ICT Resources – Triptico

Because my 14 year old is always complaining that they don’t use anything in school other than the office suite of software (how boring!) it inspires me to seek out and test out engaging software, so much is written of the importance of this and yet in my experience we’re still failing to actually stretch the boundaries and use all that fab stuff that there is out there in innovative ways (at all levels of education if what I’m reading all of the time is to be believed). I’ve taken it upon myself to example and demonstrate and encourage the use of a range of educational software with my own kids so they are not missing out and I’m a huge fan of using more ICT/ILT whatever in the classroom.

So if you’ve not used it or heard of it this is fab… Triptico.

The website is here to sign up free for personal users:Triptico Download Page

And here’s a short video showing a snippet of what it does:¬†

I practice these things with my in house focus group of 14 year old son and friends and via a network of former students (daughter and her friends) to see what they think and this one got a huge thumbs up from everyone. These kids are so innovative and imaginative, they positively ooze ideas for application and they show such enthusiasm. It saddens me how much they are being let down in a way by teachers/SMTs reluctant to embrace technology and modern ways of interacting and communicating, but hey ho, can’t change the world and all that. If you have access to a focus group through your own kids, brothers or sisters, former students whatever I’d suggest making use of them. Mine has helped me to refine lessons, avoid clangers and ensure relevancy so often and as I said, kids love to influence their own education… if only we let them do it more often.

Give it a shot, it’s a good one ūüėÄ


Info Sharing: Ross Morrison McGill’s “100 Ideas for Secondary Teachers”

I saw this mentioned on another teacher’s blog and had a ‘look inside’ on Amazon and liked what I saw so bought it and am not disappointed.

This is not only useful for secondary teachers but useful for FE teachers too especially teaching 16-19s.

Some very very simple strategies for classroom management, engagement from the off and for creating outstanding lessons.

Have a look and consider it for your library by clicking the link below.


MBus Qual

So I wasn’t sure what this was but investigated and turns out it’s like an extended BA in Business which is (unless I’m mistaken) almost a combined BA and Masters with the Masters bit focusing on sustainability and HRM.

The FE college where I did my BA Business Management has started to run this course and it looks pretty good on a couple of counts:

  • It offers a local progression from BA to a masters level
  • It’s funded (if eligible) through student finance same as the BA degree so fees, loans, grants etc
  • It sounds really interesting and if you wanted to go into teaching would give you a qualification which might (depending on institution in question) allow you to teach at HE level

It either runs as a four year (first three years are the BA and final year the bit that gets you the MBus qual) or you can sign up in the final year if you have already undertaken the BA qual. I’m not sure if that has to have been at the same institution or not. It’s also possible to transfer onto year 5 from a foundation degree in Travel and Tourism.

This type of degree would be very appealing to anyone who wants to go on to masters level but knows they just don’t have the funds to do so and allows more academic students that deeper study into these specific areas.

It’s tempting and perhaps if I’d had this available to me (it wasn’t running last year and it is available to me this year as an alumni student) I might have done this first and then gone into teaching. There’s always next year as part of CPD maybe.

Point of this post… just goes to show you that it’s worth looking around, you never know what’s out there if you don’t have a look and you might think a masters level qualification is out of your grasp but it might be possible after all.


Colleges Improving Comms Through Digital Tech

Guardian Digi Tech Article Link

This article from The Guardian (click link above) is right up my street and close to my heart. It’s a simple short one about how colleges can improve their communications using digital technologies (as the title suggests). Not only in teaching but in other jobs I’ve seen so much wasted time and effort and so much time (and time’s money right?) just lost because people don’t use the huge bank of resources out there to communicate and share ‘stuff’.

I like that it looks not only at communications with the learners which is hugely important but how it can be better used to assist in communications between team members, in recruitment and in staff development.

Most of these I use or have used and can only applaud the merits. Sometimes we imagine how teenagers or any aged learner will react or respond to different or new technology, I remember the first time I used Twiddla how I anticipated chaos, anonymous drawings of a not very academic kind and all kinds of shenanigans and I was so right!  Oh my, I had to turn off the interactive white board at one point in case anyone important walked by and saw my lesson had apparently descended into chaos.

BUT, but, but… I anticipated this. What was I doing? In short I was giving a group of 18 teenagers¬†a blank joint graffiti wall and they did exactly what I expected them to do. There was nothing hugely offensive and so I laughed along, feigned surprise and distaste, wondered who had contributed what (when I obviously knew) let them get it out of their system, called them to order, wiped the board clean as their laughter subsided and they without realising it became a closer knit team and they started to engage and use it as I had intended as a valuable teaching and learning resource. I was really, really, hugely pleased the day I heard a group who were working together on a project mention the work they’d done on Padlet from their respective homes the night before after having used it in a couple of lessons. Hallelujah! Breakthrough moment right there. You know one of those teacher, ears prick up grasp it and ask them to share moments? Wonderful.

Don’t underestimate or overestimate how your students might respond to new tech they might surprise you and they might not but either way you’re prepared to deal with it. They will, in my experience at least, probably be more embracing of it than your colleagues. ¬†I don’t mean my colleagues when I was on placement by that, I mean from my experience of colleagues in past jobs where something new had been attempted.

One piece of advice is to not just tell them about it, do some donkey work in advance and show them it in action exampling how it can save time and effort and you’re more likely to have less resistant converts on your hands.


Dispatches Supermarket Wars Business Teaching Resource

If like me you are a business teacher/wannabe business teacher then you might have found last night’s Dispatches on Channel 4 quite interesting and have found some of the facts, expert view points and examples used quite useful for a range of lessons regardless of which level you teach at.

I typed up some notes and caught some names and titles and some of the facts and figures and put them into a PDF which might come in handy when teaching.

In the interests of sharing resources I’ve included it here, feel free to use if you can find a use for it. Just click on the link at the bottom.

If you didn’t catch the programme this is a summary of some of the key points and I’d recommend any business teacher catches it on demand, the full details of the programme are on the top of this PDF if you want to track it down.

Supermarket Wars Dispatches 28.07.14

I’d advise any PGCE/teacher trainee whatever subject they wish to teach to keep an eye out for programmes which might be of interest or use in lessons, young students like to watch a video or snippets of a programme, it helps to break up a didactic lesson and it appeals to them through a visual and/or auditory medium they are used to receiving a lot of their information from¬†and of course appeals to different learning styles. If you think back to when I blogged about formal and informal accessing of information it ticks boxes for that and is very useful when teaching teens.

What I do is record programmes I think may be useful and then I can take notes and just pop them into my bank of resources, you never know when a good illustrative example, a discussion topic or a case study might come in handy.

You can then support it with some questioning using interactive polling software (Socrative or similar) and really make the lesson both contemporary and engaging.


Grammar teaching resources from The Guardian

Click for link to Guardian Article and Resources


Click on the above link to a fab Guardian¬†Teacher Network article on teaching grammar. It contains some fab links and downloadables for use in teaching a variety of ages or as an add on for students who might not speak English as a first language or students who are struggling with grammar at any stage of their education. There’s also a short self test at the end to see how you measure up.¬†

Institute for Learning

Post Edit: The IfL will be ceasing to exist according to this https://www.ifl.ac.uk/news-and-events/ifl-press-releases/ifl-advisory-council-votes-for-closure-and-legacy-proposals/ and so it might be a good idea to hold back and wait to see how professional registration and QTLS (if it even exists anymore) will be achieved. Keep an eye on this website as the new professional development body for teachers from September 2014 http://www.et-foundation.co.uk/

The IfL informed me today that you can still register and the registration will be transferred to the new body but not sure yet what will happen with QTLS. I think I’m going to wait. It’s a bit of a dilemma as it would perhaps look better to have it on applications right now that not have it but then do you want to pay out for something that is seen as ‘worthless in a few months’? I’m going to wait I think until I know what’s going on and hope the new body will not charge more and make registration more complex.


Original Post: 

I’ve been toying with the idea of ‘professionalising’ myself in the sense that it might be a good move to become a member or affiliate at least of the IfL. I’ve heard of it on my course and done some digging and question asking and lots of reading and I think it’s definitely something that can’t do any harm. Lots of FE applications¬†ask for your IfL registration number and it’s good to have something to put in there, it just feels more like you’re the full package. That’s my take anyway.

Don’t make the mistake that you need to have finished your teaching qualification or that you have to have NQTS to be IfL registered because you don’t. I was of the impression initially that I had to be teaching or have NQTS before I could apply and didn’t realise (until recently) that I could have joined as an affiliate while I was a teaching student (so if you feel it may be useful or you have some funds slopping about it might be worth considering now if you are heading into training especially as it is cheaper for students). I would have found membership really useful as a student teacher but that’s up to the individual. I’m not pushing it just knowing this blog is followed by a fair few trainees or about to become trainees I wanted to share my findings as ever.

But anyway you don’t have to be teaching or have NQTS to be a member/affiliate but you do have to be a member/affiliate to apply for NQTS or AQTS so you may as well get yourself ready for that if it is your intention to apply for N or A QTS when you are able.

It’s easy to do and gives you access to lots of info and resources and useful CPD ‘stuff’. Everything can be done on the website but if you are applying for a concessionary fee (well worth it if you qualify for a concession due to student status, unemployment, low income etc knocks it down to ¬£27) you do have to give them a ring. The membership fee is also payable by monthly direct debit now too so you don’t have to lay out all in one go if you would find it easier to break the fee down. Lots of info on the website to help you make your mind up if it’s for you or not, or if it’s something you might want to do in the future:¬†IfL Website

It also explains all you need to know about achieving NQTS on that website.

It’s worth doing some reading about it and¬†making sure that what you are reading is right up to date as you might come across references to FE teachers using LSIS for professional development as an alternative to IfL but LSIS doesn’t exist anymore and many of the LSIS web pages are government archives from 2013 and can be pretty misleading as they remain interactive giving the impression that the body is still in operation. There is also talk of IfL disbanding later this year so keep an eye out and an ear to the ground.