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.
If you are starting a degree course it is worthwhile investing in a study skills book to support you as you develop approaches to academic learning. The Study Skills Handbook by Stella Cottrell is a good choice as it can support you throughout your three year degree. There are many other good study skills books too.
Now would be a good time to explore the early section ‘managing yourself for study’. This will help you think about starting to study in Higher Education and areas such as managing time and preparing for a new course.
There is a companion website with some additional materials to help you available here. In the Resource Bank you can find some audio files about critical analysis and creative thinking as well as a short interactive course called ‘What to expect from academic study’. You might find it useful to explore these resources.
Cottrell, S. (2013) The Study Skills Handbook. 4th ed. London: Palgrave.
Using your computer, laptop or tablet will be essential to your success and efficiency as a student.
Whilst you may receive paper copies of some materials, most will be in digital form for you to open as links or download and save to your computer. it is useful to be able to store these in folders related to each module that you are studying. these are the titles of the FDLT year 1 modules so you can make your folders now.
As you find resources and reading online you will also need to devise a system of saving and organising links. This might be saving links to a word document, using the tools on your browser or using a bookmarking tool such as Pocket.
As a student with access to the University of Northampton library you will be able to save useful articles and books within your library account. you will be introduced to this in the early weeks of the course.
You might find it useful to have a go with saving favourites or setting up a bookmarking tool now if you haven;t done this before.
If you have a place on the FDLT / BALT course starting in September 2017 you should browse the university website ‘new students’ area. You can find this here.
The ‘Before you Arrive’ section is good place to start. You can find this here and some of it is also copied below.
The checklist below includes all of the essential things you will need to do before you arrive on campus:
Read all the correspondence that we have sent to you
Check your course details
Find out about support for additional needs. If you have additional needs relating to a disability, medical condition, dyslexia or mental health difficulty please contact us on 01604 893430 or email ASSIST@northampton.ac.uk to discuss your needs
Remember that any communication from UCAS or from Admissions must be dealt with promptly. If you receive something that seems inapplicable to you contact Admissions firstname.lastname@example.org or the Admissions tutor email@example.com for clarification. An example of this is related to accommodation and Welcome Weekend: most, if not all of you, will not be living on campus so this communication is not relevant but you still may need to reply to decline this.
As a student of education there are many sources that you use to gather information to support your studies. As you begin your course you will be introduced to university resources to help you access academic books and journal articles that will be crucial to your study. before that though you can look around for other sources of information and research.
This evening, for example, there is a documentary on Channel 4 called ‘Excluded at Seven’.
Inclusion and the management of behaviour is an issuer of concern to everyone who works in education. If you watch this documentary try to take an objective view, rather than a subjective or emotive view. Ask yourself how the scenarios shown relate to your experience and also how they relate to your school policy and education legislation.
There is a link here to take you to the government’s School discipline and exclusions information page.
On the radio there are more opportunities to begin to think about areas relevant to your study. A series called ‘Bring Up Britain’ on Radio 4 explores issues such as nuturing critical thinking in children, raising happy children and summer learning loss in the summer holidays. There is a list of episodes here. You can browse this list and find a few that interest you to listen to.
As you watch and listen remember that these are sources made for an audience of the general public, not for students who are studying education. As a student of education you need to consider where the information that underlies these documentaries comes from and how reliable it is. In some of them, or in the supporting information about them, you will find reference to research and academic studies and it is these that you should find and read to more deeply into the subject.
Look out for other interesting opportunities to broaden your knowledge and understanding of the wider world of education on Tv and radio.
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.