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First lesson of the year - Online Safety Competition!

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I firmly believe that the first topic that children should learn / review at the start of every year is Online Safety. Online Safety links into every other topic I teach and will be the key to protecting children from online dangers and helping them make good choices when it comes to internet etiquette outside of school. I always run an Online Safety competition for Years 2 - 6 to draw something with an online safety message. This is then displayed on the wall on our Online Safety display. Children can also take home a winning certificate! So far, from my 6 years at Elsley, I have chosen 6 different themes.... In the first year, I wanted to get to know the children as I was new to the school so the competition was to draw a selfie and tweet an online safety message. The template can be found HERE and the accompanying PowerPoint is HERE if you would like to use them. The following year, I had determination to purchase some new robots for the school as they only had a

Video Games in School by Guest Blogger, Andy Robertson

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  Foreword by James.  I came across Andy Robertson on Twitter after a chat he had with Jane from Drift IT services about the educational uses of video games in school. We arranged a Zoom chat and had a fascinating conversation about everything from his journey through his various YouTube channels to his latest project, a family video game database. I was so impressed by the site! Games are reviewed by Andy and other families and the search filter is incredibly detailed.  You can actually search for games you can play with your eyes closed! There are games lists sorted by skills and styles that you can choose from, however my favourite feature is that it recommends alternative age appropriate games that are similar to all the 18-rated games children want to play like Call of Duty or GTA. It recommends similar styles of play, skill and visuals but without all the gore, violence and language that makes the games inappropriate for primary aged children.  Andy has kindly written a blog for

A Review of my Day at Exabytes19

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Welcome to my latest blog where I am going review my day at the fantastic Exabytes19 conference. I considered doing a top 5 highlights for this blog but it wouldn’t do it justice as I had more than 5 highlights! I first came across Exabytes19 from Alan O’Donohoe (@teknoteacher) who leads the Exa Foundation. Their mission is to ‘support computing education and promote safe, secure and appropriate use of tech.’ (@ExaFoundation). Alan messaged me and asked if I would share on my twitter the application form for presenting at ExaBytes. I shared the link and also successfully applied. Exabytes19 is the ExaFoundation’s 4 th annual conference. Throughout the year they also run smaller training sessions around the country called Exabits. When I began to research previous Exabytes, I came across so much positive feedback, with several people describing it as ‘the best CPD training I’ve had all year’. I liked the idea that the conference wasn’t enormous and there would only

Top 5 highlights from the LGfL Conference 2019

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Yesterday I attended the LGfL ‘Let’s Get Digital’ Conference. This is a great event which I have attended almost every year that I have been an ICT/Computing Leader. The conference is free for LGfL schools and consists of around 8 keynote speakers, the choice to attend three 20 minute seminars in smaller rooms, a free lunch and opportunities to visit pop up stands run by LGfL’s partners. These included Busy Things, J2E, Avantis VR and Google. The venue had changed to a much larger space in Liverpool Street meaning it was easier to network and find your way around! So here are my top 5 highlights from the conference this year… 5) Don't run any more parent online safety workshops photo: LGfL I attended a seminar run by LGfL Safeguarding Manager, Mark Bentley @LGfLDigiSafe , who said he’s been asked a million times ‘How do I get parents to attend my parent online safety workshop?’ – His answer in summary is ‘don’t do it! It’s much more effective to drip feed on