|A British Way M-way on|
a warm and sunny day!
Social Media use in the classroom!A change of scene this week! We had a snow day on Monday in East Anglia. My normal haunt north of Cambridge during the week was shut down due to the icy conditions. Instead I was asked if I would go to a new venue 40 odd (and if you have driven down a British M-way first thing in the morning very odd in most cases) miles down the M11 for the rest of the week. "Essex boy and girl" country, not really since the stereo-type was invented by DJs and newscasters in closed little boxes called studios IMO!
The Essex school child is no different from the Cambridgeshire or Suffolk school child. Only they have a little more brashness and over confidence from being close to London. I did my teacher training in Clacton and Harwich, and taught at the school on the next junction up the motorway so have had experience of the Essex dialect before.
I walked into the school and attended a briefing. I was intrigued to hear they were promoting the use of twitter within lessons for "brainstorming" sessions. Wordpress was also being promoted as a way of generating student participation and engagement. Surprisingly given the age range Facebook Pages were also included. Good idea to use social media as a tool not sure about using unmoderated pages. This might be an aspect fraught with pitfalls. Google Apps for education is a better solution since a gated community is set up!
Pleased to hear that the use of QR codes for PE instruction was being tried. The QR code via smartphone is linked to a "how to video" for gymnastics so pupils can self-teach or peer teach the movements. This can also be accessed at home so meaningful PE homework can be set. Here is the sticking point with this, the access at home bit! Not every pupil has access to the internet at home or the devices to view the content. Peer pressure may result in either access to this or create a digital divide.
Finally this week the National School Results Data has been published. The floor target for all schools was to reach 40% of pupils achieving 5 good GCSEs at A-C grades (or equivalent eg BTEC) including Maths and English . Below this floor target and an Inspector Calls, unlike the play you do know they have been and they do record what was said and they set targets. The overall achievement of pupils was 59% reaching the benchmark. So more good results than bad! The more important measure of Value Added, the progress they make since Key Stage 2, again glossed over by the media. If the school has a score less than 1000 it means the pupils on average are making less than expected progress from the age of 11 to 16. This is a better indication of fitness for purpose than first past the post measures. Take up of entry to the English Bacca and the success rates always a bit of a puzzle. not sure what to make of it, or that I have a considered opinion for a blog.
Haverhill Online Learning Community is near the end of it's Hacktivate Nursery Rhyme week. I could spend a lot of time on this and not go out to earn money on the day job. However, the idea is to try to get the community to produce the projects. Will keep trying to put as much as possible into the site. Worked Monday on the content to include self-publishing. Will work Saturday to add more content and start the Telework Week next week. Will continue with the cyclical calendar programme so we revisit each project every eight to ten weeks. Time Management becomes a factor especially after a hour commute down the M11 and a hour back. The M11 must be one of the busiest routes into London!
Was going to visit the BETT show in London next week but do not think I will have time as will still be going down M11 until at least Tuesday! Busy week as starting a Coursera Course on Digital Education supplied by Edinburgh University. Will see how this compares to the edX course I have been registered on supplied by Harvard University. I say registered as I have not touched the materials since beginning of December. And that is the point with MOOCs, it is touching the materials. Not convinced yet that it is always a useful learning experience since tutorials and hangouts are asynchronous if you are in a different time zone!