Thank you to Andrew Macey, headteacher, and Claire Beyzade, ICT Co-ordinator, for inviting us to their school, to work with such an enthusiastic group of teachers and teaching assistants.
Tomorrow, we are fortunate enough to spend time in their classes with their pupils.
We had the pleasure today to also be joined at the school by Neil Adam, an independent ICT educational consultant, introduced to us through the wonderful world of Twitter. Neil brought the tweeted to the Twitter communityabout his visit to the school using his phone!
(If none of this makes sense, look in to Twitter today and extend your Professional Learning Network. )
Neil kindly recorded his thoughts on the day:
“What do a stick, a mug and standing room only on the Hogwarts Express have in common? Anticipation, curiosity and uncertainty expressed in laughter, giggles and gasps as 60 teachers and classroom assistants from Beaver Green Primary School see how Myst – a commercial game – can be used to inspire speaking and writing, even among the least confident or motivated. But the point is not the game, but the inspiration, interaction and communication.
“Who’s frustrated?” Two hands. “That’s not enough yet,” Tim says, as people wait to start their exploration. He wants to see people engaged with the narrative to the extent that the software seemingly becomes a barrier to progress. Once the group has had time to get to grips with the basic in-game navigation, the hands of almost everyone are raised when Tim repeats the question, as people want to move and explore, having been drawn into the problem-solving nature of the game. “Stop, look around, what do you see?” The lavish, intricate detail of each scene has great scope for descriptive writing, for observation and imagination.
The underlying message, though, is about removing barriers and drawing people into worlds they never knew they could enter. When I say “people”, that is not just the children in the videos on screen, but the adults in the audience. Hence Tim’s stick, fondly named “Mr Walker”, which has holes drilled in the handle. What are they for? Who made them? Simple questions, but posed to elicit comment, to get talk flowing. No game, no technology, just a carved wooden stick.
Tim’s pictures show us children from one of his classes sitting on a rollercoaster. Well, not so much a roller coaster, but a dozen chairs with children acting out their movements as though they were. What are they feeling? Imaging? Seeing?
What are people doing when they are holding an empty mug, talking to you? Keeping their hands warm? Hiding slight embarrassment as they wait for you to respond? Again, all opportunities to talk, to reflect. Tim uses Powerpoint, but you may not realise it, as it creates a scaffold for a presentation that integrates demonstration, drama and discussion. Techniques are modelled, not just described, so Tim gets us reflecting, writing and acting.
Many other contexts could be used to provide the stimulus, but Tim shows how Myst can be used to help pupils produce metaphors, develop vocabulary (through the “translator”), develop instructions and write scripts for their own mini-documentaries.
You want to know about the Hogwarts Express? Come to one of Tim’s sessions”!
Category: 1) Events and Training days