Monthly Archives: July 2014
Collection of TV Adverts
Cadbury: The Not-So-Secret Secret
Deep RiverRock: Café
Dulux: Colour Prohibition (#ChangeYourStory)
Dulux: Paint Mixing (#ChangeYourStory)
General Election (GE): Childlike Imagination
Google: Nexus 5 – I Do
Ikea: Bed for Life
John Lewis: The Bear and The Hare
Lindt: Lost (feat. Roger Federer)
Lucozade: Powered by Glucose (Dan in Ireland)
Microsoft: Don’t Fight (Windows Phone)
National Lottery: Rainbow
Nissan: Polar Bear
No Nonsense Insurance: Zombie
Renault: Afford to Live Again
Schweppes: John Cleese / James Bond
Sky: Fibre Broadband (feat. Al Pacino)
Volkswagen: The Force
Volkswagen: Tall Girl
In May I completed European Schoolnet Academy’s very interesting Future Classroom Scenarios course.
During this course we were asked to create a Learning Story. I had heard of the term ‘Learning Story’ before, but up to then I only had a very vague notion of what it actually involved.
Earlier I rediscovered the Learning Story (Book Trailers) I submitted for peer feedback, so I decided to share it as an example of what one may look like.
Here are basic introductions to some the terms from the course.
Learning Scenarios provide a vision of innovation in teaching and learning in order to help teachers start to rethink their classroom practice. They act as the foundation to the creation of iTEC Learning Activities and Learning Stories.
Learning Activities are based on the Learning Scenarios and describe in concrete terms what can be delivered in a classroom. They may involve forming teams, collecting data outside the school, and creating a multi-media presentation.
Learning Stories are produced as a result of Learning Activities being packaged together to provide a more comprehensive learning experience in an educationally focused narrative. This is a collaborative process involving input from teachers, policy makers, pedagogical experts, and reps from industry. In a final step theses Learning Stories are used by a wider group of teachers in large-scale pilots to produce classroom activities that include the principal of innovation, derived from the scenario, and the elements of educational interaction provided by the Learning Activities. These teachers themselves then provide the learning objectives, context and delivery.
This video briefly describes examples of how the eight Learning Activities can be used in a Learning Story:
- Dream: Asks students to come up with or dream up an initial idea for the design of some product, e.g. in a Physics lesson the topic of friction: dream up a design or a script for the production of a video about friction.
- Explore: Students asked to carry out research into the topic of friction, and the look at examples of other science videos so they can develop ideas of their own.
- Map: Create a mind-map to organise their ideas for the content and structure of the video, and create story-boards for the video dialogue and scenes. (Collaboration with other teachers on this can support students.)
- Reflect: Can be used several times throughout the project, as it allows students to think about the progress they have made and create an audio-visual record.
- Ask & Collaborate: Suggested that students seek outside help, e.g. video specialists, script writers or other media specialists; or older students sharing knowledge and evaluating work done so far.
- Make: Production of the video the students have designed, e.g. recording and editing a video using their own phones.
- Show: Publishing and presentation of their work, e.g. upload video so it can be viewed by other students and parents who can also add comments and feedback.
This blog post shared by some iTec partners offers comprehensive explanations of the eight Learning Activities.
Templates and Examples
Learning Stories and Activities are available to view and download from iTec’s website.
Templates, checklists and guidelines for Scenarios and Stories are available on the Creative Classrooms Lab website.
In June The Guardian published some tips from teachers, including me, on how to encourage students to read for pleasure.
Below are my tips from the article, as well as a few other points which were raised when corresponding with Martin Williams, the journalist who wrote the article. Many of these points complement what I previously wrote about literacy in a live chat on The Guardian.
I think having a regularly-updated print-rich environment is important to have in the classroom. The surroundings should encourage reading in all its forms and support their choices of reading material. It may even spark interest in reading.
I don’t simply mean putting up a poster which tries to promote reading because it’s ‘cool’/etc. – I think they’re totally ineffective. A poster with a list of reasons why reading is ‘cool’ won’t convince anybody to pick up a book, particularly when considering the ages of students in secondary school.
Instead, students (and teachers!) could share the name of the book that they’re reading at the moment, and offer a sentence about the book. It’s a good example of how to encourage and support reading in the physical classroom environment, and a great way to share recommendations from student to student, teacher to student, and even student to teacher.
Drop Everything And Read
In terms of embedding a reading habit at school, I think reading time is important, for example through Drop Everything And Read. DEAR needs to be grounded in reading for pleasure rather than a task to be done at school (‘reading because we have to’), and book choice and availability is therefore crucial to this. It’s a great way to encourage reading for pleasure, particularly when there may not be strong encouragement at home or good access to books outside of school.
Time in the local and/or school library can also be beneficial. In the library as with DEAR, students need time to explore what’s on offer, find books they may like, and, of course, change the book if it isn’t appealing to them; forcing them to stay with a book they don’t like can do more harm than good.
From my experiences there can be a reluctance among students to read.
However, there’s something to consider when making such a statement: is this a reluctance to ‘read’ or a reluctance to ‘read books’? To a certain extent I think there may be an inclination to only consider and favour books and discount the other facets of what reading is.
A 200-300 page book may seem short to some, but these can be intimidating to reluctant readers. Audiobooks, comics, e-books, short stories, online articles and reviews, magazines about their interests – these shouldn’t be ignored.
Based on my own experiences in teaching, the hesitancy of the majority of the ‘reluctant readers’ dissipates when they find something they like and want to read – the material and medium which ‘suits’ and appeals to them.
Reading is a personal, individualised experience; freedom to choose what to read is key to their enjoyment of reading.
Introduce students to a wide variety of texts, mediums and genres – they may surprise themselves once they have faced preconceived ideas about what they consider enjoyable and embrace a diversity in what they read.
World Book Day and World Book Night have great potential which can be harnessed in the classroom. For instance, I was a WBN Book Giver this year and I made a Padlet for recipients of the books to access in order to strengthen the encouragement to read. Among other things, the Padlet contained websites for reviews and recommendations, books I recommend, and details of the local library.
Of course, other book and reading activities/events can also help promote reading for pleasure but, like WBD and WBN, they still have to engage with each student involved in order to have a meaningful impact.
As I’ve mentioned previously, it’s crucial to bear in mind what the student wants to read. Having this control shouldn’t be undervalued, and I think they should be allowed to venture from one type of book to another. Reading is reading, no matter what kind of book/etc. it is.
I consider encouragement from parents to be quite an important factor: it can difficult to instil a reading habit if it only happens at school.
Access to books and other reading material is just as important. I recognise that the school setting for some students may be the only place access to books may be possible, and, whether or not encouragement is in abundance outside of the school setting, we must do our best to encourage students’ reading and textual choices.