Durham feedback workshops

| November 20, 2010 | 3 Comments 

It was very moving to watch some stunning presentations by teachers from schools who had been involved in our training earlier in the year, showcasing some of the results after our visits.

Joni White and Rachel Andrews, from Framwellgate, talked about the power of using Wallwisher. They have found that children, who would not normally contribute to lessons in a verbal sense, became really willing to add comments and were really “motivated by the new visual medium”. They also became engaged as they were all participating at once.

There was some true ownership of learning because the children planned what they would like to be covered in a topic, using Wallwisher, and therefore became really motivated.

Other positive aspects that they discovered were: the speed of creating and adding to a wall, meant they were keen to use it; easy storage and retrieval of walls; simple, manageable, instant and FREE.

One or two technical problems they discovered were easily overcome.

Next steps: adding images and web links, completing a wall at a mid point in a topic, school council suggestion page; scientific investigations: present findings of research; end of year/term reviews.

Anne Worthy and Francesca Curry, from Pittington gave a really fun, and  physical, Wii workshop, getting unsuspecting colleagues to take part in a couple of sporting activities. We played team mates for team Curry and Team Worthy.

They have used a game based approach to learning, using Wiis and DSs, and have discovered that, even though children have these technologies at home, they are still keen to use them in a school context, partly because, as one child said:

“We can play with our friends, and learn at the same time!”

Another fascinating aspect: children can be the teachers, and teachers become the learners.

Anne and Francesca shared that at the end of an INSET at school, the whole of their staff were discovered playing the wii games, as one,

“just for educational reasons… honest!”

Dorothy, Martin, Lesley and Martin from Langley Park and Thomas Moore, did a presentation on their work using the Myst games in the classroom.

They introduced Myst, in a cross-curricula manner, across the school. Apparently, it had a powerful, and positive, impact on the output, and quality, of the children’s writing.

For example, it fired some of their reluctant writers. Martin took the role of “J” one of these, at one time, less than willing pupils: J’s first experiences of Myst were when she was in an assembly with their head, Mrs Brennan, wandering through the world of Myst III. J volunteered to play the role of Catherine in the game, and did some remarkable speaking and listening.

Importantly, the class and children took their time. They chose which items they would take on a journey. J chose a teddy. The rest of her group spent time talking about shelter, fire, and survival resources.

J even played at being a character in the playtime, and on returning to the classroom,  keenly used a roamer to navigate through a mock up of a Myst world. She loved it when the teachers used coffee stained (and smelling!) maps, to get the children to navigate around an orienteering course, and the PE equipment in the hall.

J was keen to come in to school, which is unsual for her. We watched her reading out a gorgeous piece of writing, beautifully aided by a classmate. (I was moved to tears!)

It also impacted on the more able children in the class, who analysed the effect that exploring one of these worlds had on their writing.

When evaluating the project, the outcomes of a “before and after” study, were remarkable.

Lesley and Martin talked about P – a reluctant writer and learner, and how Myst had inspired and improved, not just this “loveable rogue’s writing”, but also changed his “can’t be bothered” approach to school.

P’s response to the experience was almost immediate and incredibly positive.

Martin said it made his own teaching style change on to a more exploratory, “shared with the children approach”, on a journey together: finding letters, solving problems when encountering machines, instructions, and so much more.

Some other results were that children became enthused and engaged; it provided writing opportunities across different writing genres; a much higher rate of productivity; attainment improved (P went up 2 sub levels in progress, for example).

Gemma and Colin, from Roses Street, talked about how they had used flip cams, and 30 notebooks, to inspire greater participation, and enthusiasm, raise levels of inclusion, and develop ICT skills, in conjunction with other curriculum areas.

Filming “Now wash your hands!” gave some SEN children the chance to record their ideas, +transfer this into some superwriting. Movie stars to writers.

Gemma, a year 4/5 teacher talked about their project “CSI Spennymoor” an inclusive project from Gand T children to SEN students. They took part in an investigation, bringing in elements such as data handling, building up an image of a suspect could look like, and even describing this character in French!

A cross curricular approach in a whole class sense.

A smaller group of children edited the end result film, using windows Movie Maker. Everything from an engaging detective story, breaking news reports, (including an “on the scene reporter” talking in great detail about some of the more gory details of the crime!) “over to you in the studio”, a reporter filed his evidence in fluent French, asking for children to look out for a suspect, who was shown to us in an animated (stop motion) photofit.

Sandra Brittan and Emma Jones talked about ther use of Crazy Talk, after our visit, linking it to a World War II project. The children animated charcters who outlined what they wanted to acheive during the project, what technical difficulties they encountered, and how they might improve Crazy Talk itself.

Finchale used Crazy talk to extend writing in many ways such as a gorgeous piece of empathetic (and comic) film bought an Anderson shelter to life talking about his responsibilty to hide the public in his stomach!

Other learning that occurred as a result of the project included problem solving when using the program itself, and most importantly “It felt like we were just fiddling with it, but in fact, we were learning!”

It was dicussed that the project had been powerful in moving teachers from good to outstanding, by keeping pace in a lesson.

There were some interesting ideas: One child, Ethan, came up with an idea: do away with supply teachers by using Crazy Talk to keep teacher in class even when she’s not there!

They even used Crazy Talk when forming links with partner schools, and  sharing their sucesses: a great link was made with Roses Street, by animating a skeleton in their CSI project!

The only technical problem they encountered: massive file sizes, which was resolved by dropping the films into Windows Movie Maker and exporting it. It becomes smaller.

It really was a quite emotional time, to hear such superb teaching and learning, happening in these, and other, Durham schools.

A -ma-zing!

Category: 1) Events and Training days, 4) Well Done!

Comments (3)

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  1. Gemma Green says:

    A big thank you Tim for inspiring our school to use video editing – Windows Movie Maker…it has moved us forward and changed our thinking of ICT. Really enjoyed being part of the project.
    Rosa Street Primary school, Spennymoor

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