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

at Leicester and UN

September 5, 2016
by Jean
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Setting up folders your computer

foldersIf you are joining FDLT year 1 in September you might be thinking about getting organised. Most of you will be studying the five modules shown to the right. You will be introduced to our virtual learning environment, NILE, where the resources for sessions are uploaded for you to access.

It is useful to set these folders up in ‘my documents’ on your computer so that you can download resources into them.

 

August 26, 2016
by Jean
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Back to School!

14114870_1565966197042266_1174246251766030347_oI hope you are all enjoying the last few days of the summer break before returning to school. As well as going back to school you will also be thinking about either starting or continuing your university course.

If you are starting the FDLT course in year 1 your sessions begin in week beginning 12th September. The course leader, Abbie Deeming and I (Jean Edwards, Admissions Tutor) will be in touch by email soon and you will also be receiving emails from the University. Please note that FDLT students are not involved in Welcome Weekend – that is for students who are coming from further afield to begin university life in Northampton.

If you are coming into year 2 your course starts in week beginning 19th September.

Reference:

Pobble. (2016) Teachers’ back to school training. [online] Available from: https://www.facebook.com/PobbleEducation/photos/a.1442637632708457.1073741829.1434540943518126/1565966197042266/?type=3&theater [Accessed: 25/08/16]

August 24, 2016
by Jean
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Using Google to support your learning at university

Using Google to support your learning at university

There are many tools available through Google that will support your learning at university. In order to access and use these you will need a Google account. You can easily sign up for one here:

Google Account

google

 

When you have your Google account you will be able to use a number of useful tools:

gmail

It is useful to have a gmail address to use to sign in and give you access to all the other tools available through Google even if you don’t use it for email.

Google Drive

Google Drive allows you to store documents (files, spreadsheets, slides) in the cloud so that they are available to you online. You can also share them with others so that you can work collaboratively to add and edit your work. We might have a shared document in a taught session that you could be asked to contribute to.

Google+ Account

Google+ allows you join Google communities of people with similar interests. We might set up a Google community for a topic or subject that you can join and interact on, sharing ideas and resources. There are many existing Google Communities that are of interest to students, and people working in education that you can browse and join. This is a link to the Teaching Assistant community run by TA Focus Teaching Assistant Community that could be of interest to you.

August 8, 2016
by Jean
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Stories and advice from former students

If you are starting the FDLT course in September you might be interested in reading stories and advice from some of our former students. You can access these here:

Advice from students to applicants

January 29, 2016
by Jean
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Tim Peake – Principia Mission

On the 15th December 2015 Tim Peake left the earth in the Soyuz rocket for a six month stay on the International Space Station. You can see some highlights of the launch day in this video:

The name of this mission is Principia and during his mission Tim Peake will be undertaking science experiments and research on the space station. There are school activities based around science and technology running alongside this mission that could be interesting and inspiring to follow and join in with. These resources can accessed here.

timpeakeTim Peake has a website which can be accessed here.

You can follow him on Twitter @ASTRO_TIMPEAKE If you scroll through his twitter feed you can that there are so many children and schools being inspired by his mission to the ISS.

You can follow his blog for posts about life and work on the ISS here: Tim’s blog.

There’s lots of possibilities for using this event to inspire and support learning in school. If you want to have a go at growing seeds that have been into space you can find details here

 

December 18, 2015
by Jean
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FDLT animates!

Over the last few weeks the FDLT Y2 groups have been using animation, greenscreen and video editing apps to create short films.

2015-11-30 10.22.34This year we used the animation app ‘iMotion’ to make the animations. This is a relatively simple to use free app (there is a paid for version with a few extra features). This time when we used it some of the groups experienced a problem in that if they stopped animating and watched their films back when they continued the film did not always continue on from what they had previously done. We were able to correct this using iMovie but it was frustrating and sometimes demotivating.

2015-11-30 11.03.42Something else we tried this year for the first time was filming the animation against a green screen and then adding a background using the DoInk greenscreen app. This allowed them to set their story against one or more photographs that they had chosen. As we used it we also found that the animation could be moved around on the screen to a better position and the photo could be adjusted too. This app was very user friendly and a student recommended the DoInk animation app which is something we will investigate for next time (to help overcome the problems outlined above).

After the animations were made and the photographic background added we used iMovie to edit the films. For some this meant reordering their scenes and for all it meant adding sound. Some students chose some music from the limited range available on iMovie. Others added narration, dialogue and sound effects as well. Films can also be edited in YouTube, which has a much larger choice of music.

Along the way students also used the photosforclass.com website to find photos; Dropbox, to save films at different stages and YouTube to share and edit films. It was impressive to see the level of team work, creativity and perseverance from the groups of students as they worked together to create their animations. They can seen on this YouTube channel:

The students learn how to animate and use green screen so that they can explore how to use digital technology to support and enrich learning across the curriculum. Underpinning much of the activity was narration, imagination and storytelling – many of them told stories and designed story boards in order to develop their story before beginning to animate.

2015-11-24 10.20.49Some students set their animations in non-fiction contexts that involved some research about their area (global warming, animal homes). Throughout they listened, negotiated, described, speculated, evaluated and asked questions (English). In addition this some students explored aspects of the history, science or geography curriculum to set their animation in context. All the students were engaged in designing and making sets and props and some made their own characters. Some students researched to find and evaluate images to use for their backgrounds (art and design, design and technology). All the students were engaged with using digital technology to make and edit their films (computing).

2015-11-24 13.09.44We hope that students will go and use these skills in their support for learning in schools as teaching assistants, or in the future as they become teachers. the potential for learning in the classroom or in after school clubs is huge. As adults they experienced an immersive and intensive full day of activity that might be better broken down into a series of smaller activities with children. This would give the chance for greater reflection between each stage.

Furtehr reading:

There’s an interesting blog post here about the educational value of making stop motion animations with children and also these journal articles exploring research:

Fleer, M. and Hoban, G. (2012) Using ‘Slowmation’ for intentional teaching in early childhood centres: Possibilities and imaginings.
Australasian Journal of Early ChildhoodVol.37(3), p.61-70.

Hoban, G. and Neilsen, W. (2014) Creating a narrated stop-motion animation to explain science: The affordances of “Slowmation” for generating discussion. Teaching and Teacher Education. Vol.42, p.68-79.

Pugh, S. (2013) Stop motion animation as an innovative approach to engagement and collaboration in the classroom. The Student Researcher. Vol 2. No 2. pp109-120.

Reid, D., Reid, E. and Ostashewski, N. (2013) Combining iPads and slowmation: Developing digital storytellers in an early learning environment. World Conference on Educational Media and Technology. pp. 1539–1543

 

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]

October 21, 2015
by Jean
0 comments

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 7, 2015
by Jean
0 comments

Mind Changers

Carol Dweck and Growth Mindset

(Radio 4 Wednesday 12th August and on iplayer and BoB)

‘Claudia Hammond presents the history of psychology series which examines the work of the people who have changed our understanding of the human mind. This week she interviews Carol Dweck, who identified that individuals tend towards a fixed or a growth mindset regarding what they can learn and achieve. She also showed that a fixed mindset can be changed, and that once people adopt a growth mindset, they can achieve more.

Claudia visits a UK primary school where growth mindset is part of the curriculum, and sees how children who don’t like maths soon change their attitude at a summer camp in California, once they’re shown that getting the wrong answer actually makes their brains grow more than getting the right answer.

She hears more about Dweck and her work from colleagues Greg Walton and Jo Boaler at Stanford University, and executive head Dame Alison Peacock at the Wroxham Primary School.’

(BBC, 2015, screen 1)

This is an interesting programme for you as students to listen to as it explores how the ideas and research of academics are applied in the classroom. Some of you may be experiencing the application of a growth mindset approach in your schools or your children’s schools. Do you think it also has an application to yourselves as university students?

Reference:

BBC (2015) Mind Changers: Carol Dweck and Growth Mindset. [online] Available from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b062jsn7 [Accessed: 03/09/15]

September 3, 2015
by Jean
0 comments

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]

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