ICT and Computing Reading catch-up

Greetings! I hope you have had a nice summer break. I’ve taken some time off, in the sense of not trying to update this website as frequently as I usually do. But I was doing some reading and writing, so I thought you may find these links interesting as you start a new school year.

Believe it or not, I started this post a week ago. It’s not that I’m a slow writer (I’m not), but I kept thinking “Ooh, that would be interesting to include” and “Ooh, that looks good too”. well, after a lot of “ooh-ing” I thought “Ooh, I’d better stop and hit the Publish button”. Just as well, because one of the conferences I mention is tomorrow – eeek! Anyway, now even this intro has started to take on a life of its own, so I’m going to stop right now. There. See? It’s just a question of self-discipline.

Back to work...

From #blimage to #blideo

Over the summer a series of posts were written as part of the #blimage challenge. This was to write a blog post based on or inspired by a particular image – hence the neologism “blimage”. Now Steve Wheeler has thrown down the gauntlet again, this time replacing “image” with “video”, giving (you guessed it) #blideo. Same sort of challenge, only based on a snippet of video instead of an image. I haven’t taken part in this yet, but may do. It’s a creative writing exercise for adults (although there’s no reason not to use with kids), and fun too.

Back to school

Teacher and blogger Shelly Terrell has written a great post: Back to School Like A Boss! 10 Survival Tips! It’s a slide show, with links to further resources. Well worth looking through.

Assessing Computing

One of the things I feel quite strongly is that teachers don’t have enough self-confidence when it comes to assessing what pupils in Computing. That’s why I wrote this post: Professional judgement in assessing Computing. I hope you find it useful.

Flipping the classroom

I’m not a great fan of the so-called “flipped classroom” as far as how it is usually presented is concerned (see that link for some of my thoughts on the subject). However, I think the general principle of flipping is sound, if one takes a common-sense, pragmatic view (ie not expect all teachers to spend 20 hours a week recording or finding videos). Here’s an article I wrote on the subject: Making the flipped classroom work. The link is to my article, but the first part of it appears on the Tech & Learning UK’s website. I’ve linked to the article there rather than on my own website because they are featuring quite a few articles on the flipped classroom theme, which you may find interesting.

Reluctant young writers

I wrote a blog post for 2Simple about how several of their Purple Mash applications can be used by teachers to get youngsters writing. You may be surprised to earn that not all of the applications I talk about are very obviously related to writing – but they work just the same! Here’s the article:

5 ways to inspire writing with Purple Mash. Disclosure: This was a paid-for article, but I approached them because I like their software so much.

Book review

Here’s a very nice “dipping into” book, with contributors from teachers who teach subjects across the board: Book review: Don’t Change the Lightbulbs. Disclosure: the publishers sent me a complimentary review copy, but that didn’t influence my review.


Here are two conferences you may be interested in.

Research ed

Organised by Tom Bennett, ResearchEd is a conference that features talks by people who actually have some evidence to back up their point of view (that’s a novel idea, isn’t it?). It’s tomorrow, ie Saturday 5th September. It’s my first one, and I’m looking forward to it. Here’s the link: ResearchEd 2015.

Computing conference

Here’s a good-looking conference coming up in September, so you have plenty of time to arrange cover! The future of computing in schools. It’s another action-packed – well, speaking-packed – agenda, covering issues like how have things been going with the new Computing curriculum, teachers’ skills and meeting the needs of industry. Ed tech luminaries such as Oliver Quinlan (Nesta) and Debbie Forster (Apps for Good) will be speaking. Disclosure: The organisers of the conference, Westminster Forum, have given me a complimentary ticket so I can report on it afterwards.

How much “free” time do you get?

Calling all leaders of Computing in schools: how much time do you get to actually do the job? The last time I was Head of Department (ICT and Computing) I was given 5 hours out of a 25 hour timetable. It sounds a lot, but I had to look after a department of 4 (excluding myself) and a technician, and bring a moribund subject out of the doldrums, plus all the normal marking, preparation and covering absent colleagues – can’t you hear the strains of a violin as you read this? Anyway, I wanted to see if things have changed much since those days (they haven’t), so I set up a survey.

I haven’t attempted to derive averages or anything like that, because people’s situations are so different from each other’s that meaningful comparisons are difficult. However, like those websites that list rates of remuneration enjoyed by different journalists for similar freelance assignments, the results do provide a kind of ball park figure or set of figures, which could be useful: if you’re offered the job of leading Computing and given one free period in which to do it, you could take a chance and say to the boss “Most schools have (rightly) taken the view that the job needs a lot more time than that to do properly”. On the other hand, if you are given two complete days a week and a guarantee of no cover, just keep your head down and say nothing.

Enough of this persiflage! Here are the links:

To view the results so far, go to HoDs Free Time Sheet. If you’d like to add your own data, the form is at HoDs Free Time.

Self-portrait with coloured pencilsFor more articles like this, plus news, commentary and freebies, sign up for my ezine Digital Education. Great content, longer articles, book reviews, competitions, news, comment and guest articles.

Digital Education Ezine

Finally, I’m in the process of putting together the first Digital Education ezine of the new school year. It will include articles by Anna Shipman (“How I got into coding, and why I think everybody should do it”), and Kathryn Day, ICT and Computing Advisor in Suffolk, on the way Suffolk has interpreted the Computing Programme of Study. It’s very interesting, and original. I like it a lot.

I’m also hoping to include a competition with a brilliant prize.

Look out for that soon.