What I love about the E-Twinning annual conference is the Teach Meet at the end of it. Every year, teachers get together to discuss ways of collaborating and encouraging learning at an Annual conference. Teachers get to share the work that they have done and they also get rewarded for their work.
There were so many great presentations from teachers. Teachers talked about tools which helped learners but also talked about things that they’ve had to work through. I’m going to sum up some of the tools that I am excited about trying, but I’m also going to explain my own presentation.
The first thing which took my attention was this really cool app to encourage collaboration. You can create a classroom word board of key words and you can gather student opinions. The idea behind this application is that your students can use their phones or website’s to access it. I’m usually in an IT suite which makes this easy for me, but if you’re not, you can encourage students to participate.
Now I know what you’re thinking. What happens when the students start typing in, inappropriate words. The app has a really nice feature that allows you to moderate. It will show you the words before they’re approved. You double click them to approve them.
I thought that this was a simple way to encourage literacy and also a great way to gather opinions on a topic. I shall definitely be trying this in my lessons, a quick and easy starter with students engaging with the messages that appear on screen.
I didn’t really get a chance to talk about this, but I’ve recently been doing something called ‘Spaced Learning’. The idea is that you teach students a topic in 10 minutes at a quick pace. Then you give the students 10 minutes on a creative task. It could be something like drawing a picture or creating something from playdough. You return back to the task for 10 minute but you deliver it in a slightly different way. Follow this up with another 10 minute creative task and then a formal assessment. This has been helping a lot of my students understand the task in a much stronger way. I had recently spent ages taking out blanks from my presentations and had spent a lot of time modifying my work for the second delivery.
Then a lady called Kate @kojk30 (twitter) presented this to me! She had me at ‘Hello’. Basically it is a teaching tool that allows you to create online presentations. You can create them ‘real time’ or ‘self paced’. I love flipping the learning and this seems amazing. You can include polls and quiz’s in your presentation and it allows the whole class to participate. All you need to do is give them the ‘pin’ number and they can access the website.
The students do not need logins and only need to type in their name. If they do type in a silly name, you don’t need to show the results on the screen but you can still get a good idea for polls about understanding on specific topics. I’ve included a number of screen shots to show you it working.
The website address is nearpod.com
Computing and Irish Dancing
I have been a trained Irish dance teacher for a while and have danced since I was 11 years old. I was recently online looking at many people teaching coding techniques by using dances like the macerena and the hokey cokey. This got me thinking about how I can use two of my favourite things to teach computational thinking.
When teaching computational thinking, one term that we use a lot is Algorithm. This is a detailed set of instructions. In my lessons a way of doing this with my students is for me to get them dancing. I gave them a list of Irish dance movements from the Ceili, the walls of limerick and asked them to dance. Students would complain and say, they didn’t know what they had to do!
- Advance and retire
- Half right and left
- Dance with opposite
- Dance around
Thus brings us to decomposition. I would say, this is why we need to break down our problem into smaller understandable steps. I would then explain how each of the movements work. This helps them understand how to break the problem down.
Once we’ve broken the dance down into smaller steps they could then see that the last moment started the dance all over again. Repetition! These are some key concepts and it was a way for me to get my students developing flow charts.
One task that I like to do with my students is get them to develop their own dance. They would then have to debug their dance. I would get them to break their dance down into smaller steps and then instruct me to do the dance. I would deliberately make mistakes whenever the instructions were vague and the student would change their description.
In terms of Ceili, there are lots of Ceili’s you can do with your students. It’s cross curricular and it’s fun. Most Ceili dances have a reptition or they have ‘subroutines’ in them. There is a part of the dance called the ‘body’ which is like a section of the dance that you might ‘repeat’ until the new movement is added.
I have attached some pictures from the Teach Meet but if you are interested in knowing more contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org