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Monthly Archives: June 2015

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.

Subscribe to the mailing list and keep updated with our exciting projects at CDSM!

Available in Welsh here.

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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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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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Working on Major Projects Has Given CDSM a Real Edge

We’ve worked with the Welsh Government, Gleeds, Local Authorities, and even won an award with Honda Europe. So, after demonstrating our extensive experience with cloud solutions, CDSM became a listed supplier on the UK Government’s G-Cloud 6 Framework, starting 2015 with a bang!

PrintBut what is G-Cloud? A solution born from the UK Government’s desire to create a leaner and more efficient public sector IT spend.  More than £500m of business is now being done through G-Cloud, and it’s exciting to hear that 59% of this volume is with SMEs. The IT procurement landscape is changing, and we are not the only ones to notice.

“The G-Cloud programme has made significant progress to date in creating a fairer marketplace for all, boosting opportunities for innovative SMEs and challenging the dominance of inflexible incumbents, while supporting the UK public sector with agile and cost-effective IT solutions.”
– Simon Hansford, CEO of Skyscape

Enter CDSM:  breaking up the monopolies and creating more agile and cost effective services to the public sector.

“For decades the large System Integrators have locked the public sector into expensive and long running contracts that offered little ROI for taxpayers. With the advent of cloud computing, the UK Government has realised that SMEs can offer a more dynamic and cost effective service than the old guard. G-Cloud and the Government Digital Strategy means public sector IT is no longer a closed shop. This is great news for the tax payer.”
– Nik Goile, CDSM’s Head of Delivery

What is G-Cloud getting from CDSM in return?

CDSM is offering a specialist service and raising organisational knowledge of how to implement cloud technology. But how are we really helping customers?

  • We are evaluating cost, security and access in relation to different cloud providers and subsidiary services.
  • We’re planning and documenting the migration of existing services to the cloud.
  • Designing the cloud infrastructure for new digital services to work in the cloud.
  • Designing high performance web solutions.
  • Managing the change process to get the greatest benefits.
  • Making sure everything runs smoothly for all organisations.
  • Designing and implementing systems to pass a CLAS audit.
  • Boosting knowledge and training staff about how to operate within the cloud.
  • Tracking costs and keeping them under control.

G-Cloud 6 continues to deliver transformational benefits to the UK public sector, and CDSM are proud to be part of it.

To find out more about what CDSM are doing with the G-Cloud framework, check out the following links:

https://www.digitalmarketplace.service.gov.uk/service/6426421270413312

https://assets.digitalmarketplace.service.gov.uk/documents/585346/6426421270413312-service-definition-document.pdf

 

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School to School Collaboration with Hwb in North Wales

This week, Gemma from Marketing & Communications at CDSM went up to North Wales to check out the GwE Consortium Conference on School to School Collaboration.

Gemma tells us how it went…                              

I’m happy to say that 6 hours on the train was worth it!

The conference was a great day – everyone there was on exactly the same page, wanting to develop school collaboration and improvement in North Wales. Alex Clewett, a Digital Leader from Welsh Government, and I were both at the event representing Hwb, and primarily showcasing Hwb Networks – a tool which specifically focuses on school-to-school collaboration in a simple and cost-effective way. So when the keynote speaker Professor Mel Ainscow CBE did a talk on ‘Moving Knowledge Around – A Strategy for Fostering Equity in Education’, this really resonated with us, as we were demonstrating the ideal tool.

HwbMel talked about the City Challenge Programme, an initiative which ran in London and Greater Manchester over a three year period between 2008 and 2011. The programme recognised that if schools are going to improve, they need to improve themselves. The Government appointed ‘Challenge Advisors’, who had been successful school leaders in challenging circumstances, and these Advisors would “bang the drum” for the programme. Quickly, the programme realised that the most disadvantaged schools were the keys to success, and rapid improvement of these schools would have a ripple effect across the system. Of course, each school is unique, so each had its own Challenge Advisor to help plan and support improvement. The programme’s real game changer was when schools started working together – in almost all cases, a partner school was carefully brokered from another local authority, matching the relevant strengths. Mel gave some fantastic examples of polar-opposite schools working together and thriving, with head teachers raving about the scheme’s benefits, which included improved attendance and higher exam results.

“Seeing what someone else does is a mirror on yourself”
                                                                             – Mel Ainscow

Mel also emphasised that collecting evidence and comparing data leads to successful collaboration. It creates an interruption in the school by making you stop and think, asking the question: “Are we missing something?” Using statistical data strategically will ultimately lead to improvements in results, attendance and behaviour. Therefore, there needs to be a shared responsibility!

Time is the currency we use in schools to find out if something’s important, and there is untapped potential in each school to improve themselves – this can be realised through school networking and collaboration, additional partnerships and the understanding of where best practices are being used. Leadership also has to come from schools, with the idea of engaging the wider community to bridge the disadvantaged gap. From the City Challenges Programme, relationships continued beyond the funding, with the sustainability element being the key to continued school improvement.
CaptureInspired by the North Wales school collaboration talks, and the plenary session given by Mel Ainscow at the end of the conference, teachers were asked what they would like to see in the area, as well as what they felt was needed, in order to improve collaboration. Apart from Alex and I just wanting to stand up and shout “Hwb Networks is free!”’ (Alex actually put it much more eloquently over the microphone), the main insights into what teachers felt was needed included:

  • Schools taking the lead
  • A plan to create enough time to achieve school goals
  • Being aware of other schools’ priorities
  • A leader to know where good practice is happening
  • The ability to see which schools in their authorities are using best practice
  • A regional database to clearly show where the schools are in improvement
  • Cut down on travelling time
  • Database of schools showing the best – a cross section of schools from green to red

I immediately had alarm bells ringing in my head – at CDSM, we’ve already made many of these things available in a digital platform: MySID (My School Improvement Dashboard). MySID was created with the intention of providing teachers with a collaborative and challenge-based environment, where school leaders are supported in making their improvement and planning decisions.

Mel then concluded by giving us the most important factor needed: the collective will to make it happen.

It was amazing to see that CDSM were ahead of the game in the school improvement narrative, and we can’t wait to start helping and developing collaboration and school improvement further across Wales and beyond.

Subscribe and follow us to hear about our upcoming posts on MySID.

Source: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/184093/DFE-RR215.pdf

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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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