Motivated teachers are crucial to a successful classroom. But it’s understandable that, as we approach the end of another school year, that positivity can start to dwindle. So, now more than ever, it’s vital to keep staff energised. So, what can head teachers do to help educators go the extra mile and maintain a positive attitude when they are tired and stressed?
1. Recognise teachers’ efforts
It sounds obvious, but a little recognition really does go a long way. As such, one of the most natural things you can do to support your teachers when they are flagging is to tell them how valued they are. To do this, arrange a thank you in front of their class, a personal note in their mailbox, recognition during a staff meeting, or even a celebratory event (e.g. a staff lunch). It may also be worth offering a small token of appreciation for all the hard work your teachers do throughout the year.
Research shows that when you show staff that you see and appreciate their efforts — and demonstrate how much of an impact they are having – those employees feel good about what they do. Besides, nearly 90% of employees who receive recognition or thanks from their employer indicate higher levels of trust in that boss.
When rewarding the efforts of each teacher, you should also highlight what they have done to merit thanks, both in and out of the classroom. This approach allows you to share best practices across your school and create a culture where everyone is inspired to do their very best.
2. Discuss development opportunities
Most people want to feel that they’re learning and progressing in their jobs, and teachers are no exception. But, against a backdrop of enforced cost savings teachers are concerned that, without regular upskilling, they could soon fall behind; particularly when it comes to IT (The State of Technology in Education Report: 2017/18).
We all like to feel that we are valued and that our opinions matter. Consequently, asking teachers for their input into school decisions can be a massive boost to teacher morale at this wearisome time.
Bringing teachers into the decision-making process, and making sure they feel valued, listened to and understood, will give them a boost in confidence and enthusiasm. What’s more, it will also provide much-needed support to heads, and ensure a higher level of strategic buy-in from all stakeholders on key decisions. It’s a win-win situation.
4. Help teachers keep students engaged
As the end of term approaches, it’s not just teachers who lack motivation. Your students are also distracted. Consequently, any efforts to keep pupils engaged and behaving well are going to make life easier for everyone at your school.
Ways to do this include:
Bringing experts into the classroom virtually.Video conferencing and Skype can be used to bring experts into the school quickly and easily. Scientists can deliver lessons from their labs and business leaders from the boardroom, and the whole class can interact and ask questions. The range of experts and content providers is endless. Such face-to-face time doesn’t just help to develop communication skills, it also adds value and relevance to lessons, and instils a deeper awareness of global issues. Even better, because these experts don’t have to physically be there, you don’t have to spend any money on professional fees
Harnessing the power of technology. Schools across the UK are using 3D printers, virtual and augmented reality, social media, podcasts, cloud-based platforms, Promethean ActivPanels, and gaming to help students to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and open up new, more engaging styles of learning
Making learning active. Students don’t learn best from reading a book or looking at a chalkboard. Instead, the ideal way to teach and learn is through interaction and application. School trips are one way to give pupils more hands-on experiences, but teachers can also provide exposure to this type of active learning with VR; right from the comfort of the classroom
Providing ongoing assessment and feedback. Continuing assessment can be extremely useful to maintain student learning at a time when they are less inclined to put the effort in. Instant assessment tools which let teachers mark and collate responses at the moment of learning are helping educators to do this more effectively. For example, instant assessment technology can also be used to facilitate classroom discussions, with pupils sending their answers, from their devices, in real-time. This learning can then be shared with the whole class, raising questions that further stimulate discussion and engagement.
When seeking to increase engagement with modern learners, it makes sense for teachers to bring technology into the classroom. But, it can be difficult for teachers unaccustomed to edtech to know where to start. With a plethora of ideas and insights on how to build more engaging and collaborative learning environments, including practical and straightforward tips that educators can implement quickly and easily, heads can point teachers in the direction of ResourcEd to uncover new ways to add extra relevance and fun to their lessons.
5. Accept that people do need to slow down
The pressure to fulfil curriculum demands and maintain academic results will take its toll. So, by the end of term (and even more so by the end of the school year), it’s only natural that teachers will need some additional downtime.
Rather than fighting against this, look at how you can build in some slack into timetables to support teacher wellbeing. Sometimes teachers need a quick break from the pressures of the classroom. So, giving them time to walk around the school, catch up with front office staff, or even enjoy a quick cup of coffee can help them catch their breath and reset their energy levels in the short term.
To make a bigger impact, consider doing something off curriculum such as a ‘Drop Everything and Read’ day. This approach will allow teachers to ease off the gas when they need it most.
What do you think needs to be done to help motivate teachers and pupils throughout the school year?
Here are 3 of the latest UK education and edtech news stories from June…
Need to know: School funding announcement
The government announced nearly £800m of school funding. But how much of it is new?
How much school funding has been announced today, and what is it for?
The Department for Education announced that local authorities will receive £50 million to create 740 more special school places and provide new specialist facilities for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). These facilities could include sensory rooms and playgrounds with specialist equipment.
Another £680m has been announced, aimed at creating more school places in primary and secondary schools.
And early details of a £50m grant for local authorities to set up free schools have been published.
Exclusive: Money ‘biggest barrier’ to edtech use
Schools increasingly cite data protection rules such as GDPR and e-safety as obstacles in making use of edtech.
A lack of money is the biggest barrier to secondary schools using edtech, according to a new survey.
The findings by the British Educational Suppliers Association (Besa), released to coincide with London Edtech Week, also show growing concerns about data protection and e-safety.
Besa said a representative sample of 437 primary schools and 244 secondary schools participated in the survey, which took place in mid-April.
A significant proportion – 28 per cent of secondary schools and 29 per cent of primary schools – cited lack of budget as the biggest obstacle to using “edtech systems or content solutions”.
This represented a 14 percentage point rise on last year for secondaries, and a 11 percentage point rise among primaries.
The Guardian’s view on mobile phones: schools are better without them
The call to ban phones from the playground is rightly popular. But schools will need resources to do it properly.
When a minister in this government stumbles on a policy that is both popular and good, it’s newsworthy. Matt Hancock, the digital minister, has suggested that schools ban the use of mobile phones by their pupils. Amanda Spielman, the head of Ofsted, agrees. In France, the Macron government has put forward legislation that will ban the use of phones in all primary and middle schools. This removes the matter from the discretion of headteachers. Those who have already purged their playgrounds of screens report few problems. The measure seems entirely straightforward and sensible.
There are three kinds of damage that mobile phones can do in the playground and schools are right to tackle them. The most obvious may be the least serious: some games and apps are so overwhelmingly attractive when they first appear that unhappy children can be entirely swept away in them. Fortnite is the latest craze of this sort. Before that there were birds, variously angry and flappy. All these crazes evaporate in time and are replaced by others. The market is just too rewarding for those who get it right.
The ActivPanel is an investment in our children’s futureA bit of background
Whalley Church of England Primary has been a centre of excellence as an education provider for over 150 years. The school aims to develop and educate each child to their full potential within a loving and caring Christian environment.
Although the school has a deep-rooted heritage which it prides itself on, it is contemporary and forward thinking in the way that it believes technology is a key enabler to the success of the next generation in education and thereafter the world of work.
In 2011, interactive whiteboards were fitted across the school. Whilst they were great initially, over time they have become redundant due to the failing systems. The cost of replacing lamps and maintaining the old-style board and projectors was becoming unjustifiable. Fading displays on the boards meant that they were almost impossible to see when there was sunlight shining into the classrooms. Given that front of class technology has developed significantly in recent years, Headteacher Richard Blackburn acknowledged that the school’s interactive boards were no longer fit for purpose.
In an effort to update the school’s front of class technology, Richard wanted to use the DfE capital funding that the school receives each year to help develop the school. Richard had a vision to utilise the funding to enhance the children’s learning opportunities by giving them access to the very best edtech.
“Our children are growing up in an age of technology where they’re using touch screen devices, apps and various software daily. It was important to me that we upgraded the technology in the classrooms to really enhance our children’s learning experiences and give them the best start for the rest of their education and a future in the world of work – which is so heavily geared towards being technology literate,” said Richard.
Why the ActivPanel?
The school initially purchased two 60” ActivPanels for its early years classrooms. They proved extremely useful in engaging the pupils in their lessons with the wide range of activities and learning resources available. The ActivPanel is great for collaborative learning with the multi-touch feature allowing small groups to all use the panel at the same time. The rest of the teachers in the school quickly took an interest in the ActivPanels and realised how they could utilise one in their own lessons to foster more interactivity and engagement. Staff were amazed by how user friendly the interface and software on the ActivPanel is.
With the availability of funding and an enthusiasm from teachers, it was clear that it would be a worthwhile investment to begin purchasing ActivPanels for the remaining classrooms as part of a school-wide technology upgrade initiative. The decision was made to purchase a further six ActivPanels, this time in the 70” version.
All of the ActivPanels were installed by the Promethean partner as part of a package. The installation process was professional and efficient, the panels were installed in one day with minimum disruption to teaching schedules. Importantly, the school was given the flexibility to be able to choose a day that was convenient for them.
Richard said: “The service we received from the Promethean partner was impeccable throughout. From the initial recommendation, to installation and aftercare, they delivered a prompt and professional service. I’d highly recommend them.”
Shortly after installation, the Promethean partner went into school to deliver a training session with the teachers using their new ActivPanels, sharing tips on the best Android apps to use and which features could best support teaching, especially maths interactive games.
“Interactive maths games are definitely one of the most successful enhancements to lessons with the children, we are really seeing a difference in how the children engage with the subject. The great thing about the capabilities of the ActivPanel is that its potential is limitless, there is so much you can do across the whole syllabus,” commented Richard.
In Maths, the ActivPanel is used for topics such as fractions. For example, the instant whiteboarding feature is used where multiple children can use the panel together to present as many ways as possible as they can think of recording a half, in both numerical and diagrammatical form. The interactivity of this way of learning makes the topic far more engaging for the children. There is also an abundance of maths apps available through the Promethean Store on the ActivPanel, where children can compete against each other to answer questions correctly and as quickly as possible. The children have fun learning in this way and it is providing particularly beneficial in enhancing their confidence in the subject.
For reading, one of the children’s favourite things to do is to cast books from the Kindle app onto the ActivPanel. By doing this, the whole class can see the pages of the book, and whether it is the teacher reading or the children, it supports the class’ literacy skills to be able to read and listen to the book at the same time.
One of the major challenges Whalley Primary faced with its old interactive whiteboards, was difficulty in seeing the displays when the classroom was light. The ActivPanel has resolved this issue with a display that is crisp and clear no matter how much light is shining into the classroom.
“Teachers can now confidently rely on using front of class technology and a wealth of new resources in their lesson planning without having to worry about whether pupils will be able to see and interact with the displays. The ActivPanels have alleviated our challenges with technology and are allowing us to champion stimulating learning environments,” concluded Richard.
The ICT landscape in schools – just like the world at large – continues to change. Helping to drive this evolution is one of the most significant technological innovations of recent years: cloud computing. Put simply, cloud computing describes the delivery of on-demand computing resources and services, over the internet. Things like Dropbox, Google Docs, Facebook and ClassFlow.
But how relevant is cloud computing to the world of education?
Is there an IT crisis in our schools?
The path to long-term educational success relies on good teaching practices supported by good technology. Indeed, by incorporating real-world technology into lessons, teachers can help to keep pupils engaged and add extra value and relevance in ways that are both mentally stimulating and fun. For example, interactive displays and apps are being used to help students learn in ways which are relevant to them. Ultimately, educational technology is key to instilling deeper competencies, enhancing collaborative learning, and preparing pupils for long-term career success.
But, when it comes to the technology in schools, the impact that failing equipment is having cannot be underestimated.
Furthermore, against a backdrop of enforced cost savings, it’s hard for schools to know how to make the best use of their available budget. Worryingly, this has led to fears that the use of education technology will decrease in some schools, and that the divide between richer and poorer areas could be exacerbated.
Cloud computing is helping schools to overcome edtech challenges
Cloud computing helps schools to make the best use of their ICT budget and work towards their strategic vision. Here’s how:
Cloud computing allows schools to reduce spending while providing access to the technology they need
One of the most compelling benefits of the cloud is that it gives access to the very best IT at an affordable price (often on a subscription basis). Also, cloud-based tools usually don’t require annual upgrade costs. Should something go wrong with the software, this will be fixed for you as part of your regular payment. As such, with the cloud, you can futureproof your IT investment, with free updates and less need to invest in new hardware.
The cloud supports more innovative teaching methods
The cloud isn’t just cost-effective, it also provides easy access to resources across numerous platforms. For example, with a cloud-enabled Promethean ActivPanel, teachers and students can access and interact with content, simultaneously write and draw, and connect mobile devices to mirror content and collaborate. Teachers can also wirelessly share their lessons and download and use their favourite apps.
Furthermore, by making technology accessible outside of the classroom, cloud computing represents significant opportunities for learning. For example, flipped learning can help teachers make the best use of face-to-face time with their students. Find out more about why flipped learning is so popular in schools.
The cloud also helps support BYOD initiatives in schools. By allowing children to bring their own smartphones, laptops, or tablets into lessons, this won’t just help you keep up with advancements in technology, but it also reduces the financial burden on your school. The cloud enables pupils to continue their learning outside of school, providing multiple entry points to the same information, notes and outputs.
Education in the cloud helps to create modern classrooms
The classroom of the future demands a more flexible approach to layout and design. The size and shape of a room, and the various teacher/student setups will enable a variety of learning scenarios. As such, it’s vital to consider the technology needed to make these spaces work. Learning and lesson platforms, Promethean ActivPanels, apps, mobile devices and other such tools are all supported by cloud computing, and can all be used to create the perfect mix of learning environments.
The cloud allows schools to keep up with the Internet of Things
Because of the Internet of Things (IoT), more and more aspects of our lives are becoming information-driven. This reliance on data is as real in the education sector as it is in the wider world. So, data storage is growing at an extraordinary rate. Without the cloud, scaling up could require a lot of extra hardware and software (which often comes at a substantial cost). But, if you store data in the cloud, you just scale up as needed; usually at minimal cost.
The cloud helps schools meet their data protection obligations
The more we store information in the cloud, the more people worry about cybercrime. But, despite what some people think, moving to the cloud doesn’t put your sensitive and personal information at any more risk. Indeed, today’s cloud providers invest heavily in security measures.
With the introduction of the GDPR placing data protection firmly in the spotlight, the cloud can help you to ensure compliance and avoid hefty fines and damage to your reputation. However, it is always a good idea to check what security measures cloud providers put in place and ensure they meet your requirements.
Cloud computing can help your school achieve its strategic vision
Today’s educational leaders recognise the role technology can play in helping them deliver their school strategy. For example, providing useful feedback to pupils is a goal for most schools, and the cloud facilitates the active participation of pupils via instant assessment, while allowing teachers to mark and collate responses in real-time.
Also, with the increased popularity of chat and messaging platforms – all powered by the cloud – feedback can be given immediately, regardless of location. This means both parties can get more out of the learning process.
Cloud computing is a hot topic, mainly because of its ability to enable new ways of working. And, the public cloud services market projected to total a whopping $186.4 billion this year (up from $153.5 billion in 2017). So it’s clear that more and more organisations are embracing the power of the cloud.
Taking the lead from the business world, schools must adopt a more strategic approach to ICT investment and invest in cloud technology if they want to address their current budgetary challenges. But more than this, cloud computing can also help schools to maximise investment, support their strategic visions, and prepare for whatever is around the corner.
Do you think that cloud computing is a wise investment? Should schools be spending more (or less) on technology?
As a digital-first teacher, no doubt you’re already employing a number of modern learning techniques in the classroom. Whether you’re already using an interactive front-of-class display like an ActivPanel, or using personal tech like tablets and apps with your pupils, you’re aware that there are countless ways of using tech to engage your pupils and boost learning outcomes. Edtech can improve education for pupils of all abilities.
But what about online research? In a recent Pew survey, the majority of teachers said that, despite their students’ affinity with digital media, they still lacked patience and determination when doing difficult research.
As we move further away from traditional textbook learning and gradually towards using more digital resources, are your digitally native pupils fully adept at sorting between credible sources? Can they identify fake news that’s prolific over social media?
“As long as students are trained to use the internet safely, it is a good tool. It can however make for lazy thinking as someone else online has probably already done work on the task in hand.”
Teacher, Independent Senior, State of Technology in Education, 2017/18
Here’s four tips to help your pupils adopt better online research skills using your school’s edtech:
1. Consider the search terms
Your pupils’ first instincts, when faced with a topic to research, will probably be to enter very broad search terms such as ‘World War II’. This will deliver hundreds of potentially irrelevant results, depending on the purpose of the research.
Students should understand that the quality of their search terms helps determine the quality of the information that they find. Why not give groups of pupils a selection of search terms, ranging from the most general to more specific. For example, ‘World War II’, ‘the Battle of Britain’, and ‘dates and duration of the Battle of Britain’.
You could have a group discussion or small group work brainstorming other keywords, taking into account synonyms and generating other questions around the topic. Task your groups for searching for each on their devices or the ActivPanel. Ask the groups to record how many results are returned for each term, and the types of information they find.
Compare the outcomes from each and discuss how changing a few words can generate very different information. Discuss how specificity can narrow their search to the results they need.
2. Don’t rely on Wikipedia
You’ll probably find that most of your pupils will already know not to believe everything they read online. Despite this, the majority don’t always take the time to fully evaluate their sources.
Wikipedia, for example, can be a common red herring. While the site is packed with interesting information, pupils may feel inclined to use it as a one-stop-shop for their subject research.
Why not discuss with your class some key indicators for assessing the credibility of a website? For example, is the information up to date? Does it ask for lots of personal information or prompt warnings? Is the information in-depth and extensive? What is its authority? Does the information come from a trusted expert?
On your front-of-class display, you can show your class examples of trustworthy and questionable information sources and see how many pupils can spot the common red flags.
You may find, therefore, that your pupils are so accustomed to switching between short bursts of information as displayed on social media, they have acquired an inability to focus on or analyse lengthy pieces of information. So, when they can’t find the exact answers to their questions after they’ve spent a few minutes searching online, they may quickly become frustrated and give up.
To encourage a more thorough approach to your pupils’ online information, you could challenge small groups to come up with a well-researched answer to a question that isn’t easily searchable. Opinion questions work well, for example, “Who’s the best actor to have played Batman?”
When pulling together their findings from online information, encourage your students to find and cite a wide variety of sources, including online opinions, box office information, and awards. Determine a winner from the most insightful response, based on the most convincing and well-rounded case.
4. Don’t copy and paste
In a more traditional teaching setting, it’s much easier to outline plagiarism from books. When a written book has been purchased, the published content clearly belongs to that author, and the name is visible in black and white.
For online content, the lines are blurrier. Perhaps no one has directly been referenced as an author, and the work is being provided to anyone who finds it, for free. What’s more, young people increasingly see piracy or plagiarism as different to stealing. Even in 2004, a survey found that 86% of teens felt music piracy was ‘morally acceptable’.
Spend time with your pupils outlining that there’s more to research than copying and pasting. Outline the way to check and cite references from online content. There are teaching resources available to help outline the key points; tasking students with practicing summarising, paraphrasing, and quoting.
You could also discuss the idea of piracy with your students from a more emotional perspective. Ask them how they might feel if someone downloaded their music, or stole a book they’d written without paying for it? You might also talk about how it would feel to not get paid for other types of work, such as working in an office or as a teacher.
Overall, as teachers you’re very fortunate that so many classrooms are well equipped with internet-enabled edtech. Accessing the wealth of information online should be easier than ever, and there are new ways to boost learning with online apps and devices.
If you’ve got an opinion about how technology is being used in the classroom, whether it’s being fully optimised or needs more attention, fill in our survey. We’re collecting valuable information from educators for our annual State of Technology in Education report, outlining how the use of tech is evolving in schools across the UK.
“Safeguarding is most successful when all aspects are integrated together. Three key elements include a clear safeguarding ethos, a policy that sets out clear expectations and processes, and high-quality training that ensures staff know what to do and do it consistently across the school.”
Andrew Hall, Safeguarding in schools
In education, teachers and other school staff play a very important role in pupil safety and child protection.
The terms ‘child protection’ and ‘safeguarding’ are used synonymously. They are, however, slightly different.
Child protection refers specifically to children who may be at a higher-risk of harm. Safeguarding, meanwhile, refers to all children — therefore all pupils in schools.
What is safeguarding?
There is official safeguarding documentation outlining the legal duties with which schools and colleges must comply. This contains information on what schools and colleges should do to keep children safe.
The Children Act 1989, defines a child as anyone who has not yet reached their 18th birthday, even if they are living independently, are a member of the armed forces, or is in hospital.
In December 2017, the Department for Education published its revisions to the new edition of its statutory guidance, Keeping Children Safe in Education which will come into force in September 2018.
“Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is everyone’s responsibility. Everyone who comes into contact with children and their families and carers has a role to play in safeguarding children. In order to fulfil this responsibility effectively, all professionals should make sure their approach is child-centred. This means that they should consider, at all times, what is in the best interests of the child.”
Department for Education, Keeping Children Safe in Education, 2018
Create safe environments for children and young people through robust safeguarding practices
Ensure that adults who work in the school, including volunteers, don’t pose a risk to children
Make sure staff are trained, know how to respond to concerns and keep-up-to-date with policy and practice
Teach children and young people about staying safe in school and online
Maintain an environment where children feel confident to approach any member of staff if they have a worry or problem
Read more about safeguarding procedures for schools in our blog.
Safeguarding procedures in schools
Safeguarding pupils in schools has been a cornerstone of educational practices for decades.
Now, however, the ongoing issue of implementing safeguarding procedures is progressively complex in a landscape of digital platforms and online educational tools; students routinely view web content as part of research, learning and socialising.
“Over 25% of adolescents and teens have been bullied through their mobile — one in four children.” i-SAFE foundation
When it comes to digital safeguarding, the Department for Education outlines that governors and head teachers should implement an ‘effective approach to online safety’, and must ‘protect and educate the whole school community in their use of technology and establish mechanisms to identify, intervene in and escalate any incident where appropriate.
There are a number of steps your school can take:
Establish a safeguarding team
Put effective online filters in place
Invest in thorough safety education for staff and pupils
Consider the fair use of personal devices
Conduct due diligence of edtech and any third party software or hardware
Note that the responsibilities of the safeguarding team should include:
The monitoring and review of online safeguarding arrangements in the school
Supporting a designated teacher in the exercise of child protection responsibilities
Ensuring attendance of Governors and staff at relevant training – including refresher training – in keeping with legislative and best practice requirements
As with all elements of teaching safety to children, including crossing the road and carrying scissors correctly, it is beneficial to cover internet safety as soon as possible.
Safer Internet Day (SID), celebrated this year on 6 February, is the perfect time to talk to your class about both the benefits and dangers of using the internet.
How can you teach e-safety to your class?
Why not create thought-provoking activities, make worksheets or activities on your ActivPanel about online safety, highlighting potential risks?
Examine cyber-bullying, investigating its consequences and the ways pupils can protect themselves
Create a collage of images that pupils could share online. Get them to identify those that are safe to share, including their favourite TV characters, food and sports, and rogue images representing where they live, their own picture with their name attached, and more
Searched for video clips that deliver key messages such as “never share passwords” or “always ask a grown up if you see something you are unsure of online.”
There’s an increasing prevalence of social media among young children which means a greater requirement to teach online safety from a younger age. Internet-based tools are invaluable to developing new and engaging pedagogical methods, but the internet continues to pose a risk if we don’t teach children how to navigate it.
With the proliferation of mobile phones in schools and the popularity of platforms like Live.ly, YouNow, Hype and Live.Me, social media giants like Facebook, Instagram and video streaming sites like YouTube and Skype are capitalising on the live streaming trend.
What is live streaming?
Unlike asynchronous networks like Twitter and Facebook, live content does not get shared and spread; the audience sees the content the moment it goes live. For example, Skype in the Classroom allows teachers to connect with explorers, scientists and authors by subject, age group and location, so pupils can engage with real people in real-time.
Live streaming is also popular in social media, with young adults streaming events, messages and activities to their friends online. This activity has a worsening reputation, but it’s not all shrouded in negativity; teachers can work with their pupils to minimise the risk.
1. Identify which apps are higher risk
Facebook, Instagram and YouTube all feature the ability to broadcast live to followers, although there’s very limited interactivity. For most apps, this is an ‘anything goes’ area; children might get feedback they weren’t ready for, or even bullying comments. In a bid to win approval, children might share personal information or do things they wouldn’t otherwise.
2. Build confidence in your pupils
It’s not all bad. Through live streaming, pupils have the opportunity to connect, educate, inform and inspire people all over the world on topics they have an expertise or interest in. It can build confidence in camera-shy children. Virtual field trips with Skype in the Classroom are the perfect example of how live streaming can be educational and inspiring when used carefully.
3. Highlight the importance of privacy
Encourage digital literacy by helping children identify trusted sources and places they should be more cautious. Reinforce the idea that, on the internet, adults should not be giving young people instructions or telling them what to do.
4. Signpost support
Reinforce the message to children that it is never their fault if they are approached inappropriately, that they can always speak to an adult they trust if they are worried, no matter what may have happened.
It’s easy to hide behind social media; children may say things online that they wouldn’t say in real life because they are behind their phone or computer screen.
Worryingly, 15% of young adults have bullied another person online – sometimes intentionally, sometimes without them even realising.
As technology has become more accessible and embedded in daily life, many children have found themselves dealing with the fallout of abuse and misuse of the internet. It needs to be made clear to pupils that they can always confide in their teacher or parents.
Statistics from TES show that more than three-fifths (63%) of teenagers want their school to offer more peer-led education programmes on how to use social media safely.
Here’s some tips for stamping out bullying in schools:
Don’t block the internet, educate pupils
Support your teachers to educate pupils on the importance of appropriate online behavior, and how to be upstanding online citizens.
Use edtech for online safety
School IT staff can use edtech software like NetSupport to perform real-time monitoring and search for exact phrases and keywords in several languages to keep an eye on questionable activity.
Encourage children to talk
Consider providing a secure and anonymous method for pupils to communicate about and report different forms of bullying.
Untap AI’s potential
Keeping up with developments in this technology space will identify more sophisticated methods to protect pupils against bullying in tomorrow’s educational landscape.
How to protect your pupils’ digital footprints – top tips
Access to information, forums, chat rooms, gaming groups, social networks, shopping, and emails is now incredibly easy for pupils. When the internet is being used, a digital footprint trail is left.
Even with the best privacy settings, your pupils are no longer in control of the information once they have posted it. What’s more, your students are responsible for the information they have stored on their computers, laptops, mobiles, tablets or any device that connects to the internet.
To help pupils keep track of their online presence, here’s 5 tips:
Search for themselves online
Suggest pupils to search their name and see what they can find. If it’s something they don’t like, try to remove it.
Check their privacy settings
Make sure pupils know what information they are sharing on the websites they use, particularly on social networking sites.
Tell them to think before they post
Before children post a funny picture of their friend, tell them to ask themselves, “do you want everyone to see it; friends, family, grandparents, future employers?” If the answer is no, don’t do it!
Deactivate and delete
When pupils stop using a social networking profile or website, it’s a good idea to deactivate or delete their account.
Make a positive footprint
The best way for your pupils to keep online a good reputation in check is to use time online to get creative and create a positive footprint.
Today, digital resources can be accessed at the touch of a button. Educational apps give teachers the tools to enhance their lessons in creative ways, and many are entirely free to use.
The Promethean ActivPanel includes the ActivConnect-G, which gives full access to the Google Play store and, thanks to ActivCast, can also be used with iPads, smartphones, laptops and other devices. With endless choice for educators, however, identifying the best apps to use can be overwhelming.
To make it more straightforward, we have compiled the following list of free apps that can be used in your classroom to support you in making the most of your edtech. Education apps are used by many teachers in order to enhance lessons and make the most out of all the amazing edtech that is available.
1. Anatomy 4D
Available on Google Play
The Anatomy 4D app enables pupils to learn and explore the human body and heart in intricate detail and gives users an interactive 4D experience of human anatomy. The Anatomy 4D experience takes viewers on a journey inside the human body and heart, revealing the spatial relationships of our organs, skeleton, muscles, and body systems.
Available on iTunes Store
With a streamlined design and intuitive Multi-Touch gestures, iMovie lets you enjoy your videos and tell stories however you wish. Browse and share your videos, make Hollywood-style trailers, create movies by adding themes, titles, transitions, music, slow-motion, fast-forward. Easily transfer projects between different apple devices. Bring your classroom to life by creating professional looking videos with ease by using iMovie.
Why not use the iMovie app to edit your video entry for your Promethean Grant entry? Helping your video stand out from the rest which could result in you winning an ActivPanel for your classroom. Apply here.
3. Google Earth
Available on Google Play, iTunes Store and desktop
Explore the planet in great detail, use knowledge cards to explore landmarks, orbit the world in 3D and use the ‘feeling lucky’ function to jump to a random destination. This is a great app to mix up a Geography lesson.
Available on Google Play, iTunes Store and desktop
Class Dojo is a classroom communication app used to share reports between parents and teachers. Teachers can track student behaviour and upload photos or videos. Class DoJo is a great way to get parents engaged by sharing photos and videos of wonderful classroom moments, instead of sending a letter home in a student’s bag that will either get lost or forgotten about.
This exciting app enables children to discover the main 42 letter sounds of English through a series of captivating games and teaches the five key skills for reading and writing. Tested and approved by teachers.
INKredible is an app to make your handwriting experience on tablets/ActivPanels as good as pen on paper.
7. Skype in the Classroom
Available on desktop, Google Play and iTunes Store
Skype in the Classroom is an online community that enables thousands of teachers to inspire the next generation of global citizens through transformative learning over Skype. 5 exciting ways to bring the world into your classroom: virtual field trips, Skype lessons, Skype collaborations, mystery Skype and guest speakers.
This app introduces the most important organ systems of the human body in 3D, allowing students to zoom in on different body parts which is great for a virtual science lesson.
9. Kids Telling Time (Lite)
Available on Google Play
Kids Telling Time will help children practice setting the time and telling time on both digital and analogue clocks. Travel through the four rooms of a house filled with clocks and help Ticky the Mouse collect the cheese and eat it by setting and telling the correct times on analogue and digital clocks. The lite version version covers hours and half hours.
10. Lego creations islands
Available on Google Play and iTunes Store
Give children the opportunity to create their own world on LEGO Creator Islands – a fun, free building simulator game for boys and girls! Explore, build and play on different, exotic islands with LEGO Creator sets that you assemble and use on the islands, allowing students to let their imagination run wild, creating a modern classroom learning environment.
Available on Google Play and iTunes Store and desktop
Learn English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Irish, Danish, Swedish, Russian, Ukrainian, Esperanto, Polish and Turkish. Practice speaking, reading, listening and writing. Play a game, answer questions and complete lessons to improve your vocabulary and grammar.
Available on desktop (but can be used on smartphones and tablets via the internet browser)
Mathletics is a captivating online learning space providing students with all the tools they need to be successful learners, both in the classroom and beyond. Powerful courses aligned to the various National Curricula of the UK & Ireland, from Foundation Stage to key stage 5, matched with dynamic tools and reporting for teachers.
Easily create videos in the classroom! Students as young as 5 years old can make videos to tell stories, explain ideas, or document their learning. 30+ lesson ideas supporting Common Core make it easy to get started!
14. Google Docs
Available on Google Play, iTunes Store and desktop
Create a new document and edit with others at the same time. Google Docs can be used from your computer, phone or tablet. Get work done with or without an internet connection.
Available on Google Play, iTunes Store and desktop
Create, edit and collaborate with others on Google Sheets from your desktop, Android phone or tablet. A great function is that you can add and respond to comments with your colleagues and share the sheet with anyone you wish.
Available on Google Play, iTunes Store and desktop
Create a new presentation and edit with others at the same time from desktop, smartphone or tablet. Get your work done with or without any internet. Slides can be used to edit PowerPoint files. Our favourite function about Google Slides/Docs/Sheets is that you never have to worry about losing your work – everything is saved automatically as you type so you don’t have to worry about your computer crashing.
Promethean would love to see your progress in using the above apps we have recommended. Tag us in your social media posts to keep us up-to-date with your edtech fun. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram: PrometheanUKI
Rory Dixon is a year 5 classroom teacher and computing lead at Hesketh with Becconsall All Saints C of E Primary School and has been a Promethean Advocate since 2016.
With his wealth of pedagogical experience, Rory is constantly striving to incorporate education technology into the classroom. The following article outlines suggestions for incorporating an application for the Promethean Grant, which could win your school a free Promethean ActivPanel worth around £3,000, whilst meeting learning objectives.
When we first entered the Promethean Grant, our goal was primarily to win ourselves some technology for the school. Our secondary goal, whilst we work and learn in such an inclusive curriculum, was to hit learning objectives by drawing on multiple strands of the curriculum and combining them into one project.
For English and Computing at KS2 level we found that we could complete the following objectives: prepare poems and play scripts to read aloud and perform, showing understanding through intonation, tone, volume and action so the meaning is clear to an audience.
Identify the audience and purpose
Select the appropriate language and structures
Use appropriate intonation and volume
Ensure meaning is clear
Select, use and combine a range of software and use a wider range of devices to create a variety of digital assets such as programs, systems, databases, spreadsheets and multimedia content for a defined purpose
We met these objectives by ensuring that there was a process to the project. The children had to evaluate current short films that had a persuasive purpose.
The children planned their movie using a storyboard, ensuring that they were thinking of the purpose and audience.
Once filming commenced children had the opportunity to be filmed by a parent, working as a camera operator, which consequently gave other pupils hands on experiences of producing and directing the sequences. Empowering the pupils to find effective shots and create drama in the editing process really gave the experience credence with the pupils.
Finally, to encourage a collaborative learning experience using software, the children used Garageband to create a piece of music to accompany their work and added it into iMovie during the editing process.
The final tweaks were then made by adding text, cutting scenes, incorporating animations, adding music and altering the speed when appropriate.
The children evaluated their project using Bloom’s taxonomy higher order thinking questions. Looking at how and why our projects were ready to be submitted as well as what they would change next time.
The 2018 Promethean Grant is LIVE. We will be giving away 30 ActivPanels for free to the 30 schools we think show the most innovation and creativity, along with their need for new edtech and the overall impact it will have. Apply for the Promethean Grant here.
Activate is a registered Charity which was founded in 2005. We deliver personalised educational and vocational programmes for young adults with learning difficulties and disabilities in both Knowsley and Wirral. Study programmes are available for 19-24-year olds which focus on vocational skills and independent living skills, funded through the Education Funding Agency. Our vision is “An inclusive society for all”, and our mission “To inspire individuals and communities through innovative and engaging services”.
The Bracknell Centre is our main site and head office, based in Kirkby. The centre is a fully accessible integrated community and education facility specialising in providing programmes for young adults with learning difficulties and disabilities, as well as the local community. It is deemed to be the first of its kind in the country as it incorporates social enterprises, education and community services to ensure sustainability.
Why we entered…
Originally, we only had one functioning interactive board in the centre, which has always been an asset to the young adults, but tight budgets meant there were no funds to invest in more.
The projectors around the centre are dated and don’t offer the same interactivity as an interactive touchscreen. Older interactive boards at the school are incompatible with tablets and other tech that we use, and are also slow and unresponsive at times.
Technology is an important part of how we record the progress of the young adults here at the centre, for example, we do lots of video recording and use tablets. Winning an ActivPanel through the Promethean Grant scheme would allow us to connect our technology together and do more interactive learning exercises.
What winning means to us…
We are over the moon to have won an ActivPanel with the Promethean Grant, it allows us to do so many more activities and the interactivity of the panel is amazing.
The ActivPanel is used for matching, sorting and sequencing activities, these can also tie in with our life skills lessons that some of the students have, for example, sorting items during recycling. We also use the ActivPanel for timetabling and visual scheduling – ‘now & next’ is a big part of how tutors lead activities with our students, so breaking down tasks, lessons and days in this way can be helpful. Having a ‘communal’ touchscreen allows for more active participation and peer interaction between the groups.
Sensory software is also something we use so our learners can explore the idea of touch feedback or cause and effect. For many of our new students, we try and consolidate the idea of cause and effect, so they can start using assistive technology to make choices and communicate with others independently. This is much easier when you have something like an ActivPanel as it gives you a much bigger canvas to play with – many of our students intuitively get to grips with touchscreen interfaces very quickly and it helps them develop the motor skills needed for specialised AAC (communication) devices or iPads. Again, the peer interaction of a central touchscreen interactive panel brings in comparison to all students using their own iPads, it’s invaluable.
Two recent examples of when the ActivPanel has really made a difference to our students:
One of our new students who started in September found it very difficult settling into the new routine/structure here at Activate. He has very limited verbal communication and it can be difficult at times for staff to know what he needs when he is feeling unsettled. On one occasion, he was having a bad morning but became much more engaged when staff were using the ActivPanel. He went from being disinterested and restless in the session to completely engaged. This helped us get him involved in the rest of the session and staff identified calming activities – he really enjoys painting/drawing on the panel – which they continue to use with him now.
Some of our students also find it difficult associating their college iPads with learning as they are used to using them in other contexts (or at previous schools) for fun. This can be a very difficult hurdle with staff, especially when we identify for some of our learners with complex needs that the iPads have the potential to greatly help them with their communication and choice-making skills. However, we have found that with students using the ActivPanel it helps bridge that gap more easily. We can mirror the screen from the ActivPanel on their personal iPads, so it reinforces when learning is taking place and helps with the transition to bring their iPad into a ‘learning context’.
Our killer three tips for the Promethean Grant…
Tell your story – we made sure we told the story of exactly why we needed an ActivPanel and how it would help us!
Star in your own show! We didn’t leave it up to the tutors, our students were the focus of our entry!
We use video day-to-day to record progress, so we had some fun with using it to make our entry really stand out!
The 2018 Promethean Grant is LIVE. We will be giving away 30 ActivPanels for free to the 30 schools we think show the most innovation and creativity, along with their need for new edtech and the overall impact it will have. Apply for the Promethean Grant here.