Monthly Archives: July 2013

New Skills, New Questions.

I read this article and it got me thinking about school, learning, young people today etc.

The article discusses how skills are learned, how creating neural pathways link and create stronger pathways and how a good way to develop these skills is by not using help guides, asking other people etc but puzzling it out for yourself.

My experience is that children are the masters at that. They use tech, never read an instruction manual, dive in and work it out. Only if they are really stuck do they ever seek help from a youtube video, social media friends or maybe sometimes…their parents.

How does that learning model compare to schools?

How many lessons does the same children sit through where there is an input (or teach) first and then a series of activities ‘designed’ to develop this skills/learning?

How does the waiting for help (if required) compare to the immediacy of youtube or other web based help technologies?

How does the ‘blocking’ of lessons sometimes days apart hold back the development of skills in those areas, when the best way to develop the skills is everyday practice?

Do we connect enough of our learning together? I think primaries do, but there is always talk of splitting back into more subject based learning and less topic/project learning? Why? Where is the evidence for success in this approach?

The role of failure is key to learning in this way, yet if our children do not have enough ‘self-esteem chips’ as Richard Gerver brilliantly calls them our children will not be able to enjoy the freedom to fail. Do schools do enough to balance out the differential between the haves and have-nots of self-esteem? If not, why?

Which countries ARE getting it right and how are they doing it? Our young people are going to develop more and more skills in these ways, are our schools going to support them in that or hold them back?

296747265_eef6c2e32cSkills Drop Off – by Squacco

 

5 Words to describe my class.

If you had to choose five words to describe your class, what would they be? -Dave Burgess
I found this idea and quotation here and thought it was a fantastic idea for teachers, but also a great idea to start the new school year off with a new class.
Messy.
Interactive.
Inquisitive.
Energetic,
Happy.
I wonder what words my class from last year would come up with?
Henti Smith fmgbain
Inquisitive Fascincation – Henti Smith

Badger, badger, badger, badger.

There’s a lot of work going on at the moment about using badges for crediting skills, experience in education and the workplace. I came across this template for designing your own badges and shared it last night in the #dlchat. People in the chat seemed to like it, so I thought it might be worth posting it here also. Getting my Digital Leaders becoming badge creators and awarders is an aim for my Digital Leader project next year, as it has multiple benefits. I hope they’re keen to be badgers.

Final-badge-canvasadsmall2

What I want for my school.

Having decided what I want for education and children, I would like my school to be the place that delivers those things-

 

A school where children look forward to the day ahead.

 

A school where children are valued, and the children know it.

 

A school where the priorities are the needs of the children, the needs of the children and the needs of the children.

 

A school where the staff recognise the huge impact they can make in changing lives.

Some of these ideals would be delivered through the staff working in the school, others would be people from outside the school delivering these ideals.

 

Something I would love to improve is the quality of the buildings we make our children learn in, and their upkeep. In September of last year we were lucky enough to visit citizen M. Everyone (adults and the children we visited with) agreed that it was a fantastic space with wonderful seats, whiteboard walls you can write on, air conditioned work rooms, lots of glass for viewing other areas. These spaces have been designed by architects with the user in mind. School buildings are rarely like this. Chairs are uncomfortable , lighting is poor quality strip lighting, books are sometimes old, technology is often outdated (McDonalds and buses have open wifi before schools!!). When work in schools is completed it is rarely done to a standard we would wish for our own homes, and the main (only?) factor to be considered is cost, not user satisfaction. I wonder how many teachers in schools have thought about approaching a worker in school to ask about doing some work for them out of school?

These ideals sound very distant and a bit of a pipe-dream. If weren’t for the fact that I drive past 4 such schools every morning on my commute I might think so too.

 6008113604_e209af91bdSchool by Krzysztof Pacholak

Thoughts on using Technology in schools.

I came across this via zite which I use to find and share a load of good reading, infographics and ideas. This pretty much sums up my thoughts about using Technology in schools, and is what we should be aiming for when embedding ICT across the curriculum.

As it says at the bottom, it’s a tool not an outcome.

technology

What I want for my pupils and Scottish Education.

My Professional learning plan for the West Lothian Leadership course begins with a section of self-evaluation. The first part of that is thinking about and noting down thoughts about what we want for Scottish Education, our schools, ourselves and our pupils.

Here are my thoughts about what I would like for the pupils I teach. I’d be grateful for any comments, awkward questions etc, as that is the reason I’m posting aspects of my personal learning plan online.

 

What do I want for my pupils and Scottish Education?

 

A Google search reveals lots of articles listing the things that our young people should develop in their education to succeed in the now and the future. Feel free to have a search yourself, there’s thousands of links to interesting reads. Many of these articles contain similar skills and ideas such as critical thinking, problem solving, effective communication, ability to collaborate (which I find in practice means having a lot of ‘self-esteem chips’ as Richard Gerver calls them), adaptability and more. What these lists don’t contain in 2013 is much in the way of facts and figures (knowledge) – these being at our fingertips now. (The key skills for using facts and figures tend to be knowledge of how to internet search for them, a bit of curiosity and some source checking skills).

 

I want all of the above for the children I work with – who wouldn’t. However I believe that there are three key ideas which open up the rest of the ideas, and for me these are the things I believe are vital to education, Scottish or otherwise. These ideas will also allow our children to develop as societies themselves develop over time.

 

1. I want children to be inquisitive and curious and that means they need to enjoy their learning.

 

2. I want children to ask good questions of themselves, their peers and the adults in their lives.

 

3. I want children to have loads of self-confidence. This means they can develop their collaborative work, can accept having their work held to peer review and can develop better their own work.

 

If a child leaves my class/time with me with these three things, then I think they will be well placed for their future, wherever it may go.

Death Valley National Park, California (8)Death Valley by Ken Lund

2013-2014

I have been accepted on the West Lothian Leadership Programme for 2013-14. I applied as I am interested in learning more about and debating leadership roles within school and I also wish to see if this is a role I would like to take in school (UPS or otherwise).

The course looks quite interesting and looks the sort of course where the more time that is devoted to it, the more the participants get out of it. I have needed to choose a project to develop over the year, and have chosen to develop the role of digital leaders in school and beyond (by setting up the Scottish Digital Leaders Network).

A major part of the course is a Professional Learning Plan, and I intend to develop mine by using this blog, and tagging each part with Leadership and PLP for ease of my finding it!

If you are interested in the course, here is the course outline.

Colourful Reflections (38/365)

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