Let It All Hang Out

Friday was a fantastic day here at I2L as we had an open day to showcase lots of the resources that schools can buy into. Although our centre is based in Redcar and Cleveland we now are able to offer facilities to ANY school who would like to use us. 20121002-103303.jpg

Helping us to showcase what we have available were the fantastic Year 6s from St Paulinus. They were split into three groups and experienced taster sessions of what can be achieved here. As ever we practise what we preach here and each child was expected to use an iPod (they currently have one of the loan sets from the centre anyway) to make notes and observations about the day. They were then expected to immediately blog their photos and observations onto a specially set up wordpress blog. In reality this didn’t happen as we quickly discovered that too many devices logged on to the same wordpress account simply doesn’t work.
We need to look at this for future events as setting up a full blown account for individuals probably isn’t what we want to do! Anyway, they used Mental Note to record their day with photos and comments and simply emailed them to me as they arrived back in school. The Year 6 teacher is going to spend some time with them this week using their notes to write more detailed blog entries, obviously focussing on purpose and audience. This use of the iPods to hoover data in while in a “situation” then reflect on it later, expand, edit and so on is probably the killer app that gets missed in all the lists on the web. It doesn’t really matter what actual app you are using, it is the fact that you are recording your thoughts and possibly images for revisiting later.

Highlights seem to have been everything! The touch screen PCs, the immersive room (three walls projected), the 3 camera studio setup and the drama activities all got a mention as well as the fantastic LEGO challenge work led by Stuart Nimmo. We had lots of visitors who came and saw the possibilities and several expressed an interest in taking over the whole centre for the day for a larger group of children. All possibilities are possible…as it were. If you want to use our facilities or expertise, you can email or tweet me from the addresses at the top right of the blog.

Going home

Was asked to support a parents’ meeting last night at Whitecliffe (yes, that would be Northern Grid ICT school of the Year – Whitecliffe) Primary. The Y6 children have had iPods for a year now and despite some really off putting problems with the devices authenticating onto their wireless (now sorted) they have made continued excellent use of them in most of their lessons. The school has not gone down the parental contribution route for acquiring them so they have always stayed in school. We know from the other schools using iPods that using the devices outside of the school is THE biggest factor in supporting learners. Whitecliffe have always known this but have taken a very careful, very planned approach to getting to this stage which I think is a sensible way to operate. They now feel that the children have ownership of the devices, know how to care for them and the teachers have had lots of opportunities to think through what the children could do to extend their learning outside of the school day.

The meeting was short but included a few examples of how the children could support their learning effectively. The first was from a lesson in school: the children were expected to write a news report, to begin the work they looked at a range of newspapers and were asked to identify features that made the reports effective. They used their ipods to photograph each feature (in Mental Note) and then record below each photo what the literary device was. After then working as a class to refine these ideas the children effectively had a checklist complete with photographic examples of how to write an effective report.
The second example was equally as simple. When the children have “learned” a new skill or way of working (such as a method of grid multiplication in maths) they will be expected to video themselves doing a narrated example. So on the device they have a video of themselves explaining to themselves how to “do it” for whenever they need it; for homework (especially as parents who try to help may have used different methods when they were younger), for the next lesson when they have forgotten or even to email to friends who are struggling….fact is, it is there for as long as they want it, their own personal video helpguide library.