On Wednesday last week I sat in an innovation symposium with a Virtual Reality headset on. I was then strapped into a sports seat mirroring one that one would find in a modern racing car. The helpful assistant informed me that when the program begins I might find the 360°, fully immersive experience slightly disorientating. Being a son of a digital revolution that for me began with the Amstrad CPC 464, I dismissed his comment with an arrogance that these days is usually demonstrated by someone located in an office that is oval shaped. How dare he think that I would find the experience disorientating? He has clearly never played Manic Miner!
For twenty years I have been involved in taking students and educators down to countries in the Global South - Mexico, the Dominican Republic and, more recently, El Salvador. I started doing these trips because one of our high school students needed a teacher to bring down a group of really motivated students. I had no idea of what I was getting myself into and on that first trip, and really saw myself as an observer rather than a teacher-leader.
Its was a with some trepidation and a little fear when our head said to us about teaching Shakespeare as a topic. This was shaped by my own experience with Shakespeare at school, which basically amounted to reading from a book and having little to no understanding of his fantastic language. After a staff trip to the Globe in London for CPD and some inspiring ideas shared I was happier, even a little excited about the prospect of teaching Shakespeare to 7 and 8 year olds. My class were called The Tempest - this was primarily the play I concentrated on - but many of the ideas I used could be used and adapted with any Shakespeare play.
Writing and filmmaking maestros A Tale Unfolds have announced the early release of Frightful Film Trailer, their brand-new, free resource made in collaboration with The Literacy Shed. This week-long literacy project encourages teachers to use film and filmmaking in the classroom as a purposeful way to engage children with writing. Using animations from The Literacy Shed as well as original videos starring The Write Brothers, teachers and pupils are guided step by step in creating their own trailer.
Schools around the world are being invited to tune in to a unique digital broadcast this week, as part of global celebrations to mark the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare. Digital content providers Discovery Education will host a virtual field trip from Stratford-upon-Avon on 22nd April from 14:30 to 15:00 (BST), giving students worldwide the chance to explore the Bard’s birthplace, school, and other historic locations without leaving their classrooms. Presented by Diane Louise Jordan and featuring Sir Ian McKellen, the Shakespeare 400 broadcast will provide a compelling insight into the life and legacy of the world’s most famous playwright.
What is the main ingredient that makes a great lesson? I’m not talking in the realms of inspectorate rhetoric. We all know as professionals that we need our pupils to make progress in each lesson, and we are not oblivious to this fact. I mean those lessons that you regale other teachers with because you have a real sense of pride in what occurred. The ones where all the pupils were switched on, and the learning flowed as smooth as Frank Sinatra-branded honey!
A west London school has energised their Science lessons by using an interactive textbook. The Heathland School in Hounslow has begun using IntoScience, an immersive and highly engaging interactive 3D environment which brings the theory of science to life. It is aimed particularly at pupils aged 12-16 (KS3-4) and covers all fields of the subject. IntoScience was developed by Mathletics creators 3P Learning.
“I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.” - Confucius
1. It is a fun experience!
As an Early Level teacher, I see the benefits of active learning. It is a fun way of getting the children to engage in a subject without them thinking its work. It is an organic process; not always planned and possible to be confidently led by the children themselves.
Manchester-based edtech experts Computeam have been working with archeologist Dr. Diane Davies and the London Grid for Learning to immerse pupils in the Maya civilization. The company’s library of augmented reality learning resources, specifically those looking at the Mesoamerican civilization, won them a prestigious Primary Digital Content BETT Award in London last month.
Teaching can be a strange thing, you can plan a lesson to within an inch of your life, you can create resources and finely tune the learning objective, but sometimes some of the best lessons can be those that you didn’t plan or even create an objective for. This is one of those lessons. It was our termly celebration day, where parents are invited in to share their children’s work from the term, and we had just come to the end of the sharing with an hour still left of the day. I had a class of expectant parents with little to do. “Right,” I thought, and pulled a bit of gamification out of the bag.