Sunday, 24 July 2011

Goodbye 11L

My form class left this term. They have been my school family since September 1995! They spent the whole week before hand telling me with sheer delight how I will cry when they leave. So for their final morning, I had made them photo albums with my favourite memories of them, their best moments, and all the things about them each that I feel should be celebrated! This, combined with a film with some silly pictures really made them (and me!) smile.

However, they then surprised me with a handmade (and laminated!) book with their best memories and comments about their time with me.

The minute I read it the tears started! It was just lovely. This was followed by some beautiful presents from them all, some lovely things said, and some simply inspiring cards from their parents! Most of all though, I love the fact we all thought the same thing!

When I started with them, I said I wanted them to feel like we were a family. In fact, they chose the tag line 'A Family of Achievers'. They started as the EBD class (over half on the behaviour register or with problems at home). Noisy, hardwork, but simply lovely, keen and enthusiastic!

In their time at Lampton, I watched their confidence grow. They presented to ministers all over the world, they represented the school, me and, most importantly, themselves, at a host of events reflecting on their own learning experiences. They started to believe they really were fab at learning. As one commented in his card to me "I can't believe the stuff you made me do. You'd tell me I'd be doing a little talk and then stick me in this room of 100 people and I just had to get on with it. It was scary, but I always felt so good when everyone came and said well done after".

We lost some along the way: Exclusions; moving; changing school; a death and through it all, we stuck together and worked to the end! I could not be more proud of the young adults they have become - both as individuals and as a cohesive group. I have no doubt that some of you will be reading about them in years to come! And most importantly, I know they will continue on with a love of learning for the rest of their lives.

So this is them (and me!) at prom (missing 2 who couldn't go). And you know what, this little reflection got me thinking.... how much of a difference could we all have made to one another if this was an all through school? If this is the difference after 5 short years - what impact could a teacher make after 10? Or even 21 years? Wow!

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Calling all teachers - I need you!

If you are a teacher, no matter what age range you teach or where you teach but if you have an interest in using mobile devices (phones, ipads, hand held consoles etc) in your lessons then I really would like to hear from you.
I am looking for teachers to join an online closed community on Facebook over the next few months.
This group has been created to invite practitioners to discuss the use and access to mobile devices in the classroom.
The cloudlearn project starts from the premise that the culture seen in many schools and colleges of blindly 'locking and blocking' in the classroom is no longer acceptable: 
* it does not prepare young people for the real world 
* it is liable to be dangerous (you wouldn't try to enhance water safety by keeping children away from water until they were 16 then throwing them off the pier...) 
* it misses some outstanding learning opportunities 
* it is disengaging ("every turned off device is a turned off child") 
* it is wasteful of resources 
...and as many, many teachers students and schools are finding, it is unnecessary. 

The key aim of the Cloudlearn project is to source, collate, reflect on and publish proven effective practice from experienced classroom teachers and practitioners - building from what worked for us, in our respective cultural and educational contexts, to offer a portfolio of general and proven approaches. 

The end-of-the-year outcome is to provide sets of strategies and advice, both specific and generic, for adults and organisations, and for teachers and their students, to help them to see the need to move beyond "locking and blocking". These sets would be given to those involved in education around the world, not just in the UK. 

Over the next few months we will discuss as a group our thoughts, views and personal experiences on this and share the successes of mobile devices and the impact on teaching and learning in the classroom. This forum will become a 'closed and secret' forum once everyone has joined. This is because, we will not only be discussing the successes we have experienced but the challenges and issues that teachers and students face in using this type of technology. 

For more general information on this project visit:
If you would like to take part then please contact me by email or via twitter @julietteheppell as soon as possible, there is a limit to how many teachers can take part so it will be first come first served.