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Preview: Educational Technology - ICT in Education -- Headlines

Educational Technology - ICT in Education -- Headlines

Practical advice for users, teachers, leaders and managers of educational ICT

Copyright: (Terry Freedman)

The new ICT in Education website is well under way!

Mon, 2 Nov 2009 22:35:01 GMT

Well, the new website is up and running and, I'm pleased to say, gaining in popularity. Quite a few people have messged me by one means or other to say that they like the new look. Basically, I'm determined to resist the temptation to install every widget known to humanity!

In this article I give you the things I'm concerned with on the new website, the new RSS feed, and links to a whole bunch of articles from the new site.

New ICT in Education website up and running

Thu, 22 Oct 2009 11:23:47 +0100

The new ICT in Education website is now up and running. Here is some information about where it is and how to subscribe. See you there I hope!

Changes afoot

Sat, 17 Oct 2009 22:45:38 +0100

I'm starting a new website. Read on for more information.

A Funny Thing Happened To Me On The Way Home

Thu, 15 Oct 2009 18:16:15 +0100


Waterloo Station, London, by Terry Freedman via Flickr

London is a sprawling place and, depending on how you define its boundaries, is home to up to around 18 million people.

So what are the chances of this happening?

Is There a Place for the Barefoot Researcher?

Wed, 14 Oct 2009 23:30:12 +0100

I have a lot of time for academics. Some of my best friends are academics. I used to be something of an academic myself (I studied for, and obtained, an MA, and did some ground-breaking research into adult economics education which resulted in my being invited to embark on a PhD; I declined).

The reason I mention all this is, of course, by way of a prelude to, not so much an all-out attack on, but an all-out gripe about, academic research.

Handheld Learning Keynotes Now Available

Wed, 14 Oct 2009 15:55:54 +0100

Great news: the keynotes from the first day proper of this year's Handheld Learning Conference are now available. Here are the URLs.

Set aside a few hours to watch Graham Brown-Martin's provocative introductory talk followed by four highly stimulating lectures from guest speakers, including one from Malcolm McLaren.

Reflections on Handheld Learning: Authenticity vs Karaoke, and magnificent failure vs benign success

Thu, 8 Oct 2009 15:54:04 +0100


Image by Terry Freedman via Flickr

Malcolm McLaren is not, perhaps, the first person that would spring to mind in the context of education. Yet, as one of the keynotes at the Handheld Learning Conference 2009 he had much to say that was highly relevant – in an irrelevant sort of way.

Reflections on Handheld Learning: Technology May Give Parents Consumer Power, But Is That Unequivocally Good?

Wed, 7 Oct 2009 00:40:29 +0100

(image) I think a good conference is one in which you come away with perhaps more questions than answers. Yes, everyone goes to such events looking for ‘solutions’, but in an intellect-driven (or it should be) enterprise like education, it’s often the questions that move us on. And the harder the better.

On that criterion, I would say that the second day of the Handheld Learning conference I’ve been attending in London, especially the morning, was a great success. Under the heading ‘Reflections on Learning’, four speakers gave us their perspective on learning. In the case of Zenna Atkins of Ofsted, the UK’s school inspectorate, and especially Malcolm McLaren – yes, that one – the perspective was quite personal.

Back through the time tunnel: the effects of technology on lifestyle, and techno-romanticsm

Fri, 2 Oct 2009 08:25:08 +0100

Time tunnel


I watched an interesting TV programme last night. Called Electric Dreams, the programme followed the fortunes of a family whose home had been transported back in time to the 1970s. Each day brought a new year, and the technology that went with it.

Some insightful connections were made

Web 2.0 Projects Book Deadline Extended

Thu, 1 Oct 2009 15:30:28 +0100

(image) I've had a great response to my call for submissions to this ebook, which seeks to collate information about interesting projects involving the use of Web 2.0 applications in schools.

The original deadline was 30 September, but last night I received some news which has led me to extend it until the 31st October.

Two changes to this website

Wed, 30 Sep 2009 19:08:08 +0100

Here is a brief update about two changes which have been implemented on this website.

Sport England collaborates with Facebook

Wed, 30 Sep 2009 06:34:24 +0100

According to a press release:

"Sport England and Facebook have announced a new partnership that will transform the way sports bodies engage with participants as they deliver a lasting Olympic legacy of one million people playing more sport."

Is this a good thing or not?

The internet – empowering or censoring citizens?

Wed, 30 Sep 2009 00:18:51 +0100


I attended a fascinating talk at the RSA last week. In a lecture entitled “The Internet: Empowering or Censoring Citizens”, Evgeny Morozov questioned whether the internet really is the means to inevitable freedom and democracy it is often portrayed to be.

Still time to submit a Web 2.0 project

Tue, 29 Sep 2009 12:46:31 +0100


I've received some great-looking project ideas for inclusion in the new edition of the free Web 2.0 Projects Book. Here is a brief update on the current state of play.

test post

Fri, 25 Sep 2009 23:00:00 +0100

test post

Too overbearing by half

Wed, 23 Sep 2009 23:24:08 +0100

Being too overbearing simply does not work.

(image) I have recently stopped going to 'my' gym, and started going to an unfamiliar one instead. The small increase in travelling time and the extra cost in terms of parking are more than compensated for by the peace and quiet I enjoy as a result of switching.

So what's all this about, and how does it relate to educational technology?

Tenacity: a good quality or a bad one?

Tue, 22 Sep 2009 09:43:51 +0100

One of the qualities that a subject leader must have, in my opinion, is the ability and willingness to stand one's ground. I think that this applies especially in the case of the ICT (or educational technology) leader, given the sorts of pressure he or she is often under.

Your Justice, Your World: Reviewers Needed

Thu, 17 Sep 2009 09:57:46 +0100

(image) Sophie Bessemer has emailed me to tell me about this new resource. It has sections for students and parent as well as teachers. As you might gather from its name, YJYW is designed for use in Citizenship and similar classes.

I've had a quick look, and I think that with a bit of tweaking it would also be useful in the Society, Health and Development Diploma, since that has a substantial legal element.

Read on for more information.

Attribution: / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

If your ICT provision were a restaurant...

Tue, 15 Sep 2009 09:20:55 +0100

A (image) lot of restaurants provide free 'extras' that help to make the experience enjoyable. So, as an interesting little exercise, if you're an ICT co-ordinator or ICT subject leader, what do you do to make people's experience of ICT more pleasant?

Web 2.0 Projects Ebook Update

Sun, 13 Sep 2009 09:49:48 +0100

The free eBook I published about a year ago, 60 Web 2.0 Projects, has b(image) een very popular, with around 11,000 downloads to date. However, new applications have become available, some of the links in the book no longer work, and new projects have been undertaken. For these reasons I am hoping to update the book and bring out a second edition.

Five Minute Fiction: The Big Sweep

Fri, 11 Sep 2009 11:12:01 +0100

This(image) is not the usual type of content for this website but hey: it's a beautiful day, and it's nearly the weekend, so why not take five minutes off?

Jack Alibi knew how to work. He also knew how to work a scam. Sure, going legit was good, but it took time. Lack of time was something Alibi had plenty of.

The law says...

Tue, 8 Sep 2009 08:27:16 +0100

The latest issue of Computers in Classrooms looks at using cartoons and comics. For the full list of contents, click the title.

The image below was created using ComicBrush
in accordance with its terms and conditions.

Terry's Two Minute Tips #14: Starting Work As A New ICT Co-ordinator

Mon, 7 Sep 2009 00:18:29 +0100

(image) It's been some time since I recorded a '2 minute tip', so I was quite pleased when Anthony Evans asked me to record a few thoughts on what new ICT (Ed Tech) Co-ordinators should do when they start their job.

Computers in Classrooms -- next edition

Wed, 2 Sep 2009 11:11:12 +0100

(image) (image) The latest edition of Computers in Classrooms will be on the virtual news stands tomorrow, ie 3rd September 2009), if all goes according to schedule. It’s a bumper edition, and free, and here is a summary of what’s in it.

The end of Becta et al? Or, Should the Centre for Policy Studies be abolished?

Tue, 1 Sep 2009 16:13:36 +0100

The Centre for Policy Studies is a conservative (note the small ‘c’) think tank. It has published a document called School Quangos: a blueprint for abolition and reform, in which the authors look at each of the education-related non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs) in the UK and argue that they should either be radically changed or abolished altogether.

Should we take it seriously?

Lasting till Christmas

Tue, 1 Sep 2009 01:02:07 +0100

Well, the new term — indeed, school year — has started or is about to start, so you may think it is somewhat premature to be thinking about Christmas already!

However, in my experience the autumn (Fall) term is the toughest of the lot, and the final few weeks can be purgatory. How can you and others in your team avoid that situation? Here are some suggestions, with links to articles you may find useful.

In praise of silliness

Wed, 26 Aug 2009 08:55:31 +0100

I am all in favour of the experiment by an ATM company in London which sees instructions in rhyming slang on some of its cash machines.

Getting Off To A Good Start

Mon, 24 Aug 2009 08:39:35 +0100

So, you're about to start a new job as leader or manager of educational ICT. Just over a year ago we published a list of things you could do in order to make an effective start. This tied in with a series about making a good impression, by Alison Skymes.

Here's another article on the same theme, with 21 suggestions.

I can see clearly now…

Fri, 14 Aug 2009 12:31:41 +0100

If you use computers regularly, you may be eligible for a free eye test. It’s well worth getting your eyes tested recently, as I discovered…

The code less ravelled

Wed, 5 Aug 2009 13:36:59 +0100

(image) Some observations about troubleshooting tech problems.

Yesterday was one of those days. You know the ones: you wake up in the morning full of the joys of spring, or whatever the season happens to be, raring to go, and full of grandiose plans. They were not to be realised. For a while now, the tech force has left us alone.

Perhaps it was on vacation.

Yesterday it returned.

Why web stats are important, and the top ten articles for January 2009

Mon, 3 Aug 2009 17:46:26 +0100

If you have your own blog or website, it’s worth spending some time looking at the statistics. I don’t mean simply the number of 'hits' received, which I think is pretty meaningless, or even the number of times particular articles are viewed.

More interesting to me is the number of times a particular article is viewed at a particular point in time.

E is for everything – but why?

Wed, 29 Jul 2009 15:54:25 +0100

(image) There is an unfortunate tendency for e-learning evangelists to try and come with as many e-words as possible when promoting the benefits of e-learning. Why?

What does a broken clock signify?

Tue, 21 Jul 2009 10:24:37 +0100

This sounds like an odd kind of question to pose on an educational technology website, but bear with me. A couple of days ago I went to my local swimming pool and the clock on the wall was tilted at an angle, and stuck at ten to six (it was three in the afternoon).

So that got me thinking: does a broken clock indicate that the management really doesn't care that much about such details because they are regarded as unimportant in comparison too customer service issues. Or does it imply that the management is so focused on what the reception area looks like, in order to attract more customers, that anything else takes second place?

Latest Computers in Classrooms now available

Thu, 16 Jul 2009 08:09:02 +0100

The last Computers in Classrooms of the school year has now been published. The main items in it are:

  • News
  • Using computers to raise standards in mathematics
  • The White Paper: your child, your schools, our future: building a 21st century school system
  • Amazing Greats

Find out more by clicking on the title.

ICT in the White Paper on building a 21st century school system

Wed, 15 Jul 2009 07:35:15 +0100

The British Government recently published it’s much-anticipated White Paper on building a 21st century schools system.

What did it have to say about the role of information and communications technology (ICT), and what are the implications for teachers?

What makes a good teacher as far as technology is concerned?

Thu, 9 Jul 2009 10:14:17 +0100

(image) I’m interested in exploring this question,  which I have phrased very carefully. I think whether you’re a teacher of information and communications technology, or someone who teaches with educational technology, there are some common denominators of what makes the teaching good.

My Foray into Blog TV

Tue, 7 Jul 2009 20:28:27 +0100

(image) I’ve been messing around with a live webcasting service called BlogTV. Last night I went live for the first time. In this post I consider some of the advantages and disadvantages of using Blog TV.

Cars Maths in Motion

Mon, 6 Jul 2009 00:22:37 +0100

Like many people, I left school without too much confidence in, or liking for, mathematics. It doesn't take a psychoanalyst to work out why. When, for example, one of my fellow pupils asked what the point of trigonometry was, the answer he received consisted of:

"Are you trying to be impudent, boy?",

followed by the imposition of a detention.

Another teacher had a novel approach to teaching: if you didn't understand the stuff in the lesson, you had a 90 minute detention in which to practise with test papers until you did -- all in utter silence while the 'teacher' (I use the term loosely) did his marking.

As you can see, counsellor, all this left a deep and lasting impression....

The tyranny of relevance

Thu, 2 Jul 2009 15:36:55 +0100

(image) In a recent address called 'What is education for?' to the Royal Society of Arts, Michael Gove bemoaned the fact that there is no government department in the UK whose sole remit is the pursuit of educational standards.

According to Gove, education is not regarded as a good enough end in itself, but as something which can help to achieve some other goal.

In his exposition of his views in favour of liberal education, he used the term 'the tyranny of relevance'. Although he wasn’t talking about Information and Communications Technology (ICT), this phrase did strike a chord with me. In the continuing debate over whether ICT should be taught as a subject in its own right, is there perhaps too much store set by 'relevance'?

My views on blogging

Wed, 1 Jul 2009 07:59:29 +0100

As part of the Teachers as Bloggers Mirandamod, I was asked to say why I blog and what my approach is. Here is the gist of what I said, with some additional information.

The Tech Force

Mon, 22 Jun 2009 07:38:05 +0100

"Them things just don't like me."

The woman at the end of the accusing finger pointing at my laptop edged cautiously towards the pub door, giving me a wide berth -- presumably in case the "thing" lashed out at her.

"I've tried, but they hate me, they do!"

Easy to dismiss such talk as the incoherent prattle of someone slightly unhinged. And yet, a part of me wonders whether she is not, on some level, quite right?

Teachers as Bloggers

Thu, 18 Jun 2009 11:44:40 +0100

(image) Why should teachers blog, how can they go about it, and what are the issues to be aware of?

Independent Review of ICT User Skills

Wed, 17 Jun 2009 08:16:54 +0100


The Independent Review of ICT User Skills of Britain’s population has just been published. It makes for some interesting reading.

Terry's Two Minute Tips #13: Effective Feedback

Mon, 15 Jun 2009 17:19:32 +0100

E Talbert has asked me to make some comments on effective feedback for the Terry's Two Minute Tips series. So here is my response, with some useful links for further reading.

Risk Assessment

Thu, 11 Jun 2009 11:26:01 GMT

You cannot avoid risk, so you have to manage it. Whether you’re considering installing a new computer system, or trying out a new teaching approach, how can you manage the risk sensibly and effectively?

Ask Miller! Final edition!

10 Jun 2009 23:56:03 GMT GMT

(image) Miller (left) is a teenager living in the USA. It's always interesting to hear what young people think about educational technology, so I was delighted when Miller agreed to have a go at answering questions about it.

The questions below are all genuine, ie they have been submitted by real people, not just made up by me (although I can assure that I am a real person!).

Equally, Miller's answers are genuine too, which is to say she didn't receive any prompting or assistance from either her teacher, Vicki Davis, or me.

Today, Miller answers these questions:

  1. How have you been made aware of e-safety (internet safety) issues - did your school have e-safety lessons or e-safety awareness programs. Did the school have an "Acceptable Use Policy" (a set of rules for the use of computers / the internet). is e-safety an issue for American teenagers (thinking of computers, hand held devices, cell phones etc)
  3. As a young person what do you think would be most helpful to protect young people online?
  5. Do you think it's necessary for schools to block social networking sites like Twitter & Facebook? Do you see any benefits that students can receive from this channels of technology?
  7. How do you feel that your use of Web 2.0 apps will change over the next couple of years?

Some pros and cons of online textbooks

10 Jun 2009 10:53:24 GMT GMT

I was contacted by the Guardian yesterday for my views on Arnold Schwarzenegger’s plans to do away with printed textbooks and move over to textbooks online.

Here’s my response.

Ask Miller!

9 Jun 2009 07:59:13 GMT GMT

(image) Miller (left) is a teenager living in the USA. It's always interesting to hear what young people think about educational technology, so I was delighted when Miller agreed to have a go at answering questions about it.

The questions below are all genuine, ie they have been submitted by real people, not just made up by me (although I can assure that I am a real person!).

Equally, Miller's answers are genuine too, which is to say she didn't receive any prompting or assistance from either her teacher, Vicki Davis, or me.

Today, Miller answers these questions:

  1. Do you do think that technology in teaching is better than face-to-face teaching?
  3. Do you ever use virtual worlds to socialize, like ‘Second Life’?
  5. What mobile devices are students in America using, and what are they used for?

Review of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog

8 Jun 2009 23:44:31 +0100 GMT


As the title suggests, this book is concerned with helping you improve your blog. Written by Darren Rowse, founder of Problogger, it started life as a series of daily blog posts and, latterly, a daily email task if you signed up to the course.

So, how good is it, and does it represent value for money – especially if you have already read all the posts?

Just because it’s old, doesn’t mean it’s useless!

8 Jun 2009 07:44:55 +0100 GMT

It’s a bit of a hackneyed expression, but we really do live in the ‘throwaway age’, and in no subject area is this truer than in technology. But just because something is old does not mean it has no value….

Making ICT more interesting: 5 suggestions

29 May 2009 10:52:56 +0100 GMT


It’s an unfortunate fact that the issues I raised in my book ‘Go on, bore ‘em: how to make ICT lessons excruciatingly dull’ are still relevant today.

This has been clearly demonstrated in  our interview with Edith, a 14 year-old, recently, and it’s also apparent from emails and other messages I receive. So what can be done about it?

Who needs educational technology shows?

29 May 2009 09:42:35 +0100 GMT


We take it as axiomatic that we need to attend shows like the Education Show or the BETT show in order to find out what’s new in technology. But are we unduly limiting ourselves?

Why can't assessment be like feedback in eBay?

29 May 2009 08:17:25 +0100 GMT


Can eBay teach us anything about assessment? At a recent conference, John Davitt made an interesting point.

Are you only teaching the kids how to drill holes?

28 May 2009 06:37:59 +0100 GMT

(image) Drilling holes? What’s that got to do with ICT? Possibly quite a bit….

What if the Home Access initiative were a food relief programme?

27 May 2009 19:22:43 +0100 GMT


In the UK the government is keen to get rid of, or at least reduce, the digital divide. For this reason it introduced a home access programme, the aim of which is to help the poorest families acquire a computer and an internet connection.

But what if this were a food relief programme?

Could do better: 4 'malfunctions' in ICT the provision of England and Wales

26 May 2009 11:19:27 +0100 GMT


According to David Anstead of Ofsted, there are 4 systemic problems in the provision of ICT, these being the use of assessment, some qualifications, value for money, and getting ICT to the learning. At the Naace 2009 Conference he discussed each of these. Here are my notes from that session.

How do we make most schools e-enabled?

25 May 2009 18:07:31 +0100 GMT


Assuming that we think e-enablement is a worthy goal (definitions vary, but one of the most popular is that a school is said to be e-enabled if it could not function without its technology; I’m not sure that’s a good position to be in, but I get the point), how do we achieve it?

Or, to be somewhat more accurate, how do we achieve it faster? In the UK we’ve had a massive investment in technology in schools over the past decade, but many schools are still not e-enabled. (Figures vary, but the percentage of schools said to be e-enabled seems to be somewhere between 11 and 20%.)

Perhaps this is an illustration of seeing a half-full glass as half-empty. I certainly don’t wish to come across as a pessimist – I think there have been huge achievements. Nevertheless, I think it would be an incredible feat of self-imposed blindness to not wonder how come we haven’t achieved even more. At the Naace09 Conference, Niel McLean had a few suggestions.

Subtlety and nuance

25 May 2009 12:16:22 +0100 GMT


I was struck by this expression of John Davitt’s, at the recent Naace Conference. This and a couple of other expressions make interesting potential starting points for discussion.

Life without a spell checker

25 May 2009 12:15:27 +0100 GMT

It is almost a truism that we have become too reliant on technology. You only have to step into a place where the computer system has 'gone down' to see that. Like the restaurant I wandered into a few days ago in which there was, to quote one of the staff, 'anarchy' because the computerised booking set-up had, as it were, downed tools.

Seven reasons to have an educational technology library in school

25 May 2009 12:14:43 +0100 GMT

(image) In my many visits to schools I have rarely seen a book library which has been built up and maintained by the teachers resposible for ICT, or educational technology as it is known in the USA.

There are several compelling reasons for starting such an enterprise.

Boring Media

16 May 2009 01:45:41 +0100 GMT

Why does everything have to be so interesting all the time? Here is my attempt to balance the scales by producing something incredibly boring….

Ask Miller!

14 May 2009 08:34:40 +0100 GMT

(image) Miller (left) is a teenager living in the USA. It's always interesting to hear what young people think about educational technology, so I was delighted when Miller agreed to have a go at answering questions about it.

The questions in this article are all genuine, ie they have been submitted by real people, not just made up by me (although I can assure that I am a real person!).

Equally, Miller's answers are genuine too, which is to say she didn't receive any prompting or assistance from either her teacher, Vicki Davis, or me.

This week, Miller answers these questions:

  1. Do you or your teachers make use of any social bookmarking tools (like Delicious). If so, which do you use?  Thanks, Ian
  3. Should teachers stay out of your facebook? Or would you like learning stuff and school info to roll through like status updates? Or maybe an application you can install to see your school related stuff?
  5. What role would u like to have in helping less savvy adults understand new media?

How good is the teaching of ICT? An interview with Edith, an English teenager

13 May 2009 08:41:55 +0100 GMT

(image) We're always interested in hearing the views of young people, so it was with great pleasure that Elaine and I interviewed Edith. Edith is a teenager living in England, and has some definite views about the teaching of information and communications studies (ICT). I saw her, not for the first time, at a recent Teachmeet and was struck by her statement that she, and her peers, were being 'under-taught'.

In this interview we explore this and other issues.

ICT in the Rose Review: Wordle and PDF Version

11 May 2009 09:57:46 +0100 GMT

Subscribers to Computers in Classrooms will soon be receiving the latest issue, which contains a link to a PDF and Wordle  version of a report on the ICT component of the recent Rose Review of the Primary Curriculum.

For more information, and to subscribe to this free newsletter, look at this page.

Five reasons to use Wordle in education

6 May 2009 11:33:37 +0100 GMT

(image) We know in theory that there are teachers -- probably the majority of teachers -- who have either never heard of Wordle or have no idea why they would need to know about it. I was reminded of this quite recently, in fact, during a visit to the Press Association.

It seems to me that a challenge for us is to bring Wordle to a wider audience, but only if we are convinced ourselves that teachers would benefit from having the knowledge.

Announcement: Briefing on ICT in the Rose Review of the Primary Curriculum

4 May 2009 23:35:14 +0100 GMT

(image) Rather than respond immediately to the publication of the Rose Review of the Primary Curriculum, I have looked at the report and some additional documentation, and produced a Computers in Classrooms Briefing as a result.

In the briefing, I have summarised the main points of the documentation in terms of information and communications technology (ICT), and added my own comments. I hope that this will prove to be useful for colleagues as a basis for discussion and as a handy summary of the proposed changes.

The briefing also includes a comparison of the current Level Descriptors for ICT and the proposed changes to them. I find it inconvenient to keep flipping from one document to another in order to compare the two versions of each statement, and if you have a similar opinion then you should find this combination of the two sets quite useful – I know I do!

Attention all games creators in the UK!

1 May 2009 19:57:36 +0100 GMT

Subscribers to the free newsletter, Computers in Classrooms, will be entered for a prize draw. The winner will be able to install not one but three -- yes three! -- game creation programs on every computer in their school or college.

Read on for details of the programs, and how to sign up. The draw will take place at midnight British Summer Time on 1st May 2009. That's today, folks!

Open to UK subscribers only.

Ask Miller!

1 May 2009 13:38:22 +0100 GMT

(image) Miller (left) is a teenager living in the USA. It's always interesting to hear what young people think about educational technology, so I was delighted when Miller agreed to have a go at answering questions about it.

The questions in this article are all genuine, ie they have been submitted by real people, not just made up by me (although I can assure that I am a real person!).

Equally, Miller's answers are genuine too, which is to say she didn't receive any prompting or assistance from either her teacher, Vicki Davis, or me.

Miller works on the digiteen site

This week, Miller answers these questions:

  1. Do you do other things online, like play online games, second life etc?
  3. Is it ever an issue for you, knowing the audience that can view your work?
  5. If so how do you control who can view?

Computers in Classrooms Social Networking Special

30 Apr 2009 15:20:49 +0100 GMT

In the latest issue of Computers in Classrooms, just posted...
  • Computing at school, by Roger Davies

  • Behind the masks of social networks, by Miller Singleton

  • Is social networking all bad?, by Terry Freedman

  • Facebook's flawed photo privacy, by Dai Barnes, with additional reporting by Lois Whitehead

  • The Facebook party-pooper: tips for protecting your privacy on Facebook, by Scott N Wright

  • Meet Henri: a novel approach to raising personal safety awareness in the primary school, by Dughall McCormick

  • New technology to protect pupils against email abuse from sexual predators, by John McLear

  • What is Twitter, and why is it so important?, by Tom Barrett
For more information about this free newsletter, look at the Computers in Classrooms information page.

Blast from the past: what was I concerned about on this date in last year?

24 Apr 2009 08:50:38 +0100 GMT

(image) I thought it would be interesting to take a backwards glance to see what were the issues on this date last year.

This time last year I published two articles, one of which was about the launch of the then-new Training and Development Agency.

Ask Miller!

23 Apr 2009 23:12:19 +0100 GMT

(image) Miller (left) is a teenager living in the USA. It's always interesting to hear what young people think about educational technology, so I was delighted when Miller agreed to have a go at answering questions about it.

Miller works on the digiteen site

The questions in this article are all genuine, ie they have been submitted by real people, not just made up by me (although I can assure that I am a real person!).

Equally, Miller's answers are genuine too, which is to say she didn't receive any prompting or assistance from either her teacher, Vicki Davis, or me.

This week, Miller answers these questions:

  1. Is it exciting to have a worldwide audience?
  3. What would you like to see included in the primary (elementary) curriculum, and why?
  5. What would you like to see included in the secondary (high) school curriculum, and why?
  7. Do you think information technology should be taught as a subject in its own right?

Computers in Classrooms: Back to School Issue just published

22 Apr 2009 14:23:53 +0100 GMT

The latest issue of Computers in Classrooms is a special back-to-school edition, containing the following articles:

  • Ask Miller!

  • Over to you?

  • Changes to the ICT in Education website: your opinion needed

  • TES Awards

  • Shock tactics

  • Formalising meetings

  • Getting off to a good start

  • Getting a meeting with colleagues at the start of term

To subscribe to this free newsletter, please complete the short sign-up form.

If ICT Co-ordinators were politicians, how would they respond to questions?

22 Apr 2009 10:50:19 +0100 GMT

I was watching a debate in the House of Lords the other day, and I was very struck (I hesitate to use the word 'impressed') by how easily a particular government representative managed to fend off a whole variety of questions without saying anything of any value whatsoever.

After a few of these answers, I was able to boil them down to a formula which could be used in virtually any context.

A teen's view of social networking and digital citizenship

21 Apr 2009 12:31:17 +0100 GMT

Elaine and I had the pleasure of chatting to Miller, a 15 year-old girl living in the USA. It is so refreshing to listen to someone who is so level-headed when it comes to issues such as cyber-bullying. It is also interesting to hear how blogging and other web 2.0 applications helped Miller to find her writer's voice within, and to deal with some difficult situations.

There is a lot in this: how her class handled a setback created inadvertently by Google, how their teacher laid down the rules and gave tuition on internet safety right up front, how their other teachers are learning from Miller and her classmates, and a lot more.

Computers in Classrooms Mid-April 2009 Issue

17 Apr 2009 19:02:07 +0100 GMT

In this issue we have a couple of great previews, including an advance publication of a podcast of an interview with a high school student about digital citizenship. The full list is given in the article.

Students like to hear comments on their work: 3 reasons why this is good news, 3 reasons it worked for me, and 2 necessary preconditions

15 Apr 2009 12:15:54 +0100 GMT


In one of those all-too-common moments in which the future catches up to the past, Angela McFarlane, revealed recently that audio comments by teachers on their students’ work is proving very effective. So what, if anything, is significant about this? Plenty.

The power of blogs and the perils of email

13 Apr 2009 23:30:05 +0100 GMT

One of the great things about living in Great Britain is that ICT teachers can often rely on someone in high places to do something daft with email, and then to be exposed by the mainstream media or in a blog. Such occurrences make it nice and easy for teachers to find up-to-date examples to use in their coverage of the wider effects of technology in society.

There have been plenty of stories about the cavalier way in which data is treated by people who really should know better, so it’s refreshing to have something new to chew over. However, whether it really is a victory for blogging, or for mainstream media, is a matter of conjecture.

If you want kids to behave like adults, surely you need to let them act like kids?

10 Apr 2009 18:42:50 +0100 GMT

(image) In an excellent post about international collaboration – the post could almost be called ‘Collaboration 101’ – Julie Lindsay answers a number of questions and concerns very thoroughly.

I was pleased that she highlighted the importance of assessment, but feel that she is wrong in some of her comments about digital citizenship.

Conference bulletins: the case for paper updates

9 Apr 2009 09:14:41 +0100 GMT

(image) Given the fact that nothing looks sexier than a giant plasma screen showing delegates what's going on at a conference, why would anyone even consider having a paper bulletin?

At the recent Naace conference, delegates were kept updated at the start and end of keynote sessions, with some information projected onto a giant screen and some of it announced. So what would be the advantage of having updates on paper?

By 'paper updates' I mean a daily bulletin or newsletter, perhaps only one side of paper. I think there are 8 advantages of producing them.

But where are the kids?

7 Apr 2009 08:22:26 +0100 GMT

One of the big absences at most educational conferences, as far as I'm concerned, is children and young people. Let's be honest: you would have no idea, walking into most conferences, whether you were attending an event about education or one about how to improve the market share of widgets.

It is hard to get this right, without a doubt -- not least because of child safety considerations -- but the more I think about it the more important I think it is to involve young people in conferences in meaningful ways.

Twitter in the classroom

6 Apr 2009 13:35:32 +0100 GMT

The University of Minnesota uses Twitter and Facebook in English lessons as a matter of course, as part of its Digital Media programme.

This short video gives a little more information about it.

Computers in Classrooms 3 April 2009

3 Apr 2009 09:33:22 +0100 GMT

This is a shortish newsletter; the next one, which I am aiming to publish after the Easter break, will be much bigger. There's plenty in that to look forward to, as described further on. It has a social networking focus. If you'd like to contribute to that, there is still time.

In this issue...

  • Adventures in Podcasting -- venturing out no more
  • Forthcoming issues
  • 31 ways of making a contribution
  • Prize draw: good news for educational games-creators enthusiasts
  • How to make exercises more interesting
  • Getting through to parents
  • The social networking issue
  • The games issue

Sixteen reasons to attend Teachmeet North-East London on 31 March 2009

31 Mar 2009 07:13:52 +0100 GMT

Teachmeet North-East London takes place on 31 March 2009. Teachmeet is an "unconference", in which there is no formal structure and no leading keynotes. Except that, erm, in this Teachmeet there is a bit of a structure and there are a few leading speakers. We've tried to take the best elements of each approach, you see.

Games in education

30 Mar 2009 16:18:11 +0100 GMT


What part can games play in education? I have been a long-time advocate of using games and simulations, and the realism and possibilities inherent in today's technology makes the use of games rather less optional than one might think.

A couple of weeks ago I attended the Games-Based Learning Conference in London, and I have written an article inspired by that event. However, before that I attended a talk by Ollie Bray at the Naace Conference, and that is the subject of this post.

Needed: Twits-in-Residence

30 Mar 2009 00:12:25 +0100 GMT


If ever there was a solution in search of a problem, it's Twitter. Still, it's all good fun, and while it lasts (ie, before the new 'best thing' sweeps it aside without so much as a by-your-leave), more and more uses seem to be discovered for it.

Does unconferencing work in the context of a conference?

26 Mar 2009 00:00:09 +0000 GMT


One of the innovations at the Naace 2009 Conference was the placing of an electronic whiteboard in the coffee bar area. As far as I know, it wasn't used at all. Does that mean that unplanned discussions or meetings cannot be facilitated or planned for?

How important is entertainment at ICT conferences, and what form should it take?

24 Mar 2009 07:58:34 +0000 GMT


One of the real headaches of organising a conference is getting the entertainment right.

I am thinking about this because of having been at the Naace 2009 annual conference quite recently.There were two evenings to think about. What is the right form of entertainment for an educational ICT conference?

Great professional development, fantastic prizes, decent food a good cause and wonderful company. That's right: Another Teachmeet is upon us!

23 Mar 2009 10:01:30 +0000 GMT

(image) In just over a week's time, Teachmeet North-East London will take place in Havering, Essex. Organised by two ICT advisors, Dave Smith and Anthony Evans, this promises to be a little bit different from the "traditional" Teachmeet. I recently met up with Dave and Anthony to talk to them about what makes this one different, and why people should come. This recording, which is just over ten minutes long, is the result.

Computers in Classrooms: Talking Books, Book reviews, Visualisers, Report on the Primary Capital 08 Conference and much, much more

17 Mar 2009 09:07:43 +0000 GMT

In this issue

  • Quote of the month

  • BETT 2009

  • Talking Books

  • Sponsored article: Mobile revision

  • Visualisers - their use in the primary classroom

  • World Maths Day 2009

  • Report on the Primary Capital Action 08 Conference

  • Question time: questions to ask pupils during lesson observation

  • Book Review: Virtual Shadows - Karen Lawrence Öqvist

  • Book Review: Making Money With Your Blog

  • Hardware review: The MPRO 110 Micro Projector

How can an organisation's history be preserved and made useful for the future?

16 Mar 2009 23:52:43 +0000 GMT


Naace, the ICT subject association in the UK, is 25 years old this year. This made me think: what can an organisation do to ensure that its history is not lost? Is it even important that its history is preserved?

A Review of Shelfari

16 Mar 2009 07:47:13 +0000 GMT


Not all social networks are general ones like Facebook and MySpace. A number of them are specialist in nature.

Shelfari is one such social network, designed as a place where book lovers can meet, and review and discuss books.

Teenager Adrienne Blaser-discusses how she uses this book-oriented social network.

The Devil Wears Microsoft

12 Mar 2009 07:39:33 +0000 GMT


I recently saw this video for the first time at the Naace 2009 annual conference. A take-off of the opening sequence of The Devil Wears Prada, this video is essentially an advertisement for Microsoft. However, it potentially has some good teaching points in it.

The Myth of The Digital Native

11 Mar 2009 17:39:13 +0000 GMT


Angela McFarlane gave a talk at the recent Naace conference which was quite interesting. The full title of her talk was:

"5 year olds never could program the video -- challenging the myth of the digital native".

That's a pretty good title for an opening keynote. Too many people, including teachers, relegate responsibility for learning how to do interesting or exciting stuff because they limit what they ask the kids to do on the basis of what they themselves can do -- a point which was brought out in the recent inspection report into ICT in English schools.

She made some good points, although I'm not completely convinced that she was correct in all she said. In particular, her assertion (or conclusion) that a third of children are not engaged with technology at all seems to me rather suspect.

Educational Uses for Microsoft's Deep Zoom

8 Mar 2009 23:57:27 +0000 GMT

I was impressed by Microsoft's Deep Zoom tool, which I saw demonstrated at the recent Naace conference. Deep Zoom lets you explore hi-res photos in a very innovative way, letting you get in closer and closer, or back away further and further.

You can see what I mean by looking at the demonstration shown on a video created by Ollie Bray.

The question remains: is this a solution looking for a problem? Probably. But I can see how this might be used in an interesting, and perhaps unintended, way.

Computers in Classrooms March 2009: hardware and book reviews, advice on school design and bidding for capital funding and much more!

3 Mar 2009 06:07:45 +0000 GMT

The latest issue of the Computers in Classrooms newsletter is now out. It's the first one published and distributed using a different mailing list service.

It contains reviews of hardware, books, and conferences, advice on lesson observation, information about World Math Day and an article by two teenagers about how and why they created talking books.

Read on for more information about the contents and how to subscribe (it's free).

Why Teachmeet is making me nervous

27 Feb 2009 10:23:36 +0000 GMT

(image) Teachmeets are a relatively new form of professional development for teachers, originally started by Ewan McIntosh. The idea is pretty simple: a bunch of teachers get together and share stuff. Unlike a lot of the training many of us have to attend, Teachmeets are voluntary, vibrant and relevant.

So why am I feeling nervous about the next one?

The Digital Britain discussion site goes live

25 Feb 2009 09:05:27 +0000 GMT

(image) A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the interim Digital Britain report. The discussion website has now gone live, featuring a YouTube video and even (my goodness!)  a Wordle!

Read on for more details.

Can social networking sites affect your ability to concentrate, communicate and feel empathy?

24 Feb 2009 18:16:05 +0000 GMT

It seems like hardly a day goes by without someone predicting dire consequences of something digital or other. Today was a pretty good day for that, with two scare stories. Firstly, you can get "Playstation palms" if you spend too long at a computer games console. Secondly, there's the social networking issue referred to in this post's title.

Should we take these claims seriously?

Is blogging too important to be taught by ICT teachers?

23 Feb 2009 11:10:12 +0000 GMT

In fact, not just blogging, but the whole plethora of avenues whereby youngsters can make their views and their creativity known to the world. Educational technology specialists may the ones who are best placed to advise on the technical aspects, and even the safety aspects, of making a contribution. But when it comes to making sure kids appreciate the value of what they write, perhaps a different sort of specialist is required.

ICT in the Primary Curriculum: The Cambridge Review

20 Feb 2009 10:53:29 +0000 GMT

Back in December 2008, I published the recommendations of the Rose Review in regard to the role of ICT in the curriculum. Today, The Cambridge Review is published. It has a somewhat different outlook. In my opinion, it should be rejected by the educational ICT community.