Tag Archives: inclusion

Sharing teaching ideas, strategies and evolving pedagogies at Tech 4 Change

The programme of workshops at this year’s Tech 4 Change conference was guided by school and teacher priorities added to CPD plans over the year.

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What did teachers hope to gain from the event?

  • ‘New ideas regarding technology and updates regarding e-safety’
  • ‘Tips on implementing cloud technologies’
  • ‘Keep up-to-date with any new initiatives and learn some best practice techniques used in other settings’
  • ‘An insight as to what technology is doing to contribute to the learner experience’


Feedback from the day

  • ‘Especially liked the now press play and the Tweendykes practical sessions showing how to incorporate a range of technology for cross curricular usage’
  • ‘Loved the Lego workshop!’
  • ‘The keynotes were brilliant!’
  • ‘Good chance to meet with other colleagues. Also identified some useful ideas and resources for use at my school’
  • ‘Like the variety of workshops’
  • ‘Really enjoyed the workshops’
  • ‘The online safety workshop was brilliant’

The theme for this year was inspiring, preparing and empowering students to be successful and responsible citizens in this technology-rich modern world.

Practical sessions gave opportunities to share ideas, strategies, available support and build on the schools’ network to explore how technology has positively impacted on learning.

Here’s an overview:

Innovative technologies to support the wider curriculum

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Kath Oliver, and a group of students from Tweendykes School, delivered a practical session with Russell looking at how technologies have extended the range of learning opportunities in school.

Examples of projects and resources explored by teachers included Google Cardboard, electric paint with Touchboard, physical computing devices, a barcode scanner and 3D printing.

Making the KS 1&2 computing curriculum clear: Unplugged with LEGO

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Tom Radge, an Assistant Head from Ganton School and CAS Master Teacher, joined us to share his ideas for teaching unplugged computing.

This hands on workshop gave teachers the chance to explore the use of LEGO and constructionism to deliver computing activities in school.

Constructionism starts with the belief that children learn best when they experience things first-hand and within a meaningful context. LEGO allows us to do this, and the session generated lots of practical ideas and reflections from the group.

Embedding a culture of literacy across the curriculum

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This session from Bron Duly explored how the use of ebooks has helped children to make significant progress with their reading and get the most reluctant readers to enjoy reading more, according to a study published by the National Literacy Trust in December 2015.

With a local focus, Bron also explored the findings from the reading intervention project with online libraries across a group of primary schools in Hull.

Making sense of sensors and programming possibilities: Hands-on with the BBC micro:bit

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David Ames, Associate Tutor in Computing/ICT at Edge Hill and CAS Master Teacher, joined us to share practical hints and resources with teachers.

Some of our schools have already received the devices and students have been given tinkering homework tasks since half-term.  Other teachers are planning to use micro:bit with Year 7 students in the forthcoming weeks and were keen to share ideas.

Organised learning and connected students with Apple’s iTunes U and Showbie

Neil’s practical session used iTunes U to model an environment for students to engage, collaborate and share.

Teachers were able to explore how iTunes U supports them to create structured assignments and single lesson materials for students and how learners submit their work for assessment.

Immersive storytelling: Engaging primary age children through emotion, imagination and movement

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Alice Lacey and Tom Owen, from now>press>play, took teachers on creative journeys to other worlds to explore immersive learning through sound, story and movement.

Earlier in the makerspace, the children had been taken back to Ancient Egypt as a catalyst for creativity to extend programming and writing possibilities.  This time the adults wore the infamous pink headphones 🙂

Collaborating within and beyond the classroom: A practical session learning as a learner through Google Classroom


Google Classroom can significantly transform the way that teachers and students use technology in the classroom and beyond the school walls.

In this workshop Russell and Mark explored how real-time editing of documents by multiple people can support learning, along with the seamless delivery of homework.

Making Online Safety a Priority


A fundamental part of our CPD programme has been to prioritise online safety and support schools to ensure that their knowledge, systems and protocols are in place to safeguard students and staff.

Kat Howard’s thought provoking workshop looked at the journey to outstanding, and sustaining it, amidst new and continually changing challenges and requirements.

The introduction of Ofsted’s latest safeguarding measures and the DfE’s Prevent Duty on schools as part of the Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015 were topical discussion points.

Turning a digital vision into reality through change management


How do you move an entire school to new ways of working using Google Apps for Education?

After over 25 years of at the chalkface, Mark House is not perhaps the most obvious flag bearer for technology in education.

Through a few twists and turns, Mark became the unlikely strategic lead in his school’s desire to move to new ways of working. He joined us in Hull to reveal the bumps, bruises and near misses that took place along the way, and to share the real impact that whole institution change can make.


Technology for Change Conference – 7th July in Hull

The Technology for Change (free) conference is coming to Hull in July with a range of interactive workshops, CPD designed for teachers and a live Hackspace where students will be collaborating with creative computing projects.

We’re delighted to be joined by Dr Sue Black who will deliver the keynote.

Technology and social media are changing our world. What does this mean for a digital future in our schools, local communities and beyond?

Sue is now one of the top 50 women in tech in Europe and will talk about how she brought her family out of poverty and built a successful career through education, passion and a determination.

Throughout the day there’ll also be practical sessions themed around computing across the curriculum, Google Classroom, E-safety, School in the Cloud and our iPad Academy.

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                                       Click to book your free place

And another event!

On Monday 6th July, between 18:00 to 19:30, why not join us for a Tech Meet Meet Up at the Mercure Hull Grange Park Hotel in Willerby?

We’ll be talking about how #techmums has impacted on families and mums in Tower Hamlets and how we can bring the project to Hull.

Dr Sue Black will explain the beginnings of #techmums and research findings from Brunel University.   Amongst other things : )

We’ll also likely get onto her work with Saving Bletchley Park and social media as a positive tech tool, as she joins us in Hull before her kenote speech at the venue the following day.

tech mums logo

  Click to launch Eventbrite link

Tinker, Thinker, Maker, Pi

What’s this project? What’s your question?  

Research & Play through Computing 

Over the last year or so we’ve supported an evolving pedagogy when supporting teachers from the ‘What? How? Why?’ approach of teaching ICT to the ‘Why? How? What?*’ model with Computing.

Following activities and events to develop ideas from the Maker Education Movement, we’ve received requests to progress and share ideas from teachers across the curriculum. And also from across the city.

That sees us tapping into the imaginations of teachers and students from every subject area as we launch Research and Play for Hull project schools.


Students and teachers will develop innovative ideas, to solve real world questions, using Bare Conductive materials from our Phase 1 Pure Imagination Project Boxes.  That’s what teachers will take back to their schools.

A couple of ideas of what’s possible? A starter for 10?   Here’s a peek into Russell’s planning with some of his schools.  What will your focus be?

A musical twist with a pentatonic keyboard?

Or how about a literary tale through a comic strip?

What’s next?

We’ll support you to develop ideas using the computational thinking route and provide you with the necessary resources to evidence Computing across the curriculum. Creatively and innovatively.  You’ll take your own Pure Imagination Project box back to your school.  Look out for an email with further details.

After the first project your school will be able to tap into different innovation boxes for progression onto more activities to answer more questions.   What will you learn from others and how will the network share and develop your ideas and imagination?

This is only the beginning….

How open is your imagination? And what’s your question?

It’s #PureImagination :)

* Link to Mark Dorling’s ‘From ICT to Computing’ presentation where Why, How, What is explained further

Improving access and range to switch progression for students with PMLD

Back in November we worked with Tweendykes School to specifically to explore Computing opportunities for all of their students.

Tweendykes is an outstanding community special school in East Hull with pupils aged between 3 and 19.  They have a range of difficulties which affect their ability to learn, with some having a diagnosis of ASD and including others supported with profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD).

Innovative use of ICT has always been a strength at the school and agreed projects last Autumn included (among others) the following examples:

  1. Use of Raspberry Pi to look at ways to engage a group of secondary-aged students with a physical computing project and also to explore eye tracking capabilities as an additional piece of research.
  2. Planning and resourcing a robotics project for pupils with a range of additional learning needs.  Multiple projects differentiated.
  3. Improving access and switch progression for students with PMLD using conductive paint and complimentary tech.

So much to share, but for this post we’ll look at using the Bare Conductive technologies and resources to improving access and switch progression for students with PMLD.

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Kath Oliver and her colleagues have a wealth of experience developing skills with assistive input devices.  Their ‘switch specialism’ background threw open numerous options as soon as we started to explore conductive paint and it’s possibilities in school.

We weren’t looking for technology to make displays interactive as Tweendykes already use a switch approach to showcase their pupils’ projects.  That also meant that other devices such as Makey Makey and the Ototo kits which have facilitated fantastic activities in a mainstream setting were discounted for their duplication of function already in school.

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This also started out as an exploratory project with an individual student in mind.  That must be noted as the paint was an appropriate resource to use here.  You’ll also see that the somewhat slapdash approach to painting on the letters was part of the evaluation.

We did intend to increase the width of the lettering and lines to evaluate reliability and suitability.  Apologies if it looks messy – we tried lots of alternative methods!

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  • How could the Touchboard device and conductive paint increase the range of switch use if we considered adapting the tray?
  • Would it allow the student to use almost a gesture approach to switch rather than raising their hand?
  • Would the paint option from the board allow more responses to be triggered on the tray because of space?
  • How reliable would it be?

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Moving from ‘pure paint’ as a trigger on the tray to laminates had unpredicted results. We were ‘gobsmacked and amazed’ (Kath’s words!) at the reduction in pressure needed compared to a switch.

And it worked!  The laminate was stuck to the bottom layer using velcro and the paint was ‘activated’ through the touch sensed on the top laminate.

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Any difficulties?

  • The Touchboard itself was flush to the bottom laminate on the tray as we set up the paint lines and made the connection.  This wasn’t the case once we’d attached the power and headphones/speaker.  Lesson learnt!
  • It was a struggle to paint in a careful fashion so as not to merge 2 connections and confuse the trigger.  Even though Kath had adapted a brush for more intricate painting it must be noted that we used a pot of paint.   Next time we’ll use the pens, and actually another special school starts another project next week but with pens.
  • It became apparent that because of the first point it wasn’t a reliable tool with cause and effect supporting students with PMLD.

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Next steps or ‘what if’ suggestions?

  • In this case a case.  Would a case with a battery pack and an integrated speaker help to meet the needs of this school’s application?
  • Would less audio triggers make this switch tray easier to prepare?  Perhaps spaced more apart?   Only the pen will tell!



And what about next steps generally with Computing activities?

You may remember that the Rapiro robot was used with a peer to peer learning project at another school.  It’s been included in the plan for Tweendykes and will be used to extend Computing opportunities for all.

That’ll include cause and effect, switch toys and extending programming for students with a range of SEN.  Just wait until they add their Raspberry Pi and extend even further.   Next blog post 🙂

Opening the Door to Computing opportunities for all

Perhaps now is a good time to explain the origins of the ‘Opening the Door….’ project.

From the onset of the Computing project in Hull,  our aim was to support schools to introduce the new Computing curriculum, develop staff confidence and engage with students creatively and dynamically to impact on attainment and achievement.

It was a bold statement but one that we committed to delivering with an inclusive approach.  We wanted to support and lead through CPD, projects and events to ensure that ALL students were offered opportunities to study Computing.

Just as importantly that all students were able to engage with computing projects, to get excited about Computing, and to be inspired through Computing.

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From earlier posts you’ll have seen a snapshot of what was achieved at the KS3 Raspberry Jam and event at Kelvin Hall to raise aspirations in STEM, but it’s always been a key consideration to look at progress and impact on T&L in schools afterwards.  The ‘what happens next’ consideration.

There are more school-based activities planned for this term.  There’s a day to develop computational thinking through magic and also a careers focused event looking at the role of a cyber-security professional, with techniques students can use to ensure their own e-safety, and those used to protect the nation from cyber threats.

But of course students are inspired daily in school by their own teachers, and it was a visit to the Computer Science lunchtime club at Sirius Academy that prompted another discussion about strategies towards widening participation.

I’d met some of the students at the Jam, and as I was introduced to them there was a noticeable gender imbalance; the group was mostly girls.  As a couple of teachers at other schools had talked about encouraging girls to participate in Computing activities, I asked how so many girls were engaging with this twice weekly club.

The teacher’s response?  I opened the door.

Opening the door!

The girls had been waiting outside the room before their next lesson, so an invite into the club to get an early seat and an opportunity to be challenged through computing projects led to them becoming active members of the group.

There’s nothing ‘pink’ about this club.  Just a focused and well prepared set of challenges to inspire ALL students.  This enables them to select their most appropriate progression route through challenged-based learning to support personalisation and group work.

‘Just’ doesn’t do it justice – it’s intensley planned 🙂

And so the phrase was born and has stuck.

Opening the door to Computing opportunities for all

What are the challenges offered at Sirius Academy?

Students are extending their learning through a range of projects including programming, robotics, and game-making.  A recent challenge was to build their own electronic circuits and integrate them with Arduino modules to control the robots.  Raspberry Pi mini computers also form part of their resource bank to support challenges.

They’ve also looked at wearable tech and have used the electronic fashion projects to create their own textile projects.

Girls ada fruit 1st April 2014 photo 2

Some activities at the club have been trialled and then integrated into cross-curricular projects. Creating a game controller using a Makey Makey kit gave the students the chance to test out various objects and the students thought it was a great was to explore circuits.  Now there are similar activities planned, with a cross-curricular theme, through D&T and Music.

Additionally, a group of Y8 students recently entered the BAFTA Young Games Designer 2014 competition. Using a carousel timetable, they looked at character design in art, chemical reactions and explosions in science and the ethics of gaming in Humanities.  Other tasks that were delivered through different subject areas included the design of an international marketing plan, vectors and strategy.  Finally students create a detailed proposal for their game.

Opening the door to Computing opportunities for all.

As the project extends across the city when we share ideas and plan towards priority areas, please do get in touch for any further info.

And look out for more examples from other schools who are extending Computing opportunities to ALL students.

For anybody looking for further reading and links, the CAS Include subgroup is a great resource and community.