Thursday, 1 December 2016

Google slides - Q&A

Student just taught my collegue this which is cool - you can get the class asking questions throughout your presentations!

Go to Presenter View - Start New - Get students to type in the goo.gl link that appears and away they go. Very cool!

Inline images 1

Friday, 25 November 2016

Google Classroom: Assess Student Work FASTER [infographic]

By Teacher Tech Alice Keeler

google classroom get through assessing student work faster

Having a good workflow for assessing student work is essential. Here is my workflow for giving feedback through Google Classroom.

Assignment Title

To find student work in Google Classroom go to the Stream in Google Classroom and find the assignment. Click on the assignment title to view student work. Tip:
Tip: RETURN student work BEFORE giving feedback. This allows students to receive a notification of your feedback and this is more motivating.

Folder Icon

Opening student work in Google Classroom can be slow due to the amount of clicking and mouse dragging. I prefer to view student work through Google Drive. Under the “Not Done” count is a folder icon that magically opens Google Drive. Google Classroom automatically creates a folder in Google Drive for each assignment. The folder icon opens that particular assignments folder, revealing a list of the students’ work.

Last Opened by Me

last modified sorted A to Z
1) Classroom folder in Google Drive 2) Assignment Folder 3) Sorted by “Last modified” 4) Down arrow shows it’s sorted A to Z 5) Notice Drive lists who last modified the document
Notice in Google Drive you can change how files are sorted. “Last modified” is really helpful to see work that students have been working on recently. This allows you to give feedback faster to students who have been recently working on something. “Last modified” is a really helpful filter, I recommend it.
Change the sorting from “Last modified” to “Last Opened by Me.” Notice the arrow next to the sorting filter. For “Last opened by me” it is preferable to have it sort Z to A so that files opened recently by me are sorted to the bottom of the list. The arrow should be pointing up instead of down.
change the sorting from last modified to last opened by me

Drive20 Chrome Extension

You need to be using Google Chrome for this trick. Install the Chrome extension Drive20. This puts an icon in the extensions shelf next to the Omnibox. This Chrome extension will open up 20 student documents all at once. Since the files are sorted “Last opened by me” sorted backwards, the extension opens 20 student documents that you have not looked at recently.
Drive 20 Chrome Extension icon
Note: The more tabs you have open the more your computer will cry. Right click on the extension to change the settings for how many documents it will open. I have my settings set to open only 10 documents at a time.
WAIT FOR THE DOCUMENTS TO LOAD! Depending on your internet speed this can take a minute.

Last Tab

Rather than viewing the first document the extension opened, instead start with the last. Go to the last tab on the right-hand side. start at the end
Tip to use the keyboard shortcut Control Alt M (Command Option M on a Mac) to insert feedback comments quickly. Control Enter (Command Enter on a Mac) saves the comment.

Control W

The keyboard shortcut Control W (Command W on a Mac) closes the tab. After reviewing student work use the shortcut to close the tab. This will take you to the tab just to the left of the one you closed. In other words, it takes you to the next student’s document. Repeat with the Control W. Eventually you make it back to Google Drive where you can press the Drive20 Chrome extension and open the next batch of student documents.

Friday, 28 October 2016

10 Teaching Essentials

10 Teaching Essentials

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In writing this, I’ve been thinking about two sets of teachers. Firstly, I’ve been thinking about various very strong teachers I’ve known, including those who taught me, to consider what ‘essentials’ they might have in common.  (Something I’ve done many times before e.g. in this early post: What makes a great teacher?). Secondly, I’ve been thinking about how to support early career teachers to improve and to use their time wisely to support their professional learning.  The purpose of this list, as with any other, is to promote self-reflection: 10 essentials to work on – alongside avoiding the 10 pitfalls!
1. Model expertise
I was going to call this ‘Command Respect’ or ‘Project Authority’ or ‘Give Confidence’ – but I only mean those things in the sense that the teacher knows their subject, their material, their course. They give their students a sense of security that they’re in the hands of someone with the expertise needed to help them succeed.  Modelling this is part and parcel of every lesson: confident answers and conspicuous depth of knowledge of the subject that models the value that is placed on learning it.  Actual expertise matters more than simple enthusiasm.  There is no short-cut here: study the subject continually, know your stuff, get ahead.  Don’t wing it or teach off the cuff, guessing your way through.  Would you get an A Level A* in your subject? Or least 100% in the students’ tests!?
2. Prioritise  Curriculum
Linked closely to Model Expertise, it’s essential to know how your subject is deconstructed  into key concepts, skills and knowledge elements that allow learners to make progress – so-called pedagogical content knowledge.  Do you know how the course curriculum relates to the wider subject knowledge base? Is there an optimal sequence or at least one you could make a good case for?  You should have a sense of a sensible sequence and hierarchy of ideas and be able to see where content areas overlap.  You should have good knowledge of the assessment criteria in general and the specifics of any public exam.  Knowing the types of questions that students should be able to answer is essential in understanding and planning your subject curriculum – the enacted curriculum that students experience in your lessons.
I’d suggest that developing ever deeper knowledge of your subject curriculum (so that you can make it ever more accessible and/or challenging for your students) should take priority over most other CPD elements.  Read exam specs so you really know them – and  keep in touch with how other teachers deliver your subject curriculum; there are always alternatives.
3.Hold Attention 
At a basic level of behaviour management, this is an essential skill.  Can you keep everyone in your class locked in on you or whoever is speaking, listening and engaged, whenever you want them to?  Can you sustain that for as long as is needed? That’s the challenge.  It’s worth deliberately practising this until you’ve nailed it with any class. Give a signal for attention; pause…as long as is needed; make eye contact around the room and insist on full engagement.  Without this, most of the rest won’t be effective.  It always pays to reinforce the routines around attention so that you get it promptly from everyone.
4. Explain well
There’s an art to explaining – it’s about making complex ideas make sense to people who are only just getting to grips with them.  Knowing something isn’t the same as explaining it; it takes time, experience and practice, just like anything else.   This post explores the art of explaining in more detail.  You need to find different ways to explain the same thing – not simply repeat one method over and over.  How to explain ideas ought to be a regular feature of departmental CPD.  It’s often overlooked because people spend so long talking about whatto teach, rather than how to teach it.
5. Question responsively 
Questioning has three components:
Knowing what questions to ask: This links to your curriculum thinking and planning.  Designing good questions is a skill you acquire with experience and research – initially it pays to explore sources of questions rather than make them up.
Planning how to organise questions in a  classroom context: The trick is to involve every student, solicit multiple responses and engineer a collective response that deepens everyone’s understanding – rather than skimming from person to person.
Knowing how to react:  Being responsive to students’ answers is crucial to maximise the learning from the process.  You need to tackle misconceptions and explore errors without making it seem a big deal to get things wrong; you need to probe and challenge for deeper and better answers; you need to involve other students in building on each other’s answers.
6. Feedback effectively 
Building on knowing how to react to student responses, more generally, giving good feedback is an essential teaching skill.  Your goal is to seek improved performance, correct errors and challenge misconceptions but also to affirm and deepen successful learning. Feedback needs to be positive and specific, and be very much geared towards an immediate practice opportunity.  Good AfL training often uses sport-coach examples e.g. to improve an athlete’s discuss throw, telling them to ‘throw further’ or ‘try harder’ isn’t any good.  You need should tell them what they’re doing right; identify a specific aspect of their technique to change and improve and then get them to practise.
7. Reinforce routines
In a good lesson, the routines are well-understood; they are followed and fall into the background without too much fuss, making the learning flow more easily.  This only happens because the teacher reinforces their expectations routinely and addresses issues when routines are not followed.  As with Bus Lanes, if you don’t enforce the rules, they get broken and learning is disrupted.   If you do enforce them, everyone’s a winner.
8. Manage time
Time in lessons, time across a unit of work and time across a whole year: it can all be managed well or managed badly.  You can think you’ve been teaching like a champion for six months and find you’ve only got two months left to cover half the syllabus.  Or you find you’re always rushing at the bell with your class in a shambles and the homework wasn’t explained properly.  It pays to map out the long term, set some time goals and milestones and always give yourself five minutes at the end of a lesson so they end well.
9. Drive standards 
I’m big fan of the concept of ‘drive’. It’s an essential teacher characteristic. It suggests conveying to students that there’s a degree of urgency, that the learning in hand really matters, that there are certain minimum standards you’ll insist on and that there are ambitious goals you want everyone to strive to reach.  Driving standards involves a fair amount of metaphorical whip-cracking but it also requires effusive celebratory recognition of progress, breakthroughs and major accomplishments.
10. Show kindness
I could have used Build Relationships – but increasingly I think that this is too nebulous; relationships are a product of other actions.  I’m suggesting that showing kindness is an essential element to teacher-student relationship-building.  You can be assertive, authoritative and inspire confidence in your expertise but still have difficulties – or cause them – if students don’t connect with your human qualities; if they fear you or resent you.  Kindness means allowing mistakes to be made, extending a degree of parental warmth and acknowledging emotions.  You can be quite formal and disciplined and still be kind.  Crucially, it’s essential to give kindness in order to receive it in return.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

10 Teaching Pitfalls

10 Teaching Pitfalls

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This is a companion to 10 Teaching Essentials.  
In addition to trying to deliver on the 10 Essentials, I’m suggesting that teachers should seek to avoid these pitfalls.  To some extent, the two lists mirror each other – positive and negative ways of expressing the same ideas – but, not entirely.   Most feedback I give teachers about how to improve their practice includes something from this list:
1. Questioning ineffectively:
Weak questioning might include some or all of the following:
  • Only asking one student a question: ‘John, what’s the answer’ – as opposed to asking everyone and then, after some thinking time, ‘Ok, John, what do you think?’
  • Asking the whole class a question but extrapolating from this one answer a sense that everyone else also understands and then moving on.
  • Taking ‘hands up’ responses from the same few students and never asking the ‘hands down’ majority to contribute.
  • Creating ‘blood out of stone’ silences with whole class questions instead of using strategies like think-pair-share to overcome inhibitions and involve everyone.
  • Receiving an incorrect answer from a student, moving onto someone else but not returning to that first student to check that they’ve now understood.
2. Accepting  mediocrity
This includes accepting low level verbal answers or half-hearted pieces of writing without challenge. It also means routinely accepting work from students that, whilst arguably ‘complete’, is far below the standard they are personally capable of.   With verbal answers, a quick win is to say something like ‘that’s nearly right but now say it better, in full sentences, linking the ideas together‘.   Sometimes accepting mediocrity is the product of not challenging a weak response; sometimes it’s a product of celebrating completion at the expense of quality.  Routine re-drafting is a good way to set the bar higher for everyone; first efforts can always be improved, Austin style.
3. Rushing practice
This is a common issue in my experience.  It applies to adult training too: you get told all about the fab things the new IT system can do; you are shown but because you don’t go and practise, you quickly forget. It’s true in lessons. Students need lots of practice with feedback alongside; doing the same things over and over again, getting slightly harder. It’s a common error to focus too much on the telling and but not giving enough time for practising the doing.  It’s not enough to rely on homework – although this helps. You need to see your students doing the practice in front of you.
4. Presuming learning
Another common issue is to toss out a plethora of ideas into the room without checking that students have a) understood or b) processed the information such that they have a chance to remember it later.  Checking for understanding and retention systematically is essential.  If you highlight some new or technical words that students should know, they need to say them, use them, and, at a later time, be asked to recall them.  I’ve seen the ‘in one ear, out the other’ phenomenon too often.  Recognising words isn’t the same as knowing them.  Lots of micro-testing is essential and mini whiteboards (or other all-student response systems) are great for checking in on lots of students at once.
5. Lacking assertiveness
With classroom management, an important pitfall to avoid is not being assertive enough; not owning the space or not addressing low level behaviour issues.  Facing a room full of cocky-seeming teenagers, you need to be sure you are the one that owns the space. It’s your room; there are no no-go areas. Standing still and straight, making eye contact, you need to reach everyone with your voice and your gaze, picking up the small stuff.  If you want pens down, you want everyone’s pen down; if you want eyes front, that includes everyone.  Be patient but firm and insistent.
6. Allowing drift
Sometimes in a lesson, even with strong attention-gaining action at the start, things can drift.  This can because the task is too long for the initial instructions,  or it could be that students have diverged with some way ahead of the others; it can be because you talk too long without engaging all the students in thinking and questioning; it can be because you allow low level chat to escalate so pockets of students are way off task. All of these things need to be addressed. At any time, you can re-set, re-explain or re-establish the level of focus and attention you require.
7. Pitching low
This can be difficult to address because teachers rarely deliberately set the level of challenge too low.  This emerges either because of not knowing the curriculum well enough or not knowing the students well enough.  Moderation activities in CPD time are vital for setting standards; you should know what excellence might look like in any setting and be pitching for it, teaching to the top.  Most often, where this pitfall arises, it relates to a sub-group of students in a class.  It should be in everyone’s mind: is there anyone in this room who might need even more stretch? You only find out by pushing them to see what they can do.
8. Mis-matching assessment.
It’s horrible to take a test you’re not prepared for.  ‘Teaching to the test’ has a bad name because it suggests that teachers only teach what will be assessed.  However, it’s a major pitfall if you teach a set of content that does not include what students will be assessed on. This can happen if common assessments are used but teachers don’t study them prior to teaching a unit.  It might also be a question of the difficulty of the assessment: you need to balance challenge with building confidence.  Again, a big feature of CPD should be around designing effective assessments that achieve a good balance.
9. Misjudging tasks.
A relatively common pitfall is confusing learning objectives and tasks. It’s possible to plan a lesson where students will do activities A, B and C and think you’ve got the learning covered.  However, if you are not explicit about the learning objective for each task, it can go wrong: the students are busy, maybe engaged enthusiastically, but they might not be learning what you want them to learn.  Or, it could be that an activity is far too convoluted and time-consuming relative to a bit of simple direct teaching.  You need to think about learning objectives first, tasks second.
See Principles of Effective Teaching and Pedagogy Post Card #2 Learning Objectives vs Tasks
10. Overlooking  individuals
Differentiation is difficult and often problematic.  Here’s a post that puts it in perspective. It is worth remembering that students’ learning needs are usually more similar than they are different.  However, over time, as with tending to the individual specimens in a garden, there’s a risk of neglecting students at the extremes or in the middle with a one-size-fits-all approach. Do the parents of your highest attainers and your EHCP students love you because of the attention their children get? It’s a good place to start.  Have you checked in on your PP students to see if they’re making the same progress? Are you just as likely to call their parents?  These are good prompts and challenges for us all.  The pitfall is to ignore the issue.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Grade descriptors for GCSEs graded 9 to 1: computer science

To achieve Grade 8 candidates will be able to:

  • demonstrate relevant and comprehensive knowledge and understanding of fundamental concepts and principles including digital systems and societal impacts
  • effectively apply fundamental concepts, principles and mathematical skills, using sustained analytical, logical and evaluative computational thinking, to a wide range of complex problems
  • develop and refine a complete solution that meets the requirements of a substantial problem
To achieve Grade 5 candidates will be able to:
  • demonstrate mostly accurate and appropriate knowledge and understanding of fundamental concepts and principles including digital systems and societal impacts
  • appropriately apply fundamental concepts, principles and mathematical skills, using analytical, logical and evaluative computational thinking, to a range of problems
  • produce a working solution that meets most requirements of a substantial problem

To achieve Grade 2 candidates will be able to:
  • demonstrate limited knowledge and understanding of fundamental concepts and principles including digital systems and societal impacts
  • apply fundamental concepts, principles and mathematical skills, using basic analytical and logical computational thinking, to straightforward problems with limited accuracy
  • produce a partially working solution that meets some requirements of a substantial problem
Source

Monday, 11 July 2016

CS teacher issues

A colleague found this on Facebook and I think it conveys how some feel about the new curriculum, so it's nice to know others feel the same in the country too...



From my recent exa.foundation visits to support teachers with GCSE Computer Science, I believe I can summarise the biggest challenges teachers face in 13 points. If you think I've let any out please add to the list. I've been scratching my head looking at new ways to support (other then the MOOC I proposed) and am always willing to consider new ways. I've already tried podcasts, blog posts, webinars and face-to-face CPD - but willing to consider other alternatives. Anyway, here's the 13....



1. New Qualifications - Although GCSE Computing has been available since 2010; 2016 brings introduction of new qualification with new assessment model/weighting, with new rules. Lack of familiarity leads to lower teacher confidence and ability to spot problems ahead.
2. Teacher Confidence - Lack of teacher experience with CS. Teachers new to the subject and/or qualification. Those who do have a CS degree may not have used it for 5-6 years.
3. Homework - Setting appropriate homework, and measuring & tracking efficacy of homework.
4. Content Overload - Too much content to fit in to the contact time available, ‘specification overload’.
5. Software Issues - Compatibility/availability, locked down network in school, managed service,
6. Hardware Issues - Resourcing with the most appropriate hardware, 1:1 tablets, Chromebooks. Over-zealous technicians.
7. Programming - How to best teach programming, algorithm design and problem-solving.
8. Assessment - how to track, measure and assess learning progress against the Assessment Objectives.
9. Resources - Embarrassment of riches - due to abundance of free, paid for, subscription resources. “Off-the-shelf lesson plans” that don’t deliver. Choosing and using the best resources.
10. Differentiation - Class groups with broad range of ability, pupils have a variety of prior experiences and Computer Science backgrounds.
11. Pupil Expectations - Pupils not sure what to expect, leading to misguided choices based on the understanding that the course is all theory, all programming, building computers or games.
12. Lack of Diversity - Under-representation of gender, ethnic, cultural and social in CS groups, eg. in some cases leading to groups dominated by low-achieving boys which may lead to classroom management issues.
13. Experience (Pupils) - Pupils’ lack of previous experience of CS, due to not having a firm foundation in KS3/KS2 a feature of other NC subjects, eg. Maths, English, Science, Geography.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

The world changes. Children don’t

Today we are launching a brand new public awareness campaign. Through social media, articles, blogs, films and more, we want to get parents and carers thinking and talking about the importance of discussing sex, relationships and the internet with their children.

Today is Day 1 of this three month campaign, and we are excited to introduce our first new resource entitled “The world changes. Children don’t”. 

This short film that tells the age-old story of Romeo and Juliet… with a modern twist. It shows how the lives of these young lovers might play out online today, including the Lark ‘tweeting’ and Romeo ‘friending’ Juliet.

Behind this contemporary remake is the message that, although technology and social media can seem overwhelming and forever evolving, children and young people don’t change. We try to remind parents that (just as when they were young), their children are still exploring and creating their identities, keeping up with their friends and dealing with adolescent pressures. Although much of this now happens online, we remind them that the kind of parental support and advice which keeps their children safe 'in real life' will keep them safer online too. And our Thinkuknow resources can be a useful place to start in thinking about how they might frame these discussions.

Your support for this campaign will make a real difference. There are three simple things you can do to help us reach as many parents and carers as possible:

1. Share the film: 



2. Support the campaign on social media

If you have not done so already, you can ‘like’ CEOP on Facebook at ‘ClickCEOP’ and follow us on Twitter ‘@CEOPUK’ for live updates and shareable content.


3. Promote the Thinkuknow website
The parents section of the Thinkuknow website provides information to support parents and carers to understand and respond to the risks their children may face as they grow. It covers a broad range of online safety issues from nude selfies to what to do if you think your child is being groomed online. Find it at:www.thinkuknow.co.uk/parents.

PiXL June Main Meeting


Thursday, 30 June 2016

YouTube eSafety Tips for Parents





CAUTION SMOMBIES ARE CROSSING

Zombies are real, but people are too busy with their smartphones to notice.
(Mirror Daily, United States) – The world has a serious problem with texting. And while there are a lot of funny videos on-line with people texting and hitting poles or garbage cans, the behavior can lead to more gruesome incidents than the viral ones. The zombie apocalypse was foreseen a long time ago; the difference is that the smombies are not out looking for brains, but rather likes and re-tweets.
There are a lot of commercials on-line that show the dangers of texting and driving. And all of them are trying to shock the audience by showing just how much of an impact the behavior can have on an individual’s life.
There is one showing a girl texting her boyfriend that she can’t wait for him to get home. She then proceeds on asking him where he is and when he estimates he’ll arrive. But her messages are appearing on a blood stained phone on the asphalt next to a car.
It may look and sound horrifying, but that is what happens when you text and drive. And even though it’s hard to believe, the same outcome may be in check for those who text while walking.
True story, a girl was walking home, paying attention to her mobile device. While texting, liking and retweeting she started crossing a railway. The train conductor tries to warn her with audio signals that the train is approaching, but the music blasting in her earphones is not helping his case.
Because she never bothered to look to her left and right, she is hit by the train and dies instantly. This is one of the hundreds of deaths that could have been avoided if the victim would have lifted his or her eyes from the mobile device.
German authorities are seeing so many accidents related to walking while texting that they even invented a new name for the smartphone cradling people, smombies. They’re smartphone zombies, people that are refusing to lift their eyes from their device, walking around like the zombies from Evil Dead or Resident Evil.
And because there is a smombie apocalypse, the German authorities are trying to come up with new ways of protecting the technology addicts on the streets. To this end, they implemented a new traffic lights system for pedestrians.
Alongside the normal traffic lights, they added red and green lights on the pavement, where the texting generation can see them before walking into incoming traffic. It seems that the zombie apocalypse is upon us, but they don’t want our brains, just our virtual confirmation of their profound shallowness and lack of personality.

Monday, 13 June 2016

Ever fancied being a games designer?

In a high-octane exciting world where 'virtually' anything is possible, we join budding games creators Kiya and Toby as they discover there is more than you think to making computer games.

Presenter Alex Riley takes them to a big international games company to find out what is behind the console. With help from the professionals, the rookies bring their ideas to life and their game Kito Blaze is presented at a major gamers convention. However the question is, will Kiya and Toby still want to be games designers after they have been all over the workplace?

Find out more here


Tuesday, 9 February 2016

OurPact


Ourpact is a breakthrough parental control app that harnesses the power of Internet and Application blocking in order to teach children proper device use.



Monday, 8 February 2016

4 things fast bowlers can teach us about ICT in schools … by @PendukaMark

Whispering DeathWhite LighteningThe Rawalpindi Express? On the basis of that evidence it appears that the main thing fast bowlers can teach teachers is if you want respect get yourself a cool, scary nickname.  The thing is though teachers – like the rest of us – don’t get to choose their own nicknames. Also, in my experience, student nicknames for teachers are at best a bit rude and mildly amusing and at worst down right insulting. Anyway, Joel Garner (aka Big Bird) proves that sometimes the most benign nicknames can be attached to the most terrifying of quicks.  What else? Fling a lump of leather at your students at nearly 100 mph from 22 yards away? Be 6ft 4″ with a shock of platinum blonde hair and smear your face with white zinc sun block?  Both interesting strategies but somehow I don’t think @OfSTED would approve. So what is it that these pacemen, these Lillees, these Marshalls, these Steyns can tell us about #ICTinschools?
This is a re-blog submitted by Mark Compton-James and published with kind permission.
The original post can be found here.

Right skills at the right time

Mitchell Starc will tell you that in the Aussie summer on their hard, fast pitches a left arm quick is what you need.  Jimmy Anderson will tell you that in the last, lazy days of an English summer with a bit of moisture in the air a swing bowler reigns supreme.  With quicks you sometimes just need horses for courses. ICT support in schools?  Well, likewise, you need the right skills at the right time.  It can’t all be done by the same person no matter how good they are.  They may be an excellent network person but then can they do servers … or virtual desktop … or web development … or requirements gathering … or SharePoint development … or Google Apps?  So either outsource to someone with a wide range of skills or get in some deep technology expertise to back up your in-house team when needed.  Just don’t expect one person to be all things to all people

Short, sustained bursts

Image by Anne-Mette Jensen (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Image by Anne-Mette Jensen (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Focus. Four or five targeted overs – when the pressure is on – will have maximum impact.  That is what achieves results.  As the light is fading on the fourth day with a disintegrating pitch, that is when Dale Steyn will tear through any batting line up in the world.  Likewise ICT.  It isn’t a panacea but introduce it into a lesson at the right time, to illuminate a particular point or to engage a particular class and the result can be stupendous. And remember, the best users of ICT in the classroom know when not to use it.

Don’t be afraid to fail

A lot of test cricket aficionados will tell you that Atherton vs Donald in the 2nd innings at Trent Bridge 1998 is as good as test cricket gets.  Atherton famously ended on 98 not out, seemingly gaining a victory over his long-time rival.  Donald will tell you that maybe he didn’t get Atherton out that day but he learned more about himself, about his strengths and weaknesses, about Atherton, about how to think a batsmen out than from any other spell in his career.  And he used that rip England apart and skittle Atherton countless times in the future.  So when using ICT, try something new, try something different, take a risk.  It is the only way we can innovate.  Sometimes it will work.  Sometimes it won’t.  But you will always, always learn something.

Hunt in pairs

Lillee and Thomson?  Holding and Roberts?  Waqar and Wasim?  Donald and Pollock?  They were always at their best together, steaming in from either end and sharing the burden. This is especially true of ICT coordinators in secondary schools.  The changes to the #computingcurriculum, the integration of ICT across all subjects, the relentless change and advent of #BYOD and the consumerisation of IT make the role of ICT Coordinator practically a full time job.  Where I have seen it done effectively is when it is taken on by two teachers.  Not only does it share the load but it gives them a sparring partner, someone to test ideas on, confide in and be just as enthusiastic.  If your ICT coordinator ploughs a lone furrow you may end up with someone like Bob Willis – occasionally brilliant, undoubtedly talented but in the end an outsider who never quite achieved that of which he was capable.
They say all fast bowlers are mad.  I think that’s probably true but to be honest a lot of the good teachers I know are half nuts as well so there is a natural connection there. So there might be something teachers can learn from those gentleman thugs dressed in white, these d’Artagnans of the 5 day game.  But please … for the love of all that is holy … don’t start sledging your students and don’t grow a Merv Hughes moustache.