The Message


Photo credit: Kameelah via Flikr cc

Remixing is not a new trend. In fact since the beginnings of recorded sound in the late 19th century, technology has enabled people to rearrange the normal listening experience. Dance hall culture of the 60’s and 70’s allowed local music mixers who deconstructed and rebuilt tracks to suit the tastes of their audience.

Grandmaster Flash was one of the pioneers of hip-hop. He has based his whole career on incorporating recordings from other artists directly into his work. Grandmasters Flash and the Furious Five’s  “The Message” is probably their most well known single. I love it, I even own it on vinyl!


This song has itself been sampled a in amazingly more than 200 separate songs. Grandmaster Flash really started the remix culture as we know it, both in and out of education.

Mark Twain spoke about in with a literacy focus stating  “All ideas are secondhand, consciously and unconsciously drawn from a million outside sources. We are constantly littering our literature with disconnected sentences borrowed from books at some unremembered time and now imagined to be our own.”

Photo credit: Bago Games via Flikr cc

Darrel Johnson states “Star Wars” was really nothing more than a remake of the classic Western, complete with bad guys in black hats and heroes in white.” 

So that explains the remix culture in music, film and word. But how does this link to education? 

Doug Sery, an acquisitions editor at MIT Press in the new media, game studies and design group talks about those early days of sampling as “taking songs, splicing them together and making different creations. Now people are using different media to try and get across their ideas.”


Remixing teaches key concepts and skills such as: –

  • systems thinking
  • connecting ideas
  • information gathering
  • experience
  • collaboration

So by asking children to remix using new media tools we are allowing children to show their creativity and express their ideas and thoughts using technology that they are comfortable working with.

Projects such as “YOUmedia — a Digital Library Space for Teens,” are rethinking what it means to be literate. Children are encouraged to make noise, hang out, messing around and geek out. The great thing about this project is that children are encouraged to remix and create “not on what adults think students should be doing, but on “what kids actually do and how they engage” with media and one another.”

Photo Credit: The Shifted Librarian via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: The Shifted Librarian via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: kongtemplation via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: kongtemplation via Compfight cc



Photo Credit: danxoneil via Compfight cc

The Institute of Play and The Neville Project are other projects that are remixing education putting children at the centre of what they are learning. Children are “participatory learning” using the skills mentioned above and creating and teaching others.

We are in one of these rare moments in time where what it means to be literate today, what it meant for us, is going to be different from what it means to be literate for our kids

So remixing, reworking old ideas but changing or adapting them to the 21st century can work. Maybe what we need to do as teachers is become teachers 2.0?  So teachers today need to teach

  • Communication
  • Collaboration
  • Critical Thinking
  •  Analysing Information
  • Problem Solving

We need to teach in a 21st Century way because children do not learn in the same way. Therefore our teaching must adapt. How we communicate has changed because of social media. Collaboration is the norm for teaching and learning to be effective. Children no longer need to remember facts that we did in our time at school. Instead children need to be taught how to criticaly think and analyse information. Problem solving will be a vital skill in jobs that have yet to be created.

So how does this affect the Grade 1 students who I work with? 

Well last year the Grade 1 students have been introduced to the remix culture. We looked at some remix/mashup such as NASA Johnson Style ( Gangam Style Parodoy) and Curiosity Rover “Call Me Maybe” Mashup. Last years our Grade 12’s took part in the schools first Lip Dub, which the Grade1’s loved seeing. Perhaps this could be a way of introducing it to 6 and 7 years olds.

Another way that Grade 1 have been exposed to the remix culture is through the use of  MIT’s Scratch. Scratch is one of the Apps on the iPads that we use daily and the children are enjoying coding at an early age. I would like to try more coding with the children and am looking forward to taking part in the hour of code between the 7th and 13th December. However Scratch does much more than that the website allows users to import any type of media into the interface and apply easy to use drag-and-drop programming modules to remix the pieces into new media productions.

But what about the copyright laws and plagiarism? 

Eric Faden’s A Fair(y) Use Tale mashes up Disney movie clips to attack current copyright laws and explains the fair use in the process. As our online habits and our teaching and learning is adapting does copyright law also need to change?

I suppose our role as teachers is to educate and model how to the remix culture could work in schools.

Remix culture can be whatever you do with it.

No one has summarised it better than the great artist Salvador Dalí “Those who do not want to imitate anything, produce nothing.”

So what’s the Message?

Who is striking it rich or who is running on empty?


Creative Commons Gerd Leonhard

Is Data the new oil? If so who is striking it rich or who is running on empty? Is the power with the consumer or the companies? Is privacy therefore possible or impossible? 

In the real world privacy feels like a choice. Even every day scenarios such as buying food at the shops or speaking to a friend in public we can choose to keep our privacy. You do not feel as if someone is analysing your every word or thought. Privacy is the norm. But is it private online? 

Does anyone really care about my location, my purchases or what photos I like?  

Well the answer is Yes, this is the beginning of drilling down to strike it rich. Websites and Apps depend on knowing as much as they can about us. WhatsApp was bought by Facebook for 19 billion in 2014.  If businesses know their customers connections and preferences then they can use it to improve their advertising and sell this information to other companies.

So unlike real life privacy, online privacy is abnormal. There really is no where to hide because, browsers, Websites, and Apps depend on tracking and remembering information about us.  In most cases we are just one of many millions of users and our data is used as a group and not individually. But the fact remains that whatever we do online is documented somewhere.

Creative Commons Thierry Gregorius

So why are we still happy to give our data online to browsers, websites and apps? 

The Privacy Paradox suggests people will allow access to personal data if they get clear benefits in return. That means seat upgrades, fluffy pillows, and fraud protection, not a general feeling that their country might be more secure. So we say that we want privacy online, but our actions say otherwise.

How many of us read the fine print of the privacy on Facebook? Do you look at the privacy policy on the websites that you visit?

I know I don’t. And it’s perhaps not really surprising that we don’t. After all privacy policies generally go unread, and for good reason. One study estimated it would take Americans 54 billion hours annually to read the privacy policy of each new website they visit. But we need to stay vigilant because “If you are not one of those people who read the fine print when agreeing to terms of service contracts, you should be aware that what you post publically could come back in the future to haunt you privately and professionally.”

How many of us change the settings on browsers for increased privacy? Incognito, Private browsing?

Well I wouldn’t bother because “despite the illusion, there is no real privacy in the private browsing mode across all browsers, with hidden tracker codes following your online footprints“. Although Firefox have just released a new browser without any online trackers. Even if you use privacy settings and you are very careful about what you post online there are probably several pictures of you floating around the internet.

How does this affect children?

Do children have a choice when you post on social media? Would you want your child to share with their friends photos of you waking up with bad hair? Being in a bad mood? Wearing a silly costume? The good news is that Facebook are doing something to help. Last week, Facebook revealed a program it’s developing to warn parents if they are about to share photos of children publicly instead of just with friends. A great move from a data heavyweight. However data firms sometimes simply get it wrong. Microsoft 10 allowed parents to see what their children were getting up to online, this is against the UN convention which stipulates that children have a right to privacy and a right to information. 

How does this affect education? 

I don’t want to live in a world where there’s no privacy and therefore no room for intellectual exploration and creativity.” Edward Snowden

Publishing work is great, it means children can share their ideas and thoughts with a wider audience. They can get real life and real time feedback.  As educators we can encourage children to consider their privacy.  A child could use an app such as Doceri to create a voice over discuss an image of their work.  When photographing a child’s image to publish online we could use the back of their head rather than the face where appropriate. These methods would protect a child’s privacy. If we are asking for students to respect the wishes of others when posting information/photos online, it’s important that we model that as adults.

Part of being happy online involves sharing some personal information but before you share too much think about the different options that you have and how the information that you are giving out will effect you in the future.

Privacy Matters whether you are striking it rich or running on empty. 


Digital footprint or digital tattoo?

What does your online presence say about you? Is it a permanent reminder of an embarrassing night out? Or does it show off the positive journey you have made in your life? Digital footprint or digital tattoo? 

Created using Typorama - J.Bevans 2015
Created using Typorama – J.Bevans 2015

I looked at my digital footprint; I googled myself and this came up:-

  • Links to my Twitter page and a few posts
  • A link to my Facebook page
  • A link to my linkedin page
  • A link to my COETAIL Blog
  • A few photos of me from profile pages
  • Links to other people called Joel Bevans

Apart from that not too much, phew!

What’s my reputation online?

My creative online presence has increased over the past 8 weeks of my COETAIL journey.  I was a consumer happy to “lurk” I had a passive digital footprint.  I read information, watched videos, wrote the occasional email, I liked photograph’s on Instagram or Facebook. I am becoming a creator of content, I am shaping my online reputation by following people on Twitter; commenting on other peoples blogs (COETIAL and non-COETail) and I am sharing information to my PLN. After lurking for too long I am giving back; I am creating a positive active digital footprint.

Your online presence is a modern day CV. Employers will look at your digital footprint to find more information about you.

Social media is no longer cutting-edge; it is mainstream. For HR to overlook it today would be like ignoring e-mail 20 years ago

Daniel Newman stated 80% of employers scanning for potential recruits use social media.  

Digital footprint or digital tattoo?

So when I surf the internet, look at social media, check sports results, look at emails, simply log on to the internet  I am leaving a digital footprint.  Maybe it should be called a digital tattoo; what you post online is difficult to erase. This can make life especially difficult for people who are simply messing around.

typorama 4
Quote from iRights report Created using Typorama – J.Bevans 2015

It comes back to considering some key points:-

  1. The internet is public
  2. Private information can be passed on
  3. Once you post it, it’s no longer in your control
  4. Stop and consider the consequences before posting
  5. Even if you make you post private someone can make it public
  6. Be respectful of friends, photos of them are their property. Ask them before posting.

T: Is it True? H: Is it Helpful? I: Is it Inspiring? N: Is it Necessary? K: Is it Kind?


What happens in school?

As teachers we must evolve our pedagogy to include responsible use of technology. Edutopia speaks about modelling how we use tools such as Twitter, Google +, Facebook and blogging sites giving guidance to children for best practice. Edjudo talks about shaping a positive digital footprint. Giving children a safe platform to begin their journey.  We are

Common Sense Media’s Digital Citizens

These social  and emotional ideas of respect, balance and safety are key ideas that run through everything that happens in the classroom.  Children need to understand that good behaviour should be demonstrated online not just exhibited in the real world.  Mark Barnes says Who knows what theirs is going to be, but they’re going to be creating content that’s going to be really important. I think teaching them at a young age how to do that effectively is really important.

Currently in my class we are blogging using our platform Kidblog – the children are creating content and sharing their thoughts and ideas with the wider world. For our class of 6 and 7 Years olds this is the beginning of their digital footprint.

We are about to begin a short unit of work named “Making Connections”.  This will teach the children the skills to use social media in a positive manner, to comment and to look carefully at what they are posting. The project will allow the children to access the Out of Eden Learn Walk in January.

I am interested in using twitter in the classroom. Jeff Utechts’s Reach talks about Ms. Hellyer tweeting about the temperature around the world to her followers. Ms. Hellyer showed the children the power of a network and a connected teacher. I am beginning a new unit named Structures and Materials, I would like to try this method with my students to give them an understanding of the gravity of the internet if used correctly.

I am creating a digital tattoo but what will it say about me? Are you going to get one too? What will yours be like? 

I was a lurker…I HAVE changed…I am a creator… – Course 1 Final Project

I was a lurker…I HAVE changed…I am a creator…

I have been reflecting on my journey through COETAIL. What have I achieved? What am I doing differently to what I used to in the classroom? What have I learnt that I have as yet have not had a chance to apply? Thinking about these questions I stumbled across this great article from Edutopia. It summed up my thinking about where a 21st Century teacher should be. But where am I now? Have I truly changed throughout Course 1 of COETAIL?

The most powerful way of doing this is to go back to the beginning of my journey.  In my first COETAIL post I spoke about what I was doing privately and at school and classified myself as a “lurker”.

How have I de-lurked myself? How am I doing now? What changes have I made?


I have tried to become a creator of content rather than a constant consumer. I am trying to give my thoughts, my ideas, things that interest me to my PLN community.

  • Using Twitter in a way that directly affect teaching and learning in my classroom, sharing content, creating content, giving to the community


  • Through twitter, COETAIL, Google + my  PLN has grown – almost doubling in size!
  • Through weekly blog posts I am reflecting my current thinking, ideas and an insight in to what’s happening in my classroom
  • Via reading and learning new things every day and sharing this information with colleagues, friends, family – anyone who will listen really!

I am becoming a creator 

However it is not without it’s difficulties. It is challenging to believe that people are listening to my voice and my opinions. I find it hard to think I am doing anything different or exceptional that needs to be shared with the world. But the great thing is that I am hitting that publish button every week. Even more of  struggle for me is when writing comments on other people blogs. I think it is inbuilt in me to simply hit the retweet button (Twitter) or like button (Facebook). But comment I am nevertheless.

I am, now, modelling the characteristics that I expect from the children. Well how about the students? Has their learning changed because of the course?

How have I de-lurked my class? How are the students doing now? 

In the classroom

The children are creating product (showme’s, popplets, puppetpals2, bookcreators, touchcasts) the question is how am I making the learning authentic by making the connections that they deserve. I am modelling what I am doing during the course. I am sharing with the children the journey that I am going on. I am blogging with them, sharing their content to an audience ( parents and grandparents at present.) So I suppose that is the focus of the Course 1 Final project. How am I going to to connect my students globally?

Returning to the article from Edutopia – Let’s concentrate on connections, blogs and learn with new technologies. That will do…for now…thats the project.

The class is de-lurking but it’s going to take time.

Course 1 Final Project

Grade 1 students are joining Paul Salopek on his amazing Out of Eden Learn. The skills gained will allow the students to join the Out of Eden Learn walk in January. The 6 week project prior to that will enable the students to connect with other people around the world in a meaningful, thoughtful and inquisitive way. The brilliant author Haruki Murakami says in his book Nowergian Wood, “If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking” The main aim of the project will give the students an eye to what’s happening around the world (therefore not reading the same books!), and will give them a platform to share their story.

This project will give students the skills that will allow them to make meaningful connections with the wider world, and give them the skills to relate it to what is happening on their doorstep. It will also allow the students to see things through other peoples eyes, and give them an audience for their stories. Students will gain skills that will last their lifetime and allow them to use social media in a responsive and thoughtful way. This video summarises it really well:


Ways to be part of the walk are : –

Course 1 Final Project

This is a collaborative project designed with my Grade 1 colleague and fellow COETAIL’er Suzy Ramsden for our Grade 1 students.

Are we stoking the Digital Campfires?

Humans are naturally social animals Storytelling is one of the oldest arts known to man. It has been happening since cave men and women were drawing on walls. Humans are, therfore, natural storytellers. The digital campfire, isn’t this a great analogy for the platfoms used today to tell stories?

Made with Typorama by J.Bevans
Made with Typorama by J.Bevans

Children today have many available audiences to tell a story. They can tell friends and family face to face (like generations before them) but with the help of technology children have the opportunity to share their story with a wider global audience. Children can use social media and tools such as Facebook, Twitter, Blogging, Youtube, Vimeo, Flickr or Instagram as their platforms to tell their stories.  The world is their oyster!

Are children using social media to tell a story worth listening to?

Some children are and some aren’t. This article from Edutopia explains that children are using social media but perhaps not to it’s full potential.

And if so, are we giving the the proper guidance to travel down the varied paths? “

So children are great at messing around and geeking out  however we must model how to use technology so that children can reach their full potential. This is how children are going to be able to tell their story to the world via social media.

“But what are we doing to promote critical thinking, questioning, and constructive criticism”

But who is to blame?

Us, the educators. We are not consistently modelling how to tap into the power of social media to tell a story. We are not using social media so that children can tell stories. Social Media is not entrenched in school life and so we are missing the opportunities that social media are giving us.  After all technology and specifically social media are allowing us to : –

  • Educate with the world in mind
  • Share our desire to know more
  • Show their are several perspectives
  • Know the meaning of being a true global citizen

So what am I doing?

I have started to blog for the first time in my life. Writing these weekly posts has really helped me to reflect on the teaching and learning in my classroom. What do the children need to know? How am I getting them to show their learning? Am I modelling the use of technology consistently in my classroom? I ask my students to be reflective so I must model that and be reflective myself ( a blog is a tool for that). I ask my students to create content for other people, to collaborate and communicate with others via technology. I am doing this via my COETAIL site and via my twitter PLN. I am allowing time to read other people’s blogs, read articles, make comments on other blogs.

So what do I need to allow the children to do? 

The same as what I am doing. I need to model how to use social media, how to write a blog post, how to make a comment that probes deeper, how to ask questions, how to interact with others, how to see the bigger picture. To do this I am making:-

  • time for technology modelling – how to write a blog post, how to make a comment, using my PLN
  • time in my classroom so that children can have opportunities to mess around with technology
  • blogging writing time as literacy centres
  • blogging reading time as literacy centres
  • time to find out and begin the journey on the Out of Eden Learn project
  • time to connect with other children in other class’s and other schools from around the world
  • time to take part in global days ( e.g. dot day)

I know I have to do more but it is a start…

There are other projects that are beginning to stoke the digital campfire. They are changing the way that social media can be used to tell meaningful authentic stories that can bring about real change and focus on big ideas. These stories and social media projects are the way that us, the educators, need to start using it in the classroom to make a change.

Projects such as : –

The digital campfire idea came from watching this wonderful, powerful video via


If we do this then we will have stoked the campfire enabling children to tell their story to a authentic global audience bringing about change in the world. Are you stoking your digital campfire? 

Technology is NOT just a tool

Technology is just a tool. What a great quote, by Bill Gates. I think technology can be driving force to change the education system.  Technology has helped the education system to move with the times.

I love the picture below which clearly shows that technology has moved the education system forward, right?

Wrong! You can use google docs on you iPad or computer in exactly the same way as you used a typewriter.

The thought on my mind is, does technology change how we teach?  Or is technology simply another tool for the children to show what they know? 20 years ago children were using paper, pens and books. Is my teaching any better any richer now that I use iPads in my classroom instead of paper and pens. Maybe it is a bigger question, maybe these technological tools will never truly “change” education.


David Perkins, in his book Futurewise, states that children have constant information at their fingertips in their “hyper connected” world and asks “what is worth teaching?”  Do children need to be able to memorise facts they can simply “Google?” Does our education system give children an opportunity to really use the tools that they are messing around or geeking out with?

I agree with much of this picture from Technology is not a learning outcome, it is a tool, if used correctly it can be more than a tool.  As educators we need to think about the big picture, changing our practice to work with the power of technology. After all:-

  • Paul Salopek on his Out of Eden Walk is breaking down cultural barriers by using the power of technology to tell a stories. Without the use of technology it would be much harder to connect to such a wide audience and be so easily and quickly accessible.
  • The work of learn out of eden walk connects children via social media accross the world. Children are taking a closer look at their local area by taking part in a walk.  The children use social media in a respectful inquiry oriented dialogue.  This project allows children to connect their own lives and understand bigger human stories and broader global issues.
  • Technology allows us to have information at our fingertips. We have more access to quality and up to date information than ever before. Our role as educators is to teach children how to find the good information and disregard the bad.
  • Technology can enable students and teachers to collaborate more. Google drive really has made collaboration much easier no matter where you are geographically.  Padlet is a great tool for bouncing ideas around with in a group.
  • Social media has allowed for a huge amount of connections through PLN’s for both children and teachers. This can save time and allow for further collaboration.
  • Coding in educational settings is allowing for children to create new content for others to use and interact with. This is giving children options to create Apps that they need, when they need them.

In real terms here are some examples of how technology has aided my class’s learning.

  • Tool : Kidblog Outcome: Start conversations and connections.
  • Tool : Google Drive and Padlet Outcome: Allowes greater collaboration in planning, assessment, information amongst Grade 1 teachers.
  • Tool : Bookcreator Outcome: Gives children a real audience to their writing, storytelling and voice.
  • Tool : ShowMe’s through flipped classroom Outcome: Allows for more active learning in the classroom and learning at each child’s speed.
  • Tool : A growing PLN Outcome: Creates authentic connections for the children.

I realise that this is just a beginning in my classroom, I want to keep pushing to create meaningful connections.  I want children to raise awareness about issues that are important to them and to find answers to their questions.  Children can change minds or views, take action and make a difference, this will bring about change. However they can not do this alone.

Teachers are still  the most important people in education, teachers can change, adapt, guide and differentiate. Teachers understand the needs of all their learners in their classroom. The know where the students are and what they need to continue to grow. They understand the human element of their class and colleagues.

Technology is having an impact on teaching and learning but without teachers who truly understand how to use technology or educational systems that have been adapted to fit the technological advances; change will be difficult. Used correctly though, technology is more than a tool.

Is there an app for that?!?

Whatever you want to do you can buy and download an app that will probably do the job that you need it to do. But is that a good thing? Does that enhance student teaching and learning?

There are over 1.5 million apps, according to, currently available on the Apple App Store. Out of these 1.5 million apps there are over 80,000 educational App’s.

So how am I doing in my classroom? 

Am I dipping my toe into the water? or am I discovering new species of life deep below the ocean surface?

I use technology a lot in my classroom. Is it always successful?  

Do the children and I enjoy using technology at school? Yes!

Can it be frustrating to use? Sometimes!

Do I always choose the right app for the task? Not always!

Is it successful?  Most of the time! 

This week I have been thinking about all of the reading since beginning my COETAIL journey and how it effects technology being used in my classroom. Whilst looking at twitter I came across a wonderful tweet which tied all of my thinking together. The tweet was by Jill Berry who was quoting Jose Picardo from a new article taken from TES.

So what technology do I use in the classroom?

I use the iPads to create, collaborate, communicate and critically think. Therefore I choose Apps that can be used across subject areas. Many of the Apps that I use are open ended and are not tied for a specific purpose. I limit the amount of Apps that I use throughout the year so that children can become masters of each App.  Children can build their knowledge and skills slowly enabling them to choose Apps that are more suitable for a particular task or learning outcome.

The Apps that I use are :-

  1. Bookcreator – to create interactive books that can be turned into movies and shared through youtube or kidblog posts.
  2. Skitch – take a picture and draw, write, modify,it to show what what was happening, label or how you could change a plan. Last year we used it outside in our garden thinking about designing a new area.
  3. Touchcast – to record newscasts, weather reports, poems etc. Last year the chidlren created poems, weather forecasts to show their learning.
  4. PuppetPals 2 – for chidlren to really find their voice in an informal setting. This year the children have used is to communicate with each other.
  5. ShowMe – for the children to share what they know about a particular subject. An App that we use lots, this year children have used it to show their learning in maths, literacy and our Unit of Inquiry.
  6. Popplet – a mind mapping tool. This year the children have used it to share what the know about communication.
  7. Keynote – to make a presentation on a particular subject. Last year the children used it to make presentations on shapes in the local community, and animals from the local area.
  8. imovie – to create a movie about anything the children are interested in. Last year we recorded a video about recycling and shared it with the school.

The children use the camera function on the iPads to record what they are doing. Having an iPad station (with a microphone and tripod) allows children to record their thoughts and thinking. 

Do I think that my use of technology is reducing learning? No. Do I hope that is adds to their learning? Yes.

How do I make it authentic for students? 

I use Kidblog as a tool for the children to show their work to a wider audience. This includes parents, grandparents and classmates.

I would like to link with other class’s around the world, collect comments from further afield, use the power of Twitter and my PLN to create more opportunities for the children to share their learning and understandings with a wider audience.

Is there an App for that? Probably

Out of 80,000 educational Apps I use 8.  The important factor, is not forcing technology into spaces that it can not go. iPads and technology are only meaningful tools if they are used correctly.  I am not saying that I am using technology correctly all of the time but I hope that I am transforming some of the learning experiences by carefully using the Apps that allow for greater creativity and more connections. Quality not quantity.

Does it always enhance student success? That depends…



Connecting the dots


So, I made some connections this week…

I worked with educational consultant Pat Handly-Johnson for four days looking at our school’s Professional Growth Model. It was a great pleasure working alongside an educator with so much experience and knowledge. Through this connection and conversations the school will create a better Professional Growth Model, for all members of the school.

So, I made some connections this week…

I worked with Rachel French, the PYP Coordinator at Frankfurt International School. Rachel helped our Grade 1 Team plan a strand of our Math’s Curriculum with a special focus looking at inquiry based learning. Through this connection Rachel has helped our grade1 team to grow in their knowledge and use of inquiry in Maths.

So, I made some connections this week…

I passed the mark of having 100 followers on Twitter. Some of these are friends and family, some of these are people I have never heard of and some of these people are part of my growing PLN. I am hoping my PLN, as edublog says, will be “an empowering, transformational process, which fundamentally transforms your professional learning and teaching approach. ” I got more retweets and favourites than I have for the entire time I have been on Twitter. ( Well it certainly felt like that!)

So, I made some connections this week…

I organised 3 Parent workshops for the Grade 1 Parents to attend so that they could log onto their child’s Kidblog, make comments and create a connection between home and school. Over 30 parents came and spoke with the Technology Facilitator about a number of things such as logging in, to the type of comments to write to help the children in their blogging, to the use of social media to create more connections across the world (potentially). I even tweeted about it using my class twitter account and retweeted it using my account!!

Screen Shot 2015-09-20 at 17.27.30

So during this time I was not in the class were the children still making connections? Of course they were. The children of today are “networked students”


After looking at the video my thoughts retuned to my last weeks blog post and in particular some of the comments that were made about it. I was asked about how I connect my students to a greater community that will allow the children to gain feedback on their creations. I was asked when they share something can I help the children to connect with others who might share something in return.

How can I make more meaningful connections for my students? 

I think an article  from Convergence Academies, “Bearing a Heavy Node”, gives me some clarity in moving forward.

Moving our children to this new world of learning is not the challenge. Moving us adults there is.

It is my role to help students to construct knowledge rather than to reproduce a series of facts

It is my role to create the conditions in which a person can become an accomplished and motivated learner in their own right

So I need to…

It is my role to continue to de-lurk  it is my role to continue to create , it is my role to continue to connect with other like minded people around the world. It is my role to create as William Plomer said “creativity is the power to connect the seemingly unconnected”

It is my role to be a role model to the children in my class and think about Blooms Revised Taxonomy.


I am beginning to connect the dots.

I am a lurker…but I am changing…

Am I a creator or a consumer?

I have  a confession to make…I am a lurker…but I am changing…



Throughout reading chapters 1  & 2 from Jeff Utecht’s Reach I was thinking over the phrase “lurker”.

Was I one? Did I intentionally lurke? If so, why did I lurke?

After some soul searching I googled ” lurker”  to see if I indeed was an online lurker, a quick google and wikipedia offered the following definition:

In Internet culture, a lurker is typically a member of an online community or PLN who observes, but does not actively participate.

I had a little think about the social media that I use in my personal life. Where do I fit into all this:-

  • Facebook – lurker ( I tend to consume information rather than create or share – my only post last in the past 12 months has been to inform friends of the birth of my daughter. )
  • Twitter –  lurker (who has dabbled a little at being a participator via retweets, favourites etc – but still falling short of creating content for others)
  • Instagram -lurker ( not posted anything on there for years
  • Linkedin –  definite lurker (who has only updated his page once in the past 3 years)
  • FaceTime and Skype -( hard to lurke when family and friends want to see the kids )

Unfortunately it looked like I was a consumer.

Why lurk? 

So then I thought why do I have a tendency to lurk with regards to social media. Is it because I am not sure what to post on twitter, or Facebook? Is it because I prefer to consume information rather than create it?

Reading further I came across this article, on  “The End of online lurking” which makes me wonder even more about de-lurking, becoming accountable on the internet and being one of the 1% of people who create content not just consume it. Wikipedia helped to calm my thought by adding

Lurking allows users to learn the conventions of an online community before they actively participate, improving their socialization when they eventually de-lurk

So I guess it is time to de-lurk, it is time for active mode, it is time to become a creator of content. Coetail will make me push out of my safe bubble, I will begin to make comments on peoples blogs, I will begin to post regular blog posts and I will begin to use twitter in the correct manner rather than checking the latest football gossip.


The 4c’s

My thoughts then turned to the classroom. What do I expect the children in my Grade 1 class to do when they use technology? Do we use the iPads that we have in class as tools to consume information?

In the classroom I ask the children to use the iPads and technology  to “show their learning” as a tool to be able to share what they know. The iPads are not used just for the children to play ABC songs, or watch videos. They are used for a specific purpose to show their knowledge in all areas of the curriculum. With the help of the amazing ICT facilitator, who works in our school, we talk about the 4C’s in the classroom when using technology.

  • Create
  • Collaborate
  • Communicate
  • Critical Thinking

I ask the children to create in my classroom. Yet I was not.

I ask the children to collaborate in my classroom. Yet I was not to other educators around the world .

I ask the children to communicate. Yet I was not with the world outside of my classroom.

I ask the children to critically think. Yet I was not.

Last year all the children in my Grade 1 were blogging. Sharing what they had created in school, communicating with a wider audience for a real purpose, sharing their collaborations with other people around the world, and critically thinking about the work they were producing.

The children were creating.

It is time for change

Technology moves so quickly and the children in my class need me to change to help them on their learning journeys. After watching a brilliant video with Sir Ken Robinson, Author and Creativity Expert and reading am excellent article taken from Wired. I have decided that the time for change is now.

I have  a confession to make…I am a lurker…but I am changing…It is time for action. It is time to de-lurk!

Anyone care to help me on my way?













New Beginnings

After 4 weeks of school holidays where not once did I check school emails or think about school, I thought it was about time to prepare myself for a couple of new beginnings in my life.

Firstly my wife and I are expecting our third child within a matter of weeks (It’s OK though, I am sure we will be fine everyone says the third is really easy!!). To help get us prepared I have been doing some DIY in the girls bedroom by making a bunkbed.


Secondly I am beginning to delve deeper into the world of COETAIL. I have signed up to be part of the online cohort 5, starting in September 2015. 


My interest is the course began, in June 2014 during a course with Jeff Utecht at the Learning Institute hosted by The American School in London. I dipped my toe in the water (so to speak) as I became aware of Connectivism Theroy, developed an understanding of learning communities, learnt about the power of blogging, discovered the Flipped Classroom, read about the power of gaming in the elementary classroom, recognised the need for 20% time in the classroom and much more. I returned to school with lots of ideas for the school year. Some things were incorporated into how our team works such as all our grade 1 children (80 children) were blogging on kidblog (showing their learning to other people for a purpose), children used iPads to create, communicate, and colloborate with other people, 20% time was started at the end of units so that the children had time to reflect, reinvent and create in their own time and at their won pace. However as we know there are usually a million and one things that have to be done at a school and the eternal juggling act means that some things get left behind. So there are many things that I wanted to attempt in the classroom that I did not have the opportunity to try to use in my school day. There have been so many links go amazing ideas that I have found on twitter or on blogs that I have not yet put into action. Which got me thinking about working as part of a community, making connections, having conversations with like minded people and so my thoughts returned perhaps looking into starting the COETAIL course.

When I heard a that a few of my colleagues were thinking about signing up for the COETAIL course I thought back to the learning experience that I had last Summer and about how it had transformed the way that I taught and how the children in my classroom were learning. I wanted to know more…

So here I am writing my first COETAIL blog post before a couple of exciting new chapters in my life begin and I am looking forward to the future.

A young boy dreams big dreams of what lies beyond