DISPLAYING ITEMS BY TAG: STEM

The UK government has committed to investing £3.5 million in technology to support schools to adopt the new IT curriculum in 2015. While this technology investment is undoubtedly welcomed, the rapid advancement of connected classrooms and e-learning has left many teachers struggling to keep up.

Schoolchildren in Stedham, Chichester are deep in a space-biology programme launched by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Campaign for School Gardening and the UK Space Agency (UKSA). According to the Chichester Observer, pupils at Stedham Primary School have signed up to be part of the Rocket Science project, which saw 2kg of rocket seeds were flown to the International Space Station (ISS) in September. Chichester-native Maj Tim Peake will be travelling to this orbital laboratory next month, and is keen for the human race to perfect plant-growth in space.

I teach Computing. This means that, at least twice per day I get asked this question:

“Are we going on the computers today Sir?”

As an NQT, I was flattered by this, thinking that it displayed an enthusiasm for the subject. However I soon learned that it was, in the wise words of Admiral Ackbar, a trap.

With government funding and a wealth of shared knowledge, Eureka Online College are working with UK schools to offer teachers-in-training a wide variety of exceptional courses in shortage subjects such as Biology, Chemistry, Geography, Maths and Physics. This brings much-needed help to future educators who would normally not be eligible to commence their teacher training due to small knowledge gaps. The organisation offers subject knowledge enhancement (SKE), the government initiative fully funded by the NCTL which aims to increase the pool of potential trainees in a selection of shortage subjects.

Tremendously fantastic editor James Cain wanted me to make sure that this article was "a different beast" from my previous Halloween article. My instincts would not allow me to title this article anything other than what it is. With Halloween 2015 fresh in our minds, my intention is to highlight some suitably authentic ways to incorporate the occasion into the classroom. These are things I have seen, some I have done, and some things I would like to do. I do not see any of these thoughts being limited to one grade level or group of grade levels since as a teacher flexibility is not only key but also a necessity. I also want to highlight why I feel that using Halloween in school and in the classroom is a good idea.

Getting students enthused about Computing can often be a bit of a battle. I wanted them to really benefit from understanding the purpose of the subject and how it can be applied to the real world. Being an all-boys school, our students are often very competitive with one another, which made me think about incorporating an element of competition in order to motivate them and bring some excitement to the subject.

A Pennsylvanian pupil has tackled her germaphobia head-on with a Science experiment that’s been wowing visitors at the local Franklin County Science Fair. 15-year-old Samantha Mills is the creator Germ Invasion, a project looking at the bacteria and fungi content of her grandmother's home, according to Herald-Mail Media. Samantha’s project was on display over the weekend at Waynesboro’s Destination Arts! event which featured youth science exhibits.

I have always been keen to promote departmental work with an international theme, and was delighted last summer to be involved in a project linking my school with students in Ecuador. The venture was set up by Neil Emery, who has has organised two previous projects in Ecuador, visiting tribal groups and delivering technology workshops to pupils at local community schools. Further details of his achievements are detailed on his own IMS article.

In order to make the most of pupil voice and collaboration, TrilbyTV are working with schools to help them share video content created on any device, getting teachers sharing more and enhancing engagement with the school community. Following the successful launch last year, and with several schools utilising this innovative tool, owner-company Trilby had some tremendous feedback. The ease and intuitive nature of the product means there is no need for IT support to manage allowing students to take ownership, and teachers to keep in control.

 

Last year, I was approached to see if I would be prepared to lead a new subject in my school. I say ‘new’ in the loosest of terms, as it was Latin I was asked to teach! Being a geeky linguist, and having studied the History of the Spanish Language at university, I did get a little excited at first, but then was overcome by a cloud of hesitation – how would my students take to a language that is no longer spoken? How would they see the relevance to their current studies? And what skills would it provide them for today’s world?

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