Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Beginning the e-Learning Classroom

This term I am mentoring 4 teachers in 2 different schools who have started e-Learning Classrooms.
It has been interesting to see in my first 2 classrooms what the issues and successes are so far.
In setting up an e-Learning class after all the class rules, routines have been covered there has to be a fair bit  of time spent learning about the digital tools. Students need to know the  safety and care rules and be exposed to Digital Citizenship. Digital Toolkits will start being organised and alongside this is how to deal with troubleshooting.
Clevedon School has 2 e-Learning classrooms
  • Year 5/6
  • iPad each (BYOD)
  • 1 iMac
  • 2 Windows computers
  • 6 laptops
  • projector
  • apple TV
  • Large screen tv
Some of the Issues were
  • Apps crashing (this is a help diagram that I have made in Inspiration, it can be printed out and put on the wall and/or screen captured and put on a wiki or a blog as a reference) Download as a PDF or Inspiration 9 file
  •  children wanting to listen to music (which the teacher was able to fix by giving the group a splitter and they plugged in their headphones and listened while they worked)

  • Wireless dropping off or defaulting to another network that will not work which leads to students constantly telling the teacher that something isn't working. To help students become more independent they need procedures that they can follow for when 'Things just don't work'! I suggested a flow diagram that students could refer to when they lose wireless.

  • Students getting excited when they find something that is cool (and it is actually helping their learning) 
  • Rachael and I trying out how Notability could be used for Spelling and then Rachael coming up with the idea of using Notability as her modelling book for writing and sharing as a PDF to Dropbox everyday as it gets updated. Students can look up what were the teaching points for that day
  • Students smiling while they are listening to music and working on their writing at the same time
  • Students asking questions about how they want to do something that looks like this, and how could they do it?
  • Students sharing when they find out something new. (I suggested to the teachers that they show one child first how to do something then that child will have have to go and pass it on to another)
  • Me sharing tips and tricks to one child and then telling them to pass it on 
Rebecca has been talking about Digital Citizenship and students have mindmapped, made lists, discussed and now they are going to  make Cybersafety posters. They were given a choice of tools that they could use
  • any of the apps on the iPad
  • Standalone computers using Paint and/or Word
  • Laptops using Kerpoof or City Lego Comic
  • Paper, pencils, felt tips
 At the end of the day Rebecca summed it up, 'Well that went better than what I thought!'
We as teachers have to let go of the traditional way of thinking that all students have to produce the same product. Let them have the choice of how they want to present their findings, they will find it more engaging and interesting. The atmosphere in the classroom was great that afternoon, everybody was busy, working on their own individual task but there was a collaborative buzz as they talked about what they were doing and asked for help from their peers and teachers.

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