Tagged with "learning Archives - Mark Anderson's Blog"
As we approach another Teachmeet at #TMClevedon I’ve been reflecting about the Teachmeet landscape around the globe now and it is great to see how they’re developing more and more. Internal teachmeets which I first heard @jamieportman talk about a few years ago now are happening at lots of schools. Specialist TeachMeets happen such as TeachMeet English taking place in Leeds. Pedagoo events such as PedagooSunshine following the TeachMeet ethos but allowing further exploration of themes than a TeachMeet presentation does….
One specialist Teachmeet that I’ve been catching up on was the Ross Morrison McGill & Stephen Lockyer led #SLTeachMeet in London. Ross, spearheading the #TMLondon series of TeachMeets this past year working in rotation around the orbital and now with the spectacularly line up SLT TeachMeet organised this TeachMeet. Leading on from the now popular #SLTChat that takes place every Sunday night, this was another ‘sell out’ event with a great lineup of speakers. I wish I could have been there. Following the Twitter feed and then subsequently the recordings made me reflect upon a few things.
The presentations from @headguruteacher Tom Sherrington and @Heale2011 James Heale held similar themes. Tom talked about facilitating systems which enabled accountability for teams but allowed for those teams to develop under their own design, facilitated by the systems that SLT had created. Rather than stifling teams with procedure, move teams from ‘Out of the plantation, in to the rainforest’. Clearly working with systems in this way will facilitate teams to grow from ‘Good’ to ‘Outstanding‘. This was further echoed by James Heale who talked about what he has learnt in his first year as a Headteacher. Brave indeed! One quote from his talk which has been resonating with me for some time having read it a few times is to “tighten up to become good; loosen up to become outstanding” which is so very true. Empowering teachers and middle leaders with the support of a great leadership team and structures / frameworks that encourage managed risk taking and development is certainly indicative of the environment in which I work at the moment and would be the way I would want to work with as an SLT member.
In the meantime, here’s a meme I’ve created to help me remember!
Back to the original part of this post though, reflecting upon where Teachmeets are at the moment…
Not in my nearly twenty years of teaching has there been a better time to support and develop teachers in the classroom. The best thing about all of it is that it’s free. Run by teachers, for teachers, for children. It couldn’t be better. Or could it?!
I’ve long sung the praises of using QR codes as a vehicle to support learning with these two posts being two such examples:
…and I’m not the only person either:
There are lots of places online that you can use to create your own QR codes for free too. The simple Kaywa site is one of the most popular and certainly ranks most highly on Google. Another site I like and use more frequently because of the colouring options is BeQRious and is really simple to use. More often than not however I use QRafter app on my iPad (the link will take you to the paid version, but there is also a lightweight version available for free here).
Today I found another site for creating QR codes called http://www.visualead.com/ - the USP with this site is their ability to embed QR codes in to existing images. You can do this for free too. You will need to sign up with your Google or Facebook account but once your there you can create some really nice QR codes which you can then edit and tweak as per below.
Why not give it a go!?
If you know of any other sites that do this or have some more ideas on how QR codes can be used, please let me know in the comments or say hi on twitter.
Whilst writing too, as I hit my 200th post on here, I’d just like to say thank you to everyone who keeps on reading my ramblings and finding them of some use. I love to hear from you – thank you for all the support and help you’ve given me.
This is a blogpost in line with the April BlogSync project here
How many people in this month’s blogsync are going to use this image in their post? Quite a few I imagine, because like in many classrooms around the country, I suspect progress looks and sounds the same. “They know more now than they did when they came in.” I’d like to think however that we can see progress in many different ways and that we can measure it in a number of different ways too. A student’s happiness in their learning, their ability to apply new learning, their ability to share their knowledge and understanding with others, their ability to regale that knowledge and understanding or that skills 2, 3, 4 weeks, 5 months, 2 years down the line. Progress comes in lots of shapes and forms. The thing is, the phrase that many people think of when thinking about progress in education is the phrase ‘rapid and sustained’ progress.
Recently there has been lots of discussion about this topic, for example here: http://dailygenius.wordpress.com/2013/02/12/the-myth-of-progress-within-lessons/ and here: http://learningspy.co.uk/2013/02/14/can-progress-be-both-rapid-and-sustained/ - and in many ways, I tend to agree with David Didau’s assertions in his post.
For me, rapid and sustained progress is not something that can happen at exactly the same time, but they are definitely things that you can see at the same time when looking in on a lesson when looking at a practitioner’s work. When it comes to rapid progress you can see this in a single lesson context because the practitioner can bring about learning opportunities for this to take place. In a single lesson context however, sustained progress is something which can only really be seen over a period of lessons. If you’re observing a class on a single lesson basis and it’s something you’re looking for, then as a class teacher it is important (and not just for the big ‘O’) that you have good record keeping. See ‘sustained’ section below for an expansion on this.
This is the sort of progress that you (should) see in all of your lessons. Students are taking on board new knowledge, practising new skills, sharing new information; turning what for them is essentially data at the beginning of the lesson, be given contextualisation from the resources and support structures you have provided whilst being that ‘guide on the side’ and turning it in to new information. Activities such as those I will go through below will show that rapid progress can be seen in the course of a lesson.
Sustained progress is something again which you can see over a period of time if you:
- have good record keeping
- are tracking the work that your students do
- keep a regular pen portrait of the learning experienced by your individual students
- differentiate lessons based upon their needs
- personalise the opportunities in your lesson so that individuals can access the topics
…and this is something I do for all of my classes. It’s important.
In my post for blogsync however, I thought I’d go through one of the ways that I provide opportunities for students to have big progress wins in their lessons with me so that opportunities to learn are explicit, shared, owned by all and demonstrably more powerful than just me being a sage on the stage who tests students at the end of the lesson.
- intended impact
- description of classroom action
- reflection on effect
- measure of impact
I have a class that is completing a Computing course. It is highly technical. I was looking for new ways to measure their performance, check their understanding and support them with opportunities to practice their analytical programming skills away from the actual programming interface. I also wanted the activities to be differentiated with the sky being the limit and for students to know explicitly the topics to be covered, that the audience for their work would be the whole class and that I would be sharing the best pieces of their work with the world at large at a conference I was speaking at. With the scene set, I set them off on a task using the brilliant free tool, Socrative. This brilliant tool allows you to create a number of performance / knowledge / skill tests that can be completed online. There are massive learning wins possible through this tool – I strongly urge you to look in to it.
The Socrative Space race is good for promoting competition
I wanted students to have a real sense of agency in their work. One of my marginal gains targets is to develop communities in my classes this academic year and so, linked with that, I thought that I would be able to do this through my performance/progress checking process, to facilitate performance measurement in a way which was multi-faceted. Not only was I going to create performance checking tests, but they were too. This would create the sense of agency and community within the group. I also thought this would be a great way of checking their knowledge and understanding by them creating their own test, completing the tests of their peers, feeding back on the various tests, the process of actually creating their own tests would also check their knowledge and understanding of the various topics by the very nature of them creating their own tests. Part of the preparation process also involved going through previous past questions to look at the ways in which questions were written, the types of language used and the range of options available on either multiple choice questions or short answer questions.
Description of classroom action
The class both completed and created peer based assessments of each other and some created by me which involved open ended answer questions, multiple choice and questions derived from image response. The classroom action was really powerful. Seeing the students work in this way was something which the class had not explored before, although I have used it to great success with other classes so I was positive it would work with them too. The tasks were broken down in such a way that students had to create at least ten different questions on given topics. Different types of questions had to be included too. Socrative is great with multiple choice questions as it marks them for you, but I knew it was important for the learning process for them to include short answer questions too. They included open and closed question types. My test also included questions derived from image responses – this is an update coming soon to Socrative which I’m able to access currently ( ).
Reflection on effect
What was particularly noticeable here was the improved value that the students have been giving to their own learning and reflectiveness in using the tool. I was really pleased to see the improved sense of agency that I’ve seen in the students. I’ve seen this through a number of positive behaviours in the students.
- Students have been completing homework to deadline
- Students were creating more questions than they had to
- Students created increasingly complex questions
- Students created questions that were complex and above the level I would have expected to see them working at given their previous levels and their FFTD target levels
- Students have been more engaged in the learning checking process
- Students have been competitive in terms of their creation and completion of learning checks
- Students have been innovative with their use of the software
- Students have been more cooperative and reflective
Learning from the process the one thing that I would go back on is that I would ask students to create some detailed mark schemes which would elicit different ‘correct’ answers in more detail for their short answer / open ended questions. This would bring out even more learning opportunities which was missing from this activity.
Measure of impact
Is this progress? Has their performance come on further than it would have done otherwise? Some of the questions and sections that the students created quizzes on were actually areas that I hadn’t even covered with them as a class. These were areas that they had taught themselves in order to be able to ask the questions and give the correct answers and mark scheme at the end.
So, going back to the beginning of my post:
- Have I built communities? Yes – students are more engaged, they’ve shown resilience, determination, grit and real character in doing this work both inside and (mostly) outside of lessons – often collaborating with each other on difficult topics.
- Has the sense of agency improved? Yes – students have taken on board a new sense of responsibility and are working in a way that will really help them in their future studies, not just in my lessons but in others too. Students have learned new skills to help practise their existing knowledge using new means and as a result they have new transferable skills which they can employ in other subjects.
- Have the students made progress? Yes – they have made demonstrable progress, further than they would have done if I had just ‘taught them’ – sage on the stage style and then tested them at the end of the lesson.
- Have the students performed? Yes – where there have been inconsistencies in their quizzes, they’ve fixed them. Where there have been incorrect answers in the tests they’ve sat of others, they’ve gone back and done them again to improve their scores. The list of wins continues.
This obviously can’t be the only method for working with the students and getting them to perform and show progress in my lessons, but more on that for the future. For now, the students are doing really well, I’m very pleased with the group and that on top of their developing Computing skills, they are also learning some great transferable skills to help them with their future studies both in and out of my subject area.
Over and out.
What I didn’t include as I thought my post was getting a bit long was some of the other things that took place during this 3 lesson, 1 homework slot.
The planned sequence of sessions was not a co-constructed sequence, however, the way I organised it was done in such a way as to appeal to some of the boys in the class who had not been quite as engaged previously as I would have liked. As many will testify to, the Computing courses at KS4 and 5 are pretty technically demanding and as such I wanted to engage some of the boys who had turned off a little bit to the course. Knowing through some anecdotal evidence that gamification of learning can improve engagement of boys, I thought I’d use this method of working with the group.
The other thing I omitted was the refinement loop that took place during this where we used a musical chairs critique strategy as a means of gaining feedback on questions. Students were given the ‘kind, specific and helpful’ feedback framework and were asked to give feedback to two students in the group, sitting down in their chair when the music stopped and then having a few minutes to go through the quizzes and offer some feedback for improving the various quizzes that they were creating. Students then had the opportunity to go back and refine their quizzes based upon the feedback they had received.
Here are some related posts and videos on gamification that may be of interest:
Gabe Zichermann’s TED Talk: How games make kids smarter
Professor Henry Jenkins on games-based learning at SxSWi 2009
Integrating Games-based Learning: A Conversation with Tim Rylands
Whilst I’ll write a longer post soon about the inspiration from the day today at Berkhamsted’s “Teaching, Learning & Assessment” conference yesterday, I did say that I would put up my presentation and resources from the session. So here they are:
I also spoke about a SAMR flow chart based upon Ruben Puentedura’s work as a tool for helping with decision making related to planning lessons using technology. It looks like this:
If you have any ideas / feedback for how this could be developed further I would love to hear your thoughts.
You can download a higher quality version of this here which can be printed to A3 for your team/staff room notice board/dart board:
SAMR flow chart
Thanks to everyone at Berkhamsted who helped make yesterday such a fantastic day, in particular Rebecca Brooks & Nick Dennis. Here’s to TLAB14!
Where to begin?
I love evidence and certainly the chart below starts a compelling conversation about how we are going to use technology in education in the future. If we are looking in to how we are going to equip our young people with the digital skills they are going to need as they grow up, evidence clearly shows us we should be looking to not only give students learning opportunities with traditional desktop methods, but we should also definitely be looking at how mobile learning and mobile devices can be used.
I was lucky enough to hear Fraser Speirs speak recently at an Apple iPad event. He put it quite simply in the context of his daughter who is currently 4. When she is at an age when she finally finishes University, is she more or less likely to be using technology? Is technology going to be used less than it is today? The answers speak for themselves. We, therefore, as responsible managers in education, need to be giving our students the best opportunities to support learning. It’s so important that in our global job market where “92% of the Fortune 500 companies are testing or deploying iPad” and companies such as Marks & Spencer, Ducati, Magic Circle law firms, so forth are doing so too, we should be giving students these opportunities as well.
Expect much more from me on SAMR and its uses and impact. For now though, please have a look at my presentation on the brilliant framework for thinking about how you use technology in lessons by Dr Ruben Puentedura. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the topic.
In recent times I’ve been lucky enough to be asked to speak at a number of different events. Ive delivered at In-house INSET sessions on iPads and learning, Web 2.0 tools, how to embed EdTech in to learning. That’s not including TeachMeet Clevedon events and all of the other TeachMeets I’ve spoken at plus must recently an Apple iPad Leadership Summit in Somerset. It’s been fantastic. It’s helped me grow so much professionally, but upon reflection it’s made me realise how much of a learning experience it can be to be the person standing at the front of the audience too. I always take something from the sessions to improve my pedagogy in the classroom too.
One of my personal aims of setting up TeachMeet Clevedon was to give myself more opportunity to talk in front of peers. I never suffer from nerves speaking in front of students but following my first INSET session at school, I’d been surprised to find myself nigh on a nervous wreck at the prospect of speaking to colleagues. How could it be that something I do daily with no concerns make me feel like I was going to be a gibbering idiot when speaking to peers? Certainly, if I’d read this post here: http://sinesandwonders.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/the-ten-commandments-of-cpd.html?spref=tw “The ten commandments of CPD” I’d probably never have bothered – what a tough crowd (although a great post where I agree with most points).
As I’ve gained in confidence and honed my delivery in front of a peer based audience rather than a teacher / student audience (and I know I’m still not as amazing as some people…)
I know I’m definitely getting better and I know I still have a lot to learn.
I put this down to the process being a two way street. The reflective practice of a teacher is paramount to making the best difference to the students in your classroom. This is also true when speaking to classrooms of a different type. In his post on the ten commandments of CPD, @dazmck speaks his mind about making sure that the experience is worthwhile for the audience. He talks about speakers not wasting his time otherwise he’d be out of the door quicker than you could say ‘buzz word’. For me the reflective feedback process helps to make me better at being a better speaker in this forum.
I had to smile when someone said Pete looked like Julian Clary
I’m pleased that I’m posting this after the mighty Pete Jones @pekabelo wrote his reflective post about his visit to TeachMeet Clevedon a few weeks ago. Before the event, we were lucky enough to have Pete spend the day with us at the school. As you’ll read in his post he found the visit really helpful in terms of his continuing professional development – not only from the TeachMeet event in the evening but also through the visit during the day too. I have to say, that this was definitely a two way street experience. Pete brought with him a wealth of knowledge, experience, understanding and skill related to PBL and Art education. Pete was definitely there to learn things for himself and for our school – I’m very confident we came off just as richly. His tempered experience brought insight to our Art department, gave me food for thought, helped give the voice of experience in a lunch time PBL planning meeting, provided us with a literal roadmap (ok train map) of key Twitter users to follow for inspiration, professional development and help. So, whilst he may have come for himself, I know we have gained just as much, if not more, from the experience.
As the person standing at the front of an audience, I know that I have learned loads from the experience as those who’ve been polite enough to put up with me. Feedback tells me that my sessions are informative, interesting, engaging and some have even said inspiring, although I wouldn’t say that about myself. I would just like to thank people who’ve seen me speak.
Writing this post also stirs up memories of a conversation with David Didau @learningspy some time ago about the idea of mini TeachMeet discussions in staff briefings. He said that many staff would feel worried/concerned about standing up in front of their peers in a staff briefing to talk about something, albeit briefly. I have to say, although somewhat belatedly, that I have to agree with him, that it is a nerve wracking experience – I’ve lived it and done it. My argument now though is that by affording myself opportunities to develop myself in this way, to move forward away from the weakness that I most definitely had, is something which I would say is well worth gripping with both hands. Move forward. Have a go. Become better. Try not to fail. If you do fail better (as we keep on saying) SO THAT you then become more confident, grow, develop and learn more. I know for sure that your overall practice will develop as a result. Your audience will definitely learn from your experiences and you’ll grow too as part of the process.
I thought after all of the amazing feedback from last week’s event (was it really this time last week??!) I thought it was only fair that I pen my own response and thoughts about the night.
Before the night even started, staff and students were working hard to make the event a success. The first thing that was sorted was the amazing stage set which was put together by students and our subject leader for Art @kellylhawkins along with her PGCE student Katherine and Head of House, Jamie Williams.
Visitors arrived to be met by Clevedon students, scanning their tickets using the fantastic Eventbrite check in app which managed all of the tickets and check-ins on the night.
Before the night even started we were subject to some fantastic food, prepared and cooked by the students of Clevedon School. There were gourmet handmade mini cheeseburgers and also chicken tikka wraps and other delicious fare. It was made, delivered and served by the students. A great way to start the evening.
My attire for the evening was somewhat sparkly, but it certainly helped to get the night off to a fun and humourous start, which was what we wanted. Teachers feeling relaxed, watered, fed and ready for some great learning and sharing.
First up was someone who didn’t really need introducing, but I did it anyway… Vic Goddard who reminded us in a really clear way that it is our job to do the best for the students we work with. One of his quotes, which was probably the quote of the night was that:
‘We can’t accept being part of their success if you don’t own up to your part in their failures’
Vic Goddard opening TeachMeet Clevedon
It was a truly inspirational start to the evening and he ended with some brilliant advice via Taylor Mali and his slam poem, “What teachers make”
We were then fortunate to catch @ben_keeling talking about his idea about school transformation through 3 doodles at a time. More info on Ben and his work here: http://edu-sketches.com/about/
Our seminars then broke and in a new twist to the TeachMeet format, we had 6 seminars which took place for about 45 mins. The feedback on these has been great. One teacher took ideas from @kellylhawkins seminar and got an Outstanding observation the very next day! The back channel work leading to Zoe Elder’s (@fullonlearning) workshop on Marginal Gains or the fantastic tools shown and how they can be used by Wendy Hanrahan (@primaryict) and David Didau’s ‘Secrets of Literacy’ seminars were really well received. Public critique was the focus for Tait Coles‘ seminar and both his and Clevedon School’s Head Teacher’s presentations on ‘Whole School Learning’ have brought brilliant feedback too. I’m really pleased that the seminars went down so well. Previous feedback had been that visitors had wanted the opportunity to not only specialise but also to network and the seminar slots provided that opportunity. We built in time for everyone to not only attend a specialist seminar, but also factored in time for everyone to mingle, grab another drink, catch up and network with other attendees.
Once this was over with, it was down to the usual ‘quick fire’ TeachMeet presentations and we weren’t let down here again. Highlights for me included Alessio Bernardelli’s (@asober) ‘Prezi’ presentation, Dave Stacey’s @davestacey ‘Rebooting his teaching’ presentation and my absolute favourite was one that made me so proud when our Digital Leaders stood up and talked about the Digital Leaders scheme at Clevedon School and how the sort of work they do and how they became to be Digital Leaders. A massive thank you to all of the presenters from me though – we work so hard in our day jobs, it is a massive deal taking the time to prepare something for an event such as ours and having the courage to stand up in front of all these people too. Thank you.
I would also like to take a special paragraph in this write up to thank Jim Smith @thelazyteacher too, because I’ll let you in to a secret – he’s not lazy (apart from maybe in the classroom). Where he gets his energy from I do not know – if Red Bull could bottle him, they’d have a new brand. If it wasn’t for his support, ideas and hard work, none of us would have had the great night we did. Thanks Jim.
As I’ve said, lots of people have written about their experiences of the night, the learning that took place, the connections and re-connections made, the inspiration and the fun they had. I have personally found it really rewarding watching the follow on from the night; reading on my Twitter timeline about discussions continued, ideas falling in to place, impact happening in schools all over our region and beyond. It was for all intents and purposes a good night had by all. For me though, the thing that really has stuck in my mind, was the buzz. The feeling of being part of something. Of being a member of a community, a society of teachers who give so much of a damn about teaching and the young people they work with that they were prepared to traverse the country to get to the night to share with us. Coming from literally all over the UK to be with people who do, as Lisa Jane Ashes (who came from nr. Newcastle) said in her blog, “Give a….” about education. We even had the inspirational and highly regarded Ian Gilbert in our midst too, soaking up the atmosphere. So as with all our Teachmeets I extend yet another open invitation to Mr Gove to come along to the next one and see what teachers who care about their profession do. Come and see what it is that makes us tick. Come along and check out our students, proud and passionate about their education to want to talk about their learning to hundreds of teachers. Come and see these professionals who give do give their time, effort, passion, money and life to the best job in the world. Come and learn.
Here’s to more of the same!
I truly hope very much to see you all next time.
You can watch sessions again by visiting http://youtube.com/tmclevedon
Resources from the night can be found here: http://bit.ly/learningrocks
Big thanks go again also to our sponsors without whom the night couldn’t have gone ahead:
Crown House Publishing
Independent Thinking Limited
A presentation from the recent TeachMeet Woodham where I spoke about ways in which an iPad can be used as a tool to support learning and activities in the classroom.
Thanks to @andyhutt for the heads up on this one.
Love this site for creating your own animated presentations. Here’s one I made earlier (mind out if you have speakers on for the annoying jingle at the end though!).
It’s got a really simple to use interface with fab features too. Add in your text, build in your presentation, animations, images, music, you can even add your own voiceover.
User interface for creating your own ‘PowToon’!
Check it out now by visiting http://www.powtoon.com - watch to sign up for the Edu version too #tweachers!