Archive for June 2008

Athens Update

As of today, if you log onto Athens, you may notice a difference. When you try clicking on the Blackwell-Synergy site, you are instead directed to a site headed 'Wiley InterScience'. This is because the Blackwell site has been taken over and closed by it's new owners.

In future, all of the journals which you could previously read in full through Blackwell should now be available through the Wiley site. At present we've noticed that a number of these titles don't seem to be giving us full access, but we are contacting the site owners to rectify this situation as soon as possible. All other Athens sites remain unaffected.

Web Domains

For those of you who find it difficult to navigate the internet smoothly, things may be about to get harder. From next year, the way in which web addresses (URLs) are regulated will change radically.

Until then, why not improve your knowlege of the internet by learning what some of the common suffixes at the end of web addresses signify? Most people know that a .com at the end of a homepage indicates a company, but there are some other regularly used domains: - British FE / HE institution (eg - colleges, universities)
.edu - US educational institution
.org - non-profit organisation (eg - charities, thinktanks) - government website (eg - government department, county council) - school website

There are plenty of others, but those listed above are among the ones that you will often see listed in your search results when using the Web. This sort of knowledge can sometimes be useful when attempting to assess information that you have found.

National Children's Bureau

I'm sure that most readers of this blog don't need me to explain what the National Children's Bureau is and what it does. Their website is excellent but also very large, which means that some of the useful material it contains can sometimes be hidden. Also, the NCB is responsible for maintaining a number of websites which are hosted separately from its main pages. So for a full list of useful NCB material, have a look at the list on this page.

Early Learning Partnership Project

The Early Learning Partnership Project has been running for some time and has been coordinated by the Family and Parenting Institute. Bringing together many charities and related partners, the project was designed to examine how best early learning for pre-school children can be encouraged at home. You can read the project's final report - Supporting Parents in Promoting Early Learning - online now.

Byron Review Action Plan

A few months ago I wrote about the Byron Review (click here for details), which was commissioned by the DCSF to examine the possible effects on children of exposure to inappropriate material in computer games or on the internet.

Following the publication of the initial report, the DCSF agreed to accept all of its proposals, and has today published The Byron Review Action Plan, which outlines how the government intends to deal with the issues raised. Among the main actions to be taken is the establishment of a new organisation to be called the UK Council for Child Internet Safety.

How Many Ways...

I was recently at the headquarters of Discount School Supply and was able to see many new products that are coming out this year in their catalog. This meeting is always a treat and I get excited to see new ways of doing things. We do know what early childhood children need to support their growth, but it is always a challenge to come up with new ways to introduce and support it. I have heard people scoff at new products saying that it is just a new way to do the same old thing. YES! Since we have many children to support, we need many approaches to that support. It is just as critical to use different teaching strategies that meet a child's learning style as it is to choose the appropriate skills to introduce. In fact, new products sometimes get teachers and caregivers out of the rut of using the 'same old thing' time and time again. In fact, I just had a blast with two of my grandchildren using scratch art to develop fine motor skills.

Web inSuggest

Today's post is about a new(ish) online tool called Web inSuggest, which is based on a simple but effective idea. Basically, if you have an interest in a particular topic and already use a number of websites which are relevant, simply type their addresses into the space provided and Web inSuggest will give you a list of further websites which may interest you. If you want to give it a go then here's the link.

Mathematics Teaching

Last year the DCSF asked Sir Peter Williams to carry out a review which would look at how mathematics is taught in primary schools and early-years settings. Among the issues that were to be addressed were to find out what is the most effective pedagogy in this area, and what levels of knowledge should be expected of teachers at this level. To read the full text of the report, click here.

More from OnTheWeb

The latest issue of the NFER's OnTheWeb service (see previous post for details) contains its usual excellent mixture of links to new research and reports. Here are just some of the highlights:

Finally, I'd like to draw particular attention to A Review of the Evidence on the use of ICT in the Early Years Foundation Stage. This new Becta report is very detailed, and contains plenty of information that should be useful and relevant for many of our students.

Special Measures / Wasted Talent

Two reports have been released today which may interest some of you:

Sustaining Improvement: the Journey from Special Measures is an Ofsted survey which examines the actions that schools can take to improve their performance, once they have been labelled as 'failing'. You can read some of the main points in this BBC article.

Also, the Sutton Trust have just published a report entitled Wasted Talent? Attrition Rates of High-Achieving Pupils Between School and University, which details research into the educational choice of pupils from the state sector once they've left secondary school. Again, a summary is available on the BBC website.

Media Literacy

Last month saw the publication of a Children's Media Literacy Audit by Ofcom. This report takes a holistic view of how children are interacting with various technologies, such as television, social networking websites, and mobile phones. A summary of the main points is also available.

Could you be an Innovative Teacher?

The General Teaching Council has recently collaborated on a new report entitled Teachers as Innovative Professionals. This document examines developments within ten schools which have introduced innovative practices, as well as looking at the experiences of 35 teachers that have taken a personal approach to innovating in the classroom.

Secondary Schools Staff Survey

The DCSF has just published its latest Secondary School Curriculum and Staffing Survey (SSCSS). This is a report which has been published every four to six years since 1965, and examines the make-up of the teaching workforce in terms of qualifications and the subjects that they teach.

The survey makes for interesting reading; although the picture is mixed, there appears to be a shortage of appropriately qualified teachers in some subjects, with mathematics being particularly bad ly affected. You can read some of the main findings in the briefing paper, or from this BBC story.

Children and Young People's Plans

Since April 2006 all local authorities have been required to publish an annual Children and Young People's Plan (CYPP). These documents are intended to describe the services for children which each authority provides, and also cover how they will be managed or developed in the future.

The NFER has recently published Analysis of Children and Young People's Plans 2007. This report takes a close look at the CYPPs of 50 different authorities, and also compares them to the CYPPs of 2006, to analyse what progress or changes have occurred in the last 12 months.

For those readers who live and work locally, you may be interested in looking at the Birmingham Children and Young People's Plan 2008-11, which was published in April.

Childcare & Early Years Survey

Last week the DCSF published Childcare and Early Years Survey 2007: Parents’ Use, Views and Experiences. This is an annual report which looks at the services which are available for families, and evaluates their performance. You can read some of the reaction to the latest survey by clicking here.