Interim reports

Education Learning Log

Rich Tasks and Wee Gardens

Our learning community are about to further develop rich tasks. One group are taking forward a P3 rich task and the group I’m working with are looking at a P6/7 one. One of the teachers involved in the P6/7 task has just returned from study leave to Malawi so it made sense to develop something which could use her expertise and develop links with her link school in Malawi. We were kind of swimming in the dark a bit with where to go first with this – we’ve got the funding in place for development work and for staff from the schools involved to spend time working together, but where to start?

So it was fantastic to discover at the Scottish Learning Festival that Argyll and Bute council have developed a suite of 24 rich tasks based on the Australian model, all linked in to ACfE. What a great starting point for anyone looking to develop work in this area.

I’m hoping to have a spending spree in the Garden Centre this weekend. I loved Don Ledingham’s idea of permission to learn cards for the adults in school and  our p1 teacher and nursery teacher are going for it with a bit of risk taking. They’ve joined up for play every Monday afternoon and are using numeracy as a backdrop theme for work in developing our garden. So I’ve been sent off with a shopping list – seed potatoes, compost wormery, bulbs, herbs, fruit trees – the school fund is going to take a whack! Wiggly wigglers have great wiggly resources for school gardening.

My latest amazon parcel came the other day with a few books I’ve been meaning to read. Everything is Miscellaneous, David Weinberger, Wikinomics Don Tapscott, The Starfish and The Spider Brafman and Beckstrom. Looking forward to sitting down and reading this September weekend. And when I’m not out and about or reading I’ve been loving this for jumping about and snacking on all sorts of stuff…

We’re waiting on freeby dance mats from RM after doing them a wee favour at their presentation at the Learning Festival and I’ve been reading with interest the consolarium blog on LTScotland. I don’t know how many parents come to see me and say my son/daughter never reads at home but when you ask about console use they’re reading a lot of complex stuff and learning all the time, but do we take this into account at school? I doubt it.

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September 22, 2007 Posted by | Rich tasks | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Learning Festival

I’ve been meaning to get along to a TeachMeet for some time so with the  Scottish Learning Festival being near to home I managed to go and lurk. Listening to the seven and 2 minute presentations sparked lots of ideas which I hope to follow up.

It struck me that the way I carry out my own learning and development has changed hugely over the past few years. We’ve had lots of discussions recently in the authority where I work, about the need for fewer short courses and more over a few days where deep learning can take place. To an extent I think this is a good idea. Having spent a week in the summer at a summer school on leadership – the time to reflect and discuss keynotes in process groups was invaluable and has helped me to re-evaluate my ideas.

But short snacking is something we also need to encourage amongst teachers – I wish I’d been able to hear Ewan MacIntosh speaking about how young people snack on media. I found the TeachMeet a real life representation of the learning snacking that I do daily online – finding short snippets of info that might or might not spark more investigation. When they do spark something then that learning can take me down routes and to places which I would never have imagined, where deep learning and collaboration occurs.

The thing that preys on my mind is that as a profession I see a divide opening between teachers who naturally do this kind of investigation and learning and those that don’t. What I can’t see yet is whether this divide and ability to snack but also learn deeply is about digital natives and immigrants or whether it is more than that.

Sitting at the TeachMeet with a teacher from the school I work in you could see the people there just got it, they’d embrace change, go for it with ACfE, develop collaborative online communities with colleagues and had a hunger to learn, they were trying new innovative and creative teaching with ICT tools to help them.

Things are certainly looking better than when I used to teach ICT to teachers with a new fangled mouse attached. After giving what I thought was a clear instruction to use the mouse to move the pointer on the screen, I found people holding their mouse onto the screen and moving it around the surface. And I’m guessing the TeachMeet evaluations would have been more encouraging than one we got after one of our computer courses.

Question – What do you intend to do as a result of this course?

Answer- Go for a curry and a pint!

August 22, 2007 Posted by | TeachMeet | , | Leave a comment