I decided to do something today that I have not done since my training year. That was, filming myself in the classroom.
To give you a little background, I am away at the Guardian Computer Science Seminar and I wanted to set some cover my 1st year class. Instead of simply writing down a set of instructions I thought I would film the beginning of another 1st year lesson. I could then make this available to my class in my absence.
The students had already finished most of the Kodu programming and I wanted them to produce some documentation. The main learning objections had already met in previous lessons.
This is not the most exciting lesson you will see. I try to make the start of lessons more interactive, but because it was going to be used for another class (cover lesson) I had to try and make it a little more linear.
During this video, I do cover a few PowerPoint fundamentals. I wanted to cover all the bases to make sure my cover lesson went smoothly. This is also why it pans out like a seminar.
I was also very aware that I had a camera on me. It made me stutter a little, and act slightly differently. Very strange that a camera would make me respond like that as I am not a shy man.
So what did I think? Well, I noticed for starters that I do like repeating myself. I also have a habit of using the same words over and over again. In order to better evaluate my teaching I need to film myself when I do not intend to use it in another lesson. It would be more natural.
Every year since I started teaching I have re-written schemes of work. It is not that they were not good enough when I first wrote them (although I am sure some were not up to scratch) its just that ICT moves so quickly.
Next year I have some great ideas how to mix up the curriculum and take into account the current trends in digital education.
I will be taking some of what I have been doing this year and expanding on it.
This blog post will not be massively detailed, but will include some brief notes on what I intend to teach year 7/1st years come September.
During the Spring term this year my 1st years created blogs using Edublogs to blog about how young people can stay safe online. This worked out brilliantly and the students loved it, even those who do not enjoy English. Not only did it teach students how to safe safe online but it could also be used by other to learn from.
This year I am going to get my students to create a learning blog during the first few weeks. The plan is that they will update this every lesson and document what they have learnt, rather than just using it for the stay safe online project. They can then take this blog with them throughout their time in KS3 and even KS4/5 if they choose. Hopefully, after a few weeks adding a blog entry will become second nature and they will not need reminding.
1st Half Term
Setting up student blogs
Searching the internet
This will be ran by at the beginning of term and will be delivered by the new learning resource manager/librarian. It will also teach students how to use the library system.
I know many believe that all student know how to use office applications from birth, unfortunately they dont. There is a difference between being proficient and stumbling through the application. In order to make sure students know how to be productive users of office applications I will spend several weeks going through these applications.
As well as the usual MS Office application, students will also sign up to the Google Docs application. I want my students to be aware that there are other alternatives as well as teaching them about cloud computing. Why use the cloud? What are the pros and cons etc. Students can then decide which tools they use themselves.
Second Half term
Continue with the office Applications/Cloud office applications
For a few weeks after half term we will continue with this project.
The Digital World and how to stay safe
I have not quite decided what form this will take. Last year we used a blog to document what we had learnt. As we will be adding blog entries every lesson I would like to do something different. Perhaps an e-book? I want to do something exciting, engaging and immersive. I may use iPads to get the students to work in groups and create a video in iMovie. We can then put the video on our school website.
Essentially, in this projects students will learn about social networks. What they are, pros and cons and how to stay safe using them. We will also cover all other aspects of staying safe in a digital world. The thinkuknow website is a great resource. I would also advise everyone to go on the CEOP training courses, they are brilliant.
Game Design using Kodu
Kodu has been such a success this year that I am going to stick with the same format. This time I am going to buy 28 XBox controllers and turn my classroom into a games studio. It’s going to be awesome.
I will also go more in-depth into how real video games are design/created and talk about Unreal Engine and CryENGINE.
In the future I would also like to start to use UDK (Unreal Development Kit), just need to find time to learn how to use it.
I did App design with my 1st years this year. However, this was coming up with ideas for Apps and then designing them and creating screen mock ups using Adobe Fireworks. It was great and the students loved it and learnt a lot about Apps, smartphones and tablets. This year I want to take it to the next level and use App Inventor.
I have looked at this before, but did not get around to learning how to use it for one reason or another. During this term I went to an old colleagues house (@alecwaters) and he showed me it in action and I was suitably impressed. My kids are going to love it. I still intend to do all the planning and mock ups but this time actually create the App.
What I have to do
Write new schemes of work/learning
Buy Xbox controllers (I have one)
Buy some cheap Android handsets
Once I have written my new schemes of work I shall post it on my blog.
I hope you like what I have lined up for my students next year. If you have any questions let me know.