Thursday, 22 May 2014

Being a 21st Century Teacher

At the core of every 21st century teacher should be a learner. If we can continue, in some areas begin, to embrace learning, I truly believe that every teacher has an undefinable level of ability within them. Whether they're aware of it or not, if we can grasp a hold of learning for ourselves we can see a transformation in our teaching and therefore a transformation in the learning of our pupils.

If we can be willing to learn, from those who've gone before us, those who are here with us now, and even those we're supposedly teaching; embracing any season, situation or circumstance in life with a sense of positivity and an awakening to the learning potential that surrounds us that I for one, certainly take for granted and often walk by without even a second glance.

Teaching in the 21st century isn't about equipping pupils with a head full of knowledge, of course there's a place for key facts, methods, tried and tested approaches; but there's so much more than that. 21st century teaching is about creating a love learning, within ourselves, our peers, our pupils, even our family and friends. It's more than a job and a title, it's certainly more than a payslip and grade.

What if we could embrace for ourselves and help others discover how to learn, rather than a list of what to learn?

Technology is an ever evolving paradigm in which education is sucked into and rightly so, but there has to be a recognition and realisation that it's use in school is far beyond and not limited to; making prezis, starting blogs, creating wordles, publishing animotos, designing flipcharts, producing videos, posting to edmodo, using whiteboards and developing apps. These aren't end goals, and they never should be classified or listed as that, they're tools. The very nature of tech is that it's a tool for learning, life, discovery. What about if we changed our focus and we used technology to; raise awareness, start conversations, find answers, join partners, change minds, make a difference, take action, drive change, discover.

Some thoughts, perhaps obvious but...

Comments and thoughts welcome.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Greater Manchester Winter Games

Today the St Luke's Gadget Geeks are reporting live from the Greater Manchester Winter Games. Keep refreshing your page for up to date results, interviews, photos, clips and comments from the team.
The teams are on the coach and we're on our way!

Just arrived! Basket Ball team taking a picture.

all of the children in the crowd!

The dancers dancing  

The St Luke's Dance Squad have just danced at the opening of the #gmschoolgames in front of 2000 pupils from schools across Greater Manchester. Here's what two of them thought about it.

Our first game against Lark Hill from Salford. 
Games last 14 minutes. Lots of support from the dancers. 

Our first game against Lark Hill was a great game. Unfortunately we lost 10:8 both teams played really well. 

The second game between Hardy Mill and St Wilfrid's finished 14:0 to Hardy Mill

St Luke's have just won against Hardy Mill. Interviews with both teams coming up.

Interview with Bilal about the match against Hardy Mill.

Logan from 4v doing gymnastics
whilst basketball team are getting ready to play their next match...

Drawing 2 all against St Wilfrid's still plenty of time to win the game. 

Semi-Final match against St Francis

Footage from the game against St Wilfrid's that got us to the semi-finals

Play offs against Lark Hill Primary - currently 4 all, coming up to half time.

Here's Nawaal being interviewed after the match that got St Luke's to the semi-final

The hoop that won us the play off match. Well done to the St Luke's team.

Friday, 31 January 2014

#SID2014 at St Luke's

Check back here between 10th - 14th Feb to see what we're getting up to for this year's Safer Internet Day.

Our first day of our 'Safer Internet Week'

                                                                                                                                                                    We've got off to a flying start. With our Gadget Geeks running lessons in year 1 and year 6. The children in year one have committed to staying safe online by stamping their handprints on large

sheets of paper, after they chatted about what does it mean to stay safe online and sharing.

The children in year one also watched an episode of Hector Protector ( and have entered a colouring competition with others from Key Stage 1 to win some exciting prizes. 

Our year six pupils held a class discussion all about, 'One thing you would change to make the internet better' The pupils signed their acceptable usage forms, thought about sharing images online and are now stepping up to a challenge to present their ideas about changing the internet in a digital format, to enter our competition to win a Hudl. 

I'm sure the great work is going to continue throughout the week!

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Purple Mash

I've recently been looking at Purple Mash, our LA bought in to the package and gave it all the primary schools as part of the ICT buy back and now this year we found out that the subscription was no longer going to be paid for by the LA. Which left me with a number of questions...

1. Do we use it? Let alone to it's potential, do we actually login? 
2. How much is it?
3. Is it a reasonable cost? 
4. Do we want it? 

All genuine questions, I'm sure you've been in the position where you've either had free stuff or inherited that aforementioned stuff and have not thought twice about it's value or it's use as you've been pursuing your own thoughts and establishing them within your school, and rightly so I think a school should not only represent the children but the staff as well. However when you're called to action because of change outside your control it means a decision has got to be made. I simply wanted to express my journey in making that decision and hope that it will help you with yours. 

1. Do we use it? 
   Having mentioned it a few staff and actually distributing class login details 18 months ago I've found a number of staff dabble in the world of Purple Mash, which for me presents two streams of thought...
   -- We can probably get away with not having it, and,
   -- Perhaps there's scope for this usage to be developed.  
I always play devils advocate with myself, I think if I want something and can see the benefits then I can always try to talk myself out of it, thus proving how much the school actually needs it.

2. How much is it?
   I've heard it's somewhere in the region of £600, I need to do a bit more research, as I'm not sure if that's annually or a one off payment.

3. Is it a reasonable cost?
  I guess this all depends on how we define, 'reasonable'. Probably hard to answer, as I haven't got a definite price.

4. Do we want it?
  Possibly the most important question, sure budget is needed etc, etc... but it's not a limiting factor really, the question is do we want it. I've found the best way of looking at this is weighing up the pro's and con's.
   Take for instance the con that PurpleMash is not like any other programme (let me explain why this, in my opinion, is a con) I'm concerned that I'm going to be taking too much time teaching pupils how to use Purple Mash than actually teaching them about the subject i.e. design. Then as the children outgrow Purple Mash which is inevitable, I then have to take them to another software package and teach them how to use that one, before I can get back to the subject again. I'm trying to balance here, showing my pupils how to use a piece of software that will be beneficial to them in the future against teaching them the basics of a subject (design, photography, music production etc etc)
I feel PurpleMash although brilliantly simple (PRO) is perhaps too many steps away from other software (CON.)
   Then there's the saving facilities, you can export to a folder within PurpleMash which is great (PRO) or to a computer, but as a PurpleMash file type, making certain options hard work, printing, saving for evidence etc (CON)
   I have to be honest though that about sums up the 'con' list and I could keep going with the 'pro' pile. Sure you get a school code that's got nothing to do with the school and then you're creating user@randomcode etc, etc... but this is only a small hurdle if managed and administered correctly, they also seem to be connecting with a few other sites at the moment and developing single sign in options (PRO)
   Mainly and probably most importantly, children like it (PRO), can navigate round it with ease (PRO) it has fresh content regularly (PRO) it massively boosts the use of ICT in other curriculum areas, basically removing the excuse of, 'I've not had time to put something together for the children to do using ICT', in other words, it does the hard work for you! (PRO)

So far still undecided, next step finding out how much the thing is!