It’s All Change

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Holly Gardner

Holly Gardner is TT Editor, as well as a Freelance Publisher. She has been working with @TeacherToolkit for over 6 years - since she published his first book in her role as Senior Commissioning Editor at Bloomsbury Publishing. Since then, she left her day job,...
Read more about Holly Gardner

What exciting things have we been up to this month?

It’s all change at Teacher Toolkit! If you haven’t noticed, 2017 is shaping up to be a very exciting year for us.

What started out 6 years ago as Ross Morrison McGill setting up a blog – to survive after redundancy – to reflect on education, turned into McGill being listed as one of one of the Top 500 Most Influential People in Britain (and still the only classroom teacher to feature); creating a Twitter following – currently 157,000 – growing this blog into a vast network for teachers, sharing ideas, resources and experiences which now reaches over 200 countries around the world!

Join Teacher Toolkit?

But that’s not enough – our team is growing – and we want to reach further; we want to you to join us! We want to share more teacher’s voices, we want to hear more teacher’s experiences; we want to expand the conversation and put more teachers in touch to share ideas and resources. So, join us? Get in touch and we’ll guide you through the process.

Blog Write for Teacher Toolkit

Over the next few months, we’re going to be making lots of exciting changes – 3 blogs per day, more resources, at least 15 new writers on the site and much more – which we’ll share with you in good time, but for now – here’s a look at what we’ve been up to in 2017 so far!

BETT 2017

In January we had our first ‘team outing’ to the BETT show!

We doned our uber-uncool, extremely subtle FOLLOW tee-shirts (*note to self = re-design shirts) and headed for the show!

Seeing old friends …

What we really loved about the show was meeting up with old friends and seeing how well they are doing.

This included the inspiring Naimish Gohill, founder of a now not-very-small-startup ShowMyHomework, now transitioning into Satchel, who, despite his huge success remains as humble and friendly as ever.

We also bumped into Duncan Wilson at ClassCharts who had just won ‘ICT Leadership & Management Solution’ at the BETT awards (and whose dad is Ross’ biggest fan)! We also had time to pop over to the Ukedchat pod to chat with Martin and Colin. Oh, and Ross of course(!) got in front of the camera to make a little video.

Meeting new people …

And then, there were the new faces.

We had such a warm welcome at the InfoMentor stand where, not only were we given a beer and a demonstration of their new software Socrates, but Ross also bumped into one of his ex-students working on the stand!

I was keen to see the launch of Socratess by InfoMentor – an interactive self-assessment tool designed to help school leaders implement and embed mastery learning in their schools. We discussed teaching, school leadership and teacher workload and it was great to see software that really made me think a lot about school improvement. The software was particularly accurate and helps schools move towards mastery learning and assessment. — Ross Morrison McGill

Mussila were under the same roof as InfoMentor so we got a chance to peak at their music game for children 6+. We’ve loved the fact that the monsters were gender-neutral and imagine it being a really popular and useful resource for helping children make music to grow their self-esteem. The graphics were captivating.

BETT Futures

Our favourite area at the show was BETT Futures which was packed full of ed-tech start-ups. We chatted to so many people, mainly teachers or part-time teachers putting themselves out there, starting businesses or promoting products they are truly passionate about. They were also so open to chat and share experiences and advice.

For example, Zoe from MindMoose told us about her beautiful well-being platform for children, as well as giving us advice on starting up a new business. And Kerstyn and Suzi who we met at MEE TWO with their inspiring app, providing teenagers with peer-support and expert advice on anything young people find hard to talk about and ‘everything they don’t teach you in school’. They were bursting with energy and you could just tell they’d worked their socks off to create such an important app.

Ross also managed to ambush Sir Ken Robinson just before he went on stage for his keynote speech. Ross encouraged him to mention ‘workload and well being’ in his presentation for the sake of teachers around the world!

Top 10 Secrets

On Saturday 28th January, Ross spoke on the BETT Futures stage, giving away all his secrets about how he’s grown Teacher Toolkit: if Ross was a hashtag he would be #NoFilter!

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We went away really chuffed to be part of an industry full of so many inspiring people, not only working hard to teach their classes every day, stay on top of marking and educating the next generation, but also having the entrepreneurial spirit to pioneer fantastic business ideas, drive them forward in what spare time they have and speak so passionately and inspiringly about them.

It was so great to meet you all and we look forward to seeing you again next year!

Holly Gardner is Editor and Marketing Manager for Teacher Toolkit

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