A blog for students on the FDLT at the University of Northampton

at MK, Leicester and UN

March 27, 2017
by Jean
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International ‘Mystery Skype’ Conversations

Last week two Foundation Degree Learning and Teaching (FDLT) groups took part in conversations with students in Mexico and UN alumni in Brazil.

The first part of the conversation was focused around asking and answering yes/no questions to find out where in the world they were within a Skype call. The rest of the conversation explored comparisons between the education systems and school life in each country. Over two days students made contact with educators and alumni to discover how FDLT students could enrich their own work in UK schools. Dr Brenda Padilla, part of the Faculty of Psychology from the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo Leónin in Mexico, has blogged about the experience which enabled her students and ours to discuss aspects of classroom differentiation, educational politics and course modules. Whilst Carolina Andrade a former UN student working in São Paulo, Brazil was able to reflect on her learning experiences with FDLT students.

Across the two days students took part in Changemaker workshops and presentations faciliated by Liam Norton, Abi Wicks and Marie Alty. Also our Skype Guest Speaker Yvette Thomas Head of Equalities Children’s Social Care and Learning for Buckinghamshire County Council, encouraged FDLT students to see the classroom as a ‘Window to the World’ in an attempt to work with partners in other countries.

Dr Emel Thomas

March 23, 2017
by Jean
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Using a greenscreen app to take pupils to other times and places!

As part of their PDT 2016 module focused on enriching learning beyond the classroom and school site the FDLT Y2 (UN) group investigated using ipads and apps to create the experience of visiting other times and places.

The students worked in groups. First they identified a time or place to use as the basis for a short film or animation. Some of the suggestions and senarios they worked from are on this Padlet.

The students had to devise a scenario or story to explore and then research to collect still images and / or video to use as well as write a script for the scenes they would record. Some students chose to explore history: the founding of the city of Rome, the moon landing, Egypt, mummification; others explored science: the seasons, the body; some explored places: the jungle, going on safari and others explored a festival: Diwali. Their films can be seen here on a YouTube playlist.

The opportunities for learning are wide ranging when working in this way. In order to make an informative and worthwhile film the students (or pupils) have to research purposefully for visual sources such as images and video or make their own where none exists. They have to plan and write notes and script for their oral contributions. They often have to make props and artefacts to use in their film. Some of them also used other apps to add to their film such as Chatterpix, pic collage and photo editor apps. Throughout they have to collaborate and work as a team to reach an end goal. The resources used to support this session can be accessed via the Padlet above.

In this session the students had freedom to explore and work with the tools in order to learn how to use them. Some students were familiar with them from supporting pupils with them back in their schools. Supporting pupils to use digital technology creatively and embedded within their learning is an effective way of changing pupils from passive users of technology to makers and creators with control over what is produced.

March 2, 2017
by Jean
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Gallery visits for FDLT Y2

This week each of the FDLT Year 2 visited art galleries to explore how learning can be inspired and developed in locations other than the classroom.

The UN group travelled to Avenue Campus to look at the exhibition ‘Under Construction’. This is an exhibition of photographs taken by the second year BA Hons Photography students and records the changing environment of Northampton. This year the photos were taken at the old Royal Mail sorting office and development of the new Waterside Campus.

The group explored how the exhibition could be used to support learning in art and across the curriculum and then went on to take their own photos around a theme or idea of their choice. They chose and edited their photos on their phones or tablets, presenting them as photo collages.

You can see all of the images here.

 

The Leicester group visited New Walk Museum and Gallery in Leicester. They explored the collection of Victorian and modern paintings, trying out starter activities to get pupils used to being in a gallery and focused on art and identified and discussed pictures that could be connected. One of the travelling exhibitions at the gallery was ‘Sublime Symmetry‘. This was an exhibition by the William de Morgan Foundation and was focused on art and mathematics. There were resources for younger pupils to use (hanging up in activity bags), Key Stage 2 mathematics exploration workbooks and art leaflets: some of the supporting resources can be seen here. The students could also explore the dinosaur display, the Ancient Egyptian section and a hands on science exhibit.

Some of the discussion in these session will help them work on assignments in their enriching learning beyond the classroom module.

February 17, 2017
by Jean
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Graduation 2017!

Last Sunday we were delighted to be able to see our students from the FDLT and BALT courses graduate at the Derngate, Northampton.

 

 

 

For many of these students it was a weekend (or even just a day) off from ongoing study for their BALT course or for their next step into initial teacher training. It was wonderful for us to see them in their gowns celebrating with their families. Graduation is a time to stop and acknowledge how much they have accomplished in their study. We wish them every success in their future.

February 10, 2017
by Jean
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You may be interested in this recent post on the East Midlands HLTA Network blog by my colleague, Wendy Yarnall:

ATL report on the findings of survey into support staff workload and responsibility.

February 9, 2017
by Jean
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Using iPads outdoors

This year the FDLT Year 1 students in both Leicester and Park Campus, Northampton used the university Ipads as part of their learning. In a session focused on using digital technology to enrich the curriculum (art) they were given a key art idea to search for examples of and photograph. They went off to observe, capture and edit around the outdoor environment. It was interesting that because they had been given a very specific focus on what to look for they began see examples everywhere and be quite creative in the way they captured these examples.

When they returned to the classroom the students collected their images together and presented them as photo collages using the PicCollage app. They added borders and text and then airdropped them to the session tutor so they could be shared with the group. All the collages were added to a ThingLink that also contains the relevant subject knowledge information which is enhanced by the visual examples present in the photo collages.

The full collection can seen here.

 

 

February 3, 2017
by Jean
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Thinking about teaching to the test.

You might be interested to here this short radio piece broadcast as part of ‘A Point of View’ on BBC Radio 4.

Teaching to the test

It asks you to consider some important larger issues that come from the current focus on testing in schools.

January 29, 2017
by Jean
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Making our own digital books

This week in Year 2 of the FDLT course we have been exploring the making of digital books by educators to use with their pupils or by pupils supported by their teachers and TAs. Exploring some examples was a useful way in to this session and these can be seen on a Padlet.

Made with Padlet

In the session each group used the BookCreator app to make a collaborative book. The BookCreator app is quick to learn to use and has lots of potential. In this first experience we only used the tools available within the app but many other tools and apps can be used with the digital books made in BoolCreator. There’s a basic introduction to the app at this link.

In order to make a successful collaborative books some joint planning needs to take place. One key decision to make is whether the pages should by portrait or landscape. If pages are to be made on separate ipads and then combined in one book then the page orientation must be the same. The language features of the book must be discussed so that they match the purpose and audience of the book. The Y2 students were making a book to inform and advise new FDLT students about their course and where it takes place. A list of possible pages was made from which pairs of students could choose. Students could then use any features of the app to create their page. This included choosing a blank page to work on or a comic panel page; using audio, video and photos; choosing font, colour and size as well as page colour.

After each page was finished they were airdropped to the tutor ipad where they were combined in to one book. The books can be seen below as YouTube videos. In the near future there will be more sharing options from the app which could be more book like in nature.

There are so many possibilities for using the making of our own personalised digital books to support learning or create meaningful learning opportunities – its a tool well worth exploring.

January 6, 2017
by Jean
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Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to all blog readers!

This is a time of year when although its only half way through the education year we often feel inclined to review, reflect and make resolutions to improve our lives.

If you’re on Twitter look up #nuture1617 where you can read the reflections of educators on their 2016 resolutions and what they intend to do in 2017. They often explore the difficult blanace between home and work life which is a challenge for everyone working in education.

Here’s a link to an article about the importance of training for teaching assistants: Why Training TAs is vital to improve standards in literacy and numeracy.

December 12, 2016
by Jean
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OFSTED and marking

In a blog post on November 28th I discussed the recent School Inspection Update as regards deployment of teaching assistants. Also in that document was some discussion of marking:

“The last three school inspection updates have included information about our myth-busting work, including drawing attention to the reports from the DfE’s Workload Challenge review groups that looked at marking, planning and data management.
As I have said before, marking has proved to be one of the harder myths to bust. In part, this has been because we have continued to report on it extensively at some inspections, especially with reference to areas for improvement in previous inspection reports from some time ago. I remain concerned that we continue to see some inspection reporting which gives the impression that more detailed or more elaborate marking is required, or indeed that it is effective in promoting pupils’ achievement. Inspectors must not give the impression that marking needs to be undertaken in any particular format and to any particular degree of sophistication or detail; the reference to marking on page 10 of the school inspection handbook deals with this.

As both the Workload Review group on marking (March 2016)  and the Education Endowment Foundation (April 2016)  reported, there is remarkably little high quality, relevant research evidence to suggest that detailed or extensive marking has any significant impact on pupils’ learning. So until such evidence is available, and regardless of any area for improvement identified at the previous inspection, please do not report on marking practice, or make judgements on it, other than whether it follows the school’s assessment policy. Also, please do not seek to attribute the degree of progress that pupils have made to marking that you consider to be either effective or ineffective. When reporting, please do not make recommendations for improvement that involve marking, other than when the school’s marking/assessment policy is not being followed by a substantial proportion of teachers; this will then be an issue for the leadership and management to resolve” (OFSTED, 2016, p1-2).

You might find this useful to consider in relation to the marking policy of your school and specifically for FDLT year 1 students working on the PDT 1004 Assessment Project.

Link to the Teacher Workload: Marking Policy Review Group

Link to the Education Endowment Fund Resources on Marking

Reference:

OFSTED (2016) School Inspection Update. Issue 8. [online] Available from: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-inspection-newsletter-2015-to-2016 [Accessed: 12th December 2016]

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