Saturday, 11 August 2018

Agent4Change article

A simple truth about learning. A headteacher once explained how smart multimedia technology helped his students who had behaviour issues. Creating their own music and movies gave them a quick taste of success. "For any of us to start learning we have to take a chance," he said. "If you are not confident you cannot take that chance. Nothing gives you confidence like success."

He built on quick successes to move the learning forward. And this truth is at the heart of RiskITWeek, IT in the Classroom, A Risk Worth Taking, the recently published book by Abderrahmane 'Ben' Benjeddi. It may be a short and easy read but it's an extremely valuable one. That's because it has the power to change minds.
There are a number of reasons behind the failure of many schools to comfortably embrace technology for learning. And this book addresses two: staff confidence with technology; school leadership and strategic adoption of ICT. It provides a mechanism where staff can try out products and services that interest them but which they have not been confident enough to previously try – and with the full support of the senior leadership team.
The first thing to note is the RiskITWeek actually works and has already enjoyed some success. The author's work is already well-known to schools in east London and beyond and his RiskITWeek Awards were successfully hosted by the professional body for ICT professionals, Naace, and were in fact a high point of its annual conference.
With his expertise, irrepressible enthusiasm and persistence, Abderrahmane Benjeddi has already established proof of concept and the ability to scale. His only problem has been that, as an independent educator, he has not enjoyed sufficient resources to push his project, something that could easily happen with the backing of a well-known brand for example.
His RiskITWeek publication is the next stage on his journey. In it he shares the concept and practical ways in which teachers and their schools can put it to good use to improve their professionalism and the learning for their students.
The arguments are logical and coherent as are the examples (there is plenty of food for thought in chapters 5 and 6). All they need are take-up and leadership back-up. RiskITWeek makes perfect sense if only to make good use of the technology already invested in for schools, and which often lies around under-used or even in cupboards. But the most important purpose is for teachers to enrich their professional expertise and help make the teaching and learning more appealing and engaging for their youngsters.

'RiskITWeek' author deserves award of his own 

Abderrahmane 'Ben' Benjeddi presents a RiskITWeek Award

Abderrahmane Benjeddi deserves his own award for developing and sharing this work. It undoubtedly stems from his own life experience in education across countries and continents and his own indefatigable determination to learn and share his learning. His own story and his journey from Morocco to university in France and then on to England where he qualified as a teacher is inspiration in itself.

At just over 100 pages there's no excuse for not engaging with RiskITWeek. Its cover price of £9.99 is a snip, and smart school leaders could do no better than also engage the services of Abderrahmane Benjeddi  (or his Naace associates) to get the very best out of the CPD for their own RiskITWeeks.
Developing a 'can do' culture is no small thing for any school; the staff become better teachers and the learning improves for the children. This book is an unadorned gem, much like the author. RiskITWeek deserves a wide take-up.
RiskITWeek, IT in the Classroom, A Risk Worth Taking
Book (112 pages) by Abderrahmane Benjeddi, £9.99 from Amazon
RiskITWeek website

Friday, 26 January 2018

Review from Allison Allen,

Director, Outstream Consulting | Vice Chair Governors, Heathfield + La Fontaine, STEP Academy Trust

RiskITWeek is a philosophy, a calculated risk and a tool that virtually guarantees a ‘win’ for schools, their pupils and teachers! Is it easy? – It just requires commitment to effective CPD from school leaders.

This book “RiskITWeek – IT in the Classroom A Risk Worth Taking” provides the necessary knowledge, advice and strategy to make a success of risk-taking, discovery and innovation without fear.

Abderrahmane (Ben) Benjeddi offers this book as a guide to the strategy. It is written with a joyfully light touch and can be read cover to cover or by dipping in and out of the sections of most interest. Seasoned with helpful, robust, education research, the book is full sage advice born out of experience and real-school practical suggestions. Not to be missed are Chapters 5 and 6 about implementing and embedding ICT in the classroom – these chapters are full of really good examples of ICT across all kinds of curriculum areas!

When I first became aware of RiskITWeek, the idea immediately got my attention - I knew so many teachers who were apprehensive of using technology in their subject - frightened that they would look foolish in front of pupils who had grown up with computers or frankly, scared the tools would stop working.

Even now that there is so much focus on the new UK Computing curriculum, many teachers receive training on coding but not in the wider aspects and skills of using education technology. RiskItWeek is a pragmatic idea based on simply providing professional and technical support to teachers without negative criticism. What makes this 'doable' and transferable to any school is the strategy - where teachers take a risk and use new technology or innovate with technology in a culture of support where people learn from each other and celebrate the process made visible.

I wish RiskITWeek had been invented when I was ICT Coordinator! Don’t wait – this little book is a life-changing opportunity for the whole school community.

click here to go to Amazon 

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Book on Amazon

The RiskITWeek is here now and you can find it in Amazon books, just type RiskITWeek or click here
It took me about five years to prefect the strategy, with lot of up and downs. it was worth it, now i am ready to share with you and hopefully you will find it useful.
Over fifty schools used the strategy over the last few years with some of them included as part of their CPD.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

BETT Show 2019

Yes, time has come once again to showcase what you have been doing. I am hoping to do another presentation at the Bett show this coming Jan and hope to see you all there.
BETT Show 2019

I have also prepared an eGuide to help you run RiskITWeek successfully in your school. the eGuide can also be found here on my blog
if you require any copies please let me know

I would also like to invite one person who run the project successfully in their school to come and talk about it. so please contact me through the website or twitter or even my phone number (all on the website) if you are interested.

Sunday, 10 January 2016

RiskItWeek in 2016

First, let me thank all those schools who have taken part in the RiskITWeek this Academic year. Please make sure you send your clip videos to Naace as they will be judging the winner. in the future all participants will get a prize of some sort. we are still in the process of finalising the value and who should get it: the RiskITWeek coordinator who puts all the efforts and energy in organising the whole event or the school. (your views are welcome)

I am also looking for schools who like to contribute images and blurbs to a book that I will be giving to schools throughout as good practice. (free of charge, subject to finance, copies may be limited).

If you are a company and would like to put an ad in the book, then please contact me, as this will help with the printing.

the first book was based on my previous school, you can find the text here. RiskITWeek Book

I have recently read an article on the newspaper about teachers who barely use the technology in classrooms. (the article can be found here technology barely- used by half of teachers.). the simple answer is RiskITWeek.

Here is what Westfields Junior School says:
"I loved the idea of using crumble but
was a bit nervous of the concept as I
haven’t used it before. It is easy Scratch
like block coding and the pupils picked
it up straight away, could debug and
evaluate their program. It is a great bit
of kit and I would definitely use it
again. It was worth the risk."
Teachers name Mr Darren Chapin
Westfields Junior School

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

"Staff Training" under pressure?

With more and more technology being poured in most schools, the question is what to do with it all? have I missed something? are teachers suddenly proficient in all aspects of the equipment they have in hand?. what about the leadership expectations? what do they want to get from the technology? and one more thing, who decided on the type and nature of the technology chosen? was it a market force? influence from other schools? technical knowledge of the decision maker in the school? cost? BSF inflicted non-negotiable package? or something else?

when it comes to technology in schools, we are still in the "show off" stage, School leaders are always proud to show off the latest technologies they collected, they openly say that they have spent such and such amount of money on new system. some of them write their development plan around the technology, they make the technology as an end not as a mean. This is almost like those schools whose Network Manager dictates what the curriculum should do, and that through laziness the motto of the network team becomes: "if something is not compatible with the network system it should be left alone."
This method puts the technology above the curriculum, it dictates the direction of classroom practices, limits creativity as a result it becomes more of a hindrance than a help, teachers very quickly turn away from it in favour to what they know best or comfortable with.

So the question is how can we make the technology "invisible"?, by that I mean, how can we use it as a mean to an end, how can we make it work for us?

First, there are some simple steps to take:
- you do need a confident network team, people who understand Education and classroom pressures.
- you need a person (coordinator) who has technical knowledge and of course must be a teacher. This post is not suitable for a deputy head teacher or a non teacher. they must be practitioners and have the time to listen to teachers' needs and be able to convert that into action. they also must be able to support teachers and be prepared to lead the network team and make sure they understand is needed from them and the direction they need to take when designing/updating the network.

The Coordinator need to run a tight "Fault" reporting system with rapid turnaround with log keeping. faults must not be repetitive and long term solution need to be a priority.

Finance: this is always a contentious issue, the Coordinator "must" have access to the decision makers and no one should represent them at the table when the budget is being decided. they must have a say in the decision making, as long as they are following the school development plan and priorities as outlined by the headteacher.

That leaves training and innovations. Although this is THE most important part of the equation, it is usually misunderstood,  neglected or done half-heartedly just to tick the box. "Continuous training is the key to a confident school.

Over the years I have run countless training sessions to staff, most of them were successful, however some were not, but how do we measure the success or failure of a training programme?

 Any training must benefit students directly or indirectly. The majority of CPD or SDD days do not benefit students directly. they are usually reserved to outline the school vision, or policies or some big change but they are also used for "information giving" and paperwork.

The best and most effective training is the one that challenges teachers, boost their confidence and creativity, it is the one that benefits students.

But how can you achieve all that? as I said earlier on, I have done a variety of training strategies, but I come to fine the one that not only hits the above points but changes the whole culture of the school is where staff take the risk in a controlled environment. that is why I came u with the RiskITWeek idea. Already successfully used in many schools, it allows staff to learn new things in the class with students, and if students know how to use the equipment then they become active teachers and learners at the same time.

the RiskIT Strategy (please see full details at ) is much more than just training, it brings teachers, students and leadership team together.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Academy Award? Year 7 student !!!

This week, a year 7 student created her own award in class. She learned programming in Kodu as part of the lesson I was teaching them,  once she learned to add the score and penalties, she also added some tricks that made it more interesting. she designed a game in Kodu and run a completion in class.

from home she analysed the score and selected the top five scorers in class. the following week she asked me if it was ok to present the winners with a certificate and a prize.

It was a much appreciated ceremony that beats the Oscars.