Last Wednesday night I left school and headed to Olympia for Learning Without Frontiers 12 this was the first time that it had been held here and from following the tweets that led up to the event I know that organiser Graham Brown Martin was going for a different experience!
This was true on arrival to be meet with a series of domes – these were part of the Free conference and hosted break out sessions as well as Lego, Rewired state, Nintendo, Toucan, Pearson and History of Computing. It looked very interesting and unlike any conference I had been to before.
I headed to the Pearson Pod as I was taking part in WeTweetED the main points to come out for me were: collaboration will push technology use in school forwards and fear is what often holds us back. That training and research needed to be ongoing, with networks working together having the children at the fore front using their skills.
From here it was on to the LWF Awards and a chance for a nice tweet up as we all headed for a table – for me this has been the fantastic part of twitter – forming friendships face to face as well as the virtual online tweets. It was great to see David Mitchell win the Primary Innovator award for his continued work with blogging, quadblogging and now his latest project of blogging the leap year. You can see a full list of the winners here. I was also there to present a Eulogy with Tony Parkin to remember Tom Cooper who sadly passed away at the end of last year, it was a lovely moment and a pleasure to meet both Jenny and Tom’s mum – just a shame it was under the circumstances.
For the last two days I have had the pleasure of attending the Norfolk ICT conference – a two day event for teachers and leaders within the county with the themes of Aspiration, Inspiration and Collaboration. The day started with Sebastian Gasse outlining what is currently happening in Norfolk schools and presenting the challenges that lie ahead. It was great to hear from the children as well who spoke about how technology has aided their learning including home access with laptops, being free with their learning and finding things out for themselves by designing games and pr for companies as well as the varied wa
y that pupils engage with ICT within the school from radio, flips, animation, laptops to name a few.
The first Keynote of the day was from Ewan Mcintosh – whose theme was if you truly want to engage pupils, relinquish the reins – you can read about this on his blog once again Ewan challenged our thinking and has certainly given me a few wee things to ponder on!
Groups then moved on to workshops which covered a range of topics from e-safety, using social media, ICT in the early years, home access, the power of data to reveal stories and using games in schools. These were both informative and interesting – I attended Ewan’s workshop on using data, this included the amazing work of David MCCandless and his information is beautiful site, David’s talk at LWf was a highlight for me and you can watch his talk here . Ewan encouraged us to think about how data could help us tell stories and encouraged to think about the stories that we could tell using data and solutions that the children could themselves come up with and I will be looking to include some of these ideas in my teaching in the Summer Term.
Johannes Ahrenfelt also prompted me to think more about making the best use of social media within Junior schools, as he talked about the power that these have and how they can be used to bridge the gap between students expectations and the reality of 21st century education – the link from his talk and resources can be found on his blog here
I was presenting he second Keynote of the day in the afternoon looking at using games within the classroom and the power of collaboration. I started off by asking why we use games and explored the notion of play and ‘secret learning’ looking at the fact that games enabled children to be challenged, motivated, to set themselves goals and take risks. I spoke about some of the projects that we have undertaken at school.
I also looked at children as games creators and the importance of them having time to look at game development and design using Scratch, Kodu – @GeekyNicki has shared her scheme of work for using Kodu here and 2DIY I also mentioned the Video Games Ambassador scheme that was launched today by Stemnet and UKIE which looks like an exciting scheme to encourage children to work with the Games Development industry.
I moved on to the power of collaboration through networks and spoke about the work of the Redbridge Games Network what schools within the borough have been using and what we are looking to develop further in the future. Also, highlighting other networks across the country who have been set up to share ideas and work together.
Perhaps the two best tools I use for collaboration and CPD both turn 5 this year - twitter and teachmeet and I highlighted the benefit of these for finding things out and developing myself professionally as a teacher.
I finished with some small research that the Active Learning Network within the borough have been looking at to see impact of games on narrowing the gap, spelling scores and maths assessments. These small research projects are now being replicated within other schools to see if the results are replicable – I looked at spelling using word coach and my project and results can be seen below:
It was great to follow this with a workshop where work that is on going in two schools using the Wii and the DS was presented with time for questions and answers and a discussion on how to get games based learning into classrooms.
It has been a great two days and thanks must go to the Norfolk ICT team for their invitation to keynote as well as their warm welcome and hospitality.
Today in year 6 we were looking at averages – the mean, median, mode and range. While I was planning this lesson last week – I noticed a tweet highlighting a lesson on averages using the Wii from Robert Drummond the blog post set out how he planned on using the Wii and bowling to teach averages – it fitted the bill perfectly so I stole – sorry ‘magpied’ the idea for today!
I followed the lesson set out in the blog – I already have five groups in my maths groups so just spread one of the table onto the other four so that I had the four bowling teams. The children had not idea that we would be using the Wii for maths. Instead we began with the words mean, median, mode and range on the IWB and I asked the four groups to talk on their tables as to what the words meant – about half of the class could remember the definitions which was a good start.
We then came to the conclusion that we would need some data – they had various ideas, shoe sizes, heights etc. When I switched the view on the IWB to the WIi – there was an increase in the excitement level in the class! I explained that each group of 4 would be bowling and that they would need to write down the score – on their score sheets – you can see the one I used below:
After round 1, I paused the game – pressing the home button is a quick way to do this, and gave them a couple of minutes to work out the mean, median and mode. This was then shared with the class and then we proceeded with the game! This continued until we had completed all 10 rounds – working out the averages as we went.
It was a thrilling ending with one team winning the bowling by just one point! However as I had stated at the beginning of the lesson this was not the ‘true’ point of the lesson – it was the team who had worked out the averages correctly – that team earned themselves an extra 5 minutes playtime. While I worked this out – the children then wrote definitions for mode, median and mean in their books as well as commenting on if they enjoyed the lesson.
The comments included:
‘great way of learning – fun and enjoyable thanks’
‘if i get a question on averages in my sats i will just think of the Wii to remind me’
it was fun working in a group to bowl together and work together on our maths’
‘will you thank Mr Drummond for the idea miss – it was cool’
So thank you Robert for letting me and the class ‘magpie’ your idea – it was a great lesson and a great way for working out averages.
Last but not least – is safe search – the tech bit comes from @johnMclear who works for @primaryt a great search engine that is safe for use in schools – easy for children to use and links to copyright free images too.
These are just some of the sites that I love to visit and love to share – let’s share some great work this Valentines day created by teachers who love what they do and do such a lovely job!
Almost a month since my last blog post… a combination of factors have led to this but I am now back! With lots of ideas and blogs to come in the next couple of weeks.
After attending both LWF and BETT – the weeks leading up to now have been very busy both at work and personally – but I have had lots of fun and spent some great time with the family. Sometimes life can be like that, it’s good to take a step back, recharge the batteries and look at new ideas – of which I have been doing lots of over the last month.
LWF was an amazing event, speaking on the round stage as part of the games based learning strand was at the same time a highlight and perhaps the most nerve-wracking thing I have ever done!
From Learning without Frontiers Flickr
It also enabled me to meet up with lots of old friends and make some new ones as well as being inspired by the likes of Jimmy Wales, Stephen Heppell, Evan Roth, David Puttnam and Tim Rylands. It was a lot to think about. All the videos of the talks can be found here
Bett was slightly different again the best bits of BETT were for me the networking around the show and at the Teach Mett on the Friday night it is truly inspirational being connected with such amazing people.
I have also failed miserably at my 365 project – however I did re -start it on the 4oth day as seeing as this is my 40th year – thought that would be ok. So not failing just not completing the whole project. Failing did not put me off it has just made me more determined to do a photo a day for the rest of the year!
So what is coming up – lots!!! There has been lots of talk recently about both the purpose of education and what should be taught in schools – on Thursday night there was a great debate on twitter as part of #ukedchat on the purpose of education hosted by Doug Belshaw and one of the guys behind purpos/ed. If you have not already looked at this – you should! There have already been some great posts in 500 words on the purpose of education.
Along with this is the National Curriculum Review – Graham Brown Martin is hosting an event in London on 3rd March debating ‘What should be taught in schools’ this looks like it should be an interesting night with speakers Toby Young, Katherine Birbalsingh, Donald Clark, Dr Ralph Townsend, Tristram Shepard and me. There are also events planned in Chesterfield and Newcastle. More information can be found on the wiki, with the hashtag for the event #ncr11.
Interesting times lie ahead – will you be part of the conversation?