GLOW(ing) in Aberdeenshire

| April 19, 2007 | 5 Comments 

This week reminds me of the Crowded House song “Four Seasons in One Day” In the early part of the week it was mid summer. Glorious sunny days with bluebells and blossom. (This picture is of my daughter, Ellie, walking in the wood behind our house, on Monday)
I enjoyed a good flight up to Aberdeen on Wednesday where snow was forecast.

The welcome I received on my arrival was really warm though. Some might say GLOW-ing

Anna Rossvoll, of Aberdeenshire council, has organised a large scale project based around the Myst idea. It involves teachers from many schools in the Aberdeenshire region. “The Myst Project”

I was invited up to launch the project by starting with a presentation on the concepts and some of the other visual literacy elements I have been lucky enough to develop around the country.

I then spent the rest of the day working with the group involved in the project.

I also went “next door” and had a great time doing a demo lesson with a P5/6 class of children. They were just not phased by having SO many people observing and came up with some excellent, creative thought and writing.

The group of teachers involved in the project are also trialling Glow, the new name for Scottish schools’ digital network. They are using Glow to communicate with each other and explore the opportunities available from their Myst-ical adventures. I am looking forward to the web conference sessions we have planned, where they will be able to ask questions of the bald bloke. I will be able to learn from their experiences too I am sure.

Our aims during this Myst project are:

• to motivate and engage learners to write creatively
• to measure the impact of using games in the classroom for learning
• to encourage and promote creative thinking
• to use technology to enable successful learning
• to make learning fun, active and challenging
• to stimulate exploration of complimentary ideas/technologies
• to embed and extend Assessment is For Learning
• To enable teachers to work with one another to share standards of performance through local moderation
• To use the ‘Myst’ Glow Group to communicate and collaborate.
During our sessions today we also focussed on the four key elements of the Curriculum for Excellence

  • successful learners
  • confident individuals
  • responsible citizens
  • effective contributors.

These areas are so fully supported by the work I have been fortunate enough to develop around the country; using computer games and other visual stimuli as a springboard for discussion, language development, speaking and listening, problem solving, collaboration, sharing of results, perceptiveness, reflection, group dynamics, imagination, inventiveness, …a bit of magic… and so much more.

I am paying a return trip North of the border on the 22nd of May, when I have been asked to present the opening keynote speech at eLive! ’07 in Edinburgh. I am hoping that I will have further opportunity to work in Scotland over the next year, as I enjoy the possibilities offered by their increasing focus on creativity and child centred learning.

Thank you to Morag, Jonathan, Julie, Aileen, Sarah, Susan, Alison, Anna R, Aloyise, Barbara, Elaine, Marek, Emma, Anna F, Allicia, Alison, Susan, Elsie, Barbara, Leah, Ruth, Lynne, Dawn, Liza and the children in Lynne’s class for your FUN and thought provoking company.

Well done to Anna, and the rest of the team, for organising the day.

Whatever the weather, it left me with a warm glow.

Category: 1) Events and Training days

Comments (5)

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  1. Tim
    A brilliant day – many thanks. One of the aims of the project and the Curriculum for Excellence is to make learning fun. You can tell from the teachers’ faces in the photos that they were having fun – and we were learning too! I love the bubbly effect on the pictures!

  2. Elaine says:

    Where do I start? Certainly not your average training day! This is the first time I’ve ever added to a blog and I’m by no means an expert on using ICT in the classroom, but I came away with so many ideas I’m raring to give it all a go with my class. I really enjoyed the experience of sitting back and enjoying watching the pupils being wowed by Tim – it’s so rare that you get the time and opportunity to experience this without feeling like you have a million other things to do that day!! I must admit that I’ve had to resist the temptation to take the game home this weekend because I know that once I get started my kids might not get fed or looked after! Anyway, just wanted to share what a brilliant day I had.

  3. Allicia says:

    Hi Tim

    I just want to ditto the other 2 comments. Never experienced a day like it. Gobsmaked am I. Wish my computer would show the pics. It doesn’t like Monday mornings so I can’t see us all having fun 🙁

  4. Anna Rossvoll says:

    Tim you touched an Aberdeenshire classroom with some inspirational magic! I wanted to share the feedback from our day. What an impact you have made on our Myst project group. Thank you so much. Anna
    • Excellent, enthusiastic presentation with lots of great ideas and techniques.
    • Great presentation! Very motivating.
    • Excellent presentation. Personal. Witty. Enthusiasm rubbed off!
    • Wonderfully enjoyable. Tim is amazing to watch and listen to.
    • Excellent, enthusiastic and very invigorating.
    • Brilliant! So full of enthusiasm. Work with class was good. We rarely get the chance to see an ‘expert’ at work.
    • Very interesting and fun presentation.
    • Excellent presentation – inspiring, packed with ideas and delivered with humour.
    • Very inspiring presentation both before and during class lesson.
    • Very interesting and informative. Really enjoyed it.
    • Absolutely fantastic. Full of energy and exhausting to watch!
    • I would, and have used the same approach to deliver writing. Tim’s presentation was superb.
    • Vibrant and valuable.
    • Brilliant! Extremely motivating.
    • Great to ‘see’ ideas in ‘action’ for real! Presented with enthusiasm.
    • Excellent, well thought out. Great to have the opportunity to see something in action.
    • Inspiring and motivating presentation generating lots of ideas.
    • In lesson with the class: Tim’s introduction to the lesson created a good atmosphere for the children – giving them a safe atmosphere for making suggestions and in a fun way. Children were very enthusiastic. Although many used Tim’s ideas lots of other good ideas were generated by the children themselves.
    • Couldn’t be better! I wish I had the confidence and personality to do as interesting presentations!

    • Absolutely brilliant! Though I heard some of it before, it has inspired me to do more.
    • Slowing down the pace gave greater chance for creative ideas. Good sense of suspense created – children were keen to contribute. Good fun element – children were enjoying written tasks!
    • Great ideas to bring to writing lessons, and not just using Myst. Seeing Tim deliver the lesson brought it all to life, and the opportunity to see children’s responses was valuable.
    • Absolutely inspirational! So many ideas to take forward, letting the children lead the way with their discussion, and subsequently, writing.
    • Lots of ideas given with enough info to inspire and generate own ideas. Really enjoyed being involved in the lesson.
    • So much to think about! After the first section I felt a bit swamped but Tim was right when he said that everything would begin to make more sense when he saw the kids in action and began to use the game. It was great!
    • Excellent, inspiring, great.
    • Nothing better than teaching children with a touch of humour and using this and other techniques to focus their attention. I see many possibilities for language work and am looking forward to seeing the children’s reactions.
    • Good ideas for taking language beyond the descriptions of scenes and what lies behind a door/beyond a hill.
    • Great to be able to see a class working with Tim. Gave a starting point to develop own style and approach.
    • All very new and innovative ideas. Very much looking forward to trying this with my class.
    • It is not often as a teacher that a presenter is right on the level of the classroom teacher. Tim’s content was superb and I can’t wait to get back to my class to have a go!
    • Particularly enjoyed seeing the work in action in the classroom. Really brought it to life and inspired me to give it a go.
    • Full of good ideas, easily explained. Good to see class in action and get the chance to look through game. Good to chat to people who have tried the programme.
    • Tim answered any questions carefully and willingly, very thorough. He showed that it is a slow process. Tim gave ideas for all aspects of language and other curricular areas.
    • Possibly too much to cover in one day.
    • Excellent. A lot of information in short time! Very informative. Good ideas for use in classroom. Very enjoyable course.
    • Very interesting to see how Tim tackled Myst with pupils. I learnt a lot and will certainly copy some of his ideas.
    • Variety of activities demonstrated in an easy to take in manner. Could see the potential for adapting ideas. Excellent to see a class in action.

    Next Steps
    • Different techniques to try. Open up new possibilities.
    • Introduce Myst to class; Use writing/hot seating; Many short/quality pieces – illustrated possibly; Use programme for maths – angles, symmetry; Art – lots of possibilities – (TIME will be a problem!)
    • Will certainly use in practice.
    • I think it is just a case of going for it in class!
    • Creative writing especially with boys.
    • Will try as soon as possible. Have lots of unwilling writers and some with no imagination. Hopefully this will promote discussion and generate good ideas.
    • Wouldn’t really have known where to start if I was just handed the game. Definitely going to use this with my class as our next creative writing focus.
    • My entire outlook has been changed as so often children’s creativity is hampered by our well meaning planning and over planning of writing lessons. Seeing the effect of Myst on the faces of the children we worked with has made me re-evaluate my teaching of writing. The quality of work I witnessed especially from the boys in the class amazed me but most of all was the complete level of engagement they had with the whole experience.
    • I now look forward to piloting this and introducing Myst to P7. I think they will find this writing lesson highly motivating.
    • Will be using it in the class. Could be very beneficial to lower ability writer’s giving them the chance to talk through ideas etc before recording. A real stimulus for children who are reluctant to write and will give them a boost.
    • How long can the energy and enthusiasm be maintained in the classroom?
    • I’ll obviously try to get the P6 and P7 classes involved. It gives me the opportunity to take a few lessons in each class.
    • Feel that it would be an excellent starting point for all areas of the curriculum. Cool! To inspire reluctant speakers and writers! Feel enthusiastic – ready to get started.
    • I am really keen to get started on this. Story writing is something that I have found hard to teach in the past, especially as far as finding motivating ways to teach. I look forward to using this and think that it will inspire great writing.
    • Looking forward to getting back to class to try out the ideas. Hopefully I can use this to inspire my children as much as I have been inspired myself!
    • Before coming today I had not considered looking at this game with my P1 class but am now seriously thinking I can as they are a very vocal group and although they are only beginning to write I think the talking will be fantastic and we will be able to write collaboratively.
    • Use Myst as the context for writing this term, with the aim of raising attainment in the children’s work. Use Myst for other language, e.g listening and talking. Attending the course has boosted my confidence to have a go.
    • I intend to base my writing this term on Myst. Will use Tim’s ideas – slowing down the pace, stopping at cliff hanger moments, giving sentence openers, asking children to go on the hot-seat – becoming the characters. Will find opportunities for functional writing too!
    • Will try to use Myst for informational writing. Want to explore ‘Deviant Art’ site as well to use some of these images. I like the idea of visual literacy and would like to do more film making with class e.g. digi blue homework!

    Any Other Comments Or Suggestions
    • Should I give/ask for a context for stories or is the setting enough? (Level D/E 5-14 in imaginative writing calls for coherent shape)
    • I’ve expressed my worries over Myst as a problem solving adventure. I hope to develop more problem solving skills using it.
    • Brilliant! Thank you.
    • As writing is probably my least favourite area of the curriculum I am looking forward to using this to inspire both the children and myself. Thanks for a great day.
    • Excellent day!
    • Have tried the same process using 360o panoramas both as a writing stimulus – but also for art. Now have ideas for using it for science too. More please!
    • I need more input for children putting together their own presentations! (Although I do grasp the blu tac method)
    • Excellent day!
    • The whole experience has been superb. Thank you!

  5. If there’s a project blog or an invite to the Glow group in the offing (when it gets created) I would love to take part. We’re doing similar things in East Lothian and other schools, too, and are always up for sharing experiences. 🙂

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