Coming Off the Fence…an i-Pad at Last

Innovation CentreAt long last, I finally made my decision and joined the i-Pad posse.  Having spent nigh on a year ‘hmmmming and ahhhhhing’ about various android tablets, I heeded the advice of many and last week bought an i-Pad 2, courtesy of those wonderful folk at TICB.

That very day, I attended a training session at Samuel Lister Academy, Bradford, where I met the informative and entertaining Professor Steve Molyneux.

Steve talked passionately about disruptive technologies and how they have changed our access to information.

The line, ‘It’s just a piece of paper…right?’ makes you realise that actually, it’s what you do with the paper that matters. You need to consider how innovative you can be with the material available.

Bringing the line up to date we now have the statement, ‘It’s just a piece of glass…right?’  Teaching and learning is being transformed by technology.

In the right hands and with the right minds, we are now in a better position to develop the experiences and engagement of learners through:

  • Exchange
  • Enrichment
  • Enhancement
  • Extension
  • Empowerment

The videos shown by Steve demonstrated students entering into Socratic dialogue with their educators. Using i-Pads strategically we can now really promote and develop both project and challenge-based learning.

There are some detractors that say that the use of i-Pads and other tablets, as well as smart phones for that matter, is just providing ‘education for the well-off’. Having taught in areas with high levels of socio-economic deprivation, I can empathise with the view entirely.  Families facing financial difficulties, as well as issues related to their well-being, are not necessarily going to prioritise such purchases.

One solution may be the leasing of i-Pads and other tablets. There are schemes available whereby schools enter into agreement with providers and then lease the technologies to the families. The best deals currently include:

  • AppleCare;
  • Insurance against accidental damage and theft;
  • GAP insurance;
  • Flexible payment options;
  • Access to an online integrated billing and collection system.

If anyone is interested in finding out more, please do not hesitate to contact me and I will point them in the right direction.

Meanwhile, I am off to the App Store to find out more…

Bryn Llewellyn

April 29th, 2012

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Summer Term Already?

Well, this term has soon come around.  April Showers Isle of Dogs

The last of the Easter eggs have been demolished and I now really need to burn off some calories and get some running in…but maybe once the April showers have eased off? It may look impressive out there but believe me, the ‘bedraggled rat’ look is not a good one.

In most schools, on return tomorrow, Teachers and TAs will catch up on the news of each other. They will begin the inevitable conversations about where they will be placed for next year:

‘Well, I’ve been in Year 5 for three years now and I really need to get some experience teaching younger children.  However, if Miss A goes into Year 3, that means Miss B will go into Year 2 and Mr C just has to stay in Year 4…so that means I might have to teach Reception and…Oh, I hope Mr HT keeps me in Year 5 after all…’

Not only does this term allows us to start planning for the next acadamic year, it allows us to reflect on our current position:

  • What have been our successes? 
  • How much impact have certain initiatives had on our learners and their families?
  • What barriers have we overcome? 
  • What do we need to do next?

One reflective approach I would highly recommend is that of Shadowing Learning:

  • It is part of an effective and robust system of Monitoring and Evaluation;
  • It judges whether provision for identified children is having an impact;
  • It involves looking at pupil’s work, talking with them, observing them in lessons and as part of intervention programmes;
  • It also takes into account the next steps identified from work scrutinies;
  • It provides opportunities to monitor the impact of policies and guidance for AfL, Feedback and Marking;
  • It helps answer the important question, ‘Are we meeting the needs of all children?’

Filming the interviews with the learners provides quality feedback for the teaching staff.

Book scrutinies provide the Leadership Team with evidence to support judgements, identify patterns and trends within AfL and standards, and ultimately share outstanding practice

Shadowing Learning has been initially used and successfully developed in primary schools , but the process could easily be adapted to various curriculum departments of secondary schools.

My consultancy services in this area are bespoke. I can provide:

  • Independent objective analysis with a detailed report;
  • Collaborative Learner Shadowing with built-in CPD for Senior and Middle Leadership Teams.

If you require further details, contact me as regards options and availability.  My running gear is easily-packed and I can run in other parts of the country too, not just the Isle of Dogs.

Bryn Llewellyn, 15th April, 2012.

If I don’t look…it’s not happening!

EvolveAs part of Evolve’s Training Days at Keighley this week, Gay Jones, Behavioural Therapist, explained Pause Button Therapy (PBT).  This approach uses a simple but effective, innovative device, which helps overcome poor eating habits, substance abuse, anger management and other issues.

The main aims of her session were that we:

  • Have an understanding of the theoretical underpinning of PBT;
  • Know how PBT can be used to support emotional, social and behavioural aspects of learning;
  • Be familiar with the principles of using the device with children, young people and adults;
  • Feel confident in using the tool immediately.

Gay showed the Evolve staff an entertaining video demonstrating the ‘Marshmallow Test’. Based on original research by Walter Mischel in the 1960s, we learned that only 30% of people can wait and 70% of people cannot do so; instant gratification wins out over deferred gratification for children as well as adults.  Over time, research found that the 30% who deferred did better academically, were more ‘in-tune and generally did better in life’.  This attitude of ‘I want it and I want it now’ applies itself to all aspects of modern life, including those related to our eating habits.  Graham Morgan, MD of Evolve, recognised that ‘we need to practice the skills of waiting’.

So what is Pause Button Therapy?PBT

In essence, PBT is a tactile mnemonic.

Why does it work?

Most people know how to use a remote control…it places responsibility in your own hands.  PBT takes behaviour out of your mind and into your hands.  Research shows it takes 21 days to create a habit that is the norm, but less if using the PBT ‘memory bands’.

The PBT mantra is ‘Pause, Think, Decide, Act’ with the process:

Creative Thinking Time – Exploring Consequences – Informing Choices

The benefits to the child, their family and their school are clear…

What pupils say:

  • I feel proud of myself;
  • I know I’m getting angry;
  • The teachers like me more;
  • I know I can be good;
  • I feel free.

 What parents say:

  • He’s thinking about his behaviour;
  • We talk more;
  • She’s a lot calmer;
  • Seems more mature;
  • I feel involved.

Bear in mind with any behaviour management tool there is always the ‘small print’:

  • You must want to use it;
  • Understand it’s not a miracle cure;
  • It is something that needs practice.

For further information, visit http://www.pausebuttontherapy.com/

Contact them at welcome@pbtherapy.com or call 08442 451172.

To access a case study, visit http://teachers.pausebuttontherapy.com

with the user name: ‘schools’ and the password: Cht111

As to PBT links to Evolve and Project HE:RO:

  • Health Mentors will be trained to use PBT with children and receive ongoing support;
  • Health Mentors will use PBT as a focus for some of their mentoring sessions;
  • Pupils will receive a PBT band and card for use in school and at home;
  • Schools will be provided with leaflets for staff, children and parents to explain the process;
  • Perception survey results and reports will be created and shared.

Unlike some of the children featured in the ‘Marshmallow Test’ video clip, the Evolve team are looking…they are looking into ways in which they can mentor children…and changes are happening.  Evolve recognise that ‘positive thinking helps us change… it builds on successes and allows us to learn from our setbacks’.

Bryn Llewellyn, 4th April 2012