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Archives for : December2013

Making personalised Christmas cards

A short blog to share an idea I had last week that went down really well in my school.

To create a personalised Christmas (or any other card giving event) card:

  1. Download a comic book app – the colour ones are best, I like Comic Strip It on android (free)
  2. Decide on the pose and caption
  3. Set up the pose
  4. Add the caption
  5. Transfer picture to a computer
  6. Print, cut out and stick on a piece of card
  7. Voila!

You can do this without a tablet with only a couple of extra steps:

  1. Decide on pose and caption
  2. Set up pose
  3. Take the photos with a camera
  4. Download to computer and open with Powerpoint
  5. Download a comic book font (easy to find – just Google comic book font)
  6. Add captions
  7. Print, cut out and stick on piece of card
  8. Voila!

The kids at my school loved doing it and have promised to remind me (and their other teachers) at Easter time!

If you have any comments or ideas on how to improve/make simpler, please add below.

Thanks.

Collating the research on integrating EdTech in schools

Since my last post I have been reading a lot of the research done on integrating the use of technology in schools, successfully.

I’ve noticed that certain themes pop up regularly (in no particular order):

  1. There has to be plan of action – this continues momentum and ensures that technology is not just added because it is current but because it is relevant and fits in with the technology that is already in place/is due to be in place.  That’s not to say that the plan is carved in stone, it has to allow for fluidity as new technologies emerge.  The vision/mission statement is especially important as it instantly gives guidelines for what type of technology would fit in.
  2. The leadership has to be seen to be participating and leading on the use of technology.  If the highest echelons of power haven’t bought in, then it is going to be difficult to a) maintain momentum and b) encourage all members of staff to participate.
  3. Staff have to be given time to:
    • learn the new technology
    • prepare resources
    • collaborate and share good practice
  4. Staff have to be “good” teachers.  They have to already have a good understanding of the pedagogical relevance of a resource.  If they can not identify when would or wouldn’t be a good time to use a tablet over a worksheet they need to be given more time for development.

I started to write a Technology Plan for the school but it is turned into a Teaching and Learning Plan.

The world is changing and the classroom has to change with it.  We need to prepare our students for life in the real world and we can only do that if our classrooms emulate life.

We, as teachers, have a duty to ensure that we are confident and competent with technology so that we can pass that on to our students.

 

Training teachers to be good/outstanding in EdTech

I have been working in this school now for a couple of months and it has been a massive learning curve.  It is small enough to not have a ICT technician on site, my first month was spend reminding people that my technical skills are not that different to their own.  The second month has been learning the school and getting to grips with managing the iPads we have on site.

It has been doing my head in.  I have nothing against the iPads – against the monopoly of Apple, yes, but I can appreciate the wonder of the iPads.  I, however, have only ever owned Android and Windows based devices.  I have spent so much time Googling to troubleshoot everything.  But enough about that – in another blog I plan to write a bit more about the problems I had and how I overcame them (or what hack I used to make do)

One of my main focuses is to work with teachers and curriculum coordinators to help plan the integration and training of staff in some educational technologies.

When I decided earlier this year that I wanted to work with teachers in Edtech, I wasn’t aware that the role partially existed in that of a Learning Technologist.  Learning Technologists tend to be found in Universities and Colleges, and very rarely in secondary or primary.  I was bowled over when my current post was advertised and I have kept an eye out for any others, and I finally spotted one!

Most PGCE courses now have a module in Edtech, NQTs are coming into the classroom with some idea of how to integrate technology into their lessons, they are more likely to know the current and emerging technologies and this leads to a type of digital divide between older generations and younger generations.  However, it is not that black and white a line.  It seems to have a root in confidence levels, some of the “younger” generation are as hesitant as the “older” ones and vice versa.

Schools need to ensure that all staff are meeting a minimum level of competence in using technology in lessons – this needs to be built into to staff training and cannot (as is currently the case) be left up to the individual themselves to learn in their own time.  I am working on a set of skills to help measure progress, but given that much of it relies on you being a good teacher, it is not very specific.  If I manage to create something halfway decent, I will let you know.  If you have any ideas of “steps” to complete please share below.

Thanks,

Jag