My first Arduino creation. It’s a start.
When the learning starts…
It is often thought that technology gets in the way of the rest of the curriculum. Many teachers will have stories of whole lessons that were lost because the technology went wrong or because the learners didn’t have the skills to use the technology in their learning.
I use the chart above to illustrate how we address this question. As a school we may invest in core IT skills with our younger children so that the curriculum becomes maximised later in school life. We also need to prepare the children at the begining of themes or projects so that the digital learning is front loaded. This may mean that the first two weeks of theme lessons are almost entirely based on teaching the technology, even through decontextualised tasks. Then the latter weeks can focus on the curriculum learning.
Of course, the skills can be taught throughout the theme or embedded in specific tasks but this approach at least stops the technology getting in the way. Then all we have to do is make sure it all works.
Catch a Fire
I have been struck by two differnet leadership situations. The first are the day to day choices that leaders make to keep the school on the straight and narrow. They are often the stark choices to prevent dangerous things or they are the choices to quickly set something in place. I think these decisions are like light switches. For example, there isn’t a maths display in every corridor and then we make a decision and there is a maths display.
There are other situations which require a lot more work They involve the persuasion and education of staff to make the plan work. This is the really messy kind of leadership that deals with difficult people, works through many false starts but in the end effects lasting change. This is like lighting a fire; taking a lot of work and often the flame is lit only to be extinguished. However when a fire actually starts it is very hard to put out and will burn all by itself.
The difficulty is when leaders try to implement change using the light switch approach for a project or problem that needs the labour of fire starting. The light switch can be flicked off as quickly as it has been flicked on.
Taking Teaching Forward
The 16 Habits of Mind
This article from Edutopia discusses how establishing Habits of Mind before academic or curriculum based learning can have greater benefits to make learning more effective.
- Managing Impulsivity
- Listening to others with Userstanding and Empathy
- Thinking Flexibly
- Thinking about our Thinking (metacognition)
- Striving for Accuracy and Precision
- Applying Past Knowledge to New Situations
- Thinking and Communicating with Clarity and Precision
- Gathering Data through All Senses
- Creating, Imagining and Innovating
- Responding with Wonderment and Awe
- Taking Responsible Risks
- Finding Humour
- Thinking Interdependently
- Learning Continuously