Teaching and Learning Leeds

Teachers are busy people, lots to do with little time, so it was a genuine pleasure to spend my Saturday with over 300 fellow teachers who came to Leeds to learn and share together.  I was presenting about using technology to unlock pedagogical practices, but this also allowed me to see some other great sessions from inspiring teachers.  My key take-away points from this are as follows.

  1. Be aware of your own cognitive biases; accept the possibility you may be seeing things wrong even if you think you are sure you are right.  This is the first time I had seen David Didau, but I have read his excellent book about this topic.  Although we do differ in our views on the role of technology in the classroom, I enjoyed meeting the man and discussing some of the data madness over lunch.  I really like the idea of a left-handed intervention policy!
  2. Cargo cult data and psychometrics were discussed by Jack Marwood, an influential primary teacher and statistician.  All exam results in all subjects have large standard deviations (9-19%), so comparing results over time is a flawed approach.  For example, a dip in results, or a rise, could be statistically insignificant, and over time results will simply regress to the mean.  This session also discussed the Halo effect, and how this influences OFSTED inspectors when making judgements.  Thankfully, the incoming Chief Inspector is aware of statistical variations as part of her previous role as chair of OFQUAL, so hopefully the over-reliance on data as a tool for judgement by OFSTED will have had its day.
  3. Iesha Small discussed leadership, and how communication is key.  She discussed the fact that communication is also what you do, not just what you say.  She also reflected on the advantages of introvert traits in leaders, in that they listen and think more carefully before they act.  A great session, I really enjoyed listening to her speak, and the brilliant quotes from books that she based her presentation on was a refreshing change from powerpoint slideshows.

My session focussed on the correct use of technology in the classroom, and how you should plan whether or not to use technology on the pedagogical aims rather than on the task itself.  We looked at meta-cognition, questioning, feedback and low stakes testing and even had time to get hands on with Socrative and Getkahoot.  A copy of my Presentation can be accessed via the drive link below

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B2oB5E8tBACiQWs5bVl3U1liYzg/view?usp=sharing

Well done to Anne Williams for organising a great event, hopefully i’ll be back next year.

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