So here it is, I’ve put myself out on a ledge and have made my application to become a Google Certified Trainer. Wish me luck!
Human migration and the associated risks, challenges and opportunities has been the Unit of Inquiry for our Year 5s this half term. With great empathy and concern they have reflected on the current refugee crisis and have also explored their own family migration stories.
At the beginning of the unit we tuned students in by sharing migration stories of teachers across the school. In order to give children an understanding of the journey length and settings of each destination, we asked willing staff to create a Tour Builder to share their migration story. See Figure 1 for a screenshot of my migration story.
Tour Builder is an online tool that allows you to create interactive journeys that enrich student understanding. With the use of Maps; locations and travel routes can be plotted across the world with the opportunity for the viewer to zoom in and explore each of those locations. To weave the story together; photos, videos and text can be added giving detailed descriptions of the destinations. An introduction video on how to use this tool can be found here.
Once students had a taste of Tour Builder, they were very keen to create there own. Very quickly they picked up the skills and were adding details to each of their migration locations. Some students were absolutely captivated by the power of Street View and expertly used this element to gain an understanding of unknown locations or to revisit fond childhood memories. One particular student was recording the migration of his Grandfather and noted that towns in which he had lived in Ukraine had changed name and were no longer on the modern map. The sharing of these connections sparked great enthusiasm within the class and led to further action with Tour Builder at home.
Coding week in the Lower School was a big success! The purpose of this week was to spark an interest in computer programming across the school. To kick off the celebrations our student Digital Leaders ran an assembly to spread the excitement. One of our Digital Leaders dressed up as a robot and his peers created an algorithm for him to follow. Two competitions were also launched for Lower and Upper Primary. Students had to use problem solving skills to identify what would happen when the algorithms were run.
Throughout the week, each class completed an Hour of Code. Students were introduced to key coding terminology such as algorithm (step by step instructions to solve a problem) and debug (find and fix mistakes in a computer program). As they wrote, ran and debugged algorithms, students were encouraged to use the computing vocabulary with their peers. It was wonderful to hear some of our youngest students talk about how computers work.
Practicing coding is an excellent opportunity for students to work collaboratively and use problem solving skills. When students were paired together on a device, we found that rich discussion followed as they shared strategies and clarified steps whilst adding them to the algorithm. Students also developed their spatial awareness skills as they determined which way they should turn their character to reach the target.
Overall it was a successful week and feedback from staff and students was positive. We look forward to including more coding into the curriculum and exploring more resources.
A wonderful example of an IT Class Agreement can be seen on the wall of Year 3. At the beginning of the year the students worked together to create this list of expectations when using an iPad. The agreement is displayed at child height and serves as a reminder of good practice whenever they use the equipment. What a great idea!
This has become an invaluable part of my weekly coaching routine. Setting up appointment slots at the beginning of each week has allowed me to reach out to more staff members and become more accessible for coaching.
Within Google Calendar there is a specific function called Appointment Slots. It allows you to set up availabilities on your personal calendar that people can reserve to meet with you. Appointment slots are quite simple to use once you get into the habit and have proven to be very useful in my role.
To learn more about how to set up Appointment slots please click here.
Once people choose a time slot on your calendar you are notified by email and are given the opportunity to accept or decline the meeting invitation. As a part of my appointment booking instructions, I ask staff to nominate where they would like to meet. I find this opens the door to colleagues being willing to share; often people are more comfortable in their own working space. It also gives me opportunities to see what is happening in different classrooms.
Now that I have been using appointment slots regularly, I have begun to include other events on my personal calendar such as school trips on which I will attend. This helps staff to understand how I use my non appointment slot days and shows my accountability for non teaching time.
Overall the use of appointment slots has greatly improved my Digital Coaching process. The amount of staff initiated contact has significantly increased with more and more staff members approaching me, willing to discuss their IT goals and ideas.
This year we introduced an exciting new opportunity for students in Year 5 and 6 to become Digital Leaders. These students are passionate about IT and applied to be a part of this exciting lunch time club.
The club meets every Tuesday and students have the opportunity to experiment with new technologies and tools, develop skills to teach others and help improve IT at our school.
In the first week of our club, the students worked together to complete a SWOT analysis of how IT is used in our school. They considered the Strengths, Weakness’, Opportunities and Threats and the impact they have on our school. The discussion was very rich and our young leaders had valuable insights into the direction they would like their learning to take. Interestingly the students identified that there needs to be a balance of IT use within school. The children were aware that prolonged screen time can have a negative impact on their daily lives.
One area that the students felt passionately about was learning to code. The students agreed that they would like to see an increase in the teaching of coding at school. In response to their discussions, we decided that participating in Hour of Code would be a great way to kick start the enthusiasm for coding across the Lower School. In the following weeks, the Digital Leaders took action and split into teams to research resources for an Hour of Code week. The students put themselves in the shoes of different aged students and reflected on which resources would be suitable for each year group.
The Digital Leaders and teachers are looking forward to an exciting Hour of Code week early in the new year!
Ever had a “got to share this awesome tool” moment? Well a DEMO SLAM is the perfect place to do so. It’s a relaxed and fun way of sharing IT ideas with colleagues.
Recently in the Lower School we had our first ever Demo Slam between staff. It was action packed with audience volunteers and laughs from the crowd. We had four wonderful staff members who delivered an engaging and useful Demo Slam to staff. It was great to see the audience being so supporting of our four risk taking presenters.
In each Demo Slam we have volunteers called, Demo Slammers, who have submitted their IT tip to the Digital Literacy Coach before the staff meeting. During the DEMO SLAM, there are a few simple rules:
- Each Demo Slammer will have 3 minutes to present their handy IT tip in an engaging way.
- If tech fails or the trick doesn’t work, it’s all good, just laugh it off and we can try again another time. As a staff we support each other, even when things don’t work.
- At the end of the demos, the audience will vote for their favourite one. The winner gains the crown of Demo Slam King or Queen!
Inspired by Google Demo Slams