The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

In classroom learning

Elizabeth Holmes

'Alexa, teach me': the future of artificial intelligence in education

Elizabeth Holmes caught up with Miles Berry to discuss the benefits and ethical dilemmas of bringing AI into the classroom. The potential role of artificial intelligence (AI) is something of a new frontier for schools. But should we not be finding out as much as we can, so that we can maximise the...
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John Dabell

5 education myths we need to dispel

Grand ideas can carry a lot of gravitas, but these five educational 'cure-alls' came without a pinch of salt. John Dabell explains why they were too good to be true. One of the most depressing things about attending CPD sessions is when the self-appointed gurus or odd-ball suppliers of Inset refer...
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John Viner

Smart watches: new tech needs new solutions

In face of a booming wearable technology market, it’s high time we find ways to incorporate rather than exclude these gadgets in schools. Analysts at Research and Markets, a market research organisation, have estimated that the wearable technology market will grow at a compound annual growth rate...
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Torsten Payne

A lesson to challenge every pupil

Finding opportunities to stretch in the classroom shouldn't be a challenge. Here are three ingredients of a lesson that will get all pupils, including the more able, thinking. According to Ofsted , the best teaching ‘engages and includes all pupils, with work that is challenging enough and that...
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Robert Slavin

Leave no pupils behind: the principles (and limits) of a mastery approach

If all pupils are to master the prerequisite skills for important lessons, teachers must have the resources to help them reach the same baseline. When giving a lesson, all teachers face a dilemma. Some pupils will master all the lesson content, some will learn it partially and others will not learn...
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Rebecca Carver

Helping all pupils to master maths

Primary teacher Rebecca Carver explains how combining a mastery approach with creative strategies can help all pupils to succeed in this often problematic subject. Using the Mathematics Mastery approach, we set the same learning objectives for every child in every lesson. All children get the same...
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Diane Wilson

Igniting a passion for science with technology

How can teachers ensure that able children are excited by science and appropriately challenged in ways that are motivating and rewarding? Go straight to How we identify gifted science learners Seeing science in action Challenge and real-life application Linking with experts and industry Pupil...
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Elizabeth Holmes

Making homework ‘work’ at your school

Research suggests that homework has little impact on academic achievement. So, how can schools ensure it is used to improve pupils' learning? 'Spoon feeding, in the long run, teaches us nothing but the shape of the spoon.' - EM Forster In my final year at primary school, we were challenged to...
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Chris Wright

Increasing physical activity and raising standards: the magic formula

Inactivity is becoming the biggest threat to young people’s long-term health (1). Chris Wright, head of health at the Youth Sport Trust, looks at how a focus on physical activity in your school can give it a competitive advantage in raising both health and educational standards. The issue of...
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Elizabeth Holmes

Engaging children through space exploration: the Tim Peake effect

With Tim Peake’s momentous return to earth we are reminded of what a superb ambassador for space exploration he has been. Elizabeth Holmes discusses his impact on children's learning. Explore often. Only then will you know how small you are and how big the world is . Pradeepa Pandiyan Tim spent 186...
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