Archive for October 21st, 2015

MathTrain

| October 21, 2015 | 0 Comments 

Mathtrain.TV is a free educational “kids teaching kids” project from middle school mathematics teacher Eric Marcos & his students at Lincoln Middle School in Santa Monica, CA, U.S.A.

A great inspiration to other students to create their own explanatory videos too.

It is part of the Mathtrain.com Project and was created to host their student-created maths video lessons. It is Web 2.0 friendly with its ability for users to generate “ratings” and “comments”. The middle school students use a tablet pc and screen-capturing software, Camtasia Studio, to create the tutorials (screencasts or mathcasts) which are used for classroom instruction and posted onto sites such as Mathtrain.TV, Mathtrain.com, iTunes, YouTube, and TeacherTube

Students work hard at creating the content and construct the best explanations they can in an unscripted format. Some include captions.

Eric and his students invite other students and teachers, parents and educators to help contribute to this global collaborative effort. They are especially interested in student-created “mathcasts”, hence the “kids teaching kids” motto.

I have already learned LOADS,and that’s amazing: I took two mathematics exams, and failed all THREE of them! 😀

Springline Partnership of Schools, Oxfordshire ~ Day 2

| October 21, 2015 | 1 Comment 

Stockham Primary

Following an INSET Day in September 2015, today a day of lessons and further training for Springline Partnership of Schools at Stockham Primary School, Wantage.The 8 schools include Stockham School, Stanford in the Vale, St Amands Catholic School, The Hendreds Primary, Fitzwaryn Special School, Grove Church of England School, Uffington Primary and The Ridgeway CE School.

Thanks again to Ruth Burbank, head teacher at Stockham for coordinating our visit.

Characters in the villageWe travelled, with classes of Year 5 and 6, and their “big people”, through a land that went beyond the virtual and became so real we could see it, hear it, but also smell it, touch it, feel it, and build some powerful language within it. The mysterious, yet peaceful, village we found ourselves standing in, inspired some lovely extended writing, speaking and listening, role play, and inventiveness.

In fact, we didn’t actually move very far, just turned and took two steps. That is the aim really: Not to move too much. Rather, to take time in a place. It is also a great reflection on the children and staff today. They didn’t NEED to move. They were more than able to use words, humour, imagination, and character to make us feel we had gone many miles.

The afternoon, and we had the pleasure of spending time with the Year 2 pupils and their teachers. What stylish word play followed. We looked at how to stretch an idea beyond the initial temptation to “stick” at he first word. To “twist” our thoughts, and “come up trumps“. When exploring this land, and later, with the teachers, we also considered how “time” is something we need to think about. Taking time, allowing each other time, not filling all of time, stretching time, enjoying different speeds of time.And, what an enjoyable time we had!


This combination: of a training day, paired up with a day of lessons, gives us a lot of opportunity to explore the power of the digital/analogue mix. We have always said that we don’t advocate using virtual worlds as an alternative to getting out and about in the analogue landscapes around us. (Although, it is a lot safer and a lot less insurance than a school trip!!) There is no better experience than taking a group of children out into the world. It is powerful, though, to see that the experiences children have within the classroom settings, and the structured way these activities develop speaking and listening skills, have a big effect on the way their classes take part in trips and camps. Groups of children sharing ideas and solving problems collaboratively and creatively, using some of the skills they have acquired in their “virtual travels”.

This group know about a the strong need for REAL experiences, enhanced by digital tools. The use of the landscapes and the modelling of questioning techniques enable the pupils’ imaginations to take flight. It was delightful to see children today write with abandon. But, you still can’t beat the real. We were impressed by the enthusiastic responses from the Stockham crew. They threw themselves into the challenges and came up with some inventive, imaginative ideas. All with a lot of laughter. Thanks folks!