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

at Leicester and UN

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
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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
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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.

 

March 20, 2019
by Jean
0 comments

Exploring nature

There are signs of spring all around us! The Woodland Trust has lots of great resources to encourage children to be nature detectives.

With older pupils you might track the effects of weather and climate change by using the nature’s calendar resources here.

With younger pupils you might use the Nature Detective resources to  observe and explore outdoors here. This spotter sheet focuses on noting the first signs of spring.

 

 

 

 

Another useful set of resources is available from The House of Illustration, who have made a set teacher and pupil resources called ‘Illustrating Science’ based around plant life cycles and spotting nature outdoors which can be found here.

Reference:

Woodland Trust. (2019) First signs of spring. [online] Available from: https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/naturedetectives/activities/2016/01/first-signs-of-spring/ [Accessed 20/03/19]

 

February 1, 2019
by Jean
0 comments

Activity Passport

You may have seen in the news recently that the DfE have released details about an ‘Activity Passport‘. The announcement reads:”Primary school children will be challenged to go on a nature trail, visit a local landmark or make a treasure map through a new ‘passport’ of activities launched by the Education Secretary to encourage more family time and help build children’s character and resilience.

Endorsed by organisations including the Scouts, Girlguiding and the National Trust – as well as children’s charity Action for Children – the list of activities is intended to support parents and schools in introducing children to a wide variety of experiences and fulfilling activities like flying a kite, learning something new about the local area or putting on a performance.” (DfE, 2019, lines 1-9).

Many of you will have been aware of the National Trust’s “50 things to do before you are eleven and three-quarters” which you explore here

You can access an editable version of the passport here.

You can download the National Trust list here.

Those of you working on PDT1o64 or PDT2016 will be considering how we enrich learning and access resources and places to bring learning to life. What would be on your list of 50 things to do before 11? If you work with pupils over the age of 11, what would your list of 50 things pupils should do between 11 and 18 years?

Michael Rosen provides an alternative view to this initiative here.

References:

DfE. (2019) Activity ‘passport’ to inspire schoolchildren and boost resilience. [online] Available from:https://www.gov.uk/government/news/activity-passport-to-inspire-schoolchildren-and-boost-resilience [Accessed: 1/2/19]

December 3, 2018
by Jean
0 comments

Christmas writing fun!

Pobble have shared ten fun ideas to inspire writing with a Christmas theme here.

Christmas poems
Jesse’s frosty festive poem evokes all the senses. She’d love you to have a read.

Christmas in China
What is your Christmas fortune? Dexter discovered what happens at Christmas in China and then wrote fortunes to share with his family. Read here.

The Iron Man saves Christmas!
Father Christmas has one last hope: The Iron Man. This fun narrative is a fun twist on a traditional tale. Click to read.

A recipe for the perfect Christmas
What ingredients would you choose to create the perfect Christmas? A beautiful teaching idea! We think Libby’s recipe is spot on!

The Christmas Truce
After learning about the truce on Christmas Day 1914, Holly wrote this poignant piece outlining the events.

The sound of Christmas
What does Christmas sound like? Lee shared his thoughts in this joyful poem. Have a read.

Victorian Christmas
Joe time travelled back to a Christmas Eve in the Victorian era. In this piece he explains what he discovered.

The Bear’s First Christmas
This simile packed story is a festive treat! Tiah tells the tale of ‘The bear’s first Christmas’. Read here.

If Father Christmas got stuck up my chimney…
What would you do if Santa got stuck up your chimney? Jessica would give him a push! Read more.

Reindeer job application
A job application with a twist! Maxwell is applying to be one of Santa’s reindeers. Would you give him the job? Read Maxwell’s letter.

Reference:

Pobble (2018) Festive teaching ideas. [online] Available from: http://blog.pobble.com/festive-teaching-ideas-for-you/ [Accessed: 3/12/18]

October 30, 2018
by Jean
0 comments

How do our kids beat the robots?

This is an interesting radio programme, especially if you are in FDLT Year 2, and thinking about the curriculum and how we organise learning in schools. As you listen, think about what the presenter finds out about cross curricular approaches, creativity and how current ways of working relate to future changes in employment for our pupils. 

It was first broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Sunday 28th October at 1.30pm. Check here to see if it is available on iPlayer and if not you can listen to it through Box of Broadcasts.

Here is the supporting information:

“Sathnam Sanghera investigates how children can compete with machines for jobs in the future.

We live in a world where robots, algorithms and the incredible speed of computing have replaced jobs that used to be common. Secretaries, bank clerks and factory workers are becoming rarer. In the future, as robots and computers develop, whole new areas of work will be impacted. Even traditionally safe professions like accountancy, medicine and law could be under threat. So how do we make sure our children get the education they need to compete against machines that haven’t even been invented yet?

Sathnam hears from people who have a vision of how to prepare children for the modern world. They include Daniel Charny, the co-founder of Fixperts which gets children to solve practical problems using traditional making skills. Geoff Mulgan, Chief Executive of NESTA, the UK’s innovation foundation, talks about what the job market of the future might look like. Andreas Schleicher from the OECD explains how we should begin to measure our children’s skills when thinking about the careers they might have in future.

American educationalist Michelle Garcia Winner teaches what she calls social thinking, the kind of skill that no robot could ever match. Sathnam visits the XP school in Doncaster which is dropping some subjects in favour of getting children to conduct “learning expeditions”.

Sathnam considers whether, in the end, the best way to beat the robots will be to become more human.” (BBC, 2018, lines 1-15)

Reference:

BBC (2018) How do our kids beat the robots? [online] Available from: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0b9z4ng#play [Accessed: 28/10/18]

 

October 24, 2018
by Jean
0 comments

Exploring assessment

Many FDLT students will be exploring summative and formative assessment. Here are some links to interesting resources to make you think!

Formative and summative assessment, a blog post by David Didau. As well as raising some interesting points this blog post has a reference list that you could use to take you to reading.

Education Endowment Fund, a website with summaries of research projects. You can search this for areas around assessment.

National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER), a website with an exploration of a variety of aspects of assessment. 

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