This article originally appeared in Innovate My School's September 2012 digital magazine. The Structure of Observed Learning Outcome (SOLO) taxonomy aims to show pupils how to develop sophisticated responses to questions by getting them to examine their thought-process as their understanding of a topic improves. I began using SOLO in 2011, and it is now integral to my teaching. SOLO defines five stages of understanding for any topic: prestructural, unistructural, multistructural, relational ...
Education Secretary Michael Gove wants to change the primary and secondary school curriculums in England. He has said he wants pupils to be taught a "core knowledge" of facts and figures. He wants them to be able to recite their times tables, punctuate a sentence correctly and list capitals of the world. The education systems in Hong Kong, Finland, and South Korea are often lauded as among the best in ...
The ability to set goals and understand the steps necessary to achieve them is a key skill for secondary school students looking to succeed in life and work. Whether it’s encouraging pupils to discover the desire to improve, to follow their dreams or to learn from their mistakes, having dreams and ambitions can turn young people’s lives around. It was a skill I learned from a young age ...
As 3D printing becomes more accessible to the public, educators are learning how this technology can revolutionise the classroom. Image courtesy of OnlineDegrees.org.
The whole reason for educators to fear Facebook was because "it's unsafe and can't be monitored." Which is partially true, but wasn't convincing enough for me. Now with 1:1 programs popping up all over, companies like Edmodo, Moodle, and Schoology are developing safe ways for teachers and students to communicate outside of class time. These free online tools are great, but they operate on a more closed basis than Facebook. However, ...
Here’s a picture of the original ICT suite, complete with rows of desktop computers and an obligatory interactive whiteboard at the front. The senior management team felt that the suite didn’t properly represent the school’s creative ethos, didn’t reflect our vision of learning, and wasn’t capable of delivering the future curriculum needs of our pupils. So we started gathering ideas from pupils about what ‘future ...
Came across a great example of how peer marking can be effortlessly, but effectively used to close the learning gap today – courtesy of our Head of Geography, David Brading (@davidbrading). It went like this: Step 1 – Peer marking based on clear success criteria Students were set a writing task – ‘Describe in detail how humans use fold mountains’.  They were then given clear instructions on how to peer mark the work: Circle ...
What are we educating our children for? "Just in the past couple years, we've seen digital tools display skills and abilities that … eat deeply into what we human beings do for a living.” (Andrew McAfee) "Are droids taking our jobs?" is a very powerful presentation by Andrew McAfee which looks at the great changes in civilisation. One change trumps them all: the technological advances that led to the industrial revolution. ...
This is a ‘how to’ post that was inspired by this post over at Noel Jenkins’ excellent Digital Geography. This in turn led me to another useful and creative blog by Paul Bogush and this post on creating RSA Style animation videos with the class. If you want to know how to do it properly, I recommend that you head over to Noel and Paul’s posts first. This post ...
For the past 5/6 years, my school has been using Big Writing in literacy to provide a focused time for children to write. As time has passed we have moulded our approach to include other useful aspects of literacy. We now tend to use our Big Writing session as a final piece to a particular text type focus, unless it is an assessed piece and has to be a standalone lesson. ...
In my last post, we talked about “digital citizens”, the modern student who lives in two worlds. One he can touch with his hands, the other only with his mind. It’s this latter one that has revolutionised education, provided opportunities for students to talk to experts on astronomy, walk through the ancient ruins of Stonehenge, and dissect a frog without touching a scalpel. This world is scintillating, but challenging, ...
The Information and Records Management Society (IRMS) curates a regularly updated “Records Management Toolkit” written specifically to assist UK public sector schools in their compliance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000. In a series of articles, Arena Group’s Neil Maude looks at the practical application of the principles described in this toolkit, using his 20+ years of experience in the provision of document management solutions within and outside of the ...
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