Tag: education

Hard Lesson #6: Failure Is Great

The last known Tasmanian Tiger photographed in 1933. The species is now extinct.

This post is part of a series on hard lessons to teach in schools. When I broached the subject of failure with students I really expected them to be more negative, fearing that school had probably sold them on the line that failure is to …

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Should We Stop Teaching Handwriting?

FloppyWhilst I am no fanboy, there is one thing that I think Apple does well: phasing out obsolete technology. Whether it was floppy drives in the 90s or DVD drives and Ethernet ports in the 10s, there is no place in Apple machines for …

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Digital Savages

SavageMarc Prensky’s work on digital natives represents a watershed in educational thinking, and seems to have been behind much of the 21st Century pedagogical approach. Whilst Prensky shares some interesting ideas, I believe the concept of digital natives has done education more harm than good. …

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Communication Comparison

TelegraphAs ICT and media tools have become more and more integrated into our lives, certain limitations have become extremely apparent. This is especially true in terms of the ability of ICT tools to facilitate communication between individuals and groups. To give but one example, consider …

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Self Assessment Guide

Last year I completed my Unified ICT Rubric for KS3, and even before it was finished I hated it. It was too big, too complex and too restrictive. I have spent the last year slowly thinking of a better way, looking around at what others are doing, and trying to roll disparate ideas into something simple, cohesive and, gasp, even fun. The result is the document and process you see below. It is a system of student self assessment, where the teacher is there to verifying and adjudicate student's own assessments of themselves. But, it is more than simply an assessment guide, it is also a way for students to understand a whole course, and to map their progress.

ICT & Media Assessment Guide_web

Large version (PNG) | A3 printable version (PDF) | Editable student version w/ log (Pages)

The Teaching & Assessment Process

This document can be used in numerous ways to support teaching and learning. The description below is the way I am currently planning to use it:
  • The first step has been to reduce the number of units in each year, to free up 5 lessons for students to work on self assessment. You can see my draft KS3 ICT & Media Plan, to look at what exactly is covered.
  • Students will be introduced to the guide during the first lesson of the year, and we will work through the instructions (top right of the guide) together.
  • For each unit of study, students will reflect on roughly 5 strand+keyword pairs (e.g. Intellectual Property+Creative Commons). At first, I will select these for them, after some practice they should be able to select them themselves.
  • Students will study as per usual, creating an artifact which they will submit for assessment.
  • Students will then write their reflection, showing clearly how they have achieved each level, going as high as they can. They will assign themselves a grade using the average of their layers. This reflection, plus grade, will be submitted as well.
  • Using both the submitted work, as well as the reflection, I will vet their self assessment, and determine whether it is accurate. Any adjustments (up or down), will be made before the final grade is recorded.
  • Finally, students will highlight the keywords they have reflected on, using the header colour from the highest level they have achieved. As students progress through the course, they should end up with an ongoing map of their achievement:

ICT & Media Assessment Guide_highlights

I would love to get some input on this idea. How does it compare with your own assessments? Do you think it will work? Is it suitable to subjects other than ICT & Media? Acknowledgements: this work has not been created in isolation, but rather has been influenced by many other teachers and their approaches to assessment and education in general. I would like to acknowledge Jennifer Goldthorpe's work on self assessment, Mark Roper & Kevin Lester's IEA work on a clear lexis for assessment and Chris Leach for tipping me over the edge.

12 Hard Lessons

Stop SignThe following 12 ideas are lessons I think we really should be teaching students to help them become healthy, sane adults. But for whatever reason, they are hard to teach and even harder to learn. How can we get these messages across to students without …

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Teaching & Learning Visualisations

The two visualisations below are part of an ongoing attempt to define my views on education, and make these accessible to my students, fellow teachers, parents and leaders. I would be interested to hear if and how you find them useful, and what you think could be improved.

1. Teaching & Learning: Style Comparison

Teaching & Learning Style Comparison_web Download A2 Printable Version (PDF) | Download 1680 x 1050px Wallpaper Version (PNG)

2. Teaching & Learning: Essential Mindsets

Teaching & Learning Essential Mindsets_web Download A2 Printable Version (PDF) | Download 1680 x 1050px Wallpaper Version (PNG)

Teach A Teacher 2013: Writeup

Teach A Teacher ParticipantsTeach A Teacher is part unit of study, part conference. Hosted at HLYIS this year, the event featured students from ICHK, and teachers from JIS, HLYIS, ICHK and ESF Kindergardens.

The aim is for students to work in groups to prepare and deliver professional …

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Lecture HallBackchanneling is an idea that has been around for a while, and is something that I have encountered at various education conferences. Despite the technical-sounding name, a backchannel is simply a real-time conversation, happening online in parallel with some kind of face-to-face communication. For example, …

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Your Work: Dead or Alive?

The following tweet landed on my feed this morning, and it really got me thinking. I so often try to tackle printing as an environmental issue, that I forget the fact that it is, in many ways, simply an inferior way to work. This led me to compose the following email to my colleagues, as an opening salvo in a new offensive against the poor practice of printing:

Colleagues, you all know that I am opposed to printing. But there is more to it than just environmentalism.

If you want to think of your work as "living" (eg actively used, collaborative, flexible, responsive, meaningful) then why consign it to static paper? Why not share your work online, build an audience and set your work free. Put it in a blog, or an online document, invite commentary, make everyone an owner.

This is the future of knowledge for our students. Lead by example. Paper is a dead end. Isn't it time to upgrade?

Fortunately Chris Betcher put his thoughts down in a shared, digital environment, and so we are all able to make use of them. Imagine if he just printing them out, and filed them away.

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