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Showing posts from October, 2017

Thoughts from a Chair of Governors

The Star Classroom equipment is a great classroom set up in terms of the hardware and software; but like any tool, it is only effective if used in the right way and in the right hands. One thing that really helps maximise its use is having visionary teachers and school leaders who are able to see not only the immediate benefits, but also the potential. One school that has taken things to the next level is Hogsthorpe Primary school - and here are the thoughts from the Chair of Governors on how they have used Star Classroom to address some of the difficulties they have faced in the past in terms of their location.
"I am extremely proud to be the Chair of Governors for Hogsthorpe Primary Academy. As a DRET Appointed Governor, I feel it is important to work for the best of what the Trust has to offer in terms of enrichment opportunities for the children at Hogsthorpe but also how the use of technology can help make life easier for the hard working staff at the Academy. I will be hones…

Latest Featured Resources

Our Trust-wide Resource Library at resources.dret.cloud is full of Key Stage searchable resources, ready for downloading and adapting.

For those outside of the David Ross Education Trust, and those without a dret.cloud login, we regularly feature useful resources that are available for all to use. Last month we featured a set of History resources on the American West for example.

This month, and in keeping with the Halloween theme at this time of year, we feature a set of English resources aimed at Key Stage 3 pupils on the theme of 'Monsters'. In these folders you will find more than 8 lesson's worth of beastly materials dedicated to designing and describing monsters, comparing monsters such as Dracula and Frankenstein's monster and creating spooooky settings that monsters might like to call home: a real scream.....










Find and download the full set of ghastly 'Monsters' resources in our 'Featured Resources' pages at resources.dret.cloud. They are a thri…

iPad Essentials Awards

Members of Malcolm Arnold Academy's Creative Design Department this week earned their 'iPad Essentials' Awards following a successful workshop.

A few minutes after the initial setup,  the team were taking and editing photos, installing apps from our Self Service app store, getting creative with Snapseed, sharing files with each other on Google Drive and mirroring to the classroom board - the enthusiasm was contagious!

The iPad itself fits perfectly with a Creative Design department - using the camera as a visualiser to see demonstrations clearly on the classroom board is often a game changer for teachers, and with tonnes of creative apps available there is a wealth of possibilities. Everyday tasks like taking pictures of student's work and printing them become far easier - with teachers able to take photos and upload to Google Drive, enabling technicians to be able to print at a later date: hassle free and saving lots of time.

In a few weeks, we will be back working w…

#MondaysDebate Project Uses Technology to Bring Together Thousands of Students

Doing anything at scale across 12000 students and 2000 staff can be a real challenge - but sometimes something as simple as a great idea linked to technologies you're already using can take on a life of its own.

Our Monday Debate programme is intended to engage all our students in debates about issues and current affairs - to make it work we've used several parts of our eLearning Toolkit.

Microsoft Stream (or as we call it, dret.tv) gives us a private video sharing service that allows us to publish each week a series of age appropriate stimulus videos that we know every teacher can access to use with their groups in the way that best works for them.



Microsoft Yammer allows us to run a professional social network in which staff can plan and propose ideas for the project, and share the outcomes from their groups with their colleagues.



Google Forms, with the ability to upload footage, will soon allow staff to upload videos from their discussions to share - ideally we'd have a…

Badges, Certificates, Awards

We have issued over 300 internal eLearning awards this academic year so far, following either face-to-face training sessions or via our collection of online courses. The most popular awards to date have been Google Drive Essentials, iPad Essentials and Star Classroom Essentials - core awards which are a gateway to our Challenge for eLearning CPD pathway.

In addition to this in-house collection of awards, which can be found at awards.dret.cloud, staff have been working hard to gain external eLearning qualifications and awards which recognise skills in using technology for better learning and student outcomes. These external awards include:

Google Certified Educator 
Apple Teacher
Microsoft Innovative Educator
Class Dojo Mentor

DRET schools including Charles Read Academy, Havelock Academy and Bringhurst Primary to name just a few now have teachers that have been awarded external awards and qualifications by Google, Apple and Microsoft - with lots more to follow. What's great about these…

Ditch the memory stick - a teacher's perspective

After Christmas, external storage devices will cease to work on our school systems - here's some thoughts on moving to cloud storage from Mr Brannigan at Bringhurst Primary School in Leicestershire:




Goodbye memory stick, hello Google Drive

Twelve. That's the number of memory sticks I’ve gone through in 7 years.

When I started my teacher training, lecturers used to joke about memory sticks - “It’s got my life’s work on it”. It wasn’t until I started gathering resources after resources; worksheets that covered every lesson and topic; and countless assessment evidence and test results that I started to sit up and take notice to what those lecturers were saying. This thing really IS my life!

Each memory stick earned its place on the same keyring as my car keys. As I used up the memory in one, another, with a much bigger storage capacity, took its place. Then I bought memory sticks with complicated encryption keys and fancy LED lights. But what became latest accessory quickly challenge…

Google Slides new additions

For many, it's a straight-up battle of PowerPoint vs Google Slides for making slideshows or teaching resources. Since the introduction of Office Mix to PowerPoint, many teachers we work with use both: Office Mix enabling looped video creation which often acts as the extra adult in the room, and Slides being a sharable slide deck full of lesson content.

Recently Google has added lots more features to Slides, and the great thing about G Suite updates is that many new features that get added are suggestions made by the people that actually use the product, i.e people like us. The new features, although subtle, are actually ones that we would use on a near-daily basis.
The ability to link and sync slides from other presentations is a great addition - so means you no longer have to copy slides from previous presentations. Great for teachers who perhaps want to use yesterday's plenary slide as today's starter slide for example, or create new slide decks but use slides from previ…