ICT in Subjects at #TLAB13

My notes for #TLAB13 presentation followed by the slides; all images from Google’s Stock Collection in Drive. NB: I have not edited the notes for this post.

Setting the scene:

  • SMT made decision to teach ICT through other subjects. No more discrete timetabled ICT lessons.
  • Moving to a two-week timetable and 30*50 minute lessons instead of 40*40 minutes per week.
  • ICT teacher would manage which departments and when.
  • Units of work would be decided upon collaboratively.
  • A lot of work.
  • Hard to choose a department.
  • English were restricted by having two class sets of set texts.
  • Maths by streamlining and classes following different POS.
  • Science taught two units at the same time to half a year group each.
  • ADT operate a carousel system.
  • Good depts: Geog. History. RE. Music. Latin. MfL.
  • One lesson per week from the partner subject.
  • ICT rooms had to be booked because there is no timetable. Clash with CAs meant resource management very difficult. Bid for carry cases of mobile devices was rejected.
  •  A logistical nightmare. How was I going to protect the ICT curriculum?

But. A fantastic opportunity. As an evangelist of the use of education technology to enhance learning, here I was faced with a formal opportunity to prove it – to do it rather than talk about it. Game on!

Section One: content and activities, ICT curriculum

Geography

  • Volcanoes and earthquakes. One term.
  • Google Apps for Education. Google sites. Google docs. Frog.
  • Y7. 120 pupils. Five classes. Four Geog teachers. Two ICT teachers.
  • Recreate a case study of a natural hazard. Map skills.
  • Groups of four. Pupils chose a partner and then teachers allocated two pairs together.
  • Group management roles were given. More about that later.
  • Pupils had to go through ICT admin of accounts for GAfE and school network, including ICT AUP. This allowed Geog teachers to get them started over the first two weeks. But Geog teachers found it hard having less lessons.
  • ICT content: collaboration and teamwork, referencing sources, web searching, websites, writing for the web, google maps and web tools.

RE

  • The Covenant. Half term.
  • Google Apps for Education. Google sites. Google docs. Voki. Prezi. Other web2.0 tools. Frog.
  • Y8 120 pupils. Five classes. Four teachers. Two ICT teachers.
  • Six sections. Meet with all participant teachers to discuss what we could do. Pupils to investigate an independent line of enquiry into one of the six areas and then share them with each other through a cycle of review or presentation. Similar to Geog projects.
  • ICT content: collaboration and teamwork. Research. Referencing. Web tools: presenting/communicating information suitable to audience.

English

  • Set text. Half term.
  • Google Apps for Education. MS Word. Classtools fakebook. Frog.
  • Y8. 48 pupils. Two classes. One teacher. One ICT teacher.
  • Yellowcake Conspiracy – a novel.
  • Annotating google maps.
  • Fakebook profiles.
  • Word processed reports.
  • ICT content: web2.0 tools, social networking and esafety, word processor and templates, writing online, formal report writing, spell-checking etc.

PE

  • Fielding & striking techniques. Term.
  • 12 flip cameras. Windows Movie Maker Live. PowerPoint. Frog.
  • Y7. 120 pupils. Five classes. Three teachers. Two ICT teachers. Only one ICT lesson.
  • ICT content: filming and editing video. Annotating still images.

Music

  • Composition for media. Term.
  • Y8. 120 pupils. Five classes. Two teachers and two ICT teachers.
  • CuBase. Scratch, Google presentations. Frog.
  • ICT content: music composition with CuBase, Scratch programming language.

Overall the simpler individual work like that done in English or Music was much easier to achieve. For the collaborative projects – and scratch programming games – it was always striking a balance between ambition and achievement for each pupil.

Section Two: group work, pedagogy, assessment, management tools, evaluation

Group Roles

Time Manager: meeting deadlines, checking everyone is on task and getting their job done.

Content Manager: which sections are being done by whom. They should plan deadlines for content to be done by in consultation with Time Manager.

Layout Manager: design, colours, fonts should all be consistent throughout the site. References must be accurate.

Functionality Manager: when building websites it is necessary to check that everything works properly for visitors.

For the next project we added Project Manager to help co-ordinate everybody and to make a clear lead/person to talk to if you were worried about anything.

It was excellent to call all the managers of one type out of the room for a two minute briefing. For example, all the content managers could share how they were managing their role and making sure the content was being covered. Equally, in the RE project, we were able to do the same with all those across the groups within one class studying a particular line of enquiry. We could do this because there were two teachers present.

Pedagogy

Team teaching can be great fun but sometimes it can be very hard.

And there are times when feel rather exposed and vulnerable in front of your colleagues.

To combat this I wanted to make sure I was teaching well. I investigated learning objectives, SOLO taxonomy, group work and project based learning. Most of this was done through blogs and books, some of the authors are presenting today.

Core principles of the classroom for ICT in Subjects

  • Pupils knew what they doing next
  • Every pupil to receive verbal feedback about their work every lesson (two teachers after all)
  • Instructional material was always available through the VLE.
  • Pupils struck a balance between ambition and achievement.
  • Peer review, and improving work to achieve quality, was to be included wherever possible.

Assessment

  • Frog VLE was used where appropriate for pupils to upload files to be marked.
  • Certain planning pieces (e.g. for Scratch game plans) would have to be signed off by a teacher.
  • Comments were made on Google Docs where appropriate to help the pupil move on to the next step.
  • Difficult for the ICT teachers because their class would change from project to project so hard to get to know the individuals and their work well.
  • ICT teachers do not have to write reports or go to parents evenings or provide tracking data.
  • There will be an ICT exhibition towards the end of the academic year, showcasing the work. Still planning this but ideally I would like the pupils to show their parents their work following an introduction where some pupils showcase their ICT experience for the year. Not sure the former part of this is viable so back to the drawing board. How do we present an ICT exhibition without WiFi?

Management Tools

To keep in touch with participant teachers, I used a google spreadsheet with a worksheet for each class/teacher. I would make a master copy which would then be copied out to each class. Problematic because of two-week timetable which meant the order of lessons could be different for each class between their ICT lesson (A) and their non-ICT lesson (B): ABBA, ABAB, BABA, BAAB. Therefore, a large degree of flexibility was necessary at all times.

It was a challenge to get participants to fill in the spreadsheets with the content of their (non-ICT) lessons.

Few responses to emails. I had to make sure that both me and my ICT colleague were following everything up face-to-face.

Evaluation

As research project for my MA I have used the evaluation process of ICT in Subjects to find out if the school is doing KS3 ICT the best way it can to inform future decisions about whether or not to continue or return to discrete lessons.

The research involved pupil questionnaires, teacher questionnaires and documentary evidence in the form of academic tracking data over four terms.

Findings:

1. Comparing academic achievement in the participant subjects, 83% of pupils did better in the participant subject test after ICT in Subjects. [NB: this analysis requires further verification as there are many potentially influential factors]

2. Many participants felt that ICT benefitted their learning.

3. Some participants wanted to return to discrete ICT lessons where they learnt about computers.

4. Some liked the new way of learning ICT whilst in another subject.

5. Despite several opportunities, not one pupil said the use of ICT was a bad thing.

ICT in Subjects at #TLAB13

Teaching Learning and Assessment Conference in March

There are so many things to do as a teacher – things beyond your core workflow.

Well, maybe this conference should be one of them? The Teaching, Learning & Assessment Conference hosted by Berkhamsted School in March promises to be a valuable day for any teacher for £40.00. It’s on a Saturday so no cover is required. It’s just off the M25 so convenient for many to travel a fair distance to. Despite being hosted by an independent school, the line-up of teachers presenting is an excellent mix from state and independent schools. It is not for profit.

The line-up of practitioners is really very impressive. I read nearly all of their blogs as they share their work and ideas. I am flattered – read: I am not worthy – to be among them.

I have the pleasure of presenting a workshop on how we are teaching KS3 ICT at my school this year – through other subjects. I will give detailed insight into, what I call, ICT in Subjects. This project brings the end of discrete ICT lessons in my school, and instead delivers the ICT curriculum in other subjects, team-taught with the subject specialist teacher and the ICT teacher. It is possible that all the National Curriculum reviews, in full flow as I write, might bring this type of cross-curricular ICT into every school.

As part of the research for my MA, I am evaluating the success of the project; so my findings are supported by data collected from the pupils and teachers involved. So far this year, we have worked with Geography, English, RE, Music and PE. A lot of the work has been ambitious in using Google Apps for collaborative website-based projects. Groups have been allocated specific roles – e.g. content manager, functionality manager, time manager, project manager – as well as every pupil choosing independent lines of enquiry within their group. A lot of obstacles have been hit head-on and lessons learned.

The aims of the ICT in Subjects are as follows:

  • to deliver the ICT curriculum;
  • to embed ICT into other subjects;
  • to disseminate ICT skills to as many teachers as possible;
  • to reflect the penetration of ICT into all walks of life.

If you are available March 16th, I hope to see you at the conference.

Teaching Learning and Assessment Conference in March

It’s alright MA, I’m only trying..

Over two years ago I made the choice to suspend my MA for family reasons. I don’t like to discuss my family online so only minimal detail is shared here. However, now the postponement deadline has passed and I face a decision of whether or not to complete my Masters in Education: Leading Innovation and Change.

Sitting in Ealing library (incredibly busy BTW – hard to get a seat at a computer or non-computer desk – the world is changing) in an attempt to plan the next two weeks work leading to 6000 words of academic prose, this post is to warm up my brain. I restarted the MA in September, convinced that SOLO taxonomy was the most fruitful research I could do because it would also help refine my learning design skills. However, shortly before the end of term, in the two week period I had selected to execute my research, a full inspection was announced, providing a hectic week of preparation and delivery whist 13 guests gathered evidence to judge our school. The inspection went well. We await the formal feedback next month.

You may have sensed my hesitation – or should I call it inertia – toward my MA. It’s there. The momentum I generated achieving distinction in my first year has evaporated. I am looking to recapture the gas. This is a very busy year. My eldest has his finals at Oxford. My middle one has his A2s. My youngest has her final year GCSEs. My partner has all this and her couragous daily negotiation of medical matters. And we have a household to run (drudge – meh!). On top of this, I have to design an ongoing scheme of work to team teach ICT in as many different departments as possible, manage the people and resources involved and execute the delivery. I also have to lead the school’s implementation of Frog as a replacement VLE which has so far included nine hours directed staff training, launch to 850 pupils and integrating the VLE as a hub of daily communications.  So, without further ado, what am I going to research?

My chosen line of enquiry

This year my school made the decision to cease discrete KS3 ICT lessons, and to teach ICT across the curriculum as a serious venture. It is a fantastic project, and innovative that the school has put siginificant staff resources behind it; sadly this has not been backed-up with hardware investment. Last term my fellow ICT teacher and I worked with nine different teachers in English, RE and Geography. In the New Year we are working with another five teachers in Music and PE. I have to complete the evaluation of this work from both the teacher and pupil points-of-view. Therefore, it makes enormous sense to make this process of evaluation and feedback the content of my action research project. The other choices are to re-initiate the research I have started on SOLO or to look at implementing Frog from a school-wide viewpoint. I have decided on the ICTinSubjects project because it requires an enormous amount of work anyway, it demands proper evaluation and feedback, and when the time comes to review the project as a whole, the more evidence I have to inform the best course of action the better (1: go back to discrete ICT; 2. a combination of discrete ICT and ICT in Subjects; or 3. to continue as we are). The more rigour I can bring to that evidence, which should be centred around learning, the better it will be for my school. Finally, I have the pleasure of running a workshop on my work with ICT in Subjects at the Teaching and Learning conference in March 2013 at Berkhamsted School and this will help me prepare for that as well.

So, it’s alright MA, I’m only trying…

It’s alright MA, I’m only trying..