2 Regular Teachers Podcast Launch & Further Discussion

Last week Adam Lavars (another primary teacher and great friend) and I embarked on a podcasting project. Our aim is to share experiences from the frontline of primary teaching. Sure, we have a passion for ICT in the classroom but we still work in the public system like so many others, and consequently have to complete the myriad of other jobs and roles that come with being a classroom teacher these days. Our weekly podcast will aim to tell how it is through success and failure and everything in between.

We would love you to visit the blog and listen to Episode 1. There are a few ways to follow us on our journey:

Our Global2 Blog 

Subscribe to our Podomatic Feed

Subscribe via iTunes

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During our first episode we discussed the topic of homework. An often polarising topic. We were trying to work towards an understanding that homework should be something that is relevant, creative and an extension of the students’ learning for life. We are frustrated by the process of handing it out, checking when it is returned and the conversations that arise with students; not about their learning but more the admin side of “where is it?”, “why didn’t you complete it?”

Aaron Davis commented and pointed us to this article by Jason Borton in February this year. A great article and it has helped articulate my thoughts a little more. As well as what I have outlined above, below are my responses to Aaron’s comment and my reflections after reading Jason’s article.

 
I think we do mean the ‘flipped classroom’ to some degree. I hear what Sam Irwin was talking about too. Indeed, I’ve given much thought to the fact of students taking in information at home, becoming familiar with a concept, doing a tiny bit of immersion before they attend class the next day. But now I throw back to Jason Borton’s post that you mentioned in the comment. What about equity? Lots of kids have access to digital technology at home but not all. And we still have loads of parents that either don’t care about the continuation of homework each week or want traditional sheets each week.
At my school we send home sheets for maths frequently at this stage. This was a regular practice when I started there last year. I feel a little guilty about this as whilst at school we strive to not have a curriculum that is reliant on sheets and piles of photocopying.
Like Jason stated, we are the professionals and should be setting the standard.
One aspect of Jason’s article I wanted to comment on was the statement that “The last thing kids want to do when they get home from a long day at school is sit down for another dose of school and do homework.” My argument would be that if the school’s policy is to send homework home each week, then let’s make it a type of learning that is engaging and motivating for the students. If we could reach that ideal, then we wouldn’t need to even consider kids being stressed about getting ‘another dose of school’ at home because school is just part of their learning for life. And that is what we were trying to get at it in the discussion during Episode 1.

All About Engagement…and Technology…and it worked!

It’s been bothering me that  the previous post on my blog was a bit of a rant. Not initially, but now that some months have passed it was time to rectify the situation. I just posted the below report on my global2 blog that I keep with my class. I thought it fitting to share the work on my professional blog. This is mainly about the power of Edmodo in a way. Although a homework project, the nice things about the learning below is that my students were sharing updates, achievements, questions and thoughts as they went. This made them unafraid and confident to share their work come presentation day. Please leave a comment if you see fit. The post starts below…

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For the past 3 weeks we have been investigating an ecosystem in our own backyard. We all joined a group space on Edmodo and kept each other up to date with what we were learning and discovering as we completed the project. Some people posted some comments and questions to the space. Others posted photos of the living and non-living things in their chosen patch. We discussed our progress as we went and posted links to some useful websites that contained information about ecosystems, different biomes and animal species.

All our work was due last week. On Thursday 25th August we presented our work to small groups of classmates. We had to make sure that we spoke clearly and made eye contact with our audience. We came really prepared so that the technology would work and we finished off with posting what we had learned to our ‘Ecosystem Project’ space on Edmodo.

Below are some examples from our projects. Everybody had something unique to share! At the bottom of the post there is a question we would like you to answer.

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Amy used 'Paint' to draw her chosen ecosystem

Amy used 'Paint' to draw her chosen ecosystem

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Here we are presenting our projects!

Here we are presenting our projects!

The power of Edmodo!

The power of Edmodo!

Steffi made her movie using her iPod Touch. Bridget wrote a script, rehearsed and filmed her show with a digital video camera.