows you a continuous process that shows what students are learning. ”

“What we suffer from today is the explosion of social networking, the explosion of communication, and the danger with those kinds of  explosions is that we don’t know where to turn to, they have no rhyme or reason, there’s no one way to utilise them. In which case it’s up to each professor to basically understand the role in the social networking world, but also understand exactly how you want to use social networking. And this clearly begins with defining an outcome.”

YouTube: Social Media and the Classroom

Flipped Classroom

The Flipped Classroom Infographic

So, after all these weeks and months seeing people talk about the ‘flipped’ classroom I can finally say I am beginning to understand a little about it … thanks mainly to this infographic.

Thanks for Sue Beckingham (@suebecks) for showing me infographic.

Click to view: What is a flipped classroom — and why now?

Do you have experience(s) of the flipped classroom, on either side of it (student or teacher) you’d like to share with us?

Update: have a look at this post for further examples of the Flipped Classroom(s) in action: 15 schools using flipped classrooms

Apple iPad

iPad – more resources on whether it is any good in the classroom

The iPad is here, and there seems to be no escaping the fact (even though it’s not in the UK yet). I wrote previously about links and resources I kept finding in a previous post – iPad, is it any good for the classroom or learning – at the beginning of April.

Here we are at the beginning of May and people are writing about it with more authority as they are actually using and trying it out. Here are a few I’ve found useful and think you might too.

Jodi Harrison; iPad on Campus:

“Within higher education, there are a variety of aspirations, expectations, skills, and abilities. The iPad will be helpful to some, and to others it won’t make the slightest difference. By focusing on what we do with technology, instead of the technology itself, we put our institutions in the best possible position to increase the value of what we provide to our students.”

Scott Weidig; Love your feedback – The iPad for English Language Learners:

“The overriding objective in providing the iPad, as opposed to a different computing platform, is to provide ELL [English Language Learners] students with current technology that will allow them to access thousands of learning applications. This access will positively impact their English language acquisition in ways that would not be afforded to them on conventional computing devices.”

Lauren Barak;  Educators weigh the pros and cons of the Apple device:

“But ordering the devices for every classroom? That’s not on the immediate agenda. Knowing that applications are still being developed—with just 310 educational ones available on a recent check of the iTunes store—[Beth] Knittle says it’s critical to try the devices on a smaller scale before committing to larger integration.”

Miss Signal; iPad in Education:

“For a piece of technology that has created such a buzz through the world and the education sector it has been interesting to read through many articles and see the difference of opinions that are circulating about the iPad. The key to this conversation though is the students – it will be about what students think about iPad in comparison to the technology they already have access to in our classrooms.”

DigMo; The iPad in your classroom:

“As a parent I see the iPad as the perfect solution for my own children. An affordable alternative to buying a laptop and a media player coupled with excellent parental controls it seems to make perfect sense.”

Nick Provenzano; The iTouch and iPad in the classroom:

“As teachers, our job is to make the information as accessible to the students. The information is out there and the students can get it without us if they really want to. We need to teach them how to find the information and the true capabilities of the devices the have. It will always be tough for teachers to learn and manage new technology in the classroom, but this movement toward free flowing, social networking, global education is not going to go away. The iPad and the iTouch could be used to knock down walls and introduce our students to a world they would never see otherwise.”

Nick Provenzano; The iPad in my classroom:

“I feel confident that I could run my classes effectively and have even more students engaged in learning if I had a full set of these in the room. I would no longer be chained to the computer lab sign up sheet. My lessons would be able to flow freely to my students and back to me without all of the walls that separate the free flow of information.”

iPad in the Classroom: First Impressions of iPad in Schools:

“My 5 year old picks the device up, navigates to an app he’s familiar with, and begins to play.  This bodes well for younger students who often spend a great deal of time learning what a mouse is, how to log in, how to open a program, and so on.  More time learning actual content is always a good thing.”

If you have any experience of using it, and even getting students working on an iPad, then please share and share alike.