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Getting started with IT
Uncategorized
March 6, 2017
4
St. Patrick's Primary School, a UNICEF partner school, in Coatbridge, in Glasgow, Scotland, on 27 March 2015.

I was asked recently why I persevere with learning to use IT in my teaching, especially when I seem to be coming up against one problem after another.  At the time, my simple answer was “It’s because I have a degree in IT”. However, I have been thinking about it, and I am no longer sure that is the reason.

I have decided to share my thoughts on this because I see teachers who want to use more IT and really don’t know where to start, and there is always the element of fear of ‘what if it doesn’t work’.

To put things into context, I came into teaching from Industry. I have a degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, and a Masters in IT, and have worked across both industries for 18 years, before becoming a maths teacher – which I have now done for 3 years.

I have found the biggest issue with using IT is getting started – there are always teething issues in learning how something works. But just as we ask pupils to persevere when they are learning something new so should we – because it is through making the mistakes that we deepen our learning. (Hmmmm where have I heard that before??). Sometimes when things don’t work the way I want, I might use a work-around to try and get round the problem. This probably does come from being an Engineer but ultimately it’s problem solving – again something we are teaching our pupils.

The other big issue is knowing what apps/ software etc to use. The best suggestion I can offer here is to ask around / research on the internet / twitter.  What I am doing is starting within my comfort zone – which scarily enough is Glow.  I have used Sharepoint in industry, and know its potential as a forum for saving and sharing information.  While I am getting the pupils used the the basics, I am investigating the features of Glow and thinking about what I can try next, and how it will fit into my teaching in a meaningful way.

So in answer to the original question about why I persevere, I think part of it is because I am fairly new to teaching, and the fear of things going wrong is ever present, so to me many aspects of teaching are new, so I am not scared to try different things, and to be honest I hope I keep that state of mind throughout my teaching career. In the early days of my teaching career, I was less fearful of the technology than I was of the teaching!!!

Secondly I have come from Industry where I see a digital world.  Technology is everywhere, and pupils will see a big jump in the use of technology between school and either further education or employment.  Many pupils primarily see technology as a means of communicating with their friends or playing games.  The best way to teach our pupils to use technology responsibly is to show them that there is more to tech than Facebook/snapchat or improving their kill/death ratio, and the way to do this is by getting them to use it, as a regular part of their learning.

Wee Pedagoo
Uncategorized
March 5, 2017
0

Good things come in small packages.

Talking about teaching and learning is a magical thing. Get a bunch of teachers together and they spark off one another like pieces of flint. Inspiring, creative, curious conversations happen that lead to practice-changing ‘I-never-thought-of-it-like-that-before’ moments. This much we know.

We also know teachers are busy. Crazy busy.

So how are we supposed to make space for all this sparky flinty goodness in amongst the noise of everything else that happens in schools? Welcome to Wee Pedagoo, the pocket-sized Pedagoo event that really packs a punch!

One conversation. One hour. One huge difference.

Wee Pedagoo is about one conversation that really matters. No name tags, no presenters, no PowerPoints. Just teachers talking. A Wee Pedagoo event is about carving out a wee space to talk about the big stuff. It’s really easy to organise (even if this is your first time planning an event), super-flexible and guaranteed to give teachers the feel-goods. You can have a Wee Pedagoo whenever and wherever teachers get together. You can set the topic for the conversation yourself or choose from our ever-growing ideas page full of #haveaweegoo questions to get teachers talking. You can have a Wee Pedagoo with as many or as few teachers as you want- it’s the quality of the conversation that matters. So what are you waiting for? Have a wee goo and sign up today!

Interested?

Great! Hop over to the Wee Pedagoo page to find out more and register your event now- then get ready for the sparks to fly!

Farewell to 2016
Uncategorized
December 20, 2016
0

OK, so 2016 has thrown a few unwanted curveballs at the world but, in the cosy and kind world of pedagoo, 2016 has been rather lovely if I may say – here are my best bits:

  • I became a pedagoo moderator, along with three other lovely ladies and started sharing the responsibility for moving this valuable movement forward.
  • I met said lovely ladies: there has been cake, pizza, more cake, coffee, cocktails, more cake, wine, more wine…
  • It has not been all about the gluttony, oh no, it has been all about the sharing – round the table, twitter, blogs…
  • Talking of blogs, I started mine, inspired by Susan Ward to try to share regularly (even if not as eloquently as Susan does!)
  • Talking of inspiration, a colleague of mine got into twitter – big time – and credited me and my “pedagoo stuff” as her inspiration! In a weird feedback loop this continues to inspire me to tweet and blog, cause even when you feel like you are getting nowhere, you might be having a drip drip drip effect.
  • We had pedagoomidlothian and pedagoomuckle – which was indeed muckle, and was a chance to connect, reconnect and share with many many lovely people.

What did pedagoo do for you in 2016? And what did you do for pedagoo? Tweet all about it to end our year with a festive bang. #pedagoo2016

Closing the mindset gap!
Uncategorized
December 15, 2016
0

HOW DO WE INCREASE THE ATTAINMENT AND CONFIDENCE OF OUR LEARNERS ACROSS SCOTLAND?

While there is no overall magic bullet, I believe that by creating a growth mindset culture within our schools; we can do much to improve children’s attainment and mental health.

Let’s focus on the issue of closing the attainment gap. The link between attainment and poverty is well documented in education research, including the Joseph Rowntree report on closing the gap. However, working to support parents and teachers to embed a growth mindset culture transcends social class. It does so by raising the bar of expectation, in a way that is realistic, based on credible feedback that is supportive, friendly and person centred. Having increased confidence, resilience, appetite for learning and understanding by working hard and practising different strategies can bridge the deficit when there may be little aspiration or value attached to education in the family home.So, how do we make it practical? Growth mindset has the potential to act as a way of supporting vulnerable learners by working on their resilience and using a growth mindset to increase appetite and engagement with learning and allowing those who have reached a good command of a subject to achieve mastery while enabling everyone to improve. Teachers can fulfil this role as well by thinking about the language they use in class and how they differentiate work for pupils – thinking through their own judgements that are applied to student potential (such as avoiding the use of ‘sets’ at too early a stage; using mixed ability groupings to encourage learning, peer learning opportunities, etc).

Mindset activities within the school should be included within school plans but not necessarily as a separate area for improvement. Think what can growth mindset can do within the context of literacy, numeracy and health and wellbeing. Standing back and looking at all activities that happen within the school can create the opportunity to think about teaching and engagement strategies that help learners to seek help, understand their intelligence is not fixed and that everyone can improve in their education.

We need to pay attention to transition points, to language, to the curriculum and in ensuring that everyone across the school community is working hard to promote growth mindset consistently and based on a plan that is right for your particular school and community.

So, what are you going to do today to make mindset real within your school for your pupils, fellow staff and parents? Comment below if you are using mindset to help attainment in your school.

John Paul

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