365 days in my shoes Day 75




Reflections on a day spent with Tim Rylands.

It’s all about the learning.


All about the kids!



Durham Local Authority organised an ICT conference with Tim as their keynote speaker. It was the most amazing day crammed full of wonderful ideas to inspire and engage children’s creativity by communicating through technology.


How far has technology come?

What do you remember using as your first piece of technology?

I do recall having a Binatone tennis and football games hooked up to a small portable black and white TV – one that also worked off a 12V battery!!! The constant ‘blip bleep’ as the white dot sailed across the screen entertained for hours and also tied up the TV as no-one could watch anything on the four available channels.

This progressed to the Commodore 64. My brother was into the Dragons game and was determined to achieve the next level. The computer had to be left switched on all the time otherwise it erased everything you had achieved so far and you went back to the beginning.

My experience of technology at school was simply a calculator. After my first year in secondary school where we were mixed ability, we all found ourselves in three main groupings – everyone ‘labelled’ them as top, middle and bottom band. Those in the top band did the usual subjects plus French, German and Latin. Middle band did French and had ‘computer science’. The bottom band didn’t have French and didn’t have ‘computer science’.

I took French, German and Latin all the way to A level.

I qualified as a teacher in 1991 and that was the first time I saw a computer in my classroom. Dot matrix printer that was extremely loud and the programme ‘write’. There were BBC machines around with the oversized floppy discs and Folio.

Tim mentioned many devices from ‘the past’ which certainly made me feel my age as they were around all through my past too.

@johndavitt Tim mentioned John – International advocate for switching on delight, writer, speaker & digital toolmaker: learning event generator, #learningscore, the LEG and #lob events


Do you remember using this to aid your teaching?


Tim is all about keeping the main thing the main thing.


Technology is moving fast. I own a laptop, iPod, iPad and an iPhone. I do find myself constantly checking messages, tweets, comments on my blog etc… These become part of daily life.

The past, the best of yesterday and bring on tomorrow.

Our children are born into this technology and move so quickly with it, embracing it without question, accepting and using it as a way of life.

Do we, as teacher ensure that we are keeping up with the kids in our schools, in our teaching and in the use of this technology?


Our theme centred on ‘Back to the Future’. I love this film and the 2 sequels that followed. Came home from the conference desperate to watch all three back to back!

Tim’s keynote speech is fast pace, full on, energetic, exciting, engaging and inspirational. What is it? Simply fantastic teaching. Isn’t this what we all want our children to have and to feel when we teach?

Travelling at 88mph, Tim took us through the most amazing technological
Ideas to engage, inspire, motivate, enthuse, encourage, excite teachers and children. Get them talking and get them writing!

We were taken back to our past looking at the first technologies including, one for the boys!!!


There are many people talking about the use of technology and its place in the classroom and being innovative with it.

Dan Roberts is one of these people. His twitter handle is @chickensaltash .


Watching this clip from TEDEX includes a similar comment about boys exploring calculators and being innovative.

http://tedxlondon.com/portfolio/dan-roberts/. Definitely worth a watch even just to watch him strip!

Are we keeping up with the kids?

21st century learning


We have to keep up with the enthusiasm and the tools our kids are using.

Are we making sure we focus on Impact – quality teaching and learning.

There’s more.

There’s a lot more.

Take from it and learn.

What is the impact?

Giggle bytes and mega bytes – let’s look at a whole host of apps, programmes and downloads with Tim.

We have to learn the art of patience, new concepts in logic.

Idea of moving forward…..

How many of us use twitter or blog? Tim posed this question.

The show of hands echoed this……………..

I blog. It can be quite random. I blog about learning, my shoes, my singing – hence the title of my blog,


If you really want to read some fab blogs, I have a selection here but really need to update it with the many mORR fab blogs I read.


All of these folks are fab to follow too on twitter!!!

@stevebunce uses Social Knitworking – great guy to follow.
Check out his tweets and follow the ‘punmeister’!!!

WeJIT tools great way to get independent thinking and then collaboration.

Lino it app using digital post its.

It’s all about getting our children to work on-line. How do we make this happen when there are many teachers who fear the technology or are not keeping up with the kids.

Do we ask questions effectively? Do we have the Y Factor?
Asking powerful questions leads to deeper thinking which = deeper learning.

Fab friend @JOHNSAYERS has an amazing blog and has created the question matrix which supports different levels of questioning. The matrix supports deeper questioning, deeper thinking and deeper learning. It’s important we give time for deep learning and not simply hurtling headlong through a curriculum or syllabus.


The Cs in cold tea?


Communicate, communicate, communicate.

Get the kids talking. We have to get children to take off and let them fly!

Think about process that comes before and around.

Think and share = independent collaborative thinking

Give children real purpose.

Are we capping the learning and the challenge.

One way of developing fab attitudes to writing is through blogging. Blogging is the safest way to write On-line.

Blogging is powerful.

@DeputyMitchell king of the quad blog!

David Mitchell is worth a follow. He enables four schools to hook up together to quad blog. Each school can view each others’ blogs and the power of commenting on someone else’s writing is amazing. Children know their writing is going to be read by at least three other people. Imagine the feeling getting some else miles away writing a comment on your work. I get that on my blog. Love it! Setting up your own blog through WORDPRESS couldn’t be easier. You can moderate the comments that come through and only approve those you wish etc…


Julia Skinner, retired head teacher, leads on the 100 word challenge. Julia is definitely worth a follow!!!!



Empowering and enabling children to challenge their writing and know it’s read all over the world.

Blogging – children have a real reason to write.

Empower, enable, engage = results, success

Sharing ideas can be scary, but worth the risk.

Esafety is all about guiding our children rather protecting!

Get kids talking, thinking and ultimately sharing in their writing.


As teachers we are under enormous pressure to meet targets, jump through hoops, ensuring children can read and write etc…

We have to be innovate in the ways in which we engage, inspire and enthuse our children. It is a pressure BUT pressure makes……..


Do we understand enough about the power of these technologies?

@RachelOrr: @MultiMartin Orange class gets a mention from @timrylands

Martin Waller is passionate about digital literacies and has been blogging with his class successfully. Another fab friend to follow!


This is Tim’s biggy, his favourite. The excitement and enthusiasm oozing from him as he present this app is infectious.


A keyword is typed in which brings up some inter-relational words but once you refine this the most amazing result ensues. Tim shared the example of Africa and the elephant. The app populates with all connections and links. Amazing to see.

As well as using photos of landscapes to inspire writing, Tim shared Panoramas dk http://t.co/0znoGUBBNw .

Making digital panorama of a landscape and then simply stand and look at it. Talk about it. Write about it.

Using Clevr……..

Stitch your photos together!

Virtual panorama – This tool enables you to stitch your photos together to make a digital panorama.

We move onto Games Based Learning.

Do you have a wii?

Turn the sound off! Get the kids to do the commentary.

Tim is often linked with MYST.

More on myst


It is at this point during the conference I switch between tweeting and surf Tim’s blog. Twitter is immediate! The power of blogging is equally immediate when you discover that while you are tweeting, Tim’s blog is being constantly update and the conference is live on his blog. Sarah has been photographing the conference and updating the blog so that it is totally organic and living. It’s the here and now!

Red dress, red heels, front row!


@sarahneild Another pic as Sarah told me she simply had to get the shoes in the shot!!!


Do you remember the digi blues?

Tim turns the focus onto JELLYCAM – a great way to break stories down.

Garage band and Soundalike – tools to build layers of sound.

Other apps and tools to have a go with include:-






POWERFUL TOOL – Crazy talk 7 It isn’t free but it is so worth it. It really does get the reluctant talker talking! How many kids do you know refrain from being vocal? Animate and talk. Amazing!

Those of you who have followed my blog will know I am a passionate follower and advocate of Pie Corbett. Fab to hear Tim mention Talk for Writing.

Developing a whole school approach to writing.


Grammar SPaG, Pie’s way!


It’s about getting children enjoying the process of playing with words and language.

This next tool is amazing. It support the reluctant reader.

@MonstersCanRead Teach your monster to read, based on letters and sounds and synthetic phonics. Children are actually teaching sir own monster to read whilst learning to read themselves.

I love wordplay! Can’t get enough of words, language, etymology.

We have probably all used WORDLE. I have even wordled my school’s OFSTED report and displayed it around school.

TAGXEDO is similar but far more versatile.

Tim uses WORDLE for spelling lists.

TAGXEDO you can choose the shape you want to display the words in and when you hover over a word it jumps out etc…


We have to help our children in knowing the power of words and juggling them.

It’s up to us to bring words to life for children so that they develop that love of words and language.



Snappy words shows the relationship between words and provides other suggestions.

Get children going with their writing to the point where they don’t want to stop.


This tool enables children to make their own books.


Simon Widdowson is another great chap to follow. @xannov

He has used this tool to great effect.



Why do we have a fear that using handheld devices and especially BYOD will have problems?

These tools ENGAGE.

Check out ‘Tongue of involvement!’


The power of using a variety of tools and apps to make the creative, interwoven links and connections.

Group zap make a virtual postit board

Brainstorm app



Should we be giving our children tech breaks? This does not mean giving them a break away from technology but mapping in 10-15 mins a day where there can touch base with their technology. I know I do it. I have the need to check twitter, check my DMs, @ mentions, emails, comments on blog. I have all email accounts and twitter feeds interlinked so they all flow through one stream on my iPhone. GEEK? Absolutely and proud of it!


Are we training children to be in the classroom – get them outside!

Run keeper app – map your routes outside, take photos and then write.

Spongelab = that’s absorbing!

Get our children to want to pick ideas up and juggle them. Children will want to write.

Do you allow the use of YouTube in your school?

Firefox video download helper

Download film and edit


Children will ask questions and sometimes they simply want to be given the answer. Don’t give it, even if you know it. Pretend you don’t know the answer and that’s when the best learning can take place.

We are teaching children to take on jobs that have not yet been invented.

We have a challenge in our schools.

Flipped classrooms


Do we have our backs to their future?

Children use these devices daily. It is part of how they live. Part of how I live now. Love it.

It’s not what they use. Is about what they say when they are using it.

It’s what they say about what they use too!

Are you going to make that journey?

Are you going to time travel?

We are a powerful force if we unite and it’s up to us to make our kids’ future.

Battle Staff Galactica!!!


The path is moving so fast! Can you keep up?

Michael Gove is taking us forward to the past!


Those who can’t keep up …………?

We mustn’t turn our backs on our kids’ future. We have a moral duty to our kids.

Hit the road, Jack?

There aren’t any roads where we shall be travelling!

Lastly – a little self indulgence.

Just for you, Tim, for mentioning my shoes and singing through high heels and high notes!!!

Shoe leadership!


Hitting the high notes in Verdi’s La Traviata.


Amazing day! ExtraORRdinary man! ORRsome learning!


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