I’m now three quarters of the way through my secondment as an ICT Curriculum Support Teacher (the title has been changed to ‘support teacher’ from ‘support officer’ recently – I think I prefer the new one). During this second half of the secondment, I’ve felt much more confident addressing adults during CPD sessions. This was one of the biggest challenges in the early days.
Undoubtedly, one of the reasons that I feel more comfortable in this role now is because I have more ownership over the courses and activities on offer. Although I was able to introduce some new CPD courses during the first year of the secondment (almost all of these were a direct result of being introduced to new websites and ideas via twitter, by the way!), many of the courses were inherited. This was mainly due to the timing of the interview, as it was necessary to have some courses in place before a candidate for the post was chosen. In fact, apart from the job of supporting staff in developing their school website and maintaining the Virtual Teacher Centre (both the pupil and the staff side), everything else has been designed by me – and I’ve really appreciated opportunity!
As well as offering CPD courses on setting up and sustaining class blogs and raising awareness of free online tools to enhance learning and teaching, I’ve been involved in a number of interesting projects. One of these is an on-going pilot project with a group of children in a local primary school. I’ve set up ePortfolios for them, and in February I have a meeting with the Art Department in their feeder High School to discuss the possibility of developing this in to something that might help the primary/secondary transition stage. Hopefully, other departments will get involved as well. It’s very early days, but the eportfolios also have great potential for formative assessment, as well as self and peer assessment opportunities. Difficulties of setting up effective Personal Learning Plans may also be addressed. I do realise that, for this to work properly, it needs to be an Authority wide initiative. A long term strategy is required …. but it’s a start 🙂
Off On A Tangent!
….. just because it’s my blog and I can 🙂
It still amazes me that I’d scarcely heard of a blog until just over three years ago. I’ve written on here before about how I set off on a journey that would change my approach to learning and teaching. The journey also gave me the confidence to allow children to take more of a lead in their own learning. I’ve copied this brief summary from elsewhere on here:
- First I created a Class Blog so that I could give the pupils an audience for their work
- Very soon after creating the class blog, I realised that it was important to allow access to the children’s own work so I created a wikispace for the class to post their writing
- This didn’t work well, because if we all logged on and edited the space at the same time, problems occured (a “someone else is editing this space” message)
- I later discovered that Wikispaces will set up separate username and passwords for students if you email them the information required
- Soon I wanted the children to have their own blogs, but still have control over how they were used. I learned that East Lothian could help me set up individual blogs .
- The next session, I managed to safely set up individual blogs on my own …… I found out about the ‘Gmail+’ trick. For example, If you have a ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ account, it’s possible to create lots of new blogs using that same e-mail address. You can do this by creating new blogs with a ‘yourname+student1@gmail’ , ‘yourname+student2@gmail’ etc.
- One advantage is that, although the pupils have admin rights, the teacher can also login to the blogs at any time.
- Another advantage is that any comments appear in the teacher’s gmail account – even although the children can moderate them, the teacher has a record of what has appeared
- It’s quite easy to keep track of what is being posted on the children’s blogs by using ‘google reader’, or something similar
One thing I miss while on secondment is the relationships that are built up with children in your own class. So I was delighted, recently, when Anna contacted me on ths blog by leaving a comment on my last post. She’s now in second year at High School, and has decided that she would like to start using her blog again. It was a simple enough task to transfer it over to primaryblogger (where there’s loads of space and a guarantee of no ads). I’m really glad that she wants to do this, and I hope she doesn’t mind me quoting one of my favourite blog posts. Anna wrote this in primary 7 (two years go) and it still makes me smile ….. and she kept her promise of writing her ‘thought of the day’ posts regularly. She also inspired others in the class (including me!) to keep their blogs going at the time:
“Well basically I’ve decided that I would like to have a future in blogging! I think that blogs are interesting and fun to write things on rather than writing something on paper. My thoughts for today are that blogs are a great way to learn, they are more interesting than doing something on paper. When I’m older I think that I might do something to do with computers. I’m going to be starting a thing on my blog called thought of the day! Thought of the day is when I write a post about something I have realised, thought or discovered on that day.”
So thanks to Anna’s decision to take up blogging again, she has inspired me (just like before) to write a blog post. It always feels like work at the time, but it certainly helps – me anyway – to stay focussed 🙂