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Showing posts from June, 2010

Thinking Out Loud about ICT: tools for reflection

provide students with tools to help them to reflect upon their own learning

I want the students coming to my department to be aware of themselves as learners, and to be active participants in their own learning processes.  Of course every student is actively involved in their own learning - no learning would take place otherwise - but I want them all to be able to take a step back from themselves and reflect upon their own progress.  Making this reflection regular, manageable and meaningful is a challenge!  We don't have 1-1 computing devices in class, so if we are going to use ICT we are largely going to have to use the students' devices in the students' time (until enough of them have smart phones!).

Moodle

Moodle offers a plethora of tools that might help here:  Class wikis, glossaries, journals, forums... the list goes on.

Glow

Wikis and blogs are in Glow now aren't they?  Or they will be soon.

Google Apps

Google Apps include forms and shared documents.  I guess they coul…

Thinking Out Loud about ICT

So the "best class ever"  have moved on to new teachers, and I have new classes starting on Monday. I've been reflecting, for myself and in my role as head of department, on what I am hoping to achieve by using ICT with my new classes. I want to make sure that I'm focussing on quality learning and teaching, not on ICT for its own sake. Here's a provisional list of aims:

help students  to reflect upon their own learning
help them  to discuss their learning with each other and with me at any time
help them  to gather evidence of their own learning
help them to learn collaboratively
help them to self-assess their progress, and peer assess each other's
provide them with alternative resources to "close the gap" if they have not mastered learning objectives
provide parents/carers with information about their children's learning
provide me with tools to manage assessment data
save money!

Along with this list of potential benefits, I have a list of possible tools…

The Best Class Ever

A year ago, I had my first lesson with a new S2 class - a middle set. As usual, I began by saying:
Imagine that it is a year from now. You are leaving the classroom, and as you go, I have a tear in my eye and say "you were the best class ever". What kind of things do you think you would have to do, individually and as a group, in order to make that happen? And as you leave, you say to me "thank you Mr Jones - you were the best teacher ever." What kind of things would I have to do to make that happen?
A year ago, as usual, this led to the class coming up with an excellent set of class rules, and a clear list of their expectations of me as a teacher.  The pupils all signed their list, and I signed mine (once I had negotiated away items like "no homework"!)

Now things don't always pan out the way I would hope, but today, as the class left the room for the last time, I must confess that there was a lump in my throat, and I was able to tell them honestly…

A Rich Task

Over the last 2 periods with my S2 class, we have been working on the Counting Cogs task from Nrich, using the groupwork roles suggested by them. 



I plan to use this task as an introduction to multiples, factors and primes in our new  CfE course, so I was really using my S2 class as guinea pigs!

The task was genuinely rich: the pupils came up with many conjectures which I had not predicted. Here are some snippets of the artifacts they produced:



I was particularly pleased to be able to discuss the "failed attempt" and convince the students that it wasn't really a failure at all. It was really a great bit of evidence of the scientific method in practice. They could have improved their recording by showing how they found out that it wasn't true (by making a prediction based on the conjecture, then finding that it didn't work).

The pupils were using words like multiple, factor and prime without any prompting from me to do so. I think this task would work very well as…