Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Reflecting Over The Last Year in my Flipped Primary Classroom

This year has been one of my most exciting, and one in which I have learned so much from, regarding the implementation of technology into my primary classroom.  Impressing Ofsted, being featured in The Guardian, holding my first Webinar for ITSLearning and having over 20,000 hits on my blog!   

So what went well, what didn't go very well and what is in store for next year?

My Flipped Classroom using Edmodo

This has been my biggest success this year without a shadow of a doubt.  It has changed the way I work day in day out in my classroom and I'm beginning to see some real impact since its implementation.  

The future is very bright for this method of learning in my classroom when combined with social media, who knows where it can take me and my class!  

It has been a superb learning adventure, one that started back in January at The BETT show and has led me to start this blog, run a Webinar, sign up to TeachMeet, and run CPD later this year.


This piece of FREE online software transformed my flipped classroom and you can read more about my journey - here

I'm planning on using more online collaboration, homework and involving parents with the platform - stay tuned.

Padlet - Aiding Pre-Planning

Once again Padlet has been a big hit this year for collecting and storing information and questions from the children.  It has been a superb way in helping me plan during my half term breaks without the children actually being in the classroom.

I'll certainly be using this application again next year to share thoughts, ideas, pictures, web links and much more when the children are not in the classroom.

Scratch - Computer Programming

I introduced Scratch into my Year 3 class this year with HUGE success.  The children are now freely creating and collaborating on games and animations at home and continuing them in school and at Coding club, read more here

The children used Edmodo to share and help each other by sharing screenshots of code and asking for help with ongoing coding projects -  they really are inspired.

I'm hoping to introduce Programmable Robots (no, not Roamer) next year and show the children how they can control items in the real world via computer programming.

Using videos to find next steps in PE

By using iPads and cheap handheld video cameras the children were able to film their performances and compare to professional sportsmen and women.  They could then see how they could improve further by analysing  the footage - read more here

I intend to use more social media to ask for help from coaches around the world. Watch the video - what can we do next to improve?

iBook Author and Book Creator

Giving the children an opportunity to choose how they would like to present their work led me to Book Creator.  The children used this simple iPad application to produce some of the most engaging books this year.

Being able to embed sound, images, video and text into a book has made report writing come alive this year. Get. This. App.

I'm hoping to be using iBook Author next year to create more books, but this time hopefully submit them online to be 'published.'  This will really give the children a purpose for learning.

Children running their own CPD sessions for staff on Coding

This was a stroke of genius that came to me when I was planning the second session of training on computer programming - just let the children do it!

They were magnificent. The session ran beautifully and inspired the staff to try it for themselves in their classrooms.  The children modelled different aspects of coding and answered any question the staff had when they got stuck.

Next year I will be inviting the children to run their own Coding Club for the new Year 3 class with an option for staff to drop in when they feel they need a helping hand. Coding Ambassadors.

We'll be covering video editing, music creation, coding, robotics and much more - let the CPD continue!  I'll also be getting the children to create coding guides for flipped learning to be hosted on our school website.

Blogging - Me and The Children

Blogging took off in a huge way for me. I find it great for connecting with people, being reflective about my work and a way of inspiring others to give things a try.

The children didn't share my enthusiasm. We used EduBlog and it didn't capture their imagination.  I'll be trying again this year, with a less cluttered blog. I want them to have an online Learning Journal and to show how useful it can really be.

Going forward - where do we go from here?

A question I've been asking myself over the last few weeks.  Where can I take these children now, how can I build on all the amazing things we've discovered this year? I've never had an opportunity to follow a class up into the next class, but one I am relishing.  I'm taking my current technology enthused Year 3 class into Year 4, so a lot of skill acquisition lessons can be skipped for more time experimenting and improving.

Robotics linked to Scratch

The logical next step is start building on the children's programming skills and give them a real life challenge involving robots.  Using the Vex IQ kits, I'm going to be setting the children a variety of problems linked to our book Mortal Engines.  

I asked for a demonstration at The BETT show and I was amazed to see them using Scratch to write code to control the various motors of the robot.  The children will build on their skills, I'm sure.

Minecraft EDU - Building Virtual Worlds

This has massive potential, if used carefully.  I intend to use it to link to Mortal Engines, the book that I'll be planning all our learning adventures from.  

I want the children to build virtual worlds and use them as a base for story writing, problem solving maths investigations and engineering.  I am looking forward to getting this up and running next year.  Stay tuned, this could be a HUGE hit!

Creating an Online Video Library.

One of the problems faced this year using Edmodo was when an area of learning was completed the video dropped down the timeline.

I want to create a library of videos we've used for the whole school to access, including our parents.  Having an online library available will enable all stakeholders to  access the videos, on any subject, at anytime.  Our new maths curriculum will be utilising these videos - watch this space.

Makey Makey - Building Something Purposeful

I really want to boost our DT curriculum into our computer curriculum more this year - the whole STEM curriculum is exciting me!

Our first project will be to design and build our own computer gamepad. The children will program the Makey Makey kit to control the games they've created this year on Scratch.  

I really want them to design a gamepad that the circuit board can fit into and then market the whole package, a young enterprise project linked to our maths curriculum.  I'm hoping to find a company who would let us use their 3D printer to actually build their designs - any takers?

App Designers - A Future Business.

One of things I never got around to doing this year was teaching the children how to design and create their own apps using a WSYWIG system.  

This will be how the children will be publishing  their non-chronoligcal reports next year.  Gathering information and creating a selection of information apps based around the topic they're researching.  

As we have an account with iBuild App, I really want the children to actually publish their designs to the Apple and Google stores and sell them - How's that for real life STEM!  Just think about the amount of the curriculum that could be covered in that one project - I'm excited.

And the future for me?

Well, as I said earlier I'm venturing into Year 4 and I cannot wait! I love a new challenge and it'll help keep things fresh and interesting. 

We're starting to plan in a very adventurous way next year - the children will be leading the journey, we really don't know where we are going to end up at the end of the year - it really has got me excited.  The children really will drive the adventure.  The plan is to start with the child, move out to the local area, then further afield and onto global issues.  

Hopefully over the next few weeks the article on Flipped Learning I've written for Teaching Times will be published and you can have a read on their website or magazine - another milestone achieved this year.

I've also been asked by Subject Support to run two, one hour online training sessions in December and March with an emphasis on setting up your own flipped classrooms. You can find out more about this  - here

You can still watch my Webinar on Flipped Learning.

This school year has been one of the most memorable for me and I'm excited about the future.  Looking forward to writing more next year - I'm going to try and keep blogging over the summer, especially when I'm playing around with some new kit.

Follow me on Twitter @chriswaterworth

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