Panel of Experts

There is a group of experts at Hallam who are playing a vital role to help transform some of our case studies into useful OERs. Julia Myers’ group of PGCE students from Sheffield Hallam University came to meet Anna and I to talk about their perceptions of what digital literacy means to them as beginner teachers and what sort of resources would be useful to them in their own practice.   The intention is that these students will review our case studies and offer suggestions for ways in which they will support future practice.  Through their own practice they are considering the opportunities and potential, limitations and challenges that digital technologies offer.  They plan to look at the relevance of specific case studies in terms of the impact of digital technology and the nature of digital literacies; and seek related opportunities appropriate to alternative age and ability groups.

We want to make our resources user friendly, so we will be acting on the help and support of this highly motivated and inspiring future user group.

At our first meeting, we were amazed at the level of competence exhibited. Some students talked enthusiastically about the excellent projects they had started in their placement schools, apparently undaunted by the fact that they were uncertain that their ideas would be supported after they had left.  They were impatient to try out these ideas in their own schools when they had graduated, with their own classes.  One student talked of how he encouraged his pupils to send emails to a partner school in Thailand, opening up the possibility of quadblogging (that is being trialled at Sharrow and Mundella schools) He had learned from experience that his pupils are much more likely to produce fine writing if doing so for a specific audience.  Other students talked about using flip cameras with students to develop their language skills, others spoke of how they used Edmodo as a facebook for under fourteen year olds.  Their creative contributions gave us a lot to think about.

We were particularly interested to find out from the students where they looked for ideas to enhance their teaching, as this would give us an idea about how to arrange our own resources. The facilities they use most are teach meets, twitter, webchats and the TES magazine, which they found was well set out, and easy to flick through.

They told us in no uncertain terms what they would look for in a case study…

  • They wanted it to be clearly and concisely written- and colourful!
  • They would like a descriptive title, and underneath three or four bullet points about the content.  They did not want to plough through lots of irrelevant pros to find out whether it was useful to them.
  • They would like the findings at the beginning, and hints on how methods/resources can be adapted for different ages and abilities, and they had lots of suggestions as to how this could be done.

With these instructions in mind, the DeFT team are starting to write up the case studies.

We hope that they will meet with approval!

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Teaching, learning and sharing at Wales High School

Yesterday Wales High School turned into Open Educational Resources central, with a full day dissemination event showcasing the hard work of Michael Payton-Greene, one of project teachers, on his case study which explores issues involved in the use of blogging as a tool for sharing practice. For the past couple of months, a group of volunteers (PE, maths and languages teachers) were involved in trialing out the Teaching and Learning in Wales High School blog by putting on resources related to feedback and assessment, the use of mobile devices in the classroom and commenting on relevant posts to share with others how these resources were implemented in their own teaching.  These early users shared their experiences at the dissemination event yesterday where the blog was introduced to all staff members on a drop-in basis.

Introducing the blog to staff at the school

Anybody visiting the drama studio could have a go at scanning QR codes, using a flipcam or exploring the education potential of iPads which were loaned to the school by the project team. They could also observe the lessons with the pupils who had a go at using the Brushes app and creating an interactive essay plan with the aid of Flipcams and iPods.

Senior management are supportive of the project and keen to align it with school priorities and from September onwards the project will hopefully be rolled out across the school. Some of the teachers I talked to yesterday had visions of connecting with their colleagues nationally and even internationally – while that might have to wait a while, the DeFT project team have contributed to projects which lived happily ever after long past the end of project (see the thriving Creativity for Edupunks wiki-based resource created as part of UKOER phase 2 Cascading Social Science Open Educational Resources project) so here’s to bright OER futures at Wales!