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Showing posts from February, 2017

Google Drive Webinar

Training from the comfort of your desk: We’ve had a number of requests to run webinars to share particular skills at times that hopefully suit people. The first is on using Google Drive. To make sure we run enough sessions we’ve created an online form that you can use to sign up. (DRET log in required)

Watch out for more similar informal training sessions like this in the coming weeks and months – and of course there are a range of videos at training.dret.tv


Google Drive

The eLearning team have been doing lots of training in and around Google Drive.

Google Drive lets you store any file, so you can keep photos, stories, designs, drawings, recordings, videos, documents, anything - all in one place.Your files in Drive can be reached from any smartphone, tablet, or computer. So wherever you go, your files follow.You can quickly invite others to view, download, and collaborate on all the files you want – no email attachment needed. What's even better, is that with a DRET account, you have unlimited secure storage.

Goodbye memory stick and external hard drive!

If you work for DRET, you already have a Google Drive account with unlimited storage. Click here to log in, using your usual DRET log in, or you can find a Google Drive tile on Freedom.

For those of you new to Google Drive, or if you want to introduce it to your colleagues, see our training video here (DRET log in required).
If you would like any further information or training on Google Drive, or any…

How do you think technology will improve your school in the future?

That’s the question I asked at our Google conference on the 3rd February 2017, whereby three groups of teachers and students took part in an ideas generation activity, which got them thinking about how school/work will be different in the future (3 to 5 years). These ideas needed to focus on the things they would like to see happen to improve their experience in education, as well as having fun, thinking about futuristic sci-fi utopias.
There were many ideas and discussions ongoing throughout the day, and they filled a whole wall in the Google Theatre. The difficulty in summarising the outcome of this activity into a short paragraph is that firstly, there were so many great ideas to choose from. Secondly, in a year's time we could do the same activity again and the whole focus could shift due to a release of new technology in the next year.
However, many of the ideas did in fact have a common theme, as they focused on a piece of technology to help solve a particular problem, whether…

The technology skills we need in the future

If you are an adult over 30 reading this, then since you were at school entire new industries have emerged, and boomed - centred largely around the advances in technology. As a result, we begin the need to question what technology skills our students will need in the future to be ready for the workplace upon leaving education. Whereas once the skills that employers looked for including things like typing speeds and the ability to fill in an Excel spreadsheet,  now skills such as the ability to digitally collaborate, being able to share/store data electronically and social media skills are often also looked for in potential employers.
So during our DRET Vision Day at Google HQ in London, we asked students what they thought would be important tech skills that they will need to have to be successful in the workplace. For added engagement, we let them loose with green screens!
Take a look at the video and the skills that our students think will be invaluable for the future:








Online Safety Resources

Following our recent posts regarding online safety, we though it useful to write a post regarding where to go for resources that can help adults and young people learn more.

Every school has designated adults responsible for safeguarding - yet we all have a responsibility for it, by nature of our jobs. In the same way, we all have a responsibility for online safety - whether we are the appointed person or not. Teachers, parents, students - we all have responsibilities with regards to online safety, staying safe online and helping others do the same thing.
People have different levels of knowledge and expertise in the subject of online safety depending on their training and experience - and often it can be difficult knowing what to talk about or how to talk about it with young people, or even simply what being safe online means.

So if you want out find out more about online safety, whether you are a teacher looking for resources, a parent looking for help and guidance, a student who wa…

Internet Safety and Filtering

As part of the eLearning strategy we're setting up a new filtering system at every academy. As well as looking to make filtering more effective in managing content and warning us of any at risk behaviour, we've chosen a system that should be as unobtrusive and hassle free as possible - because we don't want the cost of making the web safe to be making the web unusable and frustrating.
We're using a product called Smoothwall. A master filtering unit maintains what the rules are and synchronises with lists of proscribed sites and terms from sources such as the Internet Watch Foundation and the Home Office, plus any additional black or white lists. We maintain one set of lists of sites that are and aren’t allowed, and one set of keywords that imply risk (eg in an internet search).

We already know who the people are on our system, so we can place them into a series of levels that decides what they can and can’t access appropriate to their role.

Each academy has its own fi…

Drawing with iPad Notes

Last week I had the opportunity to visit Mr Boswell’s Maths class at Wold Primary School and was able to see some great ways to make Effective Maths more engaging. For a portion of the lesson, the children were sat on the floor, gathered around the big screen and practising adding 10’s. Mr Boswell had split the screen into two halves so the children could see the Effective Maths activity on one side, and on the other side, there was a space for working out answers to the problems. What you can see on the right-hand side of the screen is the iPad notes app - the iPad had been mirrored using AirServer and the drawing tools that are available in the notes app transform the screen into a digital mini whiteboard. Therefore, the teacher can be stood with the iPad out the way of the board, so as not to struggle writing on the board whilst the children are sat around it, and still be able to show the working out of the sums as they are working through them as a class. Also, with the ability t…

Safer Internet Day 2017

It's a bit of a misleading title really. Shouldn't we be safe on the internet every day? Shouldn't we be teaching internet safety all of the time - not just for one day a year? Of course we should, and of course we do. However, Safer Internet Day provides schools with an opportunity to talk to pupils about a specific focus or area of internet safety, and the UK Safer Internet Centre provides schools with lots of age-appropriate resources, assemblies, and talking points to discuss with students of all ages.

I visited Charles Read Academy last week and along with Miss King, ran sessions for Year 7 pupils centred around the power of image. We were joined by governors and school leaders, which provided a great opportunity to talk about the power of online images from all viewpoints and age ranges.



Much of the discussion centred around 'selfies' - and the difference, if any, of the type of selfies posted by boys and girls. Of course we were generalising, but talk of fi…

Make Practical Elements of Lessons More Accessible with AirServer

Here is a great idea to boost engagement and make practical elements more accessible in class using two simple tools - the iPad camera and AirServer. For anyone that is not familiar with AirServer, it is a service that lets you mirror what is on your iPad screen, onto the big screen.
The children in this foundations class are frequently trying different types of foods, on this day they were trying Chinese food. It turns out that AirServer stretches further than the room you are in, as the teacher was able to prepare the food from the kitchen in a room next door and share the process via the big screen. The children were all very excited watching the food they were about to try, being prepared in front of their eyes. They were all gathered around the board and identifying the different types of foods as they came on the screen. What’s more, everyone was able to participate because they could all see the board, instead of having to crowd into a small environment to see.

In this example,…

A StrongCore for Future Professional Development for eLearning

We had a wonderful opportunity to visit Google UK with a large group of staff and students last week, which we've reported on our website, tweeted about at length and written up by Lucy and Levi from Thomas Hinderwell Academy in Scarborough. The day was interesting in many ways - bringing together people from all over England, meeting some great people at Google who talked about their organisational culture and business and trying some cool technology (VR being the one that got photographed most and probably got the biggest Oo and Ah on the day).

Around that though, we were busy. We ran three workshops to further develop our vision and longer term thinking for eLearning. We're currently working through a genuinely ambitious and exciting project to accelerate the adoption of new technologies, increase our confidence and agility in using them and build deep rooted improvement networks - but if theory is to be believed, that time is exactly the one to start thinking about what c…