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, demanding students to be risk-takers and inquirers.
Inquiry and education
That last inquiry has changed the K-12 classroom from what many experienced just a decade ago, for students cannot be inquirers without being risk-takers. They take responsibility for their own learning by following practical strategies for uncovering information despite the billions (literally) of places to look. Consider this: If you Google 'space', you get over 4 billion hits. That much information is worthless. Digital citizens develop practical strategies for refining this list to a specific need.
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 education sector.
Is there really a need?
Before we get into the detail of records management and the practical elements of implementing a policy, there is a fairly obvious first question to ask. Most schools have been around for a while – some for a very long while – and already have processes in place to manage documents in line with legislation and sector best practice. So is there really a need to change?
It is said that money can’t buy happiness but we know that one’s state of happiness affects one’s performance – be it as an adult or a child – and that before long, for more teachers, there is likely to be a stronger link between their pay and performance.
The education landscape is in a state of flux and increasingly there is a move towards listening to young people’s views. But who are the stakeholders – children, their parents and carers, teachers and others involved in the development of young people, future employers? Pupils may well find they are being encouraged to take more ownership of their learning. Teachers are asking themselves whether they need to teach differently and if so, how, in order to best meet the needs of their various students.
Since I began teaching over seven ago, I have always taught the Topic of World War 2. It's a subject I thoroughly enjoy teaching and always an area that the pupils show a real interest. The topic has developed from a stand alone 'History' topic loosely based on a scheme of work, to a topic which encompasses all areas of the curriculum - a creative curriculum.
With the introduction of 1:1 iPods in year 6 in September, myself and my colleague Mr Williams began to plan a scheme of work for the World War 2 topic, looking in particular at how using technology could enhance an already engaging topic. Initially the aim was to build up the pupils' ICT skills and confidence using the iPods, and in particular the creative apps such as iMovie, Sonic Pics, Pages, Strip Designer, Creative Book Builder, Keynote, etc (examples of pupils work using these apps can be found below). If we felt that using the iPods would enhance the learning process then we planned to use them. Ultimately, we wanted to develop the pupils' skills on a variety of apps, so as the topic progressed the pupils would become as independent as possible. We could then make informed decisions on which apps to use to aid them, and demonstrate their learning for a particular area of study.
Daniel Edwards (read: @headguruteacher) was absolutely correct when he argued that too often we misjudge the impact of our work relative to the effort we have put in. He is right to focus on curriculum, timetabling, performance management and assessment 'overkill'; these all offer plenty of inefficiency and I fully agree that you really can have too much data.
This last is quite a statement and I know that in the past I have been known as a full on data fiend. It was, however, appropriate to its' context. I had started at a school in Special Measures and data in English was all but non-existent. What there was lacked rigour and too many pupils were able to slip through the net. This situation demanded a focused approach to gathering, interpreting and using data; the investment in time into this collation of data was appropriate, because the department was now able to monitor, support and improve the learning of pupils.
From last September, all secondary schools must provide “independent” and “impartial” careers guidance to pupils in years 9-11. This should include information on all options available for 16-18 education or training, including apprenticeships.
This article looks at what is meant by “independent guidance”, and how schools might best provide it. It is based on the findings of a pilot Transitions Programme, carried out in secondary schools between September 2011 and March 2012, and funded by the RSA.
Students are curious.
Without this curiosity, I don’t believe a Digital Leader programme would be so successful. Show them something they are interested in and they want to know more. If they come up against a barrier, they want to overcome it. If they can find out something no-one else knows, they want to share it. Successful Digital Leaders are the epitome of the curious student with more to offer schools than perhaps any other student body at this time. The classroom environment is changing and students and teachers need their help.
Digital Leader Responsibility
- A guide when using technology to support learning
- Exponent of new and existing applications
- Trainer and supporter of school members including parental, teacher and student bodies
The example below is taken from our 1:1 iPad initiative which serves to illustrate how crucial Digital Leaders will be to the success of the rollout. It must be emphasised that the roles and responsibilities are transferable to any technology in schools. I would suggest that the process is a little easier if all students have the same device.
There can be little doubt that e-safety is an important part of the well-being and safeguarding of children, young people and vulnerable adults. There is also no doubt that there is a significant amount of scaremongering that does little to give schools confidence to move forward and innovate strategically with ICT across the curriculum.
E-safety is a journey; it is a sum of many parts which, combined, will allow schools to gain confidence and really drive forward. Generally speaking, these parts are:
Below you will find all of my iPad 100 posts covering everything you will need to know when investing in iPads for your school.
iPad in schools 101 – In the beginning http://buff.ly/TNmYa1
iPad in schools 102 – Why iPad? http://buff.ly/ZjYmuD
iPad in schools 103 – THE device http://buff.ly/TNnbdB
iPad in schools 104 – THE learning http://buff.ly/ZjYH0r
iPad in schools 105 – Workflow – How to save, work with multiple apps and share http://buff.ly/ZjYQkr
iPad in schools 106 – The importance of your infrastructure http://buff.ly/ZjYXwh
iPad in schools 107 – Why trialling is important http://buff.ly/TNnxRj
iPad in schools 108 – The importance of training & staff http://buff.ly/TNnF3o
iPad in schools 109 – Ways in which mirroring can take place http://buff.ly/TNnPYx
iPad in schools 110 – Stakeholders http://buff.ly/TNo31z
Photo credit: FHKE
This is always challenging, isn't it? Finding evidence that students have learned what you taught, that they can apply their knowledge to complex problems.
How do you do this? Rubrics? Group projects? Posters? None sound worthy of the Common Core educational environ - and too often, students have figured out how to deliver within these guidelines while on auto-pilot.
Where can we find authentic assessments that are measurable yet student-centered, promote risk-taking by student and teacher alike, inquiry-driven and encourage students to take responsibility for his/her own learning? How do we assess a lesson plan in a manner that insures students have learned what they need to apply to life, to new circumstances they will face when they don't have a teacher at their elbow to nudge them in the right direction?
Here are some of my favourite approaches:
A resilient learner is not one that plugs away, writing everything down and not seeming to mind if they continue to get the same grade. Neither, obviously, is a resilient learner the pupil that sits in the class impervious to any form of learning going on around them.
Resilience for me is about the acts of reflection and action that follow a challenge. Both teachers and pupils face constant challenges through their school careers and resilience is something that we both need if we are going to survive with a degree of happiness and success. I am not writing this, you understand, because it is a characteristic Ofsted would like to see, but because resilience in learning should be an aim for its own sake.
Teaching strategies refer to methods used to help students learn the desired course contents and be able to develop achievable goals in the future. Teaching strategies identify the different available learning methods to enable them to develop the right strategy to deal with the target group identified. Assessment of the learning capabilities of students provides a key pillar in development of a successful teaching strategy.
After analysing the target learners, teachers can choose from the following teaching strategies to ensure maximum output is achieved with their class:
Almost everyone who studied maths at school will at some point have bumped into BIDMAS or its twin, BODMAS.
BIDMAS stands for Brackets, Indices (powers), Division and Multiplication, Addition and Subtraction. BODMAS is identical, except “indices” are called “Order”. Both acronyms tell us the same thing: the order in which to tackle the operators in an equation.
For example, in the sum 1 + 22 - (3 + 2) x 4, we must first evaluate the contents of the brackets. Indices (powers) would be next, then division and multiplication, then finally addition and subtraction.
This order of precedence is crucial in all arithmetic. To do things in a different order (to start solving the above sum by doing 1 + 2, for example) would often lead to a different and incorrect answer.
A curious title you might think. Well, these are curious times, as it would appear that life-sized posters, DVDs, pamphlets and YouTube videos are not getting the message across to young people. It also appears that not everything we are telling young people about how to behave on the internet is connecting with them. Why is this do you think? Might it have something to do with listening to older people? Is culture getting in the way of keeping our young people safe on the internet?
According to research published in 2012, parents worry the most about their children being groomed on the internet. Actually, this is the least likely thing to happen to them of all the present dangers that our young people are exposed to on the internet. But that doesn’t stop adults worrying about the risk. Whilst the risk is relatively low, the potential consequences are serious enough to be life-changing. There is risk in everything we do, and there is an inbuilt desire to protect our young. But are we really protecting our young as well as we can?
Are iPads the latest big thing that will transform education, or yet another over-hyped technology that will be misused until the next big thing comes along?
Computers in the late 80s were going to change everything, but then we realised they couldn’t do very much that was really different. In the 90s, CDs with encyclopedias such as Encarta appeared which were going to kill the textbook, but that never really happened.
Microsoft put out the Where do you want to go today? adverts in the 90s, but we didn’t really seem to go anywhere.
Interactive whiteboards were the next big thing, with England particularly keen to adopt. Used well they can be highly effective, but the majority are used as little more than a white blackboard.