ISSN 1470-5524

Practical advice for colleagues who use, teach, lead or manage information and communication technology (ICT) in schools.

22 February 2011

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In this issue

This is a short newsletter this time, with what I hope will prove interesting information and links. No in-depth articles this time, but if you really need something you can get your teeth into then look at the ICT in Education website, which has plenty to read!

I’d be interested in hearing from anyone who has used this newsletter in their work. I know that people do (they’ve told me!) but I’d like to actually hear the details! 

Thanks to colleagues who responded to my request for information relating to experience of using a Learning Platform or VLE. I’m still interested in hearing from you if you have a view on such environments.

Conference concession

OK, this is slightly short notice, but yesterday I received a code for a £100 discount off the delegate price of the Building Schools Conference, which runs tomorrow and Thursday, ie 23 and 24 February 2011. (I couldn’t let you know yesterday because my computer decided to go haywire.) Just go to the Registration page and enter the code BSECICT in the appropriate place. I’ve looked at the conference programme, which includes talks by such luminaries as Stephen Heppell ( and Rachel Jones (Steljes), and unfortunately I can’t see a single session that I’d feel comfortable missing! For example, there are sessions about what happens now, post-BSF, what is the new “best practice”?, and sessions related to specific types of school, eg Free Schools. There is also an exhibition. If you’re able to find the time and the money, this is definitely a conference you’ll want to attend.

Scholastic access

Scholastic has kindly offered subscribers to Computers in Classrooms free access to the current editions of Nursery Education Plus and Child Education Plus.

Nursery Ed PLUS –
Child Ed PLUS –
To use the Access Code just select the ‘Get started...’ box on the right hand side and enter ‘6DC8CA’ for Nursery Ed PLUS and ‘986252’ for Child Ed PLUS.


How can you make ICT lessons more interesting? Please visit our ebook section to find the book that tells you!


Guest posts

I’m delighted that Julia Skinner, who publishes the Head’s Office blog, has been contributing some articles reflecting on my 25 Ways to Make Yourself Unpopular series. She doesn’t always agree with me either! Check out her blog, especially the resource-sharing posts which enable people to submit and therefore share information about resources they have found useful.

National Curriculum review

Graham Brown-Martin of Learning Without Frontiers has set up a wiki to collate information about events organised to discuss the ICT curriculum in England. A sort of day of action, on which such events might take place, has been declared for March 3rd. As a general note, I would suggest that if you’re submitting a response to the Department for Education as part of a group, you also submit a response on your own account, because the group submission will probably be counted as one submission (this is what usually happens in any consultation).

Budget increase for education

In the USA, that is. Read about the detailed proposals here (you may need to register in order to be able to read it, but it’s free). Some of the money is designated for the Investing in Innovation fund, which seems pretty good.

World Skills Forum

This is an opportunity for young people to take part in a competition in their chosen field. There’s an ICT section. I think schools may be interested in fielding teams in one of several categories on offer. Check it out!

Switched-on ICT

The Switched-On ICT project I’ve been involved in, which makes ICT for primary children really interesting and exciting, is going to press soon: very exciting! See Switched-On ICT Revisited for more information, and details of how to get hold of a sample copy.

My bookshelf


Subtitled “The way we’ll live next”, this book by John Kasarda and Greg Lindsay looks at the possible airport city of the future. At the moment, airports are usually located outside the main part of the city. Yet, given the fact that we still need actual physical goods to be delivered, some might argue that it makes sense for cities to be built around airports. The airport is what makes delivery of smart phones (in a timely manner) possible. In an era of growing – and instant – connectedness, we need to pay attention to the logic of what the authors refer to as the “physical internet”.

I haven’t finished reading the book yet, but from what I’ve read it’s well-written and thought-provoking. I have to say I have my reservations about the authors’ standpoint, but I’ll reserve judgement until I’ve finished reading the book!

The book is published on 1st March 2011, and you can purchase it by clicking on the link on the Amazon Books page of the ICT in Education website.

Schools and Schooling in the Digital Age

In this eminently readable book, Neil Selwyn looks at the social and political aspects of educational technology. It’s a fascinating read, full of insights. Selwyn starts from the observation that most ed tech enthusiasts seem unable or unwilling to look at the effectiveness of educational technology in a critical, reflective way.

My copy is marked (in pencil!) on just about every other page, and I would highly recommend this book. Again, you can buy it via the Amazon Books page on the ICT in Education website.

iPads for Education: 33 Useful Resources

Dr Tim Rudd of Live Lab has collated these during the course of some research he has been undertaking on the utility, use and functionality of iPads for learning. This free download looks very comprehensive, with six pages of resources covering a whole range of subject disciplines, and also a conference on iLearning. This looks very promising. I’ve just joined the iLearning Ning community and am looking forward to some interesting discussions – not least because I have reservations about just how useful iPads (and similar devices) really are when it comes to actually doing stuff (as opposed to reading about it or watching someone else do it on video).

Learning, Innovation and ICT

The major strategic objective of the Cluster on ICT is to identify key factors for improving the quality of ICT integration in teaching, learning and education in European education systems.

I’m still reading this, but I can report that it has a number of interesting recommendations. The one I especially like is:

Drop the “e” in e-learning – it is about learning in a digital and networked society.


Quick looks

How does technology affect world affairs? Evgeny Morozov’s Net Effect blog is well worth reading. Morozov often gives talks about the fact that social media like Twitter can be used in a repressive way by regimes as well as for “people power”. See his RSA lecture on The Internet in Society: Empowering or censoring citizens? for example.

One for the geographers

If you like mashing maps with various data, have a look at the MapTube website:

MapTube is a free resource for viewing, sharing, mixing and mashing maps online. Created by UCL's Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, users can select any number of maps to overlay and view.

Two for the historians

A couple of podcasts you might like.

Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History covers some uncomfortable topics from a human perspective. That is to say, it’s not just about facts and figures, but the experience of the people involved. Carlin is a journalist by trade, not a professional historian, and this makes for an interesting talk on a range of topics, from the death throes of the Roman Empire to the Second World War.

Stuff you missed in history class is also an eclectic collection of issues. The presenters, Sarah Dowdy and Deblina Chakraborty, research a variety of topics and often come up with surprising conclusions or speculation (listen to the one on the St Valentine’s Day Massacre, for example). Again, a very human perspective: for example, who could fail to be moved by the story of the Crafts’ escape from slavery in the early part of the 20th century? Much shorter than Hardcore History and pleasant to listen to, Stuff you missed in history class is definitely worth exploring.


Thanks to all of the contributors. This newsletter is (c) 2011 Terry Freedman, but individual contributors retain ownership of their copyright. Please send items of potential interest to me. Please enquire before sending me a complete article.

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Good morning, Judge. I wasn’t even there; it wasn’t my fault; he made me do it, etc. Seriously, though, all the information and links in this newsletter have been checked, and offered in good faith. For the full text of the disclaimer, please see

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