My Top 5 Edu-live for Monday 11th Feb



The things that caught my biased eye since last week.


  1. A VIDEO:What if we didn’t have teachers? EdTech Update  featured a number of must-watch videos and this one What if we didn’t have teachers?, caught my eye. Nothing ground breaking in one sense- same old Ken Robinson- schooling robs children of creativity schtick …but some greater optimism about action. View this here




2. AN ARTICLE: Boredom caught my eye this week   I’ve been pondering writing a blog on Boredom: The New Luxury Item and suddenly I see it everywhere. This from the New York Times




3. AN APP: Our own Microsoft Font Maker APP

This is actually very very cool and super example of digi-logue – that convergence of analogue and digital. This app allows you to use your digital pen to create a true-type font from your own handwriting. Very very personal.

I think kids would love it. Find it free here\


4. A PODCAST: Our own @Dan Ayoub features in this podcast from edtechtimes speaking about how AR/ VR can produce measurable learning outcomes. Check it out here  SPOILER ALERT: We have a great new paper, a collaboration across our 3-teams written by serious academic influencer on this topic coming down the pipeline.

Skype 2


5. A RESEARCH SNIPPET: What worked and didn’t work across 2018 to take into 2019? Chalkbeat synthesized what they learned from research in 2018, focusing on which policies seemed to work and which didn’t. They used “what worked” as a shorthand for policies that improved test scores or affected metrics like suspensions, attendance, and high school graduation rates.  Check it out here



Follow me on Twitter for more @sparvell 

See you in around




My Top 5 Edu-live for Monday 4th Feb



My Top 5 Edu-live for Monday 4th Feb

The things that caught my biased eye since last week.

  1. Game-based learning is changing the way we teach  Edsurge ran this sponsored content by Minecraft today here  If you’d like to find out more about Game-based learning, Edutopia has an easy to consume summary here Of particular note is the use of #edtech as empathy machines

game learning


  • The Benefits of Constructionist Gaming  On this theme, this one is important as they are making the link between education theory ‘Constructionism’ and ‘Gaming’ Playing and building games helps students understand complex systems—including their own systems of thinking. From Edutopia



Sparvell Cheat Sheet: What is Constructionism?

Constructionist learning is when learners construct mental models to understand the world around them. Constructionism advocates student-centered, discovery learning where students use information they already know to acquire more knowledge. Students learn through participation in project-based learning where they make connections between different ideas and areas of knowledge facilitated by the teacher through coaching rather than using lectures or step-by-step guidance.



  1. Social and Emotional Data might Identify Problems, but can schools fix them?

This is important as FRESNO, one of hero stories @Maria Langworthy features prominently in this article which examines research  where seeing survey data about school climate and students’ self-perception of social and emotional strengths motivated educators to change their practices.

From Education Week


  1. Google opens up data analytics program in Singapore for undergrads The inaugural batch of 25 students is in the midst of completing a 12-week digital analytics technology course prerequisite, including sessions with industry subject matter experts from Google and its partners. STRAIT Times   



  • Australians are largely happy with tech use in schools with some reservations The regarded EducationHQ Australia shares results from research conducted by Monash University here



The key curious findings of the report include:

  •      66 per cent of adults agree that digital technologies make a positive contribution to Australian schools
  • 37 per cent of adults believe ‘Big Tech’ companies cannot be trusted to play a role in school technology
  •      79 per cent of adults support schools banning the use of mobile phones while students are in class
  •      44 per cent of adults are happy to see online exams; 34 per cent want blended learning opportunities

LIVE FIVE – Things you need to know


My Top 5 live for Monday A

Topic focus: Social and Emotional Skills

  1. Today: DonorsChoose releases its 2018 classroom funding data- our Class of 2030 research found teachers wanted to spend more time on Social-Emotional Learning but lacked time and resources



2.      Today: Education Week: Top 10 Topics Everyone should be talking about -be    surprised about how many are related to social and emotional skills.

Get the scoop here

3.       Last Week:  Oftsed – The UK Office of Standards in Education announced fundamental changes to how they measure quality schools to include how students interact, the social expression of emotional intelligence.


4.        Jan 18th Aspen Institute (US) published a significant report , the National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development   (note the intentional inclusion of academic)


5.       Microsoft Education, The tech giant, brings for the second year, the  topic of social and emotional skill prioritization into the heart of one of the worlds largest education technology conferences with a lead keynote Emotion and Cognition in the Age of AI which builds on 2018’s, Class of 2030




Self Regulation- Why is matters and how to grow and show it.

Today’s complex world demands self-regulated thinkers and learners who can take responsibility for their lives, their work, and their ongoing learning. It requires individuals to monitor their own work and to incorporate feedback to develop and improve their work products.


In most traditional classrooms, educators structure students’ work for them, directing them in exactly what to do and monitoring compliance. To create opportunities for students to learn effectively and monitor their own progress, educators can instead work with them, guiding and empowering them in ways that help them take increasing responsibility for their own learning, both as individuals and in groups. In turn, this supports students’ ability to function in a 21st century workplace, where people are expected to work with minimal supervision, planning their own work, designing their own work products and incorporating feedback to improve the quality of those products.


Learning activities that give students the opportunity to acquire self-regulation skills must last long enough for students to have the opportunity to plan their work over time, and offer visibility into clear learning goals and success criteria that students can use to plan and monitor their own work. Educators can foster self-regulation skills by giving students working in groups responsibility for deciding who will do what and on what schedule. In the most successful learning activities, students receive feedback that is supportive of students’ progress toward clear learning goals, and they have the opportunity to act on that feedback to improve their work before it is considered final.


Self-regulation involves a range of skills that become increasingly sophisticated as they develop over time. At the beginning of a semester, students who are new to self-regulation may need more explicit guidance; over time, it can be a goal for educators to give students progressively more responsibility for their own learning


Find via the link below RUBRICS for analyzing learning design for opportunities to self regulate plus the big ideas underpinning this.



Also free courseware  built on the that provides on-demand training around the 21st Century Learning Design (21CLD)  approaches is available

Life Between The Numbers

Welcome to the recording of the “Life Between the Numbers: Data & Analytics to Advance Achievement & Equity” webinar 


Why this session matters


For many education leaders, creating actionable intelligence from data is a new skill.

In this 4th industrial revolution, the ability to make better decisions, faster decisions against a backdrop of complexity and ambiguity is now essential for leading transformation across schools and districts. …equally important is how we create the conditions where learning flourish’s and use data and analytics to validate these approaches.


In this webinar, Dr Phil Neufeld, executive director, information technology, Fresno Unified School District, , is joined by colleague Ryan Coe, Vice Principal in the Curriculum and Instruction Department with Dr. Maria Langworthy, director of worldwide education research, Microsoft Corporation

In this session Ryan Maria and Phil will detail the Fresno 2-year personalized learning initiative, a project which is now delivering statistically significant results.

The Team will cover the following:

The pedagogical model used to foster a collaborative learning culture anchored in student agency.

  • The impacts of this approach on thousands of students over two years.
  • The elements which work that anyone can leverage in their work.

Thank you for attending  This webcast is now on-demand, should you like to view it again. The PowerPoint presentation is available for download here.

Use the link below to enter the webcast at me.


The PowerPoint presentation is available for download here.

Get the report

Here is the link to the related report: Enabling Analytics for Improvement: Lessons from Year 2 of Fresno’s Personalized Learning Initiative


Virtual School Review

Now here’s a great piece of research hot off the press.

This report presents the findings of an international review undertaken to inform the creation of an eHub Pilot Project or e-school with virtual classrooms to support Irish-medium post-primary schools participating in the Gaeltacht School Recognition Scheme. The e-Hub pilot project will connect a number of small Irish-medium schools or Irish-medium units in Gaeltacht areas so as to extend the range of curricular choices available to students, particularly at senior cycle, in these schools (Policy on Gaeltacht Education 2017-2022; p.21).
The report is divided into 5 sections as follows:
Section 1: Introduction
Section 2: Virtual Learning Case-studies
Section 3: Essentials of Good Online Learning
Section 4: Recommendations for Gaeltacht e-Hub
Section 5: Key Roles and Procedures.

irish pilot



A key aim of the Department of Education and Skills’ Policy on Gaeltacht Education 2017–2022 is to strengthen Irish-medium educational provision in post-primary schools in the Gaeltacht. The provision of a wide range of subject choices through the medium of Irish poses a challenge for post-primary schools due to a lack of availability of suitably qualified teachers with high levels of proficiency in Irish and the generally small size of schools in rural Gaeltacht language-planning areas. In seeking to address this challenge, the Policy identified the potential for the establishment of a pilot Irish-medium e-learning hub to extend the range of subject choices through Irish available to students in small post-primary Gaeltacht schools and Units (Aonaid).

Full report here

Share the tweet here


Listen to a recent podcast where I’m talking about Minecraft



Happiness & Education: The DNA of student agency?

Do worry! Be happy!  It matters more than you realize for individuals, schools, communities, societies and economies. We should all worry about happy in the context of a balanced diet of emotional states.


Below is a rambling curation of content pieces around the importance of positive affective states on learning.



Much has been written about the relationship between a happy, positive workplace and an effective, productive workforce. But the definition of happiness can be misunderstood – often it is seen as the presence of positive emotions and the absence of negative ones, which can lead to work cultures that pressure people into faking positive emotions. Research has shown this “faking” can result in long-term physical and emotional illness.

=We hear the call “We have to make sure all our kids are equipped for the jobs of the future, which means not just being able to work with computers but developing the analytical and coding skills to power our innovation economy,’” but, is this completely true?

 The truth is, only a tiny percentage of people in the post-industrial world will ever end up working in software engineering, biotechnology or advanced manufacturing. Just as the behemoth machines of the industrial revolution made physical strength less necessary for humans, the information revolution frees us to complement, rather than compete with, the technical competence of computers. Many of the most important jobs of the future will require soft skills, not advanced algebra.

 Education is taking note.  A new campus for middle and high school students, which will be built in a rural area outside the metropolis of Chennai, India, is surrounded by farmland and bordered by the ocean, is designed to support the goal of cultivating happiness. Kurani was inspired by a long-running Harvard study that has tracked people over the last 80 years, which found that strong relationships are key to a happy life. But, for trailblazers, it hasn’t been an easy road to happiness!

Headteacher Anthony Seldon was widely criticised when he introduced the first “wellbeing curriculum” at Wellington College a decade agde ago. Wellbeing, it was felt, was antagonistic to academic achievement. And despite the success of the programme – Wellington soared up the league tables “quicker than any school in history” over the next nine years – Hunter reports that her colleagues were initially sceptical about her happiness programme

 So, how do you do it? Influential education expert Craig Kemp shared his top strategies and notes importantly, know the Statistics! – There are so many statistics out there about kids, happiness and well-being as it is a buzz right now. All of which are extremely important. Do research and openly share them. Research like this from the OECD and this from Common Sense Media are well-respected sources to use to inform your school’s digital well-being program. I also love this graphic showing what happens in an internet minute. It is a real eye-opener for teachers and parents to help them understand how to adapt their daily practices and strategies to suit the changing needs of their young ones.     (Huffington Post top 12 Education Blogs)

 And if you’re an Edweek member, you can find the 13 top tiups from one of the worlds happiest places- no, not Disneyland, Florida.   (note 2014)

So, is it good for learning? Apparently

“There is a large and growing body of research which indicates that people experiencing positive emotions perceive more options when trying to solve problems, solve more non-linear problems that require insight, [and they] collaborate better and generally perform better overall.” (Edutopia- How are happiness and learning connected)

Emma Seppala, the author of “The Happiness Track,” and science director of Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, has not lost hope. Dr. Seppala admits that yes, happiness can be a rare beast in our classrooms, but we can create and protect learning conditions in which happiness can flourish

And, guess what? It makes you smarter!

Researchers at Research Schools International partnered with administrators, teachers, and students at St Andrew’s Episcopal School and The Center for Transformative Teaching & Learning to study happiness and academic achievement. Read and find out what they discovered! (the Conversation

That’s it-do worry, be happy- it matters more than you realize.