Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Letting kids learn

“The longer you wait for the future, the shorter it will be”

ThinkExist.com Quotations. “Loesje quotes”. ThinkExist.com Quotations Online 1 Nov. 2009. 28 Dec. 2009 <http://einstein/quotes/loesje/>

I had the opportunity to work with some students who were taking part in end of year examinations. Those who finished early (and in this case most did) were given the opportunity to do something quietly. I watched as they involved themselves in a number independent activities. I took some photos on my mobile which are here in the slideshow. I reminded me of books we used to have like 100 things to make and do. I feel that this sort of activity, scaffolded and enhanced, has the ability to increase the potential of our student’s

literacy/numeracy/operacy .

Have a look at the slideshow (just eight pictures) and I will explain what I mean.

The only instruction given was that the activity had to be silent while others were working on their exams. We have looked at and developed a framework for learning at Southwell where I teach. I highlighted the values and key competencies personal learning time similar to this might support. This is about “learning to learn” and putting the learner at the center of the learning. Accepting where our students are at and providing them with the tools for self improvement but how ….

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Quality Assurance
Such a strategy as this independent learning time is now possible to develop and support through the use of ICT tools. I believe the key characteristics of this might be. This is the big disclaimer

  • Classroom Climate - Supportive classroom communities where learning modeled shared celebrated etc.
  • Reflection/expression/evidence/collaboration portals ie social networks, eportfolios (for lack of better word), gallery spaces, video repositories etc
  • Clear goal setting and articulation for learning perhaps SMART Students are asked to check off whether the goal is specific, measurable, action-oriented, reasonable and timely. This could be as simple as What is the purpose of this learning? What will represent success for me? What have I/we done so far? What do I/we plan to do next? with this information in a web environment peers and others can be used to motivate guide learners through this.
  • Formative community assessment – embedded teacher,peer and whole class feedback/feedforward
  • Time availability for learning to take place – this could be small pockets of time after say maths in an primary/elementary environment as we know that the brain need less intensive work in order for the neural pathways to become entrenched see syn-aps. It could also be represented in a more flexible programme where teachers facilitate learning with significant online support and individual access to personal learning.
  • Exemplars, evidence – Examples of tall poppies – growing poppies and aspiring poppies give students a clear direction.
  • 1 to 1 Access - to the connectivity, networks, creation tools and appropriate physical spaces and resources.

The place of personal learning can find its feet and show its evidence. I will finish with a building created in google sketch up by a year 7 students and a link to an online novel written by my son Jack (16) both examples of personal learning and endeavour.

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Sunday, December 27, 2009

A simple slideshow embed

I have put a few tables with photos into my blog. I was thinking a slideshow might be better take up less space, run itself and be more attractive. I found a page you could copy the address for a Picasa slideshow into as with many things a little further investigation and I learnt how to do this directly from within Picasa YAY. Here is a video showing how easy this is to do and a sample slide show below.

video

Here is a sample slide show. Some of the pics have been altered to make up the banner for my blog which feature my mum Dorothy or Dot as she was known. My brothers and sister also appear in some of the pictures. Need to add a few more in memory of Mum. Mum I miss you!