Think before you tweet!

Think before you tweet!

For the past four years I have been a fan of twitter (@tiddtalk). It has enabled me to network very freely with other like minded teachers and educators around the world. This can enable you to spread information very quickly on what is happening now or a particular moment. It is an excellent resource to spread information especially if you have updated your blog and are looking for instant readership. It is a great use of technology and is something I have found to be a great source of learning and enjoyment.

Recently at my school, twitter and blogging has taken off with a recent twilight on the subject. This is fantastic news for my fellow teachers for their CPD and for our students. But we have to be very careful with what we write and who we share this information with. As long as we are professional and think before we tweet we should not fear this medium of sharing information and knowledge. Twitter is here to stay and is the future of learning. Using technology in the right way can only improve our lessons and sharing of ideas.

We have created @GillGeographers for our students to follow in geography. This will be a dedicated twitter address for geographical events that are taking part in the world, to improve case study knowledge, world issues and information regarding the geography department.

With @GillGeographers and for my school I have come up with a few twitter rules:

• Keep your ‘school/education/department’ account to be used for school separate from your personal one. I do not let any student follow @tiddtalk, I check my followers daily and block any students who have found me as it is my private account.

• What do you want to do with this account? What do you hope to accomplish? What do you want to communicate? Your ‘school/education/department’ twitter account could be used as a broadcast account to start off with sharing news links and information. This is perhaps the “safer” option initially as you get used to using twitter and what you want to do with it.

• The account will need to be looked after and kept up to date as social networking is an immediate thing which can demand an immediate response. Will there be just one person who will post or will you have multiple people who post? Remember to keep it simple to start with.

• Who do you want to follow? I think it would be unwise to follow students as it would be possible to direct message (private message) them. The @GillGeographers account will not be following anyone as there is no need to.

• How will you respond to questions directed at you? Do you need to send a message to a student via twitter? I think twitter is appropriate for students to send a message to your school account if it is a task related assignment i.e. find a news story on the Arctic and they send you the link for example.

• Never give out personal information such as your address/phone number/personal things – remember this is your school/education account!

• Don’t say anything on twitter that you wouldn’t say face-to-face. Remember it is a public space – it’s not the same as sending an email or a text message to one recipient. Once sent, tweets can be seen by anyone and if retweeted, can quickly take on a life of their own even if you delete it!

• Choose a strong password (a mixture of numbers and letters which would be hard for anyone else to guess) and do not share it.

• Turn off the ‘add location to tweet’ feature – to do this, click on the ‘settings’ option from the drop down menu to the right of the search box and untick the box (if it is ticked) next to the ‘add a location to my tweets’ option and then click on ‘save changes’.

• Think carefully about the details you put in the ‘bio’ section and any photo’s you use.If you have a personal twitter account I would advise you to not follow the ‘school/education/department’ one as students will only look at your account and follow you & potential other teachers who you follow in your followers list. This only creates work for you blocking them! @tiddtalk is open to the world to view so students no doubt have looked at it but it is not for them to follow (@GillGeographers is for them!) I think very carefully what I put up there as anyone can read it.

• And probably the most important rule, think before you tweet!

Think before you tweet!

I have tried to keep these rules simple and so teachers do not get into trouble using twitter.

Additionally to this, Jim Docherty, assistant secretary of the SSTA, told BBC Scotland that teachers should follow this advice: “First thing is don’t bother telling anybody else about your social life. Nobody is interested about your social life and it doesn’t help.”

“Secondly, never make any comment about your work, about your employer, about teaching issues in general. There is always a possibility it will be misinterpreted.”

Contact me via @tiddtalk to let us know how you are getting on with twitter and it’s use in your classroom. Remember, think before you tweet!

Who you calling a failure?

The Success of Failure

I have been reading John Hattie’s ‘Visible Learning for Teachers’ (a book I am sure many of you have read). It is looking at fifteen years of research involving millions of students and gives evidence into what actually works in schools to improve learning. It really is an enlightening book to read and does get you thinking. It has certainly made me think!

One particular reference point focuses on Michael Jordan – probably the greatest basketball player of all time. Now I am a massive fan of Michael Jordan, one of the greatest sportsman ever in my humble opinion. John Hattie refers to the YouTube clip seen below, where Michael talks about his failures in basketball; ‘I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.’

It is a great clip and is something all teachers should perhaps think about. I have never been afraid of trying out something new. I have always seen teaching as an opportunity to trial new ideas. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t – but I’m not afraid to take a chance as long as it improves the student learning and experience. Without the risk factor and trying something different I would never of progressed as a teacher.

We are under enormous pressure from the never-ending educational changes and the results driven route our system has taken. This has been a detriment to teachers. We should be allowed to develop and implement new innovative ideas, improving our lessons. In teaching it’s too easy (and boring!) to do the same thing – I dare you to try something new tomorrow! Go on, do it! It might work…if not try again the next day and see what happens! I would be really interested to hear your experiences @tiddtalk

Who wants to be a teacher?

inspiration_can

‘It isn’t what you say that defines you but what you do’

These are the wise words of Batman that every aspirational teacher should know.

Teaching is a popular profession for many graduates. Last year over 16, 000 people completed a secondary PGCE. The number of graduates completing PGCE’s has steadily risen over the last few years until recently. It is a role that people find exciting, challenging and extremely stimulating. It is a profession where we are able to move people forward in their aspirations and assist their learning.

Unfortunately, I was sad to read that the number of teacher training places at universities and colleges is to be cut by one fifth. The government wants more teachers to learn their skills on the job in schools rather than in training colleges. Now I agree that we should have more on the job training – it’s where I learnt my skills and it was where I did most of my learning– but fewer teachers and training opportunities? Universities and teaching colleges offer fantastic teaching expertise and facilities that should be further funded. This maybe in response to subject demand but I am sure we will need teachers in the future and these cuts maybe putting off hundreds of potential brilliant teachers.

Teaching is Cool!

Nicholas Hargreaves of Radipole School, Weymouth says, ‘teaching is a wonderful career choice for anyone. From a young age several teachers and friends helped and encouraged me to aspire to become a teacher. To provide young minds with the knowledge, skills and passion to take control of their lives and become the experts of tomorrow. Personally it has given me the chance to inspire young people with my knowledge and expertise. Working with a group of like-minded teachers and young people is extremely inspirational. It is a role I have always been determined to succeed in and work hard for.’

The role teachers’ play in their local community is also central to a student’s development. Schools’ and communities must work collaboratively together for an area to benefit. Economic investment is a necessity with schools. Schools are the training ground for our future generations and they need to be at the forefront of technology for our young learners with the very best facilities for them to achieve their potential. The local community and schools’ must be incorporated into working together to create an ethos of self belief and to achieving their personal best. The community must be involved in their local schools creating community centres, so local people can benefit from the facilities and technology a school has. A community that sees the benefit of an education can help generate our leaders of tomorrow but they must work in partnership with the local schools. We as teachers are the facilitator of this role and can help enrich a wide variety of lives in the process. Working with the local community to enhance the school ethos and help an area develop.

Goodbye 2010, hello 2010

Russell Wait, Leader of Achievement at Broadwater School, Surrey; ‘I was inspired by my secondary school Headteacher who encouraged me from the tender age of 12 to reach my aspirations and goals. I find that teaching is an ever-changing occupation that keeps you on your toes. To teach the future generation of Britain with a passionate voice can create change and can only be a benefit for the country’.

Many professionals from industry are turning to a career in teaching because of the many benefits the role brings. They bring with them a vast range of experiences from industry that can only enhance the profession. Experience from outside the classroom and shared with the students is vital. Young people do need to have role models and even though they sometimes might not want to admit it, teachers are a very important one. It is very clear that many people want to train as teachers but cannot afford to take a whole year off for training. With the recent credit crisis it is understandable, but it does show that people do want to be teachers.

With this in mind, young people choosing to become a teacher may not get a job at the end of their training. If the government get their way we will all be working till at least sixty-eight – where is the opportunity for the young, fresh and talented teachers? We need teachers, inspirational teachers with new ideas and outlooks. Choose teaching – be a teacher!

Goodbye Mr Gove!

Goodbye Mr Gove!

A sigh of relief was felt across the UK today as Michael Gove, Education Secretary, become Chief Whip for the Conservative Party. His reign as Education Secretary was felt by all teachers and students, some in a good way but for many not so. Michael Gove said he had made it his “personal crusade” to close the gap between the educational attainment of rich and poor pupils. The impact he had will be felt for many years to come and the changes he made will also be debated for years to come. We won’t really know the full impact his changes have made for a few years.

What was Michael Gove’s impact?

– Almost 60% of secondary schools are now academies. There are more than 300 free schools open or approved.

– GCSE were scrapped and then reinstated.

– The qualifications system in England has been re-drawn, moving back to a much more traditional, exam-based model.

– A new curriculum has been rewritten with much controversy.

– The re-invention of school league tables

– The English education system, already separate from Scotland, is now fundamentally different from Wales and Northern Ireland.

– Creating a divide between teachers and the government.

The BBC have called Michael Gove a radical, controversial and divisive. He has certainly made his mark on education. For the last eighteen months, I have been actively involved in co-organising TeachMeet Dorset and Michael Gove was invited to five events. He was sadly busy on each occasion (even informing me 3 months after one event!) Hopefully, the new Education Secretary Nicky Morgan will be slightly more interested in teachers and education.

Goodbye Mr Gove! Anyone for champagne?

TeachMeet Dorset is back!

TeachMeet Dorset is back! On Thursday 19th June TeachMeet Dorset is returning to the Badger Brewery for an evening of pedagogic fun-filled frolics. The evening is already filling up fast and all teachers from Dorset and the surrounding area are all invited to attend as enthusiastic lurkers or presenters! The evening is actually taking place in the world-famous Badger Brewery in the bar area, so you can sample some rather tasty beer whilst listening to some top innovative ideas! The evening is running from 6-8.30pm. The great thing about a TeachMeet is that it is free – please click here to sign up or contact me via email mtidd@gillingham-dorset.co.uk

Learn something new, be amazed, amused and enthused. This is an informal gathering of those curious about teaching and learning. Anyone during the evening can share great ideas they’ve trialled in their classrooms, ask important questions or simply sign up to take part in learning conversations. Education professionals from all sectors are welcome to take part.

TeachMeet Dorset

The main part of TeachMeet is hearing stories about learning, from teachers. This is not an event to present about a product or theory – this is a chance for teachers from all types of establishments to hear ideas from each other. Real narratives of practice that make a difference. It is about being engaged and inspired by our immediate colleagues and a whole bucket load of networking to boot!

The event is being organised by myself, Gary Spracklen (@Nelkcarps) Director of Digital Learning and Innovation and South West Digital Educator of the Year (2012) at IPACA and Alan Frame (@HeadDownEyesUp) Headteacher of Downlands School.

A twitter wall will be up during the night so everyone from all over the world can get involved and interact with you all via #TMDorset.

Please do get in touch if you have any questions or wish to help sponsor the event. Thank you to Hall & Woodhouse for hosting us at the Badger Brewery and to twinkl and Toshiba for sponsoring the evening.

#TMDorset

#TMDorset

The Badger Brewery in Blandford is hosting and sponsoring #TMDorset for the first time! This will be a fantastic and exciting event for all teachers, educators and those interested in improving innovation and technology within schools! The event will be taking place on Thursday 6th March 2014 6-8pm.

The event is being organised by myself, Gary Spracklen (@Nelkcarps) Director of Digital Learning and Innovation and South West Digital Educator of the Year (2012) at IPACA and Alan Frame (@HeadDownEyesUp) Headteacher of Downlands School.

This brilliant will be rounded off sampling some fine Badger ales and eating at the famous Dorset Badger Brewery -if you would like to take part in BeerMeet/EatMeet please sign up here.

Please do get in touch if you have any questions or wish to help sponsor the event. Thank you to Hall & Woodhouse for hosting us at the Badger Brewery : )

Spread the word within your schools – TeachMeet Dorset is here!

If you are having trouble editing the wiki page then just email me at mtidd@gillingham-dorset.co.uk or via twitter we’ll add you to the list.

What is TeachMeet Dorset?

Learn something new, be amazed, amused and enthused. This is an informal gathering of those curious about teaching and learning. Anyone can share great ideas they’ve trialled in their classrooms, ask important questions or simply sign up to take part in learning conversations. Education professionals from all sectors are welcome to take part.

The main part of TeachMeet is hearing stories about learning, from teachers. This is not an event to present about a product or theory – this is a chance for teachers from all types of establishments to hear ideas from each other. Real narratives of practice that make a difference. It is about being engaged and inspired by our immediate colleagues and a whole bucket load of networking to boot!

So why not sign up now and attend TeachMeet Dorset! Hope to see you there : )

No ‘i’ in Team

No 'i' in Team

No 'i' in Team

TeachMeet Dorset had another successful evening on Thursday 10th October. This time it was hosted by Alan Frame (@HeadDownEyesUp), Headteacher at Downlands School in Blandford.

No 'i' in Team

It was extremely pleasing to see new faces and familiar ones too at the event. This was now my third TeachMeet within Dorset and I always come away inspired and invigorated for teaching.

No 'i' in Team

The good thing about TeachMeets I find, is that it is about teachers sharing and working together. I do find sometimes that I am like the Lone Ranger in my classroom, working with the students to, ultimately, progress. TeachMeets are a great or hearing new ideas, good practice, meet other teachers of all Key Stages, share experiences and to network. Alan was a superb host and I am very much looking forward to the next one! A wide range of speakers once again came from all over Dorset – some video presentations too for those who couldn’t attend plus the twitter follows at #TMDorset during the evening.

No 'i' in Team

My talk that evening was based around improving group work within lessons – No ‘i’ in Team. I intially looked at the work of David Brailsford, the Peformance Director for British Cycling and applied it to teaching. Brailsford joined the British Cycling Team in 1996 as an adviser. Cycling success didn’t come immediately and took a whole team of people to help create a winning culture. Success took time and Brailsford focused on the marginal gains – the little things or one percenters to slowly improve the team. These little changes could be used in the classroom. Learning command words, case studies and keywords can slowly start to make a difference but it is a gradually process. For anything to work it will take time and you have to learn from your mistakes.

No 'i' in Team

I then looked at the idea that teachers shouldn’t be afraid for the students to get stuck – and find their own way out without having to ask for help from the teacher. This can be difficult for the teacher as you are trained to help – but watch. The students will slowly piece together information and will work it out for themselves.

No 'i' in Team

From this point I looked at a variety of different techniques to use for group work from market place activities, revision speed dating, modelling answers using play dough, random name generators to create groups and ‘giant’ card sorting for 30 students.

No 'i' in Team

There are a few ideas being put together for the location/theme for the next TeachMeet Dorset in the spring term. From the ideas mooted it sounds very exciting! See you there or via #TMDorset