Spannerman's Edublog

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Dr John Spencer began his teaching career in 1981 armed with a Sinclair ZX81, thereby demonstrating two things at once: Firstly he was in at the very start of ICT in the classroom and secondly he is a sucker for duff technology. Thereafter he taught joining a start-up open source company as their Head of Education in 2002. Now John is bringing his iconoclastic disposition and tendency to throw a spanner in the works to blogging.

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Recent Posts

The end of ICT my friends

The OECD's survey of Literacy, Numeracy and ICT skills put the UK 22nd out of 24 of the developed countries

It's a while since I put pen to paper. I wrote weekly for seven years about IT in education. It barely seems possible that there was that much to say about the subject but, as is the way of things,...

Cloud ghost schools

A real, tech led revolution in education?

In February Prof Sugata Mitra picked up a $1m prize in LA from TED. What exactly this bloke called Ted was doing in La La land is not totally clear but although he himself comes from Cloud Cuckoo land he...

Tags: cloud school, edinburgh, education, facebook, massachusetts institute of technology, prof mitra, pubilc sector, schools, sugata mitra, ted

Michael Gove and the death of schools computing

A lesson without a GCSE at the end of it. Is this a step too far?

It has taken me awhile to think through this blog and it’s a little complicated so bear with me, I think it is worth the effort. Part 1 It starts with a press release from our leading examination board OCR...

Tags: edexcel, education, english language, examination board, gcse, michael gove, ofqual, schools

The Spreadsheet and BYOD anarchy

Rekindling the revolutionary fervour of IT

I’ve been reading reviews of the fate next year of ICT and Computing in schools. Depressing is not a strong enough word to describe my reaction. Michael Gove, the original swivel eyed loon, abolished New Labour ICT only to find...

Tags: education, excel, ict, lotus 123, michael gove, microsoft, personal computer, public sector, schools, spreadsheet, tory

BYOD in schools: Knocking loudly on the door

Time for a free-for-all in education?

As we brace ourselves for this season’s round of smartphones it is becoming obvious that the little devils are getting just a bit useful and connectivity pretty acceptable. The ‘life companion’ motif is ringing true. Better still the users can...

Tags: android, bring your own device, byod, education, gartner, microsoft, mobile & wireless, mobile device, personal computer, public sector, schools

Technical Baccalaureate: It might actually work

Leave aside the cynicism, this could be a qualification that counts

From this September the Department of Education will launch a new qualification called the Technical Baccalaureate or Tech-Bacc for post 16 education. It combines a vocational A-Level-equivalent qualification, such as BTEC IT, Engineering or Science with an A level standard...

Tags: a-level, computer science, gcse, public sector, schools, tech bacc, university, vocational education

Could Maggie have stopped Microsoft?

BBC Micro, ZX Spectrum, Research Machines’ RM380z. The start of a stalled revolution

Margaret Thatcher’s first year as Prime MInister was marked by the release of Clive Sinclair’s ZX80 personal computer followed shortly by the BBC Micro. Within two years the Department of Education and Science had introduced its Microelectronics Education Programme which...

Tags: bbc micro, careers, clive sinclair, margaret thatcher, public sector, tony blair, zx spectrum

Strike and Skype will take your job

Technology could end schooling as we know it

Teachers are currently not a very happy bunch. In fact they are planning to take quite a lot of industrial action to express just how unhappy they are. Teaching is a profession that in the greater scheme of things enjoys...

Tags: distance learning, e-learning, education, public sector, schools, skype

Education, 3D printing and all that

3D printing and the relaunched Lego Mindstorms robotics could save schools computing

Is anything moving in the education-IT market? Well yes, sort of. It’s not moving in the way that pressurised magma does not move much before the top blows off the volcano and it will move in the way that magma...

Tags: 3d printing, bett, education, lego mindstorms, printing, public sector, schools

When BYOD went to college

Forget upgrades, go for broke with BYOD and invest in context-based security

It’s nearly 18 months since my Chromebook and Galaxy SII came to college to become my wireless ‘work’ computers. The motivation was simple: the college had a good campus-wide wireless and inconvenient XP wired desktops; the Chromebook booted really quickly...

Tags: college, education, google-drive, lan, local area network, mobile & wireless, public sector, samsung, windows 8