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Teacher Voices: Naomi Hancock

Learning with 'e's - 16 Marzo, 2017 - 17:40
It's great to catch up with former students and discover what they are doing. That is exactly the purpose of this series of blog posts. This is number six in my series, asking former students on the B.Ed primary education degree programme what they are doing now. It's also a chance for them to voice their hopes and fears about teaching, now they are actually in the thick of it.

Here's an interview with Naomi Hancock (@Hancock_Naomi on Twitter), who graduated from Plymouth University in 2014.

1) What made you decide to become a teacher? What/who inspired you? What were your motivations?
I had no idea what I wanted to do for a living until my mid twenties. I got into teaching because I wanted to continue my backpacking lifestyle in Thailand but needed some funds so teaching TEFL English was my ticket. I did a four week TEFL course in Chiang Mai and landed the most wonderful job in a Thai government school on a mini English program. I fell in love with my class of 7 year old Thai children and the buzz of seeing them progress and develop as the year went on. I continued like this for a couple of years and then made the decision to come home to get my teaching qualification and pursue the first career I felt truly passionate about.

2) What is the best thing about being a teacher in a primary school? What gets you out of bed in the morning?
I love interacting with the children and showing them new tools, tricks and toys. I am currently a primary computing specialist and I love having the freedom to let children tinker, explore and learn things for themselves. I am learning everyday and thriving from the engagement of the children.

3) What does it take to become an excellent teacher? What characteristics do the best teachers have?
Patience, multitasking skills, the ability to prioritise, a quirky character. Being brave enough to have a go and to lead by example (we are all learners).

4) What do you consider your greatest achievement to date as an educator?
Getting through my NQT (Newly Qualified Teacher) year with so many challenges. I was asked to step down and told I was not strong enough to pass the final term but I made the decision to prove to myself that I was not only strong enough but also a great teacher. I had to drop the heavy burden of self doubt and continue as the classroom teacher and pass my final term as an NQT. It had been a massively challenging year juggling two young children and working in a school that is like no other trying to gear my year two class up for their SATs. I was teaching my own 6 year old daughter and my friends’ children. Always trying my best to please everyone while in reality I was not managing to please anyone. I knew I was a good teacher but I would buckle under observations. I had been judged as not meeting the teaching standards in the first two terms and a representative from the local authority came to observe me alongside the headteacher and with a little help with my planning and emotional support from my team and family I pulled off a great lesson and got enough encouragement to turn things around for the last few months. The pressure of being told you are not strong enough for the kids was crippling. My own daughter and her friends were in that class and of course you just want to give them the best. 

5) How can we improve education? If you were the Secretary for Education, what would be your first priorities?
Put less pressure on testing and assessment, more trust in teacher to instil a love of learning and supporting the children’s needs and interests. The curriculum is so packed full that there is limited room to really go into depth on topics that might really ignite some interest and passion. For me it was always a battle to ensure deep learning while also covering all the content. There was always a need to push onto the next topic to make sure the children were best prepared for their SATs.

6) What are the most innovative uses of technology in education (that you have done yourself, or have seen)?
Twitter has provided real time Q and A sessions with experts on a subject. That has engaged children and made them really carefully consider their questioning skills. Live Skypes also have had the same effect giving the children a window of opportunity to immerse themselves in the topic and conversation. Google Suite is great for collaborating and producing digital portfolios. I have just been on a CPD ran by AppsEvent in Singapore and had a taster of the opportunities for Virtual Reality in education. I’m very excited to see where VR will take us and what experiences it will allow the children.

7) What is your favourite story or memory of teaching children you would like to share?
We had been looking at the topic of Journeys for a while and this particular week’s the focus was on China. I had the low ability English group and they were still near the end of year 2 struggling with their phonics and general engagement in writing. I decided they should plan and organise a Chinese tea party and they had to write invites, recipes and shopping lists throughout the week then on the Friday we joined together with the pre-school to have a party. The children had so much pride in their work and were super excited to show off their achievements with their younger siblings and friends.

8) What advice would you give those who are just about to start out on the pathway to becoming a teacher?
Leave your self doubt at the door, work hard try your best and be proud of yourself for doing that. There is always more that could be done but you need a little self care to make sure you are strong enough to support others. Don’t be afraid to try new techniques and styles but also don’t be scared to keep it simple. Sometimes simple is best!

9) What will schools of the future look like? What would you like to see happening in the next 10 years?
I would like them to have more open and collaborative work spaces, opportunities for children to grab hold of an interest and run with it. Less teacher talking at the front of the class and more setting up opportunities for children to take charge of their own learning. What it will look like is a worry. I worry that education will become more and more privatised, with more teachers becoming stressed and leaving the profession, leaving new NQTs to keep trying to reinvent the wheel till they burn out too.

10) What are the most significant challenges facing education right now?
The pressure for teachers to enable their children to perform for tests and assessments resulting in the children being spoon fed facts rather than exploring, problem solving, collaborating and working out the answers for their own questions. All of these  are skills that they will need for the future. Teachers are under too much pressure and are leaving the profession (or at least leaving the country).
Photo courtesy of Naomi Hancock

Teacher Voices: Naomi Hancock by Steve Wheeler was written in Plymouth, England and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.Posted by Steve Wheeler from Learning with e's

Intellify and Learning House Partnership Focuses on Data and Retention

Campus Technology - 16 Marzo, 2017 - 17:32
Intellify Learning and The Learning House are collaborating to expand data analytics for online learning programs.

What Colleges Should Know About A Growing 'Talent Strategy' Push By Companies

OLDaily - 16 Marzo, 2017 - 13:52

Jeffrey R. Young, EdSurge, Mar 16, 2017

The purpose of this post is to advertise the founding of the Center for the Future of Higher Education and Talent Strategy at Northeastern University. Based on the premise that there is "a mismatch between what employers say they want and what they believe colleges and universities are producing" the article looks at what are called  'talent strategies', a euphemism for the use of non-academic data to evaluate job applicants. "For one thing, bad grammar is a proven red flag.... (and) it turns out that which Web browser a candidate uses to apply correlates to later success for some coding jobs." What the article does not say (but should) is that a person's online presence and social media are rife with the data companies need to make these evaluations, and that this (and not college credentials, microdegrees or badges) will be the hiring data of the future.

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Categorías: General

Build a talking, face-recognizing doorbell for about $100

OLDaily - 16 Marzo, 2017 - 13:52

Lukas Biewald, O'Reilly, Mar 16, 2017

Even if (like me) you don't have the time and space in your life to construct one of these, just reading the article is enough to give you inspiration. It also gives you a 20-20 glimpse into the future. The idea is to hook up a camera to a $40 minicomputer called Raspberry Pi, take pictures of visitors, and then send them to the cloud where you'll apply Amazon Web Services (AWS) face-recognition technology to them. The expensive bit is the $50 Echo Dot, a hands-free, voice-controlled device that you use to control your device.

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Categorías: General

Rationalizing Those 'Irrational' Fears of inBloom

Hack Education - 16 Marzo, 2017 - 13:35

This article first appeared on Points, a Data & Society publication in February 2017

That inBloom might exist as a cautionary tale in the annals of ed-tech is rather remarkable, if for no other reason than ed-tech – at least its manifestation as a current blend of venture capital exuberance, Silicon Valley hype, philanthropic dollars, and ed-reform policy-making – tends to avoid annals. That is to say, ed-tech today has very little sense of its own history. Everything is “new” and “innovative” and “disruptive.” It’s always forward-facing, with barely a glance over its should at the past – at the history of education or the history of technology. No one had ever thought about using computers in the classroom – or so you might glean if you only read the latest marketing about apps and analytics – until this current batch of philanthropists and entrepreneurs and investors and politicians suddenly stumbled upon the idea circa 2010.

Perhaps that very deliberate dismissal of history helped doom inBloom from the start. Those who worked on the initiative seemed to ignore the legacy of the expensive and largely underutilized ARIS (Achievement Reporting and Innovation System) system that had been built for New York City schools, for example, hiring many of ARIS’s staff and soliciting the company in charge of building it, Wireless Generation, to engineer the inBloom product.

While those making sweeping promises about data collection and data analytics wanted to suggest that, thanks to digital technologies, InBloom offered a unique opportunity to glean insights from data from the classroom, many parents and educators likely had a different sense – a deeper history –of what data had already done or undone, of what data could do or undo. They certainly had a different sense of risk.

The compulsion to gather more and more data is hardly new, although certainly new technologies facilitate it, generating more and more data in turn. In 1962, Raymond Callahan published Education and the Cult of Efficiency, tracing to the early twentieth century the eagerness of school leaders to adopt the language and the practices of business management in the hopes that schools might be run more efficiently and more “scientifically.”

There’s something quite compelling about those hopes, it seems, as they underlie much of the push for education reform and education technology in schools still today. Indeed, this belief in efficiency and science helped to justify inBloom, as Data & Society’s new report on the history of the $100 million data infrastructure initiative demonstrates.

That belief is evident in the testimonies from various politicians, administrators, entrepreneurs, and technologists involved in the project. Data collection – facilitated by inBloom – was meant to be “the game-changer,” in the words of the CEO of the Data Quality Campaign, providing a way to “actually use individual student information to guide teaching and learning and to really leverage the power of this information to help teachers tailor learning to every single child in their class. That’s what made inBloom revolutionary.” “The promise was that [inBloom] was supposed to be adaptive differentiated instruction for individual students, based on test results and other data that the states had. InBloom was going to provide different resources based on those results,” according to the superintendent of a New York school district.

But this promise of a data-driven educational “revolution” was – and still is – mostly that: a promise. The claims about “personalized learning” attainable through more data collection and data analysis remain primarily marketing hype. Indeed, “personalized learning” is itself a rather nebulous concept. As Data & Society observed in a 2016 report on the topic,

Description of personalized learning encompass such a broad range of possibilities – from customized interfaces to adaptive tutors, from student-centered classrooms to learning management systems – that expectations run high for their potential to revolutionize learning. Less clear from these descriptions are what personalized learning systems actually offer and whether they improve the learning experiences and outcomes for students.

So while “personalized learning” might be a powerful slogan for the ed-tech industry and its funders, the sweeping claims about its benefits are largely unproven by educational research.

But it sounds like science. With all the requisite high-tech gadgetry and data dashboards, it looks like science. It signifies science, and that signification is, in the end, the justification that inBloom largely relied upon. I’m someone who tried to get the startup to clarify “what inBloom will gather, how long it will store it, and what recourse parents have who want to opt out,” and I remember clearly that there was nevertheless much more hand-waving and hype than there ever was a clear explanation (“scientific” or otherwise) of “how” or “why” it would work.

No surprise then, there was pushback, primarily from parents, educators, and a handful of high profile NYC education activists who opposed InBloom’s data collection, storage, and sharing practices. But as the Data & Society report details, “instead of seeking to build trust at the district level with teachers and parents, many interview participants observed that inBloom and the Gates Foundation responded to what were very emotional concerns with complex technical descriptions or legal defenses.”

This juxtaposition of parents as “emotional” and inBloom and the project’s supporters as “scientific” and “technical” runs throughout the report, which really serves to undermine and belittle the fears of inBloom opponents. (This was also evident in many media reports at the time of inBloom’s demise that tended to describe parents as “hysterical” or that patronized them by contending the issues were “understandably obscure to the average PTA mom.”) The opposition to inBloom is described in the Data & Society report as a “visceral, fervently negative response to student data collection,” for example, while the data collection itself is repeatedly framed in terms of its “great promise.” While the report does point to the failure of inBloom officials to build parents’ trust, many of the interviewees repeatedly dismiss the mistrust as irrational. “The activism about InBloom felt like anti-vaccination activism. Just fear,” said one participant. “I don’t know how else to put it,” said another. “It was not rational.”

But inBloom opponents did have reason – many perfectly rational reasons – for concern. As the report chronicles, there were a number of concurrent events that prompted many people to be highly suspicious of plans for the data infrastructure initiative – its motivations and its security. These included inBloom’s connection to the proponents of the Common Core and other education reform policies; the growing concern about the Gates Foundation’s role in shaping these very policies; Edward Snowden’s revelations about NSA surveillance; several high profile data breaches, including credit card information of some 70 million Target customers; the role of News Corp’s subsidiary Wireless Generation in building the inBloom infrastructure, coinciding with News Corp’s phone hacking scandal in the UK, as well as its decision to hire Joel Klein, the former NYC schools chancellor who’d commissioned the failed ARIS system, to head News Corp’s new education efforts. As the report notes, “The general atmosphere of data mistrust combined with earlier education reform movements that already characterized educational data as a means of harsh accountability.”

In the face of this long list of concerns, the public’s “low tolerance for uncertainty and risk” surrounding student data is hardly irrational. Indeed, I’d argue it serves as a perfectly reasonable challenge to a technocratic ideology that increasingly argues that “the unreasonable effectiveness of data” will supplant theory and politics and will solve all manner of problems, including the challenge of “improving teaching” and “personalizing learning.” There really isn’t any “proof” that more data collection and analysis will do this – mostly just the insistence that this is “science” and therefore must be “the future.”

History – the history of inBloom, the history of ed-tech more generally – might suggest otherwise.

MOOC providers in 2016

Pontydysgu - Bridge to Learning - 16 Marzo, 2017 - 13:18

According to Class Central a quarter of the new MOOC users  in 2016 came from regional MOOC providers such as  XuetangX (China) and Miríada X (Latin America).

They list the top five MOOC providers by registered users:

  1. Coursera – 23 million
  2. edX – 10 million
  3. XuetangX – 6 million
  4. FutureLearn – 5.3 million
  5. Udacity – 4 million

XuetangX burst onto this list making it the only non-English MOOC platform in top five.

In 2016, 2,600+ new courses (vs. 1800 last year) were announced, taking the total number of courses to 6,850 from over 700 universities.

Las Alegrías Y Penas De Dejar Moodle

Moodle News - 16 Marzo, 2017 - 11:43
This story is available in English. Un reportaje en el diario estudiantil de la Universidad Estatal Humboldt, en California, ofrece algunas luces sobre la decisión de la institución de dejar atrás...

Historias de ayer para gente de hoy

Proyecto EDIA lanza un nuevo desafío para los alumnos de Lengua castellana y Literatura: crear narraciones digitales animadas a partir de textos clásicos.

En el REA "Historias de ayer para gente de hoy" los alumnos de 3ª ESO crean historias digitales animadas transformando fragmentos de la narrativa clásica en castellano.

Estos trabajos serán presentados en la Biblioteca Escolar o en la Biblioteca Municipal con motivo de los actos del Día del Libro como contribución a la promoción de la lectura de los clásicos.

AT&T dismissed the idea that providers would redline

OLDaily - 16 Marzo, 2017 - 01:43

doctornemo, National Digital Inclusion Alliance, Metafilter, Mar 15, 2017

I first noticed this in the 1980s when I discovered that groceries in the suburbs were way better than the ones in the inner city where I lived. And now it's an internet is a problem I'm living with right now. I live in Casselman, a small town in rural Ontario, and even though fibre-optic internet cable passes right through town we cannot obtain high-speed internet. The phenomenon is known as 'redlining'. According to  Wikipedia it's "the practice of denying services, either directly or through selectively raising prices, to residents of certain areas based on the racial or ethnic composition of those areas." Wikipedia's definition is too narrow, of course. "The data... show a clear and troubling pattern: A pattern of long-term, systematic failure to invest in the infrastructure required to provide equitable, mainstream Internet access to residents of the central city (compared to the suburbs) and to lower-income city neighborhoods." This article notes "AT& T dismissed the idea that providers would redline or cherrypick communities, and legislators apparently believed them." Of course, that's exactly what happens - in the U.S., in Canada, and around the world.

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Categorías: General

Who lost the most marks when cheating was stopped?

OLDaily - 16 Marzo, 2017 - 01:43

Bill Hicks, BBC News, Mar 15, 2017

I found this to be an interesting result. After cheating in Romanian exams was curtailed, "the pass rates of poorer students - those in receipt of financial assistance payments - fell by 14.3%, compared to 8.1% for better-off students." Now it might be tempting to say that the anti-cheating policy was anti-poor. But that would be simply to blame the messenger. "When corruption was widespread, we couldn't know the true scale of inequality… Our findings have revealed just how much greater the equality gap is. Once we know the true gap in attainment, the government can tackle the source of the inequality."

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Categorías: General

Microlearning: What It Is Not and What It Should Be

OLDaily - 16 Marzo, 2017 - 01:43

Alexander Salas, Learning Solutions, Mar 15, 2017

'Microlearning' is one of those terms that is becoming increasingly vague with use and popularity. According to this article, "the term 'microlearning' was coined by the Research Studios Austria as "learning in small steps," and it has been heavily popularized due to most of its interventions being Web 2.0 friendly." It is not itself a theory but can be associated with cognitive load theory (CLT). According to t he article, "CLT was first described by John Sweller, and it proposes that 'learning occurs in two mechanisms: 1) schema acquisition, or forming a mental map, and 2) transfer of knowledge into working memory.'” The idea is derived from  George A. Miller's work in the 1950s (setting our cognitive capacity at 7 items, plus or minus 2). Microlearning, says the article, "is not a one-size-fits-all approach, but rather a good companion for formal instruction. Microlearning may not be an optimal solution for complex tasks in workplace learning."

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Categorías: General

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OLDaily - 16 Marzo, 2017 - 01:43

Kevin Ngo, CSS Tricks, Mar 15, 2017

Every day I'm online, it seems, there's a whole new technology to learn. Yesterday I was messing around with Bower, which has been around  a while but which I hadn't time to learn previously. Today it's on to WebVR. This article looks at Mozilla's A-Frame, a web framework for building virtual reality experiences. A-Frame is based on HTML and the Entity-Component pattern." There's a demo based on "a basic VR voxel builder." Think Minecraft. "The voxel builder will be primarily for room scale VR with positional tracking and tracked controllers (e.g., HTC Vive, Oculus Rift + Touch)." It also works on desktop and mobile - see the demonstration here, and play with it yourself by downloading code from GitHub.

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Categorías: General

The open in MOOC must include the ability to create courses

OLDaily - 16 Marzo, 2017 - 01:43

Graham Attwell, Pontydysgu, Mar 15, 2017

"If we want truly open education," writes Graham Attwell, "then we need to open up opportunities for creating and facilitating learning as well as participating in a programme." I agree. He  also adds "Brian Mulligan responded... with a link to the Moocs4All web site. the web site includes this promo video for a free course held last year on ‘ Making MOOCs on a budget.'" But as he notes, "it is possible to hack a MOOC platform together with WordPress or to install Open edX. But it isn’ t simple." All true.

But. As readers know, my  gRSShopper software has always been open source. This is what was used to launch the first MOOCs and what I still use to manage my newsletter. Like the other hacks, however, it is difficult to install. But this will soon change. I am almost completed work on gRSShopper in a boxThis will be a fully contained gRSShopper server you can easily run anywhere. You will be able to use it as either a MOOC or as a PLE (and of course you can use your PLE to take MOOCs). It's not an official project so it has been slow going, but it won't be long now. Stay tuned.

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Categorías: General

JoomlaLMS 2.1.0 Twice as Fast, Offers Enhanced Reporting

Campus Technology - 15 Marzo, 2017 - 23:00
JoomlaLMS has released an update to its learning management system. JoomlaLMS 2.1.0 is compatible with PHP7, is twice as fast as its previous version and features improved performance and reporting.

Institutions Tap Student-Level Data to Improve Learning

Campus Technology - 15 Marzo, 2017 - 19:30
The Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities and the Institute for Higher Education Policy are out with a new effort to push student-level data collection. The groups have released 14 case studies spotlighting how data collection can help boost student learning and graduation rates.

How To Become A Moodle Forums Black Belt Moderator

Moodle News - 15 Marzo, 2017 - 18:36
Online forums, in all their different iterations, are a hotbed of activity across the internet. From social media and comments sections, to image boards, to more specialized and exclusive venues,...

Brian Mulligan responded to my post on

Pontydysgu - Bridge to Learning - 15 Marzo, 2017 - 14:11

Brian Mulligan responded to my post on open MOOCs with a link to the Moocs4All web site. the web site includes this promo video for a free course held last year on ‘Making MOOCs on a budget. Brian says “Creating a course with thousands of participants is no longer something that only well-funded universities can do. Even individuals who are experts in their subject matter but not experts in technology and pedagogy are able to create a MOOC, simply by using the right set of tools and techniques.”

Fundació Escoles Garbí

Educació Demà - 15 Marzo, 2017 - 14:00
A la Fundació Escoles Garbí formem els homes del demà com a ciutadans proactius, capaços de transformar la societat en què vivim, en un entorn just, solidari i sostenible. Els nostres alumnes, acompanyats per uns educadors, que són referents en tot moment i, en un entorn d’atenció personalitzada, aprenen a pensar, sentir, estimar i actuar, amb una metodologia vivencial d’aprenentatges i valors, la qual cosa els permet liderar i desenvolupar el seu projecte vital, des dels 3 als 18 anys. L’escola Garbí Pere Vergés s’estructura com una ciutat ideal on tothom té els seus drets i deures a ac Localització Espanya 39° 52' 0.3108" N, 75° 3' 8.4708" W See map: Google Maps

Aprendizaje a través de la investigación

"El Clavero Investiga" es un proyecto del  IES Clavero Fernández de Córdoba en el que aplicamos la investigación como metodología de trabajo y aprendizaje en el aula.

Este proyecto de centro implica a los alumnos y alumnas de todos los cursos en diferentes proyectos como el club de jóvenes investigadores (Secundaria) o Investibach (Bachillerato).

El hilo conductor de los principios y procesos de investigación permiten que nuestros alumnos desorrrallen proyectos y experiencias educativas que aúnan aprendizaje compartido, uso de las TIC y cambio en la organización del centro.

Teacher Voices: Chris Nesbitt

Learning with 'e's - 14 Marzo, 2017 - 20:28
This is number five in my ongoing blog series about the lives of former students who have gone on to become successful educators. This post features Chris Nesbitt (@cnesbitt1811 on Twitter), who graduated from Plymouth University in 2015 with a first class B.Ed degree in primary education in the same group as Hannah Shelton and Megan Douglas. Chris is now leading computing and teaching Year 5 at a primary school in Bristol. Here is his interview:

1) What made you decide to become a teacher? What/who inspired you? What were your motivations?
To be quite honest when I was younger being a teacher never crossed my mind. I was motivated by money and always aimed to be a barrister. However, after my mum bought me a GCSE law book to look at I suddenly realised that the office life wasn’t for me. It wasn’t until I spent a sometime coaching football and other sports that I realised I wanted to work with children. I spent some time in local primary schools and when I saw the impact I could have just as a teenager on work experience I knew teaching would be right for me.

2) What is the best thing about being a teacher in a primary school? What gets you out of bed in the morning?
I have been lucky enough to work in Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2, both of which have provided so many opportunities for smiles. There is nothing more satisfying than when a child that would find a piece of work difficult 'gets it', or when you can put a smile on someone’s face when they have been having a difficult time.

3) What does it take to become an excellent teacher? What characteristics do the best teachers have?
We could go down the route of the classic interview answer and say you need to be hardworking, dedicated and willing to do what required to be the best you can be. However, for me those things come with most teachers. In my eyes an excellent teacher is the person that can inspire. The person who can take the day dreamer, the class clown, the shy child, the child with a difficult home life and all others - and for one moment, engross them in their learning. Have every brain buzzing, engaged in what they are doing and every child feeling they are there for a purpose.

4) What do you consider your greatest achievement to date as an educator?
I think as a person I have grown. I was motivated during initial teacher training by the ‘outstanding’ grades but in actual fact that did nothing but boost my ego. Taking a step back and thinking about my learning, experiences and understanding of how children learn has allowed me to create better learning opportunities for my children. From this, I have seen children develop a deeper understanding but more importantly understand the 'how' and 'why' behind what they are doing.

5) How can we improve education? If you were the Secretary for Education, what would be your first priorities?
Firstly, teacher well-being. Through social media such as Twitter, I have seen several inspiring accounts that share great examples of how their schools try to make teachers' lives easier. It could be taking some time out of class, head teachers taking assemblies to allow for marking/same day intervention or providing moments to just switch off. Although the problem is this all comes from within individual schools. Where is the government support for teachers? Providing helpful tips to decrease workload or marking doesn’t help when we are held accountable for delivering ridiculous expectations. Secondly, funding is an issue. Every school across the country will say the same thing. Budget cuts do nothing but make our job harder and reduce the opportunities/support that we can provide for the children. There is more to education that tests and data. In fact there is more to life.

6) What are the most innovative uses of technology in education (that you have done yourself, or have seen)?
I have been fortunate enough to have been given the time to visit others school and watch some inspirational teachers. During this time I have been able to magpie ideas and merge them alongside my own to improve the use of technology in my school. Every teacher in our school now has an iPad which we know can be used in a variety of ways. One simple piece of software I would love to share is Air Server. It allows you to mirror you iPad display onto your SMART Board (without an expensive Apple TV in every room). I have used it to share work, model editing and inspire others using their peer’s ideas.

7) What is your favourite story or memory of teaching children you would like to share?
I think all teachers love the lightbulb moments, but for me it was when I saw one boy with many struggles both academically and at home succeed. For some his achievement many have been small but for that little boy it was the greatest thing in the world.

8) What advice would you give those who are just about to start out on the pathway to becoming a teacher?
It will be difficult. You will have moments where you think’ is it all worth it?’ But I can promise you once you get your very own class and you’re stood in front of them you’ll realise it was worth it. Most importantly, surround yourself with a great group of friends. Make it your priority when you get to University. I was lucky enough to have a great group that supported me and where always there to keep me laughing.

9) What are the most significant challenges facing education right now?
For me on top of our funding crisis it has to be our test culture. It serves no purpose except to provide data for the government ranking tables. Does it benefit the children? No! Then is it meaningful? No! We teach for the children, not for anyone else. The test culture only compels some teachers to teach to the test, making learning boring and creating unnecessary stress for everyone.

10) What will schools of the future look like? What would you like to see happening in the next 10 years?
I have experienced schools where they are completely child led. They are structured around the children and teachers are motivated by their thoughts and opinions. I loved being referred to by first name. Why should you address me as sir? I am no more important that the child in front of me. Some argue that it's respectful, but for me respect is earned it doesn’t come from a title. I would like to see more schools give up the regimented environment of ‘you must do this because this is how I like it.’ I want schools to have access to all the resources they need and for children to be given the choice of when to access them. I have seen first-hand that once the gimmick of something new disappears children make meaningful choices that support their learning. But they need the tools to make those choices.

Photo courtesy of Chris Nesbitt

Teacher Voices: Chris Nesbitt by Steve Wheeler was written in Plymouth, England and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.Posted by Steve Wheeler from Learning with e's