Category: Literacy

So after a very busy year of developing ICT in the PE department at City Academy, Bristol, I think it is time to review what has been achieved, do look at impact on teaching and learning and to see what can be improved for the next academic year.

We started last September with every member in the department having an iPad, this was supported through our Director of Sport who helped fund the project.  Over the course of the first month we had to ensure that all staff were equipped with the skills to feel comfortable using these devices in their lessons.

In order to achieve this I set up several processes. first an audit of staff (via Socrative) to gauge how they felt about using the devices and where they felt they needed specific support.  This then impacted on the creation of peer mentoring groups where each member of staff was paired with someone to help develop their practice.  This was a great start to getting a familiarity with the devices and enabled me to train one or two staff that were more familiar with the devices and they then spread out this to others.

Apps that were primarily used by staff were:

Ubersense or Coaches Eye for performance analysis.

Socrative for instant AFL opportunities

Comic Life for creating resources and documenting progress

Audioboo and Fotobabble for student reflection

Evernote for documenting learning and capturing evidence

Next we looked at Learning walks to look at how the devices were being used, nothing formal, just to get an idea of what was being done.  This needed to be shared and so a department blog was set up to allow staff to record what they had done in lessons and the difference it made.  Where staff were reluctant to write a blog themselves i recorded it for them to ensure their successes could still be shared.  This has now developed into a department newsletter that goes out once a term to highlight good practice and also highlight good blogs to staff and CPD opportunities.

The focus was not solely on the use of iPads however as it is important to look at lots of areas in which ICT can develop our practice.

We also trialled the use of Edmodo with specific groups.  Again just looking at engaging a couple of staff that showed an interest and trained them up on the use.  these staff then gave feedback on successes and areas that needed attention which eventually allowed us to agree to use it as a model for Sport to use in BTEC, GCSE, KS3 and with our sports teams organisation.  This will be launched to all of our groups in September.

Google Drive was also adopted across the whole department due to the benefits of collaborative spaces.  We used it at first for our BTEC course where I had set up a tracking and feedback system for students to allow for greater independence of students.  This coupled with Edmodo helped us really look at extending student engagement beyond the classroom as they had a place to review feedback and find further reading to impact on their studies.  In showing this to staff it was great to see how it inspired them to streamline other areas using the same system.  for example our detention system was changed to Google so we could all add in students that needed detentions and the person on duty could easily check them off.

One tool that I found to be really useful, specifically for tracking progress of understanding in theory lessons was Padlet.  This enabled students to record their own developing ideas and for me to track how they were progressing in class.  It also served as a tool to document their learning to then reflect on when they had coursework to complete.

We also looked at using ICT to embed literacy and numeracy in our lessons.  Again just trialled in specific years, we used systems to allow students to reflect on their work.  Homework was set on Edmodo via quizzes or as a reply to a note, just asking students to reflect on what they had achieved and something they needed to improve.  Alongside this we also encouraged a literacy focus each module such as use of capital letters or grammar.  With numeracy we looked at using our iPads to analyse performance and look at averages and percentages.  This was only I trail that I focused on since Easter but students really engaged in it and it will be developed next year.

So to impact

Observations in March came out at 100% Good or Outsatnding.  In all sessions there was evidence of the use of ICT, this was a great outcome and showed the real impact that the training and awareness had.

Student progression in BTEC was also enhanced. For example Y11 results showed a change from 19% to 30% at distinction level and overall 71% merit or above.  One student who was failing at Easter used the system to impact on his own work to end up with 4 c grades when he left in May.  In the past this has not happened due to having to track students down to let them know what they needed to do.  Again this needs further work to ensure all staff use it effectively but has shown impact.  Interventions were therefore a lot swifter using this system and students were given extra help where needed.

So this is a great platform to move forward on, we will continue developing and I will continue sharing success


The paperless classroom

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Over the last two years i have tried to reduce the amount of paper that I deal with on a daily basis.  This in part is due to organisation but more importantly to encourage learners to work better away from school.

I have looked at several different methods to achieve this, from Evernote to Dropbox, finally resulting in using Edmodo and Google Drive.

Google Drive gave me a platform for tracking progress and providing feedback to students in a digital way, so that work could be accessed anywhere, I have blogged on this before (link).  What Google Drive also offers is a variety of ways to interact with students.  You can comment on their work, directly annotating on the work and also add voice comments which opens a whole new world of options when working with students with different needs.

Though Google Drive gave a wealth of improvements to the course, it still was a bit messy and i needed something to combine it all in to one place, somewhere where all students could access their work, communicate with me and find extra resources.

Enter Edmodo.  This has a whole range of options to really build a platform for interacting with students.  For the paperless classroom it really gives a central place to file all of the evidence created.  The real beauty of Edmodo is that it links in really simply with everything i had done in Google drive.  In the library section of Edmodo there is an option to link your Google Docs, this gives access to everything in Google Drive and with a simple click it can be shared with your class.

Now students are encouraged to use Google docs to create work, it leads to better collaboration and i can give ongoing feedback to inform progression.  From a staff point of view, all of the tracking and feedback sheets can be shared internally through Edmodo, all of the coursework is stored in one place, I can simply track who has or hasn’t submitted work.

Now There is no real need for paper.  Students can create their work in whatever way they want, Videos uploaded via a link, Documents via Google Drive, Podcasts even their own apps via iBuildapp.  I can mark their work, give brief ongoing feedback on the work on Google Drive and in the comments section on Edmodo.  Detailed feedback (which BTEC require) on Google Drive.  I can then also track ongoing progress, modular and overall.  Not only is the course now paperless it also encourages independent learning and students to work in a productive manner when away from school

Recently the excellent Jon Tait @teamtait posted on twitter about a teaching and learning newsletter that he had created using Smore  This led to a lot of fellow tweachers looking to create a similar thing to help spread the message about teaching and learning to a greater audience.  Jon’s original post can be found here

I created my own in an effort to publicise some of the work I had been doing with iPads in the classroom but also to spread the message I was getting from twitter about loads of great ideas.  My first attempt is here

I started to then think about the application of this in students work.  Lots of teachmeets I have been to recently have had Digital Leaders focusing on death by powerpoint and it has got me thinking about ensuring I give students a range of ways to present work and be creative.

Smore is a really simple tool to use but allows the user to create nice leaflets with digital content quite easily.  The final product is very professional and should allow students to feel proud of what they have achieved.  It also has links to social networks which means that the work created can hit a much wider audience at the students choice.  I use it on my iPad and it is simple to create flyers.

Choosing a type

When you start a new flyer you get to choose a type.  This just gives you a template to follow to get you started.


Once selected you then just simply edit the existing text to create your flyer.

From a students point of view this should help get them started but for the more able or creative you can start to create the outline in your own style.  By clicking on the + icon you get a wealth of options to upload media, text or links to websites.


Uses in the classroom.

My intention is to start to share this with the students to give them a new tool to use in creating work.  In my BTEC class I will introduce it as a new tool for them to create their coursework.  As it is about creating flyers it is a relevant tool that can be used for promoting events or advertising products.

Students could use it to create revision guides for topics that they have covered and these could then be shared amongst the group.

Staff could create reading guides for different topics and again share them out so studnts have access to a wealth of reading.

English students could use it to do book reviews and include links to pictures or video to help others interpret the text.

Schools that have digital leaders in place could use this as a way of creating guides for others to use certain apps.

The caution as with all things is not to use it to death.  Where it works and has relevance it will have impact, over do it and its your new powerpoint.

If people have other applications for its use I would be really keen to hear about them.

A few weeks ago @ictevangelist put out a tweet to compile a list of useful apps that teachers were using.  He used Padlet as the tool to collect all of the information.

After adding to it I got thinking about how it could be used in teaching to help students with sharing ideas.  This led into a Post 16 meeting where we discussed lots of ideas to help in delivering outstanding sessions.  One of these ideas was a table-cloth where students wrote down their learning and added to it over a period of time to track learning.

Being a bit of a self-confessed geek I instantly thought that this great idea could be made digital, especially as I rarely teach in the same classroom in succession.

So 2 + 2 equaled using Padlet to create the sane thing in a portable, sharable version.

So today I tried it out with my Y11 session, I created a simple wall with some instructions on it for the students to follow.  Shared this via Edmodo so they all had a link to it and so it could be accessed anytime.

The outcome was really positive, I displayed my iPad screen on to the projector and as students accessed the wall and added their points it quickly grew to a whole page of thoughts and ideas that in turn led to some really good discussion.

The idea now is to refer back to this as we move through the topic to check our learning and to track our progress.  The students can also use it as a revision tool as the wall builds.

Other uses that I plan are for using as a ‘stuck’ board, students to post questions on if they are finding a topic difficult.  Anyone in the group can then post an answer to their question.  This concept being based on an idea from @MissJLud

Setting up a wall is really easy.  Sign up for an account and then add a new wall.  you can add a title and description by selecting the settings tool on the right.  You can change the background to the wall and then you are away.  In the settings tab there is a link option where you can get the URL address for the wall which can then be shared however you see fit.  Personally i use Edmodo as it is how we share other work in my groups but twitter or simple email will work just as well.  To add a post, students just double-click anywhere on the wall.  They need to add their name and a subject, then their text.  There are also options to add links to the internet or files from your own system.  The other great thing about it is that it does work really well on different platforms.  Students today used iPhones, iPads and Android devices to contribute.

Try it out, it’s really simple and FREE


Students making apps


Today saw the start of a new project I have been thinking of starting for a while. I wanted to transform how students present their work for the Injury module in BTEC sport.
After spending a lot if time thinking about why we do the things we do for assignments, I felt we really needed to create something that has a real purpose.
We discussed the need for information on injury, who would need it? Where might it be needed? In what form would it be useful?
It seemed obvious that we would need to create something that contained lots of information but could be portable. An app seemed like the right tool.
Today we spent time to look at how you can create your own app, we used I have played with this a little beforehand so felt confident in teaching it to the students.
After going over the basics with them I set them off to be creative, they had the knowledge from previous sessions, now they just had to think about how to present it.
The lesson was really successful, lots of engagement, the students really responded to learning new skills that they could use out of school and they seemed really proud of the initial outcome.
This is only the start, the whole module will be presented in this way, each section will be recorded or written within the app to create a useful tool for health and safety in sport

#literacyinpe follow up on blogging

As a follow up to @davidfawcett27 excellent post on literacy ideas I thought I would expand on the idea I presented at tmbrock on students blogging to reflect on their learning and impact on their literacy.
The idea was to have the teacher post a synopsis of the lesson and then students were to write a reelection on what they had learnt and what they needed to do to improve.
Though this engaged the students and got them writing, did it actually have an impact on their literacy? Not really.
In reaction to this thought I met up with one of our English teachers for some guidance, the outcome was to have a focus per module that the students should think about when writing, just simple things but things that our students needed to focus on.
To encourage reflective writing all students will have access to either Edmodo or Posterous and will review their learning after each session. This is aimed at getting students to write about what they have done and look at targets to improve. The impact on literacy comes through the extra practice at writing and enhanced through modular focuses looking at writing structure.

Module 1: capital letters at the beginning of sentences and for names of people and places

Module 2: full stops at the end of every sentence

Module 3: apostrophes used for a) contractions (e.g. do not – don’t) and b) possession (e.g. the student’s kit/the students kits’)

Module 4: commas used for a) listing things and b) after a subordinate clause (e.g. When the ball was passed to me, I ran as quickly as I could.)

Module 5: using all of the above consistently.A board is in place where articles about sport will be displayed, this is to encourage reading around relevant and current issues and develop skills required in understanding different text.

This is now going to be launched to the students with the focus being reflected on over the whole module.

Keywords ebook for Sport and literacy


Been looking at how we can help support and develop literacy from a PE perspective. This is a joint project involving lots of really great practitioners and headed up by @davidfawcett27.
One of my ideas was to create an ebook that contained all the keywords from our BTEC sport course. The idea is that this would be downloaded by all of the students and would be support for their work and a place to check understanding.
I have started to collate the keywords into the book and wanted to bring it to life with some more audio visual representation of the keywords.
I have found some great videos that show the keywords in action and I have recorded my own explanation of the keywords.
I feel that what would really bring this to life however is to use the practical work of the students on the course. In this way the book serves multi purposes.
Students have a place to present their work in a way that it is not only seen but used.
It makes the book evolve over time as videos and audio clips can simply be change.
It gives a tool to engage and extend G&T students
One Issue that I have found is that due to the size of the book it is difficult to share so it would need to be broken down into chapters.
Lots of potential here though and could prove to be a great project to work on with the students

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