This year has seen a rise in the use of techology to support learning beyond school. Some of the approaches we have been using for a while at Hawes Side really helped to bridge the home-school gap and the installation of a green screen further supported us in extending learning opportunities. Here are some of this year’s biggest successes in the use of technology to take learning beyond the school gates.
Blogging – this has continued to rise and be utilised to support and share learning. The introduction of staff surgeries and a coaching appoach to its development has obviously helped get everyone on board and it was no mean feat to get all 21 classes up and running! The live blogging this year, from York and Robin Wood, were really powerful and got the parents engaged like never before. They were able to follow their children’s exploits on the two residentials and comment back. The pupils and staff blogged about everything, from the coach journey and what they had for breakfast to the Minster, the Jorvik Centre and much more. Seeing what they were up to and being able to comment back on things as they were happening was a revelation for many. It is now very much a part of how we intend to take blogging forward.
Green Screen – we were fortunate enough this year, to work closely with CMS, a Blackpool media company who fitted us a green screen sudio. We have been meeting with the company regularly to develop the system and now have a great little set up that the children have confidently made excellent use of. There are many examples of how this has helped extend the childen’s learning but my favourite story from the green screen was Emily’s advert. One of our Y6 classes were filming adverts they’d written to support work on persuasive writing. I watched some of them on the class blog and was impressed with Emily’s as she is such a quiet girl and her advert belied this fact! I tweeted out the advert and received a message back from Mr Tobin aka @narthernlad to ask if he could use the advert as a stimulus for his Y3 writing lesson! Emily was delighted when Ian sent pictures back from his class showing them watching her advert and producing their own work based on it! The green screen, and the use of twitter to share learning is certainly something we wil be expanding on in 2012.
Web 2.0 – like children in a toy shop we have continued to play with lot of web 2.0 tools and made use of some more than others. Among the favourites in school are wordle and tagxedo, wallwisher, voki, voicethread, photopeach, animoto and prezi. Wallwisher has been used well to link with partner schools around Europe and Australia, to gauge parents views on things and collect their thoughts and ideas. We have used it to ask questions of our partner schools and community and it is a simple and effective way of collating feedback. Dropping our school development plan into wordle was also reassuring as the words learning and children came out the largest!
QR Codes – the children have really enjoyed using QR codes. They stick them on displays to lead viewers to further information, they stick them in their books to link to online content and each class door displays a QR code that leads to ther class blog. Next year we intend to create trails with facts and puzzles around school to make a tour of the site an interactive experience!
School Website – our website is always being developed and this year we have changed a lot of content and its look. Thanks to the green screen we have added video introductions and tours with testimonials from staff and children. We have moved away from a text heavy site that no one really wants to wade through and replaced it with a more fun, interactive and engaging experience. We have woked with a company called Virtualsixty to build what we hope is a more appealing and exciting introduction to the school and more. The use of programmes such as I am Learning ensure that the children and their families are able to extend learning by logging on via the website.
- The learning will be televised (smichael920.wordpress.com)
- QR Codes in the Classroom (pbsmartessentials.com)
- What difference does it make? (smichael920.wordpress.com)