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

at Leicester and UN

December 1, 2015
by Jean
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The Educators

theedSome more episodes of the BBC Radio 4 series The Educators are currently being broadcast.

The episodes in this series listed so far are:

1.Character Lessons

The episode is about the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP). This is an American program to support pupils in disadvantaged circumstances. “They work in the most disadvantaged districts of New York, Houston and Los Angeles, where children have less than a 1 in 10 chance of completing a college degree, but their focus on character skills like grit, empathy and determination, is seen as the reason why half of KIPP students will graduate from college.”

(BBC, 2015a, lines 5 -10)

2. What Finland did next.

This episode examines the Finnish education system: “Since the first international comparisons in 2000, Finland has been at or near the top of league tables for the abilities of its teenagers in reading, maths and science. Experts and politicians flocked to its schools to discover what was leading to its success, and came away with a picture of autonomous schools, children starting school much later than in the UK, and having no tests until their final year. What developed was seen by many as a myth surrounding Finnish education success, while the reality could be attributed to extensive teacher training, high quality lessons and a culture of literacy. But now, Finland is overhauling the way it teaches through ‘phenomenon learning’ – periods of the school year where learning isn’t confined to single subjects, but students take on a broad topic and decide what, and how, they will learn. From 2016, it will be compulsory for all schools to teach with phenomenon projects, but Helsinki has already adopted it in the capital’s schools.” (BBC, 2015b, lines 1 – 17)

The programmes are available online at this link and they are saved on Box of Broadcasts.

References:

BBC (2015a) The Educators Character Lessons. [online] Available from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06ptw79 [Accessed:26/11/15]

BBC (2015b) The Educators What Finland did next. [online] Available from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06qjyrr [Accessed: 26/11/15]

September 15, 2015
by Jean
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The beginning of the academic year

Many of you will be starting a new academic year with your pupils, with your own children and perhaps yourselves as students.It s a big step to take and there is a lot to absorb.

At the University of Northampton we have a wonderful resource to support students with their study – skillshub

skillshubThis is an online resource for students to use to find help with all aspects of their university study.

A first step would be to click on ‘essential tools’ where you can find a list of useful starting points. Two that would be good to start with are ‘Your University Login’ and  ‘Introduction to NILE’.

After you have explored these, you could go to explore ‘Using the library catalogue’ in essential tools and ‘Reading Skills’ in ‘Academic Skills’. In Study Skills sessions you will be guided to look at other resources but you can browse any of the resources and use them as and when you want to.

As well as online resources that you can use independently  you can use skillshub to access other support such as group and individual tutorials, telephone and skype appointments.

Below is a ThingLink. You will learn more about what these are and how to make them in the future. This Thinglink gives you lots of links that will be useful to you as a student beginning study at the University of Northampton.

When you start a new course there is a lot of information to absorb so always make a note of any questions you may have and email tutors to ask.

September 3, 2015
by Jean
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Boosting your child’s IQ

Boosting your child’s IQ

(Wednesday September 2nd at 9am and available on radio 4, iplayer and BoB)

Programme description:

‘As summer ends and children trade flip flops for school shoes, Mariella Frostrup starts the new academic year exploring what can affect a child’s IQ.

Parents who read to their children, talk at the dinner table and help with homework might have happy offspring, but will they be making them smarter?

In the light of research into the influence of genes, Mariella and her guests debate the role of parenting on intelligence. They explore recent research into the effect of exercise and sleep and ask what difference can breastfeeding, flashcards, violin lessons and superfoods really make.

For the first in a new series of Radio 4’s parenting programme, Mariella is joined by Dr Stuart Richie, Postdoctoral Fellow in Cognitive Ageing at the University of Edinburgh, writer and consultant Sue Palmer, Dr Sophie von Stumm, Lecturer in Psychology at Goldsmiths and Director of their Hungry Mind Lab, and Hilary Wilce, writer, advice columnist and coach.’

(BBC, 2015, Screen 1)

This programme is interesting for you as students to listen to because you can hear people with a range of views discussing and debating the research and evidence surrounding this issue. Listen for how they express their views, how they use evidence to support or dispute views and think about how you are swayed by their arguments. Is it what they say, or how they say it?

Reference:

BBC (2015) Boosting your child’s IQ. [online] Available from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0680g5x [Accessed 03/09/15]

August 17, 2015
by Jean
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Thinking about education and learning

The Educators

theedTo start you thinking about education you could find this series of radio programmes on the BBC website at this link:

The Educators

In each of the eight programmes Sarah Montague interviewed a contemporary educator about their ideas. Here is the episode list:

1. Sir Ken Robinson

2. John Hattie

3. Tony Little

4. Daisy Chritodoulou

5. Paul Howard-Jones

6. Sugata Mitra

7. Jo Boaler

8. Salman Khan

You could listen to several of these through iplayer or download the podcasts. As you listen think about how what the educator is saying relates to your setting, your role and your own experience of education. You might like to add a comment below.

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…

May 3, 2015
by Jean
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Let’s Teach Computing!

From May the 11th you can sign up to the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) called Let’s Teach Computing.

Here are the details:

Details

Let’s Teach Computing is a Department for Education funded MOOC (Massive Open Online Course).  It is a free online six week course that will help you to deliver the primary computing curriculum with confidence by sharing practical ideas that you can use immediately in your teaching.

The course has been developed by senior lecturers in Initial Teacher Education, classroom practitioners and trainers so it is full of tried and tested activities that use equipment found in most primary classrooms and free to use software.

  • Week 1: Algorithms and Computational Thinking
    Get to grips with the use of the terms like algorithm, abstraction and computational thinking.
    Identify how computational thinking can be embedded in good primary school practice.
  • Week 2: Programming   
    Identify how to engage children in being able to write predict and debug programs
    Apply programming skills using a variety of software
  • Week 3: Programming physical devices    
    Illustrate ways to help children design and write programs that accomplish specific goals including controlling or simulating physical systems
  • Week 4: Understanding the internet and keeping safe online   
    Outline ways in which pupils can be helped to become responsible, discerning and creative users of information and communication technology
  • Weeks 5 & 6: Using technology purposely for learning
    Plan opportunities for children to use technology to produce creative digital artefacts using a range of devices and applications

COMMITMENT:
You can access the course content for each week at any time once it is released. We suggest that in order to get the most out of the course that you spend up to 3 hours a week.

LEGACY:
Throughout the MOOC you will be creating and sharing resources through a Google Community that you will have access to after course. You will have the opportunity to develop networks with other teachers and continue to share and collaborate.

One of the writers of this course is Helen Caldwell, a Senior Lecturer in our School of Education here at the University of Northampton. This is a wonderful opportunity to improve your subject knowledge and confidence in this very new area of the primary curriculum.

Go to the link above to find out more and sign up for the MOOC.

April 30, 2015
by Jean
0 comments

Using pictures and images to support learning

Over the last few weeks I have been teaching a session about using images to support learning and teaching to FDLT Y1. we have explored searching for images online and issues of safety, copyrightt and citation / referencing. One useful resource is photosforclass which provides a search that is:

  • Safe G Rated Images – All images are appropriate for school setting thanks to Flicker safe Search and our proprietary filters
  • Automatic Citation – Downloaded images automatically cite the author and the image license terms
  • Creative Commons – All photos shown are to the best of our (and Flickr’s) knowledge Creative Commons licensed for school use

This is useful for using to create resources for school use and for using in student work such as in presentations or creating digital artefacts that use photos.

In the session we explored collecting images and placing them on Pinterest boards, grouping images together in arrangements using webtools and apps such as Fotor, PicMonkey, PicCollage and Moldiv. Having made collages it is them possible to make the pictures interactive by using them as a basis for creating ThingLinks. here is an example of a ThingLink I made that explores the kings and queens of England from 1066 to the present day.
You can easily send a ThingLink to other people via social media or from a link. It is worth exploring the ThingLink website to see examples of how others have used it to support learning. You can sign up as a teacher.
We also looked at ways of using QR code makers and scanners to access images, and best of all, we used Aurasma to reveal images linked to objects and pictures.
IMG_0793The way that a video or image can appear on a phone or tablet as if by magic is quite captivating and would appear to have many uses in education.
I made an example based on creatures’ tracks where  a picture of the animal would appear linked to each track.
If you are interested in finding out more about these webtools and apps there are further posts on this blog:
If you have any examples of using them please add them to the comments below.

March 17, 2015
by Jean
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20th March – Solar Eclipse!

On Friday March 20th (if it is not too cloudy) we will be able to view a solar eclipse. An solar eclipse is when the moon passes between the earth and the sun blocking the sun’s light from reaching the earth. This is the only total solar eclipse of 2015 and the last total solar eclipse on the March equinox occurred  in 1662 on March 20th

solar eclipse

Meteorwatch 2015a

The picture on the right shows what a total solar eclipse looks like. This will be visible in the North Atlantic. In the UK we could see a partial solar eclipse similar to the picture below.

sl

Meteorwatch 2015b

A partial solar eclipse is when the sun, moon and earth don’t quite line up from the observer’s location.

The timing of the eclipse over the UK is around 9.30 to 9.35am on Friday 20th March. You can read more about the timings and see the progress over the UK on a map at this link.

This week, starting on Wednesday 18th March, on BBC 2 the Stargazing programme is focusing on the eclipse and includes a live broadcast on Friday morning from 9am.

If you are going to observe the eclipse it is important to do some research and make sure that you are properly prepared. There are some useful resources and activities at the Stargazing website that can be used at school or at home.

It is most important that we do not look directly at the sun, but rather use special glasses, a pinhole camera or other projection devices. Below is an idea from the Radip Times Magazine website for viewing the eclipse through a colander.

Projection through a colander

Simply hold up a kitchen colander during an eclipse and you will see that myriad small crescents – corresponding to the eclipsed phase of the Sun – are cast in the shadow. Each hole acts in the same way as a pinhole camera, projecting an inverted image of the Sun, and this works even if the holes are not round. This effect can also be seen when sunlight shines through leaves on a tree or other foliage, with the gaps between leaves acting as pinholes and creating crescents of light in the shade on the ground.

Casting the image onto a white piece of card held about 50cm away will increase the contrast, making the event easier to see, however any light-coloured surface will work. Try varying this distance to find the sharpest image, as the size of the holes in different colanders will affect the view. This method is the cheapest and easiest way for a group of people to simultaneously view the eclipse and its progress with no risk to either eyesight or equipment.

The results can be easily photographed using any conventional camera. The only downside is the size of the crescents are quite small. Increasing the distance between the colander and the projection screen will make the crescents larger, but also less defined. As such, other than the crescent itself, no details such as sunspots can be seen.

Pros: Cheap and easy, great for large groups of people

Cons: Views are quite small, no detail can be seen apart from the crescents (Radio Times staff, 2015)

If you or your school are doing anything special for the eclipse do let us know by posting in the comments below.

Reference list:

MeteorWatch (2015a) Total solar eclipse. [online] Available from: http://www.meteorwatch.org/solar-eclipse-march-20th-2015-easy-guide/#more-5998 {accessed: 17/03/15]

MeteorWatch (2015b) Partial solar eclipse. [online] Available from: http://www.meteorwatch.org/solar-eclipse-march-20th-2015-easy-guide/#more-5998 {accessed: 17/03/15]

Radio Times Staff (2015) Experience the Eclipse. [online] Available from: http://www.radiotimes.com/news/2015-03-09/how-to-watch-the-solar-eclipse [Accessed: 17/03/15]

March 10, 2015
by Jean
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Next Northampton Inspire network meeting

On Monday 23rd March we will be holding our next Northampton Inspire Network Meeting.

This will take place in the Sulgrave building – go to reception and you will be directed from there. it will start at 4.30pm although refreshments will be available from 4pm.

We will be creating immersive sensory experiences around a theme.

IMG_5936-z64choThis session explores cheap and effective ways of creating multi sensory environments for visual and sound stimulation using portable dark and white rooms. We will experiment with a wealth of light and sound equipment, create images using luminous paint, and project sensory iPad apps and video onto 3D objects. The aim is to create controllable experiential activities that encourage engagement and interaction for all learners, and to think about creative ways of theming these. We have been inspired by the work of Richard Hirstwood: http://youtu.be/ihMSw8BIXF4 and http://youtu.be/PkIKpOn7y98.

You can book free tickets here and feel free to let others know about the meeting – it is for students. teachers, teaching assistants and other interested people.

March 9, 2015
by Jean
0 comments

Graduation 2015

I was so pleased to be sent this photo of some of our FDLT graduates from last month.

tracey

The photo shows Jo, Tracey, Karen and Victoria, who are all now on the BALT course.

Tracey called this photo ‘Look how far we’ve come’!

 

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