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October 2011 Free Innovate My School Innovation and Inspiration

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"#8'%8'9 Innovation update


Handwriting: cover the page or colour it?


A vision through sport


Socratic irony in the classroom: Clouseau or Columbo?


Drama in the classroom




Facebook: how to keep ]SYVTVS½PITVMZEXI




Are you as smart as a year 6 at tech?


Featured listings


Innovate My School website guide


Programming and the English language


-RRSZEXMZI[E]WSJYWMRKER iPad in the classroom


Director - Michael Forshaw QJSVWLE[$MRRSZEXIQ]WGLSSPGSQ Marketing – Angela Gallagher Editor – Tim Miles Graphic Designer – Alison Kelly Asst. Graphic Designer – Emma Kelly

-J]SY[SYPHPMOIXSETTIEVMRXLMWQEKE^MRI please email, phone 0845 034 6690 or visit

!B?CDAE?FFF ;IPGSQIXSXLI½VWXIHMXMSRSJ-RRSZEXI My School’s online magazine, aimed at bringing the latest in educational innovation and inspiration to educators around the world.

Since its inception 18 months ago, the Innovate My School website has VETMHP]KVS[RJVSQEWQEPPHMVIGXSV]SJ innovations into a comprehensive education marketplace, boasting over 1100 products ERHWIVZMGIWI\GPYWMZILSXSJJIVWERH HMWGSYRXWIWWIRXMEPMRRSZEXMSRRI[WJVII competitions to win supplier products; and regular advice and guidance on innovative ETTVSEGLIWJVSQE[MHIVERKISJMRHYWXV] I\TIVXW-JQ]WM\]IEVWMRIHYGEXMSRLEZI taught me anything, it’s that educators are busy people! This online magazine, XLIVIJSVIGSQFMRIWXLIZIV]FIWXERH PEXIWXJVSQSYVTSTYPEV[IFWMXI[MXLWSQI I\GMXMRKI\XVEWXSOIIT]SYMRJSVQIHERH YTXSHEXI[MXLXLIPEXIWXLETTIRMRKWJVSQ the education marketplace. -J]SYLEZIER]GSQQIRXWSVUYIWXMSRW you would like to put to me and the rest SJXLIXIEQTPIEWIHVSTYWEPMRIEX ¯[I´HPSZIXSLIEVJVSQ]SY I hope you enjoy the magazine.

Michael Forshaw Director, Innovate My School 3

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<*&'.*,!G%"*,, The internet is changing how our memories work According to Socrates, the invention of writing was not such a good thing. One of his concerns was that reliance on the written word would cause our minds to become lazy and remember less. The fact that we know of this insight and countless others because they were recorded by Plato would seem to be a strong argument in writing’s favour. But Socrates was surely right to point out that writing and books would affect what we remember and how we remember it. Now, a study by Columbia University picks up a similar line of enquiry, investigating the effect of the internet on our memories. It WYKKIWXWXLEX[LIR[IEVIGSR½HIRXSJ being able to check something externally, our internal recall of that thing is weaker. The mind is inclined to save space: it sees little virtue in holding detailed information in memory when it need only remember where that information is stored. And with so much data stored on the internet, and 4

such fast and easy access to it, our minds feel less need to retain details than ever before. The effect might be even more far reaching. With search engines cleverer than ever, surely the mind need not even remember the location of data: merely knowing the location of a search engine (and how to use MX [SYPHWYJ½GI 8LIWI½RHMRKWQE]WIIQPMOIEQQYRMXMSR to critics of the old forms of education, who dismiss traditional exams as valueless exercises in memory retention. Why train the mind to remember details when they can so easily be looked up online? But what if those details were subtly changed? How would we know, if all we can remember is their location? What if certain data were erased altogether? What if the internet were turned off? Socrates’ warning about relying on external sources of memory was perhaps more prescient than even he could have known.


0&%%!H"(##,! B&.'.8+! 9#6'4*&%!.8! H)#&'9 9"(##,9/ With London 2012 around the corner, leading TYFPMG½KYVIWLEZIGEPPIHJSVXLI role of competitive sports in education to be increased. In doing so they echo sentiments expressed on the eve of the previous Olympic Games by the then Prime Minister, Gordon Brown.

Speaking in Tottenham in the aftermath of the large-scale criminal activity in August, the Prince of Wales called for greater opportunities for young people to become involved in competitive sport, which he believes would give them a sense of purpose and belonging, as well as a controlled outlet for energy and aggression. Writing in the Telegraph, the Mayor of London backed competitive sport, in particular cricket, as a way of instilling selfdiscipline and respect for rules: “you are more likely to give young people boundaries if you teach them how to score them”.

Eric Schmidt has urged the United Kingdom to reclaim its place at the fore of world computing and produce a new golden generation of Alan Turings and Charles Babbages. Giving this year’s MacTaggart lecture, the Google Executive Chairman warned Britain that by not teaching children how to develop software, it risked abandoning the heritage that cracked Enigma and assembled XLI½VWXGSQTYXIVWMRXLISV]ERHTVEGXMGI Dr Schmidt’s speech’s comments on education begin at 42:25.

As we approach the next Olympics, and with the new free schools expected to place greater emphasis on sports and competition, we should expect to hear more about competitive sports and the “Schools Olympics” proposed last year by the government. For more on sports and PE in schools, see “Interview with a school”, on page 8.

News written by: Tim Miles, Innovate My School 5

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!"#$%&'('#) "#$%&!! '(%!!)*+%!#&!! "#,#-&!!.'/ %GGSVHMRKXSEVIGIRX&&'TVIWWVIPIEWIXLIWXEXISJ-RHMERE MWXLIPEXIWXMREWYGGIWWMSRSJ97WXEXIW[LMGL[MPPRSXVIUYMVI its schoolchildren to learn joined-up, or cursive, writing. The move is part of the Common Core State Standards Initiative, which aims to ensure consistency in US education and makes no mention of handwriting. Some critics say writing well is a vital skill for life and builds character, and that there is a link between kinaesthetic memory and spelling. Supporters of the move say that typing skills are more useful in the modern digital world, and that keyboarding develops kinaesthetic memory as well as cursive 6

writing does. But whatever is propounded by theorists, the fact is that handwriting remains an important medium for learning and communication, and is still going to be with us for quite a while. I remember teaching a child in Year 9 (weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll call him Sammy) who was so ashamed of his handwriting that he covered everything he wrote (which, to be fair, was very little) with his left hand as he wrote it. He hated what he saw in his exercise books â&#x20AC;&#x201C; so Innovatemyschool

he put nothing into them, or, if he really couldn’t avoid having to do something, he made sure he could see as little as possible of what he wrote. His behaviour, not surprisingly, was a constant problem, and the last I heard of him, he had become yet another exclusion statistic.

He hated what he saw in his exercise books – so he put nothing into them 1]TVIZMSYWEVXMGPIPSSOIHFVMI¾]EXZMWYEP stress and reading. The same applies to writing: a person with visual stress writing on white paper may well see the letters moving around as he writes. The result can be seen in the top example on the right. When he comes to read what he has written, it is moving around again. Now look at the example beneath it: the same child, the same words, the same lesson. All that has changed is the paper and the presentation, and the legibility, and the spelling of about eight words, and the child’s self-esteem. I wonder what would have become of Sammy’s life if he’d had tinted exercise books to work in. Tinted exercise books cost more than plain white ones, but exclusion, and its consequences, can end up costing far more. For more expert articles like this visit: industry-expert-articles For stationery suppliers visit: VIWSYVGIWIUYMTQIRX

Expert Article written by: Bob Hext, 1EREKMRK(MVIGXSVSJ Crossbow Education Ltd


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:!! $.9.#8! '(&#-+(! 9)#&' When you become a Head, you suddenly realise that you don’t just lead a school, but that you are at the LIEVXSJE[MHIVGSQQYRMX]ERH[SRHIVLS[XSJYP½P this role. In olden times you were burned at the stake if you had a vision, now you can’t succeed without one! Our vision was to bring together all the stakeholders in our community and to effect change through a commitment to PE, sport and healthy living, and engaging young people in enjoyable activities.

Article written by: Dave Forshaw, ,IEH8IEGLIVSJ Cardinal Heenan Catholic High School, Liverpool


We hit the road visiting, meeting, persuading, gatecrashing all the agencies that we felt would make a difference and explaining how we thought an inner-city Liverpool Sports College could make a difference to the community if they would work with us. We got Everton Football Club to give us coaches to work in our partner primaries; the police used our site for diversionary activities to reduce youth crime; our students ran competitions and tournaments; we were invited to be on the board of the Primary Care Trust and Local Regeneration Board. Our PE staff worked with other subject areas to use sport as a tool in lessons, and delivered INSET to Primary and Secondary staff. Local clubs accessed our grounds and facilities for PIEKYIW½XRIWWERHXVEMRMRK8LIGSQQYRMX]ERHXLI school came alive and our vision was real. Our school was rated outstanding by OFSTED. There is a sad irony, as we approach Olympic year, that cuts have deeply affected sport and its delivery through XLITEVXRIVWLMTW=IXRIZIVXLIPIWW[IEVIGSR½HIRX that we can build on a legacy from 2012 and continue our vision of sport at the heart of our community. Innovatemyschool

Broadcaster 2012

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D,#-9%*-!!#&! D#,->1#/ Pupil: ‘Miss, do you think God is real?’ Pupil: ‘Miss, what is the answer?’ Among the many useful pedagogical skills we can learn from the Ancient Greek philosopher Socrates, one of the most interesting is that of Socratic irony.



8LI 'LEQFIVW (MGXMSREV] HI½RIW 7SGVEXMG irony as “a means by which a questioner pretends to know less than a respondent, when actually he knows more.” Zoe Williams, of the Guardian, says that “The technique [of Socratic irony], demonstrated in the Platonic dialogues, was to pretend ignorance and, more sneakily, to feign credence in your opponent’s power of thought, in order to tie him in knots.”

he knows nothing, then it would be wrong to say that Socratic irony means that Socrates “pretends to know less than a respondent, when actually he knows more”. Unless the “more” that Socrates knows is that the respondent doesn’t really know what he claims to know (though even this doesn’t constitute ‘knowing more about the subject’, ERHWSMWR´XGSRWMWXIRX[MXLXLIHI½RMXMSRWSJ Socratic irony left).

Good Practice? %X ½VWX KPERGI XLMW HSIWR´X WSYRH PMOI particularly good pedagogy. It seems disingenuous and designed to trap an opponent - perhaps not something you should be doing with your pupils. However, I think Socratic irony is more than a sophisticated rhetorical device used to win arguments. Socrates would have baulked at that idea given his disapproval of precisely these sorts of tricks employed by his contemporaries, the Sophists. Let us assume, for now, that there are indeed examples of his using irony in this way.There are nevertheless, I will argue, other ways that he uses so-called Socratic irony that are not only appropriate in the classroom but are excellent examples of good teaching practice.

Wikipedia gives as an example of Socratic irony the approach of the television detective Lieutenant Columbo, who affects an appearance of incompetence and ignorance when in fact he often knows much more than he lets on to his quarry. Now, compare the incompetence of Columbo - which is feigned  XS XLEX SJ XLI ½PQ HIXIGXMZI -RWTIGXSV Clouseau, whose incompetence is genuine. If we think of Socratic irony in these two ways, there is something we can learn, with respect to how we approach our pupils, that is empowering, motivating, and that fosters a collaborative relationship between teacher and pupils.

I know that I don’t know Socrates is not thought to have had many positive doctrines of his own. The doctrines in the Platonic dialogues - through which we best know Socrates - are often ascribed to Plato. However, many scholars agree that there is a small handful of central beliefs that are genuinely Socratic. Among them is his disavowal of knowledge: “Wisest is he who knows that, in respect of knowledge, he knows nothing” - The Apology of Socrates. Now, if it is indeed the case that Socrates claims that the only thing he knows is that

Fountain of all knowledge? Teachers often feel that they should be a fountain of all knowledge for their pupils. Consider the embarrassment a teacher feels when he makes a factual or calculative error. Socrates asks us not only to acknowledge our fallibility but also to embrace it as a pedagogical tool. In so doing, the teacher takes the role of a guide rather than a fountain of all knowledge. If a teacher says “I don’t know,” this motivates students to seek the information the teacher doesn’t know. So not only is it sometimes helpful to recognise what you don’t know ‘in full view’ of the students, it can be even more fruitful to adopt a position of ‘not knowing’ even when you do know. 11

H#"&*'."!!.&#85 But isn’t that disingenuous? If you understand Socrates to be analogous to Columbo then yes, this is disingenuous - and although dissembling to a criminal QE] FI NYWXM½EFPI QMWPIEHMRK GLMPHVIR QE] not be. But here the subtler point that we learn from Socrates’ disavowal of knowledge comes to the fore. If it is indeed the case that Socrates asks us to recognise that we really know nothing (or at most very little), then perhaps our Socratic irony isn’t so ironic after all. In this respect Socrates could be more Clouseau than Columbo, not in that he is incompetent (he is not), but in that he is sincere.

Teachers often feel XLEXXLI]WLSYPHJYP½P the role of ‘fountain of all knowledge’

with the recent relegation of Pluto from “planet” to “minor planet”. It may seem to you that though some facts - such as the number of planets in the solar system - are open to revision, not all facts are of this nature; “there are some things I do know for sure,” you may say to yourself. But Socrates is asking us to be humble, to entertain the possibility that even the most solid of facts could one day be shown to be false - or at least inaccurate, as the science of Newton was shown to be. If you recognise this request as having any power at all then you will have adopted a form of Socratic irony that is not disingenuous. This doesn’t mean that you can tell the children no facts, rather that when you tell them facts, you should do so tentatively. Phrases like “as far as I know…” or “scientists tell us that…” are to be preferred to phrases like “it is true that…” or “it is a fact that…” So you’re not being Colombo, but adopting a Clouseau-like honesty. You need not be an agnostic or a sceptic about your textbooks to entertain the defeasibility of the facts you are teaching.

The position of defeasibility Something is “defeasible” if it is open to being wrong or to correction. I am going to ask you to entertain the belief that Socrates is really asking us to adopt a position of defeasibility, Phrases like “as far as that he is not telling you to say “I don’t know” when in fact you do, but rather asking you to I know…” or “scientists recognise that what you think you know is tell us that…” are to be open to being wrong or to correction. For preferred to phrases like example, consider ‘the fact’ that there are nine planets in the solar system. This might “it is true that…” or “it have been considered by many teachers, is a fact that…” and for many years, to be a solid fact. But there was a time, in the Middle Ages, when there were thought to be only seven planets, including the sun and the moon. What’s You are now in a position to answer the more, the status of the nine planets now questions at the beginning of the article known has come under dispute again today, from the pupil’s more tentatively and 12


thereby encourage the children to think for themselves without telling them what to think, and also without being disingenuous. If, that is, you adopt the cloak of Socratic irony in the right pedagogical spirit.



“Miss, do you think God is real?” Teacher:

“Well, I’m really not sure because it’s not an easy question to answer. What do you think?” Pupil:

“Miss, what is the answer?”

Expert Article written by: Peter Worley, ')3SJ The Philosophy Shop


“The answer in the back of the book is X. Do you agree with that? Why or why not?”

For more expert articles like this visit: industry-expert-articles

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%XXLIGSVISJEPPHVEQEMWXLIGSRGITXSJWLEVIHI\TIVMIRGI SJWLEVMRKXLSYKLXWJIIPMRKWMHIEWSTMRMSRWERHMRJSVQEXMSR Drama also, by its nature, encourages participants to explore XLISVHMREV]ERHXLII\XVESVHMREV]ERHFYMPHWWIPJIWXIIQ Incorporating drama into the primary classroom can be a great way to enhance thinking and learning. For example, when reading and discussing the traditional story Goldilocks and the Three Bears, drama could be used to explore behaviour. Either the teacher or a pupil can take the role of a character who can then be placed in the “hotseat” and asked questions. Drama can also be used when working on a fable by Aesop: children can be asked to create freezes of the three most important moments in the story. This encourages them to think about the salient points and to distil the core message of the fable.

Macbeth stands accused of murdering King Duncan. (Perhaps it would be interesting to put Lady Macbeth in the dock too!) Using drama in this way requires very little space and virtually no equipment. However, as the new school year starts, you may want to collect a few simple items that can make the experience more effective and exciting. My recommendations for basic drama equipment are as follows:

ˆ &IERFEKWSVWSJXFEPPW For older pupils, a lesson on Macbeth could ˆ 7SQILEXWERHWGEVZIWJSVHMJJIVIRXVSPIW be turned into a trial, with the prosecution ˆ %PEVKIFYRGLSJOI]WJSVTPE]MRKKeeper and the defence each putting its case as of the Keys 14


ˆ %WLSIJSVTPE]MRKPass the Shoe ˆ 8[SXS]QSFMPITLSRIWXSYWIMRTEMVIH improvisations ˆ %RMRXIVIWXMRKTLSXSKVETLFYXXSRSVER] object for creating a story ˆ %PIXXIVXLEXGERFIYWIHXSGVIEXIERH develop a character ˆ %RMRXIVIWXMRKWXSRISVWLIPPJSVXLI speaker (such as the conch in Lord of the Flies) ˆ %JI[PEVKITMIGIWSJWMRKPIGSPSYV material that can become shawls, rivers, deserts, and more

For those new to teaching, or new to the subject, drama need not be as daunting as it might seem. Start simply: collect a small set of props that will prompt discussion and inspire creativity. Complement these with a couple SJ KSSH FSSOW ERH E TMRGL SJ GSR½HIRGI and you will soon discover the joys of using drama in the primary classroom. For more expert articles like this visit: industry-expert-articles

For drama resource suppliers visit: A couple of good drama books may also educational-resources/musicals--plays FISJFIRI½X EFEWMGFSSOSJHVEQEKEQIW and a book on using drama in the primary classroom. There are several good titles. Expert Article written by: Two I have found to be particularly useful Alison Chaplin, are 100+ Ideas for Drama by Anna Scher 1EREKIVSJ and Charles Verrall, and Beginning Drama Arts On The Move 4-11 by Joe Winston and Miles Tandy. You may have your own favourites. Alternatively, some great recommendations have been given by highly-respected drama practitioners at and





J(%!!.>)#&'*8"%!!#6! 8*'-&%!!.8!!#-&!!9"(##,9 One of the most important things children must learn about is the environment in which we all live: how the food chain works, how nature is a force that moves in ways we don’t know about and don’t think about as much as we should, how for every action there is a reaction.

How many different species are there of insects and mini beasts? How many common species live in your area of the country? And, indeed, what is the difference between an insect and a mini beast?

Your school doesn’t have to be in the heart of the countryside for its pupils to enjoy In this age of computer games and the wildlife. Inner city schools can put up bird internet, children must be encouraged to MHIRXM½GEXMSRWMKRWERHEWMRKPIXVII[MXLFMVH appreciate our great outdoors. They should feeders can attract many different species. learn how to cherish and enjoy it, and how to take care of it for future generations. Every year up to 2,000 schools across the Something as simple as a nature sign can country take part in the RSPB Big Schools’ spark an interest that lasts a lifetime. Birdwatch. More than 75,000 children get involved, spotting over 83,000 birds. The Learning about our environment is one of project aims to encourage children to watch the most important things we can pass on the birds that share their school grounds and to children, and interest in nature is growing, to learn a little more about identifying and with outdoor classrooms springing up at looking after them. schools across the country. The next Big & Little Schools’ Birdwatch How many people can say they can easily takes place in January, with activities for pupils identify and name our most common birds? of various ages. The event is a great way for Take some time to look around and see how teachers to cover areas of the curriculum many you can name – and, more importantly, while inspiring children to take an active how many you can’t. interest in the natural world around them. Expert Article written by: Anne Michaelides, Nature Sign Design


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@#4!!'#!!2%%)!!5#-&!!)&#6.,%!!)&.$*'% In April this year, the NUT warned teachers about the dangers of befriending pupils on social networking sites such as Facebook. The implications are so great that some schools have banned teachers from using Facebook altogether. It’s certainly true that Facebook can be a perilous place for teachers. Is it okay to accept a “friend request” from a pupil whom you know personally? What happens if you reject that friend request? Can you prevent pupils from viewing your pictures and wall posts? What should you do if a pupil posts a message on your wall? What happens if a pupil sees a comment you’ve made on someone else’s wall?

below may cease to apply. It’s important to look out for changes and to remain vigilant.

Questions such as these have become a daily dilemma for teachers, and can lead to confusion, uncertainty and all sorts of problems - including, in serious cases, legal action. One wrong move could put a career in jeopardy.

,MHI]SYVTVS½PIJVSQEPP but your friends When logged in to Facebook, click “Account” (near the top right) > “Privacy Settings”. Find “How you connect” and click “Edit Settings”. To the right of ±;LSGERPSSOYT]SYVTVS½PI by name or contact info?” is a drop down menu. Click it and select “Friends”. Repeat this process for the other four drop-down menus. Some may already be set to “Friends”, in which case you don’t need to change them. (It is possible to set “Who can post on your wall” to “only me”. However, this will prevent even your friends from posting messages to your wall.)

So is it possible for teachers to use Facebook safely? Unfortunately, there’s no absolute KYEVERXII,S[IZIVXLIVMWOWGERFIWMKRM½GERXP] reduced by taking the following steps to ensure that your Facebook activity is as private as possible. It’s important to note that Facebook sometimes change the way their privacy options work. When this happens, your settings could be changed without your realising, and the steps 18

1. Set your default privacy setting to Friends Only If you make only one change to your privacy settings, make it this one. Click “Account” > “Privacy Settings”. Under “Control Your Default Privacy” select “Friends”.


Making these changes prevents your Facebook TVS½PIJVSQETTIEVMRK[LIRWSQISRIWIEVGLIW for it by using your name. Anyone who isn’t already your friend on Facebook will be unable to send you a “friend request”. This means that if you want to add friends on Facebook you [MPPLEZIXS½RHXLIMVTVS½PIWERHVIUYIWXXLEX they become your friends. They won’t be able XS½RH]SY 3. Prevent your posts and pictures from displaying your location Recently, Facebook has added the option of showing your current location alongside your posts. It is also possible for your Facebook friends to “tag” you and your location in their own posts. When they do so, a post is displayed SR]SYVTVS½PI[EPPEW[IPPEWXLIMVW

is set to “friends only”. If it isn’t, use the dropdown menu to change it. This will ensure that only your Facebook Friends can see posts on ]SYVTVS½PIMR[LMGL]SYEVIXEKKIH “Tag suggestions” (which is just beneath ±4VS½PI visibility”) uses facial recognition software to XV] XS ½RH ]SY MR TMGXYVIW XLEX ]SYV JVMIRHW add to Facebook. If the software thinks it has found you in a photo, it will suggest to the friend who has added the photo that he tag you. Providing you have turned “Tag review” “On” (see above), no photos in which you are tagged by your friends will be added to your TVS½PI[MXLSYX]SYV½VWXLEZMRKVIZMI[IHERH accepted them. Nevertheless, turning “Tag suggestions” off - by clicking on it, selecting “Disabled” from the drop down list, and then clicking “OK” - could be a good way to discourage your friends from tagging you in photos.

To avoid problems, do the following: Again start by going to “Account” > “Privacy Settings”. Find “How tags work” and click “Edit Settings”. If ±4VS½PIVIZMI[²is “Off”, click on it. Click “Turn Beneath “Tag suggestions” is “Friends Can Check 3R4VS½PI6IZMI[² You Into Places”. If this is set to “On” then your friends can create posts tagging you at certain Now, when someone tags you in a post or locations. Prevent this by clicking on this option, TMGXYVI MX[MPPRSXETTIEVSR]SYVTVS½PIYRXMP selecting “Disabled” from the drop-down menu, you have reviewed and accepted it. (Note that and clicking “OK”. your Facebook friends can still tag you in their own pictures and posts.) Once you have completed all the above steps, be sure to click “Done” to close the “How tags 4. Prevent friends from adding work” window. tags to your posts Again, go to “Account” > “Privacy Settings”. The above tips are meant as guidelines and Find “How tags work” and click “Edit Settings”. do not guarantee full privacy. It is a good idea If “Tag review” is “Off”, click on it. Click “Turn On to read the relevant information provided by 8EK6IZMI[² Facebook before changing any settings. This ensures that if a friend adds a tag to one of your posts or photos, that tag will not appear until you have reviewed and accepted it. While you’ve got the “How tags work” window open, it is worth checking that ±4VS½PIZMWMFMPMX]²

Expert Article written by: Darren Wood, Business Development and Marketing Manager JSVXMGOW




!"#"$$%&' Innovate – Scholaborate! Scholaborate : (sko-lab-or-ate) -verb: meaning to transform the way a School collaborates with its Parent community using the revolutionary Private Social Network for Schools. Visit today and sign up for a free trial! YOUSRC – Free “learn to program” resource for schools Introduce students to programming through YOUSRC. Your students’ code runs in a web browser or on Android mobile devices! See web site for coding competition with two prizes each worth £500 for your school. Slash your printing costs with DarBro and Epson’s managed print services -QEKMRIRSPIEWIMRZSPZIHE½\IHGSWXTIVTEKIEYXSQEXIHGSRWYQEFPI supply, no minimum print volumes, competitive pricing, monthly activity reports, customer only pay for what they print, free UK technical support and a minimum contract of one year. New school term 10% discount offer School Fund Manager – ‘Accounting for every penny’ an automated system that improves management of schools voluntary funds in minutes from payment to period end and book-keeping to banking. Code: SFM1011 to claim discount. Free visitor book giveaway We are giving away a ‘no cost, no obligation’ VISITOR book for you to trial in your school. Please email your details to Paul at - Staff ID Badges - all ID accessories.



I’ve been teaching technology to pupils in Years 1 to 6 JSVEPQSWX½JXIIR]IEVW Parents and colleagues are JVIUYIRXP]MQTVIWWIH[LIR- get the littlest learners to pay attention, remember what XSHSERHLEZIJYRPIEVRMRK the skills that will make them competent and enthusiastic QIQFIVWSJXLI;IF generation. I have an admission to make: it’s not as LEVHEWMXPSSOW-X´WXVYIXLEXMRXLI½VWXJI[ months - when pupils don’t know what the words “enter” and “backspace” mean, can’t tell the difference between the keyboard and headphones, and don’t understand that they shouldn’t grab their neighbours’ headphones or bang on their keyboards I do wonder if I’ve chosen the right career! By January, however, every parent who visits my classroom thinks I’m a magician!

and having insisted they use the correct technical terminology, I allow pupils help IEGLSXLIVMR=IEV8LMWKMZIWGSR½HIRGI to those eager to share their knowledge, and helps further their communication skills.

I aim to empower pupils by guiding them rather than doing things for them The above methods help pupils learn how to think through a problem critically and resolve it. They come to realise that different problems can be solved by taking the same approach, and that this approach can be applied to other subjects and to life in general as well. For more expert articles like this visit: industry-expert-articles.html For IT hardware suppliers visit:

What’s my secret? I teach every child to For IT software suppliers visit: be a problem solver. If a computer doesn’t [SVO-KIXXLITYTMPXS½\MXTVSQTXMRKLMQ with questions: What isn’t working? What did WSJX[EVILXQP you do last time? Have you tried this? Do you think that tool might help? No matter how many children are demanding attention, I never take control of a pupil’s mouse and do something for him, nor will I allow parent helpers to do so though stopping them is often a challenge! I aim to empower pupils by guiding them rather than doing things for them. Having taught them the basics in Year 1,

Expert Article written by: .EGUYM1YVVE] Teacher, blogger and writer.


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$%(#)&%*+,-'#-./' -'8WYTTSVXXS]SYVWGLSSP´WWTIGM½GEXMSR %^XI5TVSZMHIW¾I\MFPI-'87SPYXMSRWHIPMZIVIHF]I\TIVXWWOMPPIHMR supporting schools. Remote and on-site support; servers, PCs, software; desktop virtualisation; network infrastructure; data cabling; audio visual. Inspirational Experts Boost Pupil Aspirations Industry Insiders bridge the gap between education and work, inspiring and motivating young people to achieve more and live their dreams. Experts are enhanced CRB checked and include a former Commissioning Editor of BBC Radio 1 Extra and a Sports Commentator. Connect – Manage – Interact – Report with Oliver V5 Across the UK, thousands of school libraries use Softlink’s Oliver library software. Oliver is an easy to use web-based system which is secure and kind to your network. Oliver integrates seamlessly with VLEs, including Frog, Moodle and Sharepoint, along with various MIS systems, such as SIMS, CMIS, etc. Act Now Training Data Protection and Freedom of Information: we can help you. %RLSYVPSRKSRPMRIXVEMRMRKGSYVWIELEPJHE]FVMI½RKEX]SYVTVIQMWIW a full day compliance audit of your information handling practice; free speaker for your workshop/conference. Legal Services for Schools Tollers have a long history in providing services to education bodies and are committed to deliver a valuable service. Our legal experts have guided several successful Academy Conversion projects and our partner-managed approach will assist you in achieving your goals. Contact Yagnesh Shah on 01908 306959 24


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We never pay anyone to review anything on the site, ensuring that all recommendations and reviews are authentic, enabling teachers to make informed choices and to shop [MXLGSR½HIRGI%PPSJSYVPMWXIHTVSHYGXW and services are subject to being reviewed by our community.


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-RE1EG8EKKEVXPIGXYVIJYPP SJWSYRHEHZMGIVIHYGI regulation, listen to the Victorians, ignore Alan Sugar perhaps the most interesting suggestion made by Eric Schmidt was that computer science should be taught properly in schools.

8LIFIRI½XWSJPIEVRMRKXSTVSKVEQEVIIZIR more convincing. The sense of pride one gets from writing working code and the triumph of resolving errors are rewarding in themselves. Factor in the colossal role of technology in today’s world – let alone tomorrow’s – and the case for teaching computer science looks as compelling as Google’s credit limit. But there is a deeper reason for studying the language of computers, one related to another of Dr Schmidt’s recommendations: that we should bring art and science back together.

This means, as the Google Chairman pointed out, teaching children how to make computer So long have these two lovers been estranged programs rather than merely how to that the thought of a mathematician writing use them. timeless fairytales, or of a painter inspired by science, is inconceivable to the modern But in an era when GCSE marks are awarded schoolchild, who sees specialism as the sole for linking a picture of a football to the word road to success. “le football”, can pupils really cope with the protean rigours of computer programming? On the face of it, maths and languages might seem quite different. But beneath the Of course they can. Today’s children grow up surface they surge with a common current. surrounded by software. They enjoy using it Learning to use the mathematical languages so much that they are largely self-taught. of computer programs reveals how much They eagerly upgrade to the latest mobile the two disciplines complement each other, phone, even if this means learning to use a and demonstrates that logic is not limited new operating system. Such enthusiasm and to science, nor is art the only harbour GSR½HIRGI EVI XLI TIVJIGX JSYRHEXMSRW SR of elegance. which to learn to program. To truly know a language, one must master the mechanics that make it work: its grammar. Without this, one’s understanding can be WYTIV½GMEPEXFIWXETSSPSJWXSGOI\TVIWWMSRW Today’s children VEXLIVXLEREWXVIEQSJ¾YIRG] 0IEVRMRKXLI grow up surrounded principles of grammar equips the mind with by software. They the advanced logical apparatus of a linguist: once you have grasped one language’s enjoy using it so much grammar, understanding another’s is easy. that they are largely Even with languages from different families, self-taught the logical mindset acquired from learning the one will be of great help with the other.


<&#+&*>>.8+!!*8=!!'(%!!%8+,.9(!!,*8+-*+% This is just as true of computer languages. But there is one key difference. While it is possible to speak or write a passable piece of English or French with minor grammatical errors, a single mistake in software code can be disastrous. A computer cannot “get the gist” of what you are telling it. The instructions it receives must adhere strictly to the rules of the language.

In other words, good code adheres to the golden guidelines for good English set out by George Orwell, the Fowlers and many others. Ugly code might function, but it will be less ZEPYEFPI QSVI PMOIP] XS WYJJIV WIGYVMX] ¾E[W ERHLEVHIVXS½\ERHQSHMJ][LIRHSMRKWS becomes necessary. It will certainly not gain the admiration of one’s peers.

Pupils who have learnt to code are more likely to approach both their native language and foreign languages by looking to understand their grammar. Thus they will see how logic and accuracy (qualities more often associated with the sciences) can make them better writers and linguists.

As pupils become better programmers, they will come to see that elegance is as vital as accuracy to writing good, effective code.

A well-written program - like an elegant piece of English - is one that conveys its meaning clearly and effectively

Dr Schmidt’s suggestion is ambitious. Programming is no easy skill to master. But it is worth it: for its own sake, and also to dispel the myth that maths and languages are mortal enemies - that logic and style cannot coexist. In doing this, learning to code can help to renew that star-crossed marriage between science and art, which gave the Mona Lisa her smile and took Alice into Wonderland. Article written by: Tim Miles JSV-RRSZEXI1]7GLSSP

But programming isn’t purely about logic and precision. Good code must be graceful as well as accurate. A well-written program - like an elegant piece of English - is one that conveys its meaning clearly and effectively: it avoids tautology and repetition, which increase the capacity for mistakes; it is as concise as possible, for the less code there is, the easier it is to spot and rectify any internal illogic - and because the fewer instructions a computer has to execute, the more quickly it can run; it uses meaningful words rather than abstract ones, in order to make its operations clear.






A one day conference for education leaders exploring how innovation and creativity can help meet the challenges faced by austerity and disruptive technologies SPEAKERS INCLUDING: Russell Hobby, general secretary, National Association of Head Teachers Jim Knight, Lord Knight of Weymouth, education consultant and former schools minister Phil Redhead, director of ICT and innovation, GEMS Royal Dubai School Lord David Puttnam, Labour Peer Graham Stuart, MP for Beverly and Holderness and chairman, Education Select Committee


Join the Twitter debate @InnovateEducate





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The Apple company and teachers everywhere are coming up with innovative ways to use the iPad. Below are a few ways in which this relatively new electronic device is already being used in education.

Another way teachers take advantage of the iPad is by downloading free or cheap books. It MWIEW]XS½RHGPEWWMGWWYGLEW8LI%HZIRXYVIW of Huckleberry Finn and The Giving Tree. And, as with electric textbooks, teachers need not worry about wear and tear. These books Oklahoma State University believes that iPads are forever. can replace textbooks. They have already put this to the test on a small scale, requiring A complete printed dictionary is heavy and every school textbook to be made available RSX IEW] XS ¾MT XLVSYKL UYMGOP] ;MXL ER in e-book form. The university estimates that iPad, students can search for a word using a students recover the cost of buying a $500 HMGXMSREV]ETTPMGEXMSRERHVIGIMZIEHI½RMXMSR to $830 iPad within two semesters. The in a couple of seconds. The online dictionaries chances of an electronic book being damaged used by such applications tend to be kept (corrupted) are small, and e-books are up to date, eliminating the need to buy new generally cheaper than physical copies. dictionaries every few years. Middle school teacher Anthony Bauer uses his iPad to monitor his pupils’ test performance in real time. The pupils take the tests on laptops, and Mr. Bauer sees a live feed of their answers as they enter them. His iPad also enables him to do away with keeping a hand-written grade book, though he keeps hard backup copies of results “just in case something goes wrong”. With a light tap on the iPad screen, a teacher can bring up a pupil’s grades and attendance record. This is perfect for parent-teacher meetings. Simply by spinning the iPad around, a teacher can present parents with a summary of their child’s progress and results.

These are just a few of the ways in which the iPad is being used in education. As new applications are released, and as the iPad catches the eye of more educators, we should expect to see it used even more creatively in the classroom and beyond. Expert Article written by: Daniela Baker, Blogger at CreditDonkey


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Innovate My School: October 2011  
Innovate My School: October 2011  

The first edition of Innovate My School’s online magazine, aimed at bringing the latest in educational innovation and inspiration to educato...