Saturday, 29 September 2012

The Google Classroom: Planning a Course

The Planning Process

Very few teachers would want to walk into a room and be presented with a title and expect to teach for an hour.  We adopted a process orientated approach that is measurable against specific outcomes.  With this in mind the approach I am going to adopt is one of measurable outcomes both for the student and the planner.  I have had a lot experience of this approach to working.

In 1998 when I first joined a Middle School Suffolk a as newly qualified teacher with QTS (a level attained after a year of being a PGCE qualified teacher on most UK career tracks) having already gained a BSc in Botany, MSc in Crop Protection and worked as a Postgraduate Researcher in Fertiliser Technologies and sometime agricultural lecturer.   I took over the running of the science department and later added ICT to the responsibilities.  Two major departments in the scheme of producing effective learners.   

Within a few weeks of taking over we were Inspected by Ofsted and were put into special measures having already been given a notice to improve.  In the next few years (2 and a half seemed like longer) we had quarterly visits from HMIs (Her Majesty's Inspectors) who take over from where Ofsted leave off having  put a school into special measures.  Twelve years later I left this post as they shut Middle Schools in my part of Suffolk to move to a two tier system.

In that time I have seen many changes in what is looked on  as effective teaching and trained a few PGCE students. One of whom I met in another school in Cambridgeshire, where I spent some time teaching secondary as a supply or substitute teacher as per my original science expertise.  Thus my experience spans age groups 9 to 18, to adult.  

Primarily I am going to cover course building using Google Course builder from an educator of 9 to 18 year olds point of view.  Adult courses I will also cover but a little later.  So, the topic.  A universal topic for all science labs, Design technology and  IT use is safety.   I recently  renewed Safeguarding Training and was struck by amount of new legislation related to IT that was brought in in 2010.  However, the 1974 Safety at Work Act still applies (even in Schools) so  some of the legislations key points in child friendly terms are pertinent  especially as we are training them for the work force.   Good habits start early! 

So having rambled on about my professional provenance, does you good sometimes to identify achievements, to the planning process.  I mentioned in one of the last blogs the suggested standard of a Google Certified Course as opposed to a Google certified teacher, not so much an endorsement but a recognition that certain steps have been gone through to produce the course.  A bit like the Investors in People accreditation in the UK,  a record of the good processes being in place but not necessarily a record of  successful outcome of the good practice.

Wiki pages produced by  Google suggest some good practice so I am going to use this as the frame work for the common process with adding layers on top.   One of the  major assessments attached to online courses is the record of time spent on the course.      As mentioned in a previous blog there is a National Framework for Qualifications in the UK as well as in Europe.  More relevant to time spent on a course is the   European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS).   A new innovation in Suffolk is the Suffolk Baccalaureate which a little controversially has been compared to new Ebacc proposed by Michael Gove.  Therefore as a change in the ground rules for qualifications is taking place any course produced has to be working to certain common international  standards to  have longevity.  This is possibly something the Google Teaching Community could look at.  While that discussion is initiated I will take on board to start with as I mentioned the Google planning framework.

So will be putting some "style pages" up for sharing based on the process outline on the Wiki Pages


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