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Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Creative Learners

I've decided that I like PLTS. I think it's quite a good starting point for any scheme of work in ICT.

I'm part of a teaching and learning group at my school. Today we had a discussion about PLTS. The best part, for me, was the demonstration of a lesson activity in which we were treated like the students. It was an English Poetry lesson, and instantly I was struck with fear, when I saw the white board covered in words that had been jumbled by and was asked to try and work out what the poem might be about. Being dyslexic, this is like my worse nightmare, especially being surrounded by well educated teachers. However I found after a while that it was ok to just have an idea. That I was not going to be judged by my answer as the activity was to get students to think creatively about the poems they are studying, to put their own interpretations forward.

We went on to then look at the poem after discussing our different ideas. We were asked to decide how the narrater might be feeling and to find a quote to back it up. The teacher then wrote these feelings on the board. This lead onto s further discussion about wether we thought that the narrator was male or female. It was really enjoyable.

It reminds me that when I come up with what I think are strange over the top creative ideas, that it is ok. I'm trying to make some of the more boring criteria more interesting giving different types of learners a chance to succeed.

Recently we have been teaching year 9 about communication. One of the lessons main objectives is to be able to give technical information to a non technical audience using ICT effectively. In the past the lesson has involved every student writing a presentation to explain how to access email from home. I then have to sit through every student giving the same presentation to the class. The KS3 Co-ordinator and other members of the department started to discuss ways in which this task could be improved. Through discussion it was decided to change the task so that students may choose any content for their presentation as long as they give technical information to an audience. I gave this task to a top set and a bottom set of year 9's with excellent outcomes.

Presentations so far include:
How to chat up girls
Rules of cricket
What not to wear
How to cheat at school
and How to play Battlefield 3.

I'm going to be so well informed after I watch all these presentations. I feel like my students are more engaged and that creativity does have a place to engage my students. After all, students should have some fun, right Mr. Gove? *sigh*

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Evaluation Lessons

I am a great believer in reflecting. Hence the blog. One of my favourite parts of mt GTP was my weekly training in plans in which I would reflect on my teaching experiences over the week. I try to deliver a good period of reflecting in all units of ICT that I teach, especially at KS3. Lately I have started to wonder if there will be a place for Evaluation in the new ICT curriculum.

If reflecting and improving was really regarded highly by the department for education they may realise that bring back logic and programming to the curriculum could potentially be a step backwards. I have already overheard ICT Teachers talking about going back to flowol, databases and HTML to meet the needs of the changes. How is this going forward? How is this improving ICT? I call on the more creative ICT teachers on the school to collaborate quickly to think of something new, and more engaging for all, before it's hijacked by laziness. Let's reflect on what we know. Logic is good, lets teach it in a fresh way. Flowol is out of date. Scratch is too babyish for older year groups.

On Monday I have a planned a lesson for Year 8 to reflect on the websites they have designed and created. I am going to use peer assessment to guide their reflections. In this 50 minutes lesson I need to teach the students how to evaluate, and produce evidence of it. Sometimes in ICT it seems like the skills we teach don't always match the lesson. I need my students to preview their websites in an internet browser, screenshot them, and paste them into powerpoint before receiving feedback, implementing the feedback, and taking more screenshots to paste into powerpoint to demonstrate the changes. Is all this a little too confusing for 13 year olds?! As well as learning the skill of reflecting and improving?

Plenaries are a time for reflection. What have we learn't today? The honest answer on Monday will probably be "how to print screen" and not "how to improve my website based on feedback from my peers".

I have to ask myself at times like this... Is what I am teaching still worthwhile?