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Innovation - Where will you invest next?

Puropelto School has undergone significant transformation over the last five years to improve the learning environment for staff and students. The change in the environment is not visible from...

Getting Mobile and Making Cartoons for Language Learning.

As we walk up the stairs to the classroom, the first observation is Petra climbing the stairs to her lesson carrying what looks like a large blue reusable supermarket shopping bag. (And it probably...

How Are You Interconnecting Learning Spaces and Technology? A School with a Zoo and Three Kangaroos

A tour of Gymnazium Teplice in the Czech Republic leaves me slightly stunned; there seems to be something different around every corner. I am greeted by two students who are keen to show me...

"Buchty" or Learning Snacks?

  Dr E Beneᚧe School is my first visit in the Czech Republic. Set in the suburbs of Prague in an area called Zscakovice, the school has 751 pupils from 6-15 years and is classified as a...

What is new on your professional learning journey?

It always seems that we have to wait a long time for the summer holidays, counting off the days on the calendar, planning for all those things we are going to do, "when we have more time";...

The Research Bus - All Aboard!

I've had several discussions with different colleagues over the last few weeks about the Living Schools Lab Project and I've decided that it is going to be an important part of my collaborative...

Observation visits Observation visits

Link observation visits schedule 2013

  • UK: 12 June and 27 June
  • Czech Republic: 16 September
  • Finland: 23 September
  • France: 30 September
  • Norway: 14 October
  • Italy: 21 October
  • Cyprus: 11 November
  • Belgium: 18 November
  • Portugal: 13 January 2014
  • Ireland: 20 January 2014
  • Austria: 27 January 2014
  • Lithuania: 10 February 2014
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What is new on your professional learning journey?

It always seems that we have to wait a long time for the summer holidays, counting off the days on the calendar, planning for all those things we are going to do, "when we have more time"; but no sooner does it arrive, than we realise it won't be long before we're meeting new students for the start of the year and perhaps some of the things we planned for, remain on the "to do" list.

Some schools have been back a few weeks already, but for others, you are just settling in for the start of the new term. New students means new routines, new names to learn (this can be a challenge for some!) and new curriculum topics. For some teachers it means new classrooms and it may even mean new schools. Something new inevitably leads to change, but it is fascinating just how much people like to keep certain things the same. 
·         Have you changed your classroom for the start of the school year? (Or has your chair been in the same corner of the room and no one dares to move it?)
·         Have you introduced anything new to the timetable? (Or is next Thursday's lesson a presentation from last year with the date changed?)
·         Have you introduced any new technologies in your own lessons or to other staff in your school? (Or do you just need to find to the key to the cupboard where you locked it over the summer?)
·         Have you tried a different style of lesson delivery, maybe shared teaching with a colleague or flipped learning? (Not a ‘flipping’ chance?)
The start of the year is always a good time to refocus and set yourself some goals. You've probably asked your students to do it and you should try to do the same.
It's a good time to look in your classroom and across the school and consider your professional development plans and consider whether there are changes that you can implement for the year ahead.
In terms of the LSL Project, this probably means you also include some time to work on your STEPS plans, to visit the community of practice, to work on your development theme and to plan to visit another school in your region. You should also determine your own professional development needs. We’re hoping to expand the network this year for new schools and you can already register your interest if you would like to know more.
September is an exciting month, because having had time to reflect and switch off temporarily over the summer, you hopefully feel energised for your new goals. It's time to set yourself a challenge.
E.g. This year, I'm going to use technology for assessment feedback with my year 8 class.
Or this year I'm going to find out how to make videos for my science homework support.
It's also a good time to look around and to see who can help you on your professional learning journey. You will probably have to ask for help! If you are a senior leader in school, you could display staff goals for CPD and technology to demonstrate what everyone is trying to achieve. What do you and other staff need help with? But more importantly, who is going to provide that help? It’s also a chance to plan when you visit someone else’s classroom to observe and share practice.
Speaking of a professional learning journey brings me nicely to the next stage of the link observation visits. This weekend I'm packing for my next destination: Czech Republic. 
On Monday I'm flying from Birmingham UK, ahead of the visit to the advanced schools and the focus group in the Czech Republic. As part of their involvement in the project, these schools are collaborating on the use of interactive technologies, and I’m really looking forward to meeting the lead teachers and their teams in school next week.