Exploring what matters

Welcome to the IRIS Connect blog space where you can join conversations and discover free resources, tips and summaries. We hope you find something useful for your professional development and learning.

If you have a topic you'd like us to cover or if you're interested in covering one yourself in a guest post, please contact us.

guide to improving teacher happiness and wellbeing


Refining distance learning with IRIS Connect (2021)

Posted by Rico Patzer on 11 January, 2021

A new year, a new lockdown. With the latest government announcement schools have again been largely closed to most learners and are now switching to online learning at least until half term. In contrast to the first wave last year, most schools and teachers are now more experienced with this new approach to teaching and learning and are no longer solely focused on how to deliver online education but instead are considering ways to improve this experience for both their learners and their teachers. 

If your school has been using IRIS Connect to capture and improve classroom practice, take a look below at some ideas of how you could be using our online CPD platform to capture your online teaching, improve your practice and stay connected with colleagues wherever they are.

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How to teach remotely: 10 resources

Posted by Alexandra Spalding on 5 January, 2021

With the news that UK schools will be closing once more due to Coronavirus, we thought we'd share and refresh our list of 10 resources from back in March 2020, that provides great tips on how to teach remotely.

We know there’s no quick fix and one size certainly doesn’t fit all, but these tools to teach online could be a great place to start. Keep up to date with all the resources we're sharing over on our Twitter account @IRIS_Connect

Share any resources you’ve found to be useful in the comments section below so that fellow readers can benefit. 

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10 of the best educators to follow on Twitter in 2021

Posted by Alexandra Spalding on 4 January, 2021

Following educators on Twitter can help you to keep up-to-date on the latest advice, trends and educational research, as well as exploring and sharing resources.

Be part of a passionate, innovative, international community of education professionals.

If you’re not sure where to get started, here’s 10 educators we recommend following right now (list in no particular order):

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How video technology can support Initial Teacher Training

Posted by Alexandra Spalding on 11 December, 2020

Teachers, and those responsible for teacher training, have recently needed to develop new strategies and approaches to adjust to the changing demands in Initial Teacher Training.

As a result of limitations around school visits and face-to-face training, it’s become increasingly difficult for mentors to meet with trainees in the field, which means ITT providers have had to find other ways to be able to make judgements on trainee progress, provide efficient and quality feedback and enable trainees to get peer support when they need it.  

Rethinking the traditional processes that have underpinned ITT for as long as we can remember has required a lot of time and effort for everyone involved. But as with any innovation, the use of education technology in supporting Initial Teacher Training also provides huge opportunities.

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Closing the gap: How to improve your assessment & feedback skills

Posted by Alexandra Spalding on 4 December, 2020

Formative assessment, along with effective feedback, is one of the most impactful parts of teaching and when done well, it can foster significant improvement. 

What is formative assessment?

Formative assessment is any learning activity which reveals information to teachers and learners which can be used to improve learning. This is distinct from summative assessment, the intent of which is to provide terminal grading. Formative assessment allows teachers to understand where a learner is currently 'at', so that the teacher can a) adapt future instruction to better meet learning needs b) consider differentiating their support, and c) enable effective feedback to and between learners.


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Effective Teacher CPD: 10+ points to consider before choosing a course

Posted by Rico Patzer on 27 November, 2020

For many school leaders, the importance of effective CPD for teaching staff needs little explaining. As the DfE’s Standard for Teachers’ Professional Development straightforwardly puts it, ‘effective professional development for teachers is a core part of securing effective teaching.’

We know that teachers themselves are also firmly invested in honing and developing their skills. According to an LKMco and Pearson survey, the prospect of making a difference in pupils’ lives motivates 92% of teachers to stay in teaching, so any further opportunities to increase their impact in the classroom are likely to be received with enthusiasm.

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