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.



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How to support your teachers’ wellbeing through a pandemic

Posted by Alexandra Spalding on 26 November, 2020

As autumn term comes to a close, the terms ‘teacher wellbeing’, ‘teacher self care’ and ‘teacher wellness’ have reported higher than usual results in Google. But it’s unsurprising really, given what 2020 has had to offer. You only have to take a look at the Twitter threads and hashtags to understand how overwhelmed and exhausted the education sector is.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic struck in early March, teacher happiness and wellbeing were already critically low and driving many teachers out of the profession. Unachievable workloads and lack of autonomy were reported as the main factors. But skip forward a few months and teachers now have the added challenge of bubbles, social distancing, pupil absence and continued isolation to contend with. 

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Questioning in the classroom: How to improve your skills

Posted by Rico Patzer on 5 October, 2020

Teachers use hundreds of questions every day so it's important to use them with purpose and know which questioning techniques have the biggest effect in which situation. From a pedagogical point of view questions serve two crucial roles:

  1. To check for understanding i.e. to identify misconceptions and provide corrective feedback.
  2. To invite dialogue, that is, to help students develop a better understanding of themselves and their progress, share their deeper thinking and to make deeper connections within the content.

Some teachers consider these two purposes to be at odds with one another; they are not. The trick is to strike the right balance between the two and to use them strategically and at the right time within the learning process. The outcome of a good question, whatever its purpose, is that it encourages thinking.

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3 steps to great instructions: How to avoid cognitive overload

Posted by Alexandra Spalding on 30 September, 2020

First things first, what is cognitive load theory? Cognitive load theory describes how the human mind processes new information. The more we have to process at once, the harder it becomes to complete a task effectively. When dealing with new information, the brain can process anywhere from three to seven elements at once. This becomes even harder if those elements are interactive.

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Is your school ready for the next generation of teacher PD?

Posted by Graham Newell on 24 September, 2020

 

Summary of the EEF report on Remote PD

“School professionals can gain knowledge and skills from remote PD, ultimately leading to gains in pupil outcomes” (EEF, August, 2020)

Professional Development has been an unfortunate casualty of the current crisis with the Education Endowment Foundation acknowledging that the Covid-19 pandemic has made traditional PD exceptionally difficult to deliver. Alongside Durham University, the EEF undertook a rapid evidence assessment aimed at summarising the efficacy of remote professional development and reviewed evidence into fully remote and blended approaches to PD. 

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Live video conferencing built specifically for teachers

Posted by Andy Newell on 18 September, 2020

Video conferencing is exciting technology that is significantly helping to address the challenges of social isolation and reduced collaboration faced by teachers and students.

Sadly, the conferencing tools being offered by the big multinationals have been borrowed from the corporate sector meaning that  uptake across the education sector has been stressful and patchy. You’ve probably found they either lack education specific tools or have question marks over their security and compliance in an education context. You are not alone.

With a decade of experience in working with schools on video collaboration, and a track record of securely managing over 200,000 hours of classroom footage, we knew we had a role to play in delivering what schools needed.  We believe schools deserve live video tools built specifically for learning.

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Teacher Tales: Using video to support the recruitment process

Posted by Guest blogger - Chris Harrison on 12 June, 2020

In these most unusual times, school recruitment has had to be adapted significantly, and not only to ensure that schools can still recruit, but to support candidates in showcasing their abilities. Based on a large volume of questions and interactions that have been shared on Twitter, this is clearly worrying both sides when it comes to thinking about how to make it as effective as possible.

As a school we recently faced the same issues and therefore decided to create a streamlined recruitment strategy using our existing systems. Within this blog I will share the template we have created and how the IRIS Connect system has helped to support candidates display their skills, knowledge and experience throughout the recruitment process.

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