Sunday, March 26, 2006

eTwinning workshop in Prague

Had a wonderful time in Prague, meeting with teachers from across Europe. The aims were:

To create an international group of eTwinning ambassadors;
To share experience and ideas about international projectsTo form new eTwinning Partnerships;
To practice the use of eTwinning portal and other ICT tools supporting eTwinning partnerships and projects;
To promote eTwinning action in European countries.

I would strongly encourage colleagues who are interested in a European dimension to their classroom (and using ICT to make it real) to apply for the forthcoming workshops. The reason that they work so well, is the significant resources invested in the events. As well as being treated royally, there are many support staff (from Brussels, host nation, and others), and the social events in the evenings allow for genuine friendships and parnerships to form and develop.

Things to think about in eTwinning (or any informal twinning) include:

  • Do you have compatible technology?
  • Would Skype be a better way of communicating rather than email?
  • At what stage do pupils encounter the same curriculum?
  • At what time in the year is it appropriate to twin (or to start planning)?
  • Will you communicate in English, or a 3rd language?
  • What are the pedagogical justifications for the project?
  • How will you involve colleagues in your school or members of the community?

With regards to blogs, podcasts and wikis; I heard no mention of usage by colleagues, though there was some awareness. I think that some tools on TwinSpace are wiki-like.

There are two possible Czech links that I will try to develop further: one with younger pupils and cross-curricular; the other with older pupils. I'll use the eTwinning portal in the meantime to try to find partners for the two podcast ideas that I'm keen on.

Whichever project goes ahead, it'll be starting in early September.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Meeting to amend assessments

I would like to invite colleagues to come to Hillside School on Friday, 28th April at 1pm for an afternoon of Access NAB amending.

If you share my experience of certain NABs being poorly-written and not meeting students' needs, then come along. We will take a selection of NABs at Access level; work in pairs or small groups; and produce NABs which we feel would more appropriate (as well as verifiable by SQA Moderators). Those which we are happy with would then be sent to SQA to go through the verification process. A later discussion would take place on further amending, and on how amended NABs may be shared with colleagues.

Lunch will be available.

If you are unable to attend but would be willing to contribute online and in your own time, then please get in touch.

I hope that you will be interested in attending and in sharing your ideas and experience. If so, please confirm your attendance (to along with any curriculum areas that you feel we should focus on.

Friday, March 10, 2006

eTwinning Professional Development Workshop in Prague

From the 23rd to 25th March, I will be at this conference.

"eTwinning is a new scheme enabling you to work with other schools in Europe through Information and Communications Technology (ICT). It can be a simple and straightforward way of finding partner schools and working on a range of exciting curriculum projects." (from eTwinning website)

I am aiming to develop some areas of the FLaT project, as can be seen from the following excerpts from my application to attend the conference:

"I wish to gain contact/s which would lead to the establishment of two eTwinning podcast projects. Firstly, one in which I would collaborate with a teacher to tackle certain Mathematical concepts which have traditionally been difficult to grasp. We would produce a bank of podcasts, which would attempt to enhance understanding. The podcast may, for example, make use of background music (see Accelerated Learning theory, or Verbcast) to create a positive climate and pupil receptiveness.

Secondly, I would wish to work with a colleague to support each other in producing a tourist podcast for each village or town in which the school is located. Classes would collaborate via Video Conference or email to plan the structure and production of the podcasts. The completed recordings, available online, would allow visitors to the village/town to download the show to their mp3 player and receive a guided tour as they walk around the area (see for example)."

I will blog here during my trip.