Student safety with Online Learning: Twynham School Case Study

October 8, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Learning, SharePoint, Twynham School 

Around 6 months ago Twynham School was involved in a sequence of videos for BECTA on the value of Online Learning. I have never seen these until one of the developers at our school showed them to me this morning. They were posted by BECTA on YouTube in June with little fanfare (or anyone telling us). I will not bore you with all 4- you can get those from YouTube here if interested. This is the ‘are they safe online’ video.

If you havent see the original Twynham School video that was done nearly a year ago for our winning of the BECTA ICT Excellence award for Learning Beyond the Classroom then I thought I would add this here for your viewing.

The Social Media Revolution and teenagers

September 6, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Digital Era, Online Learning 

Earlier today I posted a blog on The Social Media Revolution and wrote some thoughts on why we need to adapt to the changes that currently are and increasingly will affect the way we communicate and interact. The Social Media Revolution is a crucial change in society which has a major impact on our role as teachers supporting students in a learning environment. Most of the people reading this blog are likely to be focused predominantly on the Online Learning aspect of schools and the impact of Social Media is most profoundly felt in this area. So the other question which I wanted to raise today was how are teenagers responding to The Social Media Revolution?

I thought it might be useful to put together a few resources of different depth which I have been reading and viewing. These cover the impact of Social Media on teenagers from three countries: UK, Australia and the US. For a light bite take a look at this short YouTube video from Melbourne Australia where off the cuff interviews took place on the street asking teens how the use social media. Turn the volume down to avoid the evil music intro.

At the end of the summer one news item caused a media storm in the UK which the Guardian called Twitter is not for teens. This article covered a 15 year old called Matthew Robson who was asked to write a research article on how teenagers consume media. The full text of his research can be found here and although it is not shocking and a total surprise at the same time there is some really good information here.

Finally, from the US I have recently been watching an excellent lecture by Danah Boyd discussing her research on patterns of use in social media by teenagers. Although this is 40 minutes long it is well worth taking some time out when school has settled down to watch this. If you are time poor then pick up the education theme from 29 minutes.

The Social Media Revolution and impact on schools

September 6, 2009 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Digital Era, Online Learning 

The summer is now officially over as schools have had their influx of students and next week is the first full week back throughout England. One of the biggest changes we are experiencing at Twynham school is managing a large increase in our Sixth Form over the last 3 years and we are close to approaching 400 17 and 18 year olds enrolled last week. One of the big challenges I think schools face with all students aged 11-18 but especially those of Sixth Form age is making online learning relevant. One of the things I have been talking a lot about with colleagues within school and across the country is constant evolution. The things we used for Online Learning two years ago are unlikely to still be relevant today.

At the heart of all this thinking about the need for evolution in Online Learning is the idea of The Social Media Revolution. Over the last two years the Internet has undergone a massive transformation which has changed the way teenagers live their lives. At the moment there is a great video doing the rounds, created in the ‘Shift Happens’ style called The Social Media Revolution. It is very unoriginal of me to stick it on my blog and jump on the bandwagon but if you havent seen it then it is well worth a look.
The Social Media Revolution is already having  a profound impact on how we engage with students and how they learn. Those entering the many 6th Form institutions around the country this week joined secondary schools in the same year YouTube and Facebook went live. Having started teaching ten years ago the students I had to teach how to use Microsoft Word then bear no resemblance to the near Digital Natives who spend their life sharing music and videos with each other whilst playing video games with people all over the world. Thinking a further 5 years from now my 6 year old nephew who I have blogged about here and here will be joining secondary school for the first time this week. They are pure digital natives who have only ever sat at a computer in a Web 2.0 world. The Social Media Revolution is coming and in fact is already here. How will you respond?

The Achievement Show 2009- still time to book

I have been a little remiss in not keeping up to date in sharing some of the excellent CPD which is taking place at the moment. By far one of the best value for money opportunities is taking place next week at the Emirates Stadium- the notice is short admittedly but maybe you can make a Monday morning pitch to your Head!

*Stop press- if you are attending the Achievement Show please tweet with #achieve2009

This Tuesday 16th June 2009 sees the second annual Achievement Show held by The Specialist Schools and Academies Trust (SSAT). This is an exceptional event which showcases the work of schools involved in the Leading Edge Programme run by The SSAT. For me at £99 this is the most cost effective CPD opportunity in the school year.  Take a look at the schedule online and if your school is quiet on Tuesday next week (Year 11, 12 and 13 may all be away and exam season is easing off) see if you can get to London. Booking this late can still be done although they are nearly sold out. You can do so by contacting 

Come and see me presenting on our work at Twynham School

If you are coming along to the Achievement Show on Tuesday do please come and see me presenting if you are interested. The focus will be on raising achievement through a learning platform. I am on at 11.45 am at the New Technologies Village which it would appear is the first area next to the event entrance.

Generation Y moves into the cloud with OnLive.. YouTube a greater influence than MTV

As a teacher of 10 years I spend a lot of my time thinking about how to engage students in their learning and understand (but not be in) their culture.  Last month I ran a series of blogs looking at teen culture, what their motivation points are and how we can engage them with online learning and technology in general. As a recap here are the posts which relate to this topic:

  1. Digital natives coming to a school near you
  2. Using SharePoint to engage teens without web 2.0
  3. SharePoint as on Online Learning tool for teens
  4. Student Collaboration in SharePoint forums
  5. Snow days 1 and 2-What did our students do?

In the second post above I outlined the increasing influence of online mediums over the entertainment of older generations. Music is clearly the number one driving force for teens followed closely by gaming. Just take a look at this preview video for a new gaming service launched this week called OnLive.


There is also an interesting article on the BBC today showing that in the 15-24 age range more people watch music (interesting phrase- watch music) on YouTube than television. It would appear that these two major influences have been enhanced and developed by the coming of the Internet and particularly broadband. Although the era of cloud computing is not yet fully here it can only be a matter of time before high speed Internet completely changes the way we use devices in the home and elsewhere. Returning to the idea of my nephew who I blogged about earlier in the week, I genuinely believe that the use of cloud computing and wifi will dominate the lives of young people both in school and at home within the next decade.

ICT Register- sharing and finding good practice

February 20, 2009 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Online Learning, Online Reporting 

How can you find out what good ICT practice exists in schools throughout the world? Perhaps the most effective resource available on the internet is the ICT Register. Created by the SSAT in association with BECTA the ICT register showcases best practice in ICT in education. You can apply to join the register if you have particular strengths you wish to share. If you are looking for support in ICT you can search for a school with particular strengths and request further input.

 The main ICT Register themes this year are:

  1. Parental Engagment
  2. Self Review
  3. Learning Platforms
  4. E-safety

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