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Category Archives: Wales

CDSM Education Hwb Hwbdysgu Learning News Wales

Hwb Network Notifications and a New Look for the Hwb Homepage

Since their launch, Hwb Networks have been a really popular addition to the Hwb tool suite. They’ve given teachers from across Wales the chance to share ideas and best practice, and to collaborate on curriculum-relevant resources.  But just because feedback on Hwb Networks has been positive doesn’t mean we’re not constantly trying to make them better.

Latest Release

On Tuesday 23rd June 2015, we released a major update to the Hwb Networks tool.

Hwb Networks users can now choose how often they are notified of activity within their Networks.

By clicking on the ’Subscribe’ button on the Networks home screen, a Network member can select whether they want to receive email notifications on a weekly or daily basis, or in real time. This allows teachers to stay in touch with Network activity in a way that best suits their schedules.

Hwb Subscribe Button

Set up your preferences today by visiting your Hwb Networks.

In addition, Hwb’s homepage has undergone a facelift.  The biggest change is that Hwb’s extra features and services (Hwb+, J2e, Encyclopaedia Britannica, ImageQuest, 360 degree safe Cymru and Playlists) are now accessible from the top right corner in the black banner.

hwb banner

This enables access to these tools from any Hwb page, not just the homepage.

Following this theme, the sub-features of Hwb’s main sections (Events, Community, e-Safety) can all be reached by clicking on the drop-down arrows next to each section.

And to make sure you stay connected with all Hwb developments, the @HwbNews Twitter feed is now featured on the Hwb homepage, right next to a section of Hwb Quick Links to key Hwb services.

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Available in Welsh here.

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CDSM EdTech Education Hwb Hwbdysgu Learning News Wales

Hysbysiadau Rhwydwaith Hwb a Gwedd Newydd ar Hafan Hwb

Ers eu lansio, mae Rhwydweithiau Hwb wedi bod yn ychwanegiad poblogaidd iawn at gyfres offer Hwb. Maen nhw wedi rhoi cyfle i athrawon ledled Cymru rannu syniadau ac arferion gorau, a chydweithio ar adnoddau sy’n berthnasol i’r cwricwlwm. Ond nid yw adborth cadarnhaol ar Rwydweithiau Hwb yn golygu nad ydym yn ceisio eu gwella’n gyson.

Diweddariad

Ddydd Mawrth 23 Mehefin 2015,  gwnaethom ryddhau diweddariad sylweddol i offer Rhwydweithiau Hwb.

Gall defnyddwyr Rhwydweithiau Hwb nawr ddewis pa mor aml maen nhw’n cael gwybod am weithgarwch yn eu Rhwydweithiau.

Drwy glicio ar y botwm ‘Tanysgrifio’ ar sgrin gartref y Rhwydweithiau, gall aelod o Rwydwaith ddewis a ydyn nhw eisiau hysbysiadau e-bost yn wythnosol neu’n ddyddiol, neu mewn amser real. Mae hyn yn caniatáu i athrawon gadw mewn cysylltiad â gweithgarwch y Rhwydwaith yn y  ffordd sydd fwyaf addas ar gyfer eu hamserlenni.

Hysbysiadau Rhwydwaith

Sefydlwch eich dewisiadau heddiw drwy fynd at eich Rhwydweithiau Hwb.

Yn ogystal, mae hafan Hwb wedi cael ei gweddnewid. Y newid mwyaf yw bod nodweddion a gwasanaethau ychwanegol Hwb (Hwb +, J2e, Encyclopaedia Britannica, ImageQuest, 360 degree safe Cymru a Rhestrau Chwarae) bellach ar gael yn y gornel dde uchaf yn y faner ddu.

hwb banner

Mae hyn yn ffordd o gyrraedd yr offer hyn o unrhyw dudalen Hwb, nid dim ond o’r hafan.

Yn dilyn y thema hon, mae is-nodweddion prif adran Hwb (Digwyddiadau, Cymuned, e-Ddiogelwch) i gyd o fewn cyrraedd drwy glicio ar y saethau wrth ymyl pob adran.

Ac i wneud yn siŵr eich bod yn cadw mewn cysylltiad â holl ddatblygiadau Hwb, mae porthiant Twitter @HwbNews bellach yn ymddangos ar hafan Hwb, yn union wrth ymyl adran Dolenni Cyflym Hwb at wasanaethau allweddol Hwb.

Cofrestrwch i gael ein rhestr bostio sy’n cynnwys y wybodaeth ddiweddaraf am ein prosiectau cyffrous yn CDSM!

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Business Education Insights Learning MySID Software Study Wales

CDSM’s Response to the Challenges of School Improvement in Wales

What’s being done to improve performance in Welsh schools?

Wales is currently experiencing significant educational reform. At the heart of this reform is an unequivocal acceptance that the performance of schools has to improve. Welsh Government has provided dedicated funding to support school improvement activities, which are planned at school and regional level. This collaborative approach acknowledges the support that regional education consortia can offer schools, driving their performance in the right direction. There are four regional education consortia in Wales, each of which is responsible for agreeing and monitoring their client-schools’ use of funding, in order to ensure there is a positive impact on school performance and learner outcomes.

In partnership with CDSM, the Education Achievement Service (one of the four regional education consortia, based in South East Wales) identified the need for a web-based system that enabled School Leaders to plan and support all funding, monitoring and accountability activities linked to their school’s improvement plan. Together, we developed the My School Improvement Dashboard (MySID) to meet these requirements. MySID is based on Estyn and Welsh Government guidance.

School Improvement in Wales
MySID users are guided through an easy, cyclical planning and improvement process online. We wanted to help all involved achieve success, so we developed the following features:

  1. Self-Evaluation

A feature, designed around the Estyn Framework, which helps schools identify their strengths and weaknesses.

  1. Development Plan

This feature enables schools to identify and prioritise short and long-term goals.

  1. Budget Profiler

This outlines the grants available to schools, and enables them to add additional custom budgets to help them to make decisions on how to achieve their goals.

  1. Activity Plan

This feature enables School Leaders to find events or initiatives that will lead to school improvement.

  1. Financial Monitoring

This feature is designed to help schools create accessible, transparent records of expenditure against budgeted allocation for all school improvement activities.

  1. Quality and Impact Reporting

This provides School Leadership Teams and Challenge Advisers with an understanding of the value of their school improvement activities, offering a measure of the impact each activity has had.

  1. Review Impact and Priorities

Enables schools to evaluate how successful they’ve been in meeting the goals set out in their Development Plan.

#MySID

Find out more about My School Improvement Dashboard by downloading the CDSM Case Study: The School Improvement Conversation in Wales.

mysid_casestudy

So, what are your thoughts on MySID? Is it being used at your school? How is it affecting your school’s improvement? We’d love to hear from you! Get in touch via our contact page, or by using the hashtag #MySID on social media.

If you’re interested in hearing how we’re helping teachers directly in the classroom, check out CDSM’s work with Hwb.

 

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Business CDSM E-learning Insights Instructional Design L&D Learning Wales

Learning Theory and Practice with Contemporary Web Technologies

In this blog post our CEO, Dan Sivak, explains the thinking behind CDSM’s combination of learning theory and practice with contemporary web technologies.

“Pigeonholing a person upon introduction is a strange and limiting behaviour that surely can’t serve us very well… but we all do it. This ‘snapshot’ way of making sense of the world must have its roots in the old adage: ‘we are what we do’. So when networking and meeting people I always try to remember that being a butcher, a baker or a candlestick-maker comes with baggage. People make judgements based on what you do and there is very little you can do about it. Working for an SME often means your company is relatively unknown. You have to regularly introduce yourself, your company and what it is that your company does. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve responded with, ‘CDSM is a learning technology company…’, only to be met with a puzzled smile and a shrug of the shoulders. Therefore, this blog post is an attempt to be clear about who we are and what we do.”

We asked our COO and our CTO to describe what they and their teams focus on at CDSM.

Brain C2a
Cathy Sivak, COO at CDSM Interactive Solutions

What do we do and how do we do it?

CDSM was founded by teachers with a passion for designing and delivering effective and engaging teaching and learning practice. As teachers in the classroom, we wanted to make a difference. There are not many professions that give you a better opportunity to make a real difference to people’s lives. Although at CDSM we don’t often teach face-to-face any more, we still believe that what we do is making a difference and having a profound effect on the future, whether this is for the people we are involved in teaching or training, or the companies we are facilitating learning for.

As a teacher ‘by trade’, my priority is to base our solutions on sound pedagogical principles. We understand and exploit learning and development theory, and we design, build and support web technologies to engage with and develop thousands of learners every day.

We work in the UK public education and commercial corporate sectors, but to a large extent, the sector doesn’t matter because the science and the practice of learning and development doesn’t discriminate against the GCSE student or the industry employee. What matters is that we aim to help each and every end-user succeed, and to do so we think long and hard about how best to help them achieve that success. That may involve delivering anytime-anywhere bite-sized learning episodes, a blend of online and face-to-face interactions, simulation or scenario-based activities, or something in-between. Alternatively, it may involve providing intuitive and user-friendly tools to facilitate teaching and learning. Our solutions are varied and depend on customer requirements and purpose, but they are always based on our experience of what makes learning work.

Darren Wallace, CTO at CDSM Interactive Solutions

How have web technologies impacted learning theory?

Let’s make no mistake: CDSM would be nothing without its innovative technologies. Our technologies enable teaching and learning, build and manage identities, and make simple the development of groups and communities.

There is no denying the impact web technologies have had on all of our lives over the last 15 years or so. The internet has given us all unprecedented access to information, from the trivial to the revolutionary, and we now access this information 24/7 via a bewildering array of devices. It’s hard to imagine a set of technologies with a greater potential to empower its users, and for me at least, it’s hard to imagine a more exciting or rewarding application for web technologies than enabling people to improve their lives through learning.

We’ve seen several false dawns in e-learning over the last 15 years: from bloated one-size-fits-all learning platforms, to marketing companies parading design-heavy presentation tools as learning content. But the web has matured and, at CDSM, we understand the importance of web standards and interoperability. We’ve backed the web as a standard and a platform for learning and development since the turn of the millennium. The joy of my job has been to steer the company through the stand-out innovations and disruptions that have affected so many of us over the last 15 years.

We know that the devices people use to access their online lives are changing the way we live and work together.  We’re undoubtedly excited by contemporary web technology, and the reach and opportunities it affords us. But we’re not interested in technology for technology’s sake. Everything we do is guided by a passion for learning and the belief that equal access to information plays a vital role in all our futures. We want to build the tools that empower our users. And we’ll never stop learning.

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CDSM EdTech Education Hwb Hwbdysgu Software Wales

Aggregating and Creating…Hwb just got easier

In the best traditions of agile software development, we have updated and improved Playlists just two weeks after its initial release.

Playlists (so simple to use that 400 playlists have been created by teachers on Hwb already) offers teachers in Wales a perfect solution for the creation of rich, attractive and contemporary web-ready teaching and learning content. The latest release includes eight new authoring blocks that seamlessly blend the use of instructional text and supporting imagery.

playlist3 (2)

 

Teachers across Wales can create teaching resources for use in their classrooms by digitising their own knowledge and experience. They can also blend them with resources from Hwb, Encyclopaedia Britannica, ImageQuest & Google Safe Search.

playlist1

 

At CDSM, we passionately believe that teachers are best placed to change and adapt to a new and demanding curriculum. Teachers know where teaching and learning resources are required and they have the skills and experience to fill those gaps. That is why we have created Playlists to hand the power of knowledge creation and distribution to those who work so tirelessly for the education of our young people.

playlist2

 

We are proud to be a Welsh company and we are constantly trying to improve the tools and experiences for teachers and learners alike. Through the Hwb project we have the opportunity to do just that. We’re always interested to hear about the dynamic and inspiring ways that you are using Playlists in your classroom, so feel free to get in touch and let us know what you think.

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Available in Welsh here

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EdTech Education Hwb Hwbdysgu Software Wales

Cronni a chreu…Mae Hwb newydd ddod yn haws

Fel sy’n aml yn digwydd ym maes datblygu meddalwedd hyblyg, rydym wedi diweddaru a gwella’r Rhestri Chwarae gwta bythefnos ar ôl eu cyhoeddi yn y lle cyntaf.

Mae Rhestri Chwarae mor hawdd eu defnyddio mae athrawon eisoes wedi creu 400 ohonynt ar Hwb. Mae’n cynnig ateb perffaith i athrawon yng Nghymru ar gyfer creu cynnwys addysgu a dysgu cyfoethog, deniadol a chyfoes ar y we. Mae’r fersiwn diweddaraf yn cynnwys wyth o flociau awduro sy’n darparu ffordd syml ar gyfer defnyddio testun cyfarwyddol a lluniau atodol.

playlist3 (2)

 

Gall athrawon ledled Cymru greu adnoddau addysgu i’w defnyddio yn eu hystafelloedd dosbarth drwy ddigido eu gwybodaeth a’u profiadau eu hunain. Gallant hefyd eu cyfuno ag adnoddau o Hwb, Encyclopaedia Britannica, ImageQuest a Google Safe Search.

playlist1

 

Mae CDSM yn credu’n gryf bod athrawon yn y sefyllfa orau i newid ac addasu i gwricwlwm newydd a thrwm. Mae athrawon yn gwybod pryd mae angen adnoddau addysgu a dysgu arnynt ac mae ganddynt y sgiliau a’r profiad i lenwi’r bylchau hynny. Dyna pam ein bod wedi creu Rhestri Chwarae – er mwyn sicrhau bod y broses o greu gwybodaeth a’i dosbarthu yn nwylo’r rheini sy’n gweithio mor ddiflino er mwyn addysg ein pobl ifanc.

playlist2

Rydym yn falch o fod yn gwmni o Gymru ac rydym bob amser yn ceisio gwella adnoddau a phrofiadau i athrawon a dysgwyr fel ei gilydd. Mae gennym gyfle i wneud hynny drwy’r prosiect Hwb. Rydym bob amser eisiau clywed am y ffyrdd dynamig ac ysbrydoledig rydych yn defnyddio Rhestri Chwarae yn eich ystafell ddosbarth felly mae croeso i chi gysylltu â ni i roi eich barn.

Cofrestrwch i gael ein rhestr bostio sy’n cynnwys y wybodaeth ddiweddaraf am ein prosiectau cyffrous yn CDSM!

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Business CDSM e-learning E-learning Insights L&D Wales

A Useful Business Management Exercise?

mission header

Is developing a clear definition of your organisation’s mission, vision and values a useful business management exercise?

Dan Sivak, CEO of CDSM Interactive Solutions Ltd, gives his thoughts…

At CDSM, we see ourselves as a tight-knit community. Moreover, this is an idea from which we take great pride. We like the fact that we offer friendship and support to one another, creating a productive and positive working environment. In fact, we extend this hand of friendship to our customers, building long-lasting relationships of a professional and personal nature. But what is it that creates this sense of community? Do we have a set of shared traits and values that connect us or does CDSM just work by chance?

Recently, we spent some time revisiting who we are, re-examining our vision, mission and value statements. During the process, we came to the conclusion that we do have a strong, healthy community, which shares a common agenda and works very well together. This is what we came up with:

Our Vision

  • Building a world where learning and development matters.

Our Mission

  • We never stop learning and neither should you.
  • Our mission is to harness contemporary technologies to create learning opportunities for people and their organisations. Learn to succeed!

Our Values

  • Curiosity – values critical thinking and drives discovery and innovation.
  • Integrity – defines a respect for those that you affect in providing a solution, product or service.
  • Reward – provides the necessary motivation and engagement to realise your objectives.
  • Collaboration – harnesses collective experience and intelligence to realise the best way.
  • Passion – gives you strength and enables application at those moments when you and your team need it most.
  • Inclusion – values diversity and difference, providing a richer ecology of perspectives, skills and opportunities to work and play with.

Our sense of community should not be ignored as a factor in our success at CDSM. Like many communities, at its heart there is a home, an office, a city, and even a region, South Wales. CDSM is rich in its ability to be both familiar and different, share aspirations, build better leaning technologies and strive to continually improve. Consequently, dealing with challenges such as disruptive and emergent technologies and changes in learning theory and practice is all part of the landscape of our shared experience.  In fact, we came to understand that we are a community of learners. What we recognise is that it’s our vision, mission and values that underpin and reinforce our community, our shared enthusiasm for work and for each other.

My advice to other leaders is when you decide to consider your vision, mission and values, do so in an open and honest way. Be prepared for and welcome feedback. You need to ask the fundamental questions, and invite responses from across the organisation. I’m not suggesting that the experience is akin to splitting the atom or breaking the four minute mile, but it is a mechanism to check, validate, decide and move on – and in business that is extremely valuable.

Our vision, mission and values ensure we do things well. This ensures we do things with integrity and honesty. This ensures we focus on both our customer and our end-users. This ensures we succeed!

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EdTech Education Hwb Hwbdysgu Software Wales

HwbMeets World

Meet Hwb.B_5dAjHWAAEHzKy (1)

If you haven’t already met it at your school or office, you can meet Hwb, like many others already have, at HwbMeets.

(Available in Welsh here)

For those of you that don’t already know, Hwb is the national database of digital teaching and learning resources. It’s also the gateway to CDSM’s latest range of tools, quality articles and images from Encyclopaedia Britannica and a brilliantly engaging package for primary phase learners – Just2easy.

Right now, I go everywhere with Hwb. We’re like best buddies, inseparable. Hwb even gets me in to all these great events, where I get to meet all the brilliant teachers and public servants who work so diligently to help raise attainment in our schools. I’m basically Hwb’s plus one, which is great because Hwb’s never happier than when it’s the centre of attention, showing off all its new tricks and introducing people to its wide range of tools and resources.

You see, Hwb’s been reinvented in the last 12 months. It’s the new kid on the block again and it’s really starting to turn some heads. Seven thousand new people logged into Hwb in February alone – a big number, and one that’s increasing month on month.  In addition to being an incredible resource, Hwb’s ambitious, and it won’t stop until all of the five hundred thousand+ users in Wales have logged in. So to that end, Hwb and I find ourselves out there at HwbMeets doing the educational equivalent of speed dating, trying to capture the hearts and minds of teachers, local authority leaders and school improvement agencies in Wales.

HwbMeets are 2 hour sessions which start with a couple of keynote presentations from outstanding practitioners. These insightful demonstrations are a great example of the work put in by teachers to make the best use of technology in their classrooms. After this, the audience of school teachers and leaders work their way, eight at a time, around a series of numbered tables, on a quest to find the next best ‘tech’ thing with which to inspire and challenge their kids.

I get ten minutes with each group to convince them of Hwb’s charms. The hard part is speaking for eighty minutes without pause, telling the Hwb story to eight different groups.

Convincing them is easier. After all, I’m able to tell them that Hwb is free, that all teachers and learners in Wales have an account and that this provides Single Sign On access to: MS Office 365, Learning Posibilities’ Hwb+ and SWGFL’s 360° safe Cymru tool – not to mention all CDSM’s new tools, designed by teachers for teachers.

Last month Hwb had eight hundred and twenty two thousand page views and sixty seven thousand logins. Of course, we want those numbers to double by the end of the academic year: this way, we’ll know that Hwb is reaching the teachers and leaders it was designed and commissioned to help.

To do this, Hwb is improving and developing all the time. Its tool set is expanding, and its relevance to teachers and classroom practitioners is growing. By the middle of April, Hwb will have released 5 new features, including Playlists & Hwb Networks. It’s innovations like these that will form the foundations of the legacy we’re building in Wales. It’s these features that Hwb and I have been demonstrating at the HwbMeets.

The reaction from teachers has been very positive, even from the groups that get my final presentation of the day. Teachers immediately see the benefits of the tools and appreciate the ease and simplicity of the implementation. The most common response I get is a question: “And all this is available for free on Hwb?!” The second is “So where can I get my logon details again?”

If you’re yet to meet Hwb, then make sure you attend a HwbMeet. You can find a list of upcoming events on Hwb – and hopefully the two of us will see you there.

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