Creating connected and collaborative learners. Where should their good ideas come from?

October 26, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Digital Era, e-learning 

Over the last few weeks everywhere I go I have been hearing a recurring theme about the nature of successful learning which resonates with my own long held view. The word which best sums this theme up is ‘collaboration’. It seems as a society we are at last increasingly realising that growing our young minds through interdependence is just as important if not more so as fostering independence. Whilst watching a video by Steve Johnson I was struck by how important it is that we have encourage our learners to be connected and collaborative for success. The video is called Where do good ideas come from? and it is well worth 5 minutes of your time to watch.

A number of things struck me within the piece including the premise that many great ideas are created from a number of different ‘hunches’ from a range of different people. Surely it is in this context that we should increasingly recognise the value of shared and creative learning which is not constrained by individual formal assessment? For me a quote at the end of the video sums this up.

‘That’s the real lesson of where good ideas come from, that chance favours the connected mind.’  Steve Johnson

More thoughts on engaging the digital learner. Thinking at every desk.

October 22, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Digital Era, e-learning 

Earlier in the week I wrote a post on Bloom’s Taxonomy and the digital learner. At the same time I put out a call for responses and have had so many thoughtful comments by email and on the blog. I wanted to share one in particular from Greg Wheeler which has been sent in today. He challenges the validity of Bloom’s and suggests a different way forward in engaging our digital learners.

His comment is below in full:

Thanks for the post on Bloom’s Taxonomy. It’s an incredibly popular paradigm for teaching thinking skills. However, it’s also outdated. Yes, it’s been updated by a few researchers over the years, but these updates have only tweaked the model and have not accounted for cutting-edge research about teaching and learning. I recently wrote a short article for ASCD Express on the need to “upgrade” from Bloom’s:

As educators, we haven’t been clear in OUR thinking about what thinking is. I’ve had an opportunity to study under Dr. Derek Cabrera, an educational theorist who has studied thinking, knowledge, and how we build ideas for the past 20 years. His work has resulted in the DSRP Method, a way to teach thinking skills within the context of ANY lesson, with any student, in any grade. For teachers using the DSRP Method, it’s changing the way they teach and the way their students see the world.

I would encourage educators who are interested in thinking skills (hopefully all educators!) to check out the DSRP Method online at:

There’s also a free course about the research behind the theory available at:

Rethinking the ‘Natives and Immigrants’ debate. Bloom’s Taxonomy for the digital learner.

October 19, 2010 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Digital Era, e-learning 

Yesterday I wrote a piece on teenagers and the social media environment they are living in. This resulted in so many great discussions with various colleagues through twitter, face to face and on the phone. Matt huges also passed me a great prezi which I have looked at three times now and I think it would be really useful to pass it on. As I have often said, the students I taught 10 years ago are dramatically different to those I teach today. Whilst the class of 2000 were more digital immigrant than native those who I teach today live in an immersive world of communication where online is all pervasive.

When thinking about our learners and their learning environments almost all teachers will be familiar with Bloom’s Taxonomy which classifies learning objectives into levels. The key question which arises is how does Bloom’s Taxonomy remain relevant in such a fast changing learning environment where the very nature of the ‘learning’ is continually being reshaped. The presentation which Matt passed on to me looks at the response to this through the creation of Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy. This identifies the nature of the learning which can take place within our digital environments and classifies this into levels. Well worth 5 minutes of your time and really made me reflect all over again on how important collaboration is within our 21st Century learning environments.

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.

Snow days 1 and 2-What did our students do?

February 8, 2009 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Learning Gateways, Twynham School 

You know in England when the weather is genuinely bad- towns like Christchurch actually get snow. This is a very rare occasion as we are in one of the mildest parts of the country, by the coast and protected by the Isle of Wight. It was therefore a genuine shock to all of us at school last Monday morning to find we had to close the school for the first time in the last few decades. By Tuesday the conditions were even worse and we had to take the frustrating decision to close for a second day. Having sent the students off to enjoy a day of sledging and snow ball fighting our teachers spent the day at home working remotely from home. This is perfectly easy with SharePoint driving our Staff Gateway alongside Exchange which makes email our most used staff resource.

It was only on Tuesday afternoon when a member of staff posed a question to me by email that I started to think about student usage of our Learning Gateways. They had no access to school computers throughout the whole of Monday. Did any of them log in with so much snow fun to be had? A quick check of the stats showed that nearly 50% of students spent time on our Learning Gateways throughout Monday and this trend continued on Tuesday. One parent even called the local BBC radio station (Radio Solent) to thank the school and a particularly innovative Sociology teacher for providing such high quality resources online. Christchurch! Christchurch!