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The life and times of an elderly educationalist in a technological age.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Nuffin much!

And what did you do in school today? I hope my class were more explicit. They started the morning with a quickfire addition game from the Shared Flipcharts...speeded up. We then went onto a multiplying by 5 flipchart I had downloaded from the Promethean site...There's a link over to the right. We then had some ad hoc questions using the Activote pods on multiplying by 10. and finally in pen mode we did our whiteboard sums on a squared grid, children working in their jotters , some setting the sums and some doing them correctly on the board for the others to check their answers. I could then wander round in a leisurely fashion and help where necessary, and discuss learning outcomes and strategies. Sounds almost like teaching!
After break we talked about why using the board and the pods was better than the blackboard, and in this all were agreed. The lesson was conjunctions..so they had to think of two things and write the sentences and join them. So we did this in Comiclife on the board, dragging with the stylus and putting the comments into a bubble, on their own photograph.
In the afternoon we listened to some freeplay music in itunes and attempted to match the mood and tempo of it to some pictures in iphoto, on the board.
After that we had a look at how to search for things on google and looked for resources for our Knights and Castles project. (I stress that you check them out first so there are no dodgy links sneaking in on an innocuous title. I know the firewall is there, but just in case.) So I knew where we were going even if the children didn't think they were being guided!! So we dressed a knight in his armour. Had a wander round Nottingham castle, heard from some of pages squires and knights and, then went to the interactive jousting from the Victoria and Albert Museum. At the end of the day we had 10 minutes for another adhoc pod session...General knowledge...true or false.
I'm home with only half an hour of marking to do, from the phonics and I didn't need to clean a board before I left!
Which is why I have time to write this!
So I expect they will say, when asked the inevitable question.......'Nuffin much!' But then learning doesn't have to be painful. Experience doesn't have to be bad to be learned from. More than a dozen went dashing to the postits on my table to write down the urls...so I can expect more parents to be complaining about the ink their children use in an effort to prove that they've learned "nuffin much" today!

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Putting the 'C' in ICT

Tonight, Morag, my fellow Masterclasser and I spent some time trying to get the links on our blogs to work. Now with her support, whilst we talked on Skype, they are done. I hope they will be of use. html is an alien thing to both of us, but tonight we proved that two heads are better than one (Hers is younger and quicker than mine.) if they both have the same songsheet!

Link..link.liaison,liaison...connect connect....relate relate
.apply,.coalesce,.bond, agree, associate.....

Friday, February 24, 2006

Does this qualify?

It does take a bit of time to explore the potential, but well worth the effort, to get the best out of it. You'd have to see the children's faces to believe it. I like the fact that it produces an interactive element to so many of the things we do ordinarily. What we are doing now in our classrooms with these new tools is yet to be measured, but I am sure someone somewhere will try to measure, and that frightens me as a creative person, as confirmed by yesterday's INSET.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Ask the audience!

The pod fairy arrived! Seen one of these? If you had been on "Who wants to be a millionaire" you would have. My class now think they have won!! They were very patient in the setting up phase. ACTIVote pods..They can't copy! They have to think....and sometimes fast, if I have set the timeout. I can see who isn't answering correctly and teach to that group. I can also see who is not dealing in the time frame. I wonder how many lessons we teach to children who already know.....So I spent the time with the ones who didn't and then the red turned to green in my printout in Excel. Deep joy! The entire class was exxxxstatic and I was vindicated as a teacher, when we tried the same thing again a day or two later. The children think they are anonymous...because they see on the board that we are running in that mode, but, of course, I have the numbers of who has what pod ... There's not much material out there ,of worth, for a primary three so I had a bit of a learning curve, to create some and just getting to grips with ad hoc (spur of the moment) questionning. The best thing is that the children don't see this as learning. They just absorb it. Isn't osmosis wonderful?

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Granny's sayings.

"God will supply all your needs"...but Granny couldn't help adding "not your wants". Well I had wanted one of these for 3 years, and luckily was in touch with sympathetic Authority staff who thought I might get my head round it enough to make some use. So I have been loaned a Promethean Interactive White Board. "Everything comes to he who waits" It is hard for schools on a tight budget, to buy one board and projector for one or two classes to use if they do not have a computer room, when they might buy 4 machines to upgrade existing ones, to put in a trolley for the whole school to use.
I go into some schools and blow the dust off projectors and whiteboards...and weep for the lost opportunities!
I worked with an old film screen for two years ...at least the children could interact with the computer showing on it!
But now, since "God helps them that help themselves", too, my life, and that in my classroom, has changed. I learned how to use it and to produce resources particular to my class needs, by doing some online tutorials. The children calibrate it for use. They are so motivated and we now use it mostly, instead of a blackboard, locally, and with web material popping in to enhance the lessons as appropriate, in every area of the curriculum. (Great when the class supply the URL's) The only problem is, that so many of the things that I am now doing, that cover lots of strands everywhere, are not written down in planners, to be ticked and dated in advance. So can I get away with noting the history...like a record of work we used to do 30 years ago? Could it not be called creativity, and then it would be included in a "NEW" initiative?
"Possession is nine tenths of the law" To have it taken away now would remove my right hand.....My class will bite the kneecaps of whomsoever tries, and it will be hard to shift if I am prostrate on top! Oh and then I got another present....more to come......

Keepy uppy!

Well I'm trying! No sooner have I got a grip of a newer development ...and something else that looks more inventive , can educate more efficiently, needs more of my CPD time (now there's a laugh) to investigate, comes on the scene. Why do I feel so punished for being interested in doing the best I can, and in not catching up always, feel I am failing, at every level. Teachers after the probationary support period, are so busy just doing the job......innovation nowadays, is actually reinventing the wheel, from when I trained, with the particular exception of ICT development. Where is the AIFL for teachers? My learning outcomes are worthy...but don't ever get to match the intentions.