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.