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education software journalism
Full CV Software Design Journalism

For clients and potential clients...

Here you'll find some in-depth information about the work I have been doing over the last ten years or so. Things are constantly moving on and I continue to acquire new skills at the rate dictated by jolly IT. Apart from the practical experience you'll find on these pages, I spend a lot of time training myself and taking various courses. I also keep up with the latest developments via a number of professional groups. I am available for both long and short term contracts and rates are always negotiable. For further information, mail me or use the technology of your choice.

Please note that the opinions expressed below are my own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the organisation mentioned.



News...
SCORM for schools The mysteries of SCORM - 2009 and beyond

Every school is supposed to have a learning platform of some kind by now. I have my own thoughts on this, especially as far as the primary phase goes, but if you can't beat them, you'd better join them so I've been looking for ways to develop goodies that will run on all 10+ of the current platforms out there.


The answer, as far as I can tell, is SCORM which is supposed to be a standard way of existing within and communicating with you VLE/learning platform/Vole Leg Extractor or whatever. I now have three packages working on a range of learning platforms; Stig of the Dump, Sellardore Tales and a freebie called Corcyra.

Talk About It MFL Talk About It MFL - Spring 2009

Talk About It MFL is a development of the ideas I first worked up for Story Teller. The idea is that children listen to their own attempts at speaking a new language. The stimuli are a range of pictures and texts that a based on the QCA’s Scheme of Work for Modern Foreign Languages. Children use the stimuli as prompts to try out the language that are learning and listen to the result. Because the results are recorded digitally on the computer, they can become part of subsequent records or portfolio content as well as being used to demonstrate progress to the children themselves.


You can find out more on the Talk About It MFL page, which includes a walkthrough and a downloadable demo, and buy it at Hopscotch.

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Chesterfield College Chesterfield College - Spring 2008 onward

Having parted from the Virtual Classroom at the end of 2008 I have a new 'day job' working in academic support from Chesterfield College. Taking about 50% of my time I am working with students who need a variety of kinds of support. Some of this is basic skills, learning problems like dyslexia and so on, but a large aspect of it is about behavioural issues.

I am also doing a lot of work on the college Moodle VLE, gathering together materials to provide both student and tutor support. I am developing a CDP provider role within the college now, covering the pedagogical rather than technical ideas behind VLEs.

Story Teller 7-12 Story Teller 7-12 - Autumn 2007

This is my first project with the new Hopscotch as run by MA Educational LTD. It's me with that bee in my bonnet about creativity and looking for ways to get it into school without making it too scary. Story Teller uses random pictures to encourage children to use seat-of-the-pants creativity to come up with stories.

I've done a support site with all sorts of walkthroughs and documentation as well as a demo to have a go with. Take a look.
Story Scaffolds Story Scaffolds - Now for more year groups

The success of the year 6 version of this has created a demand to cover the entire junior age range. I've just completed versions of years 5, 4 and 3 which are being launched by Hopscotch early in 2007.

Visit the official site to download a demo which now shows examples from all year groups.
TextThing MFL textThing PLUS and textThing MFL

textThing has had a fairly major going over during 2005/6. First was what's now being called textThing PLUS - here I've radically overhauled the whole options side of things in an attempt to simplify it. It was a rather painful journey, but I think we were all happy with the result in the end.

textThing MFL is a response to the UK government's sudden enthusiasm for Modern Foreign Languages in schools from Key Stage 2 onward. textThing was always capable of dealing with foreign languages if users were prepared to dig into the options, what I've done here is rationalise that and make it a lot easier to use the pre-set languages or create new ones. It looks pretty good :o)


Moodle Moodle/Virtual Classroom

Moodle looks like becoming quite the thing for 2006 and I'm up to my armpits in it. The practical stuff is going on in the virtual classroom where I'm developing asynchronous courses in a variety of subjects including GCSE English, KS3 ICT, basic English skills, study skills and art.


Story Scaffolds Story-Writing Scaffolds

Met the Nice People at Hopscotch a while ago and we came up with the idea of creating a computer-based version of their Very Successful materials for supporting year 6 story writing.


It's taken a while (doesn't everything?) and been rather scary for us all as it's Hopscotch's first entry into software, and my first time taking on product support. Luckily Topologika has been involved in the development and their support was vital - it wouldn't be here otherwise.


You can see my outline of its main ideas, or visit the official site to download a demo.
Virtual Classroom

Starting September '03 I have been working on this project for an LEA. We're currently addressing the needs of several groups:
  • Excluded pupils
  • Pupils in special units
  • Home tutored pupils
Pupils use the local GFL portal for secure e-mail, discussions and so on. We are delivering live lessons using LearnLink 7 and producing CD based materials, using HTML and ScreenCorder 4, to support pupils studying for GNVQ ICT. This is developing into a substantial project for me, being involved in all areas of the virtual classroom's activities, and has been an excellent opportunity to apply the lessons I learned on my M.Ed dissertation.
British Library - 21st Century Citizen

Starting September 2003 I was working with the library to develop ways in which schools, nationwide and beyond, could get the most out the their citizenship site. There was certainly a lot of potential in using the library's huge archive to explore the reasons for the way we live now and I enjoyed working with schools and other interested organisations involved. You can find the site at www.bl.uk/citizenship

My work with the library included a project exploring different cultural views of the body. The first public-facing phase of this was on line as part of the library's Explore the World's Knowledge site.
Read on Write Away Keeping Up With the Kids

I've wanted to work with the Read on Write Away project for years - they get up to all sorts of kewel and innovatory (is that a real word? Is now.) stuff in Derbyshire working in many areas of community based literacy. I'll be working on their ICT bus, showing parents what it is that their kids are doing with computers in school.
I've co-written a follow up course for this which I piloted in autumn 2003.
Tell a Tale 2 Finally - Tell a Tale 2 released

What a busy year it was, and no mistake. Tell a Tale The First was aimed at pre-school, elementary, KS1 children. It let them create their own three-sentence stories from a wide range of options, hear it read to them and see it animated. With Tell a Tale 2 we took the idea further by adding optional adjectives. So, children can make stories about a rusty robot, a sad robot and so on.

See some pics and animations, or visit 4mation to place an order (the cats need feeding!)

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