Category: 4) Well Done!

Back to Back Back to Their Future from Barry

| February 2, 2013 | 0 Comments 

A massive THANK YOU, to Barry Corrigan, for his very thoughtful reflections on our Back To Their Future session at BETT:

I had the absolute joy of seeing another presentation and being entertained by the wonderfully talented and mercurial Tim Rylands this morning at BETT.

I have written about Tim before on my blog, and his visionary approach to education, through the use of technology. What I love about his work is that he puts the learning at the heart of everything he speaks about. Yes, it might be flashy and immersive but it is always educational – in his own unique and twisted way!

Tim held the BETT Arena in the palm of his hand this morning as he enthralled us, entertained us, surprised us and shared the joy of watching two dancing robots with us (don’t ask!).

Watching Tim Rylands speak is the best therapy any teacher could hope for.

Knowing that there are people with that energy, insight, drive, motivation and passion wrapped up that humble, self-deprecating package is truly inspiring. It gives those of us who are exhausted fighting the system the shot in the arm we need from time to time. Who needs Red Bull?

It was the message that was threaded through his presentation today that was the most joyous to hear! By not embracing this technology and using it to benefit the LEARNING of the children, then we are doing them an injustice. However, it has to be beneficial! It has to be worthwhile and it has to make a difference – otherwise it is a shiny distraction! He was all about the teacher being the visionary and taking the kids with on a journey of discovery and challenge. Discovering their (and our) hidden talents and challenging our expectations of what children can do.

Tim used one comment in the show that resonated with me and was probably the single most important thing I heard in my time in BETT this year. It was almost a throw away and it seemed to get lost in the maelstrom of activity and joy on the stage. It was a simple quote but I’m still thinking about it:

‘If an answer can be Googled, is the question good enough?’

If you are not following him on Twitter @timrylands, ask yourself why not? People like him are few and far between..

Thanks Barry. Very thoughtful. Thank you to @lisacov for the pictures too

Edublogs Lifetime Achievement Award

| December 13, 2012 | 8 Comments 

Very honoured to be nominated for an Edublogs Lifetime Achievement Award, (thanks @ictmagic et al) and totally surprised to win it – thank you all at Edublogs.  A lovely surprise to wake up to this morning.

But, (and, without getting too awards-ceremony-gushy, à la Gwyneth Paltrow) I (truly) would like to thank …my producer, my creative advisor: @sarahneild &…you (clutches statuette and blubbers). Thank you.

More Magic, Mystery and Mayhem at Belle Vue Primary

| November 4, 2012 | 3 Comments 

Some more, excellent, writing from Belle Vue Primary. Take a look at their blog for even more imaginative ideas.

Excited but confused, nervous and perplexed, I carefully meandered into Atrus’ study… As soon as I stepped into the dark study I could smell an aroma of bright scented candles drift up my nose.

Strips of sunlight shot though the glass windows like a bullet causing gaps in the shadows. I could hear my foot steps tipper-tapping on the vivid radiant mosaics. Ores shone brightly  in the sombre study as I scanned every detail  of the room.

Around the corner there was Atrus’ cluttered desk covered in his paraphernalia. As silent as an assassin, I cautiously crept closer to the desk. On the table sat pictures of Atrus’ mysterious sons. Despite the darkness, I could just observe an intricately woven tapestry which I think showed the past of Atrus. Curiously, I caught sight of a candle holder. Suddenly, I felt a pain on my hand, the burning hot lamp had burnt my finger.

Shimmering brightly in the sunless study stood a polished glistening glass stand: waiting in that glass stand was the book Releeshahn glaring at me like a tiger on the prowl.  Across the book there was an encrested metal locking mechanism.

Sneakily I surveyed an artistic tapestry. In one picture (In the far distance) there was an isolated castle which had been horribly burnt down! Scanning the whole picture I sighted a man standing on a rigid, serrated rocks , it looked like Atrus!

My eyes focused on the Reelshahn book, but where was the key for it? Only Atrus would know…

By Alex M – Belle vue Primary School class 6T Continue Reading

Magic, Mystery and Mayhem at Belle Vue Primary School

| October 2, 2012 | 43 Comments 

Year 6 at Belle Vue Primary School have just started a brand new topic of ‘Magic, Mystery and Mayhem’  based around the computer game Myst 3. The ideas, originally spread by Tim, have really helped my year partner and I to plan and deliver an inspiring thematic topic . So far it has got our children hooked as well as helping to develop their literacy skills!

We started off with a mysterious chest that arrived in one of the classrooms – we had to solve a series of puzzles and problems to find the key. Once we opened the chest we discovered a strange book named ‘Tomahna’ (one of the lands in the game) and a revealing letter from a wizard named Atrus … Continue Reading

Some thoughts from the early years ~ Castledown Primary

| September 7, 2012 | 0 Comments 

Feeling very conscious, after spending my second day with Tim and Sarah, of my lack of ‘gorgeous language, similes and metaphors’-but ‘not worrying about my spelling’ (not because of Tim’s reassurance that it’s not always the most important part, but in this case because of the spell checker), I embark on summarising yesterday’s experience from an early years teachers perspective.

Wednesday’s teacher training left me feeling a mix of excitement and overload of ideas. I needed little encouragement to go home and play around with some of the apps and pages we had talked about and think of ways to link them in to my teaching. But for me today was the most inspiring part as it really gave us an opportunity to see some of the software in practice and become part of the class to experience how it can be delivered in such a powerful way. Continue Reading

Clevedon School, North Somerset

| June 5, 2012 | 0 Comments 

We recently had an absolutely superb visit to Clevedon School in North Somerset, nestled in the beautiful, green, Swiss Valley in Clevedon, and discovered a school that is far from hidden away.

If it is looked for, it is because it is now sought out for guidance, by an increasing number of other establishments, & offers advice and support on everything from finances, rolling out a 1:1 iPad program, through to inventive curriculum design.

Ofsted rated the school is “Outstanding” –what we saw certainly justified this.

We went with the aim of fact finding and filming.

The chance to spend some time investigating innovative use of technology, alongside the teachers and students there, was a great honour, and we are very grateful to them all for organizing a packed day. Continue Reading

Myst at Cwm Garw in BBC News report

| May 17, 2012 | 0 Comments 

A lesson at Cwm Garw School, in the worlds of Myst III:Exile, featured on BBC Wales News, today.

The report, about a new five-year plan aimed at raising poor literacy standards in Welsh schools, which has just been published, included some familiar faces for us.

We were lucky to work alongside the folk of Cwm Garw School, developing ways of bringing words alive, in Welsh and English. It was a joyous visit and one that broke new ground for us – recording some wondrous writing in both languages.

You can hear some of the children’s superb reading of their descriptive narrative, with harp accompaniment, HERE.

Assembly Education Minister, Mr Leighton Andrews, visited the school today, to launch the National Literacy Framework.

The Minister was treated to a year 5/6 lesson using the Myst computer game and follow up descriptive writing work on iPads. The BBC, ITV, S4C and Real Radio covered the event which went very well and helped to emphasise the Ministers message regarding the importance of reading and writing.

The National Literacy Programme sets out what the Welsh government will do to improve results and change the way literacy is thought about in schools.

Mr Andrews told BBC Wales: “The National Literacy Programme will introduce greater consistency and clarity into the way we track pupils’ progress while also providing the support, challenge and accountability needed in our schools.”

“What we must do is ensure that all learners benefit from excellent teaching of literacy and develop the skills that are so vital to their future success”

Well done Cym Garw, & great to see you still exploring possibilities so inventively, 5 years after our first steps together.

Wawne Primary ICT Journey

| May 2, 2012 | 0 Comments 

We receive some very lovely feedback and photos, and are very grateful to Angela Thresh from Wawne Primary, Hull, for this very thoughtful open letter following our day of training and day of lessons there nearly two years ago:

Anyone who has heard you speak, either to adults at conferences and training days or with children in school will be in no doubt that you are one of the most inspirational speakers in education today. (Thank you) However when you spoke to the teachers at Wawne Primary School in September 2010 your influence would be felt far longer than anyone could imagine – two and a half years later the “Tim” effect can still be seen!

The original purpose of your visit was centred around ICT and Literacy and indeed it was a fantastic two days but what has really lasted, the long term effect has been how technology can enhance the learning journey. Certainly, observing you inspire our young people to write so passionately was uplifting and observing best-practise is always the best form of CPD, however the long term technological impact was founded on day one. Continue Reading

Arriving in Exile…

| April 23, 2012 | 0 Comments 

This is the third year I have been using MYST. This work is from Exile, the landscape at the beginning which we did on the training session with you, and the day of lessons. Some of the sentences we liked I’ve typed up. These are year 4 pupils. Hope you like their work!

Judith Thompson, Parklands Primary School Northampton.

Dust drifted silently across the sun-baked, sandstone rocks. The golden sun beat waves of heat down. I surveyed the lonely wasteland, a falcon zipped around beating its black wings heavily. A large dusty rock that looked like a sleeping ankylosaurus of some sort lay embedded into the golden ground and flaky cliff side, silent, unmoving. Small cacti grew upright from the rocky cliff side. Miniature bushes of some sort were planted firmly into the rocky terrain. Only then I realised, I was in the unforgiving, cruel-hearted Exile.

… Quickly running into a cavern I sheltered for a while.…As I gaze up at the aqua blue sky, with fluffy white clouds, gracefully a bird swoops beautifully down in front of me.…Winds whispered gently across Exile…I could see little footprints a bird made on the sand.

..As purple as an aubergine the sky watched the puffy clouds go by.

..I touched the several-aged mountains, they were rough, still and fixed.

Here I am alone, standing still near the gigantic mountains.I saw a graceful bird swooping eagerly in the lush pale sky, with creamy clouds.Here I am, in this unknown world with just a beautiful soaring bird to keep me company.Silently the bushes stand like an army ready for the battle to begin.

Spiky cacti, in all shapes and sizes, stood still on the shimmering sand.

Drifts would come past me like they were humans.

I felt like I didn’t belong.My eyes were searching frantically for some kind of comfort.White clouds of silk were beautiful.Rocky cliffs dominated the bright yellow sand.

It was amazing, so sandy, but I realised that once it was beautiful here.

The shiny bird was gliding gracefully.

The dry sand whispered under my feet.

Thank you Judith, and well done Year Four! It is a pleasure to peruse polished prose from the Parklands posse.

More wandering in the world of words in Wiltshire

| March 23, 2012 | 0 Comments 

Thank you to Richard Boase, Year 6 Teacher, at Manor Fields Primary for sharing some of the successes he has had using computers games in his class

The first lesson began, we all sat together and I launched the game. Having watched the introduction, the children were hooked. I explained how we’d “travel” and we began, sitting next to Yeesha.

But, I “refused to move” before I got a great sentences from them! And I got many, from everyone in the room!

“I sit in the golden skeleton gondola, wondering where I’m going.” Wrote one Year 6 Girl. We then began our ride!

First off we just watched and children described what they could see. Second run and we just listened with the screen off. Finally both together. Before each run the children came up with amazing sentences! Continue Reading

Wandering through the World of Words in Wiltshire

| March 19, 2012 | 1 Comment 

Thank you to Toni Hayzen, of Clarendon Junior School, Wiltshire, for explaining her journey using games in her class.

Toni attended the SWGfL ICT Conference last July and was so impressed by Nicky Newbury’s workshop ‘Playing the Writing Game‘, she decided to explore the approach in her classroom.

Having been enthused about games based learning at the SWGfL ICT conference 2011, I rushed back to school to see what the Headteacher thought of it. Great news! Our Head had seen Tim’s work at her previous school and fully supported any decision to employ the strategies into our school! But where to start? Continue Reading