Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Busy day at the silicon face!

Lovely, exciting but manic day today! Arrived in school after day out yesterday, ran around sorting out a room for the BBC London News to come in and film. This was followed by a lovely discussion about managing stress with my Y11s (ha ha).

Went and met the BBC chaps (who were lovely), spoke to them about playful learning (games based learning) and showed them how this project came about (Feltham clc IDOL project, students designed classroom of the future, researched game based learning, spiralled from there!). Had a lovely chat about how schools are changing and watching children grow into young people (and continue to be creative, enthusiastic learners).

Ran off for 10 mins and met some wonderful Dutch teachers who were really passionate about learning. They were over for BETT and came into school to see how we use technology. Sent them off with respective member of PSHE and Citizenship and my life saving Head of Year who took my form class and let them use technology.

Ran back to the BBC chaps with a couple of the dutch teachers and 10 year 10s. Played the Wii, was interviewed about playful learning and what parents think (hesitant at first, when they see passionate proud, engaged pupils are pleased and enthusiastic and proud themselves!). Young people showed their classroom of the future design, were interviewed about playful learning.

Went to lunch and spoke to Assistant head who reminded me we had a Citizen Schools meeting. Taught 2 more lessons, met with BETT young people to go over logistics for tomorrow - uniform, games, technology, etc etc). Ran over to Citizen Schools meeting.

Met with the Citizen Schools leaders (also lovely!) who are super enthusiastic and jolly supportive. Spoke to other schools about what they are attempting to change about Hounslow (project is research in local community, ID something to change, agree how, change it!) and we are at the 'make it happen part'. Discussed power players and supporters. Citizen Schools chaps helped fill in the blanks. Shared final ideas, dropped young people home, just walked in the door!

About to write list of tasks for Y10s at BETT for the stand and cover for tomorrow (but thought I'd post here first!!)


Monday, 11 January 2010

Bafta: BVA

Went to Bafta: Be Very Afraid today with 2 of my year 9s. It was running the same time as the world learning forum so over 600 educationalists came through the doors and spoke to some of the schools there. What is always lovely about BVA is the young peoples passion for their work, they are so proud, so engaged and so keen to show off their brilliant efforts - its a joy to see....

This year a few projects stood out for me - A college who have asked pupils to research classroom design and are implementing it across the college (had many similarities to our local CLCs IDOL project - entirely centred around student voice and participation), the Isle of Mann running some themed learning projects based around Pompei (the young person presenting was just so keen and proud of a simple little project but which utilised a whole host of technology) and Jonathan Furness with his pupils using Twitter (and taking it one step further with video).

Our safety project - research Hounslow, interview the local community via YouTube and facebook, design a project around safety plotting (with the police) safe and unsafe areas in Hounslow on Google Earth, designing a safety game for Year 6 pupils and running a borough wide poster comp and putting the winning posters in bus shelter ad spaces - was really well received with many local authorities asking how they could roll this out to their local schools. Lots of discussion and questions but best of all, new links with other teachers and schools just as passionate as us!

Ultimately, whatever your fave parts of BVA were, it leaves you feeling confident in our young people - if our future is in their hands, it will be a safe and exciting one :-)

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Snow days

The UK had been covered in snow and ice for the past week! Most of the schools have been shut, either because staff and students cant get in or because the ice is so thick across the playground its causing a health and safety issue! I was really worried about the pupils finishing up their projects for Bafta: BVA, but social networking came to the rescue - all week pupils have been discussing and posting info in the fb group and making help videos for one another and posting them on youtube!

Who says you need to be in school to be learning?!?

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Social Networking

With BETT fast approaching (we are on the playful learning stand) both the young people and I have been working really hard all holidays to make sure we have all our evidence and projects in one place - as well as working with some of the equipment from the sponsors of the stand.
It's been manic as usual, but what struck me this year, was how easy Facebook has made it to communicate with the pupils. Usually, we are speaking on messenger, arranging times to meet and talk through issues - its reliant on everyone remembering and having internet up and running at the same time, and being able to run messenger on phones as well as computers (not all our pupils have computers at home!) Nightmare! This year though, everyone has facebook apps (or similar) for phones, facebook pages etc etc and so our little BETT facebook group has been brilliant - helping one another, discussing progress, developing info.... it's been great!
Speaking to another teacher, she was surprised when I said I had been facebooking with young people.... why? Safety is often quoted as an issue but in reality, it’s much safer (both for me and the young people) than many other methods of communication. I have simple rules with the young people and I follow, which means all discussion, comments, work is in a public forum, safe and it also allows them to see it as a learning space - not a void to be filled!
It's made a huge difference to the young people and I over the past year. There is a wealth of evidence out there about how it helps learning..... so why are more schools not embracing social networking?