classroom

Should all Students Learn how to Touch Type?

Are we preventing our students from being productive users of computers by not teaching touch typing? I think perhaps we are.

The question is; who teaches it and when will it be taught?

My thoughts are that it should not be taught in ICT lessons. Being able to touch type goes beyond ICT and is for many, a requirement for everyday life. But then, who does teach it? I don’t have an answer I am afraid, but would love to hear people’s opinions.

Should students have this skill before secondary school? Do we need to teach it at primary level, and can we expect students to be able to adopt these skills so early on? I see touch typing as asking students to write, without actually teaching them how to use a pen.

With the amount of work students do on computers I think that this skill is vital.

There is no doubt in my mind that many students (and teachers) who would find learning this skill very boring. I am pretty sure we can make it exciting. Especially with the adoption of gamification.

I am not suggesting that typing is now more important than writing, only that it is a skill that warrants teaching.

However, after saying all this, I cannot touch type, but I wish I had been taught. (I am quite fast, but not as fast as I would like to be) It’s on my list of things to do.

There are many schools, I am sure, who do teach touch typing. If you do I would love to hear from you. At present I am trying to see if I can work this into the curriculum myself, this maybe the biggest challenge.

Graphic Design (MAGAZINE COVERS) Year 8/2nd Year – Example Work

I am sure creating magazine covers are one of those projects that happen in most schools. This is not revolutionary by any means but it is a good way to help students understand graphic design, audience, purpose as well as some more advanced Adobe Fireworks skills.

In order for students to create magazine covers that actually look authentic they must do some research. What do covers look like in WH Smith or Newstand on iPad?

This seems faily obvious, but far too many times I have seen posters, rather than magazine covers. I will admit to you now that I am bit fussy about what is produced. Although, that is true of any teacher.

Some of the skills required in this project do crossover with the album covers in the 3rd year. However, whilst we do some basic image editing it is not as advanced. I prefer to focus more on arranging elements, design themes and reproducing what they have seen, while still making their covers unique.

I hope you enjoy these examples.

Let’s bring hip hop into the classroom Part 1

Solitary Confinement

Hip hop gets a bad rep, its seems to get blamed for everything from young people swearing to knife and gun crime. I have been listening to hip hop for over 20 years and I have not been mentally scared or turned into some sort of knife wielding, gun totting criminal.

In fact, hip hop has helped mould me into the person I am today. I have learnt about politics, different cultures and religions, crime, love, death, war and much more.

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes hip hop can be very hard to defend and I will admit nowadays there is a lot of rubbish around. Perhaps thats just me being a hip hop snob?

The fact I listen to hip hop often comes as a shock to both students and other teachers. When I am asked by students what music I like, I usually get this response:

“Hip hop? But you’re a teacher!”

Yes indeed I am! Which is precisely the reason I feel that hip hop can be used in the classroom to help teach anything from English to Politics or citizenship.

This is not a new idea. In fact a teacher I follow on Twitter who has the handle @infernaldepart (well worth following) used the song Ill Manors, by Plan B in one of his lessons recently.

I asked him why he used the song, this is what he said:

For those who have not heard the song. Have a listen. Its a cracking tune and has some very important things to say. Although, no doubt the message will be misinterpreted by many.

My intention for the second part of this post is not to provide teaching resources, lessons plans or schemes of work. Instead it is to simply draw your attention to a musical art form that can be used to educate our young people.

I am going to choose one song to write about. Its written and performed by perhaps the best group in the UK at the moment Rhyme Asylum. The track is called Holding On from their 1st album State of Lunacy. I will break down the song and highlight some lyrics that can be used to stimulate discussion in the classroom.

Have a listen before I publish the second part of this post, which should be in about a week.

Enjoy and make sure you listen to the lyrics.

Be sure to look out for the second part of this post.

(Updated) Online / technology safety for parents (Presentation/Video included)

Smartphones

UPDATED – New presentation included

Last academic year we had several requests from parents for some information about online and technology safety.

Many parents felt like they were out of touch with technology and what it can do, as well as what was available on the internet.

In order to remedy this, myself and another member of staff set up a parent association evening. I have included some of what we have covered. Several of the slides have been removed as they link directly to files on the school server and would be inaccessibile.

Enjoy.