Sunday, 18 April 2010

Punishing the whole class for the stupidity of a few?

Thursday evening was TMNE10 and like the 2 previous meets it was a great success and I learned a lot. It was nice to meet some "old faces" and finally meet some of my "virtual friends" most notably Chris Fuller and Fiona Joyce who I've been threatening to meet for a while now and who both impressed me with their knowledge, enthusiasm and their presentations.
Chris Harte has done a very detailed, comprehensive and excellent report on TMNE10 on his blog with links about the meet here so I'm going to write about something else.

On the day I gave my presentation extolling the virtues, and giving examples, of using mobile phones in my classroom, including an interactive text poll, a teaching union, the NASUWT, called for a crackdown on mobile phones in schools after it claimed that mobile technology was, in part, responsible for an incident in which a teacher was charged with the attempted murder of a student. (You can read the whole story here)

This type of nonsense makes my blood boil. I can understand that with some classes allowing students to have a mobile phone in class is not a good idea. By the same token, for some of the more challenging and unruly students I have met over the years, giving them a ruler or even a pencil is not a good idea.

I think the point I'm trying to make is that banning something because of a few isolated incidents has a negative, knock-on effect on the learning and enjoyment of the more cooperative and trustworthy students. Why should everyone suffer for the poor behaviour of a minority?

Anyway, here's my presentation:

Monday, 12 April 2010


It's back.
TeachMeetNE10 will take place on 29th April 2010 at the North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers, Newcastle, at 7pm.

There will be the chance to hear and give 7 minute micropresentations, 2 minute nanopresentations, take part in learning conversations, or just chat.

This is an excellent opportunity for educators from all types of schools, and other educational establishments to meet and share ideas and experiences in a relaxed atmosphere.

I have attended the previous TeachMeetNE meetings last year, met lots of interesting and amazing practitioners and can thoroughly recommend the experience.

For more information or to sign up, present, or lurk, click here.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Fun with Imagechef

I've been a fan of Imagechef for a while now.
It's a great way to motivate students into being creative and having fun with language.

We've used it to describe food,

to make word mosaics,

and to make greetings cards

I like this application because there are so many different uses for it, it is so easy to use and I encourage everyone to have a look and try it out.

Unfortunately, I showed my wife how to use it, yesterday, and she appears to have gone over to the darkside, using it for her own entertainment rather than work.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

The end of an era (Part 2)

Last week I left my school for the last time. I'd been there exactly 11 years and, for my own personal sanity, I needed to leave before I was considered a "lifer".

Both the school and I benefited from the experience (me being there, not leaving) and I'm quite sure that it was a positive experience for the majority of students I have taught over that time (apart from not being able to spell "monsieur", obviously).

Over the last eleven years I have evolved from "chalk'n'talk" teaching to being the most, or quite possibly that be only, web2.0 proficient teacher in the school.

It's a shame that the pupils who have been using Xtranormal, wordle, goanimate, imagechef, smspoll, storybird, crazytalk, etc, etc. probably won't get the opportunity again.

On the plus side, I can't wait to start at my new school and try out these applications, and more, with some new students. Watch this space, I shall report back.