Joint Norton Radstock Network INSET, Radstock

| February 18, 2013

A pleasure to be here at Joint Norton Radstock network INSET day at Writhlington School, Radstock, near Bath, presenting keynotes and workshops.

The theme of the conference was “Inspired teaching – using today’s technologies to raise achievements” so in our opening, and closing, keynotes, we splattered folk with oodles of accessible tools and ideas for raising the levels of creativity, writing, speaking and listening among children of all ages. We looked at the powerful effect of using games, Web2 tools, software, handheld devices and more and explored ways of teaching that focus on quality learning, rather than the latest gadget.

The Norton Radstock Schools, and Fosse Way, form part of the Partnership Teaching School. The Partnership Teaching School is a job share between Fosse Way School in Radstock and Fiveways School in Somerset.  The name indicates their ethos as an umbrella organisation through which schools are able to take the lead in developing the current and future schools’ workforce.

Their partners include the Norton Radstock Network schools, Yeovil Federation of schools, Somerset Special Schools, Bath Spa and Exeter Universities, Somerset SCITT and Mid Somerset Consortium.

Thank you to Alison Reevey, Assistant Head Teacher, Fosse Way School, specialist school, for sharing her thougts:

“The Norton Radstock is a close group of schools (primary, secondary and special) that formed a cluster before it was trendy to do so and this network has withstood the passing of years, changes of heads and even changes of schools. Some of us remember the heads working together to better meet the needs of pupils with special educational needs before Avon split into unitary authorities and B&NES was formed.

It’s therefore been a long time coming for all schools in the cluster to agree to a joint school closure…..and that was the easy bit!! Fosse Way School took the lead as a Teaching School ( in organising the event and on the evening before some of us are excited, many are looking forward to what looks like a really great day and I bet some are just realising that half term is over!

Writhlington School are hosting the event and the place will be buzzing with 380 teachers and teaching assistants as we all soak up what modern technology can do to inspire our teaching and raise achievements. I’ll let you know how it goes….”

Thank you too, to David Gregory (head teacher at Fosse Way School) for inviting us, and to Hayley Porter, Marketing and Conference Manager, on her last day at Fosse Way School, for their excellent organisational skills and for looking after us so beautifully today.

It was fun to meet up with the glorious Russell Prue again. Russell ran a couple of long workshops looking at how setting up a radio station can have a massive impact on confidence, creativity and standards in many forms.

Russell is an award winning International ICT Evangelist, Author and Broadcaster; he spends most of his time speaking to education conferences about exciting uses of ICT. Russell trains educators, leads student workshops and advises key UK education players on their strategic development.

In September 2009, Russell designed the World’s cheapest radio station, a specially created digital school radio station that uses technology to help develop speaking & listening skills. Young people love to broadcast, but great shows demand; quick thinking, brilliant communication and problem solving skills and the ability to work collaboratively in teams. Most uses of ICT in schools don’t achieve these vital objectives; in fact collaboration is often referred to as cheating!

Russell also spends a few days each week in schools and colleges teaching young people how to harness the power of broadcast technology. Russell also broadcasts live each month to audiences from across the world as part of his regular “Learning & Teaching” shows and hosts the annual European Safer Internet Radio Show that over 40 million people listened to.

There was also an impressive line up of other workshops throughout the day:

‘Managing your digital workflow’ with our dear friend Spencer Cartwright, looked at how teachers can keep on top of and engage with Twitter, social networks, blogs, and so much more to keep up to date with developments in Educational Technology. Tim had the honour to work with Spencer for quite a few years, whilst he was teaching at Chew Magna Primary School, and the two of them were in Leading Teacher roles. Since then we have kept in regular contact, to nick some of Spencer’s MANY brilliant ideas.

Another friend, John Holder an Apple Professional Development Consultant, shared his experience with ‘e-safety, and iPads in action’. Through a couple of practical hands-on workshops John explored how iPads can be transformational to teaching and learning. The groups considered the unique benefits iPad brings to education and how this may impact on existing planning.

The session finished by exploring the ‘iPad journey’ using endorsements from schools that Apple support, from Teacher toolkit through to 1:1 Deployments.

John has a background in Primary Education and a wealth of experience delivering Certified and Bespoke Teacher Training for Apple and the British Computer Society over the last 8 years to both Schools and FE. John has a number of qualifications including Apple Certified Associate, Apple Certified Trainer, Apple Professional Development Consultant and BCS Train the Trainer for the Digital Creator qualification.

John has been involved in many 1-2-1 projects, from the vision and planning, through to Staff development and Student and Pupil engagement. Through his work with AT Computers, John has kept our laptops “on the road” for many years too. Today, he did it for real, replacing an ailing power lead, as quick as a flash (well, maybe “as quick as HTML5” then. )

Dave Hall led a session on iPads in Primary schools, whilst Fiona Campus of Writhlington looked at ‘iPads and Art: a practical session’ looking at how iPads can be used to develop less able artist’s engagement and progress in Art. Participants had the opportunity to experience working with an iPad, develop their artistic skills and consider ways of incorporating them in lessons.

‘Using technology to promote literacy’ – Tom Fieldhouse of Writhlington School investigated how we might use technology to promote literacy. He presented a method of promoting creativity and literacy in lessons; using technology (and specifically film) as a means of inspiring pupils. Specifically, this he has a focus on the use of monologues, or talking heads as a springboard in to Schemes of Work.

John Corbett, also of Writhlington, explored how we might use ‘QR codes to enhance student feedback’. An innovative and timesaving approach to giving students detailed feedback on their work and engaging students in learning. The QR code allows people to access multimedia information from a static image and this session looks at how this can incorporated into lessons and feedback.

Mark Bridges’ session was entitled ‘Making it work; practical ways to use technology in lessons’. The group looked at practical ways a range of technologies can be used by teachers in lessons to promote learning and engage students.

Kevin Pay, the Deputy Chief Executive and Operations Director of the e-Learning Foundation, led a workshop called ‘How to make it happen’. Kevin described how to plan, finance, deliver and sustain a successful e-learning programme and provided examples and references of schools that e-LF works with. The e-Learning Foundations’ objective is to ensure that all children regardless of their social or economic background have the same opportunity to use a mobile device at school and at home unleashing the power of the Internet and all that it delivers in a safe and sustainable fashion.

Co-facilitated by Ros Fielder – History teacher and VLE champion at Somervale and Dr Mark Thompson – Deputy Head at Norton Hill, another group found out how two school’s used a ‘Virtual Learning Environment with learners to engage learners and Raise Achievement’.

Cathie Evans Assistant Headteacher Somervale School i/c Teaching and Learning and Student Intervention, challenged us to look at using student achievement data to intervene in Learning. This covered what data is used and for what purposes and how the data can be used to differentiate in the classroom and through intervention classes in the secondary setting.

Dr James Stewart-Cox. James is a member of the Maths Department at Norton Hill and is responsible for whole school data analysis across the Norton Hill/Somervale Federation. James shared how custom Built Excel tools can be used to analyse student assessment data – a hands on session that would take participants through the process of creating macros to track progress and how to set up electronic markbooks.

Dr Dan Davies, Head of Applied Research & Consultancy, Bath Spa showed Project e-scape (‘Electronic Solutions for Creative Assessment in Portfolio Environments’) is an innovative approach to assessment of children’s scientific enquiry skills. The Centre for Research in Early Scientific Learning (CRESL) has worked with four secondary and nine primary schools to develop a form of assessment in which children can record their thoughts and actions electronically in a variety of ways – text, voice recording, photos, drawings, video whilst they are actually carrying out a science activity. This workshop will introduce the e-scape system and enable colleagues to experience and record a science enquiry activity.

Dr Steve Coombs. Director of CEIT, Bath Spa University and Simon Selby, gave information about an exciting PhD project, on Cyberbullying, which aims to identify the nature and scope of the social phenomena of Cyber-bullying and its victims in the BANES area.

Natalie Hannah & Nas Iqbal of Fosse Way School, gave what they called ‘A basic introduction to some handy technologies to support SEN and individualised learning’. They focussed on iPads, blogging and some quality free resources and websites.

Category: 1) Events and Training days

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