A blog for students on the FDLT and BALT courses at the University of Northampton

at Leicester and UN

bitmoji outdoor classroom

June 17, 2020
by Jean
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Create your own virtual classroom

You might have come across the idea of the #bitmojiclassroom on social media. Over the last few months, with many teachers and TAs away from face to face contact with their pupils, the idea of creating a virtual space that is visually and user friendly for pupils and parents has become popular. Combined with the tools to create emojis that look like ourselves and add links to images in Powerpoint and GoogleSlides there are now many examples to take inspiration from.

bitmoji of jeanThe use of a personalised bitmoji allows us to make a connection with our pupils. This is mine. 

You can make your own bitmoji by creating an account here

Once you have an account and you have made your bitmoji you can then easily search for it in many different versions and positions to use in making resources.

This is a useful guide to how to create a virtual classroom using GoogleSlides by teacher Thomas Blakemore.

If this is something that interests you, it is worth browsing social media for examples, as there are many that you can learn from and repurpose to use for your own pupils. Search #bitmojiclassroom on Facebook or twitter to find posts and videos that will help you.

Last week I made my first #bitmojiclassroom to find out more about how to do it. It is based on learning outdoors. You can access it below. Click on the ‘present’ triangle symbol to explore the links attached to many of the items in the image.

One important area to consider when making your virtual classroom is protecting the intellectual property rights of the makers of resources available online. You will find yourself searching google images for pictures and google for links and it is important to note and acknowledge these. When searching for images you can choose ‘labelled for non-commercial reuse’ in the search settings and keep a note of the information to reference. For the resource above I have another slide with the references related to this image listed.

children's cook covers

June 3, 2020
by Jean
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How can we work for a better world?

As you keep up to date with the news you will no doubt be considering how we in education can work for a more fair and equal society. In classrooms using children’s literature as the basis for conversations is a good way in.

children's cook coversThe list of children’s books linked here is curated by critical literacy organizations, The Conscious Kid and American Indians in Children’s Literature and it is called “31 Children’s Books to Support Conversations on Race, racism and Resistance. 

This author notes that: “Beyond addressing issues of race and racism, this children’s reading list focuses on taking action. It highlights resistance, resilience and activism; and seeks to empower youth to participate in the ongoing movement for racial justice. Children not only need to know what individual, institutional, and internalized racism looks like, they need to know what they can do about it.” (The Conscious Kid, 2019, lines 22-270).

Another great source of book recommendations in this field is from classroom teachers. Year 4 teacher, Miss Newton (@MissNewton91 on twitter) has shared this presentation of her recommended picture books. You can access it here.Going beyond sharing and talking about stories it is also vital to integrate the black experience across all the subjects that we teach. Miss Newton shared her planning for a Year 4 history unit which you can access here

From children themselves as readers we can begin to understand how it feels to find oneself represented in the books that are around. Ananya Ganesh, a fifteen year old, had written about this in her blog post ‘We need more #ownvoices books’ which you can read here

As well working in our individual classrooms in stories and the curriculum there are also organisations to support and develop diversity in education. One of these is BAMed:

“BAMEed is a movement initiated in response to the continual call for intersectionality and diversity in the education sector. All members are volunteers and have committed their time and efforts into creating a tangible support network to equip teachers and leaders with the tools to progress into and through the workforce.

BAMEed connects, enables and showcases the talent of diverse educators so they may inspire future generations and open up the possibilities within education careers.” (BAMed, 2020, lines 3-5).

BAMed is developing regional networks, resources and and a network of speakers. They have collected a useful book list which you can see here. This was curated by Darren Chetty (@rapclassroom), Kaen Sands O’Connor (@ksandsoconnor) and Books for keeps (ABooksforKeeps).

Letterbox Library logoThey also recommend exploring Letter Box Library which specialises in selecting and recommending books “in which all children can see themselves and which reflect our world community in all of its diversity” (Letterbox Library, 2020, lines 9-10).

Now is the time to use the amazing stories, resources and networks that we have around us to educate ourselves and the children we support to take action to grow up in a more just and fair world. 

If you are interested in exploring the representation of black and ethnic minorities in children’s literature this CLPE survey was published in 2018.

References:

BAMed. (2020) About us. website [online] Available from: https://www.bameednetwork.com/about-us/ [Accessed; 03/06/2020].

Ganesh, A. (2020) We need more #ownvoices books. website. [online] Available from: https://www.ananyaganesh.com/post/we-need-more-ownvoices-books [Accessed; 3rd June 2020].

Letterbox Library (2020) Letterbox Library. website. [online] Available from: https://www.letterboxlibrary.com/ [Accessed 3rd June 2020].

The Conscious Kid. (2019) 31 Children’s Books to Support Conversations on Race, racism and Resistance. Notew0rthy. [online] Available from: https://blog.usejournal.com/31-childrens-books-to-support-conversations-on-race-racism-and-resistance-9dbabc28360e [Accessed: 03/06/2020].

The Conscious Kid. (2019) A children’s book list for anti-racist activism (image). Notew0rthy. [online] Available from: https://blog.usejournal.com/31-childrens-books-to-support-conversations-on-race-racism-and-resistance-9dbabc28360e [Accessed: 03/06/2020].

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 26, 2020
by Jean
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Digital tool: Classroom Screen

I came across a useful digital tool last week, introduced to it by Mat Pullen on twitter (@mat6453). It is called Classroom Screen and it is an online screen that gives you access to many of the tools available on a classroom interactive whiteboard.

blank classroom screenWhen it opens it looks like this image. You can choose from a range of backgrounds, animations, colours and your webcam. 

At the bottom of the screen the tools appear in a bar and these are the tools you can select and use.

They include: a random name generator, dice, sound level monitor, QR code generator, drawing screen, text typing screen, work symbols, traffic lights, a timer, a stopwatch, a clock and a calendar. All of these can be presented on coloured backgrounds, some can modified in size and in other ways and moved around the screen.

screenshot of tools open on classroom screenHere’s an example of a screen with some of the tools open.

This is a great tool for allowing you access to the classroom organisation tools you might be used to having in the classroom but on your laptop or tablet to use use a virtual classroom scenario. It could also be useful to access in a classroom that does not have an IWB but does have a laptop and screen.

At present the screens cannot be saved so it is a use and use again tool.

Mat has made a useful demonstration video that you can access here.

 

 

January 30, 2020
by Jean
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Animating science!

Over the last few weeks the FDLT Year 1 students have been making stop motion animations.

They used the app ‘StopMotionStudio’ on ipads to make their animations, and the app ‘iMovie’ to edit them, adding sounds and music. 

The students chose an aspect of the science PoS to explain in their animations, using visuals and words to explore ideas such as how water is used by plants; seasonal change; the cycel of the moon and many more.

You can watch the animations on this YouTube channel:

 

September 30, 2019
by Jean
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What can we learn from education in Finland?

When you are examining the curriculum, what is taught and how learning is organised, making international comparison can be useful.

In this article in the guardian, journalist Sally Weale discusses the approach to the curriculum and learning in Finland.

As a university student you would want to use links, names and titles to track back to the original sources used if you were considering using this material in an assignment.

This could lead you to look up:

PISA

Pasi Sahlberg

John Jerrim / IOE blog

Finnish National Agency for Education.

Reading these sources could lead you to some useful reading but you should also search in NELSON for additional academic material.

 

September 2, 2019
by Jean
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What to bring along to the first week

Today you will receive an email from Abbie Deeming, the course leader. You will probably be thinking about the first day and what to bring. Here is a reminder:

You must bring:

2 forms of ID for enrolment

You can check what else you need to bring for enrolment here.

You should bring:

Something to use to make notes in

An academic year diary or calendar

You might like to bring:

Food and drink:

A packed lunch or money to buy lunch in the student restaurant / local shops at lunchtime.

A drink and / or money to buy a drink at breaks. If you bring a reusable cup hot drinks are cheaper.

Useful information to collect:

When you begin to take part in discussion about your setting and when you begin to write assignments you will need some basic information about your school to provide contextual background. It would be useful if you could collect this information and have it to hand over the opening weeks of the course.

This includes:

Type of School (LA / Academy etc)

Location of school (rural, suburban, urban)

Age of pupils

Number of pupils on roll

Number and type of staff

% of pupils with SEND

% of pupils learning EAL

% of pupils with Pupil Premium

Unusual or distinctive features of the school

May 22, 2019
by Jean
0 comments

Taking the learning outdoors!

Last week the FDLT Year 1 students had the opportunity to use the outdoors as a learning environment.We spent the morning beside the river exploring  and measuring the landscape.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The activities the students tried out are those which pupils need to experience when learning geographical and scientific skills and they also provided opportunities to apply mathematical learning.

We also explored the book The Lost Words by Jackie Morris and Robert MacFarlane – a fantastic inspiration for English in the context of the natural world. There are supporting resources for this here.

In year 2 of the FDLT course students will take part in a module entirely focused on learning opportunities beyond the school site so this experience was a valuable introduction.

April 16, 2019
by Jean
0 comments

A new online course from DLAB!

Our team from the University of Northampton would like to invite you and your staff to join our free online course on What if the sea level rises? Exploring language and culture in a future setting. This course has been developed as part of a European funded project, ‘Digital Learning across Boundaries’, that brings together teachers, student teachers and lecturers in Norway, Denmark, Belgium and England to connect classrooms, and to explore and share technology-related themes.

This is a fantastic FREE resource for primary and lower secondary teachers. It includes case studies of lessons and an international online community sharing ideas. We hope you can join in to develop and share your own ideas on our themes of survival, communication and sustainability. 

The course runs for one week starting on May 6th and will remain on our website for teachers to dip in and out of as much as they want.  

We hope that this is of interest. You can find out more and sign up here: 

http://dlaberasmus.eu/courses/what-if-the-sea-level-rises-exploring-language-and-culture-in-a-future-setting/

 

Alongside this free opportunity, I would like to let you know that we are recruiting for a new Postgraduate Certificate in Digital Leadership, starting on 20th May 2019. This is a one-year, part-time, fully online course that leads to 60 Master’s credits and can form part of an online Masters pathway open to an international audience. It is intended to develop both subject and leadership expertise, and is designed to accommodate complete beginners as well as those with some existing knowledge in the field. You can find more information here: https://www.northampton.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate-certificate-in-digital-leadership

 

Do contact me if you have any queries about either of these courses:

helen.caldwell@northampton.ac.uk

All best wishes,

Helen Caldwell

(And the DLaB team at the University of Northampton)

April 4, 2019
by Jean
1 Comment

Animating science!

This week in the FDLT Year 1 groups we have been using the stop motion animation app iMotion and the video editing app iMovie. The students devised, scripted and designed short animations to explain an idea or process. After they had made their film they added music and sound effects from iMovie and sounds made themselves.

The films can be watched here:

It was interesting to see the skills, knowledge and understanding that students used as they worked in teams of three or four. They had to check their subject knowledge and understanding of the ideas and concepts they were presenting. Sometimes as they worked this evolved as they added detail: vocabulary and visual examples. They worked effectively as teams, taking different roles, co-operating, sharing ideas and solving problems. Cross-curricular approaches were evident as students worked across the subjects design, art, science, English, mathematics and computing. 

Making stop motion animations allows people to move from passive users of technology to creative makers where the technology is a tool to create.

 

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