Monday, 2 November 2015

Here comes Christmas.....

It has once more been a busy few weeks here at Compton with Chromebooks being in increasing demand as teachers across the school engage with the technology.

Our first major success since last month has been the role out of our Google Experts Scheme. The children have all started working towards their Bronze Google Expert award, which entails them demonstrating they can logon independently, help someone else to login, access the Google classroom from home and submit an assignment through the classroom. The vast majority of children in the classes involved have already achieved this level and are now working towards their Silver award. Some have even started on their Gold awards. Impressive considering we only launched this 2 weeks ago!

Storybird continues to be a big success across Key Stage 2, with the children in year 5/6 producing some powerful poetry, while year 3/4 are writing stories in familiar settings. To develop their skills further, year 5/6 have used Storybird alongside ScreenCastify to produce performances of their final poems.
Here is an example of their final piece.

Since returning from Brussels we have had a meeting with our colleague in KS1 who will have responsibility for developing the use of Google and Chromebooks among our youngest pupils. We have shared best practice with her and explored even more apps and extensions that we can use. We have shared our ideas about Google Experts and Class Dojo, which are being filtered out to other classes, and a preparation scheme under the scheme 'Google Apprentices' for our youngest pupils will be rolled out in the near future.

On returning from Brussels we came back with a real drive to share what we were doing with our parents. We wanted them to know and understand not only what we are doing in our classrooms with the technology, but more importantly, why we are doing it and how they can support their child's learning at home. As a result, we have invited our parents into school to use the Chromebooks, to look at some of the apps we have been using and to see the impact it is having on their learning across the curriculum. We are extremely pleased to see the uptake of this goes far beyond that of any other similar evening put on by the school and shows how keen the parents are to understand the work we are doing. All the places have been filled and we expect to run a similar session in the Spring term due to the high level of demand.

Having now entered the second half of the autumn term we are now looking at how we can develop the project further. We have started developing a bank of apps we have used with recommendations for other teachers - we hope to build on this further so that all teachers use it to support their teaching and contribute their own ideas. We also hope to continue to build on using the SAMR model to redefine our teaching, linking back to our maturity levels and our focus on improving collaboration between our pupils. We feel we have made very significant progress towards this and will strive to continue to do so.

Through this project we hope that by the end of the year we will have pupils, teachers and parents who are confident and competent in their use of technology and can recognise the potential of ICT in transforming education.

Our vision has always been clear:

The technology does not replace hands on, quality first teaching, but enhances and redefines it, to the benefit of our pupils learning. Technology should make life easier.... not harder.

The Compton Blogger.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

A New Term at Compton.

So, it's a new school year at Compton, and we are all set for the exciting challenges ahead of us.

Those of us involved in the Future Classrooms project in school hit the ground running this year, with a return trip to the lab in Brussels. This was a fantastic two days catching up with those we met back in March, and meeting new teachers who have got involved in the project in the intervening months. It was really interesting hearing how each school had developed their use of Chromebooks in different directions and great to see lots of pictures of engaged and excited children. As was the case in March, one of the most exciting elements of the course was the opportunity to share and explore new apps and extensions that we can use to enhance our children's education.

One of the most interesting new apps was Storybird. We had experimented with this a little at the beginning of the year, but whilst away we were able to explore the possibilities of this software in more detail. This is a fantastic app that supports children in their writing; artists have donated a wide range of images to the app that can then be embedded into a book and used to ignite children's imaginations. They can use a wide range of images to help them structure and illustrate their writing, and the finished product can then potentially be bought as a published book by parents. Some of our year 5/6 children have already experimented with writing poetry using this app and after half term some of the year 3 children will use it to help them write their stories set in familiar settings.

Back in school, the children have been busy reminding themselves how to log in and access their new Google Classrooms, while the year 3s have been doing this for the first time. There are inevitably teething problems with this as we all grapple with new passwords and remembering to include capital letters in the correct places, but with each attempt we experience more success and it won't be long before we are all logging in without any issues at all. The Google Classrooms are becoming a more common part of teaching in some of our lessons as they provide an ideal start point - somewhere children can get quick and easy links to the websites they need to complete their work, as well as a forum to ask for more help and support. Some of the classes have already completed home learning tasks set through the Google Classrooms and it is hoped that this will become a normal routine in due course.

So all in all, its been a busy start for us all at Compton, but we are excited about the new term and getting to grips with redefining our teaching using the Chromebooks.

Til next month......
The Compton Bloggers.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Future Learning Update.

So much has been happening since our last blog, I thought it was about time to post an update.

The children have loved using Google Maps and My Maps to explore their local area and compare aerial images to street view and their own experiences. They have learnt to take screenshots and share their maps through google slides and are beginning to use the collaborative aspects of the Google suite to share their learning.

We are about to launch into our first use of Realtime Whiteboard with the classes. After a few teething problems getting this up and running, we are hoping the children will be able to use this to create campaigns to encourage visitors to come to our local area, using all of the tools available in the Google tools. Exciting times!

In our English lessons, we have been writing play scripts based on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on Google docs, collaborating with each other and sharing them with partners for peer feedback. I will soon be introducing the children to the wonders of screen casting; we will then be recording our own scripts over the top of excerpts from the film, using screencastify.

Finally, we have also shared some of our work with the other Key Stage 2 staff in school and have looked at ways in which they can use the fruits of our labours in their own teaching, thus embedding the use ICT across the KS2 curriculum.

It's been a busy time, with plenty more work in the pipeline; hangouts and possible collaborations to follow!

Well, that's it for now.........

Signing out,
The Compton Blogger

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

So the Compton Blog is finally up and running!

Today, we met to plan all the exciting computing activities for this term. Using what we learned in our trip to the Future Classroom in Brussels, as well as out own experimentation, we have planned an exciting term for the children.

We will be using a wide range of Google tools to create innovative and collaborative multimedia projects about our local area. We have looked closely at the SAMR model for classroom innovation and have created activities that Modify and Redefine our teaching.

Over the next few weeks, we will be teaching the children to use Google Maps, screenshots, screencasting and My Maps to explore their local area, alongside our trips to see the facilities and amenities. They will take photographs and upload them to Panoramio, where their work can bee seen by a global audience, and share their projects with children from another school. They will also work collaboratively with Realtime Whiteboard to share information about our local area.

We are feeling enthused and keen to share these projects with the children and our colleagues, and look forward to updating you about how the project develops.

Signing out,
The Compton Blogger!