Digitally Confident Conference – CPD for the Soul!

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I recently was able to attend the Digitally Confident conference being organised by the team at the Northern Grid RBC.

It was a really worthwhile day and those who presented throughout the event were superb and clearly passionate about education in general and further fostering technology enhanced learning across the entire curriculum.

The personal highlight for me was being inspired by Rachel & Martin from Holy Trinity Rosehill Primary here in Stockton-on-Tees.  It was great to hear how they developing the whole school use of blogging and the impact this is having on children of all ages who are inspired to write for a real purpose & audience.

You can read the ‘story’ of this conference by clicking on the image below, and really consider getting yourself along next year as you won’t regret it!

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Child Sexual Exploitation Training – ‘Looking for Lottie’

Kent Online Safety Blog

The following content is published on behalf of the Centre for Child Protection.

A recent Ofsted report highlighted that local authorities have been too slow to face up to their responsibilities to prevent child sexual exploitation. In the first ever in-depth survey into how local authorities are dealing with the sexual exploitation of children, Ofsted finds that the risk of exploitation is still not well understood in many areas.

The report ‘The sexual exploitation of children: it couldn’t happen here, could it?’ (Ofsted, 2014) was commissioned by Ofsted’s Chief Inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw, to build a clearer picture of how well local authorities and partners are working to prevent child sexual exploitation in their area, to offer protection to its victims, and to pursue and prosecute its abusers.

The Lottie simulation – developed in partnership

Launched in November 2014, developed with NHS Health Education Kent, Surrey and…

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BBC News – Call for teens to self-regulate net use.

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Another interesting e-safety related report has just been published by Oxford Internet Institute and Parent Zone, which suggests that previous thinking about the best way to keep children safe online may be wrong.

This study of more than 2000 14-17 years olds across the UK suggests that rather than restricting or monitoring internet use, parents should let their children discover the net, both good and bad, themselves.

The study also concludes the following:

UK children are among the most monitored in Europe, with most of the big ISPs offering parental controls.  But this is no replacement for good parenting.

This once again illustrates the importance of working in partnership with parents and carers to ensure a good balanced approach to children’s use of technology.  It’s not the technology’s fault, whether it be an iPad, games console or a TV, as technology is ‘neutral’ but rather the usage that parents allow.

One of the main conclusions that the study finds is that:

Children who have positive offline relationships with their parents are more likely to navigate the web in a sensible way.

Even though this study focuses on a particular age group, this clears applies to children and young people of all ages.

Children should be empowered and proactively educated to know how to keep themselves safe online.  They should possess a clear understanding of their online behaviour and the responsibility of their actions.

Children and young people should also know who they can talk to if they are concerned about anything or anyone they have encountered online.  They should talk to a trusted adult at home or at school.  Alternatively they should contact e-safety organisations directly such as CEOP or Childline.

BBC Newsbeat – 1 in 3 teenagers meet social media ‘friends’ in real life

BBC Newsbeat - Comres Study

A recent survey from Comres for Newsbeat has once again highlighted the potential risks that some teenagers are taking with their online behaviours and the subsequent implications for the ‘real’ world.

The teenagers in this study again told us what we already knew – that they cannot be without their phones and the need to feel ‘connected’ to their friends at all times.  And we know it’s not just teenagers who feel the need for this connection, children of even the youngest of ages are well versed in the world of social media and are fully aware that they live in a connected global community.

This study highlights other interesting headlines:

25% said they felt happier online than in real life.

10% said their online friends knew them better.

25% think they are addicted to social media.

51% of respondents said they felt it important to check a notification as soon as it came through. 

This study once again highlights the importance of a proactive, planned & progressive e-safety curriculum across ALL key stages – considered to be good/outstanding practice by Ofsted.  Well balanced & age appropriate discussions with children should cover positive online behaviour as well as risks of identified negative online conduct.  A great way to get this discussion is introducing the Kidsmart SMART rules which are great for primary aged children in particular, although these are also available for secondary students.  The downloadable SMART rules are available here:



Ofcom; Using Apps Safely & Securely

Ofcom - Using Apps Safely & Securely

Ofcom have released their latest guidance on using apps both safely & securely.  There’s no doubt about it, we live in a mobile app driven world and increasingly individuals are downloading these apps without due consideration to these & permissions their are granting to their mobile devices.  You may have seen the questions raised around the Facebook Messenger app recently?

Ofcom suggests that you consider the following seven areas before & when using apps on your mobile device:

  1. Install apps from recognised app stores
  2. Consider content ratings
  3. Be aware of what permissions you are granting
  4. Treat your phone as your wallet
  5. Be aware of costs, especially from roaming and in-app purchasing
  6. Regularly clean out apps that you don’t use
  7. ‘Clean’ your phone

You can read the full guidance on the Ofcom website by clicking on the following link:

ScratchJr – Coding for KS1 pupils


Taken from the ScratchJr website:

‘Coding is the new literacy! With ScratchJr, young children (ages 5-7) can program their own interactive stories and games. In the process, they learn to solve problems, design projects, and express themselves creatively on the computer.’

Since the beginning of this term, I’ve been able to chat about this app with colleagues from particularly KS1.  This new app has been particularly well received and has helped bridge the gap before moving on to using the ‘full’ version of Scratch.

Looking very similar to the Lego WeDo software, it presents coding in a very user friendly manner.  Well worth downloading to your iOS devices and the best part is that it’s free!

Take a look at the ScratchJr website for more info and ideas for its use:

UK legalises music, film and e-book back-ups

UK legalises music, film and e-book back-ups

BBC News have reported changes to UK copyright laws that now permit UK citizens to make copies of CDs, MP3s, DVDs, Blu-rays and e-books – for PERSONAL USE only.  Distributing & selling these copies still remains an infringement of copyright law.

Thankfully making a mashup or parody containing clips taken from films etc is no longer an offence where there was a risk of prosecution previously.  This included simple editing of film clips/trailers.

Finally, after 13 years, we’re not doing anything illegal when using iTunes to rip CDs!

You can read the full BBC news report here: 

The full IPO ‘Exceptions to Copyright: Guidance for Consumers’ report is available here:

And here’s a particular guide re the implications for Education & Teaching:

The key section from this new guide is this:

Caricature, parody or pastiche

‘What has changed?

The ability to re-edit copyright works in new and experimental ways is seen as an important learning and teaching exercise for creative skills.

Many works of caricature, parody or pastiche, involve some level of copying
from another work. The law has changed to allow limited uses of other people’s copyright material for the purposes of caricature, parody or pastiche, without first asking for permission.

It is important that educators understand the limits of this new provision.’