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

at Leicester and UN

July 31, 2017
by Jean
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Preparing your workspace

As you begin university you will need to consider where you are going to study at home and begin to prepare this space so that you are ready to use it from the beginning of September.

There are some hints and tips here and here that you might find useful.

You might get some inspiration from these photos of desks on this Pinterest board.

 

 

July 10, 2017
by Jean
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Starting dates, FDLT and BALT courses, September 2017

FDLT Year 1 week beginning September 11th.

Monday September 11th UN group

Wednesday September 13th Leicester group.

Please note that the first day of this course is taught at Park Campus, Northampton for both groups.

 

FDLT Year 2 week beginning September 18th

Monday September 18th Leicester group

Wednesday September 20th UN group

 

BA Learning and Teaching week beginning September 4th

Tuesday September 5th UN group

Thursday September 7th Leicester group.

Please note that the first day of this course is taught at Park Campus, Northampton for both groups.

March 31, 2017
by Jean
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Recruiting for HLTA

Do you or a colleague want to join our next cohort preparing for assessment of HLTA standards?

We are currently recruiting for the summer cohort in Northampton which starts on 28th April. Contact hlta@northampton.ac.uk  or call the HLTA office on 01604 893527 for more information and an application pack.

We look forward to hearing from you – please pass this message on to anyone who may not follow the blog or print the flier out for your staff board. HLTA factsheet Dec 16 v2-1pf6zmb

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.

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 8, 2016
by Jean
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Five year olds not so bad after all!

Have a listen to this article on the BBC Radio 4 program More or Less. This is another example of the popular media presenting statistical data and research in one way, and the data itself conveying something else entirely.

“Five year olds not so bad after all.
‘Shocking’ stats were revealed this week by the Department of Education. School assessments showed that just under a third of five year olds were below the expected standards for children of their age. But not only are these results not that shocking there is another reason why the statistics are not all they seem” (Harford, 2016, lines 13-19).

As a student this is a time when you would go to the data (primary source) rather than the media discussion of the data (secondary source).

Reference:

Harford, T. (2016) Are you related to Edward III…or Danny Dyer? [online] Available from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b083r9x5 [Accessed: 08/12/16]

November 28, 2016
by Jean
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Teaching Assistants and School Inspection Update.

Last week the latest issue of the School Inspection Update was issues by OFSTED. It referred to the deployment and use of Teaching Assistants (TAs) and this information may be of interest to you. It draws on newer research published by the Education Endowment Fund (EEF) published since their guidance report Making Best Use of Teaching Assistants

It reports on seven projects where “TAs delivering structured interventions to
pupils who are struggling with literacy and numeracy. All seven projects have shown
a marked positive impact on pupil’s learning, typically adding around three to four
additional months’ progress, and creating a compelling case for action in schools” (OFSTED, 2016, p12). You can read about the projects here. You can download a pack of free practical resources here. The resources may be of interest to you as students, TAs and HLTAs although they aimed at schools.

In the OFSTED update it is suggested that these areas should be considered by OFSTED inspectors as they inspect schools:

  • How do senior leaders ensure that TAs are deployed effectively in line with
    this evidence?
  • Are TAs supplementing the work of teachers or replacing them?
  • Is there a well-planned programme of training and support for TAs who
    deliver out-of-class interventions?

These are questions you might like to consider in relation to your own roles.

Reference:

OFSTED (2016) School Inspection Update. Issue 8. [online] Available from: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-inspection-newsletter-2015-to-2016 [Accessed: 28th November 2016]

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