Thursday, 8 August 2013

Social media in the classroom: too risky?

Social media in the classroom
There are now more than 500 million users on Facebook, half of whom log on every day. Social media has transformed the way that people communicate with their friends, share their experiences and plan their lives but it’s also created new challenges and special problems for schools.

Teachers face the risk that their private lives might be exposed or that students may use the sites inappropriately.

Yet some schools are already harnessing the power of Facebook and Twitter to excite students about education.

We thought we would assess this by considering whether the pros outweigh the cons of using social media sites in education, particularly now that social media is such an integral part of students’ lives.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

40% rise in students with private tutors

Private tutoring vs. online alternatives
As the summer break gets under way, reports from the BBC and The Guardian suggest that parents will be turning their attention to hiring private tutors for their children.

The Guardian’s tuition report, released in April 2013, revealed that in the past year all of the private tuition businesses polled experienced a significant growth in the number of students applying, with some recording a rise of over 40 per cent.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Twitter gives shy students a voice

Distractions seem to be everywhere, with students of younger and younger ages having access to internet-enabled devices, even when they’re in the classroom. But for many ICT evangelists, mobile technology is not inhibiting students’ focus in class but instead helping to raise engagement and enhance teaching and learning.

Enrique Legaspi, a middle school teacher in Los Angeles is one such proponent. After attending a seminar in San Francisco on the uses of social media, he began to trial examples of real-world best practice within his own classroom.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Apps that support your flipped classroom

Apps that support your flipped classroom
Flipping the classroom remains one of the hottest topics in education right now so we thought we’d bring you our top five most recommended apps and web tools to support you along the way.

Most of the apps listed have been selected for their relevance, usefulness and time-saving attributes − recommended by teachers who have introduced flipped learning into their classrooms.

Nearly all of the apps listed are free or offer schools a free trial to test whether the resource is suitable for their set of students and style of teaching.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Five best Google tricks to impress your friends

Five best Google tricks to impress your friends

Skewed vision, gravity loss and even playable guitars . . . before you start getting worried about what the heat has done to us, let me explain. We’ve been playing, uh, I mean working, long hours to bring you our top five favourite quirky Google ‘Easter Eggs’ which you can access simply by searching online.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

‘Gender balance in UK schools needs to change’

Gender balance in UK schools needs to change

If a recent report is anything to go by it would seem that male teachers are heavily under-represented, particularly in UK primary schools. The findings have led to a call from Education Secretary Michael Gove for an increase in the number of teachers from a ‘wider variety of backgrounds’.

Over the last few years teaching staff made up entirely of women have not been uncommon in England. A recent review found that on average, for every 10 teaching roles within primary schools, only one of those positions will be taken up by a male teacher. However, by September 2013 Gove intends to raise this so that one in every three positions will be taken by a male teacher.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

4 things to know before flipping your classroom

Flipped learning is gaining momentum in more and more learning institutions around the world. Our e-learning consultant, @Chris_Hendon, a specialist coach in alternative pedagogies, has been advising on just how far schools have progressed in recent years.

Yet column inches and advice blogs tend to concentrate on the pros and cons, and advantages and disadvantages of the flipped classroom approach, and few have documented any real empirical evidence from UK contexts and case studies.

This seemed like a challenge to us and so, with the help of our flipped learning coach, we followed a school in Kent to assess their experiences, reactions and findings as they set about integrating flipped learning.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Shy or meticulous: what does your handwriting say about you?

You may be giving away more than you think, how you write can indicate over 5000 personal traits. From the size of your lettering, spacing and shapes of letters to the dotting of your i’s and crossing of your t’s. Graphology, the study of handwriting and more specifically the analysis of a writer’s personality, characteristics and abilities, can even be used to find out if someone is lying or revealing underlying health ailments. 

Have a go; you might be surprised by what your handwriting says about you.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Seven ways to become a more connected educator

Are you constantly on the lookout for new ways to integrate technology in your classroom(s)?

Or are you hoping to become a more effective, digitally-focused educator?

If you answered ‘yes’ to either of the above questions then this will certainly be of interest. We’ve trailed through several key research reports, endless numbers of advisory blogs and taken on board the suggestions of our educational partners to bring you the must-know habits that make for an effective and connected teacher.

Whether you’ve got extensive experience in delivering e-learning initiatives or are just getting to grips with the growing digitalisation of teaching and learning, this set of tips will help you.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Could a longer school day raise student performance?

Could a longer school day raise student performance?
Eleven years ago, a school in Massachusetts was on the verge of closure. It was failing to meet the annual progress targets expected of it by the district and state.

According to their Director of Instruction, they had some of the lowest performing test scores in the city and a declining enrolment of new students.

They knew something had to be done so, between the senior management team and established course leaders, they agreed on an expanded learning programme which would see the length of the school day extended.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Top 3 student tech trends that teachers need to know

Now that the dreaded exam period is coming to an end and we all begin to look ahead to the summer holiday break, we’ve pulled together our three top tech trends that are likely to take place over the break.

So − while teaching professionals and students take a well-earned break, it’s important to appreciate the changes in preferences that young people will demonstrate towards technology so you’re fully prepared when students return in the autumn. What engages them, what they’ll be talking about and what teachers can harness and incorporate in their lessons to wow students and get them involved from the get-go.

Most schools and academic institutes have seen a dramatic rise in the level of technology available in the classroom, from iPads and netbooks to whiteboards and BYOD schemes. Digital technology is becoming more focused around the needs of education and it’s not likely to let up in the years to come.

As an educator, it’s important to understand what your students are doing online, what new technology they’re using and how they’re using it.

That’s why we’ve rounded up our shortlist of the top three trends likely to take place over the coming months.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Five practical tips for iPad success in the classroom

When embarking on any process involving change it’s vital to prepare your teaching staff and students through communication, encouraging involvement and managing resistance.  Once you have planned your launch, at the stage of initiation the first goal is to build iPads into all daily school activities carried out by educators and learners. Start by ensuring staff begin to transfer daily routine tasks to their iPads and that they don’t relapse if they are pushed for time or other factors make it more appealing to use paper-based options.

The speed and success of the realignment will, however, be dependent on several factors:
  • Leadership team’s commitment to the change process (management)
  • Ensuring the infrastructure and resources are in place to support students and staff (preparation)
  • Communication of the new initiative and prior warning of the switch-over (communication) 
  • Staff’s understanding of and ability to demonstrate iPad best practice (training)
At the helm should be at least one senior leader, fully fluent and competent on the uses of iPads in education and who in the beginning can offer support and guidance on successfully transferring daily routines onto an iPad. While here at LearnersCloud we offer exam-tailored GCSE tutor videos that complement staff’s teaching strategies, it’s clear that many attempts to integrate mobile technology in the classroom fail or are at least delayed due to the lack of a skilled and experienced iPad leader. Here’s a simple checklist of iPad good practices that senior leaders must understand if they are to achieve successful integration:

Five everyday iPad practices that staff need to know:


Tuesday, 18 June 2013

I must not be rude about Michael Gove…

It would’ve been difficult to miss some mention of Education Secretary Michael Gove in the press recently – but you’d be forgiven if you dismissed it as another bit of quizzical leadership.

While it would be an understatement to describe Gove’s presence in Parliament and relationship with educators as tenuous, why are teaching professionals and union reps at odds with Gove and his latest GCSE ‘reform’ attempts?

While writing this article I keep referring to a self-applied challenge:

I must not be rude about Michael Gove,
I must not be rude about Michael Gove,
I must not be rude about Michael Gove…

Friday, 14 June 2013

iOS 7: New kids’ category ‘parents will love’

 iOS7: New kids' category 'parents will love'

But will Apple’s new ‘curated selection’ features curb unauthorised in-app purchases?

With the launch of Microsoft’s XBOX One, Sony’s PS4 and Nintendo’s slew of new games titles this week, you could be forgiven for feeling a bit indifferent about tech news.

Yet while the gaming world went into overdrive, Apple announced some remarkable changes of their own.

At Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference 2013 (WWDC) all eyes were on the release of its new operating system. While many were in awe of the dramatic design changes, Eddy Cue, Apple’s Service Boss explained a feature that ‘parents are going to love’: the upcoming addition of a new Kids category to the firms App Store.

While the presentation swiftly passed over this, and on to their more mainstream releases such as the new Apple iRadio, parents and children’s app developers were left wanting to hear more.

Never one to shy away from a challenge we took it upon ourselves to investigate further the key features and to bring you a round-up of what the new Kids’ category means for parents and educators.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Flipped classroom: 60-second elevator pitch

Flipped classroom explained in 60 seconds
I recently attended a school in the North West to discuss the uses of mobile learning in supporting GCSE revision. As the conversation unfolded it turned out that teaching staff were not just interested in the independent applications of mobile technology but also what it could offer classroom teaching and learning.

After a short discussion to identify their school’s particular requirements, a colleague referenced the flipped classroom. While the surge in interest in the field has been overwhelming, a few of the SMT sitting alongside were unsure of what this meant. Not wanting to bore those who were familiar with the term, I set about explaining the basic principles in the form of an elevator pitch.

The meeting was a success and we are currently working in partnership with the school on several projects, including a pilot scheme to trial flipped learning. After the meeting, I was inspired by the challenge to define the flipped classroom in 60 seconds or less, which led me to offer this short and concise overview to help you if you are met with this challenge.

Please note: This should be regarded as a basic definition of the flipped classroom; it is not intended to offer a comprehensive account. For more information on the common key criticisms, best practice applications and to watch video case studies on its application in UK classrooms visit

Friday, 7 June 2013

‘Mobile learning is eating the world’

Mobile learning is eating the world

The title, taken from Benedict Evans’ proclaimed research presentation may sound somewhat sensationalist but the figures he cites give it substance.

Whether you’re directly involved in ICT integration within your school, college or district or just an information seeker, Benedict’s findings show the increasing impact mobile devices have had over the past few years and highlight the inevitability of the future of mobile devices, both in consumer markets and in the education sector.

The conclusion drawn from this body of research is not just that mobile learning and mobile browsing is on the rise but that in the coming years mobile devices will infiltrate all aspects of our lives.

Below, I’ve embedded Benedict’s presentation: as you’ll see the study is presented as a short slide show with the stats speaking for themselves.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

How to implement a 'Bring Your Own Device' (BYOD) scheme

'Bring Your Own Device' (BYOD) scheme
As schools throughout the UK struggle to keep up with the costs of digital learning technologies many are initiating their own Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programmes, encouraging students to bring their own tablet, laptop or smartphone device with them into class.

Generally speaking, there are three main reasons why a school would adopt a BYOD scheme: 
  1. Student familiarity
  2. Bridge between formal and informal learning
  3. Cost savings
Yet while digital learning and the prospect of students bringing in their own devices is gathering increasing exposure and support there is also growing concern that BYOD programmes are further expanding inequalities between low and higher income families as well as encouraging new forms of bullying.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Facebook privacy: Only 9% of students are 'concerned'

 Facebook privacy: only 9% of teens are 'concerned'
Teens are sharing more information about themselves on social media sites than they have in the past, but they are also taking a variety of technical and non-technical steps to manage the privacy of that information. Despite taking these privacy-protective actions, teen social media users do not express a high level of concern about third-parties (such as businesses or advertisers) accessing their data; just 9% say they are “very” concerned.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Flipped learning: key criticisms explained

Flipped learning: key criticisms explained
In our previous blog posts, flipped learning has been a topic that's gained immense interest, but it has also been one that has split opinion.

While many believe the flipped approach will transform the future of education, others see it simply as a way of replacing an hour-long classroom lecture with an hour-long video and with little emphasis on interaction.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Wikispaces classroom – simple, social, student engagement

Many teachers approach social media tentatively when it is presented as a classroom resource. The prospect of students contacting you on your personal profile, the lack of control and moderation of messages and issues of online (cyber) bullying are reason enough. But while we ourselves share these concerns and have posted articles helping teachers to use social media safely in the classroom, our attention was drawn to altogether different social media networking space that some of you may already be using to great effect.

Launched in 2005, the social writing workspace Wikispaces Classroom is an online platform developed solely for the education sector that is gaining more and more support from teaching professionals throughout the world, with more than 14 million individual users.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Prepared for your exams? what to do before, during and after . . .

If you’ve got a big exam coming up it’s easy to panic and worry about it, particularly if it’s the night before.

Here are some easy tips to help you manage your nerves and get you prepared for the exam(s) ahead.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Taking teaching tips from Sir Alex

Taking teaching tips from Sir Alex Ferguson

In the ruthless world of Premier League football, many managers find their experiences of top flight football to be precariously short.

That fact alone would make Sir Alex Ferguson’s quarter-century an extraordinary feat but, after announcing his retirement on Wednesday evening (9th May), many pundits and sports commentators have hailed his decision as marking the end of an era.

Ferguson’s longevity is far from the most compelling reason for this. Within his 27-year stint as manager of one of the most successful clubs in world football, he led his team to 13 major titles and was the first manager to win the treble in the 1988−89 season.

Shortly after the heroics of the Champions League final – which saw Ole Gunnar Solksjaer and Teddy Sherringham pull back a 1−0 deficit against Bayern Munich in injury time, Sir Alex Ferguson became only the eighth manager to be knighted for his services to football.

Today, Manchester United is one of the wealthiest and most widely supported clubs in the world.

Commenting this week, Prime Minister David Cameron hailed Sir Alex as ‘a remarkable man in British football who has had an extraordinary, successful career.’

At the end of a reign so sustained and successful it is easy to forget how hard-fought the initial victories were and how unlikely their domination that followed was.

Outlasting prime ministers, archbishops and even popes, Ferguson turned the fortunes of a side that hadn’t won a league title in the two decades prior to his appointment.  But what can we learn from his charisma, drive and zeal as a manager, or more so as a leader and trainer?

While many first consider the lessons to be learned from a business sense, there are also tips that we as educators can draw from Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Detention: making the most of a negative situation

Detention: making the most of a negative situation
Detention – a dull but necessary form of punishment? Or an opportunity to restore relationships with pupils?

Should detention be a punishment?

Writing lines and colouring in squares on a sheet of graph paper may be unproductive and fail to deal with the root cause of a student’s behaviour. Does the student enjoy it? Does the student want to be in this position again?

For some schools, detention is about detaining a student, punishing them for undesirable behaviour – a part of a school’s sanction whereby a negative behaviour is met with a negative experience.

In a recent interview on Teachers TV, Geoff Barton, Head Teacher at King Edward VI School, remarks on his school’s policy, ‘Run on a Friday afternoon, for an hour between 3.45pm and 4.45pm, students sit individually at desks and face the front of the class in which a large clock ticks loudly. It is not a pleasant experience and as a result detentions have gained notoriety among the pupils.’

For Geoff Barton, if a student has been misbehaving or truanting then there should be a sanction that is not simply an opportunity to catch up on homework or coursework.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Tips on taking control of the classroom

Teacher tips: building presence and authority
You may be an NQT in your first teaching position or possibly a Year-1 teacher responsible for your first form class. Whether you’re just starting out or have a few years of experience behind you, feeling nervous is more common than you may think.

Building a presence in your classroom and exerting authority may not be something you’re used to. And developing a style that is authoritative but approachable may seem like a challenging prospect.

‘While you should be firm, it’s important not to be distant, a bit of warmth doesn’t go amiss,’ explains Julian Stanley, Chief Executive of the Teacher Support Network.

To achieve this balance you will have developed your own techniques and classroom strategies but here are a few that our teachers’ network has recommended.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Kent school flips their classrooms (video case study)

Kent school flips their classrooms
For a school in Tenterden, Kent, integrative classroom technologies have a significant role in supporting their personalised learning agenda.

Homewood School and Sixth Form Centre is a forward-thinking school that aims to make the learning process as flexible and intuitive as possible for its learners.

Focused on applied learning and dedicated to the continued innovation of its teaching and learning strategies, Homewood formed a digital curriculum partnership with LearnersCloud.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

What’s all the fuss over flipped classrooms?

 What's all the fuss over flipped classrooms?
By now, many of you will be familiar with the concept of reversed responsibility learning or flipped learning. As an educator myself, the concept of assigning my students a video to watch, interpret and form questions on in lieu of my class was an enticing offer.

A classroom in which students:
  • have an awareness of the lesson topic,
  • have attempted to understand the content knowledge,
  • develop their own questions to bring back into the class,
  • and are ready to engage in active, cooperative learning from the outset.
Too good to be true?

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

The future of online search

How is the future of the way we use search changing?

Google glassMobile technology is already having a major effect on the way we use search and it’s constantly evolving. Take Google for example: not content with providing us with an online search engine format, they’re planning the release of Google Glass that will allow users to get information instantly about the things they want, without even having to search for it.

But with the rate of change should we be concerned that the information we view as personal is being used to profile us and filter what we see?

The future of search could have more of an impact on us than we think – here’s our guide to what it has in store for us.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Three phases of integrating technology in the classroom

Three phases of integrating technology in the classroom
Any teacher that can be replaced by technology deserves to be.
David Thornburg

Integrating technology is a challenging prospect but it doesn’t have to be. The above quote is important to bear in mind throughout this article as successful integration of technology is as much about the teacher and their ability to bring learning to life as it is about the use of technology.

The three phases of digital integration is not a best-practice checklist but rather an insight into a typical implementation plan.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

5 time-saving iOS writing apps

5 time-saving iOS writing apps

All of us at one point have been tasked with the challenging prospect of writing an essay: whether as part of a coursework project, dissertation or as a homework assignment. As you’ll know, writing ideas down, as they come to you in those moments of inspired thought, is what makes the difference between a good piece of work and something you’re proud and excited to hand in.

For many of us, brought up in the dark ages before the iPhone and the commercial use of tablets, writing on the go meant scribbling a few notes on a scrunched-up napkin or on the back of an envelope at best.

Today is very different − writers now have access to a host of options to help them capture those moments of creative thought: organising their writing, prioritising each key point succinctly and offering them an experience comparable to that of working from a desktop.

We thought we’d round up our favourite five apps that will help writers at any level add structure to their writing and support authors on the go.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Part 3: Traditional versus Kagan teaching approaches

As a teacher, questions contribute to our perception of understanding and learning. For many practitioners, once a concept has been described or an equation has been explained to students, a question will follow to test, gauge and reinforce the class’s understanding. Yet for many classes the same students will put their hands up, often the highest achievers or more confident public speakers. And once answered, the teacher is no better off. Even random selection can provide little value and insight into the class’s individual level of learning.

In this, the final article of our 3-part series on Kagan structures we delve deeper into the way that Kagan strutures are being applied, how they complement new styles of flipped classroom teaching and consider whether they serve as a replacement or supplement to traditional teaching techniques.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Revision: 5 tips for using quick classroom quizzes

5 Revision TipsRevision is never a particularly enjoyable period of the academic term for many students, regardless of whether they’re at the top of their class or are underperforming. Mock exams are a useful way to gauge student performance levels before their final accredited exam, but do these really help revision?

Examinations are regarded by many as a necessary evil: the pressure on students to perform in a two- or three-hour formal assessment places immense pressure on individuals and goes against empirical research on optimising performance. Some children, for example, are not good at recalling information or memorising particular dates and names; others feel anxious at the prospect of taking an end-of-year test. So what are the options?

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Part 2: Examples of successful Kagan classroom structures

Kagan structures have spanned over 30 years of academic integration with thousands of teachers attending training workshops each year.

The development of this approach followed an extensive period of experimentation before being transferred into applied classroom teaching. The concept centres on the principle that cooperativeness is most powerfully determined by the situations in which children find themselves. On this basis, an individual can be encouraged to be extremely cooperative or extremely competitive, depending on the learning environment created.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Part 1: The benefits of Kagan classroom structures

In the USA and in small but increasing numbers of UK classrooms, teaching and learning is taking quite a different approach.

Students are not seated in rows, they are not asked to be quiet, to keep their eyes on their work – just the opposite. For proponents of alternative teaching styles, Kagan has become one of the most revolutionary learning strategies.

 Whether you’re familiar with Kagan structures or interested in learning more about alternative teaching techniques. In this article, the first of a 3-part series, we consider the uses and benefits of implementing kagan structures in your classroom, particularly in relation to boosting student engagement and learning.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

A digital approach to blended learning

From flipped classroom teaching to Kagan and flex learning, technology is helping teachers blend their lesson strategies in new and more integrated ways.

Teachers will often work along a continuum that sees them tailor and tweak the degree of online learning in relation to offline, face-to-face sessions. The purpose of this is to combine online resources that personalise the learning instruction with facilitated, collaborative and project work, in effect blending the teaching methods to raise engagement.

The key to any effective blended-learning approach centres on raising and maintaining effective learner engagement. While for many teachers mobile learning and the use of digital resources will naturally raise students’ interest through its appeal and relevance to them, this will not be enough to sustain their focus and interest over time. Fortunately, within the blended learning model, digital technology is used to complement and not replace the role of the teacher. There is still a strong demand for face-to-face, bricks-and-mortar learning, offering a unique opportunity to test and maintain engagement.

But how can you make the most of your time with your students?

Friday, 22 March 2013

Using free iPad apps to create stunning classroom presentations

Free iPad apps to help create stunning classroom presentations

Creating epic, visually stimulating presentations is a goal I definitely set myself whenever I’m preparing a new lesson plan, and I’m sure it’s something many of you do as well. It takes time: tweaking, reinventing and reviewing each presentation slide, whether they’re created using PowerPoint or Apple’s Keynote.

But do they have to be so time-consuming? And what alternatives are there to save us time while injecting creativity?

I’ve been experimenting, simply by using an alternative presentation, and found that learners became more reactive to the content. It seems that this slight deviation from the way I usually deliver my lesson was successful in raising their engagement levels.

If you’re fortunate enough to teach using an iPad or have a mobilised classroom of iPad learners, you’ll be surprised at the availability of high-quality apps for use in lesson delivery.

Here’s a round-up of our recommended free iPad apps that both you and your learners will want to add to your list of must-haves!

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

The transition to Open Education Resources (OERs): A teacher's perspective

The transition to Open Education Resources (OERs): A teacher's perspectiveSince the Ancient Greeks, society has relied on the use of textbooks to educate and inform. While the likes of Socrates were accustomed to reciting knowledge and stories aloud, the introduction of compulsory education led to the standardisation of academic textbooks and worksheets. Up until recently, the reign of printed resources has gone relatively unchallenged but with the advances in digital technology, we’re starting to see a rapid change.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Flipped classroom explained: why it works

Earlier this year, ExCel London played host to the Bett Show 2013. I attended the show, like many passionate about the transformational power of learning technology, to get an insight into the development areas new technology suppliers have been concentrating on over the past year and what this could mean for teaching and learning.

This year’s three-day conference focused on the recent changes in education and the escalated need for schools to strengthen their provision of teacher training and information. Web-linked coaching, turbo-charging professional development and plenaries on what head teachers need to know about the high impact (but high-risk) world of mobile learning – these were just a few of the sessions on offer.

Yet, while teacher training had a rightful place in this year’s agenda, it was difficult to ignore the discussions taking place in conference sessions, in social lounges and around the many coffee bars outside the main hall and on the exhibition floor. The ‘flipped classroom’ for me was the real focus of attention and drove many of the conversations I had with delegates.

The interest around flipped learning has not just happened overnight. The evolution of classroom resources and mobile applications has primed our behaviour, but it is only since senior leaders have identified the learning opportunities offered by mobile technologies that we are starting to see real traction.

But what really is a flipped classroom, what isn’t it, how is it achieved and why does it work?

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Rise in mobile learning: Apple’s 2013 report makes it difficult to ignore

Last month, Apple and Cisco gave the clearest indication yet that mobile learning is gaining traction at a pace faster than analysts had previously expected.

In this article we’ll look at the two recently published reports: firstly, Apple's annual report that concentrates on the direct impact of mobile learning within education, and secondly on Cisco’s more generalised, yet equally surprising annual forecast report.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Alternative teaching methods: freedom to learn

Alternative teaching methods: freedom to learn
Student-centred education, where students have their say on what they learn, is a more open approach to learning that is gaining steady support from centres around the world. It also encourages teachers to think outside of traditional teaching parameters, creatively engaging with their students.

Students making up their own rules may sound like a recipe for mayhem but in a report by euronews, the staff at Summerhill School in south-east England argue that it can have a considerable and positive effect.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Can flipped classrooms improve student performance?

What if traditional techniques of classroom teaching and homework were swapped around?

For some years now, teachers have been looking at changing the way classrooms work and how they can integrate modern technology to let them spend more time guiding students from the side rather than lecturing to them from the stage.

Rather than using homework periods to consolidate teaching that happened in the classroom, flipped learning means that students are responsible for absorbing information at home and consolidating it in the classroom.

Friday, 22 February 2013

MOOCs count towards full degree

Increasing impact of MOOCs: Massive Online Open Courses
In a recent post we considered the impact of an online phenomenon that’s rapidly gaining support throughout the USA and parts of Europe. We reflected on whether UK universities are about to follow suit and embark on the trend that’s being pitched as a global online revolution.

Two months later and one of the emerging powerhouses among American universities has announced that it will be joining forces with a further 29 institutes throughout the USA, Europe and Asia.

Coursera, an educational technology company formed by academics at the prestigious Stanford University, will now offer a range of online courses from 62 institutes including Humanities, Biology, Social Sciences, Mathematics, and many others.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Student viral videos – tips and ideas to get started

Student viral video: how-to guide
In our previous blogs we’ve discussed the rise in cloud computing and the upward trend in the integration of smart devices in the classroom. Schools throughout the UK are becoming hubs for innovation, which is helping to raise learner engagement and promote higher levels of learning. But where will this take us next?

Monday, 18 February 2013

Will flipped learning replace traditional lesson techniques?

One of the hottest topics in education at the moment has prompted educationalists throughout the UK to consider the application advantages of reversing the traditional lesson structure. Commonly termed ‘flipped learning’, it has quickly become a trending theme at networking events, conferences and throughout social journalism circles.

The Flipped Classroom

In this article we offer guidance and support to teachers who want to implement flipped learning into their classroom.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

A teacher’s guide: helping students use Google Search effectively

Google Search: A Teachers Guide
In this article we consider the Google resources and lesson plans developed to help teachers and educators enhance their learners’ search skills.

Classroom tasks are becoming increasingly digitalised and, with greater access to the internet, teaching professionals are acknowledging the need for students to conduct greater levels of independent study and research. In the recent past, learners would head to their school or local library to refer to journals, newspapers and other literature. Nowadays, the first port of call for the majority will be Google and the somewhat infinite and instant access it offers to literary content.

This has significantly expanded students’ access to information from a wider range of sources, but conversely, it has also increased their access to misinformation and to material unrelated to an exam syllabus.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

To tweet, or not to tweet?

Safer Internet Day considers our fascination with Twitter


Issues surrounding social networking site - twitter
Are you an avid tweeter? Do you spend an hour or two each day updating your social network statuses?

A recent study by the UK Safer Internet Centre found that over 95 per cent of 11−19-year-olds communicate online, through social networking sites like Twitter.

To coincide with this month’s Safer Internet Day this article will consider the issues surrounding Twitter and offer advice on how young people can avoid many of the associated problems and risks.

Monday, 4 February 2013

How can cloud computing improve educational performance?

Cloud Computing in Education
Technology has continuously impacted on the way we teach young people. In the 1950s learning theorists concluded that repeated drills and the repetition of content-supported learning and more specifically recall. This led to the introduction of listening stations in the classroom where students were able to use headphones to listen to audio tapes and cassettes. This progressed to the integration of video tapes a year later and the trend has not slowed since.

Today, technology is advancing quicker than ever and, as it does, schools and learning institutions are starting to gain pace with new technologies − a very welcome change, if you ask us.

Thursday, 31 January 2013

Does private tutoring disadvantage low-income students?

Alternatives to private tutoring
Last year almost a quarter of 11 to 16 year olds (23%) in England had some form of private tuition. Of these over half (53%) were being coached for a specific test or exam.

With the number of parents paying for private tuition on the rise, are wealthy families gaining an unfair advantage? Particularly when it comes to preparing their children for entrance exams to grammar schools?

Monday, 28 January 2013

How to safeguard your child’s use of smart devices

Should I read my child’s text messages?

In the past week or so there has been a parental issue buzzing through media agencies and newsrooms across the country. Children’s activity online  ̶  an issue that often ignites heated debate on many parental advice forums and blogs  ̶  has raised the question of the role and level of responsibility parents or guardians should take in the welfare and wellbeing of their children online.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Does performance-related pay equal better teachers?

How opinions are split over the new pay structures set for September 2013

From September 2013, head teachers across England will have the power to give their staff a pay rise according to their perceived performance against targets.

Changes to teachers payOffering children the best education possible is what teachers, parents and the Government all want but will performance based pay incentives mean a higher standard of teaching?

Some academy schools in England already have the power to pay according to performance. Proponents of the new scheme suggest that it should be the case that teachers are rewarded for their effort and achievements even if this does mean that not all will see their pay rise year-on-year.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Does education hold the key as the world catches up?

EdTech and International Competition

Competitivity and the new challenges technology poses

In this country we enjoy a very privileged life style. It may not always feel like it, if you are crammed in a hot, crowded underground train or trying to get a plumber to fix a central heating boiler during the cold snap. However, these examples show how much we take for granted in modern life – indeed it is hard to think what life would be like without such facilities! We live in the developed world, but the majority of the population comprise the developing world. They are playing catch up and they are playing it for real.