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Sunday, 16 November 2014

Blocking - no longer a viable option (CC: @Securly)

A recent survey to 2000 parents of children aged between 11 and 16 has found that 56 per cent felt that using parental web filters could damage their relationship with their children.

The general feeling was that they wanted their children to develop the self-discipline to control their own internet use. What’s more, many parents feel unable to make children study by blocking internet access, as homework often requires online research.

The research also found that 63 per cent of parents said confiscating smart phones and tablets was futile. 70 per cent feared social media could distract children from their work.

"What am I supposed to do? Stop her when she says it's essential for her homework. But when she's meant to be working, she's actually on social media on the computer," said the mother of 15-year-old Elly, from Worcestershire.

The parent of a 12-year-old said an attempt to block the internet had resulted in rebellion: "She just sat there and didn't do her homework for the whole time the internet was blocked."

Siobhan Freegard, co-founder of the parenting website Netmums, said parental internet filters could be blunt instruments, signalling "a total lack of trust and understanding" between parents and children.

Dialogue was better, she suggested, along the lines of: "Come on, let's get this homework done," but she admitted it could be difficult.

One particular parent commented that they now use software that allows their daughter to set her own homework targets, block the internet for the time she needs to achieve these targets and award herself success ratings when she completes her homework in time.

"She's in full control. She loves it. She writes down her goals, puts in the social media sites she wants to block and the amount of time," said Elly's mother.

You can read the full article on the BBC website at

Friday, 14 November 2014


The Isle of Portland Aldridge Community Academy recently played host to a special event showcasing digital excellence among pupils. The event entitled ‘Kidsmeet’ saw First School pupils from Frome Valley, Damers, Milborne St. Andrew, Cerne Abbas, Cheselbourne and St Mary's Middle School students join together at the Portland Academy.

Host, Academy Director for Digital Learning and Innovation, Gary Spracklen explains how, ‘The event was an opportunity to celebrate and share how Digital Technology is being used to engage, innovate and inspire learning. For over a year now we have been working with schools from the Dorchester Area Schools Partnership to prepare for the new Computer Science Curriculum, together we have shared best practice as teachers and sought effective methods of introducing assessment and moderation into this new curriculum area. The Kidsmeet event today was a celebration of that partnership and an opportunity for our learners to share exciting tools they use to support their learning’.

Speaking about the event, Y5 pupil Finley Short said, ‘It was a fantastic day! We got to share all the exciting work we are doing here at IPACA with other children from around Dorset. My group shared how we can invent imaginative solutions to problems using a ‘Makey Makey’ board. Mr Spracklen explains further, ‘A Makey Makey board is a device which can turn everyday items into an input device. Today you can see how the children have turned fruit into a working electric piano. This technology can be applied in lots of different circumstances to solve an array of problems and when linked to coding can support A-Level and Degree-Level studies and research'.

Bob Duffin, Headteacher of Cheselbourne First School and Leader of the Dorchester Area Schools Partnership ICT Group said, ‘We want to thank Gary Spracklen and his team at IPACA for all their efforts to organise the Kidsmeet today. Everyone has said what a fabulous day it was and it was great to see more of what happens down at IPACA. We look forward to welcoming IPACA students to future events in Dorchester’.

Friday, 7 November 2014

#BYOD Pilot

I am excited to announce that we are planning a BYOD pilot for pupils here at the Isle of Portland Aldridge Community Academy. This pilot will start in January 2015 and will be focused on our West Base and West Base 2 superclasses at our new Osprey Quay Campus. The pilot will involve 120 learners aged between 6 and 9.

Last night, we hosted our first parent information session about the pilot, a recording of this session can be seen below -

I look forward to sharing the results with you through this platform.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Miss Heppell selected for Google Teacher Academy

Isle of Portland Aldridge Community Academy educator, one of 50 Global Educators to be selected for 'Google Teacher Academy'. 

Miss Melissa Heppell, who teaches in a superclass of 90 children at the Portland School's Osprey Quay Campus, said she was  ‘honoured’ to be selected. Miss Heppell is the second educator from the Portland Academy in two years to be selected for the unique opportunity which sees teachers from around the world presented with 'Google Certified Teacher Status'.

The Google Certified Teacher program was launched in 2006 and has since held several academies across the USA, Australia and the UK, expanding the ranks of Google Certified Teachers to over 800 educators worldwide. Miss Heppell is looking forward to attending the two day intensive program that recognises educators who are doing innovative and exciting things in their classrooms with technology. Speaking about the event she said, 'I cannot wait to connect with like minded educators who shared my school's passion for seeing digital technology transform learning'.

Academy Director of Digital Learning and Innovation, Mr Gary Spracklen, speaking about Melissa's selection for the Google Teacher Academy explains, 'For any schools to have a Google Certified Teacher in it's ranks is a significant achievement, to have two represents IPACA's position as a world-leader in the use of Digital Technology to support learning. The transformation we are seeing through the appropriate use of technology to engage, innovate and inspire learning is incredibly exciting and I am so pleased Miss Heppell will have the chance to share this with a global audience at the Google Teacher Academy while continuing to develop her skills'.

Great promotion from Google

New schools purchasing 20+ Chrome licences between the 1st October and the 31st December 2014 from an authorised Google reseller will be able to benefit from a day long Transformational Planning Workshop. The workshop will help school leaders build a practical plan for integrating technology in their classrooms in order to improve learning outcomes.


The workshop is a one day interactive session for a maximum of 2 people per school, facilitated by an educational technologist with extensive knowledge and experience spanning deployment, change management, technical areas and pedagogy. It will be delivered either at your school or a local school and will walk attendees through considerations and practicalities around implementing a technology strategy in their school.

Attendees will get an overview of what a connected classroom could look like and gain a greater understanding of what is possible in this environment. Google’s supported classroom and workflow will be explained, along with what is required to make this a success. Attendees will create a future plan document as part of the workshop which will detail achievable tasks, ideas around how these can be measured and include a list who would be involved in the delivery. A project presentation will also be developed by attendees enabling them to share their learnings with stakeholders in their school.


The Transformational Planning Workshop is targeted at the senior leadership and management team members including any key decision makers involved in technology purchase or those with roles supporting and enhancing teaching and learning.

Attendees will benefit from:

  • A greater understanding of the possibilities of technology in teaching.
  • A thorough overview of Google’s Education Solutions with guidance on how to establish an effective Google supported classroom successfully
  • The development of a practical future plan document with clearly articulated, realistic and achievable goals for technology in their school. This plan will be an invaluable tool to gain the buy-in and support of teachers, parents and stakeholders across the school community.
  • An Implementation project presentation which can be communicated to other staff for their feedback and consideration.

How to take advantage of this offer

  • Please contact your authorised Google reseller. Once your purchase is confirmed, the reseller can sign you up for the Transformational Planning workshop.
  • You will then be contacted by Google’s training partner, Trilby, who will arrange the workshop to take place at a mutually agreeable time, date and venue.

Requirements for school to qualify for this offer

  • Transformational Planning Workshop incentive is only available for new customers who purchase 20+ Chrome licenses from a Google authorised education reseller.
  • Only purchases from schools, academies, colleges or universities that have not bought Chromebook licences or Chrome units previously will be entitled to this free workshop incentive.
  • Management console orders must be confirmed by Google between 1st October and 31st December 2014 to qualify
  • The Transformational Planning Workshop must be scheduled to take place before 1st July 2015.
  • The promotion is only open to educational institutes in the UK

This offer may be removed at any time without notice.

Further questions please contact your authorised Google reseller.