Showing posts from November, 2023

A digital Bill of Rights (updated)

  Have you ever taken a moment to consider what you share online?  What about all those photographs of your children? Have you even asked your child if they are happy with you sending their digital likeness into the ether, at a time when an ever-greater number of  tools  are being launched, and used, with minimal thought for their longer term impact. The  United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child  was written a long time before we had any reason to worry about online presence - after all the the UNCRC came into action in 1992, a year before  CERN  placed its World Wide Web technology  in the public domain and gave birth to the phenomenon of online communication. Yet the UNCRC has incredible relevance for our children, especially given omnipresent online access and these new  AI   tools : Article 3  - The best interests of the child must be a top priority in all decisions and actions that affect children. Article 8  - Every child has the right to an identity. Governments must

The Power of Partnership working

In Initial Teacher Education programmes, we spend time and effort clarifying for our student teachers the importance of collaboration and partnerships. Rightly, much of our emphasis is put on the importance of keeping the child at the centre of our decisions and working with partner agencies and colleagues to ensure our young people are Safe, Healthy, Achieving, Nurtured, Active, Respected, Responsible and Included. Worringly, it can be all too easy for classroom teachers to withdraw into their own classrooms, developing tunnel-vision in their pursuit of improved professional practice. For these soloists, the pressure mounts as the year moves on, they gallantly struggle to deliver the type of learning expected by management and parents, heroically accommodating the needs of all their learners whilst simultaneously ensuring their students jump through all the right exam-prep hoops (at just the “right” time), all whilst spending their evenings marking and painstakingly pouring over dat

The Shed: A memory of leadership

(CC) Black Claw Hammer on Brown Wooden Plank A place for everything and everything in its place Our old house was once owned by a professional gardener. When he had lived there, he had only single glazing, bars on his windows, no central heating and no kitchen. He had cooked using a single gas hob in the little shed behind the house. Whilst small, this was not a rudementary setup, the garden was both irrigated and lit using a complex network of subterranean cables and piping which all led back to the shed. This man, as many men of his generation were prone to, spent an inordinate amount of his free time in his shed. It was the control centre of his realm, a place to tinker, to cook, to think, and to escape from the world. A large workbench dominated the shed. As testimony to the years of thinking and tinkering, this bench was peppered with nails, all pointing in different directions and hammered in to lesser or greater degrees. Despite their number, it was clear that each nail had been

Why every kid should learn to code (in the Humanities as well as Computer Science)

Like art, hashtag coding enables self-expression. Also, like art, it can be a catalyst for political and social change. Finding solutions to global and societal problems involves the same set of computational thinking skills as finding solutions to programming problems. Learning to code is not just about learning to use a powerful, modern 'lingua franca' to develop clever apps, but about developing the ability to understand how to break problems down, to spot patterns, to collaborate, to ideate-try-fail-tinker-and try again, to make sense of the world around us. Learning to code is about learning to change society (hopefully for the better) - it gives citizens agency (see Jennifer Pahlka's TED Talk  and read more about her work in ' [Re]:Coding <America/> ') and the tools to leverage impactful change despite the traditional political machinery being broken (as Jon Alexander champions in his book, 'Citizens'). Jennifer Pahlka's TED Talk Jon Al

How Universal Design for Learning Can Transform Your Social Studies Classroom

As a social studies teacher, you know how challenging it can be to engage your students in meaningful and rigorous learning experiences. You have to cover a lot of content, meet various standards, and prepare your students for high-stakes assessments. But you also want to spark their curiosity, foster their critical thinking skills, and help them develop a deeper understanding of the world. How can you achieve all these goals without sacrificing your sanity? The answer may lie in Universal Design for Learning (UDL), an educational framework that offers flexibility and choice for all learners. What is UDL? UDL is based on research in the learning sciences, including cognitive neuroscience, that shows that learners have different strengths, preferences, and needs.  UDL guides the creation of learning outcomes, resources, and assessments that work for everyone by providing multiple means of engagement, representation, and action and expression . In other words, UDL is not about finding on