Saturday, January 7, 2012

New Year, New Enthusiasm

Reading back through the majority of my posts last year you could be forgiven for wondering why I've called this blog The Web 2.0 Optimist. With strikes, gripes and despair over ICT qualifications I've sounded anything but optimistic. The ever present shadow of OFSTED which is a fact of life when you work in a school under notice to improve doesn't give you must incentive for enthusiasm and optimistic thinking. 

Well for better or worse OFSTED finally arrived the penultimate week of last term and whatever the verdict we will at least know where we stand when the report comes out. So time for a New Year fresh start and a large dose of positivity. Time to try some new ideas and shake off the doom and gloom.

This morning reminded me why I love Twitter so much. Over the holiday I had come across via Twitter and thought it looked good. However in the middle of the Christmas festivities I didn't investigate it in any detail. Over the past few days however I've seen it mentioned a few times in my Twitter stream and thought I'd better have a proper look. I'm glad I did. Class Dojo is a free online behaviour management application. You can set up classes by copying and pasting classlists:-

You can also set up your own positive and negative behaviours for each class:-

You can then award points in realtime, either from your PC or from a smartphone as you walk round the class. 

You can keep the application up on the IWB while you are going round the class and when you award a point it makes a satisfying boing noise and updates the running total for the student. I tested it out with my 11 year old daughter and her sleepover mate and they loved it. It also produces summary reports and you can reset the running totals when you like e.g at the start of each term. I'm going to try it out with my classes on Monday and see how we get on. I think it is going to be really useful for focusing my attention on those students who work hard every lesson rather than those whose poor attitude to learning seem to take up more of my time.

After mentioning Class Dojo on twitter I received links from others who are using it in classroom, Mark Cummingham and Matt Fottergill which have given me a headstart in my experiments next week. Matt tipped me off about the students wanting to change their avatars and gave me the opportunity to look up on the help section to see how to do it. I also liked Mark's idea about letting the students award points to others who have helped them or to themselves when they have completed a task and it made me think more about the categories I need to set up. On a technical note, while looking through the help section I noticed that Class Dojo does not run in IE without a plugin. This isn't a problem on my laptop as I have Chrome installed but the desktop attached to my IWB only has IE7 so I need to make sure the plugin will download on the school network before starting to use it in the classroom.

Other ideas in the pipeline. I really like Ian Addison's planning googlesite:-

and am going to be working with a fellow ICT HoD to try and create a similar one covering secondary ICT. 

I also want to get contributing more to #ictcurric resources as I've been somewhat distracted of late:-

I'm off to London on Friday afternoon for the BETT Teachmeet and then the show on Saturday. I'm particularly looking forward to the teachmeet takeovers and putting some faces to twitter ids. Couple of BETT ideas:-

100 faces project might be an idea for a joint school blogging project for yr7 or yr8 - family photos with an interview or written piece about the person - can we get faces from 1 year old to 100 years old on a joint blog.

Also want to checkout Mirandanet and have applied to join

And if that lot doesn't keep me busy, I've also learnt to crochet over the holiday which I'm really enjoying. There - now that's a little more positive.