Becta has listed the winners in this years ICT excellence awards. Well done to all succesful schools, and other places of learning.
A while ago I posted that I was looking forward to receiving a shiny new w-i-d-e-s-c-r-e-e-n laptop at school. Well it has arrived. I've seen it. Briefly!
It's now been packed away until the technician is able to set the thing up to access the school network and install all the profiles onto it.
In addition to that, before I left tonight the caretaker was drilling new holes into my walls to support the new speakers that have arrived, along with a monster sub-woofer and flashy remote. I think that we might have to listen to a few Big Toe Radio Show short stories to "launch" the new speakers.
The school website is going great. Our oldest children have been using ICT in their literacy lessons as part of their persuasive writing focus, and with the aid of MovieMaker they created emotional videos that the RSPCA would have been proud of.
Not happy with making them and leaving them on the school server, their teacher posted them on the school site - and the result has been brilliant. The comment from one child who watched at home was;
That made my mum nearly cry.
Superb! And now the PTA are wanting in on the action, and have asked for their own section of the website that they can use to inform parents of events coming up.
A secondary school in Doncaster has been trying out a scheme where pupils' records are stored on a microchip embedded in their school uniform. The device enables teachers to call up information about pupils, such as their attainment, as they enter a classroom. The chips send out a radio signal which enables their movements to be monitored as they pass scanners.
Don't you just love how statistics are used to say anything that you want them to?
Take the figures recently released from Ofsted about schools that have gone into special measures for whatever reason;
"The statistics show that the number of schools in special measures increased from 208 (on 31 August 2006) to 243 (on 31 December 2006). 82 schools were placed in special measures in the autumn term 2006, and 45 were removed"
Now imagine that these schools in special measures are secondary schools. Imagine as well that in those schools there are around 70 teachers. 243 x 70= 17010. Now round that figure to the nearest thousand and HEY PRESTO what do you get - that magical figure that Sir Cyril Tailor is banding about as the number of poor teachers who should be sacked.
So, let me see if I understand this correctly. If a school is failing, then by default all the teachers within it are poor teachers? I think not, Sir Squirrel. Those teachers are working their socks off to do the best that they can, in often awful conditions, with kids who quite often don't want to be at school and will do everything possible not to learn.
Yet again, someone who has not set foot into a classroom is throwing around pie in the sky ideas about how to improve education. Well, either put yourself in the classroom Sir Tufty and see what it's like, or shut up.
What teachers need is simple;
No, not the song! This is the United Nations creating a free online activity for children to try and show them what it's like being a refugee. There's a lot of point and click decision making, often with startling results that really make you think. You can play the activity here.
First there was the book, then came the film, then it seems like the entire world wanted to go explore the places themselves. Of course I'm talking about Dan Brown's work of fiction, the Da Vinci code. Now another researcher has gone one better with the painting of the last supper.
Computer technician Giovanni Maria Pala found that by drawing the five lines of a musical staff across the painting, the loaves of bread on the table and the hands of Jesus and the Apostles could each represent a musical note.
"The notes make sense musically when the resulting score is read from right to left, following Da Vinci's own writing style, Mr Pala said in his book La Musica Celata (The Hidden Music)" he claims. Full report here.
Oh, and whilst on the theme of Da Vinci's painting, have you tried the 16billion pixel online version that you can zoom into and pan around?