An INSET Day at Goodleigh C of E Primary School, Goodleigh, Barnstaple, the first of our two days working alongside the staff, and children, from across the school and neighbouring schools: Pathfield School, Shirwell Community Primary, Georgeham C of E Primary, Holywell C of England Primary, Ashleigh C of E Primary, St Helens C of E Primary Abbotstown, Pilton Infants, Bratton Fleming Community Prinary, West Down School, Ilfracombe Infants and Orchard Vale Community Primary.
Today, we got all digital, with the staff, with stunning views all around us.
We discussed how to integrate literature, texts and other media into the whole visual literacy field as a whole, and in to the use of games as a stimulus in particular. Links with the Hobbit and his home and how this relates to some of the doors we encounter in the Myst games, is one unit of work many people have been developing and sharing. Links with other texts are also possible, as is analysis of the texts within the games. Myst III has a few volumes of text that become available to you as you play. These are great to pick apart, emulate and mimic.
Myst IV also includes the opportunity of writing a journal on screen alongside “Snap shots” that you have taken during your travels.
Today, we discussed how useful a wireless or Bluetooth keyboard can be during lessons. Pass a keyboard round and encourage students to add to a text that you are generating, “LIVE” into the on screen journal. Develop, change, improve and adapt the text and then the finished result is available at any time to read again.
Thanks to Kate Grant, for sharing these thoughts:
Goodleigh C of E Primary is a small school in Barnstaple, North Devon, at the heart of the village of Goodleigh. We are a popular school and attract pupils from the village, but also a significant number of families travel from further afield. We love finding new ways to engage the children, and technology is moving so fast we want to move with it. Children come to school being able to use computers and handheld devices and we feel it is important that our teachers are able to use technology in order to equip our children with the skills needed to make choices in their learning.
My view of technology changed when I heard Tim talking about using technology to communicate. I had just set up a class blog, inspired by David @deputymitchell Mitchell, in order to complement our creative, topic based curriculum. I have used some of Tim’s ideas with my own class, and this has added a further dimension to engagement across the curriculum, giving me confidence to use technology to underpin learning as, and when, appropriate.
A while back, it was surprising, and slightly spooky, to receive an email from Tim, …sent a year before.
It read simply “Hi there Tim. It works“!
Back To The Future may be a favourite films but, what the hoverboard, is this now?!
Visit FutureMe and work out the rest and how you could use it to remind yourself of events ahead, or in a creative way in lessons. We’ve road tested it (Took a year folks!) and have set up 2 more already. Wonder if we will still have the same email address in 2019? A message of encouragement from a past self might be just what is needed.
Following yesterday’s day with the children, today an INSET Day at Coleshill C of E Primary.
Thank you again to Andy Kershaw, head teacher, for sharing these thoughts:
The main reason for inviting Tim to Coleshill C of E Primary School was the fact that my daughter and daughter-in-law, who are both teachers, had attended one of Tim’s courses. They had spoken about how inspirational and motivational the courses had been. They enthused about staff being empowered by the course to have a different perspective on the practical and the creative use of IT and media in education.
Coleshill C of E Primary School is continually striving to actively engage our pupils in an exciting and dynamic way which is relevant to the 21st Century. We believe that Tim will be able to inspire our staff in a fun and meaningful way.
Appshed allows teachers, or learners, to create free, online, apps, that can be accessed by mobile devices or online browsers
It is very straight forward to use and has the potential to allow learners to become ‘creators of technology, not just consumers’.
The free student account offers: 1 user, 50MB storage, Unlimited App Downloads, Public/private apps, and is Ad-free.
Worth investigating before deciding whether to dig deeper maybe?
PawsExplore is a website which provides up to date e-safety information. Although there aren’t a wealth of resources, as ICT co-ordinator I have found the visual ideas a great starting point to generate our own school ideas for e-safety.
For example, we will be creating a competition for our children to create their own monitor displays for the dos and the don’ts of e-safety.
The only issue that some schools have faced is that the site may be blocked
because of the word created by the end of paws and the beginning of explore.
Very useful in terms of creating a foundation for e-safety (and also helping towards our e-safety award evidence!)
Tiffany Thorpe, Coleshill Primary
Our first of two days at Coleshill C of E Primary, Coleshill. Today, we took off on two explorations of digital worlds, one with upper Key Stage 2 children, and a brave excursion with Year 2 travellers ~ Superb analog responses to remarkable digital stimuli.
After a good deal of discussion, the children wrote spontaneously, producing work of a high quality full of vivid imagery. They were also encouraged to refine their spoken language & clarify their ideas. Despite the length of the session, they remained on task and enthusiastic throughout.
Thank you to Andy Kershaw, head teacher, and motivator, for sharing his reflections:
The interaction between the “presenter” and the “audience” is crucial. Tim was able to engage all of the children, and adults. within seconds of meeting, by creating an intriguing, and exciting, atmosphere.
The richness of the stimulus used (a virtual landscape), was full of visual delights, and sounds, which immersed the children and stimulated them to use their imagination.
Through his charismatic personality, Tim enabled all pupils to feel individually engaged with his ideas. The children, who were sat in groups, were so encouraged, they spoke, listened, and participated fully. They enjoyed his almost electric presence in the room. They were able, and keen, to usethe skills, which Tim had spoken about, to enhance their descriptive sentences and extend their understanding, and use, of this remarkable literacy.
Thank you, too, to Felicity Blundell, Year Six teacher, for her thoughts:
The experience of being able to interact with the program, from the point of view of “being one of the children”has been invaluable. It has enabled me to be part of their discussion, see their enthusiasm and share the high quality of writing based upon it. I can really see the potential of this, in my class room.
We have mentioned a couple of great ways of watching YouTube, and other, film sites, free from distractions.
Here’s another: the Google Chrome gem “Turn Off The Lights”, means that with one click on the lamp button, the entire page will fade to dark, (with many adjustable options) so you can watch the video as if you were in the cinema. Click again, the page will return back as normal.
A second day at Ysgol Heol-y-Celyn and a pair of lessons with children from across the age range.
One of the elements we looked at, were ways of communicating, as a class, often without hands up.
Putting your hand up can often act like putting a cork in a bottle. Nothing comes out and nothing else goes in.
How many times have we asked a child, who has their hand up, for their idea, only to find them shaking their head, grin sheepishly, and admit that they have forgotten what they were going to say?
Children can “switch off” with their hands pointing at the ceiling.
By modeling ways of organising, contributing to, and taking part in a group discussion, children begin to listen more attentively too, so that they can find the right point to add their thought. This means that the ideas of those around them start to matter and form part of their contribution.
Investigating different methods of handling a group “hands-free” discussion, the children today were soon listening to the offerings of their classmates more attentively, and, when they found the right time to contribute, their interjections were more expressive, and responsive to what had gone before.
We discussed the different visual and auditory clues we can give each other that we are about to speak or that it is O.K. for the other person to continue. What an incredible positive impact this has on the flow of a lesson.
Thank you to all of the staff and children involved in today. Don’t listen when people say “Put a cork in it!” There ain’t no stopping your flow now!
Our first of two days at Ysgol Heol-y-Celyn and an INSET to boost writing across the school.
Ysgol Heol-y-Celyn is a bilingual school, with Welsh spoken in many areas. Great, to spend time with teachers, and TAs, who understand how it is the learning that flows behind the technology which is most important.
Alun Rees, Head teacher, shared these thoughts:
“I have always been a firm believer that a child needs to enjoy learning and that you can learn through enjoyment. IT and video games are a normal part of everyones life at the moment and children enjoy playing on them.We can use this technology to improve and raise standards in schools also by using todays technology to enhance provision and to stimulate the pupils creatively. This is why I have asked Tim to come to Heol-y-Celyn to do an INSET on the use of IT in writing”.
A recurring theme of today was the balance that is needed between planning what you want to achieve in lessons, and flying with ideas. Children can lead in many of the game based sessions, but you do need to have a clear idea of objectives and intended outcomes. However, it is important to take the brakes off and fly a bit as well.
It is really crucial to explore game environments in a structured, but not overly planned, way initially. e.g. to have an idea about what kind of things you can cover but not predetermine a route or how long you are going to spend in each location.
It is important to become familiar with the games yourself at first. Then, when you begin explorations with a class, to be prepared to cover less physical ground than you might expect.
You may only “move” one “pace” but the children will be able to see how a new paragraph can begin with just a turn of the head, or reaching out to move a lever. Standing outside a door is a classic example of how tension and expectation can be built within a writer’s, and reader’s mind.