On Friday I went to Darton College to complete my SLE interview in the hope of becoming a Specialist Leader in Education. As part of the interview process we had to complete a ten minute presentation on a school improvement project we had led on. I chose to talk about the use of the rubric tool in year 1 to accelerate progress in writing.
On Friday I had an interview to be an SLE (Specialist lead in Education), this was my presentation on the use of ICT across the EYFS team.
As part of our restorative approach to managing behaviour, WCPS have been trying to use more logical consequences to support learners understanding why the behaviour was wrong and reduce reoccurrence. Positive research data shows that logical consequences are 70% effective; they are directly linked to the behaviour and teach a valuable lesson.
A group of boys who failed to use our school basket ball net appropriately ended up damaging it so that it was irrepairable. The logical consequence the boys faced was a project to raise money for a new one. This involved collaborative research, generating ideas, agreeing on a chosen idea before making it happen. The boys agreed that they would hold a staff car washing event to raise the money they needed. Maths and Literacy skills were applied throughout, persuading staff to allow them to wash their car and handling the costings.
At 9am when they first began the boys were actually enjoying themselves, however after car number 4, only a quarter of the way through, they were beginning to get tired. At 11am, they were fed up and had had enough, although still had 5 more cars to go and had to persevere. Eventually at 12 o clock, the 16 cars were completed and everyone was absolutely exhausted! The boys had made £48; only a quarter of the cost of a new net. This journey taught them that making money is very hard work and it is important that we look after the things we have.
Oh gosh! I’ve got so many thoughts swimming around my head after today I’m not sure where to start. So this a brief summary of some of the notes I made today – the comments that resonated, the ideas I loved, the questions I came away with and some other stuff too!
So the day started by highlighting 5 strands that are common across schools where innovative IT makes a significant impact on teaching and learning – these were
- Visionary leadership
- Innovative learning and teaching
- Ongoing professional learning
- Compelling evidence of success
- Flexible learning environments
Some thoughts and questions that I picked up from the conversations during this part of the morning –
- Teachers are expert learners who guide learners through difficult tasks and technology has the power to amplify great teaching but technology can’t replace poor teaching. The key to integrating technology well is to be clear about your focus and what you want to achieve. How do we use the technology to give us a better outcome in learning? It’s so important to keep the learning at the heart of what you are doing and not be driven by the technology or task. We spent some time this morning discussing the SAMR model – if you are not familiar with the model here’s a visual:
Many people who share the SAMR model acknowledge that the first stage ‘substitution’ is not really a transformative use of technology it’s just swapping a printed worksheet for one on screen, where as the ‘redefinition’ stage is where really transformative teaching and learning takes place and technology lifts learning to a place that it previously could never have imagined going.
In his talk this morning, Nick Fold (Academic Assiatnt Principal at Bolton School) put forward that actually, not everything needs to be redefined. That SAMR proposes a four stage journey with ‘redefinition’ seen as an ultimate goal that we should aspire to in order to show we’ve evolved highly innovative technology that transforms teaching and learning. But, he argued, we don’t always need to redefine everything. What’s more important is understanding how the technology you are using is elevating the learning. We can put together amazing and complex learning opportunities that redefine expectations of classroom practice, but don’t deliver the learning intentions. He suggests that actually, sometimes it’s okay just to substitute one form for another if we have a clear purpose for doing it and understand how it impacts on the intended learning.
In his words “How can we use the technology to get a better outcome in learning? What do we want them to learn and what’s the best way of learning this?”
This is nothing new for us – it’s conversations we’ve had many times before, but still relevant – hearing the message again and again helps to ensure that we keep the main thing the main thing.
2) Technology gives us the ability to be with our learners even when we can’t physically be with them. Again, this is certainly not a new conversation for us. We’ve visited this in many forms – our blogs, how our blogs can remove learning from the classroom and place it anywhere, social media platforms and how they work to take learning outside of the classroom and school, flipped learning and how we teach all children the right stuff at the right time when there are limited numbers of adults in a room, how we provide links to prompts and scaffolds but at the same time develop independence, how we ensure learning time is purposeful for all and no time is wasted on things that learners don’t need to be doing.
I guess the reason this stood out to me today thought is because it is still so relevant and may become more so as our school grows and our resources stretch to meet the rising numbers and differing needs. The things technology enables us to do in classrooms is so exciting and powerful – are we exploiting this as much as we could? And are we doing it all across school? Are we utilising the tools to the best we can to ensure we are available to learners even we we aren’t?
3) Keeping up with the professional learning – this is something. That can be so hard to find the time for but so important. I know Natalie has been working on this and he board in the staff room is just one way of enabling us to share what’s working – how else can we share our successes and help each other to learn and develop new ways of using technology to enhance learning in our classrooms? This is on my mind because we’ve got some staffing changes coming – how do we bring our new staff up to speed with the things that are well embedded already and at the same time keep ourselves learning and moving forward, picking up new things and staying ahead of the game. I picked up a couple, of ideas I loved from Foxhill School in Sheffield:
- 5 minute seminars at the start of every staff meeting – a quick showcase of something that’s worked really well
- Bright ideas board – somewhere we have a bit of time to ponder what’s on it – above the photocopier? Can we get better at using our teacher learning blog for this
- Cross school SDM workshops once a term – including some workshops on use of technology for different purposes.
The TEEP pedagogical model
I found this interesting – this is the model that underpins teaching and learning at Bolton School. What I found really intersting about this is that when I looked really closely I thought this was very similar to the elements underpinning pedagogy at WCPS. In many ways this comes as no surprise – TEEP is based on research and evidence based practice and so is what we do at WCPS – but I found the visual representation interesting. This is not something we’ve tried to do before but if we had a model, I wonder how different to this we would make it? What would we add? What would we change?
So clearly the purpose of today was thinking about how your move on and continue to build on the use of technology when you are already well on the journey. There was demonstration of new Apple developments in 9.3 that are designed to make it easier to put the technology into the hands of learners – some interesting developments for schools that seem to be filling some of the gaps that have existed before.
- Shared iPad for student – ability to log in and see personalised content on a shared device
- Classroom app for iPad – an app that Apple say is designed to give control back to the teacher to lead the iPad learning effectively
- Apple school manager – unifying VPP portal etc – one single place to manage people, devices and content
- Managed Apple ID – exclusiveLy for education – create on mass Apple ids for students. Can access content and iCloud but can’t purchase apps
Of these, Classroom is the thing I would most like to explore further. All versions of iPad Mini and anything above an iPad 2 supports iPad classroom app and it includes features such as the ability to see an overview of your class and their iPads, see who’s working on which iPad and keep track of their learning. You can view another iPad screen remotely so you can see which app is currently being used on the device and the blue bar at the top shows students that their screen is being viewed. From Classroom you can launch and lock apps on all devices and lock learners into the app you want them to use. You can lock all the iPads in the room at the touch of the button if you need to get attention quickly. You can see what your students see on their screen but can also pull up a mirror image of what’s happening on their iPad either on your iPad or on Apple TV oif you want to use it in the lesson. You can also create groups within the class and send content to groups or individuals using the app.
Finally, this afternoon, we revisited some tools that can be used across subjects and age groups to support teaching and learning – iBooks Author and iTunes U.
I love both of these apps – for very different reasons. iBooks Author is a powerful book creator tool that allows you to make multimedia interactive ebooks that look professional and can be used again and again. The downside is that you need a Mac to run the app but the results are astonishing. I love the idea of creating more of our own versions of these. I think that we could make some great interactive reading materials but also some engaging hooks, some intersting topic or project books that could be used to deliver or guide a project from beginning to end. I’ve previously had a little play with this but this is definitely something that I’d like to revisit – so I need a project and a class to have a go with!
Similarly for iTunes U – I’ve had a good play with this previously and developed content for KS2 and some staff content. Since I last used it some great new features have been added making it easier to complete a task, submit it and receive feedback from within the app. This just reminded me how much potential I think this app has across KS2, especially where we have 1:1 devices and again – I’m looking for a project and a class to try something out with!
Finally – a fabulous link. iTunes have collected all resources for educators into one place – iTunes.com/foreducators. If you haven’t checked it out yet, make sure you do. It’s a one stop shop for apps, ebooks, iTunes U content – a treasure-trove of goodies. I have a pretty good idea how I’ll be spending my weekend!
All in all, a very thought provoking day!
A great Teaching and Learning NPQSL training day, led by Kate Davis and Jaimie Holbrook. #Team Common and Team Darton collaborated to change the poetic words of Bobby Robson to fit our school. Check out our work… It really has brought a sense of pride.