Tag Archives: mobile devices

Prince’s Teaching Institute – Mobile Device presentation

Prince's Teaching InstituteI’ve just completed the three day Prince’s Teaching Institute (PTI) residential subject Summer School at Homerton College in Cambridge. My mind is buzzing with the whole process and I shall spend the weekend writing pieces to reflect on it all. In the meantime, below is the presentation slides for a talk I was asked to give. It draws heavily on other similar presentations from David Rogers or both of us and was just to summarise the mobile@priory policy, the use of mobiles/technology/BYOD in learning, and to share some example activities. I’ve just added the presentation so that it is accessible to those who were there really, but if you want more information on any of the example activities shown in the slides then get in touch, or see my post on the Bett presentation here .

Cogito ergo sum (Descartes)

Education Innovation Awards Nomination

This week was half term, so a relatively quiet week. But @priorygeography had some good news.

I’ve mentioned the Mobile@Priory project before and it was the inspirational project led by my head of department David Rogers that we pioneered through the Geography department. You can read more about the project on this site or his, or feel free to email / tweet any queries to either of us. The basic premise was the use of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) to enable students freedom to learn anywhere, anytime and create a culture of safer and more productive use of online learning and mobile devices.

Excitingly, we found out this week that the project has been shortlisted for an Education Innovation Award . On 8-9th March the Education Innovation Conference & Exhibition takes place in Manchester – see http://educationinnovation.co.uk/cms/ for more details. The mobile@priory project was nominated and has now been shortlisted for the Secondary Schools ‘Innovate my School’ category. At the exhibition,there will be a showcase of those nominated projects and a winner will be chosen – so watch this space for an update after the event!

The project was a team effort that saw the department trial mobile device use first in our own lessons, then spread the word through inset and staff training workshops to encourage other subject areas to take place. It led to the creation of the mobile@priory cookbook which is freely available to others to trial and learn from some of the projects that took place at the beginning.

It is great to see the department, and especially the boss, getting some recognition for all the hard work. We may occasionally ruffle a few feathers in school, and have a little reputation for being trouble makers, but it is all with the best interests of students at heart. So it’s good to know that this project may not just have an influence for good on our own school, but students in a wider context. After all, that’s kind of why we’re here.


“The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, then it’s not worth a dime.” Babe Ruth

Learn Live session @ Bett 2013

Bett 2013As mentioned in the previous post, I attended Bett 2013 last week and was lucky enough to co-present a Learn Live session with David Rogers (see his write up here). The session was ‘Empowering young people in order to create a mobile device policy that brings about a pedagogic revolution’ – and referred to the work that David led and I supported with introducing and developing the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) mobile@priory policy for our school.

You can see the slides for the session below, but it is mostly just images so if it needs explaining then email me for more info!

The story can be seen explained on David’s blog if you search for it, but basically over the last 18months he has been leading the revolution to transform Priory through enabling access to mobile devices. The policy was co-constructed by students, teachers, professionals and involved action research (in the form of mapping social spaces, conducting polls of device access, and putting chalk graffiti around school!), formulating the framework and then trialling within Geography to then spread out whole school.

My part of the story (apart from actually teaching and using devices in my own lessons) was to share the teacher’s perspective. Now clearly I am biased since I am pro-tech in general (see my Guardian posts here or here) but before anyone thinks that I am lazy and always have kids on mobiles in class let me point out that I am an advocate of learning through and by any means, but not at any cost. If you walk in to my classroom you won’t see young people 24/7 always on mobiles /tablets / some kind of high tech – you will see a range of methods and tools, appropriate for the range of students that come through the door and the range of skills they need to develop. It’s about being grounded in appropriate learning objectives. I’m not saying every lesson every child needs to be using some kind of electronic device, I’m just saying that it is another tool in the box. Something with which learners are familiar and that can boost engagement if used in the right way at the right time. It’s not always easy to use tech, and it’s not always appropriate. Just like we all have heard complaints of overuse / misuse of powerpoint or textbooks, it is not the be-all-and-end-all. Just an option. Right, now that I’ve put that caveat in!

Learn Live session audience

Basically we shared Priory’s story of introducing the mobile@priory policy. From my perspective, I was able to share how using mobile devices had led to the Olympic Geocaching work of Sam Atkins in the department – a project that saw a whole range of learners across Year 8 being out around the school site and eventually at Box Hill to choose suitable sites for geocaches, investigating Rights & Responsibilities, learning about the SSSI area of Box Hill and the Olympic road race itself. When Ofsted came they saw multiple synchronous classes out and about the school site doing this project – and they loved it. The project even got shown as part of our annual BBC News School Report and you can see it here from the official BBC News South Today report.

We also shared about ‘guerilla learning‘ – that mobile devices enable ‘naughty’ learning – doing things differently, learning outdoors, being free to make mistakes and learn from them. That utilising BYOD and mobile devices in general has allowed better home interaction during school trips and projects. For example, on residentials / sports days / BBC News Day we have live blogging (through Posterous, with a private link shared with family) to share student exploits – and parents can respond through twitter or comments (which have to be moderated & approved before being made public).

BYOD has been found to be useful for Controlled Assessment and fieldwork at GCSE level, with students using mobile phones / iPods / laptops / tablets to record information during field trips (be that images / video / sound recordings / data) and be able to manipulate this in their own time, being able to be portable, not having the worry of their research being locked in school where they cannot access it and having the benefit of it being technology that they are already familiar with, and that doesn’t have space quota limits because it is shared with 1250 other students. You can see a video here that shows student thoughts.

Geography started the trial (we already had been to be honest, having a habit of trying something first then getting permission or apologising after) and then other departments started to get involved. In the Mobile@Priory Cookbook you can see 4 examples of different projects during the trial. This includes an EAL project (we learned that there are over 37 different languages spoken at Priory, yet all signage and literature is in English) to use QR codes and mapping as a tour of the world around the school site; an MFL lesson using the Spanish Ikea site and translation tools to design and equip a house in Spanish; a Music lesson to create soundscapes around the site; and a Design Technology lesson where an unloved and worn out school bench was renovated and embellished with emblems, a hashtag and QR code for students to learn the 6Rs of recycling and links to rights and responsibilities (we are a Rights Respecting School). Interesting stuff! Read the cookbook or see David Rogers’ blog for more info.

If you have any questions on BYOD / guerilla learning / mobile devices then get in touch. Or come visit. Interestingly, since the policy was introduced we now only find that 1.6% of all negative behaviour incidents recorded are related to mobile devices. It’s all about the learning and the behaviour / relationships that enable that learning, not the device itself. Whether a device is a mobile or a pen, either can cause benefit or harm. It’s just how it is used and with what motives. Use for use sake is a mistake. Just like not using something just because it’s not been done before is a mistake. Try, fail, adapt, try again, succeed.

“She knows there’s no success like failure,
And that failure’s no success at all” [Bob Dylan]

How did I spend my Saturday night?

BBC school reportAfter a heavy day of house clearing and cleaning that left me emotionally weary and physically exhausted and grimy I was expecting to have a quiet Saturday evening in with my siblings, some friends, a large glass of wine and a very welcome delivery of Dominos pizza. However, no sooner had the opening credits of the latest Sherlock Holmes movie started rolling than the twitter-sphere starting pinging and I had to force my brain back in gear.

My previous post was about the BBC News School Report and what we have been up to in the past. Well we are starting to gear up again for 2013 and have been considering what projects to include this year. One of our big ongoing whole school projects has been mobile@priory – the introduction of our (at times controversial) Mobile Device policy at Priory School. For more information on this see David Rogers’ blog for various posts, e.g. the Mobile Device cookbook  or Mobile Secret Classroom. Or if you are at BETT on Friday 1st Feb then pop along to the Learn Live session that David is leading with me as the ‘glamorous assistant’ – here BETT Learn live . I’ve written about the use of mobile devices in lessons and we are keen to include them and other tech when it is appropriate and will serve to facilitate learning. Anyway, I digress slightly.

We are lucky enough to be reporting live from Action Stations at the Historic Dockyard in Portsmouth on the BBC news school report live day (21st March) and this is also the venue for TeachMeet Pompey on 6th March. If you are local and interested / involved in education then come along to #tmpompey – informal CPD, share ideas, eat cake – see the sign up page and come along! At the teachmeet, students from Priory School will be sharing their use of mobile devices in lessons and how it has helped empower their learning. Basically students become the teachers for the evening. Then we all get to play laserquest but that’s another story! This will be recorded for the BBC News School Report and be a chance for our students to showcase what they have been up to in front of a ‘grown up’ audience of professionals.

So yesterday evening we were discussing this event via twitter. @fubar2u_2000 is the Education Manager for Action Stations and as an ex-teacher himself understands some of the possibilities and challenges. What started as a simple discussion of this rapidly evolved (with some steering by @daviderogers ) into us deciding we would try something new. For 2013 we are going to attempt to hold what we think will be the first local ‘kidsmeet’Basically, we are inviting local schools to come to Action Stations on the live report day bringing a selection of students and a willing staff member to come and take part in activities based on co-construction and collaborating, to generate lessons / learning activities that will use mobile devices and ‘guerilla learning’. Students will work with teaching staff and other professionals to share their own ideas and experiences, and plan how to use mobile devices in a positive way to enable and empower learning.

Scary? Exciting? I think both. Logistically it will be interesting coordinating so many different parties on an MoD site and still maintaining the BBC School Report momentum. Our roving reporters will record and interview students and staff taking part, and it will all be shared via the final news bulletin (uploaded to school site), a live posterous blog, twitter feed @priorysouthsea and @priorygeography, and will hopefully be included in BBC Radio Solent  and South Today broadcasts.

It gave me a real buzz of excitement last night and lifted my spirits while the twitter feed kept churning through ideas and suggestions – a live stream evolution of unplanned planning! It will be interesting to see how ‘kidsmeet’ compares with ‘teachmeet’. And maybe it will become a regular thing!

Although logistically it may well be a nightmare, it is still hugely exciting. Never a dull day for @priorygeography ! I hope that the quote below would never be true of me or the department I love working in.

“I feel sorry for the person who can’t get genuinely excited about his work. Not only will he never be satisfied, but he will never achieve anything worthwhile.” (Walter Chrysler)

If you are local or want to be involved somehow with ‘kidsmeet’ then drop me an email or DM on twitter or use KidsMeet sign up page. Let’s be controversial en masse! Twitter feed