Pedagoo.mag 01

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Spring 2013

Chapter 1


Welcome to the latest pedagoo experiment. We are lucky enough to have so many great ideas shared through the site that it is not always possible to keep track of them. This is our attempt to gather some that you may have missed!

Section 1

What’s a pedagoo? Welcome to Pedagoo’s first ever magazine...but you might well be wondering, what’s a Pedagoo? Well, let me briefly explain. Pedagoo is an attempt by a loose collection of educators to harness the power of social media to create a new form of online professional learning community. It arose in Scotland between a group of classroom teachers who were positively engaging with changing classroom practice, but wanted to bring this positivity together into one place and invite in anyone else who felt the turns out there’s more of these teachers out there than we first anticipated! At the core of Pedagoo is our collaborative blog: This is where any teacher can quickly and easily sign up and share their practice and stimulate a discussion. We also make full use of twitter to enhance our community, especially through our weekly hashtag “#PedagooFriday”, when teachers from all over the world share their highlight of the week from the classroom. And, as great as the web is for allowing teachers to learn from each other any time, any where, you still can’t beat getting together in the real world. So, we also run Pedagoo events which take the form of TeachMeets with a difference. So far these have been held in Glasgow, Newcastle and London with more planned in Gateshead, Edinburgh, Bristol and Cardiff! Fearghal Ke!y 2

Pedagoo Admin Meeting

Yes, we actua!y managed to have an Admin meeting once… From a very small base, Pedagoo has grown to include a wide variety of teachers from far and wide but we’re always looking for more teachers to join in. If you have a twitter account follow us @pedagoo or you can like us on Facebook if you prefer. Or, just sign up at To begin with you’ll probably just enjoy reading other people’s posts and ideas, but I predict that slowly and surely you’ll get sucked in and before you know it you’ll be sharing your own practice too; which is obliviously of benefit to the community as a whole, but as reflective practitioners sharing is to the benefit of our own professional development too.

And what’s with the name? Pedagoo is a play on the word pedagogy with the goo representing the mess we often find ourselves in and the sticky essence of collaboration. So now you know ... come on, check us out and join in.

Fearghal Kelly @fkelly


Chapter 2


Every week on Twitter, teachers from all over the world celebrate something that went well in their classroom using the #pedagoofriday hashtag. Kenny Pieper’s brainwave has proved to be immensely popular.

Kenny Pieper and Iain Hallahan listening intently at the Pedagoo Fringe

When Kenny Pieper came up with the idea for #pedagoo"iday, little did he suspect just how popular it would become. Teachers are, for the most part, perfectionists. Our jobs are so complex that we achieve dozens of things every day. However, even knowing that we succeed most of the time, we tend to dwell on the failures. And yes, we fail every day. Because we set high standards for ourselves and the learners in front of us. I suppose the roots of #pedagoofriday come from that feeling on a Friday night when we can’t stop thinking about that one lesson, that one pupil, that one moment which didn’t go as we’d planned. So we finish our weeks feeling down; exhausted by a job which we think has defeated us again.

On a Thursday night in late 2011, after throwing a few tweets back and forth with Fearghal, the idea of changing that by focusing on the good things that happen in our classrooms grew roots. So, #pedagoofriday asks educators to share one amazing thing which happened in their classrooms that week. Stick the hashtag on and tweet it. That way, we all finish our weeks on a high. I must admit that, of all the things I’ve achieved in my teaching career, #pedagoofriday is perhaps the idea of which I’m most proud. 5

Here are just some of the #pedagoofriday tweets you may have missed first time round. They are not the “best” because there is no “best”. PedagooFriday has always just been about sharing.



All these tweets and many many more can be found on the Pedagoo site: 8

Chapter 3

communal learning

Pedagoo is about enabling communication and learning between teachers and educators. Neil Winton writes about the first Pedagoo Fringe, Mark Anderson talks about the Pedagoo Xmas Party and Helene O’Shea gives the background to #pedagoolondon.

Scottish Learning Fringe

Informal discussions at the 2012 Pedagoo Fringe

The first Pedagoo organised Scottish Learning Fringe TeachMeet took place in September 2012. This first attempt at a Pedagoo unconference was something I had long been looking forward to… with equal measures of excitement (at meeting people and sharing ideas) and nervousness (what if no-one had come and it was a disaster). As it turned out, I had no need to be nervous! The venue was SocietyM and was - quite simply - magnificent. Idiosyncratic and welcoming, and more than one person there was heard to ask: what if a classroom was like this? What I wouldn’t give to take a class (or two) down there for a day and see what we could produce in a modern and funky environment. (If anyone fancies sponsoring me to do this, my email is...). Having arrived a little before 9, I had a chance to catch up with Ian Stuart, Fearghal Kelly, andKenny Pieper for a few minutes before the participants began to filter in. I think it fair to say that we were all more than a little apprehensive with regards the day… Once people began arriving en masse, the venue came into its own. Lots of space, lots of interesting artefacts on the walls, lots of conversation starters. I was struck by just how switched on and enthusiastic everyone was… and this set the tone for the rest of the day. Without exception, this was a day for the enthusiasts… as someone said to me later, Pedagoo is like a staffroom for the optimists… how true!

If we are to find new ideas we need to be able to discuss them in an environment that encourages reflection and sharing. 10

At pretty close to the scheduled 10am, Fearghal started us off by thanking ELT Consultants and Wesleyan who were responsible for finding and funding the venue. Then it was over to the Real David Cameron to set the scene and then, suitably inspired, it was off to our chosen workshop sessions.

Fearghal Kelly at the Fringe

Workshops One of the things we’ve been keen to stress at Pedagoo events is that they are about the discussions. Each workshop was about 40 minutes long, but was split into roughly 20 minutes presentation/preamble and 20 minutes of discussion. This was not an event for sitting and being spoken to... everyone was encouraged to participate and share their thoughts and ideas. One key idea is that we encourage participants to share what they learn on the Pedagoo blog. That way everyone can benefit. After lunch, the afternoon was given over to reflection on the day, and what we could do next. Our discussion was shaped by the following questions: • What have you learned today that you could use on Monday? • What have you learned today that you could use a year "om now? • What can we (Pedagoo) do to support this? There are plenty of other posts about this and rather than rehash them here, I suggest you go and read Claire’s “Learning How To Learn”, Ann’s “Workshop 9 - Thoughts”, Kenny’s “Workshop 8 - Feedback” or Ruth’s brilliant “Pedagoo Inception” moment!

Sharing, learning, and smiling are order of the day...


There are also write ups of the various sessions from the presenters to be read on the Pedagoo site itself‌ which leads me to my final point: if you like what you see on Pedagoo, join in! The real strength of the day was the realisation that we are a community of educators who learn better together, who improve through speaking and sharing with others, and who care deeply and passionately about being the best teachers we can be. A personal highlight came when, after 5 hours of the most extraordinary CPD imaginable, David Cameron drew us back together and charged us with continuing to spread the word and to continue building what we have begun‌

New friends, new learning...

Collaboration is the key...

The Real David Cameron closes the first Pedagoo Fringe meeting in suitably rousing fashion.

There were many opportunities to share and learn.


Pedagoo Xmas Party

Tait Coles talked about Punk Learning

In December, the Pedagoo Xmas Party took place... but instead of the usual dancing, drinking, and making a fool of yourself (though that may just be my experience), we celebrated by organising a meetup to share some good practice and to share ideas. Here’s what Mark Anderson had to say about it on the Pedagoo blog. After a pretty long trek up to Newcastle Uni for the event, I arrived with the usual nervous excitement that always comes before an event of this nature. What I was presented with was yet another fantastic group of teachers giving up their time and weekend to share their experiences, action research and ideas for improving our practice. Kenny Pieper & Lisa Jane Ashes kicked off the event with some great tales and activities to get the mind buzzing. Kenny with his softly spoken yet lilting accent engaged us and made us smile along with Lisa and her ice breaker activity to help with sentence structure. Given my grammar, I definitely learned a thing or two! Following this intro, a variety of different workshops took place. I talked a bit about the NESTA report, Ofsted, Traxler, ‘Find it make it use it share it’ report from Wales, University of Hull report and the importance of SAMR along with some ideas and tools that can help support transformational / redefinition learning. Other speakers included:

We’! be highlighting Punk Learning in a future issue.

◦ Darren Mead talking about PBL & critique, 13

Pedagoo Xmas Party TeachMeet

Sometimes, pedagogy is hard work... ◦ Tait Coles and his ‘Punk Learning’, ◦ Jon Tait and his ideas for engaging students with technology ◦ David Gray on Kagen structures, ◦ Steve Bunce on the future of technology, ◦ Samantha Bainbridge on accelerated learning techniques for when you teach in many classrooms, ◦ Samantha Williams on independence & advanced questioning.

There was lots on offer and feedback within sessions and through conversations were fab to be a part of and eavesdrop on too. People thinking about how they could take the ideas and apply them to their settings. Tait Coles’ advice rang very true for me though. By all means take my resources and use them but don’t just take them and use them…. Does that make sense? What he means is, take them and then develop them for your individual setting. And if there’s anything that ‘Punk learning’ can teach us, it’s that you need to be grass roots with the frameworks students use. Give them your effort and then let them develop it. Let them critique and improve your initial 14

(magpied) resource. Give them that sense of ownership. Let them invest in their assessment structures. By doing that they’ll understand the framework better and work within it and beyond.

Lisa Jane Ashes in full flow...

TeachMeet Pedagoo The Pedagoo Xmas Party evening event proved even more useful for me. As I was involved in the day events, I didn’t get to see the sessions like I would have otherwise so the evening was special for me as I got to see everyone’s talks. Some highlights for me were: ◦ Laura Sutherland’s use of Socrative. I’ve taken some further ideas on how to use the great AfL tool from her work I’m definitely going to use ◦ Tait Coles with his passionate talk on awe and wonder ◦ Darren Mead talking about the disparity between what we are asked to prove vs what we should be doing (see side image) ◦ Sam Bainbridge’s PEE triangles Massive thanks must go out to Gary Mitchelson, Lisa Jane Ashes and everyone at Pedagoo for organising a great event. It ran like clockwork and the positivity and collegiality shown from all was great. I made some new friends and got to meet some of my twitter heroes too including the inspiring Chris Allen; someone who showed me the way on so many occasions. His was a truly unique voice that will be greatly missed.

The first part of the day involved blethers and workshops at the University of Newcastle 15

#pedagoolondon flyer

Pedagoo London Helene O’Shea was the organiser of the universa!y we! received #pedagoolondon event. Here she reflects on the day "om her point-ofview. It was with trepidation that I left the house on Saturday 2nd March, headed for the Institute of Education in London, where Part 1 of #Pedagoo London would be unfolding. It had been a labour of love organising it. Inspired by the #Pedagooxmasparty organised by Lisa Jane Ashes in Newscastle, I was keen to develop a similar format for a TeachMeet. The spirit of Pedagoo TeachMeets is firmly focused on professional collaboration and discussion. I wanted colleagues to enjoy a day of reflection as much as anything else. I wanted participants to feel the ‘buzz’ I had felt at my first TeachMeet - this feeling of reclaiming our sense of Agency and taking the reins of our own professional development, the feeling of being amongst like-minded colleagues keen to develop their practice, not by nodding blindly at new ideas but by engaging in a professional dialogue and asking challenging questions. And above all, this happens at ground level: teachers talking to teachers based on their own experience, reading, practice and reflection. Part One Firstly, the afternoon was devoted to longer presentations and/or workshops and since attendees had had a chance to choose their sessions in advance, I really hoped that they felt that different

#pedagooevents are an opportunity to actively discuss and share rather than passively sit and receive. 16

needs had been catered for. The whole thing would be framed with an opening keynote by Keven Bartle, (summing up the day beautifully with his Trojan Mice/Guerilla teacher idea and “bottom up” approach to PD and recapturing professional autonomy - watch it here), and a plenary by John Tomsett sharing impressions of the day, highlighting the importance of professional collaboration beyond the walls of one establishment (and more and more through social media) and sending us off with a smile at the thought of a day well-spent.

Helene O’Shea @ #pedagoolondon

Part Two Secondly, there was an evening TeachMeet, a more traditional affair, with colleagues sharing an aspect of their practice in a short presentation. I had loved Lisa’s evening TeachMeet at Blake’s in Newcastle as it was warm, intimate and in a licenced place! We opted for a pub and a limited number of attendees and I am so glad we did. Some of the presentations can be watched here, here and here (have a look at the playlist) For me, both parts of the day were successful thanks to the quality of the presentations. Everybody whom I had approached said they would take part despite many of them feeling very nervous. I was awed once again by the enthusiasm, commitment, generosity and friendliness of these educators. And I like the breadth of topics on offer, and especially the fact that, as someone who attended put it, you could go from one session on strategies to organise effective group work (Rachael Stevens’ excellent Box of Tricks presentation) to another in which Tom Bennett took his usual pleasure in denouncing group work as

Helene was the organiser of the universa!y acclaimed
 #pedagoolondon 17

pointless (and probably harmful - scrap that, deadly...) But this is important too; to find oneself in the middle of an echo chamber would be fairly misguided in terms of professional development! For the afternoon sessions, the brief was clear: I had asked speakers to share “tried and tested pedagogy” from their own classrooms, particularly something that they felt had had a clear impact on their pupils’ learning. Alternatively, I had asked presenters to discuss an area of pedagogy for which they were responsible at their school and to present ways in which they were developing it. Central to each sessions should be discussion time. I wasn’t disappointed by the quality of the sessions on offer! Below are some links to different blogs and sites which are more eloquent than I could ever be.

Bring On The Trojan Mice - Kevin Bartle’s superb opening Keynote from #pedagoolondon

I hope you take the time to investigate some of them. It was a fantastic and inspiring day. I am particularly pleased that so many attendees took something away from it and implemented it in their own classrooms the following week. Many wrote or tweeted to explain that they had adapted an aspect of their planning or their Scheme of Work as a direct result of attending #PedagooLondon. And this leaves me with a broad smile. This is exactly what Pedagoo is about.

Now to start planning the next TeachMeet.... Hope to see you there!


Chapter 4

the lesson

Every issue, we’ll be sharing a lesson that worked well and that has the potential to be adapted for your own use. This issue, we asked Neil Winton to talk about his “What is Beauty?” lesson.

My “What is Beauty?” lesson came out of the thinking I’d been doing about how we assess. Specifica!y, the shortcomings of setting learners an essay to do in English. Scotland’s new curriculum (aka Curriculum for Exce!ence) is designed to encourage more creative and imaginative approaches to learning. I decided to push that idea as far as I could by letting the learners choose their own outcomes. Some of the results were outstanding.

The Stimulus

What fo!ows is my approach and is geared towards English, but the basic idea is completely open to being used in just about any subject and at any level. You are welcome and encouraged to: take/adapt/modify/copy/reinvent as you see fit! If you do, it’d be great if you wrote a post for Pedagoo te!ing us how you got on with it. Enjoy! The Lesson

Subject: English Age Group: 13-14 (I’ve also used it with other age groups)

The learners were asked to write immediate responses
 to the questions raised by the slides. 1 of 12

Aims/Objectives: To demonstrate what had been learned in the course of the pupil's personal investigation of an open topic. Outcome: Learners to choose how they show what they have learned. Outline Plan: I started by using the “What is Beauty?” slides to encourage some discussion and get the class thinking. Because they are used to writing Discursive essays, they believed this would be the end result.

The initial discussion in class was very positive in getting them to think about the topic, especially as they nature of the questions asked gave them a variety of discussion points with regards what they had chosen as examples of ‘beauty’ or ‘ugliness’. In fact, this opening had the benefit of being familiar and probably something that countless teachers do every day. Then I dropped the bombshell. The Task: The class were free to demonstrate what they had learned or thought about beauty in any way they wished. Specifically, I wanted to encourage them to consider what else 20

they knew and to use that. If they were good at music, I’d have accepted a song (or even better, an opera). If they could paint, then I’d have encouraged them to use a collage, or a graphic novel. In other words, I wanted to try and encourage enthusiasm in their learning by allowing them the creative freedom to try things.

Class Handout

What I found was that it helped to keep giving them examples (some deliberately preposterous: “You can demonstrate your feelings about beauty through the medium of mime...” - I was very glad no one tried this!), as they really didn’t believe how serious I was at first. Next Steps The next stage was the easy bit. I gave the class about 3 weeks to go away and get busy. I checked on their progress in passing, and offered to help anyone who wanted it. I was hardly used other than to explain how to save Powerpoints and Windows Movie Maker projects so that all the content appeared on another computer. I kept reminding the class that they were expected to show what they had learned and thought about beauty and this appeared to work well for them. ASIDE: Why did this work so we!? I put it down to the simple idea that the entire task was designed to a!ow the learners to learn about a relatively interesting topic, and it a!owed them to fo!ow the topic in any way that interested them. Added to this open "amework for the investigation was an entirely open ended means of demonstrating what

The class were given this handout as a prompt.


had been learned. Instead of inviting the usual ‘essay’ [Just how many times do you rea!y want to read an “Intro-Three-points-for-One-pointagainst-Conclusion” essay… especia!y when they already know the format?]

submitting early because they were genuinely proud of what they had created.

Show and Tell

I received essays… of course I did, but then I started getting more unusual submissions. Powerpoints were a favourite, as were posters. I’ve included Emma’s as a good example.

Having been nervously awaiting the end results, I was probably the only one dreading the deadline… usually, it’s the learners who do! In fact, I began to realise there was something going on when I started to receive early submissions. I was, quite simply, blown away. Not because the work was early, but because the class were

And then I had one of the class hand me a CD-Rom with the words, “Here’s my homework, sir.” 
 I played the video and sat in silence. Then I played it again. Then I played it to the whole class. Then they asked to see it again.

Emma’s Homework - What Beauty means to her.

1 of 11

Eilidh’s response to “What is Beauty?”

This is, despite its errors, one of the cleverest pieces of work I’ve received "om a learner… so far! 22

YouTube Homework I was given permission to share this version of her work on my YouTube channel. When I last checked, this piece of homework had over 14,000 views. Not bad for a piece of homework! Conclusions This approach - asking a class to investigate and share “What is…?” - is one that has thrown up lots of interesting work beyond the usual essays. It has also allowed me to go through the Experiences & Outcomes of Scotland’s curriculum and identify some extremely high level learning in a way that is, as I see it, much more relevant for many of today’s learners. Yes, the traditional essay will, for the time being, have its place, but there are other ways of demonstrating learning. All they require is the will to allow the learners to try something new, something they are proud of.

The evolution of Pedagoo...

Let’s be critical. There are spelling mistakes, there are too many words on some of the slides. There are problems with some of the transitions, and the framing of the captions on some slides doesn’t work. Arguably, it is too long. It’s like two different pieces that deserve the room to breathe on their own... and yet, there is a sense of narrative, and it elicits an emotional response in those who see it because it also demonstrates an understanding that goes way beyond the brief, or the presumed knowledge of the learner who created it. The choice of music is excellent, and the combination – especially when she returns to answering the question in the last few minutes – has an impact on just about everyone who views it... and this is the interesting bit…


Chapter 5

spreading the word

Pedagoo has always been about spreading the word and enabling discussions and collaborations. There are many ways to get involved.

There’s more to Pedagoo than meets the eye...

There are plenty of other bits of Pedagoo goodness to be found at the top of the site... If you’ve never looked closely at the top of the page, you may well have missed some of the other ways that Pedagoo is expanding. Here’s a quick run down of what you can find:

Pedagoo Resolutions: A number of teachers volunteered to try something new at the start of the year. You can check up on their progress here.

About: A quick resumé, mugshots of the admins, and some logos for you to download and play with.

Pedagoo Events: If it’s an organised Pedagoo event, you can find the links you need here. Many more are in the offing, so hopefully we’ll be seeing you at one soon.

Community: Join Pedagoo, monitor all the activity on the site, connect with the other Pedagooers, or chip in to one of the growing forums. Categories: quickly find posts on a particular theme or topic. PedagooLocal: A relatively new idea to encourage local meetups of Pedagooers. Still in its infancy, but just drop a line to if you want to start your own local group.

Pedagoo Stuff: Because even pedagogy can look good, we have a Cafepress shop where you can kit yourself out with Pedagoo goodies like t-shirts, mugs and journals. They are all sold at cost price which suggests that we wouldn’t do very well studying Business. There are also a few specials in the shop like the Popagoo, Punkagoo and Totes Amazeballs merchandise. 25

Pedagoo Stuff

The Pedagoo sta! is open for business! Pedagoo arose originally partly to try to enhance and continue the fantastic learning which takes place at TeachMeets, and TeachMeet TV compliments this mission beautifully…which is why we’re forging close links with the TeachMeet TV crew. TeachMeet TV: There is so much great video coming out of TeachMeets which is too often left to languish unwatched in the depths of YouTube and Vimeo. TeachMeet TV is an attempt by a small group of teachers to provide a focal point for TeachMeet video to help it reach a wider audience.

If you’d like to catch up on some fantastic TeachMeet presentations which you’ve missed, or you know of a fantastic TeachMeet video which ought to be on the site, get yourself over to TeachMeet TV and join in! And what about audioboos, I hear you ask? Well, our good friends over at EDUtalk have already got that covered. 26

Getting Involved This is Issue One. We are open to suggestions. We want you to become involved! We hope to have the next issue out in about 6 weeks (end of June), so send your submissions, ideas, criticisms to us here at: Even better, why not get involved with the website! Until next time...




[CC] Pedagoo, 2013




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