A really interesting post on the idea of teaching 21st Century skills - http://donaldclarkplanb.blogspot.com/2011/11/21st-century-skills-are-so-last-century.html plus my submission to the 'Beauty of a Second' video competition below.
There appear to be at least two themes running through the development of educational technology at the moment: the move towards a more programming-focused, 'computer science' type curriculum and the increasing use of mobile, handheld technology in the classroom and beyond, e.g. smartphones. I have now heard about several local schools who have invested in iPads as a means of harnessing technology across the curriculum. Are these two themes pulling ICT in different directions or are they linked? Maybe this app provides a clue? Or this one?
Although Mr. Gove has been quiet on the subject so far, the move to a more 'computer science' focused technology curriculum in the UK was strengthened by the government's response to an 'independent review' by two leaders in the games industry. The Guardian reported that the Department for Culture, Media and Sport said on Monday 'that classes in computing – known as Information and Communication Technology (ICT) – are "insufficiently rigorous" and in need of reform'. The BBC headlined with 'Government backs call for classroom coding'. And suggested that computer coding is the new Latin - now that is really going to get children interested!
So what might this look like in primary schools? Simon Haughton provided some timely support on 26th November: 'Teaching Control Programming with 2Go' from 2Simple. I will be introducing PGCE Primary students to MicroWorlds JR later this week - can't wait?!
I have come across a range of new resources recently - mainly, but not entirely via Twitter!
Its that time of year when people come up with 'Best of the Year' lists and this blog post contains some really interesting links that I wasn't aware of.
Paper Rater seems a really useful tool for checking written work before submitting for assessment at almost any level - from the top of primary school to Masters Level!
Loose Leaves is a tool for sharing writing online - great for blogging, if you don't want the bother of setting a blog up.
Free Math Animations are just that - free animations to help explain mathematical ideas and concepts on an interactive whiteboard.
As you can see from the the box on the right (at the moment, its orange, but I may get bored and change the colour), I have started 'tweeting'. I'll be using Twitter to share quick updates, new videos and software plus links about Global Learning. You can find me @TonyPickford1.
This article by Bob Harrison provides some useful insights into government policy in relation to ICT in education. Unsurprisingly the focus seems to be on schools 'helping each other' with limited (or non-existent) support and/or funding from DfE. An interesting quote: '... the last BECTA ICT research, the OFSTED report on ICT in schools, and a more recent BESA schools survey suggest that “some schools know better than others” but the effective use of ICT across all sectors in education is extremely variable. The challenge is how do we reduce the variation in provision and avoid a “digital divide” which may exacerbate other existing divisions and obviously raises issues of equity and equality of opportunity ...'
A fascinating blog post about the use of mobiles in the classroom - http://blogs.independent.co.uk/2011/11/09/don%E2%80%99t-ban-mobile-phones-in-schools-let-students-use-them-all-the-time
Although NOT for classroom use (the site's open-ness has obvious e-safety implications), the Quora website has a growing community which offers answers to almost any question. This page provides some interesting responses to the question: 'What are good examples of Web 2.0 applications in education?'. As a footnote to my post on 8th October, this page explains how Steve Jobs's Stanford speech was written.
Tony Pickford is a tutor and writer on primary education.