Sunday, April 30, 2006

Update - April 06

Amending NABs

Two Hillside staff and two colleagues from across the River Forth met on Friday to discuss amending of some National Assessment Bank (NAB) materials. In particular, we were interested in linking Enterprise Education materials with Outcomes in the Access 3 Enterprise Through Craft cluster, and the Access 2 PSE unit, Using Support Services in the Local Community. We examined: language used in NABs, how to used technology to give pupils with Additional Support Needs more control over their assessment ie using text-to-speech and recording voice comments in any assessment via Word, if there were any parts of the existing NAB which were not necessary ie was not stated in the Performance Criteria.

The 'get together' will be mentioned at the next Access Network meeting and hopefully another meeting will be arranged for after the summer. In the meantime, I search for colleagues who would be willing to rewrite some NABs via a wiki. I'll also need to avoid scheduling meetings for holiday weekends, which is difficult as Local Authorities seem to have increasingly varied holidays. The FLaT steering committee at Hillside will also continue to work on amending assessments such as Access Social Subjects, and RMPS. We will also need to discuss how we will share our ideas with the wider Scottish community delivering Access clusters.

Clay animation

A group of pupils have committed themselves to working on an animation project over this term. They are getting familiar with Storyboarding, ordering props, and building their set and characters.

MP3 players in the classroom

I am trying this out with my class over the summer term. One pupil is listening to a 3-hour long audiobook while he is redrafting an English essay. For him, anyway, it seems to help him to concentrate (he often interrupts his work to engage in unconstructive conversations). In English, one pupil from Aberdeen (home of the Doric) listens to some Access to English stories that contain Scots via the MP3 player. He follows the text at the same time. One further use is where the pupils have learnt some new German phrases. They record themselves and then listen again at the start of each lesson. They also have the option of listening to the version recorded by myself (I'll need to politely ask my German colleague to contribute to this to add authenticity).

Presentation to CALL Centre conference

On Thursday, 27th April, I gave a talk on 'Podcasting in the Classroom', emphasising the relationship with Multiple Intelligences and the potential to develop communication via the 'read (listen)/write' Web. Click here to listen to the audio. I am offering educators training on using podcasting in their work with pupils and adults. Sessions will be held in October and November (email me at for further details).

Podcasts for PSE

These podcasts (on Drugs, Housing, and Careers) are going through a final edit and will be available on the Web during May. They should be relevant and informative, with links available via the host site. The URL is still to be confirmed, but will be at libsyn, probably under 'independent living'.

The education podcast directory that I have been constructing over the past 4 months will go online during May. My own weekly education podcast continues, and can be subscribed to.

Other news

The second Video Conference takes place during the second week in May. I'm still finding it difficult to arrange for 'bridging', but I'm enjoying the steep learning curve involved with this technology.

The Independent Living after-school sessions (two per week this term) are running well. At present, we are concentrating on establishing this part of the curriculum and recognise that ICT needs to be better integrated. The model for this will be the way in which Class 2 uses ICT within its timetabled Independent Living lessons.

The monthly ICT 'drop-in' continues. This month we looked at RSS and how it can be used to keep teachers 'in the loop' with regards to developments in knowledge related to their subject. Due to wireless connectivity problems, it has been decided to hold these meetings 'on site'.