ChicMEEk

The new GEEK


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Microsoft Kick Off 14

On Friday I had the privilege of presenting at Microsoft Kick-Off 14. Presenting to the whole of Microsoft Public Sector, I was able to share the direct impact of the Microsoft Innovative Expert Educator (M.I.E.E) Program on learning as well as building capacity amongst educators.  Being a M.I.E.E enables me to share the teaching and learning taking place at Hartsbrook E-ACT Free School at events such as Kick Off 14 and to demonstrate how Windows 8 and Office 365 is being used in education as well as the importance of the M.I.E.E program itself.

At Microsoft Kick-Off 14, I was focusing on the importance of integrating technology into the curriculum and developing 21st Century Learning Skills. Since opening in September 2012, Hartsbrook students have been using Office 365 and Windows 8 to develop their digital literacy skills. However, the difference is that the students have been learning ICT skills through areas of the curriculum such as literacy, maths and humanities; rather than focusing on the ICT skills as stand-alone components. To put this into context students learning about forces and recording science investigations,  undertook  a class tug of war, took photos with one device, accessed them from SkyDrive on another device, downloaded what they needed and then used the photos to make a Photo Story. The technology here has supported and enabled the learning through collaboration, communication, a shared purpose and responsibility and problem solving.

Integration with the curriculum extends teaching and learning opportunities. It opens up a world of possibility for utilisation of Win8 apps to be incorporated with curriculum. I was able to share our 6 week scheme of work entitled ‘Journey Around London’ to illustrate how Windows 8 Apps can be used to develop literacy skills as well as historical, geographical and cultural knowledge and understanding. You can access the scheme of work on my Resources page to find out more.

As an M.I.E.E educator I am now a Microsoft and Partners in Learning trainer which means I am able to deliver Microsoft courses and workshops as well as design bespoke training according to schools’ needs. I am also working in partnership with Toshiba to support teaching and learning on Toshiba devices. Some key projects which I am focusing on for the new academic year are:

–          Windows 8 Lesson Planning App competition 2013. For both secondary and primary schools, this competition is open to teams of students who wish to design a lesson which incorporates a Windows 8 App. Entrants will come together to present/teach their lesson at a day event in November/December. If wish to know more about this, please contact me at beckhursteducation@gmail.com

–          I will be doing a number of presentations within Havering, Brentwood and Waltham Forest schools community. For further information, please contact Havering School Improvement Services, ICT Team.

–          As a member of staff of the E-ACT schools groups, we will be running some professional development days involving teaching with technology and Windows in the Classroom badge.

 

Please get in contact if you are interested in CPD for your school.

 

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National Zoo Win8 App

national zoo image

This will be my first review of one of the Top 10/20 Apps as recommended by M.E.E in March. I wish to share with you my intentions for these reviews to provide you with a background to your reading and considerations.

I intend for these reviews to provide an overview of the Win8 app and how it was used in teaching and learning. However, primarily I want to look at the impact on my Year One students and their learning of 21st Century Learning Skills. Furthermore I intend to use the framework written by the Innovative Teaching and Learning Research project as a way of critically analysing the impact Win8 and Office 365 have on the teaching and learning in my classroom. In other words I will be looking through the eyes of the 21st Century Learning Design Students Rubrics on my student’s learning. Further information on the rubrics can be found here.

The National Zoo Win8 app provides its users with live webcams and pictures of the animals at the zoo. The most engaging feature of the app is the live webcams of the animals, in particular the panda’s enclosure where you are able to view the panda throughout the day and night.

My students have found this app exciting and love to check in regularly to see what the panda is up to. The app has provided the class with many topics for discussion including what we know about panda’s, zoos versus natural habitat and comparisons between a panda’s life and our own. For this particular blog I am looking at learning in literacy and writing recounts. A brief lesson outline can be found on my Resources page as well as on the Microsoft Partners In Learning website.

  1. Collaboration – Students worked together as a class to keep an on-going daily schedule of the panda’s activities. In pairs they were able view the panda at hourly intervals and write down on a shared sheet of paper what the panda was doing at their given time. They had to make a decision to decide what to write down and how to form the sentence. This record of observation was only complete once each and every student had contributed and this was then used to form the basis of their recount, the following day. While the National Zoo app has the potential for further collaboration to be undertaken, for example, plans could have been discussed with the class as to how often and for how long the observations were to be carried out for (linking to Self-Regulation too), the collaboration level for my class was sufficient at this time.
  2. Knowledge construction – The following day, students took this information and considered how to use it to write a recount. Through modelled writing, we looked at how to convert the information into sentences using the time as well as how to change it into past tense as it had already taken place. They then had to write a recount of the panda’s daily routine.
  3. Problem Solving and Innovation – This particular activity seemed to lack a real-life problem to give purpose to the learning. However upon reflection, they could have used this information to write a time table/daily outline for the zoo keeper. In doing so, the students would have been able to come up with a design or solution for others.
  4. Use of ICT – In this particular instance the National Zoo Win8 app supported knowledge construction. Without the app students would not have been able to gain information about the panda’s daily routine.
  5. Self-regulation – Students were made aware at the beginning of the teaching and learning what the learning outcomes and success criteria were. At the end of the second day, students were able to share their recounts with the class and peer assess  according to the success criteria. For older students more planning and monitoring opportunities could be incorporated throughout the observations such as reviewing each observation as it was written to scaffold the next pair of children’s learning. E.g. If one pair wrote a sentence without a full stop, this could be highlighted to support the next set of children’s writing.
  6. Skilled communication – The  ITL research writes that communication needs to be extended and multi-model however for Year One students and in particular my cohort of Year One students, extended communication will look extremely different to students in Year 3-6. To give you an idea of what my students were able to produce, the higher ability students were able to write 5 sentences and my lower ability were able to verbalise a sentence about what the panda did at a specific time and use their sounds to write 2-3 word sentence. Communication was also multi-model in that the observations were recorded in a table format and then this information was recorded in a written recount format. This could have been extended to re-write a copy using One Note or children could have sent an email to the Zoo Keeper with his daily outline.

 

This app has lots of potential for all ages of students from reception all the way through to Key Stage 2 and possibly beyond. You can download it from the Win8 app store and do let me know if you come up with any other learning opportunities to use it in your classes. Stay tuned for another review of the M.E.E’s Top 10/20 Apps by me soon.