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

at Leicester and UN

August 24, 2015
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. Here is a link to a Google Community set up for FDLT students starting the course in 2015. You can make posts to introduce yourselves and suggest useful resources that you use. You will have to ask to join this community – this is because it is just for you and not for anyone else who happens to find it on Google.

 

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.

August 10, 2015
by Jean
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Preparing your workspace

Before the university term begins you should invest some time in getting organised.

Have a look at this activity that explores setting up your working space, establishing a filing system and staying informed. It is available at this link:

Geeting Organised (by LearnHigher)

Capture-24i76az

Think about setting up a paper folder for each module, as well as folders on your laptop.

 

You will need five:

PDT 1004 – professional studies

PDT 1005 – SEN, equality and diversity

PDT 1050 – work-based practice

PDT 1063 – subject based studies – English and mathematics

PDT 1064 – enriching the curriculum – within the school

folders

 

You might like to add a photo of your workspace in the comments below!

August 7, 2015
by Jean
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Starting the FDLT course

If you are starting the FDLT course in September you might like to read some advice from some of the students who have been on the course. You can find this above on the page called ‘Advice from students to applicants’.

You might also like to browse through the diary pages to get a sense of some of the activities students have participated in.

shoppingAt the interview this book was recommended. Looking at the early chapters about preparing to study would be useful over the next few weeks. There is a companion website here.

June 19, 2015
by Jean
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Study Skills for Academic Success

In July the University of Northampton is running a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) called ‘Study Skills for Academic Success’.

mooc

Anyone can enrol on this course – the link is here.

If you are about to start a course in Higher Education this could be useful for you, and if you are moving on to a new stage of university education eg from FDLT Y1 to Y2 or from FDLT Y2 to BALT it could also be of interest.

June 11, 2015
by Jean
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#ForestFlight

On Monday June 22nd from 5pm until 7.30pm the Northampton Inspire network is holding its final event of the academic year.

The theme is ‘Forest Flight’ – and we will be exploring the physical and digital world across the curriculum and age groups with a focus on steAm (science, technology, engineering, art, mathematics). There will be lots to join in with and take away to develop further in school. This time we will be making birds using card and de-constructed electronics, composing and recording music to go with them and displaying them in the Forest School.

Please visit the  Northampton Inspire blog to see some of the Meetings and Teachmeets that we’ve held – there are plenty of resources for your classroom there too.

Free tickets for ‘Forest Flight’ on 22nd June are available at the link.

bird.phpYou might also be interested to follow up the Access Art Share a bird project. There is more information about this here.

How Can Schools Request to Receive a Bird?

Schools can register their interest by sending an email to info@accessart.org.uk. Please note that we cannot guarantee any school will receive an artwork – it entirely depends on how many artworks we receive gifted by artists / makers. Artworks will be gifted by region on a first come first served basis.

If you decide to take part we’d love to hear about how you get on.

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
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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 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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