Monday, 30 November 2015


We are now at the end of our first month of children taking home their Chromebooks.  Well, half the children taking home their Chromebooks at least.  In fact, probably about 2/3's of half the children taking home their Chromebooks (there's a little maths question in there for you).

So why all the fractions?  To begin with, we're taking it slow.  We rolled the project out to Year 6 initially; then Year 5; and this week, Year 4 will be joining in the fun.  So, half the school have the opportunity to take their tech home at the moment.

But, here's the first surprise... not everyone wants to!  This caught us a little off-guard as we assumed everyone would jump at the chance!  Only around 65% of families are actually opting in to this scheme however.  Whether this is because of connectivity; additional responsibility; or lack of interest, we do not know at the moment.

The good news however, as we're talking fractions and percentages, is that 100% of the machines have returned to school undamaged and ready for action each day (well, we've had the odd one forgotten on the odd day, but I'm using artistic licence).

The other good (if not great!) news, is that children are actually using them for work and study!  Yes, children are going home and continuing with the work they began at school.  They are completing those writing tasks!  Practicing times tables!  Doing a bit of coding! Even emailing teachers for help and advice after 3:30pm!  In some cases, we even have children starting new pieces of work, self directed and self motivated, based on the topics and content we have introduced them too!  Stories, poems, reports and animations have begun to appear, just for the fun of it!  Who would have believed that children are actually enjoying learning?  Well, we did.  And that's why we set off on this phase of the project.

It's early days of course.  The novelty might wear off.  The honeymoon could end.  The internet might 'go down'.  And we'll no doubt have the odd broken Chromebook along the way.  But that is now the challenge.  Keeping the motivation high; keeping the wheels turning; and keeping innovation going, in order to engage, excite and encourage our children to become life-long learners.

Oh, and our next step... Parents.  How do we get the children's parents on-board and trained up, in order to fully take advantage of the fading divide between home and school?

Saturday, 17 October 2015

What a bag!

We're approaching the end of our journey along the road to children taking home their Chromebooks.  As I write that, I'm thinking 'no we haven't!'.  And I'm probably right.  What I mean is, we're approaching a very significant milestone.  It's the one where children take home their Chromebooks, but I doubt that will be the end of the journey.  Connectivity.  E-Safety.  Flipped classrooms.  Lost and damaged hardware.  And no doubt a raft of other issues, challenges and opportunities we've never considered still await.

So where exactly are we?  Well, following a couple of parent meetings we have a strategy for rolling out the 'take home' project.  Surprisingly, a significant number of parents said 'no' to their children taking the tec home.  An interesting, and unexpected opinion.  Some parents already have enough tec at home, so the idea of having to care for the school equipment isn't that desirable.  As a result, we're having an opt in system to allow a little flexibility.

We're going to roll out to Year 6 (age 10-11) over the next few weeks and see how things go.  After that, we'll hopefully be able to extend the project to all children.  We're using GoGuardian to provide a safe online experience for the children (  Basically a firewall and tracking system which protects the children even when they're off-site.

Another issue raised by parents was regarding the idea of a case.  We've managed to secure a good price from C-Learning ( for some Belkin sleeves which should provide enough protection for the journey to and from school.  Incidentally, C-Learning have provided us with all our hardware and are great for training and advice if you are in the UK (and probably the EU too). I would definitely recommend you look them up.

Finally, we've managed to find what looks like a decent social media site for children.  Skooville ( seems to provide a decent balance between functionality and monitored, safety restrictions.  We're going to be evaluating this with our Y6s as part of the 'go home' project.  I'll update as we get feedback.

Oh, and just before I go... Google Keep is great!

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

It's the end of the second session at Brussels.  A great experience and very valuable for sharing best practice with other schools.

Following the project, whilst we still need to promote the use of IT in the home much more, we have realised that we need to continue to develop and refocus our work in school.  With many new staff and children, we must ensure that the very best of what we have achieved over the last twelve months, continues in the future and develops even further.

Short terms goals for when we return:
. Update on the new Apps and sites we have used during the second visit to Brussels
. Develop the use of G+ as a pedagogical tool amongst staff
. Ensure all staff are up to date and up to speed with the delivery of learning through ICT.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

The journey to bring the use of Google Chrome technologies into the home is going to be a major focus this academic year.  Having spent the previous twelve months concentrating on making Chromebooks a success within school, we now need to move the learning into the home.  Some big questions and some big issues that we will need to solve: How do children log on at home?  Do children take Chromebooks home?  How do we get parents on board?  How do we train parents?  What about children with no connectivity in the home?

As a starting point, we're looking at how we can use the school web site (built with Sites) to help with the transition.  Ideally, when a pupil logs on, we would like them to see a page which is personal to them, detailing their targets, curriculum pages and assessment results in one place.  Not sure that it's possible with Sites, but that's the aim...

Better late than never?

So here it is - the Filey blog!

Following the Brussels experience we are aiming to improve our Future Classroom Maturity level by giving the children more opportunity to learn independently. They also need to demonstrate problem solving and decision-making skills. Additionally they should decide what technology they use to support their learning.

To assess the current state of the children's capabilities the year six pupils were challenged to present the findings of a local history project in an exciting manner, utilising Chromebook technology. This had the potential to use a variety of interactive platforms including Google Maps. However, most children wanted to simply provide findings in a presentation, such as by using Google Slides. Not very interactive or exciting! Clearly the children need to be given more input to enable them to use a range of tools before they would opt to use them independently. We knew the term was going to be very busy, with end of key stage tests and a Shakespeare production, so although the projects didn't have as much time as we would have liked, it clearly demonstrated that children need a balance between instruction and independent learning. This term we will need to deliver more opportunities for learning those crucial skills. Our main topic is the Romans, so expect an Italian theme to the projects!

Our other project is to bring the Chromebook technology in to the home. After a year of every child using Chromebooks at school, the next stage is obviously to enable the children to use the technology outside the classroom. This would also allow us to progress towards the Flipped Classroom scenario. We are also aiming to use technology to share pupils' assessment with the parents to constantly keep them up to date.

More to follow...