Tag Archives: 2012-13

Learning Spaces.

An area I wanted to develop this term in class was my use of displays. I feel ‘traditional’ primary school displays are not a natural strength of mine, and I’ve always wondered about the effectiveness of the display in effecting children’s learning. I’m open to any researched ideas about the effects if you’d like to post in the comments or e-mail me I’d be grateful.

In March time I came across No Tosh’s posts on learning spaces and was really interested in some of the ideas in the post. I was particularly interested in the learning wall idea, and set about creating one in my class using plastic wallets to display the children’s work in a respectful manner as well as allowing the much needed fluidity for the display’s success.

We launched our topic in April, Beavers – back after 400 years, and I explained the ideas to the children, and waited…and waited…and waited. Well this week we had a bit of a breakthrough. A couple of children brought work in on Tuesday, a couple more on Wednesday and today I had a child asking to stay in through lunchtime to create her work for the display. I have to say I am delighted that the idea seems to be taking off. I hope to have more work to add to the display coming in thick and fast now.

How does it compare to ‘traditional’ displays? Well, the children are very interested by what is on the display and clearly as work is beginning to come in they are motivated by what they see and want to copy, build on and develop their peers work. Could this happen on a ‘traditional’ display? Well yes it could, but my experience (and/or lack of artistic eye) means through my career it hasn’t happened as much as I’d have liked, and certainly not as much as the time and physical resources used in a display should have impacted. It is certainly something I will be using again next school year and I hope it will have the same motivational effect.

Here is the work the children have created to date.

 

 

Why might sharing and publishing in the open be advantageous?

This is one of a series of blog posts from #teachtheweb course. My other posts can be found at Teacher, teach thyself.

The creator controls what of their work is seen or heard, by whom, where and when.

 

In my opinion sharing and publishing have never been easier, nor more accessible for all of us. We share photos through Instagram, Facebook and Flickr, we can share ideas through blog writing, tweeting and facebook, we can share pretty much all aspects of our daily life and it’s only going to get easier.

 

Who do we share with? Close friends, less close friends, colleagues from work or education, people from around the world. Pretty much anyone we want who has some level of open and available internet access.

 

We can also produce more formal pieces of publishing such as e-books and ‘real’ books through tools such as Lulu.

 

In my early lifetime, sharing meant meeting up with someone, sending something via the post, photocopying pieces of paper and the thought of publishing your own writing was a pipe dream – it was in the hands of newspaper editors or book publishers. They decided what was to be seen, not the user and certainly not the ‘receiver’ of the information.

 

The user can access more content than before, and more easily.

 

If I wish to find some writing about a subject it is easy. I use the web and search engines and find lots of information in a variety of forms. This is a brilliant, as work which previously I would have been excluded from accessing due to cost and geographical restrictions is know available and most often for no or minimal cost. Secondly, it’s easily searchable (whilst acknowledging google organises things in a google search initially) I can use some advanced search techniques to precisely access the materials I would like.

 

The user can choose how to acknowledge the creator.

 

If I buy a book, I have acknowledged the creator(s) up front by paying. If the work is not of a standard I desire, or if it is an incredible life changing book the acknowledgement is the same – £15.

 

I’ve also paid an amount which is set by some 3rd parties – publishers, shops as well as the creator. It’s probably fair to say that if I pay £15 for a book, the creator will not recieve £15.

 

If I am accessing something via the open web, I can choose how I acknowledge the work – I can tweet the link to the work, I can access the creator directly via a comments section, I can pay some money via paypal in some cases (I choose if and how much of course), or I can write a response myself citing the original work on my own spaces.

 

The collaboration possibilities are endless.

 

It’s a reasonable assumption that if you are spending your non work time writing/creating and sharing works for free, it is something you are passionate about. By sharing these things in the ‘open’ format, you are likely to connect to people with similar passions. The greatest working groups I have worked in are the ones where the members have shared goals or passions. The work created in these groups has been of a high quality

 

The effect of your passion being shared with liked minded individuals is a massive gain. It allows you to work together (virtually or real) to create more pieces and connect with a wider audience, it lets you see how other people with similar passions are creating and can give you hope that you’re not alone.

 

And yet…

 

There are examples of work practices being used which stop or limit openness and sharing. Some planning programs in school only allow printed copies and copies within the format of their (paid) software, meaning the work created in them cannot be shared easily. Some education intranet sites allow access only to members of their community, excluding a huge range of educators from contributing and making the process of sharing work on those intranet more laborious than it should/needs to be. It would be interesting to know what the thinking is behind these decisions being imposed as I feel the benefits of openness and sharing are huge.

Blogging.

I love the idea of children blogging (and our digital leaders are proving they do too!). The thought of children writing and sharing their work with each other is a major positive of the ‘internet age’ I feel. The fact that children can have an immediate audience for their writing and can interact with each other’s writing is so far removed from life when I was in school (which was not quite in the Dark Ages).

One of the features of blogging I’m trying to develop with my class is the quality of their comments. Commenting on a blog post was on of the tasks our digital leaders had to do as part of their interview process. The comments they wrote (using paper 1.0 and pencil 2.0) were great, but too often comments are not written on the blog.

I have created a website www.commentsbykids.com and a twitter account @commentbykids to promote high quality commenting by children and share these comments around the world.

I aim to use it to inspire my children onwards to the great comments I know they are capable of.

It would be great if you or your digital leaders found the time to add some of the awesome comments from your class blog.

Keeping Connected

Whilst off school recovering from a headache-y, nausea bug, I noticed a tweet from Tom Barrett about an event with northantsblt.

This event was hashtagged (meaning it was easy to find all the tweets in one place) #northantsblt. I used hootsuite to open up a stream for that hashtag and then dipped into the tweets from under my blanket during the day.

I found it a really good read and wanted to keep some of the tweets for further reading and reference.

I remembered storify. I’ve only really dabbled with that piece of software, but I have selected many of the tweets from the day and published them in a storify document, which I have then embedded below.

A simple and good use of blanket time I felt…and even better than Jeremy Kyle Under the Hammer!

Northants BLT 20/11/12

Tweets using hashtag Northantsblt

Storified by Robert Drummond · Tue, Nov 20 2012 09:06:25

#NorthantsBLT Learning tree – interactive display where a new leaf appears for every thing that they’ve learnedEwan McIntosh
#NorthantsBLT Online bulletin boards for questions – question boardsEwan McIntosh
#NorthantsBLT Exit pass – show me on a post-it what you’ve learned before you goEwan McIntosh
#NorthantsBLT Blogging – for comments that document the learning journeyEwan McIntosh
#NorthantsBLT Learning tags – adding keywords at top of work – metacognitionEwan McIntosh
#NorthantsBLT Snowballing – group of kids at table develop ideas, screw up ideas, throw to table, next group have to build on itEwan McIntosh
#NorthantsBLT Window shopping – stealing ideas from fellow students. Browsing the learningEwan McIntosh
#NorthantsBLT Babblegabble: children build on each other’s ideasEwan McIntosh
What can’t we do without…? #NorthantsBLT http://pic.twitter.com/e03wUclRAndrew Evans
What do we need to control?…really? @ewanmcintosh #NorthantsBLT http://pic.twitter.com/pLLnv6A5Andrew Evans
If you can draw it, you can share it, you can learn from it…eliminating ‘death by powerpoint’ @ewanmcintosh #NorthantsBLTAndrew Evans
#NorthantsBLT it is about developing your learning culture. How much time do we spend on developing this culture in our schools?Leigh Wolmarans
@johnpopham Kids think YouTube is a real website. They think school websites aren’t. #NorthantsBLTEwan McIntosh
#NorthantsBLT we need to stop teaching so children can really learn!Leigh Wolmarans
How can we use technology to help make the messiness of thinking more visible. #northantsbltHelen Caldwell
Spoon feeding is for babies! #northantsbltKevin Hewitson
Lots of Juicy questions explored in kids TED talks- finding things that matter to them, empathy to engage.#NorthantsBLTStacey
Sunderland kids TEDx talks /bit.ly/p5bKKS #northantsbltHelen Caldwell
Chn to have and IDENTIFY their own STAR moment in their learning- Something they’ll always remember. #NorthantsBLTStacey
Get children to plan a STAR moment when planning writing… ‘Something They’ll Always Remember’.#NorthantsBLTTom Rees
Applying story structures and drawing inspiration from video games to develop talk. #northantsbltHelen Caldwell
Love this clip we have been introduced to by @ewanmcintosh…http://www.ted.com/talks/bobby_mcferrin_hacks_your_brain_with_music.html#NorthantsBLTTom Rees
Choice, collaborate, challenge, responsibility, respect, real things 3Cs and 3Rs of learning. #northantsbltHelen Caldwell
Difference between Ilearning about Newton and thinking like Newton: Visible learning. #NorthantsBLTHelen Caldwell
Do we want children to learn about someone, or do we want them to think like someone? @ewanmcintosh #NorthantsBLTAndrew Evans
#NorthantsBLT remember it is not about the technology you have but how it is effectively used.Leigh Wolmarans
Ideas are not logical…they don’t go a, b, c, d @ewanmcintosh #NorthantsBLTAndrew Evans
RT @JugieK: #northantsblt check out GuardianEyewitness app for amazing daily photos from around the world. Screen shot to use photos in presentations.Ewan McIntosh

 

Digital Leaders @Uphall

After attending Naace’s amazing 3rd Millennium hothouse event in Crewe over the summer, one of the things I was keen to start at Uphall was creating a digital leaders group. It was the knowledge, enthusiasm and energy of @shellibb @chrismayoh and @lagerama who gave a wonderful presentation at which convinced us to give it a go at Uphall.

For anyone who is unsure of what a digital leader is, have a look at Shelli’s work here

The first step in selecting our Digi Leaders was to announce our intention in assembly and ask the children to apply online for a position. I created a simple presentation and online google form to collect the information, and you can see these below.

Once the children had completed the application, we made time for the HT (@fiona_macphail) and myself to interview them. We drafted 4 questions and shared them with the children the day before their interview. Having Fiona on board was great as it made things very ‘special’ for the children, being interviewed by the HT

The questions we asked were:

If you could show or teach children once piece of ICT software/website/program what would you choose and why?

Someone in a class you are supporting is stuck on their ICT work. What would YOU do to help?

What do you love about using ICT?

Are there any questions you would like to ask us?

Finally I selected a piece of shared writing from my class blog page, and ask the children to write a blog comment about it – this was an unseen task for the children.

We interviewed the children in groups and their answers were amazing.
I have created a tagxedo cloud of what the children said which really impressed Fiona and myself.

Since appointing the successful candidates, we have created a space on Edmodo for us to share ideas between ourselves and created a web space joined as part of the school website.
You can see our website here and see how we develop our digital leaders.

Fiona and myself do not know where the digital leaders @uphall will go, that will be very much up to our leaders. We do know that we have immensely creative, talented and thoughtful children in our group, and that wherever they choose to lead, it will be a great trip for all of us in school!

20% time

Friday’s this year in my class are going to be different. We are going to have ‘20%’ time.

If you haven’t come across 20% time before, it’s and idea that 3m and google and some other companies use which frees up 20% of the working week for their staff to pursue their own projects and interests. In the company time.

I read a few blog posts about this approach being undertaken in classes and thought it sounded like a great idea and something I wanted to try. Why?

1. I wanted the children in class to have an enjoyable learning experience at least once a week (I’m aiming for more than that, but I hope that ALL the children have one enjoyable learning experience guaranteed using 20%)

2. I want the children to see that their interests are valued and that our classroom is a place they can nurture those interests they already have, not leave them at the school door.

3. I want all the children I teach to develop a love of learning, not for ticks, badges or scores, but for the buzz of learning.

4. I thought if offered the opportunity to develop skills for learning in a context where the children felt safe, happy and stress free. I really want the children to see the learning skills they have, and develop their self-esteem chips (as Richard Gerver calls them) I also thought it gave a good opportunity for separating our the learning skills from the content knowledge.

They were some of the things I thought 20% could offer in my class, and with the support of the SMT, we set off on our first steps this week.
More of that in the next few posts.

 

Learning as an Active Process by Mitchell Norris. 

 

Summer

I’ve been to 3 really interesting pieces of CPD this summer holiday. GamesBritannia, NAACE 3mhothouse and Edinburgh Interactive 12.
They have all been really enjoyable, all different to each other but they all have underlying themes.

We need to let children be creative with the technologies available to them.

We need to not be worried about the children knowing more about the technologies than we do, they will teach each other and if they are engaged they will find a way to utilise the tools.

Children are learning and using technologies at incredible speed. The days of year by year ICT schemes are rapidly passing. There will be a progression in skills for using ICT, but these progressions will be flexible and will be experience related, not age related.

It will soon be time to start a new school year and I’m incredibly excited by the opportunities me and my class are going to discover and create with. We will be sharing what we create on or school web site and on our creative blog.
It would be great if you found time to leave a comment about what use create when our term begins.

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