Category: teaching

Scheme of work for ICT.

I wanted to add a post showing what i was planning to do from next September when i will be teaching yr8 and yr9 ICT for 2 lessons a week.
There are a couple of reasons for this. Firstly, i have used other peoples ideas for lesson plans, Schemes of Work and resources and i felt it was time i offered ‘something out there’. Secondly, to get some feedback from people on the ideas and plan.
There is a dialogue (if that is what you can call it) at the moment in the UK about the ICT curriculum. Should it be computing? Should it be ICT? Should it be digital literacy? I think it needs to be a mixture of all 3. Not all students are going to be programmers, but they will probably all use software in workplaces in the future, and they should all understand the notion of digital literacy. However the ideas of computing and computational thinking are valid to all, and encourage logical thinking and problem solving strategies.
I haven’t gone into too much detail about national curriculum levels and assessment, as i dont see much point developing a whole new assessment approach, when in all honesty, the government will be imposing an assessment framework in the near future. Lets wait and see. I have only done the ICT section of the plan, as the teacher i work with is more advanced/ better qualified to develop the computer science sections.
Feedback in the comments would be really helpful.

KS3 SoW 2013 14

I have been following the Whiteboard Blog ( for some time now, and i have learnt about a couple of really good sites from Danny. Recently he blogged about and how it could be used to show students lesson content. I have had a look and tried it out, and it seems like it could be a really useful site.

I think it could be used in a couple of ways;

1. As a way to get content to students in a 1:1 environment. Students can simply go to the link URL and access the lesson.

2. As a way of differentiating the lesson content in a computer environment. By that i mean that you can adjust slides for different levels, and then give students different URLs based on their ability.

3. As a way of sharing a bunch of links and videos for students to use or follow.

Go and have a look and see what you can create! Here is a link to one i put togther for maths as a test.

I have been experimenting in a few ways with QR codes at school at the moment, especially in my maths lessons. The students like using them, and think it is almost ‘magical’ the way that they work. From a teachers point of view, i like the way that a small code can be used to direct you to some really interesting work, or multimedia that wouldn’t normally be able to be put in books!

I read a tweet from @joedale about a website called checkthis. When i went to the site it had the tagline, ‘somewhere between nothing and a blog’. This caught my eye. @joedale had suggested it could be good to use this site with QR codes, so i thought i would give it a go. The site allows you to insert text, video, images and links. We are currently doing data handling with yr7, and i thought that this site would be good for the students to do a summary page of what mean, mode and median were.

After some technical difficulties (it was unblocked on teacher access, but blocked on students access!) the page worked quite well. The students researched some good youtube videos which helped explain the ideas, and found web links to games to help develop understanding further. They then published the page. The good thing is that you don’t need to register on the site, and just need to give an email address. Once this is done checkthis give you a unique address for your page, and it is this which fits with the QR code.

The students then took that address and pasted into a QR code generator, printed off the QR code and stuck it in their books. This now means that i can scan the code and see a rich multimedia page with their summary on it, and they also have a revision page they can access. The ideas for this are really interesting. This could be ideal for an e-portfolio, or any revision type page. The codes could then be put into a table and a whole selection of page codes could be accessed.

Check the site out and see what you think.

I had a lesson observation today, and decided to risk some technology to engage the students, and give the tasks some interest.

I was teaching BODMAS to year 7, and put together a QR code treasure hunt for them to follow. They then had to add the answers they worked out from the clues together and submit the answer to polleverywhere. It worked really well and they made some good progress.

To get to the QR codes i used a class set of 13 ipad2’s, and as they have a camera, can be used to scan the codes and get to the text that they ‘hide’. We downloaded a simple QR code scanner app, and off they went. It was a fun way to get the students to develop their understanding of BODMAS, and added a competitive edge to the lesson!

I have uploaded the resource to the tes resource website here. Feel free to download and comment as to what you think.

I am always interested in how i can improve the look and feel of the content i am presenting to students. There are a couple of reasons for this;

1. Keeping things fresh in lessons means that students remain more engaged.

2. I like things to look pretty!!

As such, i read a blog called ‘the elearning coach’ where they give some good ideas about how to set out content in online courses to engage and motivate learners. Their latest post is about the alternatives to bullet points, which are a pet hate of mine. So i was pleased to read some of the alternative they came up with! I particularly liked the one about using icons to get the point across.

I will definately being using these ideas in my lesson planning, and it really helps visual learners to have this kind of reference point, rather than a boring and dull bullet point.

Here are 3 ideas for teaching tools to use on the Interactive Whiteboard (IWB);

1. Maths online tool kit. This is really useful as a teaching aid for maths classes. It allows you to have maths equipment on the board, and some visually prompts for concepts such as fractions.

I like this as it is not specific to a particular board type and can be used with any internet connected device on the IWB.

2. Google earth. Most people know lots about this, but it is great for engaging students. I used it to do a tour of the voyage of Titanic for an enquiry we did with year 8 students, and they just loved being able to see where everything is and the actual places visited. There are, of course, lots of ways to use google earth, but this is just one idea.
3. Poll everywhere. I love this site as a great starter to lessons, especially if the students are on laptops, or can access the internet on their mobile. Students can also text answers in for immediate view on the board. I have used it in maths as a starter by giving them a set of equations/ problems that they then have to add all the answers together and submit the overal answer to polleverywhere. For example, 3×3 4×10  1/2 of 50 they would submit 74.

Just a couple of ideas for your IWB, and some ways to use it more creatively than just the standard IWB software.

IWB; get them moving.

I have been reading the whiteboard blog recently, and i have found it really useful for resources to use on the IWB. Danny has a really good way of showing teachers how to use the IWB in an interactive way.

I tend to agree with the arguments against the use of the IWB in the classroom. In my experience most teachers use the IWB as an expensive projector! However being in a school where pretty much every classroom has one, i am keen to develop teachers use of them. The real skill in using the IWB is in the ability of the teacher to get students to interact with the content and engage the students with movement. This is particularly good for kinaesthetic learners, and boys inparticular, who enjoy getting out of their seats and being ‘involved’.

I will be using some of the ideas this blog has provided, and i am going to try and make sure that my starters, especially in my maths classes, use the principles of movement and engagement.

Related article; Smartboard speaker


I have been experimenting with webcams in the classroom, and trying to tie it in with the ideas i have been exploring with QR codes (see here). I downloaded QReader on my laptop and have teamed it with a basic webcam to get AGT students extended with rich media tasks by using worksheets. I put a QR code on the sheet which links to a video, or website, that relates to the topic and then set more open ended tasks from the stimulus. This seems to work particularly well, but i only have it on my staff laptop.

I have also been using webcams in the classroom for assessment and AfL. I got a students book and took a picture of the answer they had done and then got the rest of the class to level/ grade the work. This started a good conversation about what needed to be included in an answer, and why the answer might be a certain grade. I also used it to look at a past exam paper, and then use the IWB to write over the paper modelling answers for the group.

But a visualiser can do all that i hear you cry! Yes it does, however they are not particularly portable, they are normally fixed into one poition, and they can be quite expensive. I think webcams fulfil a large number of requirements from a piece of tech, and integrate into a wide varitety of situations in the classroom.

How have you used yours?

After listening to edtechroundup mention public folders on evernote I had a look at how they worked, and could see some really good uses for this.

It is very simple to do, and once completed you are given a url for your folder. This can then be embedded into a website or VLE for students to access documents and files. This is slightly better than embedding documents themselves into the site as all the documents in an Evernote public folder are in the one place, and they are easily referred back to. came to my attention from the excellent blog by Richard Byrne (see the post here It talked about the site being a way of collaborating on a document without the need to sign in or register. So i thought i would use this in one of my science lessons as a plenary, using it a bit like a ‘what have your learnt today’ exercise.

It worked quite well with students writing down what they felt they had learnt, and one student even said that she had enjoyed the lesson!! (see the example here;

There were one or two issues. Firstly, you can only have 8 people working on a document at one time, so not all the class could add their thoughts at the same time. This frustrated some of the class. Secondly, some of the comments were deleted by other people.

In conclusion i would say that the site could be very useful to use with group work, and collaborating with students to add questions or suggestions.

Check it out for yourself at How do you think it could be used?