Things to try in lessons in 2013…

There is simply not enough time in the universe to try out every new resource and idea that appears in your Twitter stream or you encounter at a Teach Meet. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try out a few!

Below are a few ideas that I have committed myself to trying next term in my ICT / Computing lessons (although they are not subject specific).

1. Switching to a paperless marking system using Google Drive.

At the Clevedon Teach Meet earlier in the year Mat Pullen (a PE teacher from Bristol – @Mat6543) gave a micro presentation on how his department were using iPads and Google Drive to collect coursework from students and give them feedback online. Being an IT teacher I sat there feeling a little ashamed of myself that I was still using a paper based system (“because that is how it’s always been done…”).

Click here for a video of Mat’s presentation from Teach Meet Clevedon.

New Years resolution 1: I intend to switch to a paperless marking system so that I can mark and give feedback on work anywhere whilst reducing printing costs. I intend to trial this with one class to start with and hopefully by the summer have a system in place for most of my classes. By September 2013 (providing all goes well) I intend to use a paperless system as standard practice.

2. Try out Learning Place Mats as a way of showing progress in lessons.

In the last month or so I came across Dan Aldred’s (@dan_aldred) site which contains lots of great resources for ICT/Computing lessons and lots of general ideas and resources relating to teaching and learning. One idea that Dan recently launched was the ‘Learning Place Mat.’ The general idea is that students are given a place mat which they fill out at various points during a lesson to track progress towards a given destination. There is a bit of work required before the lesson by the teacher top set the place mat up with learning objectives and key questions. I think (could be wrong!) that the idea for the place mat stemmed from the ‘5 minute lesson plan.’

Click here to visit Dan Aldred’s site about Learning Place Mats.

New Years resolution 2: I intend to try the Learning Place Mat with KS3 classes as a means for showing progress in lessons. I will report back on how this turned out by the end of term three here on my blog. If this is successful then I intend to share this idea with all the staff at my school during a CPD session.

3. Getting the experts in!

Another great presentation from the Clevedon Teach Meet came from Gavin Smart (a Science Teacher from Weston-super-Mare – @gavinsmart). Gavin had a bit of a dilemma when thinking about how he could make a lesson on acid rain more interesting. His idea was to Skype his Grandad who was an expert on the subject of acid rain – what a brilliant idea! Towards the end of last term I was doing a lesson on the infrastructure of the Internet with a year 9 class and we were talking about networks and Fibre Optic cable. My brother in law is a network engineer and my dad has a PHd in Physics so this seems like the perfect opportunity to get the experts in!

Click here for a video of Gavin’s presentation from Teach Meet Clevedon.

New Years resolution 3: Over the Xmas break I intend to create a video of my dad and brother in law answering student questions about the Internet so that I can use in lessons in the future.

Have a great christmas, enjoy the break and take time to recharge the batteries. Let’s take a minute to remember why we’re teachers…

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