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

at Leicester and UN

March 6, 2015
by Jean
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Two perspectives on Autism

Over the last few weeks on the One to One programme on BBC Radio 4 John Harris, a journalist on The Guardian, has been talking about autism. His son is autistic, in these two programmes he talks with an expert on autism (Professor Simon Baron-Cohen) and an adult who was diagnosed as autistic in her thirties (Penny Andrews).

one to one 1In the first programme John Harris talks with Professor Simon Baron-Cohen. In this conversation the development of understanding about what autism is is discussed. Its interesting that he talks about discovering people with autism who could talk about the experience, something that at the time was new as it was assumed that people with autism would not be able to function in day to day life.

In the conversation John Harris discusses how difficult it is for him to conceive of how his son understands the world. Simon Baron-Cohen suggests that we do inhabit the same world in some respects and that we do have things in common. He uses the example of structure, repetition and routine where he comments that many people with autism need but so so many other people, something John Harris agrees with.

Simon Baron-Cohen discusses the concept of neuro diversity – there are different types of brains in the population rather than a single ‘normal’ brain, similar to the concept of biodiversity, that we encounter in the classroom. He talks about how some of the traits or qualities of autism can be seen as areas of strength – remarkable attention to detail, fascination with patterns and an ability to persist and go deeply in one topic.

one to one 2In the second programme John Harris meets an adult who has been identified as autism in adulthood and who works as a university researcher – Penny Andrews.

This is an interesting conversation – John Harris picks up on some of the points made by Simon Baron-Cohen and that he has notices in his own experience with his son. He is keen to have her perspective as his son is to young to be able to articulate and explain his feelings and needs.

Towards the end of the conversation they talk about how Penny’s employer is able to adjust and support her so that she can work effectively.

It is also interesting how Penny explores the connections between herself and people who are not autistic and people who are considered to be severely autistic.

For many of you who work with children on the autistic spectrum both these programmes are of interest, giving you some background and perspective on autism historically, theoretically and personally. From a student point of view it is interesting for you to notice how John Harris compares the research of Simon Baron-Cohen with experience of Penny Andrews – we often ask you to make these connections between research and practice in your academic work.

Both programmes are available on iplayer here They were broadcast on 17th and 24th February 2015 and  can be found in the episodes list. They are also saved in Box of Broadcasts if you are a university student.

If you listen to these programmes and have any comments please add them below.

 

February 23, 2015
by Jean
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Get Creative! (part 1 of 2)

Last week creativity was in the news as the Warwick Commission launched their report ‘Enriching Britain: Culture, Creativity and Growth’ and the BBC launched their ‘Get Creative’ celenration of the arts, culture and creativity across the UK.

warwick‘Enriching Britain: Culture, Creativity and Growth’ is based upon a year long investigation by people working in the arts and culture, supported by academics at the University of Warwick.

It was chaired by Vikki Heywood, CBE, who said:

‘The key message from this report is that the government and the cultural and creative industries need to take a united and coherent approach that guarantees equal access for everyone to a rich cultural education and the opportunity to live a creative life. There are barriers and inequalities in Britain today that prevent this from being a universal human right. This is bad for business and bad for society.’ (p8)

The report can be downloaded here – Final Report You can read tweets about the report and join in the discussion here #enrichinggb

For those of us working in education and schools it is interesting to note that  the report calls on the Government and Ofsted to ensure all children up to 16 receive a broad cultural education and urge that no school should be designated “outstanding” without evidence of an excellent cultural and creative education.

Goal 3 (of five goals) is focused upon fully harnessing the importance of creativity in education and skills development.  Goal 3 states:

A world-class creative and cultural education for all to ensure the wellbeing and creativity of the population as well as the future success of the Cultural and Creative Industries Ecosystem. Education and skills development are essential in order to maximise our nation’s full creative and cultural potential. The key to enriching Britain is to guarantee a broad cultural education for all (through arts skills acquisition, participation in arts and cultural events and enhanced appreciation), an education and a curriculum that is infused with multi-disciplinarity, creativity and enterprise and that identifies, nurtures and trains tomorrow’s creative and cultural talent. The English education system does not provide or encourage either of these priorities and this will negatively impact not just on the future of the creative industries but on our capacity to produce creative, world-leading scientists, engineers and technologists. As the evidence in this report demonstrates, children born into low income families with low levels of educational qualifications are the least likely to: be employed and succeed in the Cultural and Creative Industries; engage with and appreciate the arts, culture and heritage in the curriculum; experience culture as part of their home education and have parents who value and identify with the cultural experiences on offer from publicly funded arts, culture and heritage. (p15)

 

If you are seeking to preserve and enhance and culture in your setting this report contains powerful evidence and arguments to support you.

February 19, 2015
by Jean
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Congratulations to our graduates!

Last Sunday many of attended the School of Education graduation ceremony at the Derngate in Northampton. As

Tina, Kim, Helen, Janet, Siobhan from the UN group (FDLT)

Tina, Kim, Helen, Louise, Janet, Siobhan from the UN group (FDLT)

tutors we are lucky to sit on the stage and watch as our students receive their FDLT and BALT awards. This is such a proud moment for them, their families and for us.

As Admissions Tutor for FDLT I have met all of the students at the very beginning of their plans to do a degree – to see them achieve this is wonderful. As tutors we know that this represents a huge amount of work and changes to their family life to make it possible.

The students in this photo said “we’re happy to say it was extremely worth it and a good end to the FDLT. Coming to the FDLT graduation was a good boost to finish BALT, and we’re determined to finish now. It was such an enjoyable day and lovely to spend a proud day with all the family: they have to put up with so much throughout the year and we couldn’t do it without them.”

Lianne Lever, a student from the BALT group , gave the address from students at the end of the ceremony and acknowledged the support from their families which has been such a vital part of the experience.

If any of you have photos you’d like to share do send them to me and I will add them here.

February 16, 2015
by Jean
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TA event

Teaching assistants from Leicestershire, Northants and Derby took part in a great day of workshops on Friday 13th February at Beauchamp College, Oadby.

The morning workshop led by Eva Cartwright, Principal of the Teaching Assistant College, focused on creative strategies to support learners and explored how to help children get the best from learning opportunities.

The afternoon session, led by Julie Jones, Course Leader of the Foundation Degree in Learning and Teaching at University of Northampton, focused on the teaching assistant’s role in developing children’s speaking and listening skills. It involved the participants in evaluating how they could contribute to environments that encourage speaking and listening and in evaluating activities that would encourage and engage children in speaking and listening.

TA Workshops photoComments from the participants highlighted what a great opportunity it had been to learn new ideas about engaging children. As one participant said; ‘It was an opportunity to engage with other T.A’s and learn new ideas and think about what I do every day.’

January 29, 2015
by Jean
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A school that blogs!

Lots of schools now have their own blogs where they share school news and learning and teaching ideas. Its a great way of allowing parents and other interested people a window into school life and getting some positive feedback and interaction for children. It also provides opportunities to write for a real and interested audience.

SBblogStandens Barn Primary in Northampton has a great blog which you can access here.

There is a blog for each class and also blogs for specific people or themes such as ‘Sports Reports’, ‘Mr Chalmers’ DLs’ and ‘Clubs’.

I first became aware of this blog when Wayne Chalmers brought the school’s Digital Leaders to the University of Northampton for the afternoon to work some of our students who are STEM champions. (STEM is short for Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics.) We had an interesting inspiring afternoon of using ipads to photograph and film with round the campus, following a treasure hunt and then in pairs making a short film. You can read the university press release here and you can see the films here.

Last weekend I was aware through all the tweets appearing that the BETT show was happening in London – a huge annual sharing of ideas and resources around educational technology. Then I saw some familiar faces as some of the Digital Leaders from Standens Barn and their teachers appeared! You can read about their visit here.

And next week I’m looking forward to another post as I know they are coming to the #TeachMeetNorthampton2015 on Wednesday to share their ideas and experiences.

There are lots of other schools who blog and I can see that Standens Barn Primary are making connections to other schools locally and further away. Its a great opportunity for the children to learn about the lives of other children.

If your school has a blog and you would like to share it with us why not add it to the comments below? Or even better, write a little piece about it and I’ll share it here.

 

 

January 23, 2015
by Jean
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TeachMeet Wednesday 4th February

What is TeachMeet?

Screen Shot 2014-12-21 at 11.23.49Come along to an evening of sharing teaching and learning ideas. We’ll have mini presentations on creative classroom activities across the curriculum and there will be lots of ideas you can start using straight away. Everyone is welcome to join in: teachers from all types of schools, teaching all subjects and age groups. The main part of TeachMeet is hearing stories about any aspect of learning from teachers.  It is a chance for teachers to meet to hear ideas from each other and be inspired by colleagues. Presentations can be on absolutely anything that you’d like to share from practice: the futuristic theme simply refers to the way our Events Management students are helping to style the venue.

 

We are delighted to welcome Sally Hamson, Head of Wollaston Community Primary School to help host our TeachMeet. We’ll also have refreshments and some exciting technologies to explore such as Oculus Rifts, Robotiky robots, Raspberry Pi add-on kits and green screening demos. Rebecca Heaton and Jean Edwards will be drawing some visual minutes for us to document the presentations.

You can sign up for a free ticket by clicking the link to the right of this post.

You can read some more information about the presenters at the TeachMeet wiki wiki

You can tweet about the event using #TMNorthants2015

Here’s a provisional list of presentations:

 

Seven Minute Micro-Presentations:

1) Digital Leaders from Standens Barn Primary: Imaginary Worlds @SnakeyChalmers

2) Wayne Chalmers and Helen Caldwell: School and University Digital Leaders working together @SnakeyChalmers @helencaldwel

3) Scott Turner: Making and programming Junkbots @ScottTurnerUoN

4) John Ginger: Programming with Robotiky robots @Robotiky

5) Katharine Childs: The impact of CodeClubs @primaryicttech

6) Jennifer Hogan from Irchester Primary School CodeClub: Our Story @Lab13_Irchester

7) Karen Fretwell: Exploring Lego Fusion @Bluesrunner

8) Nicholas Tollervey: How can @ThePSF help teachers (a request for feedback & collaboration)? @ntoll

9) Kevin Hewitson: Helping learners develop learning skills, attitudes, attributes and behaviours @4C3d

10) Sway Grantham: Inspiring Curiosity with Edmodo @SwayGrantham

11) Kat Howard  Student Ownership @SaysMiss

12) Mark Allen: Change is Hard: slaughtering some sacred cows @edintheclouds

13) Neil Smith: Mini band: making music with Pis, Arduinos and SenseBoards @neilnjae

14) Ian Pratt @sciencelabman

15) Stacey Ramm @Tiffybum Using Google Classroom 

16) Mike McSharry You Bought It -You Name It @mikemcsharry

17) Farid Charidine Using AudioBoom to provide verbal feedback  @fcharidine

18) David Whale IET Schools Liaison Officer and STEM Ambassador, Essex: Teaching Coding using MinecraftTeaching Coding using Minecraft @whaleygeek

 

Reserves:

Two Minute Nano-Presentations:

1) Helen Caldwell and James Bird: Lessons in Teaching Primary Computing: The MOOC @helencaldwel

2) Sway Grantham: Why? @SwayGrantham

3) Neil Smith: The BCS Certificate @neiljae

4) Anna Cox: Padlet Ideas to Inspire

5) Isabel Trott Kitchen Chemistry

6) Julie Jones Professional Development of Teaching Assistants

7) Jane Badger

PLEASE NOTE this event is in the Newton great Hall at Avenue Campus – there is a map on the wiki.

December 3, 2014
by Jean
1 Comment

Film making with Into Film!

Rico and Sophie, explaining how to use the equipment.

Rico and Sophie, explaining how to use the equipment.

Over the last few weeks we have been exploring digital technology with FDLT Y2 students. We were fortunate to have support from Rico Lowson and Sophie Burrows from the organisation Into Film.

In the first session Rico and Sophie introduced animation and shared some ideas to help children understand were the process had come from. This included exploring the illusion of movement created by the ‘persistence of vision’. this can be explored through looking at the work of Eadweard Muybridge, an artist working with photography at its earliest stages, or making flip books, zoetropes or thaumatropes.

if you haven't got a tripod, you can use a clear plastic file stand to hold the ipad still as you work.

if you haven’t got a tripod, you can use a clear plastic file stand to hold the ipad still as you work.

Using digital technology we can now make a range of simple types of animation in the classroom. Rico and Sophie introduced us to claymation (using plasticiene), paper cut-outs and silhouette animations. In the sessions students used the apps imotion, imotionR and imovie to film and edit  animations, and it is possible to use other equipment and software as well. It was very useful (for both students and tutors!) to have Rico and Sophie with us to show us examples and give us practical tips.

The MK group at work

The MK group at work

These included:

  • using imotionR with imotion (through the wireless network) so that one ipad could remotely control another, eliminating movement when the ipad is touched,
  • ensuring that hands were kept out of the picture by having a line to stand behind when images were being captured and some agreed signals for when items could be moved around,
  • taking 5 shots for the opening or for any reading (credits) and then taking 2 shots before moving the items,
  • using the ‘onion skin’ on the app so we could see where each had had been, and move a little, or readjust if necessary,
  • going through and deleting any shots of hands in the imotion app, before exporting to imovie.
UN group at work

UN group at work

Across our groups at Park Campus, Northampton; Beauchamp College, Oadby and Milton Keynes we continued to work on this in another session, exporting them to imovie to edit. We created eight short animations to and they can be seen on this YouTube playlist

Reflecting upon the experience (both as observer and film maker) I was interested in the possibilities for learning inherent in the activity of creating a stop go animation. Teamwork, co-operation and negotiation was vital throughout the process. Creativity, having ideas and making them real, was apparent from beginning to end and there was so much practical problem solving. It was essential to be organised in both planning and filming the animation and there were numerous roles to perform at each stage. As adults with limited time in a taught session we produced enough of a film to get a sense of the overall process but  I can imagine that going from the initial idea to the end product could be an absorbing and rewarding experience – and a film show on a big screen would be great occasion in school!

The Oadby group at work.

The Oadby group at work.

In Northamptonshire there is an organisation called filmnorthants who will screen films from children and adult film makers – this could be a great opportunity for class films. Another possibility is setting up a film or animation club after school or at lunchtime – many children are keen to learn how to do this and pursue it in their own time as well as at school.

The CPD session that Rico and Sophie led for us was a great springboard to having a go ourselves, first with their support and later on our own – you can contact them through Into Film. If you are a school who would like to book training for 15 or more staff, you can email CPD@intofilm.org or ask to speak to the CPD team on 020 7288 4520.

November 27, 2014
by Jean
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ECYP book group – first meeting

goodbye-sarajevo-largeThe inaugural meeting of the Education, Children and Young People Book Group took place on the evening of 24th November. The chosen book was ‘Goodbye Sarajevo,’ an autobiographical account of two sisters’ experiences growing up in the Bosnian War of the 1990s.

A stimulating and provoking presentation on the history of Bosnia and on his personal experiences serving there with the RAF was provided by second year Education Studies student John Lewthwaite. This was followed by discussion and debate around the title, refreshments and an interactive question and answer session with remote students and staff in various locations through a live Twitter feed. You can see this if you follow @BookGroupUoN and the hashtag #bookgroupuon

FDLT students were represented at the face-to-face meeting and in the Twitter correspondence.

The next meeting will take place in S036 on 24th January at 17.30. The chosen title is ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time’ by Mark Haddon. Copies will be available from Academic Librarian Hannah Rose (hannah.rose@northampton.ac.uk) in the next few weeks and all are welcome to attend.

Tony Smith-Howell

October 28, 2014
by Jean
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Introducing Lisa Shepherd

Hello! I’m Lisa Shepherd and I am one of the tutors on the FDLT course.

Lisa-Activities Co-ordinator.webI will be working with year 2 groups in Oadby and at the University on completing the small scale school based research projects. I have already met with both of the groups and heard some of their great ideas and am very much looking forward to supporting them on their research journeys. I also teach on the SEN and Inclusion course and am very pleased to be a BALT dissertation supervisor for the first time this year. It is such a privilege to support students completing their important and inspiring research projects in education.

I am a Creative Practitioner and Dramatherapist who works with children, young people and adults in a variety of educational and community settings. I devise and deliver projects in schools and specialised educational settings, day centres and residential homes, prisons, libraries, community organisations and charities. I enjoy the process of research and write up my own work regularly. I was very pleased to get my article on the use of comedy as a creative vehicle for expression with young people for whom English is an additional language published in the Support for Learning Journal recently.

My passion is theatre, drama and the creative arts and I enjoy writing for performance, directing, puppeteering and on occasion performing myself without a puppet friend to hide behind! I also enjoy travelling and have worked with children and young people with SEN in the USA and Romania. In my spare time I enjoy making just about anything…sewing clothes and furnishings, up-cycling furniture, making puppets and puppet films and making a variety of strange props for performances by local youth theatre and amateur dramatics groups.

You can follow me on twitter @TheatreTherapy and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Imaginary-Ordinary/403267633048038 where I post about what I am up to and all things creatively and socially minded which interest me.

September 29, 2014
by Jean
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Introducing Abbie Deeming

FullSizeRenderHello, I’m Abbie Deeming and I am one of the tutors on the FDLT course.  I will be working with both year 1 and year 2 groups across all three sites so I look forward to meeting you all; I also have some teaching on the BALT course as well.

I originally trained as an Infants Teacher and taught in Berkshire but the majority of my teaching career has been in Further Education in Stoke-on-Trent and Derbyshire.  In FE I taught a mixture of level 2, 3 and higher education courses in early years, education and for teaching assistants.  My main areas of interest are child development, theories of learning (including emotional intelligence), motivation, behaviour management and safeguarding.

In my spare time I enjoy crafting activities and science fiction.

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