Category: Local Authority

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Teaching English with O365 Forms, Susan Galloway, Drumchapel High School

Susan Galloway, from Drumchapel High School in Glasgow, shares how she has used O365 Forms to engage learners and improve attainment in English with it.

 

We have been using Microsoft Forms to support pupil engagement in English and we’ve found that this has had a positive impact on attainment and supported assessment of learners at all stages.

In the BGE, we’ve primarily used Forms as quizzes to support pupils with short reading tasks. These are self-marking and classes often have access to quizzes with different levels of challenge. We generally use the ‘chilli challenge’ concept for this with the majority of learners being asked to do the ‘Hot’ challenge with a ‘Spicy’ and ‘Extra Hot’ version to offer challenge and support. What surprised us was how keen pupils were to choose the more challenging versions and their increased resilience even if they got quiz questions wrong. This approach particularly benefitted pupils who struggled with literacy and who could use assistive technologies to support them if needed.

For Senior Phase pupils our focus has been in using Forms to support RUAE. Questions from past papers or any close reading can be easily copied into Forms and it only takes about 5 minutes to create a Higher paper. Self-marking is less effective here as we expect pupils to have a wider range of responses so the basic Forms format works best. The ability to see all pupil answers in spreadsheet format means teachers can quickly identify questions learners have struggled with and accordingly target teaching. It also means you can easily share anonymised answers with pupils and get them to peer mark, identifying quality answers and how to improve weaker ones. Previously I would have typed example pupil answers or used a visualiser on a pupil’s work but this approach saves time and makes peer assessment more straightforward for pupils to access. RUAE results have directly improved as a result of this approach.

Both the quizzes and forms are really straightforward and quick to make, and easy to share with colleagues which helps reduce teacher workload. Pupils benefit from being able to use assistive technologies to read questions aloud and pupil feedback has been extremely positive.

Practitioner Examples of Blended Learning in Primary – Webinar

Andrew Boulind and Rory Buchanan, St Joseph’s Primary School, Aberdeen

We shared how Blended Learning has been used on return at the start of this new session 2020-2021 and its impact on the learners. After having returned in August form Lockdown, we felt it was important to utilise the digital skills the learners had gained as well as improving pupil engagement, motivation, and challenge by using a blended approach to learning in the classroom. By maintaining this blended approach, we have been able to provide a differentiated and more personalised approach to learning.

Although technology has played an important part in our classes it has been important to create a stimulating environment in the classroom where the displays demonstrate a range of curricular areas and are accessible and used to reinforce learning.

By using our variation of Blended learning, the pupils have been leading the learning. It was vital for us that learning was relevant and built on previous online learning. The approach has made sure that pupils are aware of learning expectations and know how to be successful in their learning, whether online or in class.

Learners are engaging in various types of learning experiences, online, in class and in groups. Learners are encouraged to develop high order thinking strategies in their classwork using the and online activities. Due to the use of online assessment tools the Learners are aware of feedback and can act rapidly on this. Digital technology is a feature of learning with both in class as well as at home. After the lockdown and the possibility that they had more “textbook type activities” it has been important to provide them with activities that they can relate their learning to real life contexts.

The Webinar will looked at the tools and pedagogy used in this first term (August – October), the digital tools used and their impact on their learners. 

Recorded Webinar – Practitioner Examples of Blended Learning in Primary

 

      PowerPoint Presentation – Practitioner Examples of Blended Learning in Primary

Using Easi-Speak to develop storytelling and writing by Lynn Eileen Allison, Hoddom Primary in Dumfries and Galloway

We have been using film literacy and voice-recording to develop our learners’ comprehension of a text.

 

We watched this video: Dragon Slayer | A Short Film by Robert Kuczera and then used stills from it after the viewing to ‘read it’. The pupils in the class were given one picture each to make notes about what they
could see in their photo. They were then asked to put the photos in order that they felt the story took
place.

Having put the images in chronological order they were asked to use their notes to narrate the story by using an Easi-Speak microphone, which in a previous lesson they had been taught how to use, to record and download. Listening to what had happened, it was passed onto the next speaker to build upon the story with their own ideas.

The class loved developing the story and sharing their narration with other classes. So, the following week  they were given a storyboard with fewer shots and asked to retell their story by adding a twist to the story line. Once again, the children enjoyed developing their personal story, with the ideas they had previously generated as a class.

 

This is the story board they used:

Bebras Computing Challenge at Portlethen Academy

post by Ian Simpson (@familysimpson), Faculty Head of ICT at Portlethen Academy (@portyacad)

What is the Bebras Computing Challenge?

The Bebras Computing Challenge is a long-running international competition which promotes the importance of computational thinking and problem solving skills in a wider world context. It is organised in over 50 countries and designed to get students aged 6 to 18 from all over the world excited about computing.

Students have to employ a variety of problem-solving strategies in order to complete up to 18 challenges in the allotted time. High scoring students may be lucky enough to qualify for a celebration event which, in previous years, has taken place at Hertford College, Oxford.

Why we entered the competition

At Portlethen Academy all S1-3 students take part in the competition, with those in senior phase given the chance to participate as part of their Computing Science or Mathematics classes. Every individual who takes part receives a digital certificate from the University of Oxford which can be printed out in school or at home and those who achieve scores in the top 25% of the cohort are invited to take part in the TCSOCC Challenge in February as recognition of their strong computational thinking skills and to increase their exposure to computer programming problems.

Faculty Head of ICT Ian Simpson has coached groups of students to take part in the Bebras Computing Challenge since 2013. “To get the best out of the groups it shouldn’t be an add on or break from ‘normal lessons’, it is in the school’s best interest to embed teaching of computational thinking skills and prepare for the challenge using the practice challenges or the Perfect Day app.”

What pupils learnt from it

Seven students from S1 and 2 scored highly enough in the 2019 challenge to receive an invitation to the celebration event at Hertford College in January 2020. Thanks to support from contacts at Total and Aberdeenshire DYW six were able to travel to Oxford to take part in the final round, experience Computing Science sample lectures and find out more about life as a student at the University of Oxford. Ian Simpson added “This was the first time that such a high number of students from a state school in Aberdeenshire had qualified for the final round. It was a surprise in some ways but testament to the hard work the students put in preparing for the challenge.”

As well as giving students the chance to think creatively and apply their knowledge from across a variety of subject areas the Bebras Computing Challenge helps build student resilience. These skills have increasing demand in further and higher education and will serve them well in the workplace of the future. Taking part in the final round also gave the students increased confidence in their own abilities and, on the drive back to Heathrow, many were sharing strategies they had learned from other participants to improve on their scores next year.

Sign up for Bebras here.

 

Inspiring Digital Enterprise Awards, Grove Academy

iDEA Awards, Grove Academy

Gavin Pyott, PT Computing Science

I became aware of the iDEA awards by chance when it was first launched 3 years ago. I can’t explain how glad I am that I did. The programme is so well written and produced that all learners are drawn into the modules and are keen to do more. Due to the positive impact iDEA had with classes in my department l began promoting the awards and encouraging others to use it within their schools. As a result of this l was awarded the title of Teacher Ambassador from iDEA.  

The Inspiring Digital Enterprise Award, known as iDEA, is an international programme that helps students develop and demonstrate digital, enterprise and employability skills.

Since its launch, iDEA has established itself as the digital equivalent of The Duke of Edinburgh Award. The iDEA awards are recognised by universities and employers so are a great addition to any student’s CV.

The iDEA awards allow students to map their knowledge and understanding of the digital world through a series of modules (badges).

The badges have been designed to unlock new opportunities and raise awareness of the diverse range of careers in our digital world, all the while allowing students to gain an industry recognised award to help them stand out from the crowd.

To achieve a Bronze Award, students need to earn a minimum of 250 points, including at least 40 points in each of the core categories of the curriculum: Citizen, Worker, Maker and Entrepreneur.

CITIZEN BADGES cover digital awareness, safety and ethics.

WORKER BADGES introduce tools and techniques which are useful in the digital workplace.

MAKER BADGES cover digital creativity and building and making in the digital world.

ENTREPRENEUR BADGES explain how to originate ideas and bring them to life.

GAMER BADGES investigate gamification techniques and help people learn how to make games.

These badges are all very informative and explain complex concepts in a straightforward, easy to understand, way. All badges are designed to be interactive, allowing pupils to answer questions as they go, building up their knowledge step-by-step.

To help track student progress iDEA have launched ‘organiser codes’ and the organiser area. This allows you to provide pupils with a simple code to add to their iDEA profiles. This will then pull the progress charts for each pupil together into a handy, easy to use spreadsheet.

After completing the Bronze award, many pupils volunteer to move on to the Silver. Unlike Bronze, the Silver award has been written as a series of topics. Each topic is story-based with students being guided through a real-life scenario as they discover the skills required to progress.

Due to the amazing quality and excellent writing in the badges in the programme the target audience range has really been opened up. I have successfully delivered the iDEA award in S1, S2 and S3. We now have pupils is S4-6 who are also tapping into the programme as it has caught their attention. iDEA also works great in an upper primary setting. My own daughter liked the look of the badges and had a go herself. She successfully completed the Bronze award in Primary 6 and completed her Silver when in Primary 7. Not wanting to stop there she completed a total of 50 Bronze badges to become ‘Badge Champion’ and completed the remaining Silver topic to become a

‘Silver Star’. This determination to complete the modules has been replicated by students in my classes who applied the Pokemon ‘got to get them all’ approach to the badges and awards. I have to admit, I have done this too! The iDEA badges are so interesting and informative I found I couldn’t stop either! As an introduction to a new concept (block chain) or to brush up existing skills the iDEA Award is great CLPL for staff too.

Mr Pyott has created a Sway which will give you a full introduction to the work and process involved in using iDEA and his top tips. To view click here.

To see more from Mr Pyott you can visit his Twitter feed on @MrPyott

To see more from Grove Academy, please visit their Twitter feed on @Grove_Academy

You can find out more on iDEA Awards via https://idea.org.uk/ 

Race for the Line Event by Liz Dighton at Boroughmuir High School

On a rather cold, but thankfully dry, Wednesday all 220 of our S1 pupils were involved in an inter-disciplinary project which was part of the National BBC micro:bit Model Rocket Car Challenge called Race for the Line.  Over 400 schools from all over the UK are participating in the competition.  The inspiration behind the national project is the Bloodhound car which is attempting to beat the 1000mph world land speed record and also inspire the next generation of engineers to get involved in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.  #STEM 

In Design and Technology classes leading up to the Race Day, pupils worked together in teams of 4 to make a foam rocket car creating a design folio which showed how they had considered aerodynamics, friction etc.  In Computing classes the pupils programmed the Micro:bits which were used to carry out the timing mechanism on the race track and in Science they explored the forces which would be applied to the cars. 

On Race Day we were joined in school by a team from the Royal Navy who are based at Rosyth and are members of the crew of the new aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales.  The Navy team equipped each car with a solid fuel rocket and setup the Race Track in the playground.  Each class took turns to race their cars and the times were recorded for each car.  The Navy had brought along one of their PT instructors so to keep warm pupils carried out a fitness test with a couple of our S1’s managing to reach the fitness standard for the Royal Navy while wearing their school shoes!!!  After racing the cars the pupils then used our new Dual teaching space on the 3rd floor to create some posters to summarise their learning in this project.  Some of these are now on display in the classrooms around the school. 

The top 3 car teams went forward to the Regional Final on the 3rd of May when they competeagainst all of the teams from other school in East Central Scotland @ the Royal Navy facility at Rosyth and 3 also qualified for the Scottish Final at the Barracks at Redford.   

 

 

 

Ada Lovelace Day – Opening Opportunities with Digital Technology by Emma Hedges

Digital technology skills are one of my favourite things to teach because of the opportunities and experiences they provide pupils with. I have taught children who struggle with putting pen to paper, however when provided with the correct technology they flourish. The technology we use in the classroom has allowed my pupil’s imaginations and creativity to come to life and it has boosted the confidence of shy children, allowing them to become more animated and involved with their learning.

Technology allows learners to engage in their education in ways that haven’t always been possible. I hope that this will allow my pupils, who may previously have disengaged from education, to go on to explore avenues that wouldn’t otherwise have been possible.

 

Fun fact: Ada Lovelace and I share a birthday, just a few hundred years apart!

@MissHedgesVPS

12 November 2020 16:00-17:00, Practitioner Examples of Blended Learning in Primary

The Webinar will look at the tools and pedagogy used in this first term, the digital tools used and their impact on learners.

About this Event

Delivered by Andrew Boulind and Rory Buchanan from St Joseph’s RC School, Aberdeen.

Open to all practitioners, Glow Login Required

The Webinar will look at how Blended Learning has been used on return at the start of this new session 2020-2021 and its impact on the learners. After having returned in August form Lockdown, we felt it was important to utilise the digital skills the learners had gained as well as improving pupil engagement, motivation, and challenge by using a blended approach to learning in the classroom. By maintaining this blended approach, we have been able to provide a differentiated and more personalised approach to learning.

Although technology has played an important part in our classes it has been important to create a stimulating environment in the classroom where the displays demonstrate a range of curricular areas and are accessible and used to reinforce learning.

By using our variation of Blended learning, the pupils have been leading the learning. It was vital for us that learning was relevant and built on previous online learning. The approach has made sure that pupils are aware of learning expectations and know how to be successful in their learning, whether online or in class.

Learners are engaging in various types of learning experiences, online, in class and in groups. Learners are encouraged to develop high order thinking strategies in their classwork using the and online activities. Due to the use of online assessment tools the Learners are aware of feedback and can act rapidly on this. Digital technology is a feature of learning with both in class as well as at home. After the lockdown and the possibility that they had more “textbook type activities” it has been important to provide them with activities that they can relate their learning to real life contexts.

The Webinar will look at the tools and pedagogy used in this first term (August – October), the digital tools used and their impact on their learners. They will be examples of activities and pupil work as well as practical ideas and applications to take away from the session.

Register Here