Nicole Ponsford

Nicole Ponsford

Nicole Ponsford became the founder and creative director of TechnoTeachers, an international edtech consultancy, with USA-based Dr. Julie M. Wood after more than a decade of working in UK schools as an award-winning AST and school leader. Despite living on different sides of the pond, Nicole and Julie's recent book TechnoTeaching: Taking Practice to the Next Level in a Digital World was published by Harvard Educational Press in summer 2014. Based in the UK, Nicole works alongside a range of international online organisations, such as the eSafety scheme eCadets and as a MamaBean. She also writes for a range of publications, including The Guardian and Harvard Family Research Project.

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When it comes to internet safety, we teachers are learning all the time. We know that when young people are not safe, cyber-bullying can be fatal. This report illustrates the figures with 4,400 young people committing suicide every year. Many educators are realising that the internet was “not designed with children in mind” and that age restrictions and privacy settings are not enough to keep young users safe.

Although the exam season is very much upon us, and many of us start to see the light at the end of the tunnel (aka summer holidays), many educators are trying to begin their careers in education. For some, the spark is put out before they have even begun.

Innovate My School agony aunt and TechnoTeaching co-author Nicole Ponsford takes a look at the challenges facing teachers today.

Innovate My School agony aunt and TechnoTeaching co-author Nicole Ponsford takes a look at the challenges facing teachers today.

Many people are thinking about Easter eggs and sprucing up their garden furniture at this point of the year. However, for us in the teaching world, things aren’t quite as sunny. It is, after all, the peak of the interview season (for September ‘15 starts), the time when it hits you that the exam timetable is a bit too close for comfort and if you haven't had your inspection yet, you know that you are running on borrowed time (mainly due to all of the last minute LT requests for data).

Gaming seems to be more popular than ever. As a child of the late Seventies, just BEFORE Space Invaders, video gaming has become a phenomena since the turn of this century. Even as some were worrying about the Millennium Bug, others could not have been more immersed in computing. 2000 saw Sony launch the PlayStation 2 for a staggering $299.99 (£150); with a built-in DVD player and back compatibility with PS1 games; every one of the 500,000 consoles produced sold out on Day 1. Following this, the only bug associated with computers was the sweeping-craze for gaming. 2008 saw the first ‘Video-game Tournaments’, as video-games became a fast-growing spectator sport with big tournaments like Unreal (held at Wembley Stadium) and the Championship Gaming Series (USA). Now eSports tournaments like the MLG have millions of registers users, with winners gaining millions of dollars for one video-game

As we March (ahem) into the spring, it is time to find sunshiny shortcuts and time-saving strategies, dear IMS-reader. The questions this month have been based around improvement and engagement. Please send in questions for next month via j.cain@innovatemyschool.com for next months piece.

In the 1989 time-travel classic Back to The Future, the vision of 2015 saw re-lacing Nike sneakers (which would help many EY teachers), flying cars (petrol or battery run?) and hoverboards (which would definitely be my mode of corridor-transport).

The more technology that is introduced into education, the more discussions are had regarding accessibility and usage. Edtech expert Nicole Ponsford takes a look at how the Digital Divide and issues surrounding screen-time can overlap.

What is the Digital Divide? Wikipedia describes it as: “an economic and social inequality according to categories of persons in a given population in their access to, use of, or knowledge of information and communication technologies (ICT).” Or you could say that the social-economic or demographic differences in access to technology is creating a gap in what skills people have and therefore what opportunities they may have in the future. What we know in schools is ‘the gap’ in attainment and progress.

MOOCs continue to spread throughout the world. But how will they affect e-learning in the UK? TechnoTeacher Nicole Ponsford takes a look.

MOOC = Massive Open Online Course. You may have now heard of them as the BBC has published an article about the UK’s Future Learning, illustrating their global demand. I have just completed my first of these courses, and believe MOOCs will change of the tone of learning for us all.

After Rory Gallagher’s recent piece on the meaning of education-innovation, Nicole Ponsford looks at the current state of affairs between schools and suppliers, and how both parties can work together for exciting progress.

With a background in marketing preceding my time in schools, I find this question of great interest. Schools and business are in the marketing game – schools to illustrate and celebrate the hard work and success of students and teachers alike, businesses to illustrate how innovative they also are, and to make a profit. As a former multimedia teacher, I have always been keen to provide my secondary school students with ‘industry-standard’ software and hardware. I want to prepare them for the world of business. However, working with technological giants like Apple, Sony and Vodafone, I have learnt a little about who is leading this innovation in terms of produce use – teachers or suppliers? Who is making the first move, and is this more about products or partnership?

Given that most people enjoy watching movies, it’s often tempting to just ‘put on’ a film. However, while the age of pupils will restrict screening opportunities (Junior schools will likely continue to miss out on Goodfellas), there are still a huge amount of films that students can really sink their teeth into. What is the moral subtext of The Iron Giant? What can Casablanca tell us about narrative? Trained cineaste Nicole Ponsford gives her advice on how to make the most of a flick in the classroom.

Are you one of those teachers who “puts” on a film on the last day of term? Are you? Well if you are, I am afraid you will not be getting a Christmas card from me. As a film teacher, I like to teach film. I think one issue that causes film to have a bad name in education is that many adults see film as escapism and therefore do not know how or why it needs teaching. They associate it with their childhood and they do not see that moving image / film/ the movies are an art form.

It’s been a while since Nicole Ponsford switched sides and handed in her teaching badge. Since then, she’s become acutely aware of the challenges presented by working with her former peers, and finds that not enough non-educators know enough about presenting to teachers. Here, she gives her top 10 pieces of advice on teaching the teachers.

My role has changed. From being a non-descript member amongst the staff audience, it is now me who is at the front of the hall when it comes to teacher training sessions. I always try to remember my place as a guest and consider what I look like from the back of the room (who said back of a bus?!) and sound like to Mr Cynical Teacher with his arms folded and his lips pursed (and that’s before I have turned the computer on or given out leaflets). Sigh. It is hard work, but when the light-bulbs start twinkling, you really feel that you can give yourself a “self-5”. One of my favourite things is to help teachers find their passion for learning again, but they do make you work for it.

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