Learning Journey Celebration Conference – Sheffield

| June 17, 2010 | 4 Comments 

Today we are at St Mary’s Church and Conference Centre, Sheffield, for the closing event of a project in Sheffield, looking at the impact of using web 2.0 tools with primary children.

Ten schools involved and this was a  ‘celebration conference’ to share findings and kickstart further projects.

Our role was to inspire even further use of web 2.0 as a speaker but, even more importantly, work with the colleagues here to reflect on the outcomes of their projects.

A case study of the project is in hand too. Some of the tools used included Primary Pad, Wallwisher and Twitter.

Folks today recorded their thoughts in many different ways throughout the event. A Wallwisher, a PrimaryPad, and Tweeting through the hashtag #slj2010

Concord Junior, Southey Green Community Primary (with Owler Brook), Valley Park Primary, Firs Hill Community Primary , Abbey Lane Primary, Stradbroke Primary, Totley Primary, St. Thomas of Canterbury Catholic Primary, St. Wilfrid’s Catholic Primary, Springfield Primary Schools .

Now THIS was what it’s all about. Real, practical, inventive, balanced, effective teaching and learning, presented by real practitioners who are “up for a challenge” and open to new ideas that can have a positive impact in their classrooms. We were also joined by two Year Six pupils, who added a valuable perspective to the event, and kept us all firmly focused on the true purpose of creative teaching: to inspire, motivate and engage all of charges in a way that enables powerful progression.

A true delight to watch colleagues, from across Sheffield, present their experiences of the project, in a style that made all of us feel we too could try out their approaches. It felt like a Teachmeet, in many ways: informal, pacey, interactive, recorded and commented upon with many layers of technology, packed with ideas and… a good laugh! Thank you all.

Gail Hudson from Springfield Primary School talked about her project Skyping a Viking! :-) She said that one of the main stumbling block was that Skype was blocked by the authority filters! She set about sorting that out. She also talked of her use of Google docs, so that they could add to their work at home as well. That idea extended in to the concept of the children making their own websites, using Google Sites. This had a particularly big impact on the boys in the class, who even chose to use it in their “choosing time”!

You can see some of the results in these images below:

Nicola Sewell from Southey Green Community Primary presented the writing project her Y5 pupils had been engaged in using ‘Story Bird’. One of the things that hit many people at the conference was the improvements in motivation. Nicola was open about the fact that the project had less of an impact on her Gifted and Talented children, but it did inspire others in her class to not only write more, but write ”better” when they respnded to comments posted on their Storybirds.

Next up were two Year 6 pupils from Valley Park Primary, and their teacher Mark Allison presenting their project using Toondoo.

They explained how ToonDoo is comic-creating tool site, easy to use and fun. It is devoted to creating a unique array of free and customisable online games of educational value for children of all abilities. The girls gave a live demonstration on how to use the site and then presented their thoughts and ideas on how they used it and what could be done to improve it further.

Nicola Sherwood and GavinChadwick from Concord Junior School. shared their expanding project using StudyWiz.

Their focus was boys writing but interestingly they found that project impacted in areas they had not necessarily focused on, with one pupil expressing her development in maths being an outcome.

Cat Taylor, from Firshill Community Primary School, talked about the way her class of 30 children had used Voicethread in a project on Dreatime stories.

The approach Cat took with her class and their use of Voicethread, was to use this tool as a means to collect, share, comment on and rehearse their ideas in preparation for their story writing, as opposed to using it as an end result to present their work – brilliant!

@primarypete_ s use of Voicethread, talked about at Teachmeet Blackpool, also received a great response. Nice one Pete.

myschoolnetwork.org was mentioned as a pool of resources.

A few comments in the initial feedback include:

“The children have thoroughly enjoyed creating their own Toondoos. They have been excited by the whole process, from viewing our initial model Toondoo, to creating their own Traitors on the website, adding backgrounds and dialogue, putting the pages together and then viewing and commenting on one another’s cartoons. It has certainly had real motivational benefits. They have also enjoyed the fact that they have then been able to show their Toondoos to somebody at home and to continue working on them there”

“The project has allowed me to reflect on my ability to plan and deliver a project that runs alongside other teaching and learning schemes. It has shown me the importance of good organisation and communication skills. The project has allowed me to focus in on the specific need of individual children in my class and year group especially those who are gifted and talented. It has also allowed me to integrate ICT into the classroom more and into everyday teaching”.

ICT can be very engaging and motivating.  Children are eager to access their storybird account and add extra pages.  They are wanting to show their learning at school and at home.  Children are enjoying writing.

One of the things that has become apparent in the use of web based technologies in teaching and learning is that as soon as you remove children from a text book and onto a computer for them it ceases to be learning and something that is exciting. When I originally set some homework to complete a personal project on the Vikings only the most able rushed to take home topic books and get on with it. As soon as I introduced the option of making a web site, everyone wanted to do it. One child who doesn’t have access to a computer at home has asked to come to homework club so he can finish it.

The impact on children’s learning was clear as they were motivated from the start. They worked well collaboratively to plan and discuss ideas, select vocabulary and ensure that each part of the story flowed. They were motivated to edit their story as they knew it was going to be recorded and heard by other people.

Thank you all for a superb day, full of practical and inspiring ideas.

When recording their podcasts, the children worked with enthusiasm to rehearse and then perform their stories, paying attention to intonation and clarity.

I have been impressed with the way in which the children have responded to using the Web 2.0 application. Using ICT to create comics ensures that children of all abilities are able to produce meaningful texts. It is this particular aspect of ICT that I feel is of greatest benefit to teaching. Children of widely varying abilities are able to engage, produce and share literacy stories using ICT. In contrast, using a pen and blank page approach will create problems for children who find writing a challenge.

The children no longer see writing as a chore but rather as a way to interact with their friends, peers and the wider community.

This post will never be able to reflect the buzz that happened today. But we will try at another time.

Thank you to Emma Asprey and Jim Gardner, of Edicts.

Category: 1) Events and Training days

Comments (4)

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  1. Cat Taylor says:

    A really exciting day – thanks for posting a bit of a synopsis of e others projects as I missed them today – hopefully I’ll get to see them another time. Some wonderful ideas from you, I wish some others from my school could have come today as I don’t think I’ll do it all justice reporting back! Off to try making an exciting PowerPoint now…

  2. Victoria says:

    Had an exciting day. Really good to see what has been happening in schools across the city. Thank you

  3. Emma says:

    Thanks so much for your inspirational and practical contribution today. It really added an extra dimension to a day already full of high quality presentations and reflections from the schools. Well done to everyone!

  4. Gail Hudson says:

    It really was a good day, wish I could have been there longer. The 2 Y6 girls were amazing and so confident!

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