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Meet the team

Guy Shearer

Guy (@guyshearer) is DRET's Head of IT and Data and has worked as a teacher since 1987 in both the state and international sectors and has held deputy and head teacher roles.  He taught ICT and Computer Science and was recognised by Microsoft as a UK and European Innovative Teaching Award winner and for making an outstanding contribution to developing IT in education. 

Whilst seconded to Northamptonshire County Council, Guy established and led the Learning Discovery Centre, an innovation unit and testbed for integrating the use of IT and web technologies within day to day teaching to improve engagement and rates of progress. 

He was the Head of Enterprise & Innovation for the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust, working with Professor David Hargreaves on the highly regarded Personalising Learning programme. Guy led the national programme of support for the new key stage 3 National Curriculum and set up the Enterprise Network. Guy is the overall lead for the DRET eLearning strategy and the link for the Primary South cluster. 




Ben Thompson

A long-time primary school teacher and SLT member who has previously worked across KS2 both in the UK and internationally. Ben has been involved in 1:1 device deployment and integrating technology in the classroom for many years and is a certified Google Trainer and Microsoft Innovative Educator Trainer. In addition to teaching, Ben has been involved with both education and the private sector in Asia and the USA. Ben leads eLearning for Secondary West and Primary South clusters of DRET schools. As well as Google, he has a keen interest in school radio, movie making, green screening and Raspberry Pi. Don't ask him about his chickens if you want to get away any time soon.















Yasmin Tuck

Yasmin has a background in both resource development and teaching, specifically in the ICT and Computing specialism. She has taught both on Further and Higher Education courses and has also briefly assessed ICT Apprenticeships. Before starting with the Trust she worked as a Learning Technologist for a large northern college, and helped to plan and create online courses and delivered eLearning training for teachers. Within the team Yasmin is probably the most expert in Microsoft products but really loves any technology or apps that will make life better or easier. Yasmin leads eLearning for secondary east and primary north academies.

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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…

OneNote and Google Drive in Harmony

Many of our staff use OneNote well and happily, as well as being a great place to keep everything for a topic in one place presented visually and annotated (in many ways better than with a specialist interactive board app) it is useful to share what you have had on the big screen with your class with a single link.

Most also use Google Drive as the main place they keep all their files to collaborate, share resources and work on them from anywhere.

When word reached us that Brendan Brannigan from Bringhurst Primary School had combined the two and now works on his OneNote files at home and school using Google Drive we asked to make a guide for colleagues - this video (also available on dret.tv, login required) is the result.

I must admit, after watching it I had a "why on earth hadn't I thought of this?" moment - there is absolutely nothing wrong with OneDrive which is where OneNote prefers to live, but it is one more thing to worry about.

Now all I have to do is work out…

Guest blog post - Pixi Maths

We recently started a new Spring cohort of our Challenge for eLearning CPD course with colleagues from the Corby area, including the author of Pixi Maths, Danielle Moosajee.
As a plenary activity for the first session, we used and demo'd Plickers - 'a simple tool that lets teachers collect real-time formative assessment data without the need for student devices.' It's a great tool which we've blogged about before, and here are Danielle's thoughts on it after using it class post-training:

I left the first Challenge 4 eLearning session full of biscuits and inspired! In a way, it was a shame that the Easter break fell so shortly afterwards as I was keen to try out some of the things we’d been introduced to.
A couple of years ago, a colleague had shown me the Plickers app. Students each receive a QR code with 4 orientations (A, B, C and D) and they hold their cards up to be scanned by an iPad in answer to a multiple choice question. Previously, I had laminated these …