Reflection on the CAS Conference 2017

After around five years of absence I returned to the 9th CAS Conference held in Birmingham today.

I was hoping for new ideas and a chance to catch up with people.

Now, cooling off in the garden with darkening skys (it is nearly 11pm) I have spent a few hours reflecting on the day…

The day started really well.  I boarded my train, bacon roll in hand, and made my way to my reserved seat to find none other than Phil Bagge sitting in the seat opposite.  Phil was one of the CAS people I met at my first CAS conference and I’ve pinched his ideas and shown his jam-sandwich-robot video to teachers ever since.  We had a lovely chat about work and life and I tagged along with Phil right up to the University.

The opening sessions were thought-provoking…

Mark Guzdial introduced us to three keys to improving computing teaching:

  1. Prediction – the power of asking the pupils to make predictions help them understand and remember more
  2. Sub goal labelling – making it obvious (almost decomposition) what we are doing
  3. Instructional design

This gave me my first take-away – trying to include Sub Goal Labelling in future resources and planning

The first breakout was on CAS’s Project Quantum with Miles Berry (again someone I’ve known for years and who I’ve quoted and also used his YouTube videos around the new computing curriculum with teachers in the past.  One thing he mentioned that really got me thinking was about hinge points/questions after around 20 minutes of teaching was something new to me and a definite second take-away.

Taking time to check real understanding at appropriate times within a lesson before moving on is something I probably don’t conciously focus enough on.   The Project Quantum was interesting, a quantatitive online bank of quiz questions that can be used to assess pupils knowledge and understanding of Computing, but currently heavily biased towards secondary.  It made me want to contribute more primary-level questions…

The second break-out I attended was with the aforementioned Phil Bagge and Mark Dorling.

They have been working on a project around attitudes.  What makes a good Computing Problem Solver…

Phil’s resources and animated explanation and description made me want to try these ideas out straight away (another take-away).  I will certainly be introducing them into my teaching from September, if not before.

After lunch I attended a rather poorly attended session on streamlining assessment using tablets.  Will Franklin took us through Formative, Socrative, Kahoot and Plickers also mentioning Google Forms and Class Kick.  Although there was little really new here for me it did server to reaffirm my ideas and prompt me to spend some time developing Socrative particularly which also made me think a bit more about Hinge points too…

The final breakout I attended was with Steve Bunce and Mark Dorling (again).  This was a look at how to move pupils from a block-based language (Scratch) to a text-based language (such as Python) via something like Snap.

The plenaries in the afternoon started with Miles once more recapping Project Quantum but with some interesting audience participation!

The Second plenary was a very interesting and engaging talk from Chris Ensor of the National Centre for Cyber Security who talked about his organisations changing role since World War 1 and the modern challenges and how they are hoping to encourage and support a new generation of security experts and programmers who understand the absolute need for code without holes through things like the Cyber First bursary scheme.

The day was rounded off by a charming and highly engaging session from Linda Liukas.  She’s describes herself as an author, storyteller and computer scientist (and more).  Author of the growing “Hello Ruby” book series.  Her storytelling style had the whole lecture theatre of 300+ people spellbound despite the heat and left me with even more to think of (and an Amazon bill for books).  A superbly engaging way of introducing young children to Computer Science and I can’t wait to share it with a reception teacher I Know!

Thank you CAS for a great event, thought provoking and invigorating (and excellent value).


Harnessing Technology Conf09 is nearly go

The Harnessing Technology conference is almost here. We’ve been over to the Grove Williams F1 centre this afternoon laying out floor plans and organising stand building. It’s looking very good (even if I do say so myself!).
We’ve decided to run a hash tag for Twitter of #oxict09 alongside our normal #oxteach for the day.
It all kicks off at 12pm but we’ll be there from 8am.
Teachers and school Governors welcome!

Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education

Manning a ‘booth’ all about our eSafety training for teachers in Second Life at the “Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education” conference.

The conference spans Friday 27th March 2009 to Sunday 29th March 2009.

For further information click the link above OR the image below!



Attending and participating…

I’m in London at Game Based Learning 2009.  Today is the un-conference half-day.  I am here with James from the “team”.  I am in the Pecha Kucha session this afternoon.  

A couple of weeks ago I “offered” to do a Pecha Kucha session on our e-Safety teacher training in Second Life, but didn’t follow up on it – until I got an email yesterday telling me I had a slot in the afternoon!

I threw together a presentation (rules are 20 slides x 20 seconds each = 6 mins 40 seconds of “pain”)

Got here, owned up to being here, loaded my presentation up on their machine and sat back to check twitter… (big mistake).  Their technology broke down and so me (sitting in the front row with a working laptop in hand) was asked to step up and OPEN the session!

Well, I did.


Nuff said! nick_rvsm

Getting annoyed…

SLED (Second Life Educators list) is responsible. For a couple of years I have lurked receiving the daily digest from the email list. I have increasingly ignored and deleted this as it is an indigestible digest! I found I was scrolling through lines and lines of quoted text and stuff that I just wasn’t interested in to get to a couple (if I was lucky) of “jems”. So this week I decided to move from the digest to the “as they come” mode hoping I can delete stuff I am not interested in from the subject line and then only read the interesting things in a timely manner! THEN an argument has broken out… Up to now the list has been almost exclusively posted in English. Then someone posted in Spanish looking for some Spanish help (not a bad idea really) but it has BLOWN up so that we now have people recommending that all of the list users post in their native language. A tower of Babel!!! Given that I speak no other languages really, and can read a similar amount this would make the list unusable by me – and several other people said the same. We all agreed that any of us could delete the languages we could not access. Someone asked us to use the technology to translate the posts – GREAT idea, so I’ve got to try and work out which language a post is written in, then get it translated to find out if I want to read it!

NOW we’ve got people accusing other people of being racist!

About time I opted out altogether I think – SLED stinks? nick_rvsm

08 Jan 09 Virtual Training


Well, it’s the eve of the first Oxon Virtual training session in SL!
A select band of guinea pigs has been assembled and will (SL permitting) get together in world to start our e-Safety training session… This is scheduled to cover a few weeks, over 4 sessions. Evaluation will follow and then, maybe, a full and official launch OR SL obscurity… nick_rvsm

28 Nov 08 eSafety

I spent a LONG day with the lovely police people of CEOP (the Child Exploitation Online Protection team) in London yesterday. The upshot? yes I am still “at large” and also, I am proud to announce, now a CEOP Ambassador. I hope anybody wandering across this blog should already understand CEOP’s role, and now as an ambassador, I can help them by training teachers to become trainers so that they can confidently help young people stay e-safe!

As Steve (you know how you are) said, “The internet is a wonderful place, you can’t turn off the internet, instead we need to empower young people to stay in control.”

Everything is based around learning resources, all of which are available from the super website Think-U -Know

There are dedicated sections for 5-7 year olds, 8-11 year olds, 11+ year olds, parents and teachers/trainers.

Packed with activities for children of all ages, packed with information for children AND parents, and loads of information and resources for teachers.

Parents can also register for regular email updates too.

All this FOR FREE.

Check out  nick_rvsm



Blog at

Up ↑