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Thursday, 23 August 2012

ePortfolios for KS3

This post is mainly for @computing_teacher and anyone wanting to know why I made the decisions I did about how my students would create and use eportfolios in KS3 ICT lessons.

So for a while now I've been contemplating having all my students create and use eportfolios in ICT lessons at key stage 3. This is for a number of reasons, firstly our students do not have exercise books, so how do we record that we are feeding back to our students. Before now we've used a word document to record feedback, but there was no way of telling if students were reading it or learning from it. Secondly, most KS4 qualifications have started to require students to put all their finished coursework into an eportfolio. Finally, I think it's a skill that all students should learn and understand as CV's move from being paper based to electronic in the future. Employers will expect some form of eportfolio to show evidence of work. In all industries.

For some time I've gone back and forth between using a blog or creating a website. Both have pros and cons. In fact I've changed my mind between them on many occasions but it always came back to the same issue. With Google sites within Google Apps for Edu, I can control the content and who see's it, therefore protecting the students from the internet and prevent the students from doing/saying something inappropriate on the open internet. Most blog sites are uncontrollable. Maybe for a small class its ok, but for nearly 600 students this was going to be a problem.

I decided that for Year's 7 & 8 I would create a Google Site Template for the eportfolio that they would be able to copy from within GAFE, and then edit to make it their own. As this concept of an eportfolio would be new to them it seemed wise to model what one looks like. I thought it might be nice for Year 9 to create a google site from scratch as they have already studied website development in year 8, and it would be more fun for them to make it completely personalised.

I designed and created a Google Site like you would normally but from my GAFE account. Once it was complete I saved it as a template, for students within the domain. It is now ready for students to access in the first lessons when we return. (After I explain it to my dept!)

In my next blog I will explain my ICT class badges, but as I am still developing these, I'm not ready to share them all with you yet. 

Yes Luke Skywalker is one of my students, and he is really whiney. He cries often.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Share Everything

One of the most surprising things to happen during the last term of a crazy school year where I transformed my teaching and status, was being contacted by a school in Portsmouth who had seen a scheme of work I had been trailing with my Year 9's through They asked if they could use it and have access o the online resources that went with it. Obviously they could only see the lessons as I laid them out for students to access through my blended learning model.

I said "Yes, of course, here is all the gubbins you will need."

I told this story to other teachers both within my own department, school and to teaching friends outside of school. They all asked the same question "Why did you just hand it over? Why didn't you ask for money?"

My answer "Share Everything."

I have an open source attitude to teaching. Firstly, education should be free, and every child should have access to the same resources. This obviously doesn't happen in any education system. The richest children will always have access to the best of everything meaning the wealthy will stay wealthy and the poor will stay poor (but that's a separate argument). Secondly, like open source coding, the collaboration of minds improves the software, everyone contributing a piece to move forward. If a few of my own lesson plans or ideas are a starting point, and then a teacher in Portsmouth improves them and then a teacher from Preston adds an idea, we ALL benefit! Let's stop giving our money to third party companies who don't know anything about teaching.  Stop teaching the curriculum, let's create our own curriculum. We are the experts in our fields, we should shape our own education system for the better.

Listen to this guy, because this is what I think I'm doing, and you should be doing too:

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Creative use of ICT

A few months ago I was asked to write a guest blog about creative use of ICT in teaching. That post can be found here.