Daren is a highly accomplished and respected leader in education, with 23 years of experience as a teacher and ten years as a Senior Leader. He has led on various elements, including KS3, KS5, Curriculum, Data, and Assessment, and is currently the Academic Technologies Lead for Academies Enterprise Trust, one of the UK's largest Multi-Academy Trusts.
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Episode 161:What’s Their Why_ Exploring Motivation & Engagement in Learning
[00:00:00] Fonz: Hello everybody, and welcome to another great episode of My EdTech Life. Thank you so much for joining us on this wonderful Monday morning here, or wherever in the world you may be. It may be later in the day, it may be Tuesday. But hey, w we're just thankful that you're joining us here today with an amazing guest.
[00:00:44] And again, thank you so much for all the likes, shares, and follows. Thank you so much for all the feedback, ladies and gentlemen, because if it isn't for you all, we wouldn't be doing what we are doing and we, I just thank you for making my EdTech life what it is today. And I'm excited because this is the [00:01:00] first show of the 2023 year, and I'm really excited because I have an amazing, outstanding, wonderful guest that I had the opportunity to meet from 2020 on and connect and just to see the amount of work that Darren puts into everything that he does and just very well-known.
[00:01:21] Overseas, you know, in the uk. He is joining us from the UK today. So Darren, how are you this morning?
[00:01:27] Daren: Oh, well it's afternoon for me, I've gotta say thanks for pointing out what day it is, because I really haven't got a clue. Um, it's one of those things I never really worry until somebody texts me and says, see tomorrow at work?
[00:01:39] And then I start thinking about what actual day of the week it is, you know? Um, yeah, no, I'm good. Thanks. Just kind of getting over that, that Christmas richness of, of all the, the, the food that's really not that great for you. Um, and looking forward to actually having a proper dinner rather than just sort of leftovers and various bits and pieces.
[00:01:59] [00:02:00] Yes, it's just gone three o'clock in the afternoon here, so it's about to get dark,
[00:02:03] Fonz: so. Oh. Oh my goodness. Absolutely. No, I agree with you whatsoever. Usually it's, you know, you kinda let yourself go during Thanksgiving and then for us here, Thanksgiving and then of course Christmas, but then of course New Year's resolution is always just to get back on track.
[00:02:18] But again, uh, thank you so much. Uh, you know, I know it's Monday. Usually we do these show, well actually, you know, I can't even schedule anymore what shows, because shows now pop off whenever they can, and I'm just like that when the stars line up. I'm like, Hey, I wanna make sure that we take advantage of that and make sure that we get 'em on the show and just to share, um, you know, the work that you're doing and show the work that all our guests are doing.
[00:02:40] So thank you for joining me this afternoon, your time in the uk and, you know, let's get right into it. So, Darren, if, uh, this is the first time that you're on here, w as a solo show, because last time mm-hmm. , you were on here with Ben. So for all our audience members that may be getting to know you today for the very first time, can you give [00:03:00] us a little brief introduction and what your context and education is?
[00:03:04] Daren: sure. Um, so yeah, firstly, Great to be back on the show after. It must be just over two years now. When I was first on with Ben, um, we, over time we were doing short and sweet, um, as our own show as well. So, um, it was, it was great to be able to, to do that. But basically, um, yeah, I'm, I'm Darren. I'm, uh, a former teacher.
[00:03:26] Uh, I can now say that I couldn't say that prior to September, um, but I'm a former teacher, um, of 24 years. Um, modern language teacher, uh, mainly Spanish, bit of French, bit of German and, and pretty much any other subject that people threw at me along, um, a former senior leader, um, of, um, secondary, uh, as well.
[00:03:46] Um, and I now work as the AC Academy's Technologies, um, academy Academic Technologies lead for Academies Enterprise Trust, which is one of the largest, um, multi academy [00:04:00] trusts in the uk. Um, and then I'm co-leader of G E G uk. Uh, alongside people like Abby Patel, Wendy Pesky, Ben and Georgina Dean, um, uh, and a whole host of us there trying to kind of keep things going on the, on the G E G UK front, which has been really positive.
[00:04:16] Um, yeah, and created my tech buddy during lockdown to, to try and support people, um, in terms of building their confidence with technology and that seemed to go down pretty well. Um, and I've kind. Flipped that and pivoted that a little bit now, to be more around that kind of continual, um, support in terms of highlighting and, uh, signposting key things, either through YouTube or through the website or through podcasts.
[00:04:45] Um, or through, um, my first book, which I've, I've just published as well.
[00:04:49] Fonz: Excellent. Well, hey, you've been very busy and like you said, it has been up over about two years since you were lost on the show with Ben, and I've had the honor and pleasure of meeting [00:05:00] you through global G E g and making those connections.
[00:05:02] Of course, as we all know, 2020 was an interesting ride for a lot of us as educators, and even you and I had the opportunity to collaborate on a couple of training sessions, you know, through global G E G and making those connections. But since then, I have definitely seen the work that you do, the quality of work that you do, not just, you know, throwing it out there, but the quality of work that you do and your passion.
[00:05:26] For education, your passion for EdTech, and of course being able to share those skills and enhance the learning for teachers. So then that trickles down into the classroom. So I'm very excited about your transition too, as well as I know that you were in the classroom. And also I did find out during that time that you were also very fluent in Spanish.
[00:05:45] So that was also a nice surprise cuz sometimes you don't expect those things, but that's wonderful. So what I wanna do is, of course, this is my fa one of my favorite segments here. And for all our audience members, like I mentioned, Darren, this is the first time that you're here, you know, uh, [00:06:00] on your own.
[00:06:01] But I, every single person that is here is somebody that I look up to in education. And so somewhat of that superhero for myself. And, you know, it could turn into a superhero for others. And we all know that superheroes have their origin story. So if you can tell us a little bit about maybe your education journey and mainly it's.
[00:06:20] Were you, did you always know you wanted to go into education or was education something that you fell into and you just grew?
[00:06:29] Daren: Do you know? It's, it's really interesting. I, I was just thinking about this a couple of days actually, and I can't actually tell you whether I wanted to or not. Um, I think when I was at school age and looking back on things now and having kind of explored a lot of the things I've explored in the recent, in recent months, my kind of reflection on my time in school is very different.
[00:06:52] Perhaps what it would've been if you were asking me this question maybe two years ago, um, because I was generally like, [00:07:00] a good kid at school, got on with stuff, um, sometimes too much. Sometimes I threw myself into things like you were saying earlier. Um, I tend to go a little bit kind of radio silent for a while, and then suddenly things just pop outta nowhere.
[00:07:14] Um, so I did have a, I have a tendency to kind of just throw myself into everything. Um, and that works great, but I also get bored really quickly. Um, so it's one of those things where I kind of, if I've got the, the passion and the inspiration and the, and the drive to do it, I kind of feel like I have to throw myself in and get it done.
[00:07:37] Otherwise I probably won't do it or I definitely won't finish it. Um, and then I just get annoyed with myself and not finish anything. So looking back on my time in education, I think at that point I was the kind of person who would've, like, I really loved maths. I loved maths at school, um, when I was in, um, gear 10, [00:08:00] which I think is grade 11 for you guys.
[00:08:04] I think so, um, so the year before the final year of school when I was in grade 10, I really got into my math and I finished all of the, the exercise books that you were supposed to finish. It was an exercise, uh, or a textbook a year. Um, and I finished the five books in the four years. Um, and I was really kind of, really, really passionate about my math.
[00:08:24] Really loved it. Uh, and unfortunately my math teacher at the time, Basically said to me, great, you finished the five books. That's what you need to do. Uh, so there's the cupboard in the back of the room. Help yourself to some books in there. All of the answers are in the back. Keep yourself busy. And, and that was my dire of maths for the whole of my final year at school for my GCSEs, was pretty much grab a book, do some questions, probably realistically go and look at the answers.
[00:08:56] Didn't really push myself. Um, got a little bit bored with it and, [00:09:00] and, and math probably, you know, really underachieved in terms of my maths. Um, but it taught me a lot about how I liked to be taught and just being given things to get on with doesn't really work for. . Um, but at the same time I do like that element of independence at the same time.
[00:09:17] Um, so yeah, that was, that was an interesting thing. And in complete contrast, I had a, um, an art teacher, great guy by the name of Mr. License, who basically, whatever you did, he said it was brilliant. , but he still told you what was wrong with it. Yeah, . Yeah. And it was kind of like you got that, that, um, for want a better word, you got that kind of recognition that you'd done a good job on it.
[00:09:41] Um, but he'd always find something where he'd push you that little bit further. Um, and he, he was really inspirational guy. He would even take our work and, and let us display it. When he was displaying, uh, his local art exhibitions, he would, every sort of couple of months he'd chooses five or six [00:10:00] pieces of work and say to us, to us as students, you know, do you mind if I take this?
[00:10:05] And I, I, um, show it as part of the exhibition, which was fantastic for us at the time to be thinking, wow, you know, our. Not only is it gonna be on display, but he thinks it's good enough to be on display. You know, what a difference and somebody who's going out of their way to kind of make that available to you, to somebody who's kind of like, well, I've got 29 other people to worry about.
[00:10:25] Help yourself in the cupboard. Um, and, and those cupboards, they stank. They were horrible cuz those books had been in there for hundreds of years and some of them were handwritten, I think, to be honest with you. Um, so yeah, school was, school was good. I enjoyed school. Uh, and that was a reflection. I kind of looked back on a couple of months ago when I was writing my book actually.
[00:10:43] And, and I was like, I did enjoy school. And I think looking now, if I was my age or if I was school age now, I dunno whether I would enjoy it as much, um, because of the pressures that are there that weren't there. Um, so, [00:11:00] you know, we were, well, I, I was leaving school as Ofsted started in the uk. Um, and the pressures of league tables and, and all of that kind of thing started to come in.
[00:11:12] So prior to that, our teachers were fairly laid back. Um, so there wasn't that level of, um, scrutiny and everything else, and that level of pressure, but at the same time, there was a huge element of fun and there was a huge element of enthusiasm. And that really came across in our teachers. We knew what they were enthusiastic about, we knew what they didn't really like at the same time.
[00:11:35] Um, and, and we could have fun with that as well. And it was, it was not, it was flexible and it was enjoyable because you got that passion from it. And I suppose that in a way, kind of led me into teaching. I, I wasn't going to, I think for a long time I was thinking particularly with the languages I was gonna go into, possibly into the armed services, um, for a while.
[00:11:56] Um, and then I went to university, uh, at a [00:12:00] town, um, where there was quite a heavy armed service. Presence. And that changed my mind massively . Um, I, I thought long and hard about joining the police force. Um, but I had a, uh, I, well I've got my cousin's husband's in the police force and that wasn't a particularly positive environment at that time.
[00:12:22] They were losing out on their pensions and all these kinds of things. Um, and it wasn't particularly well, um, well publicized, but it wasn't a particularly positive environment to be in. Um, so I kind of just fell into teaching a little bit because I wanted something to do when I left university. I knew I'd enjoyed school, I knew I'd enjoyed coaching cause I'd done a lot of sports coaching, um, and things like that.
[00:12:47] So it kind of seemed like a natural progression to a certain extent. And that's where it all started from really.
[00:12:53] Fonz: Man, that is great. You know, just, well, couple of things. You know, I. how you really loved [00:13:00] math and all it took was just one teacher that maybe didn't pay as much attention to you as far as the math and just being really laid back and just say, here you go.
[00:13:08] Keep yourself inter entertained. How that changed the way that you felt about math. And you maybe po possibly thinking that this could have been the route that you might have gone had that one teacher might have continued to feed into your energy and feed into the, your learning style and continue to propel you forward.
[00:13:27] But then it just kind of stopped there. But then, you know, the art teacher, wonderful. The story how one other teacher just giving you feedback continually. And for somebody like you, like you mentioned, you know, you kind of got bored very easily and so on. . That kind of seems like a lot of the students that I had in the classroom too as well, and many in many classrooms nowadays.
[00:13:47] And how the power that one teacher can have as far as just that learning style and the way that they deliver the lessons can make a huge impact on somebody. Now, I'm glad that you did continue in education [00:14:00] because we definitely need some amazing education leaders like yourself, you know, and in these, in this education field.
[00:14:05] And bringing that expertise, that perspective, you know, from the way things used to be, and kind of just try and get that in today. So now as your new role from going from the classroom into, uh, I know it was a long title here, , what was the title again?
[00:14:22] Daren: So, academic Technologies Lead.
[00:14:24] Fonz: There you go. Academic tech ed, tech lead.
[00:14:26] Yeah. Okay. An ed tech lead for your trust. Mm-hmm. You know, and now you get, uh, to be with teachers and work with teachers, you know, every day. I'm, I'm, I'm sure that you do. So tell us a little bit about that transition from the classroom into an ed tech lead.
[00:14:42] Daren: Yeah, sure. Um, well actually, it, it all really came to me out because of Covid, because of lockdown and because of what we were doing virtually.
[00:14:50] Um, I'd, I'd already kind of explored various different ways of producing, um, content from a, [00:15:00] for a, a flip or a blended environment. So I'd already taken a look at things like Ed Puzzle and I'd started going through their, um, their certifications and everything else, and I'd looked at a few other alternatives.
[00:15:12] I'd done a little bit of kind of like screen recording for myself. So when, um, lockdown hit, it was very much a case of. I felt I had something I could offer. And there were a huge amount of teachers, particularly in the uk, who really didn't know where to start. You know, hybrid learning just wasn't a thing in the UK at that point.
[00:15:30] Um, it wasn't, wasn't even considered, let alone being a recognized way of doing things. Um, so myself and, and Ben and a few other people from within the trust team, about six or seven of us put together a, a, a mini team of, for want of a better word, innovators, who were just on a daily basis providing content, um, and training for staff on how they could deliver their subject and their lessons online.
[00:15:57] Whether that was, um, [00:16:00] asynchronous or, or live, you know, we were, we were covering basically all of the bases trying to upskill the staff as much as possible, but also, um, fault finding and troubleshooting what worked and what didn't work. So we were, you know, really taking the risks with our own lessons to see.
[00:16:17] Whether it would work and with the classes, we knew we would, that we could trust them, we'd be right, well, let's try using this now. And they'd be very, you know, the students were brilliant in terms of saying, oh yeah, that was good, but we didn't like that as much as the, the thing we used yesterday. So they were like the kind of the Guinea pigs, if you like.
[00:16:34] Um, but we were able then to share that with the rest of the staff. Um, and when lockdown hit, because we kind of knew it was coming, we were a little bit prepared for it. Um, we didn't any, I don't think any of us believed it was gonna be as extensive as it was. Um, but when lockdown hit and on the Friday they made the announcement that we weren't gonna be opening again on the Monday.
[00:16:54] By the Monday, we were able to deliver live lessons to students, um, which was fantastic. And that [00:17:00] wasn't everyone, obviously, that was a few of us were doing it. Um, and gradually that experience then kind of dissipated out to everybody else. Um, and even sort of 18 months, two years down the line, there were still schools who weren't providing anything online because they weren't skilled up enough to be able to do it, although they weren't confident in the, in the processes and the safeguarding behind it.
[00:17:20] But we'd have the opportunity to, to try all of that. We'd set ourselves up as a mini. So each of us would go in and say, right, what can you do if I share this with you? What can't you do? So we'd, we'd given ourselves all student rights just to check everything out really along those lines. Um, and that, that kind of continued on for about the next sort of two years and then last year, that developed into a, a kind of a hybrid role for me to, I was working, started off September of 2021.
[00:17:52] I think, yeah, 21. Um, I was doing two days working for the trust and three days in school teaching. Um, [00:18:00] by Christmas it became clear that actually there was more of a demand. So that flipped from being, uh, three days in school and two for the trust of being two days in school and three for the trust. And then in September, obviously, um, moved to full-time.
[00:18:13] So I now on a daily basis, um, work with a, a small team of us, but we work with helping schools not just develop, you know, online teaching and hybrid teaching and everything else, but, but that the strategy behind the digital development, across the whole trust, um, um, and how we can make the most of those learning opportunities for the students, how we can make things more accessible for the students, how we can lighten the load for teachers, um, have a greater impact and, and greater value for money.
[00:18:46] Fonz: Excellent. All right, so before we get into, you know, I know we've got the book, we've got, you know, also the Tight budget summit because I kind of wanna go along the line because I'm seeing that progression, like you said, you know, going from Covid and all the work that you did through, [00:19:00] through Covid and of course, you know, working along in your trust and everything that you've been able to do and now into this role.
[00:19:06] And just again, for our audience members here in the US that may not be familiar with a trust, you know, for us, we call them, we call, we're a school district. Mm-hmm. . But for yourself, a trust, can you kind of describe a little bit about the trust and maybe your current trust and how many schools you work with?
[00:19:23] Daren: so, um, there are various different models for trusts in the uk. Um, there are some schools that. A, a trust in their own right. There are some that are a secondary school and two local primary schools just working together. Uh, and there are other trusts like ours, which has got, uh, we've got 57 schools across the, the whole of, um, the uk.
[00:19:45] So we kind of range right the way down from the southwest of England down in sort of, um, Devin and Cornwall all the way up to the Northeast Middlesboro and Newcastle, places like that. Um, and we've got a spread of primary secondaries and special [00:20:00] schools as well. So, um, it's, it's a really big environment which gives us, you know, tremendous, um, bargaining power in terms of, you know, pricing structures and all that kind of thing.
[00:20:11] But, Um, support structures for each other as well, because we're able to draw on the expertise from one particular environment, um, and help that to be applied elsewhere. Um, so we have a, we have a governing, um, body, a board of trustees, um, and then below that, basically all of the schools contribute to the overall trust itself.
[00:20:34] And then all of the resources are, uh, shared out amongst us, which means that none of us end up in a situation where we can't afford to do something because there's always a way of kind of shuffling the prime example being, you know, if there's a school, you've got a, a department which is a, a loan teacher who's one teacher teaching that department for whatever reason, you [00:21:00] know, they might be long-term absent because of illness or whatever.
[00:21:03] You've tried really hard to recruit, but you can't find a suitable replacement. . That doesn't mean that we can't continue to teach those students because what we're able to do is to draw on other expertise within the trust, and we can be flexible with timetables. We can provide sort of, um, hybrid lessons, um, simultaneous lessons with them in their classroom and our students joining virtually.
[00:21:27] And we can do all sorts of things, even even down to the simplest things like sharing resources that other people can use. Um, but we've made good use of things like, um, for want of a better word, not super, super classes, but we've done things like, um, fantastic language teacher, Mme. Bell, who puts together, um, online, um, language lessons for primary school, primary school children.
[00:21:52] Because here in the UK there, there's an expectation that everybody learns a language in primary, but there's not [00:22:00] really any funding or any expertise. As such or any root into it to provide language teachers into primary schools. So what tends to happen is either the teacher happens to know a little bit of the language or one of the teaching assistants or somebody else in the school knows a little bit of language and they take some sessions and it tends to be quite kind of, um, simple steps to begin with.
[00:22:24] But that might be in year three. In year four in year five. It might be once a week. It might be for six weeks, and then it stops. And there, there, there hasn't been a kind of, um, solid kind of one way of doing it, which creates problems when you get to secondary school because. You know, if, unless you are in an all through school where your students go through from primary all the way through to secondary and everyone carries on, you have students join you at the start of, um, you know, that first year in secondary.
[00:22:55] Some of them have learned French, some of them have learned Spanish, some of them learn German, some have [00:23:00] done some Mandarin, some did it three years ago, some did it two years ago. Some learn colors and various different topics. Others have learned other topics, and you have that situation. Then you've gotta pull all of that together.
[00:23:14] So there isn't that kind of, for want of a better word, flight path of actually what should everybody be able to do. So that creates an issue for the secondary schools. So what we've been doing is we've been able to create, um, through , we've been able to create these, these language lessons so that even if a school doesn't have an expert, doesn't matter because students can still engage with those lessons and the teachers and the staff can engage with those lessons as well.
[00:23:46] Because Madam Bell's on screen, she's leading the lesson, they're their supervising, but actually they're learning from it as well. So it's building their expertise at the same time. And then we've done similar things with things like maths and English and, and science in approach, um, [00:24:00] in the approach to exams with master classes and things like that, just to really give that extra scope and that extra, um, , excuse me.
[00:24:08] Fonz: Wow. That is very interesting model. But I love the, you know, the ability to improvise, like you said, like let's say you have a teacher out, the ability to adapt and then of course overcoming those obstacles, which are my f my favorite three words. And I mean, everything that you're doing there, just the, the flexibility that your teachers have.
[00:24:27] And, but the learning never stops. And I think that that's something that's wonderful. And again, you're pulling resources from other schools and of course you made up of 57 schools altogether. And I just love the fact that you're all working together as a team and nobody gets left out. Nobody gets left behind.
[00:24:45] And that's just amazing and just really exciting to hear, you know, that. Now I'm not saying that that's something that's very easy, cuz I'm sure you have to manage times and you have to manage, of course, you know, maybe Google classrooms and you have to put students in here and so on. All that, uh, backend [00:25:00] work.
[00:25:00] But the fact that the learning doesn't stop and you're still getting. that expertise from the actual lead teacher. But then the teachers that are there supervising the students are also growing their knowledge in that subject, a matter during that time, you know, it's, you know, it's cross-training and that is something that is amazing.
[00:25:19] That is wonderful, Darren. So thank you for sharing that. Uh, you know, as far as how a trust works and, uh, you know, now
[00:25:26] Daren: be fair as well. Just, just to add to that, that's, that's really been a kind of, um, a hallmark of our trust over the last 18 months. I would say that we've, we've moved very much to um, uh, a mindset of, okay, you might work in this scope in this town and you might have these students, but they're all your students.
[00:25:49] All 57 schools. All 33,000 students. They're ours, and we should care as much about those students who are in Middlesborough. As we should about those students who sat in front of [00:26:00] us because they're all part of the same family. So if I am, if I've got the capacity to be able to help somebody in, in the south southwest of the country who needs that help, then it shouldn't matter whether they're in my school building and in my classroom or not.
[00:26:15] Actually, they're part of this bigger trust family and, and, and we owe it to those children because it, it's ne it can never be right that we say, okay, these students here, they're gonna, I'm gonna do my best for them because they're my students. And what happens to the rest? Well, that's down to somebody else.
[00:26:31] And you know it, it's kids' lives. We're dealing with it at the end of the day. Oh,
[00:26:34] Fonz: well put. I love that, you know, because that's something that we have had a discussion about where it's, the language makes a difference. Where here you're saying that there are students where many, you know, at least in through my experience, oftentimes it's like, no, no, no, they're your students.
[00:26:49] No, no, no. That they're their students and that makes a huge difference. You know? But you know, the, this mentality of the they are our students really does change and set the tone for [00:27:00] everybody. You know, the expectation is there of being able to willing, being willing to help, you know, those that may be in need of the teacher that may be out, you know, for long term and so on, and making those things work.
[00:27:10] All right, so now I wanna talk, at least for my personal viewpoint, you know, and seeing your. Two times when you went radio silent on us. And because every time that Darren White goes radio silent and he pops up, all of a sudden it's like, what is this magic that he just, you know, created and did. So the first instance is I would like to talk about, you know, radio silence and then all of a sudden you came back with my ed tech buddy.
[00:27:40] So I know that that happened during Covid. So tell us a little bit about my ed tech buddy, how it started, and of course, the work that you were able to do through it and what teachers were able to gain from it too as well.
[00:27:53] Daren: Yeah. Um, it, it, I'll surprise myself with that one if I'm honest. Um, I didn't expect anything to go [00:28:00] as quickly as it did.
[00:28:01] Um, I thought it was gonna be a very long project, but it was one of those things that during lockdown it was very clear that there were a lot of people who needed. To be able to, to upskill themselves, but to be able to do it in a way that they were confident with. Um, and not necessarily to, to have to do that in front of everybody else.
[00:28:17] To have to do it as part of a, a staff meeting to have to stand up and, and answer questions. Because being a, I I think being a teacher in a classroom, there's, there's kind of two schools of thoughts in there. There there's those people who, who feel that like the teacher should be the person at the front of the class that knows everything and they're the font of all knowledge.
[00:28:36] Um, and then there are those people that are very much, well, you don't need to know everything. You just need to know how to find things. Um, I'm very much the second, I've got no problem at all. And I, I dunno, maybe it's from being a linguist, I've got no problem at all, but turning around to a student and saying, I dunno how to say that.
[00:28:52] Cause I've never had to, um, , when we did our first show, there were a few words where I was, I was kinda like, ah, yeah. So, [00:29:00] Hmm. How do you talk about mouse clicks and navigation bars? Because it was language that I'd never had to use when I'd learned my Spanish. . Um, so that was a little bit kind of, kind of taking me outta my, my comfort zone.
[00:29:12] But then you've got the other side where you've got those people who, who, who feel worried that if they're not seem to know everything that's undermining them, and whether that's true or not, that's their, that's their perception, that's their feeling. Um, and that obviously increases stress and anxiety and all sorts of things.
[00:29:30] Um, so it was one of those things I was really keen to kind of support people as much as possible in their own space, um, and to be able to do it in, in short, manageable ways. So my Tick Buddy started off, um, really just as a, as an app, um, made through Glide Apps because I'd never done any coding or anything like that.
[00:29:47] Um, using a variety of tools like Google Forms, IRAD, um, Screencastify, various other bits and pieces, pulling it all together and then making short, sweet, [00:30:00] um, Kind of mini tutorials followed by a quick skills assessment and then throwing a badge out there because who doesn't have a badge and a little bit of recognition.
[00:30:10] Right. Um, and I was working a lot with Ben at the time, and Ben's like, badge crazy. So, um, that was one of those things that it, it, it made sense that actually people could feel that little by little they were making progress. Um, yeah. And we were talking just before the show about New Year's New Year's resolutions, and I think one of the, the, the problems that people have with New Year's resolutions is often they set themselves a massive challenge, um, that's just not achievable.
[00:30:36] Um, and it's not because they haven't got knowledge or the ability to be able to do it, it's that it needs to change a habit. And changing a habit takes time, but you've gotta do that through small, achievable chunks. Because if you are not achieving, then you're not getting that, that dopamine rush. You're not getting that, that good feeling that makes you feel motivated, that makes you want to keep going.
[00:30:58] Um, so if it goes on too long, [00:31:00] A bit like me get bored and you go, well, I'm getting nowhere with this. Um, give me a, an 18 month project to do where I've gotta do an assessment at the end of it, and I'll really struggle and I'll probably do a little bit at the start, procrastinate about it for about 12 months in the middle, and then try and rush through everything at the end.
[00:31:17] And it'll probably all be fine, but, but that's the way, like my brain works kind of thing. So I wanted to make it small, um, smart, achievable short chunks, um, on key things really. So it started off, uh, for teachers. Then we, uh, kind of flipped it to a support staff version as well. Um, so because a lot of support staff, particularly when schools moved to using something like Google for Education, they u they, they make that leap for a teaching and learning.
[00:31:46] and then the people in the office just have to live with it and they don't often get consulted or, or trained in the best way of using it. So things like being able to perform mal merges, put together very [00:32:00] simple Google forms to massively reduce their workload were really important. So that kind of, that came into it as well from that point of view.
[00:32:07] Um, and yeah, that was, that was really successful for about, about two years. Uh, and, and, and I still occasionally get a little email notification saying Somebody's done a badge, somebody's like, done a certification. Cause I don't, I don't push it anymore. I think we hit that stage where, you know, the, the kind of the, the itch was scratched if you know, , if you know what I mean.
[00:32:28] Um, so I've, I've now pivoted the whole thing really to be more about this, um, longer term ongoing through the YouTube channel. Here are some, some things that are out now that you might wanna try out through podcasts. Let's have some chats. Um, and through. Through Twitter and social media and things like that as well, but also trying to pull things together.
[00:32:49] So, you know, we're, we're hosting, um, it's gradually growing a, an EdTech events calendar for everybody. So anybody's got an EdTech event in the uk, [00:33:00] um, wack it on the calendar and it's there. It's, it's, you know, it's open source for anybody to use because there wasn't one that, no, there was nothing in the UK that basically you could say, right, what are all the ed tech events that are on this year?
[00:33:11] And actually just being able to do that and plan your year and say, well, I think I'll go to that one, but I won't be able to do that one because at the time of the year, but I could go to that one instead. Just makes such a difference in the overall scheme of things because you just get caught up with things in, in the busyness of being in school.
[00:33:27] Right. Uh, and before you know it, it's kind of like, oh yeah, bets next week. Oh, I haven't booked a ticket. Now it's too late. And yeah. So really trying to kind. work along those lines of making life simple for people and reducing the amount of work that they have to do for themselves. Well see,
[00:33:43] Fonz: I loved it.
[00:33:43] Like, you know, when you came out with it, like I said, you went radio silent on us for a while, just very just kind of checking in every once in a while and all of a sudden it's like, Hey guys, this is what we've got. And absolutely everything that you said, I absolutely loved. Cuz we, we actually got to beta test, uh, this for you too as well.
[00:33:58] Try it out, give you some [00:34:00] feedback. And I just absolutely love just the way, again, the simplicity of it, going over one tool, various ways of using it or seeing it. And like you said, it's just a superficial, and then after that, now you're more into diving in a little bit deeper as to how. Other, other ways that you can implement this and going beyond that first layer of scratching that itch, , like you said, but going down deeper and just getting into the root of how this can help you solve a lot of more, more, a lot more of your problems or issues that you may have in your classroom as far as integrating the technology, feeling comfortable with the T and adding that additional knowledge for teachers to have within their tool belt to feel ready and to feel equipped.
[00:34:40] So if whether they're the teacher that needs to be in the front and know everything or they're the teacher that is like you and I that as long as you gimme the bare minimum, I can look for it and we can integrate. It's for everybody. And also, like you said, the incentive with the badge doesn't hurt to add an additional badge to your signature too.
[00:34:58] As well as, you know, ba being [00:35:00] badge crazy is something that I'm all about, you know, getting all them badges. All right, so that was instance number one. Now, instance number two was just very recent. Where I was like, man, you know, I haven't heard it much from Darren. And you know, and I, I know I, I haven't been very good as far as reaching out and things like that, cuz we all get busy, but all of a sudden it's, you came out and I see this book that you're holding and it's your sample, your author's copy and all that.
[00:35:29] And I was like, wow. So now tell us about this book.
[00:35:34] Daren: Yeah. Um, so, so I, I honestly don't know where it came from. Um, it started, I think I started writing things down in about. Late September and, and it was little things that were coming outta conversations that we were having probably through the new role where talking to teachers in schools and really [00:36:00] understanding, um, the kind of, the, the difficulties and the challenges that they were facing, but also trying to look at it from the, uh, pupil's perspective as well.
[00:36:08] And then reflecting on my own experience I was saying earlier, um, so it just, it started, um, I, I think if I was gonna hand write anything, it would never have happened. Um, full credit to Google, keep Google tasks and Google Docs, because sometimes the brain just goes mad. Um, there was a, a couple of evenings where I didn't switch off until about four o'clock in the morning, uh, because it was just one idea after another, or one concept or one thing that I've wanted to kind of get down on pa on paper.
[00:36:38] And I was just a quick note, make note of that, that'll come back to me tomorrow and I'll do it then. So, It was very much written in sections, um, and then kind of pulled together later on. And then, um, I didn't really know what to do with it other than kind of just sort of throw it a few people and say, what do you think?
[00:36:56] And then, um, I was just doing a little bit of exploring [00:37:00] around self-publishing and kind of looked at Amazon and thought, oh, that's a lot easier than I thought it would be. Um, once you've got your format in right and everything else, don't get me wrong, um, but actually doing it through Google Docs and everything else made made it really, really easy cuz it was one of those things where I could just write in five minutes, four minutes, three minutes, two minutes, 25 minutes, or I could just really go for it.
[00:37:23] And it allowed it to be really, uh, really fluid. Um, and that, yeah, that's where it came from. So I published, um, on the 8th of December, uh, for the first time. This is an actual copy. Um, I've got some of these for a, for a training. I'm going to, well I'm gonna give them all, um, complimentary copies, but, um,
[00:37:43] Yeah, so I published on the 8th of December. I've sold over 50 copies, which is way more than like, I would've been happy if like one person had bought it, quite frankly. Um, but yeah, it's been, it's been really well received and, uh, and really positive. So it's, um, yeah, [00:38:00] one, one of the things I mentioned, um, in the book is that, is that, um, that dopamine rush, um, or dopamine, um, which I think, um, is, is something that I now am conscious that I do.
[00:38:12] Um, I, I do dopamine. I look for, um, recognition. I look for affirmations, um, that I'm doing things in the right way and I'm doing a good job. Uh, and if I'm not getting those regularly and often, um, I do find things really difficult. Um, and, and that has its own toll on, on my own mental health and everything else.
[00:38:33] Um, and has done a lot over, over previous, uh, years, fortunately in a good place at the moment. Um, , but it's been very cathartic and very therapeutic to be able to sit down and write. But also drawing on not just my experience, but my daughter's experience, obviously she was, she's coming up from 19 now, but she was a pubal during lockdown.
[00:38:55] So she was, she was G C S E final exams year when [00:39:00] they basically went right. School's closed from Monday, stop. That's it, you're done. And she never sat an exam. Um, and she wasn't in school properly for about 18 months after that. And then when she did go back and she had to set her A levels, she sat her a level exams having never sat a formal exam before, which is just crazy.
[00:39:20] Um, and yeah, we, you know, in the UK we've made some, some adjustments to the exam system because of covid. Nowhere near as much we have, there was a real opportunity to do something completely different. Um, and we shied away from it. I think, um, out of fear. And I say we, I mean as a, as an education system, we shied away from it.
[00:39:43] Individuals didn't. Absolutely. Some of us are still, you know, fighting the good fire. And, and I think particularly with things like the advent of, um, things like chat, GTP and, and, and ai, I think that is really gonna force the hand in terms of education and the fact that we [00:40:00] are going to have to change the way we do things because, you know, AI is, is artificial intelligence.
[00:40:07] So it's only gonna know what we tell it anyway, which is one thing. So that's why people shouldn't worry about it. Um, but at the same time, if AI is able to answer our questions as well as a student would, we're asking the wrong questions. Yep, exactly. Is, is the way I look at it. And then, so the book itself is about that.
[00:40:26] What motivates young people? Well, what motivates all of us, but what mo motivates young people? I talk a lot, lot about my own experiences in there as well. Um, and what gets you engaged and is it that ratification? Is that gamification? Is it, um, for me, like I used to make my own challenges and I, it's come back.
[00:40:47] I didn't realize until recently that I was doing it. I didn't realize what it was until I started exploring the whole dopamine side of thing. So I had, um, two English teachers, um, Mr. And Mrs. Ainsley, [00:41:00] um, and it was a shared class. So, um, Mr would teach us for some lessons and Mrs would teach us for another.
[00:41:07] Um, and I got on really well with misses and I didn't get on very well with Mr. Um, and basically they were both brilliant. and they both fantastic, but for whatever reason, I didn't get on, I didn't get on particularly well with Mr. So I would go out of my way to make his life difficult. . So if he set as an essay to write my way of, if you like, giving myself a little bit of a boost and a little bit of a challenge because I didn't, didn't feel like I was getting anything there in the same way that I was maybe from his wife, he was much more in terms of, um, hands-on in terms of, uh, feedback and everything else.
[00:41:47] I would set myself a challenge. Like, okay, I've gotta write an aim for a page essay. How many words can I fit on that page? And, and I, I remem remember. Like setting myself a goal. I'm gonna fit [00:42:00] 500 words on that page. And my handwriting got smaller and smaller and smaller and harder and harder to read, to the point where I got 500 words on the page and I was ecstatic and obviously made it incredibly difficult for him to, to uh, to read and answer.
[00:42:16] Um, but I was happy with that because I think I was confident in what I was saying at the time. So I wasn't that bothered about the feedback. I just wanted something. And probably the fact that he would come up to me and say, what have you done to me, right in this, how am I supposed to read that? That in a way was like a little boost to say, yeah, I've got him, you know?
[00:42:35] Um, and not the worst thing any student's ever done ly me. But, but yeah, that, that kind of, that search for that, that motivation and that level of, of drive, I think really. Kind of, I think probably the penny drops probably about six months ago. You know? And you know, I'm approaching [00:43:00] 47. . Um, and it's taken that long for me to kind of realize what I was doing.
[00:43:05] Fonz: I, I, I like everything that you said cuz now I'm reflecting and when you mentioned, you know, the dopamine, the dopamine rush and dopamine, I'm like, oh man, that, that's kind of where I'm at too. And you know, at least I see myself that way. But also, you know, it's very important that you mentioned too. You mentioned like the, the feedback, the affirmation and so on.
[00:43:25] And you know, I, I read a book many years ago, you know, it's the Five Love Languages and then of course they made it, um, you know, for school kids also as well, you know, the learning languages and so on. But, you know, that's something that, that goes a long way. Just simple affirmation, even through feedback.
[00:43:40] Just like, Hey, good job, or Hey, how are you doing? Or just asking those questions, you know, for, for ourselves. You know, I, that goes a long way. Just that, and that, just a simple comment, simple affirmation can make our day. And like you said at Ver, I'm very like you. Where if. I don't get that. Then a simple task can just, it's like, eh, it [00:44:00] just feels very difficult.
[00:44:01] Or it's like, eh, you know, like nonchalant. And then, and then what'll happen is I'll look for that dopamine by procrastinating because I'll wait till the end to do something and then it turns out well, and then that's where I get that dopamine rush and I get that fixed. But yeah, I totally hear you. I totally hear you.
[00:44:19] So that's great. All right, so a little bit more about your book. So in, maybe let's. Three sentences. What is the, I know you, we, you kind of talked at least what the book was centered around, but in three sentences or so, you know, what is it that you would love for teachers to get like the, the overall message?
[00:44:39] If you can just tell 'em directly right now, now maybe don't, don't be so straight, because then they're like, well, I don't need to read the book anymore. . But, but the overall, you know, what is it that you're trying to convey to the educators out there that do get your book?
[00:44:54] Daren: Yeah. Um, I think really it's, it's a, a don't be afraid to, to take a step [00:45:00] back and have a look at yourself.
[00:45:01] Um, cuz we talk about being lifelong learners, uh, and we talk that to students quite a lot, or we're all lifelong learners. You need to constantly be learning. But how often do we take a step back and look back and say, what, what have I learned in the last six months? What have I learned in the last 12 months?
[00:45:19] Um, and give yourself credit for that as well. Um, because, you know, uh, and I can't remember. I think it was on Twitter earlier on today. You know, I can't remember who whose quote it was, but you know, the people that are making the most mistakes, they're the ones that are learning the most. Because the more mistakes you make, that, that means you're trying more.
[00:45:38] And actually that's, that's a real positive. So to, to kind of not beat yourself up if things don't go brilliantly and to just take that step back and think about, okay, well that didn't work, but what are the potential reasons why that didn't work? It might be me, it might be the students, it might be the time of the day.
[00:45:58] It might be the room [00:46:00] they're in. It might be the fact that, you know, it's break time next and they can hear the canteen clanging around and the smells are starting to come through the door and their brain's gone. Right? Food, you know, it might be that they've come straight from a PE lesson, so they're a little bit had to get themselves dressed in a rush and they're not quite comfortable.
[00:46:18] Could be anything at all. And there's so many things. So many variables that have an impact on any given moment. You know, and, and as teachers, we are making so many, um, microscopic but high level decisions throughout the course of a, a 60 minute lessons that, that, that all have such an impact on that environment that we're in.
[00:46:40] Um, so don't beat yourself up over it. Do reflect on it. Um, but, but also I would say don't just accept that that's the way it has to be and be prepared to try things that are different. Be prepared to think about things in a different way when new things come along. Don't be scared of them. [00:47:00] Think about what could the po positives be.
[00:47:02] Uh, you know, we talked earlier about chat gtp. Um, so I used it yesterday to create a quiz. , um, um, I haven't read, um, pride and Prejudice for a long, long time since I was a school, but I asked it to create a multiple choice question based on pride and prejudice for me. Uh, a quiz of six questions for a quick exit ticket and it 13 seconds done.
[00:47:27] And it was that kind of thing that you think, right? Well, that's, that's worth embracing because if I'd about to go and think about the questions I need to ask, that, that wouldn't have taken me 13 seconds. It might have taken me 13 days at least. Um, and if you feed it the right information, it, it, it's gonna work well.
[00:47:45] So you can, you know, playing around earlier and, uh, good friend of mine as well, Dan Fitzpatrick's, been doing similar things on, on LinkedIn, you know, popping a question in to chat, gtp, putting an answer in and putting the mark scheme in and saying, okay, what would you score. [00:48:00] and actually get some really, really, you know, sensible results out of it because it's using the information you are giving it and it's not subjective.
[00:48:08] And that's the problem with teaching. You know, I can read a marking criteria and a select and a mark band and it can say, for example, you know, gives limited detail what I consider to be limited detail. And what 17 other people consider to be limited detail might not be the same thing. And I think, you know, the research has been done that even with, with heads and, um, teaching and learning leaders doing things like lesson observations, you can, you could record those lessons.
[00:48:39] You could put them in front of a whole room of very experienced people and ask them to decide on how good they thought that lesson was. And actually you've got more chance of flipping a coin and getting an agreement than you have of taking those individual people's opinions because everything is subjective.
[00:48:58] And I think that's one of the things we've gotta [00:49:00] stop beating ourselves up over. Just because one person didn't like it doesn't mean the other did. And let, let's face it, the people that don't like it, shout the loudest. So if you've got a student who's kicking off because they don't enjoy your lesson, don't dis, don't disregard them.
[00:49:16] Listen to what they've got to say, why don't they like it? But also, bear in mind, there might be 29 others who are absolutely fine, or there might be six others that are fine, and there might be sort of 23 others who are just happy to go along with it and don't wanna ruffle feathers. So listening to those, those loud people is important.
[00:49:36] But at the same time, you've gotta keep the perspective of what else is going on and what, who's, who is it working for as well? Um, that's why student voice is so important. .
[00:49:46] Fonz: No, I agree with you 100% with what you said. I mean, uh, it's really, you know, technology's not gonna go anywhere. But also as teachers, we need to embrace what is out there and see what we can do with it.
[00:49:59] Just like you [00:50:00] gave some great examples of what we can do rather than just say, oh, no, no, no. Like, let's block this, let's throw this away. We, we, let's dismiss it. This is gonna ruin me. Like, I'm gonna get replaced, uh, you know, essays. I was like, you know, then like you said, you know, maybe if you're not asking the right questions, you're not being focused more on being student-centered rather than teacher-centered.
[00:50:20] You know, change things up a little bit, step outside the box. But again, it, it's. Getting outta your comfort zone. And I think it's something that's great that you mentioned, you know, from your book is to, it's okay to not know everything, you know, but continue to learn and take that step back and see what you need to work with.
[00:50:37] So I really love that. So Darren, before we close out, I know that we were kind of, uh, short a little bit. I mean, it doesn't matter we go over, but I know, uh, we didn't get to talk too much about the type budget summit. So tell me a little bit about the type budget Summit and what the idea is behind it.
[00:50:53] Daren: Okay. Um, so type budget Summit, um, appeared, uh, last week, uh, as a, [00:51:00] as a brain explosion. Um, off the back of lots of conversations in person and through social media with various people who were feeling like that they couldn't really embrace the full integration of technology into school, uh, because they couldn't afford to do it.
[00:51:18] Um, and that number of reasons for that, obviously we're going through cost of living crisis here in the UK at the moment, so bills are going through the roof. At the same time, the government very kindly said, all teachers and teachings, uh, and school staff can have a pay rise, but we're not gonna give you the money for it.
[00:51:35] Um, and that happened after the schools had already set their budgets. So all of those schools have now had to try and find the money for those pay rises out of their existing budget, which means cutting things back. And they've had to turn around to school leaders and say, you need to cut your spending by this much, this much, this much.
[00:51:55] Inevitably in that situation when you've got tools that [00:52:00] on the face of it are quite expensive, they might be the things that get, get cold. Um, and, and what the tight budget summit, the idea around that is a to, to kind of highlight to people what some of the really great free options are. Um, what some of the nearly free options are that actually, yeah, they're gonna cost you a little bit, but what you'll get back out of them is, you know, massive in terms of, you know, balance between the actual investment and, and the outcome as well.
[00:52:33] Um, but also how you can use that existing technology to leverage what you've already got and to free up other things. So, prime examples being things like, you know, using, uh, a goo, an ongoing Google Doc as a replacement for an exercise book in that you've got one place and there are add-ons out there where you can, as a teacher, add to that Google Doc at any point you want, even though the student, you've already shared it through Google [00:53:00] Classroom.
[00:53:00] Um, so in theory you can't add to it. , there are add-ons out there like magic exercise book that enable you to do that. You can pop the latest work at the top of the book for them. You can add in self-assessment stickers or tables, peer assessments, starters, extra questions, anything you like. But it all stays within one document.
[00:53:23] So you never have the situation of students saying they haven't got their book with them because it's always with all of you. You've got it, they've got it, everyone's got it. You never have the situation where you often have in class where you say, right, look back to the work we did two weeks ago. And you've got three kids who are going, oh, but I, I had a new book last week that's in my old book.
[00:53:42] I can't look back at that. And then they're disadvantaged. Or you've got the kids, uh, it's six months ago and their handwriting was so poor six months ago that they actually can't. . So you've got that side of it, but, but then you've also got the fact that, you know, I think on average, I, I, I think certainly from a [00:54:00] secondary school level, it works out equivalent of around about 10 pound per student per year for exercise books.
[00:54:06] So if you, you know, you look at our trust of 33,000 students, we're not all secondary. Obviously you look at our trust, 33,000 students. If, if you take that cost away and you say, right, we're gonna do everything as a Google Doc, which is free providing you pay for Google for education, you know, which to a certain extent is free.
[00:54:24] You don't have to have the, the, um, teaching and learning add-on, or you don't have to have the, um, the plus version actually that takes away all of that. And you've got a continuous learning journey. It's always with them that can go through five years if you wanted to. Um, seven years. It really doesn't matter.
[00:54:42] Um, but the advantage being that the newest work's always at the top, not at the bottom. Um, which has always kind of annoyed me with exercise books because. You always have to kind of troll through all this other stuff that you've done to get to the, to, to the bit you need. And how often have we seen students miss pages out?
[00:54:59] Whereas if you [00:55:00] start to go back and work forward, it probably wouldn't happen as much. But little things like that, how can you leverage what's already there? You know, how can you leverage at all that's gonna help students in terms of their reading and their writing and the literacy, you know, if that's gonna cost for arguments, say, you know, three pound or $3 ahead per student per year in the overall scheme of things, what, you know, what really is $3, if it's gonna, if it's proven to have an impact.
[00:55:26] The problem that schools have is that through lockdown, lots of people started using things and lots of things were available. So loads of people started using loads of different things. So, uh, so there's less of a kind of, um, clear path if you like. And I think what schools need to do is, is almost kind of like audit what's being used and, and double down.
[00:55:47] I hate using that phrase because it's such a, Kind of topical phrase at the moment, but, you know, just double down, okay, what are the things we're gonna use? Let's use 'em. Let's do less, but do it well and let's really get the impact out of [00:56:00] it. So let's be prepared to pay for three or four tools knowing that we're gonna have this buyback later on.
[00:56:06] Um, not just in terms of the financial buyback, but also in terms of the physical, because, you know, you, you're not carrying exercise books around. Teachers aren't doing their backs in, kids aren't like dropping books or, or leaving them load around. You haven't got people who are, um, nomadic teachers who don't have their own room, haven't got a car backwards and forwards.
[00:56:27] You haven't got that issue of, oh, they're in the other room. Can somebody go and get them? And all this lost learning. But at the same time as well, if you are pushing work to students through Google Docs, whereas you were putting in a sticker to say, fill this sticker in, well, you don't need to pay for those stickers anymore.
[00:56:44] You don't need to pay for those books anymore. The time it took those teachers to stick those stickers in, Where they could have just written an AR or written a comment, but they had to stick a sticker in and then write on the sticker. All of that doubles up and you start factoring that in, in a time [00:57:00] perspective.
[00:57:00] Time is money, as they say. Um, and I may or may not be writing a second book funds. I'm just saying
[00:57:08] Maybe just leave that one dangling there. But, but there's so many things we can do to save time and money, um, in schools that, that we don't kind of don't appreciate. I.
[00:57:21] Fonz: No, and I agree with you what you know 100%, and I can probably see you going back to this episode and this clip because I was like, this could be Darren's second book, , you know, coming up with this and these alternatives.
[00:57:33] But you're absolutely right, you know, oftentimes, uh, . Okay. So what I face here is that everybody wants everything. Everybody wants all the platforms. Even though we've adopted, you know, three platforms for, you know, we have one for K, five, six through 12, two for six through 12, and you know, we've adopted those.
[00:57:51] But it just seems like teachers, they just want everything else, everything else. And like you said, I love what you said, do the best you can with the little that you [00:58:00] have and really maximize that. Get some data, see if it's working. And then if it's not, then let's go ahead and audit and see what we can do better next year to offer.
[00:58:09] But you know, the thing that we face on the year to year is, well, no, I don't like it. You know, I don't want to use it. And then you still have teachers that don't use it and they'll use something else. But then we can't get that usage data because it's something that we didn't adopt. And then they, sometimes they get upset because it's like, well, why can't you help me set this up?
[00:58:28] It's like, well, this isn't, not, it's not a district adopted platform. Yeah. And, but they want everything else except what you have to offer them. And so I, I agree with you on that. Sometimes it's like, let's maximize what we can with what we have. And sometimes, you know, you, you save that money and then later on in the long run, the money that you do have, then you can say, okay, you know, based on that data, now we can afford to do this and let's dive in into this, you know, heavily and so on, if there's gonna be that usage.
[00:58:58] So, uh, I'm all about keeping [00:59:00] it simple, but again, making it, making it very effective, just like you stated. Mm-hmm. . So I really like that. All right, Darren. Well this has been an awesome conversation. Thank you so much, Darren. It's been great catching up with you and seeing all the work that you're doing, and I continue to wish you the best in everything that you're doing.
[00:59:16] And obviously that second book, I'm pretty sure you, you're gonna go radio silent on us, you know, maybe for about a month or two. And then all of a sudden it's like, hey, here's Darren's second book. And then after that it's gonna continue. And I can see that because that's the type of, of person that you are, that has so much to say and so much knowledge to share that you can definitely help make a difference in our education landscape.
[00:59:38] So thank you for all the work that you do and the just the amazing person that you are. Darren. So, but before we wrap up, Before we wrap up, we've got a couple of questions for you. Mm-hmm. , and this time I'm gonna kind of switch up one of the questions and it'll be the last one here. Um, so question number one, Darren, in the current state of education, what would you say is your current [01:00:00] edu kryptonite?
[01:00:02] Daren: Oh, um,
[01:00:08] that's tough. Um, I think, uh, it is always gonna be time, but it's not necessarily my time. It's the people who I would like to work with and how we get them the time to feel like they can take things on board. Like we were just saying, you know, all of these tools, people want to use them, but at the same time, they wanna stick to what they used to cause they don't have the time or they don't perceive themselves to have the time to learn the new ways of doing it.
[01:00:34] And if you invest that time, it, it does pay you back massively. So I think finding ways to enable that, that that successful implementation. Without taking up additional time. That's, that's the key bit.
[01:00:48] Fonz: Nice. Good answer. Good answer. Question number two. Darren, if you could have a billboard with anything on it, what would it be and why?
[01:00:56] Daren: Uh, it'd be, buy my book. Here's the link.[01:01:00]
[01:01:02] Fonz: I love it. I love it. By my QR code as well, you know? Yes. The QR code. But I love that. I could definitely picture that little, uh, emoji, you know, or your, your little avatar just sitting there on the billboard like that and saying like, buy my book or something. That'd be great. All right, now there's even a jumper.
[01:01:19] Ah, there you go. What's the why? I love that. I love that. All right now.
[01:01:25] Daren: Just, I should point out I'm not the only ginger that's got a book out at the moment. Um, but mine's more worth reading. ,
[01:01:34] Fonz: I saw that post recently. I think you put it up on LinkedIn or something like that, and I was like, ah, I love that.
[01:01:39] All right, now the last question. Usually I'll say, you know, what's one question you like to ask me, but I'm gonna change this up a little bit just because I have you here, and I think it's a great question for you. All right, so cream tea, the Cornwall way or the Devon Way. Oh,
[01:01:56] Daren: right. So I am very, very firm on this.[01:02:00]
[01:02:00] Clotted cream is very much like butter and therefore the cream should go on first and then the jam on.
[01:02:11] Fonz: All right. You heard it here guys. It's live. You can find it on YouTube, you can come back to it and , and then that way you can go ahead and comment, uh, to Darren directly. So thank you so much, Darren. I wanted to put you on the spot with that question.
[01:02:24] But again, thank you for being an amazing guest. Erin, I have been sharing all your information here on the comments. It will be on the episode show notes where people can buy your book, where people can reach you at my EdTech buddy also to contact you. Your email will be there. And again, just thank you again for the amazing work that you're doing, continue doing.
[01:02:43] The amazing job that you're doing, of course. And of course, please give my regards and my, my best wishes to everybody out there, you know, like Georgina to Ben, please, uh, those of you know, those that you run into, please let 'em know that I said hi and that I appreciate the work that they're doing as well.
[01:02:58] And for our audience members, [01:03:00] thank you so much for joining us today. Whether you're joining us live or if you're catching the replay, I appreciate you being part. Our show and thank you as always for all of your support. Please make sure you stop by our firstname.lastname@example.org so you can check out this episode and all the other 160 amazing episodes from educators all around the world where you can go ahead and learn a little bit about them, their practice, and maybe find a thing or two that you can sprinkle on to what you are already doing.
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[01:03:48] So don't forget to like, subscribe, and follow my friends, and until next time, don't. Stay techy.[01:04:00]
I am an experienced Spanish & Digital Skills teacher and I am the Learning Technologies Lead across two secondary academies in Witham, Essex. I have held Senior Leadership roles for 10 years before my current role, leading on marketing, communication, 6th form, and assessment/curriculum.
I am a Google Certified Trainer, Innovator & Educator, an AET InnovAETor, and responsible for GDPR, Communication & Marketing within my academies.
One of my biggest passions is delivering G Suite training to Educational Support Staff to underpin the work in schools. I have been fortunate to deliver training at schools locally and internationally. I aim to embrace the #moonshotthinking approach to all projects.
I am an ambassador for Wevideo, Wakelet, Book Creator, Mote, and Iorad and also a leader of @GlobalGEG and co-leader of @GEG_UK.
I have written ebooks on Distance Learning that can be found here bit.ly/RangaNation
In my spare time, I play & coach hockey and help to organize an annual beer festival.