Oracy Champions: Enhance Students Oracy Skills

Published: June 18, 2024

Oracy Education Speaking and Listening Skills

Oracy is an essential skill that empowers students to express themselves clearly, engage in meaningful dialogue, and build strong relationships. It involves a combination of speaking, listening, and comprehension skills, which are crucial for effective communication in both personal and professional settings.

What Is Oracy?

Oracy plays a significant role in academic success. Research shows that students with strong oracy skills perform better academically. Effective communication helps in understanding and articulating complex concepts, leading to better educational outcomes. Employers highly value communication skills, making oracy essential for employability. Being able to articulate ideas clearly and engage in constructive dialogue is critical in most careers. Moreover, enhancing oracy skills can bridge the gap between socio-economic groups, providing all students with equal opportunities to succeed.

In classrooms that prioritise oracy, there are higher levels of student participation and engagement. Students who can express their ideas and opinions are more likely to take an active role in their learning. Additionally, good communication skills are linked to better mental health. They help reduce frustration, build better relationships, and contribute to overall wellbeing.

Oracy Champions

Oracy Champions is a comprehensive tool designed to enhance students’ oracy skills through interactive activities and real-time feedback. It allows teachers to monitor and assess students’ progress in various oracy skills, engage students with activities that improve their phonics, listening, and debating abilities, and create podcasts showcasing students’ achievements at the end of each term.

The platform is accessible via web browsers and mobile apps, making it easy for students, teachers, and parents to engage with the program anytime, anywhere. Additionally, Oracy Champions offers support through experienced educators who can provide training and facilitate workshops to maximise the benefits of the platform.

Oracy education is not just about improving speech; it’s about preparing students for life, giving them the tools they need to succeed in various aspects of their personal and professional lives. For more information, you can visit Oracy Champions.

Top 5 Reasons Why an App Could Benefit Your School

Published: May 12, 2022

55% of all page views in the year 2021 came from mobile devices. Mobile applications are increasingly being preferred by people over desktops as they are convenient and easy to browse. 

As a result, more businesses are opting to have their own apps in the market as a way to connect with people. Your school can also benefit greatly from an app of its own.

It is not only a platform to put all the relevant information about the school happenings, but it also provides a space for students, parents, and staff to communicate as a community.

Top 5 advantages of using an app in school

Mobile applications have played a significant role in shaping education in the modern era. They help make studies fun and engaging for the students. Parents can stay updated about the school activities with their help.

The entire community can get involved to improve education with the help of easily accessible apps. Here are some of the most prominent benefits it offers.

1. Keeps everyone updated with the latest information

The traditional methods of circulating information via newsletters and notice boards were not effective in reaching every student and their parents. Apps allow schools to truly reach out to everyone in the community to relay information.

This is especially important for time-sensitive events such as cancellation of classes or urgent meetings being held.

2. Promotes communication

With apps being highly accessible, parents are more willing to use them to interact with the school and other parents. They can share their experiences and help others out.

Things that earlier required meetings and the physical presence of people can now be accomplished far more effectively without needing the people to leave their homes.

3. Boosts parent-teacher engagement 

Apps allow parents and teachers to have transparent conversations about the students. Earlier, teachers had to mostly rely on students relaying a message to the parents and their direct conversations were mostly limited to parent-teacher meetings.

Now, parents can view things like attendance records and their ward’s grades and bring their concerns to the teachers at any moment to brainstorm solutions. 

4. Promotes involvement of the community

It becomes easier for the school staff to organize and host events with the use of applications. They can inform the parents about them and entertain their concerns on the app. They can also spread the word about events better.

Mobile applications make it easier for everyone in the community simply because they are convenient and easy to access. People are not as likely to miss notifications or messages on their mobile as they would be to miss letters and circulars.

5. Saves you time and money

It may seem counterintuitive that maintaining and managing an application regularly saves you money and time, but it is true. It serves multiple functions in one place and streamlines processes in the long run. You can save so much time by ensuring effective and speedy communication. 

For example, instead of printing newsletters, you can simply make them available on your app. It allows easier navigation than a physical newspaper. It also allows users to save stories to read later.

Again if you consider the school websites, they take a lot of time to load and open up. While an app takes less time to download and is much faster. It is an easier substitute to a website and ensures a single click access to most information. 

Managing aspects such as attendance is also easier digitally. You can track students’ records and analyze them to present insights into their performance. Not only do you save time, effort, and money, but you also take a step toward a paperless society with your school app. 

Conclusion – About School Mobile Apps

Having an online presence is a must in the digital age, apps simply help you create a functioning one for your school.

They are a boon as classes are held in an online setting. Moreover, they serve various other purposes such as opening communication channels between teachers, students, and parents.

People can stay up-to-date with the happenings of the school, clear their doubts, and voice their opinions conveniently with the use of applications. They give them a chance to contribute to the community.

Could your secondary school benefit from a mobile app?

Published: January 13, 2022

We all know that smartphones have taken over our lives, but did you know that 87% of the UK population used a smartphone in 2020 and the smartphone to population penetration was 72%? 

With those numbers, it can only make sense for your school to take advantage of this to help increase parental engagement. But how exactly can this be done?

A mobile app for your secondary school could be the perfect solution, getting key messages out to parents, whilst also helping your school to run more efficiently and reduce costs. 

How do school apps enhance communication for secondary schools? 

With a school mobile app, you can significantly improve the quality of communication between your school and parents or guardians. If you do not have a robust communication strategy in place, chances are you will not be able to deliver superior-quality communication. 

Here are a few ways in which you can work on your communication process with a school app:

  • Simplify the onboarding process

     — For an app to be successful, you need to make sure as many parents and guardians as possible use it. With our school app, you can onboard parents easily. We offer full training to your staff so they can confidently help parents to get the most out of it.
  • Reduce admin time

    — Using a digital solution to communicate with parents and guardians means there is a huge drop in additional costs from traditional communication methods, like printed newsletters and updates. It also saves a lot of time for your staff.
  • Provide access to an integrated booking form for events and open days

    — you can save a huge amount of admin time alone with integrative bookings. Allow teachers to set their availability for parents evenings and open days, and parents can book a lot direct. 
  • Offer better targeted communication

    — You can send messages to those parents who have not responded to earlier messages, and thereby ramp up the engagement levels. Being able to know which parents have received or read your messages, further enables you to understand how active or engaged they are on the app. Accordingly, you can contact them when they come to the school to pick up their children or set an appointment. 

Let’s consider the next question. 

How does a school app help you save costs? 

Here is a quick look at some of the cost-saving benefits that are offered by a school app: 

  • Saves on printing costs

    — There is a lot of paper used in the UK schools on a daily basis. Having a school communication app can boost your green credentials and make your journey towards a paperless future easier than ever. 
  • Saves administration efforts

    — Relying on students to pass on paper notes to their parents and then have the parents communicate with the school authorities can be a really cumbersome process. With a school app, there will not be any wasted communication with the parents. 

If you too are considering a mobile application for your school, try School Jotter. Here are a few features offered by the app that are worth considering:

  • Editable app

    — Schools can personalise their dashboard, adding and removing links relevant to the time of year
  • Custom design

    — It pushes the school’s brand and ethos, no boring template look
  • Syncs with website

    — It seamlessly integrates with the school website and helps to prevent any duplication of work and reduces workload

That brings us to our next question. 

Why should you consider the School Jotter app?

Check out some of the key benefits here:

  • Mobile centre enables you to contact and be contacted by individuals or groups of parents at no cost
  • Get access to the latest news, updates, and information delivered to your mobile at no extra cost
  • Add links to school policies and other important information.
  • Save money with push notifications over a text service that needs to be topped up
  • Syncs with website to prevent any duplication of work and reduces workload

Now if that has convinced you enough, contact our friendly professionals today at School Jotter and enable the parents and students to make the most from their School Jotter mobile school app.  

5 Steps to Success for Online Lessons

Published: April 20, 2020

It’s the start of a new term, yet Summer 2020 is like no term any teacher has ever experienced. The ongoing global pandemic has changed everything we know about teaching and it’s difficult to be fully prepared in times like these. However, as teachers and school leaders, we need to continue educating the children in our care; it’s just a case of using the tools we have available to find new ways to deliver the curriculum and support students and parents to engage with this new way of learning. With this in mind, here is some advice on how to continue to find success through distance learning.

Stay In Contact

Parents have been thrown into a new and potentially stressful situation here. Overnight, they became their child’s teacher, and for many that’s been a real challenge. Even those parents who have relished the opportunity to get more involved in their child’s education may need a little support or advice as the weeks pass. Contact parents to check how students are getting along, and to support parents with any issues they may have. Don’t just make this a one-off conversation; keep in regular contact and make the conversation about more than just school work

Provide Rich Content

Yes, school’s out for summer (potentially), but that doesn’t mean learning has to slow down or stop altogether. Make sure you provide rich content for children to work on at home, to supplement any more practical activities they may be doing with parents. The internet is a vast library of audio visual and interactive content and providing links to useful resources ensures children continue following the curriculum and increasing their knowledge. 

Make It Fun

Let’s not forget that children will be finding this period of their lives stressful as well. They’ve been thrown out of their usual routine, they’re missing their friends, they can’t get outside to play, and they may be worried about family members or the future – and then you expect them to do school work as well! Getting children to engage might be difficult, especially when there are so many other activities calling for their attention. Using an online tool like School Jotter Learn means you can include interactive games and fun videos in your learning materials, meaning children are more likely to engage and learn.

Measure Attainment

In the classroom you have a range of systems for measuring every aspect of a child’s development, from numeracy and literacy skills to how well they can hold a pencil or throw a ball. It’s much more difficult measuring attainment remotely, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make the effort. After all, it’s important to be able to show kids (and parents) how much they have improved, and knowing their ability level when school finally reopens will make integration that bit easier. Make sure online lessons include quizzes and “homework” that needs submitting – you can do this in School Jotter Learn – and offer children extra help wherever it’s needed.

Keep It Consistent

It may be tempting to push six weeks’ content out at once and leave kids to get on with it at their own pace, but this is not a good idea for many reasons. Firstly, seeing so much work at once could prove to be demoralising, demotivating or stressful for many children, who may feel overwhelmed or that they need to complete it all at once. In fact, some students will want to race ahead and finish work as quickly as they can, which will leave them with nothing to do for the remainder of the half term. A far better idea is to set work weekly or even daily; however you choose to schedule it, make sure it’s regular and consistent. Routine is important for us all, and children will find it easier to engage with home learning when there is a structured system in place. Again, School Jotter Learn can help you organise your online lessons so they are delivered to children in a consistent way. 
To summarise, here are the key points to ensure distance learning works and online lessons are a success.
Stay in contact: check in with parents regularly, chat about both school work and home life, and offer support where it’s needed.
Provide rich content: follow the curriculum as closely as you can and supplement more formal learning with audio visual content and practical activities kids can do at home.
Make it fun: use interactive games and videos to keep kids interested and engaged. 
Measure attainment: use quizzes or set activities to be sent back to you so you can see how much improvement is being made – and offer additional help when needed.
Keep it consistent: set work regularly; create a “timetable” and stick to it.
Good luck and enjoy the new term – however unusual it may be! And if you need any support or advice on how you can deliver successful remote learning to your students, please don’t hesitate to contact us here– we are here to help. 

Your free timetable for celebrity lessons in lockdown

Published: April 2, 2020

The UK’s current lockdown seems daunting, and working from home can prove difficult, with time split between conference calls, emailing, and on top of that – childcare! There’s only so much entertainment to be found in worksheets sent home from school, and you can’t just leave them to play on an iPad all day. Luckily, celebs around the UK have answered your prayers – free online lessons to keep your kids entertained, and educated. Download our free homeschool timetable by clicking here, or find out more about what’s on offer below!

P.E with Joe Wicks 

Joe Wicks, known for his work as the body coach, has become the ‘nation’s p.e teacher’, with his free 30 minute workouts for all ages, starting at 9am every morning midweek. If that’s not enticing enough for you, Joe is donating all the money made from his YouTube channel to charity (about £80,000 last month!). Tune into his lessons here.

Music With Myleene Klass 

Singer and Pianist, Myleene Klass is teaching the uk classical music via YouTube. Like Joe Wicks’ lessons, this is aimed at all ages, so whether you’re looking to entertain the kids, or wanting to pick up a new skill, this is a class worth attending. Find Myleene’s lessons at 10am, monday to friday here.

Science with Maddie Moat

Maddie Moat, children’s tv presenter and youtuber, is giving live science lessons 5 days a week from her youtube channel. With a different topic covered every week, this is a great way to keep kids entertained, and provide a wide range of knowledge. Streaming at 11am from: https://www.youtube.com/user/maddiemoate

Dance with Oti Mabuse 

Strictly Come Dancing champion Oti Mabuse is supplying dance classes for children and adults on her social media platforms, with help from her husband Marius Lepure. This is a great way to stay active, and use up some energy throughout the day, and if any adults want to join in, Oti is holding a class for adults every week day at 7pm. Catch the kids lesson at 11:30 on Oti’s youtube channel here.

Maths with Carol Vorderman 

Due to the lockdown, Carol Vorderman is offering access to her maths factor lessons for free! Aimed at pupils from ages 4-12, the ex Countdown presenter, is giving free access to her online courses, following the national curriculum. Log on anytime to access the courses here: https://www.themathsfactor.com/

History with Dan Snow 

Historian Dan Snow is keeping the nation up-to-date with the past with his podcast, ‘Dan Snow’s History Hit’. Available on all major podcast platforms and historyhit.com (ad free), this is an informative show (and a chance for some peace and quiet for mum and dad!). Find Dan’s podcasts here.

English with David Walliams 

Comedian and Writer David Walliams is giving free access to a free story every day midweek during Lockdown. Taken from one of his bestselling books, each story will be available at 11:30am every day, and available to stream from his website for the next 24 hours – and don’t worry, he does all the voices! Find David’s latest story here: https://www.worldofdavidwalliams.com/elevenses/

Food Tech with Jamie Oliver 

Jamie’s new programme, ‘Keep Cooking and Carry On’, shows you how to make the most out of whatever you can find in your cupboard. Filmed at his home, with help from his wife and kids, Jamie guides you through easy recipes that all t he family can make. After watching Keep Cooking and Carry On, you might even be able to get your kids to start cooking tea for you! Tune in on channel 4 at 5:30 weeknights, or catch up here: https://www.channel4.com/programmes/jamie-keep-cooking-and-carry-on

Open Source LMS for Education – the perfect online learning platform for your school

Published: February 3, 2016

“Teaching in the Internet age means we must teach tomorrow’s skills today.” – Jennifer Fleming.

Do you agree with this quote? I believe it is one of the most accurate quotes related to learning in the Internet age. It acknowledges the importance of providing our students with opportunities to gain and develop skills that will be most useful for them in the future. As discussed previously, technology is just a tool that cannot replace teachers. However, I am sure that every teacher should have some knowledge about how to integrate technology into teaching to help students develop a variety of skills. For instance, using different technology resources (e.g., quizzes, writing tools, drawing tools, forums, blogs) can be very useful for improving communication, problem-solving, critical thinking, and teamwork skills. What is more, appropriate use of technology can help to improve literacy and to improve more technical IT-related skills.

The best solution for schools is to find a tool that could make learning more engaging for students and that would be easy to use at the same time because we cannot expect all teachers or even all students to be very confident with their IT skills. If you are looking for a tool that could improve elearning within your school I would suggest trying an open-source LMS.

A virtual learning environment / VLE (also known as a learning management system or LMS), is developed by educators, for educators.

It provides a private and secure learning space for designing online courses with flexible content and collaborative activities for students. What makes open source LMS unique is the fact that it is a free software based on its community, not on investors seeking returns or by selling customer data.

Why choose Webanywhere for e-Learning platform?

We are here to support your LMS in order to implement a truly successful learning environment in your school. Webanywhere is focused on improving e-learning within education. Using open-source LMS we are able to provide engaging e-learning platforms which improve the productivity of both teachers and students. We offer a wide variety of services ranging from theme design to implementation, training, and support for schools. We can help you integrate your VLE with SIMS for automated user management, real-time reporting on attendance and behaviour and for off-site access to SIMS data. What is more, we can help make homework management easier for teachers, students, and parents with our homework-management plugin. Read more about school jotter success stories here.

Main benefits of LMS for education.

Easy access. It is available anywhere with an Internet connection, meaning students, staff, and parents have 24-hour access to a huge variety of resources, activities and school information. This is great for students who cannot attend school for whatever reason because the platform allows them to access all the information taught in the lessons they have missed. It can assist in accessing homework materials, assignments, or additional learning resources that teachers upload.

Encourages collaboration. The opportunity to collaborate with other students and to work in teams makes learning more effective. An open-source LMS allows Students to ask questions and to help each other regarding any topic on discussion forums or via instant messages. What is more, students who are hesitant to put forward their views or opinions in the classroom can use LMS to express themselves and to get involved in different activities or projects.

Helps to make learning more fun and engaging. LMS can be used to upload assignment-related quizzes or games that can help students prepare for their assignments while being fun and helping to reduce stress related to assignments. Engaging and fun activities can be used to support teaching in the classroom and to support students at home.

Enables students to learn more independently. While an LMS encourages collaboration between students, it also enables them to have more control over their learning. For instance, teachers can upload supplementary activities, documents, links to websites or other relevant materials that are relevant to the lesson being taught. This helps students enhance their learning at their own time without having to do a research for quality materials themselves.

Flexible. An LMS is highly configurable and it can be customised with different features to meet the individual needs of your school.

Access to quality resources. It can help students access only quality resources that are uploaded by teachers without having to search for information themselves. This helps them stay focused on things that are relevant and useful for their learning. “Learners in the internet age don’t need more information. They need to know how to efficiently use the massive amount of information available at their fingertips – to determine what’s credible, what’s relevant, and when its useful to reference.” – Anna Sabramowicz

Most recent features:

-Drag-and-drop quiz question types.

-Streamlined course section editing.

-Better management of plugins.

-Display the date a file was uploaded.

-Do more on your mobile. 

Finally, I would like to encourage teachers to embrace technology to make learning more engaging for students because engaged students are more likely to be interested and to stay motivated to learn and perform well!

6 resources for ensuring eSafety for children in schools

Published: June 26, 2015

There are a huge range of risks online for students, staff and schools when using the Internet. Fortunately there is a wide range of (generally) free online resources available to help us understand the risks, implement policies to mitigate them, and teach people to make sensible decisions online.

We’ve highlighted 6 resources that everyone working within education and with children online should be aware of, in order to prepare for using the internet and understanding what to do when coming across any potentially harmful content.
Childnet are a non-profit organisation who work to ensure the internet is a safe and enjoyable place for children. They produce a great range of free resources to help staff and students learn more about risks and how to understand and manage these in school www.childnet.com.

KidSMART is part of Childnet and provides useful resources such as lesson plans, leaflets, posters, activity days and interactive games for teaching eSafety as well as information for parents www.kidsmart.org.uk.
SWGFL are a another not for profit charity trust and a recognised leader in e-safety, not just in the South West. Policy templates, checklists and a wide range of learning resources for both staff and students are available for free www.swgfl.org.uk.
ICT4Collaboration are specialists in providing technology services to educational organisations and are part of the Yorkshire and Humberside Grid for Learning. They provide local ICT training events all across Yorkshire as well as useful online resources www.ict4c.co.uk.
IWF is the Internet Watch Foundation. They are the UK Hotline for reporting criminal content online, including child sexual abuse content and criminally obscene adult content. If you have content of this nature reported to you it is important that you do not investigate or try to access it. Just go to the IWF website at www.iwf.org.uk and report it. The process is anonymous and confidential.
CEOP, The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, part of the UK Government’s National Crime Agency, is an organisation consisting of police officers who work to prosecute online child sex offenders, including those who produce, distribute and view online child abuse material. CEOP operate a similar online reporting tool for incidents such as grooming or people acting inappropriately towards children online. This can be found at www.ceop.police.uk.
Related Content
Webanywhere eSafety – Visit our dedicated eSafety pages to find out more about the issue and how to prevent any online issues.

My E-Learning experience, from Encyclopedias to Dr Google

Published: May 18, 2015

This week is Staff Blog week here at Webanywhere, so each day we will be sharing with you a new blog post from one of our employees. Today it’s Emily Tasker talking about her personal experiences of E-Learning.

The human race has always had the capacity and need to learn. It has helped us to evolve in the beginning and expand into the world. Without this drive for knowledge, we would arguably not have survived as a species, but that is a debate for another time.

The drive to learn is innate in our structure, it’s in our very core. The difference nowadays is how that knowledge is obtained and/or made accessible. As a child, I remember asking my parents the annoying questions all parents must suffer through, the general response I received was ‘look it up in the encyclopedia’.
When we finally had a computer in our house, the default answer to my persistent questioning was ‘look it up on Encarta’. Encarta was a CD ROM but basically was a digitised encyclopedia; the difference being that Encarta, with its games and challenges, was far more engaging and fun than an encyclopedia.
My more recent questions are easily answered thanks to my computer, tablet and mobile phone making the internet more accessible. The ability to go onto the internet to research an answer is becoming second nature, almost subconscious to society.
One example of this was during my National Childbirth Trust (NCT) Class when I was pregnant with my daughter, we were asked ‘your newborn is poorly, who do you turn to for advice?’ and for each couple to write down their answers. All had the usual answers ‘parents’, ‘doctors’, ‘other first time mums’, but all also had some form of digital platform listed such as information/chat boards, mobile apps, ‘dr google’ was also mentioned! Without even thinking twice, all new parents at that class would turn to digital help with issues relating to their newborn. That’s a significant amount of trust that they are placing in the information the internet can provide them. One answer was so second nature it had given a search engine the persona of a doctor.
I personally think that is the crux of where E-learning/Edtech is heading, as humans innately learn, there will always be a need for E-learning, but to survive it needs to be fun, easily accessible and trustworthy.
Emily Tasker

Related Webanywhere pages
Our E-learning resources – provide personalised e-learning and revision tools, allowing teachers to quickly and easily create exercises for students

How Does Webanywhere Support the Tech Savvy Teacher?

Published: August 8, 2014

Now that we have worked out the different guises of the tech savvy teacher we are asking ourselves what does Webanywhere do to support that teacher? So the same headings will appear, just as they did in the last blog post, with how we support you.
Your students read your blog
We lead by example here, we have several blogs attracting very different types of audience. We work with different sectors in and outside of education and recognise that their needs are different. So giving you all the same advice is not an option. Blogging is a great way to communicate in a non-invasive way for us and you respond very well to that.
In School Jotter we have created a blog app that allows everyone to write and have their work published on the internet. The blog app is easy to use and what’s more, schools enjoy writing their blogs and receiving comments.

The blogging facility within an open-source LMS is a popular part of many schools VLE. Whether it is a teacher’s blog or a student’s blog it is a great way to keep in touch with students in between tutor group times or lessons.
You instigate your own CPD online
At Webanywhere we enjoy being proactive and it is very much encouraged by the senior management. So we are starting to offer free webinars offering support on using various parts of your school’s VLE or apps in the School Jotter suite. All webinars are recorded and posted online for those who cannot make the webinar live or would like to go over the information again at a later date.
We also hold regular events around the country for e-safety, OFSTED website requirements and how to meet them. We know these are not online but it is another way we can support you with your CPD.
You have made an online PLN
We hope you consider yourselves part of our learning network. You are brilliant at telling us what you think of our products and how we can develop them. We take note of this and we feel this is one reason that our products go from strength to strength.
It was great to see so many customers at BETT this year and get an update of what you are doing and your future plans. Webanywhere has a strong social networking presence and we offer help and advice to all rather than just informing you of our offers and service available.
You share your life with virtual colleagues you have never met
We are lucky and have some very strong relationships with schools and businesses around the country. We definitely share our working lives with you and include all of our customers when breaking good news about the company.
Your weekly schedule involves Twitter chats
Webanywhere does tweet and we do follow and chat with our customers and other interesting organisations using Twitter. But we do prefer a more personal touch, that is why we enjoy talking to our customers directly whether that is a telephone call or an email.
Summer break means ISTE and other conferences
Webanywhere works through the summer, you will be surprised how many teachers take training sessions during the summer break, we are not though as we know how driven you are. We also do large installs and implementations during this quieter period. We are also planning for the new school year just like you. Planning events and offers that will help you to make the most of the technology you are using.
You know the vocabulary
This should possibly read know our products and services, the vocabulary will then follow automatically. Every educational establishment and business is different, they have different requirements and need varying levels of support. Understanding that we know that what we did for one organisation will not necessarily work in another.
You turn to colleagues in other countries in times of need
We do have colleagues and people in our PLN that are in other countries and they are an invaluable source of information. But we also turn to our customers and ask for their help. In March we took some new School Jotter apps to a local event and invited schools to attend. We had headteachers, teachers, teaching assistants and administration staff. We showed them our new apps and listened to them as they fed back. This was an amazing session and the developer we took with us had a good list of quality suggestions to take back to the development team to work on. An update at the end of June included many of those ideas.
You are a digital citizen
Gosh, we hope so. We strive to be role model digital citizens and if ever we let you down please tell us. As we have always done, we stretch beyond with our enthusiasm and willingness to go further. We are still in front of market needs and we go beyond what’s expected to deliver a truly positive experience for our customers.
You are always hungry to learn, try and tinker with new tech
This goes without saying, it is part of who we are.

What Does the Tech Savvy Teacher Really Look Like?

Published: August 1, 2014

We have all heard someone talk about or be referred to as a ‘tech savvy teacher’, but what does that mean? They use their interactive whiteboard everyday and can programme a floor robot without looking at the instructions? Webanywhere believes that all teachers are tech savvy, but to different levels. If you look on Twitter you will see teachers sharing their planning and add links to fabulous websites to use in the classroom. The other end of the spectrum is a teacher that comfortably uses software and a some well chosen websites in their lessons. Using ICT and technology has to enhance your lesson, if it makes it more difficult and you lose the flow of learning then it is not worth it.
You will find many articles describing and celebrating the ‘tech savvy teacher’ and they are good. Often there are lists of attributes that identify the ‘tech savvy teacher’ and you feel inadequate and bored before item 5. We do not want you to do that to you. At Webanywhere we want to celebrate all teacher’s use of ICT and technology and to give you the confidence to possibly move out of your comfort zone and try something new. We have read the above mentioned articles and would like to offer our interpretation.

Your students read your blog
The ‘tech savvy teacher’ will have a professional blog where they share their experiences as a teacher, more aimed at colleagues in the teaching profession but their students like to check it out and comment. Or more realistically you have a class blog where you share class information, homework and resources that you use in class. It will also record what is going to happen in your classroom by your pupils and yourself. To take it one step further it may appear on your school website and parents also comment on the blog, after all it is a fabulous way to keep parents informed and actively engage with them.
You instigate your own CPD online
The ‘tech savvy teacher’ attends in-house training and staff meetings but that may not be where they learn about ICT and technology in a creative and innovative way. So they look to their Twitter feed and Facebook friends. They also read educators’ blogs and learn how to use a variety of new digital learning resources. Then they attend online courses and meetings and contribute to wikis. At a more realistic level you may look at a website that a colleague has told you about with lots of ideas for your lessons, it may or may not include ICT and technology.
You have made an online PLN
The ‘tech savvy teacher’ has a professional, or personal, learning network with whom they engage on a regular basis, possibly work together to maintain a wiki or website and regularly give and receive support regarding teaching and non-teaching information. At the other end of the spectrum you are already in a PLN but did not realise it. You collaborate with colleagues in your school and maybe further a field with your school cluster or colleagues that have moved on. You email each other with help and new ideas and resources that you find.
You share your life with virtual colleagues you have never met
This might sound horrific and contravene all the e-safety messages you know and pass on to your students. But there are those out there that do this. The ‘tech savvy teacher’s’ PLN is so tight and such a regular part of their life that they think nothing of sharing family events and personal achievements with them just like you would your family and friends. They follow people on Twitter that they have never met and congratulated them when announcing the safe arrival of a new bundle of joy! At a more basic level you may share your professional life with others by sharing activities and resources that you have created and used in your class. Learnanywhere and Jotter Learn customers do this on a regular basis and are part of those learning network.
Your weekly schedule involves Twitter chats
Where have you been? These are very popular and a great place to interact with like minded people. The ‘tech savvy teacher’ will most definitely partake in such events. #UKEdChat is a very popular meeting on Twitter for the education community. They vote on the topic and all meetup on Twitter at a preset time and search tweets with #ukeduchat and join in. The conversation is recorded and can be viewed later on their dedicated website. These people will be in the The ‘tech savvy teacher’s’ PLN and they will share their life with them. When you break this down you will most likely find that you do talk with your virtual colleagues, who are now your newly discovered PLN, about many topics that directly relate to your teaching practices. Whether it is asking for advice or sharing experiences. It is all valuable.
Summer break means ISTE and other conferences
No teacher has six weeks off, lets get that out there. You all do research and plan lessons and create resources for September during the summer holidays. SMT members are more likely to attend conferences during the summer break but the ‘tech savvy teacher’ will know what is going on and join in. But will it be totally relevant and useful to the new school year for them? Then there are the local conferences and meetings that you may arrange for your colleagues. You meet up and discuss topics for the new school year or go and visit places that you would like to visit with your students later on.
You know the vocabulary
Well more like acronyms and abbreviations, VLE, LMS and even LOL! The ‘tech savvy teacher’ will speak using these and even create their own. But you know what some of them mean and you don’t mind saying learning platform instead of LP. With the knowing comes the understanding of it. As long as you understand it in your context then all is good.
You turn to colleagues in other countries in times of need
Thinking back to the The ‘tech savvy teacher’s’ online PLN and how they interact with them all of the time, like 24/7. They can do this because their PLN is global. So someone is always online and available to offer advice. It’s great! Just as great, but may take more time to react, is the newly discovered PLN made up of colleagues in your school, your area and maybe just a little further a field.
You are a digital citizen
One hundred percent accurate. The ‘tech savvy teacher’ has the technology, the online presence on all the popular social networking and media sites. They are a good citizen, respectful to others and will not tolerate cyberbullying in any form. They don’t even like pictures of friends on Facebook that are anything less than flattering. They also instill this into their students and e-safety is a familiar phrase in the classroom. Looking at this from a different angle you do not need to have a comprehensive online presence at all. But the rest fits exactly. K. Mossberger, et al, define digital citizens as “those who use the Internet regularly and effectively”* You already do that, well most of the time!.
* Mossberger, Karen. “Digital Citizenship. the Internet.society and Participation By Karen Mossberger, Caroline J. Tolbert, and Ramona S. McNeal.” Scribd. Web. 23 Nov. 2011. (https://bit.ly/1tzEnUP)
You are always hungry to learn, try and tinker with new tech
The ‘tech savvy teacher’ will have RSS feeds setup to notify them of new releases of gadgets, apps and software. They will most likely have an iPhone, an iPad and an iMac all with the same apps loaded on them. They are always contactable, online and their cloud space is permanently 95% full. But can they then learn to use one thing really well and use it successfully in their classroom? You, on the other hand, might  investigate new technologies and apps that take your interest and you think could be of use to you in the classroom or in your personal life. You take an interest in what technology, websites and gadgets that your students use and sometimes pick up a gem for yourself.
We hope that you recognise yourself throughout this article and can smile as you know you are doing a fabulous job. If you are still not convinced just watch your students next time you are using technology or digital learning content with them, you will see them buzzing with excitement and totally engaged.