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Spike Town
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« Reply #15 on: March 10, 2008, 08:44:10 AM »

This is definitely the sort of thread that requires long answers it seems!!!

Being lectured to in a conference can work in two ways, it can be very, very boring or it can be incredibly interesting. This often depends, as you mention Graham, on the content and the style of the presenter. I don't therefore think we condemn it as not the ideal way because I thoroughly enjoyed many of the presentations at HHL07 (as an example) and I learned lots. However sometimes it is more appropriate to be part of a more hands on or discursive experience, working in different sized groups or whatever (as any good teacher would do with their class, which I think i mentioned in my post above James, good teachers ALWAYS mix up their teaching/learning experiences).

I also think that the idea of transformational learning is pie in the sky. It seems, but please correct me, that such ideas are bandied about as the way that every teaching experience should go. The Hooper and Rieber stuff seems to be used as a star chart for teachers, we must get stickers up the chart to head for this goal. It is pure nonsense. Technology will allow some lessons to transform into experiences ranging across timescales, locations and devices. Giving children better access to resources, access to experts and producing results or conclusions in a range of interesting and personal ways. Absolutely, we all try to do that as teachers. However, to say that ALL lessons/teaching (whatever you want to call classroom - oops can't use that word!-learning(?)) has to happen in this way or it is substandard is absurd. If I introduce myself to a new class and I want them to learn my name. Do I have to create a SCORM compliant bundle, email them and ask them to create a blog in their own time about it? Nope, I write it on the board so they can see it. Am I being less of a teacher? I know that that is an extreme example of an extremely basic learning experience but it is the start of a continuum.

What it comes down to is that good teachers are highly skilled professionals who use professional judgement and available resource to ensure that the children in their care (I have a primary focus) get the best and most effective learning experience that can be provided. Sometimes that is the high tech end of things and sometimes it is plain and simple doing sums from a book (although in the future this could be some sort of smartpaper or holographic projection like in Superman's classroom thingy...). I could take you to loads of classes where that is a prefered style of learning for many children. As in any group of individuals my own classes in previous years had many kids that liked that way of learning.

My own work with groups of children using smartphones at the moment is also throwing up interesting discussion points with this. We have got SUMSOnline on the devices. the kids love it. However, it is becoming apparent that their rate of understanding "the rule" for each game, the concept behind the success, is way behind me doing a 15min input using a Smartboard then letting them do some examples. They need the expert practitioner to guide them....then have support as they work on their own or in groups or pairs maybe. The games are brilliant at consolidating the learning but as the "teaching/home learning tool"? Not so sure. If they did then the government could save a fortune, close all schools, sack all teachers and give everyone a great broadband service.

Any thoughts? lol

ST
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"Remember, a group of highly qualified engineers built the Titanic, a lone amateur built the Ark"
James Clay
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« Reply #16 on: March 10, 2008, 10:54:41 AM »

Started a new discussion on Handheld Learning 2008 here.

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James Clay
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Philip Griffin
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« Reply #17 on: March 11, 2008, 10:48:14 PM »

Why we still need classrooms.

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The games are brilliant at consolidating the learning but as the "teaching/home learning tool"? Not so sure. If they did then the government could save a fortune, close all schools, sack all teachers and give everyone a great broadband service.

No, we can't do without classrooms. Young children need the social interaction to make the most of the learning opportunities.

Is there anything wrong with calling it a classroom? After all, I teach a class in a room. It's all the baggage that goes with the classroom that is the problem.

Our internet finally allowing us to work as I intended, we used the technology to full advantage on Monday- responding to text. The text was on the IWB and the Learning Platform- so the chn could download it. The questions on the text were then answered on a forum- which they could all see both on their mobile devices and in the IWB in the room. I've even sent a message to one of my class who is in Italy at the moment- telling her about the forum for tomorrows lesson and asking her to contribute! If you think I'm being mean, she did ask to be involved before she left for her week away.

What made the lesson (?) memorable for me was the sheer enthusiasm of the children seeing their own answer and sharing it. Some immediately went back and improved their answer as they could see ways that it could be improved from the work of others. Although they could see all of the responses on their devices, at this point it was the IWB that was the focus of their attention. They wanted to see their response on the board and share it there with their peers.

Philip
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Graham
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« Reply #18 on: March 12, 2008, 03:13:10 PM »

I'm loving this thread!

I wonder if there were such debates when we entered the Victorian era about whether we should have open spaces and playgrounds for children in addition to the school buildings and classrooms?

With the circa 40 Billion investment being made in the BSF programme there is more money than at any point in our lifetime being invested into the education "system" to refurbish and renew our schools. We'll all be long gone before this opportunity ever happens again so I think that it is great that we are questioning some of the fundamentals. Initial BSF projects have taken the "Building" word to heart and have focussed on construction, certainly many projects are in fact led by construction companies. To me this is akin to having the plumber tell the chef how to cook but there you go.

I'm with you though Philip, I do believe we need a physical location where learners come together to discuss their learning, socialise, etc. I was speaking with John Howells, Principal of Leasowes Community College in the West Midlands and he was suggesting that a future school should be more like an "educational theme park". I liked the flavour of this idea. Then we have the ideas about children staying at home to learn and going to school to play. Extremes indeed but certainly ideas that challenge teaching practice and perhaps this is where BSF should have started. Before constructing a glass and steel version of something we already have how about looking at the new teaching practices that emerge out of the expectations children have for learning with the modern tools at their disposal. Perhaps such schemes would be well advised to observe what's happening in your class Philip?

Then there is the notion of what a school is. It's more than a building surely? Isn't it a community or a hub? This should have some bearing on technology particularly local connectivity to it's constituents.


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Philip Griffin
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« Reply #19 on: March 12, 2008, 07:40:09 PM »

Is the 21st century classroom expensive?

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With the circa 40 Billion investment being made in the BSF programme there is more money than at any point in our lifetime being invested into the education "system" to refurbish and renew our schools.

It seems lots of money. However, I don't think it is in many ways. The money will effect some schools- one secondary locally, but leave many untouched.

It is interesting to look at the effect of government policy on the classroom. Our school was built as semi-open plan. Then the Literacy and Numeracy hour came in, and the pressure was to go back to Classrooms. Several hundred thousand pounds later, the open plan was no more- converted into classrooms. Do we need to knock the walls down again?

Little bits of money would actually help the situation no end. If the money could be found to move the redundant heaters in my classroom and buy me some different furniture, it would make my classroom a much easier place to manage. No criticism of our school intended- it is just that we don't have the money right now- there are definitely more important things to do. I have much more space in my room than some others and so that quite rightly needs sorting out first.

And we are, of course, back to basics. I don't mean the 3R's, I mean pedagogy. The pedagogy has to inform the teachers, the leadership team, the designers and the builders. It should even inform the government!

Philip
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