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Does education really need technology?

There may be many with a view on what makes for a good lesson.  Most would not argue with the ideas clearly expounded upon by Hattie and Yates (1) that a good lesson starts with an initial review of knowledge, moves on to a formal presentation, guided practice, initial feedback, independent practice and a follow-up review.  In terms of my own practice this is a model that I follow.  Not via any particular tools because I know that my target audience need variety and must not settle into any type of formulaic process.  Thus, I follow the steps but use different methods. Far be it for me to claim that this effective lesson cannot be achieved without technology.  Having started my teaching career over 20 years ago I know that it is possible to be an effective practitioner and deliver a lesson where progress is made using old-fashioned methods that may well have included some worksheets created on the trusty (rusty?) Banda machine.  Nor am I here to advocate that this process is more effe…
Recent posts

Flipped Learning with Nearpod

Recently, I have been trying to get my Year 12 confident with pronouns (direct and indirect object pronouns).  Anyone who teaches French will know that these can be complicated for some pupils and it can be tricky to teach.  Thinking that I really needed to get my pupils to work at their own pace and take their time over exercises testing their (hopefully) new-found knowledge I decided to put together some lessons using Nearpod.  Nearpod is an online tool that allows you to create inspiring and engaging lessons and provide you with 'real-time feedback and post-session reports'.  This last term I was able to benefit from the ability to embed videos from YouTube for free (normally, you would have to upgrade to be able to use Web Content) and over a suite of Nearpod lessons I started each different grammatical point with a video.  Of course, if I had made the video myself, there would have been no problem in simply uploading that from a number of different sources (eg dropbox, g…

Quizlet Learn - effective learning.

Just a few months ago I was writing about Quizlet Live.  A fantastic tool that encourages classroom collaboration and discussion and further enhances pupil learning of key facts, terms, vocabulary, dates (take your pick, depending on your subject). You can read about it here.  Recently, I have had the opportunity to try out Quizlet Learn; a new feature that the Quizlet team have worked on with students' progress right at the heart of their creation.  The feature takes on board study and research on how learning occurs most effectively.  Simply set the test date and let the tool create a study programme that is fun and engaging and gives you reminders of what remains to be studied or revisited in order to progress.   The tool provides practice via a variety of quizzes that adapt to the students' progress (or lack of!).  As the student improves so the questions become more taxing getting the student match fit. 





I am a big fan of Quizlet.  Like a good teacher, it is always thinkin…

Vidra - creating videos has never been easier.

A while ago I was thinking about how each student I teach is an individual and has such different ways of viewing the world, approaching their lessons, focusing on their studies and indeed learning.  I am always thinking about how I can ensure that I provide a variety of ways to tap into students individual learning needs.  Some of my students like the power of the pen, some prefer typing out notes and others might create a mind map. If they have access to their own device, I would point them in the direction of Vidra.  The tool has a variety of great, simple images to use and providing voice over is achieved simply by clicking the microphone icon.  You can add background music and you may have as many or as few slides as you wish.  That old history project, explanation of weather patterns in geography or project on Jewish festivals in RS can now easily be undertaken by creating an explainer video.  And why not? After all, we are all unique and redefining a task in this way taps into …

Active Vocab Learning Challenges

This term has been hectic and has not quite turned out as I expected.  Nonetheless, despite all the unknowns and all the work the one constant and the one pleasing aspect to my role has been what has been going on in my classroom.  I make no bones about the fact that this article is going to have very little link to technology.  This does not mean that I have left technology behind.  On the contrary, I am still very much in favour of harnessing tools to enhance learning and marrying this with the most pertinent teaching methodology.  
In fact, methodology is where this blogpost begins.  With the demands of the new GCSE in mind I wanted and indeed, needed, to consider how best to enable my students to enlarge their vocabulary so that they could put it to use in writing and translation.  With Daniel Willingham’s Why Don't Students Like School in mind, I have worked hard to ensure that students have a large bank of words at their disposal so that they can build on this and apply it mo…

It's Quizlet - but not as we know it.

This past academic year I did not use my iPad in lessons as much as I would have liked.  Previously I have given out my one iPad and let students use it to create little digital postcards or books using the book creator app or using tellagami they made spoken presentations hiding their anxiety behind an avatar of their making.  Each student has then shown the next student how to make such a presentation using the prescribed tools.  This has been a system that has worked well and given all the students a chance to be creative and enhance their learning and demonstrate their knowledge.
However, this year, just past, I have focused more on a few tools such as google classroom, which you can read about here and here. I have also used Edmodo a great deal as my students have been involved in a collaborative project with students in France.  Edmodo is an excellent and safe platform for a project such as this. Both Google Classroom and Edmodo allow for collaboration and give opportunities too…

Twitter - how to make it work for you.

As you may know, I am a huge fan of Twitter.  I post something almost everyday and invariably it is to do with teaching and learning, although of late, since the EU referendum, I have become quite an angry political tweeter!  Of course, I also post tweets of encouragement and support for my fellow colleagues and I am always grateful when they do the same for me.  Indeed, supportive tweets can help you through those dark days that sometimes get you down.The reason, therefore, for writing this post is that I now have some colleagues who started to show an interest in Twitter but who clearly need some direction.  They have got as far as signing up and following a few people but they just don't get the point and more worryingly for me, as a staunch supporter of and believer in Twitter I want them to understand how to the make the most of this fabulous resource. So how should I encourage them to stay on Twitter? What can I tell my colleagues that will help them to see the value in this …