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

at Leicester and UN

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.

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.

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]

October 17, 2016
by Jean
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Cross Curricular Approaches to Learning

If you are in FDLT Year 2 you will be considering how the curriculum is organised this term. You may be searching for reading about how subjects can be connected to together in a connected or cross curricular approach.

There are some videos that you could use as background available on Teachers’ Media.

You will need to log in to gain access to all the available resources. Searching this site could give you access to examples from practice to support your PDT 2015 AS2, especially of your own experience of a cross curricular approach is limited. As you watch you will need to analyse and draw inferences from the material to the requirements of the assignment, with its focus on English and mathematics, and their potential to be connected to another subject.

If you are investigating mathematics and its connections to other subjects you might also find useful material on the motivate website.

 

 

March 10, 2016
by Jean
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Exploring science in FDLT Y1 1!

The Y1 students have been enjoying their science sessions this month.

Here is a ThingLink that Wendy Yarnall, one of their tutors made, about exploring ice.

science collage LeicsHere are some photos of the Leicester group in their ice session.

The students have been exploring how to support learning in science and trying out exciting activities to stimulate pupils’ curiosity.

session 1 Leics

 

January 21, 2016
by Jean
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500 words

500 wordsBBC Radio 2 launched the annual ‘500 words’ writing competition for children this week. You access the website here.

It is for children aged between 5 and 15 in two groups – 5 to 9 and 10 to 13.

There are some great resources to help children start writing which can be accessed here – tips and resources.

Interested adults (teachers and librarians) can volunteer to be judges and help to read about 30 stories and score them.

 

October 21, 2015
by Jean
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Assessing Without Levels

AWLYou may have noticed that in mid September the ‘Commission on Assessment Without Levels: final report’ was published. It can be accessed here.

At this same link you can access two videos where John McIntosh CBE, Chair of the Commission discusses the benefits of developing new assessment and Sean Harford, National Director, Schools, Ofsted, talks about inspectors of schools assessment systems.

In addition to this you can explore the Association for Achievement and Improvement through Assessment (AAIA) website here. On this website you can see the development of the assessment without levels approach over the last few years, leading up to this report. You can also see videos of Dylan Wiliam and Tim Oates talking about aspects of the approach and also access the NCTL research report.

If you are on the FDLT course this information will be useful to you in year 1 as you work on the PDT1004 assignment and it will be useful to all students and TAs as you seek to keep up to date with changes in education and schools.

 

September 25, 2015
by Jean
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Make it Digital!

midIf you have been watching the TV or listening to the radio you will have heard about the BBC’s Make it Digital activities. The main website is here. There are TV and radio programmes, iWonder activities and opportunities to get involved online and at school. If you click on ‘Get Involved’ at the top on the left you can see many ideas that could be useful in schools and at home.

 

There are lots of resources to use to explore coding and digital tools and share with pupils including:

  • Code Club – the after school code club for 9 ti 11 year olds – have a look here to find your local clubs.
  • Coder Dojo – programming clubs for young people – there’s one in Olney and one in MK so far.
  • Teen Tech events where secondary pupils work with scientists, technologists and engineers – have a look at this link to see the events happening in your area.
  • resources for primary schools
  • resources for secondary schools
  • the CBBC Stay Safe Online materials

For many of us since the recent change in the national curriculum our own subject knowledge in coding and computing needs developing. In these BBC Make it Digital resources and events there are great opportunities for us as adults and for pupils to learn more and explore the creativity and opportunities that are around at the moment.

feel free to comment below if you use any of the resources and attend any of the activities.

 

July 6, 2015
by Jean
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Responses to WW1 by FDLT Year 2 students

Recently we concluded the curriculum module on the FDLT year 2 course. During this module we had explored the teaching of discrete subjects; making connections between subjects and the aspects of the curriculum that are not named as subjects. In the last session we brought all that together in a practical activity where students made a response to the anniversary of World War One contained in a matchbox. Here are the results:

This video was made with the app ‘Explain Everything’ with music added by editing within You Tube.

The students were introduced to some of the stories and themes using this ThingLink:

A Thinglink is a useful digital tool for sharing links with learners. As a teacher or TA you can choose the links you wish to guide the learner towards. This can help them use time more productively and minimise the risk of researching inappropriate or unproductive sources.

The research activity followed by the making activity allowed students to consider the links between subjects and the skills, knowledge and understanding that allow us to make connections between subjects because pupils use and apply them in a range of situations.

As I observed the students, for example, I could see a range of strategies used to measure ranging from using a ruler, drawing around the object, estimating and making a trial to check. Had I been their maths teacher I would have had an insight into their skills, knowledge and understanding in action could have planned any necessary revision into future teaching.

During this activity students identified a very wide range of learning opportunities including:

  • research – reading non-fiction, following up stories and sources such as audio and video reports, music and poetry, evaluating, selecting and discarding information
  • making – measuring, designing, cutting, sticking, choice of materials, working in 2d and 3d,
  • responding – empathy with people in challenging situations, making connections with the past, thinking about how events in the past resonate now, creativity, the meaning of symbols,
  • language development – new vocabulary from the period, poetic language, song lyrics, factual language, the language of propaganda, narrative,

and many more…

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