Glow Basics

Caroline Breyley and I have been asked to host a Glow Meet for CPD Stepin on an Introduction to Glow.  CPD Stepin is a support group for supply teachers which offers them access to CPD, help and advice.  Caroline and I decided that the best way to introduce new users to Glow was to let them know about all the amazing resources they could access through it.  I have created a presentation of Screen shots which demonstrates a large number these resources.

This has actually been a very valuable activity for me to do as it has reminded me just what is there and helped me discover some new resources.  This presentation is also going to help me as I am visiting the first ever school I taught in next week to tell them all about Glow, plus I have arranged a series of ICTworkshops for the staff in my cluster group the first of which is Glow Basics.

You can view my presentation below please feel free to download and share.

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Outdoor Learning – Seasons Training

This year to help support the outdoor learning I do with my pupils I’ve signed up to do Season training with Fife’s Ranger Service. This involves attending 4 sessions throughout the year with a focus on tree and plant identification.

The Autumn session was held a couple of weeks ago at Loch Ore Meadows. When we arrived Karen the ranger had 3 kelly kettles on the go and we all had tea or coffee, nothing quite beats drinking coffee outside.

Karen then took us on a treck through the woods where she helped us identify different woodland areas. For example in mixed woodland there is a lot of undergrowth and a wide variety of plant life but in a beech wood the tree canopy blocks out most of the light so there is very little undergrowth.  As well as helping us identifying which tree was which by their leaves, Karen also gave us other really interesting information about each tree.  Did you know that the base of the trunk on a beech tree looks like an elephant foot or that you can make whistles from elder trees?

Through out the session Karen gave us copies of sheets she had printed from the nature detectives which is site run by the Woodland Trust.  I’ve used some of their resources with my class before and I can highly recommend them if your outdoor learning focus is all about discover about nature.  They have resources that are suitable for all ages, one of my favourite for early years is their Welly walk.  A lot of the resources are editable which means you can adapt them so the children are only looking for things that are available in your area.

We spotted several different types of mushrooms when we were out but my favourite was this purple one below (you can tell by the colours in this blog why that is).

I really enjoyed this session and came away with a lot more knowledge about tree identification than I could have read in a book, I am looking forward to sharing this with my class.  Next session is in January hopefully any snow will have gone by then.

Technologies I used in Term 1 2011

This term we have been doing a project on endangered animals. As always we had a brain storming session to find our prior knowledge. The children carried this out in groups of 4 with large sheets of paper and marker pens. Each group then shared their knowledge with the rest of the class and we made a collaborative mind map using popplet. Popplet is a web app that can help you to create an online mindmap that you can then embed in your glow group or glow blog.

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One of the first key questions that the children wanted answered was why are animals endangered? They started by carrying out research using the Internet and project books, taking notes as they were doing so. They then had to write a script and create a Go Animate that would demonstrate the information they had discovered. This activity was a big success as all the pupils were extremely engaged at all times and had great fun creating their cartoons.

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I’ve also been using Animoto a lot for our class blog. Animoto is a great web tool that you use to make really creative short movies of photographs and video you have taken.  It’s really simple and easy to use because all you have to do is upload your files, choose your music then it does everything else for you. It’s a great way to record trips, events, active and outdoor learning.

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This week I was fortunate enough to be asked to attend and present at the ICT Summit held at the Stirling Management Centre. The summit was held to discuss the 5 objectives set by Michael Russell, MSP when he made the announcement about the future of glow.

The 5 objectives were

1) To change the culture of the use of ICT

 2) To improve confidence in the use of ICT for learners, teachers, school leaders and parents

 3) To promote new behaviours for teaching 

4) To deepen parental engagement

 5) To strengthen position on hardware and associated infrastructure

 Richard Nealsson gives a very good overview of the whole event in his blog post.

 I was asked to present on the 3rd Objective – To promote new behaviours for teaching.  Below is the transcript of my presentation and the full length version of the video I showed.

Using new technologies to demonstrate / reflect on learning

We have been using Glow for just over a year.  It has totally transformed teaching and learning in my classroom.  It has enabled me to embed ICT throughout all areas of the curriculum and is not seen as a separate add on subject.

Now when planning work instead of thinking, what piece of written work or worksheet can I use to evidence children’s learning and understanding, I think what piece of technology or web tool can I use.

 Glow has given us the space to house all our digital evidence as most of the tools we use can be embedded either into a glow group or a glow blog.  Over the past year we have been developing our use of glow blogs.

Each pupil has their own individual eportfolio which can be used as a learning journal.  In these eportfolios they can embed videos, slideshows and other web tools as evidence of their learning.  They can also use it as a place to reflect on their learning and share wider achievements.

 This year we have also started a class blog in order to share our learning with parents and other schools.  So far we have had over 300 visits to our site and comments from as far away as Florida.  The pupils are highly motivated by these comments.  You can visit our blog by googling Wellwood Primary Blog.

 These (see photo below) are just a few of the web tools we have used this year.  For example we created vokis, which are animated avatars, to record our burns poems.  We used I can animate to create digital still animations for our Myths and Legends topic.

The level of writing within the class is still high as although the final outcome of these activities is a digital one, often they require researching or script writing.  There are still a very large percentage of teaching staff who don’t realise all these resources are available and often free to use.  Levels of pupil engagement and their ability to work cooperatively have greatly improved.

We’ve achieved a lot in a year but we only have a ratio of 2 pupils to 1 computer, imagine what we could achieve with 1:1.

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My first official blog post.


Well I’ve finally taken the plunge and created my own blog.  I’ve been wanting to start one for a while but was never sure if I’d have that much to say.  However, I’ve decided that creating a blog is now a necessity as there is so much digital content about me on other blogs and websites that I needed a place to house all the links.  In a way I’m going to use this blog like the eportfolio’s that I already get my pupil’s to use.  Hopefully this will be a very valuable way to record all my CPD (which those of you who know me is constantly on-going) and make it easier to share with future employers.

Please click on the links at the side to see some of the things I’ve been involved in so far.