Making my blog work for me again…

I have been immersed in a number of very engaging and, unsurprisingly, ‘Full On’ projects for a few months now. As a result, my thinking has deepened, my focus has shifted and my butterfly brain (though not attention-span, I hope) is currently taking me into both new and renewed areas of work. The impact of this is that I haven’t posted for quite some time. I tend to blog only when I have a near-fully-formed mega-post. It turns out, that just isn’t happening right now, so I need my blog to serve me a little better (rather than make me feel guilty for not feeding it). I am involved in a number of interconnected projects at the moment and I think its time that my blog started working for ME, rather than me feeling like I was working for IT.

The result? I’m going to take a ‘post-as-I-discover’ approach – much shorter posts, sometimes with a resource/ video or with a link to an article or piece of thinking. I’ll do my best to add context and through this, a rationale as to why this connects with my thinking and how it might influence/ inform me but the finished product may have to wait or maybe that’s where you the reader comes in? On reflection, my tendency has always been to post near-finished ideas, thought-pieces or practical approaches, ready for consumption.

Right now, I need my blogging to work differently for me. In doing this, I intend to be far more open about my thought-processes and the ideas that catch my eye along with what they connect with that I already have in mind or that I am currently working on.This is far more authentic and reflective of how I work within my own school and with schools and organisations around the country.

To begin this new approach…

So, I’m doing a big piece of work investigating how a group of schools might go about designing and implementing a co-designed Learning Commons at the moment. This project attempts to synthesise research findings, learning models and principles that both underpin and inform the BIG THREE organisational elements of learning:

  • Curriculum
  • Pedagogy
  • Assessment

In my reading this morning, the Connected Learning Organisation caught my eye. I’ve embedded the infographic below which gives a nice summary of the work they are currently leading. It might be of interest, on a large-scale, to anybody involved in taking a sytems-led integrated approach to the design of learning models for 21st Century learners and society. On a smaller-scale, anybody who;s keen to set up REAL learning projects would do well to consider the principles they use in the design of any multifaceted project-based learning opportunity.

Connected Learning

Creative Commons License This Connected Learning Infographic is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. You may Share and Adapt it, but you must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made.

Harnessing learning power through video

We (a collection of ambitious educators including the marvellous Jim Smith author of “The Lazy Teacher’s Handbook”) ran a student conference in 2008 with 100 students from 10 secondary schools. Their task over the two day residential was to ‘RE-BRAND LEARNING’. Above is just one of the outcomes from one group. Bear in mind, this was a group of learners who hadn’t met each other before the conference and came from very different schools and backgrounds. Yet when it came to learning, they were pretty clear about what they wanted…

The new site launched earlier this month by TED-ED has a call-out for videos to inspire learning and learners in the true spirit of As you know, I’ve put together TEDucation which attempts to use the wealth of ideas from all the TED talks to reflect on and adapt to learning contexts. This project is a natural next step for TEDsters across the globe. There’s a place to engage through the TED-ED forum and a growing number of questions to respond to.

So, if nothing else, the TED-ED video opportunity could be a fabulous student project, and it could be very naturally linked to the amazing work of the #purposed team (@purposeducation).

“Make your own short film about what YOU think is the purpose of education.” and upload it to a global audience. Now THERE’S an opportunity for some awesome learning.

“RESEARCH WEEK” for Confident Communicators

Since the launch of the Confident Communicators’ project (see previous post on February 24th), I have been reflecting on the PLTS that the students are developing throughout this long-term project and it is abundantly clear that of ALL the PLTS, the skill of being an EFFECTIVE PARTICIPANT is the singular learning skill in the spotlight. What will be interesting to reflect upon, however, will be the learning DISPOSITIONS necessary for learners to develop. Key questions we need to ask when we are observing the learning of the students need to be focused on the learning behaviours that students are displaying that allow the project move forward.

All of the teams are having their learning journeys documented by the AST team, using enhanced This involves the teams taking photographs of key moments of their project work and the ASTs undertaking interviews with the students to unpack how the process is helping them learn. The early edits of these are already flagging up the ‘make-or-break’ elements of the challenge for the teams being hinged upon the EFFECTIVE PARTICIPATION of the team members. They mention their need to communicate effectively with each other and those who can help them with their research. They also talk about listening to each other, organising their thoughts and ideas and really working together as a research group to make sure they make the necessary progress.

All the teams are off to The Pervasive Media Studio ( in Bristol next week. This is a structured research visit that we have set up for them to support their research and give them an experience of field research and hands-on learning. We’ll have lots to report about this particular experience by the end of the week.

I {heart} Futurelab

This is a great thought-piece that we will be using for our ‘Confident Communicators’ Project. The teams of Year 8 students have been challenged to research the future and this film will help stimulate their thinking and discussions. Thank you, Futurelab! I highly recommend their work – why not make yourself a cup of tea and set aside a chunk of time to explore their work if you haven’t been there before OR been there for a while.

IDEO Education Animated Films: Living Climate Change

So now I’ve explored the IDEO Living Climate Change site ( a little more and found the education section. Here are a couple of great animated films that could be used to stimulate thinking and discussion about the lives we live now and the possible futures we could have. I personally love the idea of having a curriculum subject called, “Consequences” (referred to in the second film, “A Little Brighter”). Much more to explore…

A little dimmer

A Little Bit Dimmer from IDEO on Vimeo.

A little brighter

A Little Bit Brighter from IDEO on Vimeo.

Future learners, present learning…Generation M2

I’ll be using this video in my work with teachers over the next couple of months and with the students who are part of our Confident Communicators’ Project which launches in February. They’re researching and developing their own future scenarios in response to the question… “What will life be like for an average 15 year old in 2025?”. I’ll be posting information about the project over the forthcoming months – I may start up a separate posterous blog to capture it all.

Anyway, the creators of this video and the report associated with it, The Kaiser Family Health Foundation, says, “…this video explores the powerful force that media can be in the lives of teens and tweens. The three young people who are profiled explain what types of media they use—such as smart phones, computers, TV, video games—how much time they spend with media and what impact it has on their lives.”

Simple, concise and insightful – it raises some interesting questions about future learners,  present learning.

Twitter Educators LOVE collaboration!

I’ve just taken a screen break, which in truth means a task-switch…and found this great feedback on Twitter! Not only does it prove that Twitter is the most powerful professional development tool around but it reaffirms my belief in teachers-as-learners-as-sources-of-quality-feedback.

What a fantastic learning community I am part of. Need to stop now for fear of getting gushy about the whole thing!

  1. ededco 

RT @fullonlearning Educators collaborate on Twitter

  • Folens Publishers UKFolens 

    A tiny glimpse at what twitter can do for the future of teaching… RT @fullonlearning Educators collaborate on Twitter

  • Audrey Naysandynay 

    RT @fullonlearning Educators collaborate on Twitter what a gr8 idea could process be explained 4 others to try #NSWDET

  • Roberto Mazzonifratel 

    RT @vahva A book made on Twitter with tips 4 teachers. RT @fullonlearning Educators collaborate on Twitter http://…

  • Roberto Mazzonifratel 

    RT @vahva: This is brilliant! A book made on Twitter with tips 4 teachers. RT @fullonlearning Educators collaborat…

  • Humanities TeamHodderHumanity 

    RT @fullonlearning Educators collaborate on Twitter

  • SeanGreatTwitTips 

    RT @vahva: This is brilliant! A book made on Twitter with tips 4 teachers. RT @fullonlearning Educators collaborat…

  • SeanGreatTwitTips 

    RT @vahva A book made on Twitter with tips 4 teachers. RT @fullonlearning Educators collaborate on Twitter http://…

  • LJ CreateLJCreate 

    A book made from the Tweets of teachers in Twitter (via @fullonlearning @hopkinsdavid & @vahvatter)

  • Twit ExpertTwit_Expert 

    RT @vahva A book made on Twitter with tips 4 teachers. RT @fullonlearning Educators collaborate on Twitter http://…

  • David Hopkinshopkinsdavid 

    RT @vahva A book made on Twitter with tips 4 teachers. RT @fullonlearning Educators collaborate on Twitter

  • Bryony Taylorvahva 

    This is brilliant! A book made on Twitter with tips 4 teachers. RT @fullonlearning Educators collaborate on Twitter

  • Educators collaborate on Twitter

    Having listened, once again, to yet another media commentator deriding Twitter as ‘pointless & banal’ I felt I had to post this. This fantastic collaborative piece of work is evidence of the quality of interactions that are shared every second of the day around the world by some of the most inspirational educators. 

    The document was put together by @dajbelshaw and @stuartridout (see their biographical information in the book). It came into existence after a collection of previously unconnected people joined forces and contributed to a Twitter Hashtag entitled, #movemeon. I have not met ANYBODY else who contributed to this document, other than by following some (not all) of them on Twitter. The people I follow share their thoughts and ideas about effective education , they provide links to resources, webpages, articles and events that they recommend. I use my Twitter account as a very specific, targeted search engine for everything about learning. For me, it’s the most valuable source of professional development in existence on the web. I hope you enjoy the publication.


    Futurelab connect educators in one place

    This is a new project from Futurelab to connect educators who have some kind of online presence. All the details are in the leaflet. I recommend a visit to the Futurelab website to explore some of the fantastic work they’re doing to integrate technology & learning for 21st Century Education. I’m hoping to work with them again on a ‘Confident Communicators’ Project we’re launching in February. 

    You can also follow them on Twitter @futurelabedu

    Click in the centre of the box to read in full screen.