#UKedchat Nominated


The #UKedchat hashtag has been nominated for a Edublog Award. It would be great if regular UKedchatters could vote for the hashtag by going to http://edublogawards.com/vote-here/ and selecting the ‘Hashtag’ category and choosing #UKedchat

There are also many UKedchatters that have been nominated.

Our every own UKedchat administrator @ICTmagic has been nominated in the ‘Educational Wiki‘ and ‘Individual Tweeter’ categories.

The Digital Leader Network has been nominated in the ‘Group Blog’ category.

Both HeadGuruTeacher and JohnTomsett have been nominated for the ‘Administrator’ blog category.

The @LearningSpy‘s blog has been nominated for the ‘Teacher blog’

@eyebeamsL4L site has been nominated for the ‘Podcasts’ category.

@ictevangelist‘s blog has been nominated in the ‘Use of Media/Video’ category.

@NightZooKeeper‘s Drawing Torch App has been nominated for the ‘Mobile Apps’ category.

… and finally @TheHeadsOffice, @timrylands, @fullonlearning and @DeputyMitchell have all been nominated for ‘Lifetime Achievement’ category

Support the community and get voting!


Session 127 – What are the most effective uses of differentiation in planning, teaching and assessment?’


Session Title: What are the most effective uses of differentiation in planning, teaching and assessment?’
Date: Thursday 29th November 2012

Summary of the Session:

This week’s topic on differentiation initially led to a debate on what the word ‘differentiation’ actually means. One definition that stood out for me was from @MrIanHickman who suggested that “Differentiation: (is) the art of creating challenging earning opportunities for a range of abilities”.

The discussion was full of differing opinions surrounding the effectiveness of differentiation methods and whether we should even be differentiating lessons at all. Some tweeters were concerned about the time and effort put into differentiating just 1 lesson and the challenges faced by teaching classes with such a variety of needs.

Most of the discussion focused on many great effective uses and methods of differentiation. These included by questioning, the use of different teaching and learning styles, the level of support given to the pupils, differing tasks and activities and the amount of time given to pupils to finish their task.

Assessment was mentioned and how we can use this to set targets based on pupils’ performance. The use of mixed ability groups versus ability groups was discussed with advantages for using both depending on activity or subject. Another important point that was talked about was how our knowledge of our pupils allows us to modify our teaching to enable all pupils to access the lesson or activity at their level.

The word ‘personalisation’ was used many times towards the end of the discussion instead of the term ‘differentiation’. @ePaceonline suggested that “Personalisation (is the) key to effective teaching, just because we teach well doesn’t mean pupils learn well.”

Notable Tweets
jonathan peel @mrpeel
@rashush2 because to diff is human nature, regardless of paerwork or preplanned worksheets… #ukedchat

thomas day @day_tom
Final Thought? Differentiation should be something we just do. Should be built into teaching, like questioning. #ukedchat

annahalford @anhalf
#ukedchat differentiation key to successful teaching, range of approaches, questions,actvities,groupings. Stratgies like #TFW & #AFL

Ed @Primary_Ed
Differentiation by outcome rather than by ability can prove far more effective. #ukedchat

Ian Hickman @MrIanHickman
Some people seem to think that differentiation is about labelling children. It really isn’t! #AfL #UKEdChat

Rachel Humphrey @rashush2
Diff by outcome sometimes best strategy eg for creative writing (once they can write!) #ukedchat

Richard Willan @rpwillan
@rashush2 Use your brighter students to ‘coach’ your weaker ones #ukedchat

Ed @Primary_Ed
The key to differentiation is knowing the children in your class and what they are capable of achieving. #ukedchat

Matthew. Drama AST @muttleyknight
@oldandrewuk @IamStephReed ideally they can be taught together but with their needs catered for and thought of as individuals #ukedchat

Rachel Humphrey @rashush2
it’s not so much the principle as the time involved.. and the paperwork #ukedchat

Mary Blake @ePaceonline
#ukedchat Personalisation key to effective teaching, just because we teach well doesn’t mean pupils learn well.

andrew cowley @andrew_cowley23
#ukedchat In theory we plan lessons perfectly pitched 30 ways. In practice we would be dead!

Monty Mouse @Monty_Math
#ukedchat. One thing I would question is when teachers differentiate for the sake of it – my personal rule is “”never differentiate blindly””

Mr Place @MrPlaceICT
@kvnmcl @ianaddison #ukedchat Top middle bottom isn’t entirely helpful. Most schools I know differentiate for each sublevel in Lit & Num.

Chris Chivers @ChrisChivers2
All classes are mixed ability, even in setting and streaming. I’d expect to see different expectation of different abilities. #ukedchat

Monty Mouse @Monty_Math
#ukedchat I prefer to think of whether teaching is relevant for children rather than differentiation – respond to individual need …

kevin mc laughlin @kvnmcl
#ukedchat Most call it differentiation others call it teaching. It’s the ‘you must include it on a plan’ that’s nonsense

jonathan peel @mrpeel
diff is in how we question and how we engage, rathe rthan in the provision of several different workshhets for each task #ukedchat

#ukedchat I hate that word differentiation. PERSONALISATION in my view much better. Most important aspect is to plan in progression opps

Mary Blake @ePaceonline
#ukedchat Every class has 30 different pupils all trying to learn the same material in wide variety of ways.

kevin mc laughlin @kvnmcl
#ukedchat Differentiation leads to categorising children as top, middle, bottom, or some strange teacher/school set acronym. Daft.

Matthew. Drama AST @muttleyknight
Differentiation is about allowing all students to access the learning and to make measured progress against the L/O #ukedchat

Miss Smith @HeyMissSmith
Differentiation is about being flexible during the lesson and scaffolding or extending as needed best not planned too much #ukedchat

Anthony Heald @AntHeald
Differentiation subtly done by skilful teachers: neither they nor students are aware it’s happening. Used to be called teaching. #ukedchat

Rebecca Stacey @bekblayton
@IamStephReed encourage chd to explain their understanding and learning, great for getting HA involved, and supports LA too.. #ukedchat

Cherrylkd @cherrylkd
@muttleyknight Me too! I can’t believe teachers still think one size fits all in teaching. #ukedchat

thomas day @day_tom
@Teachric ok, I teach mainly classes of 25 – not to bad to think of 3 ways of learning / outcomes for lesson #ukedchat

Rebecca Stacey @bekblayton
Fact is..How are we ensuring all children achieve? What do we find tricky about making lessons accessible to all? Teaching styles? #ukedchat

Ian Hickman @MrIanHickman
Differentiation: the art of creating challenging learning opportunities for a range of abilities. #UKEdChat

Andy Hassack @AndrewHassack
Have range of tasks/entry points, get pupils to decide, RAG pupils then get greens to support reds, diff/paired/group/independent #ukedchat

Matthew. Drama AST @muttleyknight
I’m amazed at some of these tweets that are against differentiating lessons.. The mind boggles !! #ukedchat

Wonder Academy @Wonderacademy
#ukedchat There is only one true differentiation: differentiation by outcome. Assess outcome and if progress limited,adjust/repeat teaching

Matthew. Drama AST @muttleyknight
Differentiation is about knowing your pupils and using that knowledge to inform your teaching #ukedchat

DHE Solutions @DHESolutionsLtd
@muttleyknight It may be essential but there seems to be a disaffected tone to the discussion tonight – surely something in that? #ukedchat

Craig @C_Farr0w
#ukedchat we get told so many different things as NQT about differentiation. Surely we can do this by pace of learning and support?

Matthew. Drama AST @muttleyknight
Differentiation is essential to lessons, it ensures we are not just teaching to the middle! #ukedchat

davidhunter @davidhunter
#ukedchat rally coach is a good system for ensuring all chd’s needs are meet when teaching maths Operations

Andrew Old @oldandrewuk
#ukedchat What we can’t do is differentiate learning that comes from being taught. Differentiation is the opposite of teaching a class.

Elaine Cheetham @smiley1970
#ukedchat find its impossible to keep all pupils engaged when abilities so varied. Differentiation simply ineffective.

Andrew Old @oldandrewuk
#ukedchat We can differentiate kids teaching themselves or each other. We can differentiate expressing opinions or being creative.

thomas day @day_tom
#ukedchat – A lot of my differentiation comes from marking. I mark work, then set targets based on their performance – diff activities etc

Polly @Paper_Polly
@TonyEmmerson @Super_Work I learned differentiation by task, differentiation by outcome and differentiation by support. Sorted! #ukedchat

Andy Hassack @AndrewHassack
@IamStephReed When it allows the pupils to work at their own pace through Qs/tasks of their own choice #ukedchat #independantlearning

Chris Chivers @ChrisChivers2
Differentiation in planning develops an expectation/hypothesis, which can be tweaked within the learning. #ukedchat

Andrew Old @oldandrewuk
#ukedchat Of course teachers should try to meet the needs of all the students in their classes. However, you cannot differentiate teaching.

Tweet of the Week
Ian Hickman @MrIanHickman
Differentiation: the art of creating challenging learning opportunities for a range of abilities. #UKEdChat

About Your Host
My name is Steph (@IamStephReed) and I am a Special Needs Teacher teaching in a primary school for children with autistic spectrum disorders in the London borough of Hackney.

My main interests are around autism, communication, inclusion and technology.



UKedchat Session 127

Session 125 – Could social media an effective method of CPD for teaching staff?


Session Title: Could Google’s 20% project/self-directed time work in schools?
Date: Saturday 19th November 2012

Summary of the Session:
This was an experimental UKedchat. The time was different, the place was different, but the participants were wonderful as always. The session came about because @TimRylands and myself (@ICTmagic) were asked to talk about #UKedchat and social media for the London Festival of Education. So I thought ‘let’s do it live’. The live session was great and it was a great pleasure to work with Tim (My presentation is at http://prezi.com/vdovtbvntl0f/how-social-media-is-helping-educators-connect-t…. The online discussion was small, but there were many great participants.

As there were only 66 tweets I will let the archive speak for itself. But I would be interested in hearing feedback about doing a similar discussion during BETT.

About Your Host
Martin Burrett (@ICTmagic) is a Year 5/6 teacher at Mersea Island School in Essex and is an advocate for using digital technology to improve teaching and learning in schools. He founded the ICTmagic educational resource website and is a co-administrator for UKedchat.

For more information about Tim Rylands, please visit http://www.timrylands.com

Archive session 125

Session 126 – What is an appropriate ICT curriculum?


Session Title: What is an Appropriate ICT curriculum

Date: Thursday 22nd November 2012

Summary of the Session:
Children today are proclaimed to be the first truly digital generation; a generation that appears to have everything at its fingertips. The wealth of games, pictures, videos, music and books that they can get their hands on with very little effort is something that previous generations could only dream of. So the main question at the moment is what an appropriate ICT curriculum?

Tonight’s discussion is deciphering what is appropriate curriculum for ICT and how it should perceived and understood in educational world. Tonight discussion seems to focus on three elements which is keeping the ICT curriculum challenging, fun and engaging.

These elements could be broken down into programming, digital literacies, computer science, apps and computer technology. But it seems these things are the current technologies that people are  using in the outside too. The great discourse on the ICT curriculm is debatable but it seems keeping ICT challenging, fun and engaging is the way forward.

Notable Tweets
@IamStephReed – an appropriate ICT curriculum must incorporate up to date technology #ukedchat

@tmeeky – I don’t think it’s about tools and software (these will perm chng)… I think it’s more about concepts and purposes (more stable) #ukedchat

@ICT in its current form can be taught throughout the curriculum but we might need to introduce more programming type things in ICT?#ukedchat

@JulieTavender – #Ukedchat what should year three chn be learning?I teach email, blogging, story boarding, social media, use of publisher

Tweet of the Week
@MrG_ICT – Curiculum designed by you guys #ukedchat Maybe we start and update wiki with examples and ideas.We lead the way not Gove.

About Your Host
@urban_teacher – M.ed, ICT Teacher, ICT Consultant, Music Producer, Youth Leader. Sharing my everyday experiences with the twitter community! http://icttank.blogspot.com/

Session 126

Session 124 – Could Google’s 20% project/self-directed time work in schools and how could we support it?


Session Title: Could Google’s 20% project/self-directed time work in schools and how could we support it?

Date: Thursday 15th November 2012

Summary of the Session:
I first head about Google’s 20% time (See http://www.guardian.co.uk/teacher-network/2012/oct/04/google-20-percent-time-… many years ago and it made me wonder what I would do with 20% of my work time to pursue my own project. Probably, continue to work on my wiki page and design more apps and resources for my class and other educators. I might even blog a little more (which isn’t saying much!) and make it to a few more TeachMeets. But I have a feeling that I would find new things to fill the time very quickly.

I was surprised that many UKedchatter hadn’t encountered the idea before. Initial reactions varied from loving the idea to thinking it would never work or never be allowed because of constraints on the curriculum. Many participants spoke about ‘creative time’ which children embarked on in school and the lovely activities that they did (see an example at http://swaygrantham.co.uk/when-the-learners-are-in-the-lead/). Many people liked the idea of children leading the way, but most felt that ‘absolution freedom’ was not wise and that the children should be given a framework to work in or a goal to work towards. Others spoke about building expertise to ensure children were ready for the task.

The conversation turned to how students learn and how often they conform to what is expected, rather than taking risks and pushing the boundaries. There was a wider discussion about how to foster creativity in schools and building a curriculum to encourage it. A few chatters exchanged some ideas about the ‘flipped classroom’ model to use in this way. Others spoke pointed out that ICT had a role to play in allowing collaboration and lead their learning. There was also a discussion about the importance of play to explore ideas for all ages, but especially for the youngest.

There was a short discussion about whether ‘blue sky’ thinking was valued in schools. Most thought it was important, but often squeezed out by the demands of the curriculum. Some UKedchatters said that time should be allowed for children to discuss and create ideas and that ‘accidental exploration’ (@aangeli) is key to the innovation process. There was a short discussion about homework and some commented that ‘exploration’ of a topic often was set as homework by researching within a structure.

The last point was about what teachers could/should/would do if they where given 20% of their time to pursue their own educational projects. Interestingly, this seemed to be the most jubilant part of the discussion as the participants excitedly swapped ideas of what projects they could do.

Both children and teachers are amazing, creative people who would benefit from having some extra time to explore their ideas. This may take many forms and the results and ‘products’ will vary greatly, but ideas are powerful things and they can and do change the world.

Notable Tweets
@davidhunter: #ukedchat it’s been responsible for Google earth and a bunch of other great tools. What could kids produce?
@reallara: Like the idea of using the general concept to encourage/allow staff to try out ideas & topics not prescribed by school or govt #ukedchat
@MrG_ICT: Ken Robinson’s book “the Element” discusses value of working on a project that you have passion for. Worth a read #ukedchat
@davidhunter: #ukedchat I think it’s old school ‘project’work using modern methods and outcomes to measure.chn decide focus (eg Lego or football)
@SwayGrantham: I gave chn 45mins proj time and 15mins per station time at the end of term last year. Fantastic to see http://t.co/xMQZe0x3 #ukedchat
@SwayGrantham: @e11iewe11s it could be anything, when I did I told chn to create ‘anything’ but they would have to present at end… #ukedchat
@DrHuxTM: When I visited RSA Academy 18mnths ago, 1 aftn/week was off timetable & involved a wide range of activities for students. #ukedchat
@eyebeams: @tickytecky @ICTmagic Bare bones elicitation – needs skillful orchestration #ukedchat
@nightzookeeper: I think that by giving children small targets in this area can really help! e.g: recording progress in a project journal #ukedchat
@eyebeams:Here is another approach that could be school based http://t.co/fcSUwVFl #ukedchat
@tmeeky: scaffold sounds too rigid… dynamically facilitate might be more effective. Offer structure when needed… don’t force  #ukedchat
@piersyoung: When done open ended projects with Y6 before, (where they choose own topics), main skill missing is good questioning #ukedchat
@Caroljallen: Creativity can be facilitated within the conventional ‘lesson’ and/or ‘timetable’ but oh how brill when the timetable is removed #ukedchat
@eslweb: #ukedchat I think that creativity is a process and freedom & projects start with a little freedom & give more as they become responsible.

Tweet of the Week
@Jivespin: #ukedchat Google 20% sounds great although does that include being on Twitter as part of a CPD project?

About Your Host
Martin Burrett (@ICTmagic) is a Year 5/6 teacher at Mersea Island School in Essex and is an advocate for using digital technology to improve teaching and learning in schools. He founded the ICTmagic educational resource website and is a co-administrator for UKedchat.

Archive Session 124

Session 123 – How can we support teachers who struggle to engage with new technologies?


Session Title: How can we support teachers who struggle to engage with new technologies?
Date: Thursday 8th November 2012

Summary of the Session:
The discussion started with a lot of teachers talking about the benefits of teachmeets and teachmeet style staff meetings to share success stories and to enthuse others. Suggestions of regular demonstrations, lunch time drop-ins and regular ICT slots in staff meetings were also proposed. I think these are vital ways of sharing good practice – not just for ICT. Indeed it was asked in the session ‘Why is it more acceptable to struggle with tech?’

Maybe it shouldn’t be acceptable, but I think it is understandable, as the tech doesn’t always do what you want it to do. This problem became part of the discussion. It is not always that teachers refuse or reject the technology, it is often that they keep trying and become disheartened when it doesn’t go well. @syded06 made a very important point: ‘I believe you need a very robust infrastructure and support available when and where required…’

@tmmeeky also made the point that a lot of tech takes a lot of time to learn – and the benefits are dubious. @oldandrew considered that teachers should be under no obligation to engage with technologies that they aren’t convinced of. There have been many discussions before on twitter about buying ‘shiny things’ and not knowing how to use them. Thought needs to go into matching the resources you have to the skill set of your staff – unless you are prepared to invest money in training. Of course a lot of tweeters acknowledged that it is worthwhile engaging with new technologies if the benefits to learning are clear.

A discussion started about how making ICT part of performance management would help. Some thought that forcing it on teachers in this way was not the way to do it. Others recognised how the new OfSTED guide says that tech should be used if it benefits learning. Other suggestions included observing other teachers, team-teaching and encouraging teachers to join twitter. I regret that I didn’t think about RiskIT until after #ukedchat had finished. It is a great approach that encourages all staff to take a ‘safe’ risk with ICT. You can find out more about this initiative on the Naace website.

The discussion changed half way through to the idea of using students to support teachers with ICT developments. Of course this is an area that I am passionate about and I believe that digital leaders are an asset to each school.

I would like to acknowledge the comments that stated how ICT skills should be a requirement when employing new teachers. So maybe it needs to be a bigger part of our teacher training programmes?

Finally, a request from @CliveSir ‘Please continue to add your ideas of essential tech here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/10QaCjdSdLf7ixAyli2zAogBd3Ml4RVlY3n1l5I4w3…

Notable Tweets
There were many notable tweets during the session and when I looked at the archives afterwards I realised how many I had missed! So here are a few that I thought were either pertinent, or helped move the discussion on.

‏@tmeeky: I have often thought that schls need to adopt a TeachMeet model i.e. tchrs get together for 15mins a wk to share success stories #ukedchat

@traceyab1: #ukedchat share what your class are achieving using technology in the staff room and others will follow if they see benefit for T & learning

@MsFindlater: #ukedchat modelling real life examples being used by more confident techie teachers in their subject. Mini casual peer insets I suppose

@Romaaddict: Regular 2 min demos of potential use in staff mtgs, (what/ inspire) each followed by lunchtime drop-in training sessions. (how) #ukedchat

@tmeeky: IMO lots of tech does actually take a lot of time and the benefits are dubious… being informed + discerning is key #ukedchat

@normal_for_jp: #ukedchat make it part of performance management

@cherrylkd: @syded06 @normal_for_jp it needs to be forced. It’s in new Ofsted guide, to use new tech if it benefits the learning #ukedchat

@sarahepeel: #ukedchat Be evangelical! If you’ve found some new tech that you love, enthuse about it and others may just investigate

@ICTwitz: @syded06 Disagree @ukcreativeed The most important resources are the pupils. Without them… #ukedchat

‏@cherrylkd: #ukedchat if we don’t teach using new tech are we actually preparing ch for world of work which is full of new tech? How will they use it?

@jodieworld: Choosing what is easy for the teacher as opposed to what will enhance curric & learning is a nonsense. Same for maths? #ukedchat

@ethinking: #ukedchat @oldandrewuk @mrlockyer @mattharding007 technology is a money pit into which weak school leaders have gleefully shovelled money.

@Kathrinedavies: 2/2 Outstanding teachers pick the right tools at the right time #ukedchat

@Cottiss77: Invite staff into lessons where tech is used effectively. Paired obs even better to stimulate discussion, reflection and Acton. #ukedchat

@StephenLev: #ukedchat I think the engagement of pupils is so much higher when they are in control of technology.

@eslweb: @tmeeky Most direct method is when a child evangelises what is happening in another class. Other teachers do pay attention. #ukedchat

@syded06: Modelling of new technology use is crucial to pedagogical understanding #ukedchat

@Emmk30: @SheliBB We use a teacher buddy system in school. When we are in need of help we always have someone to go to or share ideas :) #ukedchat

@jodieworld: Forcing one type of tech ie iPads across a school can be problem. Show a range of things that work and let them choose. #ukedchat

@sarahepeel: #ukedchat I disagree you need to be 100% confident with tech – what’s wrong with exploring it with the children?

@Cottiss77: Invite staff into lessons where tech is used effectively. Paired obs even better to stimulate discussion, reflection and Acton. #ukedchat

@syded06: Is it acceptable to dismiss new technologies before trying to understand the pedagogical implications? #ukedchat

@jackieschneider: #ukedchat – the bitter irony of course is that new tech allows us to better achieve some very old fashioned ideas of child centred learning

@tmeeky: No excuse for teachers not being up-to-date with new tech… social media etc is in the news everyday #ukedchat

@normal_for_jp: #ukedchat Shouldn’t teachers be responsible for their own learning? If I refused to learn new Geography or RE curric would be shot.

@thingsbehindsun: Experiment. Have a lesson once a term where phones are allowed #ukedchat

@Dandan7171: #ukedchat recently used inset money to get a consultant to disseminate ict training to primary kids rather than staff. was very effective !

@thingsbehindsun: No need for teachers to know more than pupils about everything. Relinquish some control re tech and smartphones #ukedchat

@RyburnMark: @SheliBB First appreciate why reluctance – ‘seek 1st to understand then be understood’ #covey #7habits #ukedchat

@Deputy_Doll: #ukedchat if new implementation, consult and collaborate. Might take a little longer to implement, but you take my more ppl with you.

@petewharmby: #ukedchat so ‘technology’ is another tool that can be used, if the teacher finds it relevant and useful to achievement? Not a prerequisite.

@russellprue: Where’s the risk taking gone everyone? #ukedchat We need brave heads more than ever who aren’t afraid of failing from this comes innovation

@aangeli: @urban_teacher shouldn’t every teacher know it is OK to fail – in fact it’s almost ncessary. It’s a big part of a learning process #ukedchat

@syded06: Without a two year case study with outstanding evidence I know I can now do things in the classroom I couldn’t do before tech #ukedchat

@mrlockyer: #ukedchat I have found that even introducing something like Dropbox to help teachers can make inroads to tech-confidence

Tweet of the Week
I have chosen this tweet because I think that we need to ask ourselves, ‘Does the tech enhance learning?’

@mattharding007: #ukedchat Surely on here a more pertinent question is how do we persuade technology lovers that technology is not always the best way…?

About Your Host

My name is Sheli @SheliBB, my children call me Miss BB and I am a year 2/1 teacher in an outstanding Norfolk school. For one day each week I am employed as an ICT consultant for our cluster schools, but often support schools with drama too. These are the two main areas in which I used to offer support when I worked as an AST – areas that I am passionate about.

I love teaching through mantle of the expert and I am a big fan of using ipads in the classroom. Each week after #ukedchat I regularly host and participate in #DLchat – a discussion group for teachers dedicated to promoting digital leaders in schools. I started the collaborative website www.digitalleadernetwork.co.uk and work hard to encourage teachers to share the good work that digital leaders do.

Archive Session 123

Session 122 – Tri-topic special – Great Teaching, educated people & university


Session Title: Is it worth going to university? What does an educated person look like? What makes great teaching?
Date: Thursday 1st November 2012

Summary of the Session:
This was an experimental UKedchat with three quick-fire topic within an hour. Twenty minutes each to discuss three important and loosely connected topics:
- Is it worth going to university?
- What does an educated person look like?
- What makes great teaching?

Each topic is clearly worthy of a full hour of discussion and more, but this summary will look at each 20 minute topic in turn.

Is it worth going to university?
The discussion began with many chatters stating that it wholly depends on the individual’s goals and aspirations and many people commented on a number of highly successfully individuals who have taken a non-university route at the beginning of their career. There was some complaints that Government is seemingly pushing young adults towards university when many other options are open to them. Others suggested that universities have put together courses to lure students into paying fees when the qualification has little or no value.

There was a brief, but interesting discussion about the terminology for people taken a non-university route (this is my chosen phase). ‘Non academic’, ‘alternative route’ and ‘good with their hands’ were all discussed.

The majority of teachers do attend university before entering the profession and many tweeps regaled the forum with brief tales of their university days and how the experience of university has valve. A few people thought that this was mainly because of the freedom from parental tyranny. Others countered that by arguing that many students are opting to live at home while studying and found a similar experience.

Some UKedchatters commented that the things they learnt at university didn’t adequately prepare them for their career in the around the education sector. Others went as far as suggesting that university and formal study locks an individual into a particular mindset.

It was commented that students often attend university without a clear career path in mind. There were both positive and negative views to this, but the majority who voiced an opinion seemed to believe a general, but not specific focus was probably a good and safe idea in this rapidly changing word and it is important to follow what you enjoy.

Many chatters spoke about the apparent snobbery there is towards non-university based higher education and that vocational skills are under valued and much in demand in the country today.

Towards the end of this section of the discussion many people talked about the importance of experience and it seemed that many of the gathered tweeps went to university as mature students, myself included. Some suggested that his grounding outside academia helped them thrive once they chose to take the university route.

Notable tweets from this section
Jivespin: I have seen students pressured into going to university when it is not right for them. They end up dropping out with a huge debt #ukedchat

chris_j_fisher9: Career choice and aspirations are the main factors to consider when deciding on uni or not #ukedchat

EmFiges: Higher apprenticeship programmes can represent a real alternative to university – an aspiration and practical option #ukedchat

MonstersCanRead: University shouldn’t be the only option + it takes more than a degree to be a success. Students and young people need good advice. #ukedchat

nightzookeeper: #ukedchat I would recommend university solely based on my own experience! Not sure how much my undergrad shaped my career though…

syded06: @s_armitage @pbates76 @ukedchat the generalist will be best prepared for future employment. Specialism appears ‘dangerous’ option #ukedchat

What does an educated person look like?
At the beginning of this section many chatters discussed the important and validity of this question. It took a while for hatters to get gong on this question.

The forum began to focus on the characterises of an educated person and many suggests began to come. A list of positive attributes and a few darker traits can be found in the archive.

To summarise, UKedchatters discussed this difference between educated, intelligent, savvy and many other subtle shades of the myriad of traits that each of us rely on each day to navigate our way through 21st century life.

Notable tweets from this section

Li33ieBee: An educated person looks like someone who knows they have choices. Maybe looks quizzical cos they don’t accept face value? #ukedchat

e11iewe11s: #ukedchat Maybe someone who remains inquisitive about the world and continues to increase their understanding?

pbates76: @ukedchat ability to analyse? reflective? collaborative? good communicator? good team player? driven? #ukedchat

philallman1: #ukedchat is it possible to be over educated but not sufficiently learned?

day_tom: #ukedchat educated is a state of mind. Someone who wants to find out more. In search of knowledge. Wants to share it

Ideas_Factory: @ukedchat Agreed #ukedchat Society led by ignorant and privileged. Mistake is to presume money means educated…

What makes great teaching?
At 8.40pm the topic changed once more and turned to a topic which every teacher should have a passionate opinion on. Isn’t this what we all aspire, in full knowledge that there is always something to improve?

Many chatters spoke about educators guiding children through an engaging and differentiated journey of discovery to excite their passions and simulate their creativity and wonder for culture, human collaboration and ingenuity and the universe… while others talked about assessment. But both  innovative classroom teaching and assessment and many other attributes are integral parts of the 21st century educator.

Some chatters suggested that great teaching is build on good relationships with their students, while others spoke about being a good communicator is the key factor. Fun featured repeatedly in UKedchat at this point (and hopefully at every point) during the discussion. Many suggested that learning happens best when children were enjoying the task, activity or experience.

The question was posed whether OFSTED’s view of what makes great teaching was compatible with what the gathered tweeps thought make great teaching. There was a almost unanimous and resounding ‘no’, but some UKedchatters believed that one could ‘play the OFSTED game’ and deliver what they thought was great teaching for their class. 

Many more suggestions were made to what makes great teaching and you should read through the archive for more details.

Notable tweets from this section

travelgeordie: Progress progress progress ofsted say but – true.  Depends what they progress with, habits/dispositions as important as knowledge #ukedchat

Monty_Math: #ukedchat Great teaching? When a teacher worries more about how much children are learning than their own performance – that helps!

LearningSpy: #ukedchat – what makes a great teacher? Helps to watch this every now and then: http://t.co/iEr8sj63

cherrylkd: #ukedchat Great teaching is when you inspire and enable every child to achieve the best they possibly can.

Pekabelo: #ukedchat great teachers do everything you want your students to be like. Work hard, respond to criticism, listen, think creatively etc…

As dedicated educators, willing to give up a precious Thursday evening of their half term, we are constantly looking for ideas to improve our practice and move our students forward. We strive to provide educational experiences to help them thrive in the world of tomorrow and become educated people. This may include higher education and university study. But what is certain is that we must guide them to be thoughtful, creative, adaptable,  socially attuned and savvy children and adults. Some may even go into the teaching profession themselves.

How long will it be before some of our students discover UKedchat for their own classes I wonder…

Tweet of the Week
RachelKimberxxx: #ukedchat “What makes a great teacher?” may I refer you to “Man, if you have to ask what jazz is, you’ll never know.” — Louis Armstrong

About your Host
Martin Burrett (@ICTmagic) is a Year 5/6 teacher at Mersea Island School in Essex and is an advocate for using digital technology to improve teaching and learning in schools. He founded the ICTmagic educational resource website and is a co-administrator for UKedchat.


Archive Session 122

Session 121 – Is homework a vital learning tool or an outdated educational throwback?


Session Title: Is homework a vital learning tool or an outdated educational throwback?
Date: Thursday 25th October 2012

Summary of the Session:
Homework has always been a point of conjecture for many educators. There is a whole spectrum of ideas and philosophies when it comes to homework and as usually the participants of UKedchat represented the myriad of views. From abolishing homework altogether to making it the central part of the learning journey.

The discussion began with the broad question ‘Do you set homework and why?’ The vast majority of respondents did indeed use homework, but as the discussion continued it became clear that the word ‘set’ homework may not be the correct one. Many tweeps commented on their personal purpose for using homework as a learning opportunity. Many people spoke about extending the learning that occurs in class and to consolidate their understanding. Some UKedchatters spoke about homework being a necessary evil as it is not possible to deliver the whole curriculum within school hours. Some said that homework provides a good opportunity to assess what the children has learnt in class and to use and apply this knowledge. Many worried that children are being asked to complete formal written homework at an increasingly early age which switches them off forever.

An interest discussion ensured about homework building a link between home and school, but many pointed out that homework is often the root of many arguments between parents and children. Several participants noted that homework is really there to meet parental expectations and some felt that it actually does little for the educational attainment of the students.

A number of interesting alternative ways to give homework were discussed. Two notable examples were @thelazyteacher method of ‘tapas’ homework and @tomhenzley’s homework grids. Both give the children a choice in what task they chose to complete. Some people also mentioned that they often feel like they give homework weekly for the sake of it, and perhaps a system of using homework only when it was needed would be a better approach for both teachers and learners.

A few members of the discussion suggested that longer school hours may be a good alternative instead of children working at home. Presumably, brave individuals are still running for their lives from an enraged ukedchat community! But it was also suggested that students should use their ‘free’ time during the school day more effectively to complete more self-directed tasks.

The discussion turned to the role of parents in homework and how much was too much help. @dughall suggested a system know as PAL (Parent assisted learning) where parents are expected to help their children. Many chatters pointed at that not all children are given the same levels of support at home and tweeps spoke at length about the homework deprivation and what can be done to help those children without a conducive learning environment at home. Tweeps continued by pointing out that children often have full timetables outside of school with many attending clubs and other activities. Many highlighted that homework can be an additional burden on over-stretched teachers with extra planning and marking.

Trying to summarise this dipolar issue is tricky, but I think that most would agree that if children are asked to work at home, the activity should be useful and relevant to their school work, allows the children to follow their interests and passions to instil a love of learning and it should indulge their curiosity and use their creativity to push their learning forward. Fire up your class with stimulating collaborative projects which will be enjoyed by both child and parent. Let ‘will will this light them up?’ be our mantra.

Notable tweets from the session

Jivespin: The purpose of homework for me is to extend learning opportunities, practice skills and to guide students in reading more widely #ukedchat

jamesdhobson: I would love to dispense with homework. But there is too much to do. You need to change what schools  do first  #ukedchat

MrsFolkerCES: #ukedchat open-ended to give pupils opps to share their learning however they want. Embed good habits for life – learning happens after 3.20!

PhilippaIsom: #ukedchat we do not grade homework for reporting purposes, only effort. Students have vast differences in access to resources at home

davidhunter: #ukedchat that Sutton trust report found homework to have minimal impact on learning. Have to say it really depends on what is set.

Emmk30: #ukedchat if homework is set, it should be treated as being as important as the lesson.

teacherofy5: #ukedchat if chn understand the importance of h/work, they do it – they benefit from it at the end, consistency necessary

aangeli: If homework is personalised and differentiated then appropriate otherwise – no homework! Prefer 1 hr extra after sch #ukedchat

GoldfishBowl_MM: Too many of my students do homework just to avoid detention and do the minimum required. We need to give them a better motivation. #ukedchat

Kezmerrelda: #ukedchat some children actually like hwk! keep getting emails off yr 2 class about what found out about space! Hav lots visual stuff on vle

mattlovegrove: #ukedchat I am a big supporter of homework. Teaches responsibility and organisation skills. Also helps parents link to school learning

mrpeel: #ukedchat unfinished hwk generates friction and hostility.  Many chn do not have suitable home environment to undertake hwk – move into school

jamesealmond: Use @100word challenge for homework which a lot of ch love. But same old story- those that do hw do it those that don’t don’t #ukedchat

DeputyMitchell: Didn’t set one piece of homework all year yet pupils worked producing 70,000 words+ on their blogs from home #ukedchat Where there’s a will

jackieschneider: #ukedchat – as a parent I have loathed the tyranny of badly set poorly marked HW which is cynical cover your back stuff

Tweet of the Week
urban_teacher: Parental Involvement + Tailored Homework = Student Progression #ukedchat

About your Host
Martin Burrett (@ICTmagic) is a Year 5/6 teacher at Mersea Island School in Essex and is an advocate for using digital technology to improve teaching and learning in schools. He founded the ICTmagic educational resource website and is a co-administrator for UKedchat.

Archive Session 121

Session 120 – What can we do to help children with autism to get on at school?


Session Title: What can we do to help children with autism to get on at school?
Date: Thursday 18th October 2012

Summary of the Session:

Training at Unis
there was a lot of chat about training at Unis for student teachers for autism @plymuniprimary said they have specialist SEN pathway for primary and all students get significant input in SEN and as I hope to be a future trainee teacher i have seen a few other Unis doing that when I have looked on there website and I think that’s great as some want to jump into the SEN area after finishing uni and I think with uni giving a specialist SEN pathway they will be even more experienced when they go into the SEN area of teaching after uni.
But another tweet said by ‏@nickotkdIV said – more ITT training need i think.. make people more aware and experienced of the difficulties. Which I do agree as more does need to be done as I think even if you don’t do a SEN specialist pathway you should do at least something on it over the 3 years each year and so many times that year to keep going over it as they more experienced of the difficulties the better teacher you will be.

More training needs to be out there and awareness of it
there was also a lot of chat about training in general and I didn’t think there was much training out there but it doesn’t out I’m wrong well sort as you really by the sounds of things you need to be a teacher to access it I think but anyhow more awareness of it needs to be done.
‏@charlotteec27 said I agree, increasing opportunities for student teachers to gain experience within SEN settings would be great – I totally agree with this tweet as student teachers maybe still training or just finished may not be able to access the training but experience for student teachers and teachers in general and support staff to gain experience within SEN settings would be great.

@Kezmerrelda said All teachers need training in ASD. I have had at least 1 diagnosed ASD child in my class every year in last ten& my own y8 son ASD
Which is another tweet I agree with which goes back to my starting point if you don’t do the SEN pathway how are you going to deal with children with ASD, Autism etc which is why I totally with the above tweet.
@pigsmightfly said – volunteered to look after ASD child, as was being passed from pillar to post put my self on Autism course with OU
That’s one of getting some sort of experience with ASD children etc and that person is amazing for doing that but I bet you there are calls out for lots of more people to do that. Well done Beth

Some good ideas in general
@jodieworld said – University of Surrey provide a fantastic initiation programme for ASD students joining them. They helped bro loads #ukedchat
I have put this tweet as I feel it very important as it’s amazing that a uni is doing something like that. I hope many more follow in there suit.

@HilaryNunns said this Best advice for transition to college, visit many times before starting. Provide a buddy, safe place and lists #ukedchat
One of the great many of ideas that were listed. Transition will be hardy for them so I agree you should provide a buddy for them and make sure that buddy is a real friend as from my experience primary school they all came to me saying they weren’t. safe place to another good transition idea so when at the start they a corner to go to when they upset or just want to get away and lists so they know what they will be going on in the day.

@urban_teacher said – Autism is a complex difficulty! But as a teacher you need to speak to parent, SENco and specialist #ukedchat
I can relate this as I only know a bit about autism but this chat has opened me up to it all and I totally agree it’s a complex difficulty and you need to talk to the parents, SENCo and other specialist people to learn more and more about it and the child to help them get the best out of school.

@ukcreativeed said – Careful consideration should be given to spontaneous changes (e.g. cover lesson / end of scheme) to allow everyone to feel prepared. #ukedchat
Another great idea/point and a lot of chat were about spontaneous changes and to make sure everyone not just the children with difficulties is prepared for the changes.

‏@SheliBB said – read lots about autism, listen to the parents, get to know the child, reflect on everything #ukedchat
Another good point about learning more about autism and try and learn as much about it as you can and reflect on it so it reflect your lesson in a good way.

As whole how schools do with autism
@jodieworld said – Just coming into #ukedchat late but my lil bro who has Asperser’s ended up home educated due to lack of help/provision and bullying at sch
I personally think that is disgraceful that bullying gets that’s bad that a parent has to take there child out of school and end up being home educated due to lack of help and provision too. We should teach the other children to accept them for who they starting from an early age as I think there is a lot more bullying about in secondary but I’m shocked even more at the next part of that where @jodieworld said this

@jodieworld Yep and unfortunately the teachers joined in and made it worse for him :-( #ukedchat Now doing great at uni though :-)
I’m not sure about but I’m shocked even more at that and I hope those teachers got sacked they are supposed to be showing an example as like @SparkyTeaching Well when your teachers are against you, what chance have you got. We’re the advocates for these kids. #ukedchat

@bekblayton said – it varies widely from school to school #ukedchat
Yeah I think too some school are great at dealing with the autism and some aren’t.

These are some more points people about as a whole do school deal with autism

@Llylia said – No. Too many teachers have overloaded classes & time needed to ensure SEN students esp those with autism is too much :( #ukedchat

@Mscatherineanne said – no. in my experience a child has to be causing serious disruption to others before time/money is invested in solutions #ukedchat

@GeographyCarrie said – In ours it depends on whether the student is statemented or not… #ukedchat

All those points make a sad reading really and its true too many teachers do have overloaded classes I think your supposed have 30 max something like that but I think some do have more than at but I think that comes down to the head? The other points make me sad too money just be spent before is causing serious disruption. It shouldn’t come to that but also some of that isn’t the school fault it’s the government too but I do think some do that and its wrong if they have the money they just spend it wisely on helping the children think of it this way if it was your child you want the best for them. And the 3rd points I don’t know much about but I do think its true in some schools once they have statement then they get the help but I think weather they that or on if the child has autism they should give them some support. I’m not sure what others think of that?
Sorry I couldn’t find any good points on do schools deal with autism well although I’m sure many are out there that are great I couldn’t find any tweet saying things along those lines but if there was and I missed I’m sorry.

‏@nickotkdIV said – the school i have worked in are indifference. some school just seem to put them with a TA.. #ukedchat
@nickotkdIV said – i hate to see chd just given TA support – this isn’t always what is needed – address the issues! :-(
this comes also down to how some school deal with it some do great and some don’t and as nick says here and above some just give them a TA and don’t get me wrong they should be given a TA if appropriate but also has he says in his 2nd post that isn’t what is needed try to address the issues if you come

Final thoughts and thank yous.
@tes_SEN said – #ukedchat I think it’s also fair to say that any supportive community, be it Twitter, TES, FB or similar, can make a difference #ukedchat
I totally agree and I have seen over the last year or so twitter is definitely a supportive community and many of you I now consider to be friends like …..

Tweets of the Week
@SparkyTeaching said – Realise for these children little things = big. Once found out that a buzzing light above a child’s head had affected him all term
So remember those little things during your teaching which shouldn’t take too long will make an impact like this

@pigsmightfly said – I have yet to meet an ASD child that isn’t totally awesome in their own unique way and that is why I love my job!
That’s what great about ASD kids etc as they have amazing talents in something like naming all the birds that there Is and I think they are unique in there own there way.

@GeographyCarrie said – Any tips for building positive relationships between ASD student & others in her class. Lots of negativity btwn them at the moment #ukedchat
This is the biggest thing I wanted that come from this chat. Someone asking a question it may seem quite a small thing but this chat all about sharing ideas

Useful links
Here are some great videos to watch to learn more about autism the two I have done review for you so you can decide to watch it . enjoy 

this was posted by @Kezmerrelda. this is a video on YouTube called Autism and Me and it explains in basic terms about autism through Rory Hoy world. Here is the YouTube info – Rory Hoy takes us on a journey through his world and explains autism along the way.

this was posted by @MumForAutism and it shows what autism can be like for some children and to my answer to the end of the video I don’t know what I would if I do that going on but it was an eye opener
 The YouTube information is CAUTION: This video may be a trigger for those on the Autism Spectrum! I have Aspersers. You can follow me on Twitter @AspergerSadie and visit my website http://www.ihaveaspergers.webs.com and subscribe to my facebook, https://www.facebook.com/erin.clemens.58?ref=tn_tnmn I want to let others know that while this example is one of the reasons for my meltdowns and shutdowns, it is also an advantage because I can use it to help alert others to things they don’t hear, or keep myself safe.

i heard this is quite I haven’t watched it before but @mat_harte posted the link and I have heard about and I think it’s worth a watch.

here are some good links I have found from the session review of it again is at the bottom of it.
here are some really good British sign language resources that hopefully will help your child in your class or your child. Sorry I couldn’t find who posted this
http://www.tes.co.uk/teaching-resource/Autism-Top-Five-Tips-Poster-6293620/ by @tes_SEN
a fanatic poster made by TES of top 5 tips supporting students in the classroom with autism
http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storyCode=6206224 by @tes_SEN
some great autism awareness done by TES

http://includedbygrace.wordpress.com/ by @mccann_lynn
this is a great blog about tips for supporting, living with and finding joy in autism and learning disabilities. Have a read of the 2nd post called Why am I writing about Autism? It’s amazing I hope many more will do the same like what she has done.
http://www.widgit.com/ by @mccann_lynn
here is another great link of free resources that will help in the classroom and home posted by @mccann_lynn and she said this about it another great source of free resources is http://www.widgit.com . Search for all their free curriculum symbol supported staff.

About your Host
Hi my name is Tom I’m a 19 years old and I have special needs but I never let that get in my away as I’m a student Open university and I’m hoping to be doing an autism course next starting in November. I will soon be start voluntary as learning mentor in a primary school and I hope to go on and becoming a primary school teacher in the future. And I’m also soon going to be training for badminton for the Olympics in 2016.

I chose this chat as I’m really passionate about autism because I have special needs myself and I would like to help others with autism get the best out of school they can but I’m no expect a it at the moment I’m still learning about but I wanted to chat about it so everyone could learn from it in the ukedchat and I think I have managed to do that last night and thanks everyone for joining in

Archive Session 120

Session 119 – How do you develop pupil productivity?


Session Title: How do you develop Pupil Productivity?

Date: Thursday 11th October 2012

Summary of the Session:
Tonight’s Ukedchat was borne from my own frustrations as a learner, where I found it hard to remain focused and engaged, and wanted to se what techniques teachers were using to help encourage, nurture and develop the actual ‘work’ of learning.

Sadly, my question appeared to be either too vague for some, or too semantically-militant to others, their thinking being that I was looking for ways to encourage ‘factory-like’ conditions in the classroom. I would be stunned and saddened if someone visiting my classroom described it as like a factory. For a start, there are no hard hats.

It was a shame that productivity is seen as a powerful positive virtue as an adult, and yet this term when applied to children and learning is seen as something dangerous, rootless or even unmotivating.

Despite this ribbon of question-angst, there was nevertheless a great range of ideas from many contributors, a selection of which are highlighted, in no particular order, below.

Notable Tweets from the Session:
@ChrisEdwards83: productivity is increased by ensuring that children have ‘the right tool for the job’
@t2uGiveItAGo: For me, one of the key ways of improving pupil productivity is to make learning relevant..using examples that students relate to.
@MissPhilbin: I find using competition especially with group work improves productivity of students in class
@Day_tom:  It”s about making them feel comfortable where they are working so that they can focus on the learning
@MrsPTeach: Use quick fire multi sensory activity and find out what the kids enjoy (mine = drama) link the learning to that!
@davidhunter: sounds stupid, but playing rock paper scissors every five minutes during writing worth Y3 has increased output and motivation
@: bekblayton: Not that silly @davidhunter – mini plenaries and quick breaks can work wonders I find. Refocus and refreshes their thinking
@tmeeky: How can you make kids more productive/engage when they don’t see school as being relevant /effective in preparing their future?
@MissMugwump: Focus on process, progress and showing productivity and roles of group members more explicitly through learning task
@MrsPTeach: Make school their short term (ST) future – some kids cannot link that far ahead with now. Have a ST goal as a class
@AlexKilly: make the learning environment a happy and fun place to really get the chn engaged
@Vickycarl: Should we be thinking about quality work rather than productivity. I have to keep telling my Y2’s quantity does not mean quality!
@bekblayton: How about a simple one – no erasers on tables (!) Maybe a primary age problem…
@MrG_ICT:  Most memorable learning is not recorded in a book. SLT need to recognise this – children do. Videos, blogs, forums, philosophy
@MrAColley: I’m watching 1 of you. You don’t know which 1. If you can focus for x mins, everyone gets a reward. Read that somewhere… ;)
@Monty_Math: focus has to be on ‘productive’ learning not productive work
@CalvinKipling: Analyse carefully the tasks that the pupils are asked to do in a lesson. Are they really relevant to the intended learning?
@TeacherToolkit: Pupil productivity: Plan engaging activities. It’s that simple!
@bekblayton: Expectations need to be high too – pupil productivity can take many forms but it needs to be challenging!
@danielharvey9: Getting students in the frame of mind to work hard and creatively but also achieve.
@susanbanister: Productivity is not a great way to describe children’s learning #lastthought

Tweet of the Week
As a positive finish to the write-up, we collectively shared some good ‘if at first you don’t succeed’ messages, which make for great reading:

@Vickycarl: I think children are scared to make mistakes so often will not have a go, I encourage mistakes as a way to learn.
@Gwenelope: Me too. I tell them it’s ok, as they’ll learn from it and do it better next time.
@Vickycarl: always tell the children that you cannot get into a car and drive it perfectly the 1st time, maths is like that!
@Gwenelope: Mine is, Shakespeare didn’t get his plays right first time. He wrote them over and over again.
@Mrlockyer My favourite one is that there were 1,300ish versions of the Dyson-01 before the first one even sold. [Actually 5,127!]
@MrG_ICT: Also WD40 was 40th attempt.
Many thanks to all those who took time to contribute. For those who were unhappy with the question, it was drawn from a poll. Use your votes!

About your Host
I am @mrlockyer, a dangerously young-looking Deputy Head who lives and works in Kent. I have a deep love of teaching, learning and technology, and feel I should blog/tweet/write more, but life tends to get in the way! I completed my MA in 2010, which looking at learning online versus offline learning, and am currently saving up to pay for a Doctorate, with which I hope to explore the impact of pupil feedback on teaching. I have four children under eight and have not had a full night’s sleep for seven years, co-incidentally. I blog at www.classroomtm.co.uk

Archive Session 119


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