So strictly speaking this post should probably be titled ‘Which device promotes teacher effectiveness most – Android or iPad?’ but the premise is the same we are looking at the best tablet device for a teacher. We are not talking about the students here but the teachers, which device would be most useful in class and make our lives easier.
I have owned a Raspberry PI (RPi) for almost 12 months and must admit that when I first picked it up alongside an Aruduino I was thinking why would I want to run this? The graphics looked awful, it was slow and I was more limited by software that I was on my home machine and school network. However, I’m in the process of being converted and over the last couple of weeks have seen how the RPi does have a place in my classroom.
Another work in progress post but thinking about ideas, beyond the obvious, for differentiating in IT/Computing lessons.
1) Differentiation By Outcome
The old classic and now a major no-no in the eyes of Ofsted as judging students by the quality of their work is no longer appropriate. However, you can give the lazy method a new twist by using:
2) Differentiation By Task
Where students are given different task to complete. At a literacy level this might be asking Level 4 (L4) students to state 4 types of something while L5 are asked to describe with L6 being asked to compare and so on. However, sometimes all students need to achieve the same goal in order to be able to progress so we can use:
3) Differentiation By Resource
Where students undertake the same task but with different supporting resources or worksheets. Challenge L6 students to independently achieve a task while providing L4 students with a walk-though guide. L5 may be allowed to choose to use the guide or not. It’s not wrong to give students the choice – a L6 Maths student will have different strengths to a L6 Art student and in a topic like ICT its only appropriate that sometimes they choose. So another alternative is:
4) Differentiation By Communication
Lucky enough to have a supply of iPads in school then these are perfect for this method. Students who have greater difficulty writing than others may prefer to record themselves talking. iPads are perfect for recording a student talking about their work.
These are my setup notes combined with a user review the Synology DS412+. We have bought this device so we: can host some websites from home with low bandwidth high storage requirements; have remote access to files etc; and have a shared drive on our LAN rather than leaving our iMacs on;
The SynBox will initially be loaded with 4x Western Digital 1TB drives that we have left over from our down graded Ubuntu server. I have completed a SmartCtl Extended Test Reports on these drives and hope despite the extended hours they will work ok for the time being.
– post in progress —
So according to BBC News (4th Feb 2013) Computer Science will be included as one of the sciences counted towards the English Baccalaureate for secondary school league tables from January 2014 other sciences. This is fantastic news and should not be confused with today’s announcement that GCSEs will be replaced by an EBAC certificate. But what does it mean for those schools already teaching GCSE Computing – are these included? Does the course title have to be GCSE Computer Science?
So I’m thinking that my next move will be for a head of department role. I’ve done 6 years as 2nd in command with KS4/5 responsibilities at two different schools so it is the logical step. I would probably admit I’ve been a bit slow of the mark but it hasn’t seemed important until now. I’m not a big fan of winging it and I think some people are so keen to progress, gain promotion and increased salary that they take on roles hoping they can cope – I’d rather only take on a role when I feel 110% ready, knowing that I won’t let anyone above or below me down. So what do I feel are the key duties and responsibilities of a department leader. This will be a work in progress post so may not be complete from day one but it’s a good format to record my ideas.
So today I was listening to Radio 4 Desert Island Discs (quality program) with Dustin Hoffman and he was recalling a conversation with his father. He has asked his father (aged ~80) how would he sum it up and his father responded
“ITS ALL BULLSHIT!”
Kirsty asked Dustin what he would say to his children if asked the same question and he responds:
“Follow your passion, don’t get trapped in the culture. Making it in my day was about making a living, now it jumps straight to being a celebrity. … Please keep reminding yourself that nothing is permanent.”
Wise words indeed.
This evening I headed up an ‘Effective Use Of ICT’ inset session for teachers at our school. I tried to enthuse the idea that IT for all its quirks and frustrations for the novice and expert alike is an amazing and powerful tool. Sometime it is just a case of PEBKAC (Problem exists between keyboard and chair) and sometimes, like a car, the computer does just breakdown.
On the upside computers have made it possible to achieve things otherwise considered unachievable. They allow us to bring fun and interest to topics that feel dull and uninteresting in other ways. They are, despite some problems, absolutely AWESOME and hopefully this will give you a little insight into why.
There are many free pieces of software and cool online tools that can work in the classroom. I try and keep a reasonable collection on my teaching website at http://compu2learn.co.uk – check them out!
Below the fold are some of the ideas I shared in my order of preference.
So OFSTED’s Sir Michael Wilshaw has yet again upset the hardworking majority within the profession by accusing us all of being lazy and suggesting we should work harder. As you would imagine many vocal teachers are up in arms and shouting about how hard done they are. No surprise the public responds in force reminding us about how long our holidays are.
As someone who experienced seven years of industry (working 80+ hour weeks and weekends) prior to university and then teaching. Who did seven years teaching before taking a two year part time sabbatical so I could work as a free-lance website designer before returning as a full time teacher I think I am qualified to comment.
Teaching is like every other profession out there in that you have a small number who don’t work very hard. In my experience many of those are career teachers who are so worn out and institutionalised that they have lost all motivation and imagination for teaching. Likewise, I have met a number of teachers who, like any workaholic, don’t know when to stop and say enough is enough. Thankfully, the majority are hardworking professionals who balance work with life and family, and sometimes that might mean they leave the school gates at 3pm.
As a personal example I prefer to have an early day, arriving in school at 7 before working through break and lunch to leave early around 3:30/4. My typical day doesn’t stop there and I’ll probably do an hour or so later in the evening often answering emails to staff and students past 10o’clock. Yes, students – all my students have my school email (which is, by the way, delivered to my iPhone – that I pay for) so I can support them during waking hours seven days a week. Weekends come and go and I guess over a month I probably do work eight hours per weekend.
How about those long holidays? Well many are absorbed into planning, marking or providing additional catch up sessions for students. I think in all the years I have been teaching I have only ever managed four weeks holiday a year – and even then I’ll still have my laptop and stay in touch with my school emails.
I don’t suppose anyone would complain that over this summer holiday I spent my own money on robotics and developing my skills so I could bring new ideas to the classroom? A performance related bonus at the end of the year would have made that investment easier – oh, yeah – teachers don’t get bonuses or overtime.
So if teaching is that bad why don’t I go back to the corporate world. Well, to be honest – teaching isn’t that bad. Sure it’s tough and some schools are harder than others but it’s what you make it. The corporate world is tough with everyone pushing margins and redundancies being a more popular occurrence. Belligerent bosses who demand impossible things over ridiculous timescales. Teachers should quit moaning and just get on with their jobs. If you want to protest then work to rule. Likewise, Parents should quit worrying about what I do in my job, look at their work life balance and start taking a role in the education of their children.
And finally, to anyone out there who wants to tell me Teachers have it easy – come and spend a day with me and then tell me it’s easy. I’m alway looking for vocational opportunities so you’d be very welcome to lead a session or two. Unless, of course, you feel under the weather, in which case don’t bother because in teaching there is no where to hide.
Not sure if anyone else has started to see these around recently. The first one I saw was a guy sat at a computer with his finger clicking the mouse button – it was quite freaky but very clever.
Here are some of my favourite example and how-tos sites:
Also worth checking out - http://delicious.com/tag/cinemagraphs