Friday, February 17, 2006

February update

Amending of National Assessment Bank (NAB) materials

I've been experimenting with amending NABs (whilst considering Multiple Intelligences theory). I will start to systematically rewrite and build up a resource of amended assessments (at Access 2 and 3 level) from August this year until next January. At the moment, I am pretty sure that blogs, podcasts and animation will feature in some of these, though I will have to consider improving some assessment items using more 'traditional' technology.

Use of GarageBand to enable pupils to meet performance criteria

This week the school will take delivery of the latest iMac. This comes with iLife 06, an application which contains GarageBand 3. Although I have very little experience of this audio software, I am aware of it's reputation and growing number of features. We see this being used with our Sound Box (music); fully in the production and uploading of podcasts; and in soundtracking movies and animation produced by the pupils. As we look to the possibility of formally launching Access 2 - Intermediate 1 Music in the school from August 2006 (during timetabled lessons, or the 4-5pm After School 'slot'), I am excited by the potential for GarageBand to be the main resource. Does anyone have any experience of GarageBand being core to the delivery of Music?

Podcast directory

I am building up a directory of Podcasts which I have listened to and feel could be of use to teachers in their classroom. At the moment, there are around 25 podcasts which I have evaluated and noted key details on (eg length, location, area of curriculum). This database should be available online by July. Although the funding for my Podcasting work comes from Microsoft/SQA's Challenge Fund, I feel that in terms of promoting alternative ways of accessing learning (and the ability to harness the technology to motivate and promote inclusiveness through pupils producing content that can be listened to by THE WORLD!), this work is now a natural extension of the core of our FLaT project. My weekly show on 'Education Podcasting' can be downloaded at Booruch (or iTunes).

MP3 whole-class activities

Pupils in class 2 are currently studying 'Smoking'. They are to consider what they have learned and discussed over the past month (including about the Smoking in Public Places ban in Scotland), to produce a 10 minute podcast which gives: key information, a range of views, and their conclusion. They are using MP3 players to record content, and Audacity to edit it. Competent work will be published on iTunes. One pupils has been talking to staff about their views on boxing. He asked to use an MP3 player to record these for later (more accurate) transcription.

PDA latest

Two staff have been studying (remotely) towards a PDA in Online Learning from Lauder College. Due to time pressures, both are leaving further study until later in the year. Lauder have been supportive in this.

Using MediaStage to create an ePortfolio of creative work

Class 2 pupils have started learning how to create computer animation using MediaStage. They have watched examples from Northwood Primary and were impressed. They are motivated to create animation which incorporates video walls. We can then embed photos (including 360 degree) and video (of, say, their clay animation movies). Therefore the viewer is treated to an informative movie which allows them to click to see clear evidence of creative work, possibly with commentary from the pupil. The pupil would leave the school with this as the centrepiece of their leaving CD-ROM.

Other news

All teachers recently recieved INSET on a Triads/S.A.F.E model of peer observation and support, and on how to deliver lessons which consider Visual, Auditory, and Kinisthetic learning styles

With the FLaT room now built (and the animation room nearly ready), Care Staff will be offered training so that they can make use of the resources outside lesson time. We are aware of a number of staff who are creative and motivated to provide learning opportunities for the pupils. Those teaching staff not involved in the steering committee will now receive INSET on using the resource to promote learning via better meeting pupils' needs.

We have had technical problems with the IC3 online learning resource. Staff access has been fine, and progress is clear. However, pupils have had difficulty with screens freezing. Great effort continues into solving this problem, however in the meantime we have made greater use of the new beginner PC Passport textbooks.

The group of teachers which meets monthly to plan Positive Steps PSE lessons now have the confidence to almost always develop a Power Point show to improve delivery of sessions.

Our Science teacher encourages pupils to enter the Audio Innovation competition.

I am looking into the best way of pupils reflecting on their Work Experience and Leisure-Time activities. Will this be via a private blog or just a Word-based diary on their area of the network (or be paper-based)?

Class 2 will participate in a video conference with The National Archives in May. They will learn more about the Atlantic Slave Trade, as part of their Social Subjects studies.

Colleagues continue to make use of the monthly ICT drop-in sessions; asking about PowerPoint, wikis,, podcasts, blogs, clay animation etc.

The next Access Network meeting takes place on Friday, 24th February. Here, colleagues are made aware of developments, above, which they may wish to further consider for their classroom.


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