Independent Jewish Day School, Hendon, London ~ Day 2

| January 17, 2012 | 0 Comments 

Following yesterday’s training at the IJDS in Hendon, today was spent with the teachers and their children, concentrating on the ways virtual landscapes can be used to stimulate discussion, reasoning, thinking, social etiquette, the sharing of ideas, writing and so much more.

The day started with 60 Year 1 and Year 2 pupils and their teachers, followed by a similar number of Year 3 and Year 4’s, then an afternoon with all the Year 5 and Year 6’s – a delightful way to spend a day.

Special thanks again to Holli Shirley, the Year 6 teacher, whose passion and organisation skills ensured today’s proceedings ran like clockwork. Holli has kindly recorded for us her reflections, observation and thoughts about the Myst experience in her school and teaching:

Whilst in my second year of teaching, I was searching for something inspiring, something to engage my class and motivate them to write. It was then that my head teacher suggested using a computer game called MYST III:Exile. She had seen a demonstration of it at a local authority training day, and that demonstration was enough to excite her to try it in class a few years ago. I decided to take the plunge; her enthusiasm for this innovative project had me hooked and desperate to find out more…

Using this computer game totally changed my entire approach to teaching.

It unleashed a more forward thinking and creative side of me, a side that perhaps had always been there but had never had the opportunity to surface and present itself. I was able to enjoy the adventure with my children in one of the most peaceful learning environments I have ever had the pleasure of teaching in. The scenery, the music and the way mood and atmosphere is created is something to be experienced in itself.

The way this game touched my children was unbelievable. Even the most reluctant writers were bubbling over with ideas and thoughts, desperate to share them with their peers. The confidence it installed in the quieter children was wonderful. They began to take risks, something they had never opted to do before. For my more able writers; it extended their skills and took them to another level entirely. But for all groups of children involved, they had one thing in common: they literally began to breathe, smell, see, touch and taste the incredible worlds that we had immersed ourselves in, and were producing the most outstanding written work I had ever seen.

We had the pleasure of having Tim and Sarah for two training days at the beginning of January. Although I am not proud to say this, I had always associated the MYST games with Tim, as when using the game for the first time a few years back I knew very little about Tim and what he did. After receiving the training I can say that MYST is only a small part of what Tim and Sarah do, and the rest of what they do is a treat: totally inspirational!

I left this course feeling the exact same way I did all those years ago when I first experimented with the virtual worlds in MYST: totally and utterly inspired, but from a different perspective this time! My head is buzzing, full to the brim with new ideas and activities to support and motivate children with literacy. Not only that, but I feel equipped to develop my use of resources in class to make sure that children are always motivated, inspired and ready to explore, not just in the confines of the worlds created in the game.

I especially loved hearing about and seeing demonstrations of all the ICT resources available for teachers to use. I cannot wait to explore and try them out in class!

After receiving this training I was left with this thought: to engage creatively with children and their learning; we, ourselves, have to let our guards down, take risks and join them on the adventure!

Category: 1) Events and Training days

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