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April Fools

Nick and I were approached by our Assistant Head for some kind of ICT / E-learning tip that he could send out this morning. In the course of one car journey we managed to come up with the following four ideas:

1. To address the issue of students at KS4 and 5 missing lessons due to other activities, all lessons from September will be automatically recorded and added to the school website for those pupils to access. It will also be a great boost to other students who will be able to recap any parts of the lesson they didn’t quite understand in their own time. The microphones will be added to classrooms over Easter

2. We will be giving all students a laptop from September. These will be on a lease / purchase option, parents will pay a small weekly amount and at the end of three years the student owns the laptop. For those students whose families do not want to take part, school laptops will be available.
Obviously this will require a review of schemes of work and a new ‘laptop’ logo added where ever opportunities to make use of these resources.

3. As part of the new WAG drive for parental inclusion in learning, we will start fitting some classrooms with webcams over Easter. Parents will be issued with logins, and they will be able to view their students classes. This is a precursor to giving them access to SIMS to view their children’s academic progress. If the scheme is sucessful webcams will be rolled out across the school over the next 12 months

4. Many of you will have heard of ‘Skype’, the free internet video phone service. From today we’re having it put across the network. This will mean that when you are away on inset courses you will still be able to communicate with your classes to start lessons off, answer questions and lead plenary sessions. Obviously this won’t be practical for every lesson, but while you are travelling and during lunch and coffee breaks we feel this can be a valuable tool to maintaining the quality of learning even during staff absences.
From today onwards, when you are submitting applications for inset, you will need to complete a new form indicating which lessons you will be able to ‘skype’ in to.

In the end, this is the email that was sent. I think most people saw through it, but I did have one very angry teacher stop me in the yard and asked if I knew anything about it!

Good morning all. Three things I’d like to communicate:
  • All colleagues should have received a letter from the GTCW – we are all entitled to up to £650 worth of training. Experience suggests we need to get our requests in quickly – before the pot runs out!
  • Many thanks to those colleagues who have agreed to be part of the webcam experiment. All being well, the webcams will be fitted over the Easter holidays. The reason for this general notice is that there are still two webcams that are in need of a location. Any further volunteers? The webcams – which are designed to record each lesson – are funded by WAG and are part of the drive to pupil inclusion (hence the funding).It does look as though positive feedback will lead to all classrooms being ‘web-cammed’ sometime next academic year.
  • Nick Francis and Dave Stacey will be running e-learning twilight workshops shorlty after the holidays. Watch this space.

Dave Stacey

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