Skip to main content

Two Stars and a Wish from 2017

Looking forward to 2018, here are three of my favourite posts from 2017. Thank you to everyone, both colleagues at DRET and from the wider education community that have shared ideas with us and given us feedback on the materials shared here. Remember some of the very best material is collated at http://tips.dret.cloud

Moderation Using Digital Tools was a really popular post by Ben in March. It arose from groups of colleagues asking for ways to do something important and useful in a less time consuming and more effective way. Technology often promises to make lives easier and work better but doesn't always deliver: this approach building on two tools that have become mainstream for us in 2017 - collaboration on a document online and video conferencing lived up to the bill.

One from Yasmin that I think marked an important step forward this year concerned DRET.TV - introducing DRET.TV 2.0 - Office 365 Video surprised us by the speed it was adopted in the second half of 2016-17 with teachers creating channels and video content to share with their classes and each other with an incredibly rich mix of ideas. Learning that Microsoft were going to close the service and replace it with Stream wasn't a great surprise - we put in a huge amount of work to re-imagine DRET.TV this summer using the new tool, keeping the metaphor of a "class channel" in a service that is actually far more flexible and powerful (and complex) and I think the new-look system has gone from strength to strength supporting new initiatives such as the Monday Debate. The Monday Debate channel does something dead simple - creates a space to put out videos every week to be shared and commented on. It allows a small number of colleagues to prepare and share material each week so that every single class across our 34 schools can engage in an age-appropriate discussion about a common topic and share their thoughts.

Two years ago without Stream or Yammer we would have struggled to be honest, probably sending huge attachments to each school to go on their network and having no idea at all of the impact or use of particular videos to inform future planning. Now it is child's play to support and deliver.

The wish, and coincidentally not just our most popular blog post of the year, but in terms of spin-offs and emails from interested people outside DRET, is the whole "ditch that pen drive" thing. We took a decision back in August to ban external hard drives and pen drives from use in our schools - to do with data protection and security - but it has turned into a discussion about how to use technology effectively and better in ways we hadn't imagined. Today, as I write this is the day 1 of the new era.

Here is my original blog post, but do check the whole Google Drive thread of the blog for a host of ideas and spin off material that came out of it. I know that as a team it has led us to some really interesting conversations about how people can not just access their material where and when they need to (in ways far better than using some medieval bit of plastic and metal on a lanyard) but also collaborate and share much more effectively.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

So External Hard Drives and Pen Drives are going to be banned...

We've taken the decision to ban external hard drives and pen-drives from all Trust computers and from all of our premises with effect from 1st January 2018. From that date they just won't work when you plug them into one of our computers. This article hopefully points the way for how to continue to work successfully without that trusted friend. This could inconvenience people - people that use them and me*

Every school still has one or two people that carry everything to and from work every day on that external disc they bought four or five years ago - I know of one colleague who has more than ten year's material on there, and another that lost everything when the drive failed and they had no backup. The ban comes from a security review where these devices were identified as one of our highest risks because:

From a data protection point of view, we know people know not to put any kind of personal or confidential data onto one, but there is always the risk of human error.The…

eLearning Scrapbook of Ideas

Our eLearning Conference is coming up fast and a number of ideas and mini-projects are coming up to release for it. One of these is what we've been calling internally a 'Playbook' then a 'Scrapbook.'

The premise is simple - we have the privilege of working with a lot of very clever people around the DRET Academies and often, something to them that seems mundane or just something they thought they'd show us as an afterthought turns out to be an idea we're blown away by and need to share. Over the year this has happened during visits to other people, at staff CPD events and through the blog, but we wanted to collect them together better. We have picked up many of these snippets and are making "top tips" website for our staff that will be publicly available with help videos etc very shortly.

Sometimes though you need a "brochure" version - on paper - to get attention. So we've packaged together a sample and had it printed for delegates…

Time Saving Tips

I work on a computer everyday, I check, send and respond to emails, I update my calendar, arrange meetings and visits and I create and share resources whilst collaborating with a team of people. They are just a few of my daily activities, and if I can find a way to make any of those jobs easier or quicker then I will. The point is, there are many ways to carry out a task when working on a computer, and there are many technologies that can help you with tasks that you may never have thought about or heard of. For example, for 10 minutes of the day you may stand at the photocopier, waiting for it to become free, and then 9 times out of 10 it is usually having a meltdown. So, if you could save those 10 minutes everyday by scanning documents using an app on your phone, then you probably would.

So, we’ve put together a list of our favourite Time Saving Tips - as a first installment of a series of tips and ideas that we will be releasing. If you are interested in saving some time, or workin…