Thursday, 27 February 2014

First Week Coding and Flipping My Classroom: So Far, So Good.

First Week Coding and Flipping My Classroom: So Far, So Good.

Video at home and in the classroom.

I launched into two new adventures this week with my first videos for my flipped classroom and began the long road into coding with my Year 3 class - what a great first experience!  The children and parents seem incredibly enthused by the whole prospect of coding, the use of videos, and I've received some great feedback at parents' evening this week.

My first GarageBand 'How to Video.'
In my first ever blog GarageBand Video explained why I needed to start using video in my classroom.  It saves time, gives children a continues reference point and allows pre learning of a skill.

I sent the video to the children at the beginning of the week via their weekly emailed newsletter explaining that we'd be using GarageBand to record our Blitz Personification Poetry.

It was only when I got to school on Tuesday (INSET Monday) that the children started asking questions. "Was that you on the video?" "My mum tried to follow the instructions, can you do more?" "Can you do one for iMovie?" A very promising start to the week.

The first group of children set about recording their poems and all was going well until they reached the export point of the task, one child came over and asked how to do it. "Did you watch the video?" Their response "I did, but I only watched it once."

Teaching Children How To Watch a Video

It dawned on me that I had jumped head first into this way of learning without actually teaching the children how to watch a video, actually, how to learn from a video. I did get a few laughs from my Year 3s when I suggested that they didn't know how to watch a video and that I'd need to teach them. But, that afternoon I put on the GarageBand video and taught them how to 'pause, rewind, try a bit, pause, rewind, watch, try it...' I explained the difference between watching and learning from a video and we had a really good conversation around how they would make better use of the video. 

This proved to be a masterstroke, as the next day the children were much more equipped to deal with the task of recording and completing the very new skill of exporting the .mp3 file, ready to be emailed.  It strike me as quite impressive that a class of 7 and 8 year olds were recording, editing, exporting, and attaching an .mp3 to an email and sending it to their teacher ready to share on the school Facebook and Twitter sites.

I even realised that it was easier to have spare iPad running the video, ready so the children can instantly view, without the need to log in to email accounts to find the link to the video.

Vittle for Maths Calculations
Video for Mathematics - A Guide for Parents as well as children?
At the weekend I had created a few videos in preparation for my upcoming mathematics work this half term.  You can watch them here - Videos for My Classroom.  

It was only at Parents' Evening this week that I realised how useful these videos had been for the parents of the children in my class.  They'd been watching too!

I'd put the link in my weekly email to parents, informing them of some of the new approaches I would be trialling this half term, the response was very positive. Some parents had already used them to prepare their child for the maths this half term, some had shown older children in the school to help them consolidate their learning ready for SATS tests in May and I even had a request to create an iMovie guide for one parent who was struggling to edit a movie for  their child's homework. A really positive start!  

I'll be using the division video next week in the hope that the children can come to school ready to apply the skill, rather than sit and learn a skill.

Writing Code or 'Hacking Games?'

I decided that this week would be a great time to introduce the children to the beauty and creative world of computer programming.  So on Wednesday afternoon we spent the whole afternoon learning what code is, we watched this video to get a bit of background - What Most Schools Don't Teach

My class were sold when 'Will I Am' came on screen and told them they could be the next Rockstars!  Interestingly, they couldn't believe people were actually working in the Google offices, they wanted to work at Google and Facebook after seeing the fun they were having. As an aside, I do think that ALL schools should adopt this model of collaborative learning in an open school, old and young working together - we'll save that for another blog.

I chose Scratch as I knew it would be a language and format the children would like and find easy to use and understand.  The blocks proved popular, as did the ready created games.

Hacking Pong
I'm so glad I started with the Scratch Starter Projects as I wanted the children to see what could be done using the programming language.

The children started playing the pong game and quickly got bored with its simplicity. "What would make it better?" The beauty of the Scratch projects is you can SEE the code of the game.  I modelled how you can change the game by adapting the code and the children were amazed at how they were now playing a more challenging game.

"We're hacking the game!"  

I loved the idea that the children were being so creative, improving and then sharing their learning across the classroom. Our classroom had become the Google offices, children dashing around sharing code, ideas and games to be tested and then improved. I just sat back and watched it happen.  The children went home on Wednesday night and have already been 'hacking games.' They came in this morning and shared skills during Computing independent time

I received some great feedback on Twitter and Facebook from the parents when I published the photographs and pictures of some of the code.

"Green class are doing the best stuff, It makes me want to go back to school" 
"I have a child who wants to be in your class, ready to code."
"When can I come in to have a go at creating my own games?"

I'm thoroughly looking froward to next week and reporting back on the use of video and our continuing adventure with Hacking Games.  I've also got my first of six training sessions I'm running for staff on various computer skills - This week, iMovie - The video is ready for the staff to watch Creating Video with iMovie Flipped CPD!

Next up Edmodo for Our School. Bring on the Social Media Revolution.

Follow Me on Twitter @chriswaterworth

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Instant Next Steps: The Power of Video During Learning

Instant Next Steps: The Power of Video During Learning

Empowering Children to Improve Instantly

In my last post I discussed how we must encourage children to become Publishers rather than Consumers - Read it here - Consumers Vs Publishers.  This has got me thinking, 'what does this actually look like in my classroom?'

I've been using video for years in my PE lessons with my Year 3 class; I have found it to be the most powerful way for children to understand their next steps during PE.  The beauty of this model along with the introduction of mobile technology in our classrooms, makes this feedback instant and very effective.

Using video and slow motion replay during cricket.
Our children are used to their digital lives being available instantly; instant video, instant music; instant documents and instant communication.

They are online constantly, and this is becoming more and more available in schools across the country.

But are the children using this technology in their everyday learning in schools?

In my last blog I briefly talked about how children are learning skills, but then not doing very much with them?  We need to teach them to share with the world as the whole world will give very good feedback, very quickly, sometimes in real time.

What does it look like in my classroom?
We have two hourly PE sessions in my class every week.  This half term we have been improving our striking and fielding skills and choreographing a dance routine.  We use video throughout the lessons.  This is how I used video during my cricket lessons.
Joe Root. Forward Drive for England

The first session of a new PE topic always starts with showing the children professional sportsmen and women performing in their sport.  When we started the cricket sessions I used footage of  various England cricket players playing a forward defensive shot (the shot we were focussing on the first week).

This gave children a 'professional model' to start creating a list of success criteria for playing the forward defence shot.  I highly recommend reading Shirley Clarke's research on 'Effective Formative Assessment' (Assessment for Learning)

We had found a video on YouTube showing the shot with voice instructions over the top - Forward Defence Video and watch the video back using slow motion replays to find essential parts of the shot we could use - stance, grip, posture, head position etc

Using the video helps teachers who are not very confident in teaching the required skills for the sessions.  It also helped me pick out key parts of the shot and the correct language to use when modelling for the children.

Learning the Skill - Using Video for Instant Next Steps 
I had emailed the link to the video to the children and then given them an iPad to take with them outside.  This enabled them to view the video back whenever they needed to check a certain part of the criteria they had identified.

As the children had identified their own success criteria, it made it easier for them to peer assess any weaknesses in the shots they were playing.  
Crucially; they were in control.  

Throughout the session the children were filming and watching back their forward defence shots.  They were comparing them side by side with the two videos I had shown them earlier and making adjustments independently throughout the session.  By using video the children had become the learners and the teachers.

Using an iPad to create video quickly
By using the video footage, child created success criteria and good peer assessment the children had improved their skills throughout the lesson.

The children were independently differentiating and personalising their own learning.  All the children were at different stages of acquiring and applying skills, but crucially they knew how to independently improve.

What do you do with all the footage?
At the end of each session I will ask each group of children to film one shot to be analysed before the next session.  The children set up one final shot and record a voice explanation alongside it. This helps me assess which children have fully understood the skill and also see the shot they've played.

Ready for the next session, I will compile all the video, upload it to our school website and email the children the link.  This enables the children to watch back their performance again before the next session, look for next steps and come armed ready to start -  The Flipped Classroom.  Read more on My Flipped Classroom

Publishing and Sharing
The children can then share the video with experts from around the world to get further feedback if they wish.  If you watch the 'Guide Video' and scroll down to the comments, you can see that people have already left improvement comments for the video.  I used this as a teaching tool to show the children the power of social media and using it to further improve their skills.  Read more on Publishers Vs Consumers

How can I start?
As long as you have a piece of technology to record, edit and publish a video, you can use this model in your classroom.  The children in your classroom will be experts at this as they will have been creating videos on their own technology - ask them, learn alongside them.

What next for me?
Next week I will be back at school for the first time since beginning to write this blog.  I will be documenting my own journey into flipping my classroom and further embedding technology into my everyday learning and teaching.

Follow Me on Twitter @chriswaterworth

Monday, 17 February 2014

Children as Publishers rather than Consumers: Flipped Classroom

Children Publishers rather than Consumers.

Why should children become creators and publishers?

In my last post, I discussed what would it look like if every child in your class had an iPad? - Read it here.  It led to me beginning to discuss children as creators and publishers rather than just consumers of information on the internet

With the introduction of the new primary curriculum in September 2014 schools all over the country are starting to redesign their curriculum to meet the needs of the new requirements.

One thing that strikes me, particularly with the computing curriculum is the need for children to 'give back' to the world.

A thought I very, very much agree with.  Children and adults need to move away from consuming information from the internet and begin to publish unique work of their own.

Technology has enabled us to share our work quickly and receive feedback almost instantly.

In our classrooms up and down the country we need to start allowing children to access those higher order thinking skills from Blooms Taxonomy.  We need to allow our children to research, understand, apply, receive structured feedback from the world and crucially further improve their work.

In my last post I discussed a model for this approach using the cricket videos the children in my Year 3 class had produced over the last half term.  The children learned a skill, applied it, shared it, but then nothing happened.  At this point I should have enabled the children to share the video with the world with experts and professionals via social media and then improved further with the feedback they received.

Using this model the children are becoming publishers rather than consumers. They are in a constant state of improvement - they are leading their own learning. An essential life skill.

Giving the children a tablet computer enables the whole world to be at their fingertips - a place they are native too; a place the feel very comfortable in.

As educators we need to equip the children with the skills needed to publish their creative thoughts, receive feedback and improve further

Using Technology to Publish - Tablets and Social Media in Schools.

In our primary schools we are currently allowing children to consume more information than we are allowing them to publish information.  More and more children are given opportunities to apply skills in lots of different curriculum areas, but rarely do we allow our children to publish this information anywhere other than a 'topic book,' 'learning journey' or a school website with an audience of a few hundred.

There is a huge connected world out there and we need to show our children from a younger age how big it really is, by interacting with it.  Technology has allowed us to do this from the comfort of a tablet computer and a Twitter account.

Share OUR wonderful world, but also with the school down the road.
Give the children experiences of Edmodo, Facebook and Twitter, teach them e-safety, teach them how to blog, how to code, how to create videos, record their voice, sketch, peer assess, and ask for help from the world.  Connect with local schools as well as those in far away countries. Share code, videos, blogs, photographs, get feedback, improve and then share again.

If we don't do this, we will have left a world to our children with a lot of outdated, but fascinating information. It's time for them to participate in the world - they have a lot of great creatives ideas. Some would argue they have a more creative mind than adults.

Speaking of code, I'm sure a lot of you will have seen this, but this video is essential viewing for teachers across the world.  I'm typing a blog post that somebody created using computer code, using a MacBook Pro that a computer scientist designed and built, sharing with you all via social media and checking updates via my iPad Mini.  Get these children coding from the earliest of ages, who knows where we'll be in 2030?

Follow Me on Twitter @chriswaterworth


Sunday, 16 February 2014

What would it look like if every child in your class had an iPad? Flipped Classroom

What would it look like if every child in your class had an iPad?

A Question I asked 31 Year 3 children last week on safer internet day.

I've been blogging recently about the work of Aaron Sams and John Bergman's pioneering work into the flipped classroom model - Read it here.  So what would this look like? It got me thinking about the prospect of enabling children to have access to a tablet whenever they feel the need to - sitting next to them on the classroom table.  

The dreaded laptop trolley.
At the moment in schools you may find a range of computing technology, each with its own benefits. The computer suite seems to have been taken away from our primary schools to be replaced with a trolley full of laptops or iPads.  

This model still leads to classrooms having to book sessions for the laptops or iPads, something that again 'adds' to a lesson, but technology should slot seamlessly into learning, not something you plan for.

Imagine a situation were curiosity drives children to seek out answers to their own questions, quickly and instantly; something our children are very used to nowadays.  

My daughter asked me "Why do pigs oink? (she actually grunted, but I don't know how to spell the noise) I didn't know; who does?  Her response - "Google it Daddy."  She was three at the time.  Our children are digital natives to this digital world of Google searching and finding answers instantly via smart phones and tablets.

In some schools we are still expecting children to listen and remember facts and information and then regurgitate them in a quiz, test or another Victorian way of assessing.  We seem to be preparing our children for a life of pub quizzes!  

How many times have you been watching a film and thought 'How do I know that actor?'  You immediately pick your iPhone up and in seconds find iMDB and the answer to your question.  Why can't we do that in our classrooms?  Let the children find out the answers and then do something with them.

Every child in my class is a 'consumer.'  A consumer of facts and information that are now easily available at the swipe and type of a few fingers. But what are we doing with those facts?  What do we do when we learn all of Henry VIII wives and how they were divorced, beheaded or survived?  Seriously, have you ever done anything with that information?

We need to make children Publishers, Producers and Sharers of Research, rather than consumers of the wealth of knowledge out there.

How do we make children Publishers rather than Consumers?

So how can we do it?  Technology has enabled our children to produce things of real quality, very quickly and share instantly with the world for feedback.  Hold on, haven't we seen this model before?  

Knowledge, Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Synthesis and Evaluation - Blooms Taxonomy.  

This model is how we have created some of the most stunning and beautiful things in our world. This model shows how we should be educating our children in our schools across the world.

Children need to experience this model everyday of their school lives.

We need to enable our children to gather knowledge, understand it, apply the knowledge, analysis what went wrong and right, synthesis what they've learned, evaluate and then keep working this cycle until they are happy with the product.

We need to give children the opportunity to publish their work into a digital world they are already natives to.  The use of social media in education is one of the most undervalued pieces of technology available to our schools.  Why not apply Blooms Taxonomy to Facebook and Twitter?

Knowledge & Research -> Blogs, online encyclopaedias, YouTube
Comprehension -> Use Evernote to track of their understanding
Application -> Build, create, publish, share with experts across the globe
Analysis -> Get feedback from peers and experts online via social media.
Synthesise -> Combine expert views and your own and publish again via social media
Evaluation -> Share your findings with the world and pose the question, can anybody help?

In my class we have been using iPads to video our progress in our cricket PE lessons.  We have created online video guides on bowling and batting.  We have published these on our school website, but the children haven't asked anybody (other than me, their teacher) if what they have produced is of a good standard.  We stopped at the application of the cricket skills.

If we had emailed the links to the videos to Lords Cricket Ground - the home of English cricket, we may have received a Tweet or Facebook message from a club professional with advice and guidance to improve further.  We could have taken advantage of this professional guidance and used it to better our performance

If I had an iPad and How I'd stay safe...
I posed this question and here is what I got back from my class of 7 year olds. I had a class full of these wonderful ideas:
- Blogging - Sharing my work
- Music -  Creation and publish to iTunes
- Sharing via Email and SkyDrive
- Photography and Art, online galleries
- Movies - Creating and publishing
- Using Facebook and Twitter
- Creating eBooks for the iBooks store
- Reading eBooks via a digital library.

How may brilliant ways could you use a £250 iPad mini?

The children thought it would be a brilliant idea if they could take the iPads home with them after school and use them to learn at home. I wonder if when they left school the parents could buy the iPads to take with them to high school; after all, think of all the photographs, presentations, videos, research on that little device.  

If we gave every child a blog, a twitter account, a Facebook page to publish their work and receive 'professional or expert peer assessment,' I firmly believe we will be giving children life lessons following the Blooms model.

I really do think the children are on to something special here.  An iPad sitting next to them becomes a learning, publishing and sharing tool rather than a bolt on device booked by the class teacher for a lesson they'd planned.  

I'll post a few more pictures of their ideas when I get back to school.

Follow Me on Twitter @chriswaterworth

Saturday, 15 February 2014

My Flipped Classroom - My Vision and Hopes for The Future.

My Flipped Classroom - My Vision and Hopes for The Future.

The first post of a long journey and change in mindset.

I'd read a few blogs online around the subject of flipping your classroom and I got excited at the prospect of using videos in the classroom to enhance children's learning.  

Nothing more really happened until I drove 100 miles to London to The Bett Show 2014 and to my surprise I found that Aaron Sams and John Bergman, the pioneers of the flipped classroom, were speaking at the conference.  I got in early and watched the talk prior to theirs; a group of 10 year old children and their teacher discussing the use of apps in the classroom - I learned the word 'multi-apping!'

Flipped Classroom

Everything clicked into place for me after seeing Aaron Sams and John Bergman speak. Ideas, thoughts and excitement rushed through me and I couldn't type quick enough on my iPhone.  

I could see my classroom in a very different way.  

I've been using technology in my classroom for years, but it's always felt like an add on. This year I have endeavoured to fully embed it into my classroom teaching.  The children in my Year 3 class all have email accounts with SkyDrive, so can create and store documents, notes, pictures in an online cloud.  Exciting stuff for 6 and 7 year olds! 

One of the key moments of the talk was how The Flipped approach uses of Blooms Taxonomy - but flipped!

Flipped Blooms Taxonomy

At the moment in schools around the world children are subjected to a 'stand and deliver' model of learning. Ken Robinson talks about a 'Victorian Model' of education.  Technology has the power to change this forever.

Why can't children gain knowledge and comprehension via videos, blogs, online encyclopaedias and more importantly from videos created by their own teachers?

Children bring the knowledge they've comprehended to school and then begin using the higher order skills illustrated above.  If I can spend more time working alongside children whilst they apply, analyse, synthesis and evaluate, then I really will be making a difference in their lives.  

The flipped approach allows extra time for this, we no longer need to deliver A LOT of content, that's what YouTube is for; surely.  A quote that stuck with me from Aaron Sams and John Bergman at Bett 2014:
"If there is a YouTube video explaining what you're about to say then you should be out of a job..."
A rather powerful quote; I personally loved it!  Imagine I can save countless hours over a term using this model and think how far I can push those children towards higher thinking skills.

Now, I'm not trying to endorse that standing and telling children is completely and utterly wrong, as there will always be a time and a place for it.  Some children have been quite successful learning in this way.  There will always be children who have not understood a concept and will need a personal, human intervention to dispel the misconception.

Relationships are key to a successful learning experience.  Children and adults need to know that you care and that you are there to listen, understand and help them.

"Not all my children can get online...."
A good point, not all children can. Hard to believe in 2014, but still very true.  During their talk, Aaron Sams and John Bergman talked about burning DVDs for children to take home, allowing time in school to watch or listen to the videos etc.  There will always be a way. Leaving an iPad or video running in the class - an Interactive learning wall if you will.

How many times have you watched a video on YouTube, learning a new skill about fixing your car, sketching a portrait or baking a cake?  How many time have you paused and rewound part of it?  The biggest advantage I can see is 'You can pause and rewind your teacher.'  I love that.

The future seems exciting and very, very interactive. Pause, rewind, pause rewind,

In my last post I wrote about using video to teach a computing skill on GarageBand -

A huge amount to think about for now.

In the meantime

Follow me on Twitter @ChrisWaterworth

First Classroom Video - GarageBand Podcast & Exporting

First Classroom Video - GarageBand Podcast & Exporting

Pause, Rewind your teacher - The future?

Each morning my wonderful year three class come into school ready to learn and sit down at a planned activity; reading, comprehension, daily sketching, reciprocal reading and COMPUTING. Every week I will pick up on something the children have been learning and structure a way of using computing to publish their work or enhance their understanding of a topic.

This week we had written personification poetry based around City Jungle by Pie Corbett.

Playing with the order of their personification poetry (Y3)

The poem was perfect.  We analysed it, played with it, performed it and then wrote our own version using the theme of The Blitz in London during WWII.

The children did a fantastic job and loved every minute of it.  We've recently started a class blog and wanted to share the poetry with the world.  When asked how they wanted to share it, the children wanted to record themselves reading their versions, rather than filming.  They wanted their voice to communicate the language, rather than their performance on camera.

So, time pressed, I decided to allow the children to record their poem using GarageBand - a skill they'd learned before when creating loop music in a previous term.

I modelled the process one afternoon, prior to the next mornings independent learning.
What happened the next day......lightbulb moment.

Several children brought me their MacBooks asking a few questions over the exporting part of the process I'd modelled the previous day.  I helped the children, but I haven't got the time to do that 31 times, unless . . . 

I'd been reading 'The Flipped Classroom' and after seeing Aaron Sams and Jonathan Bergmann discuss the subject at The Bett Show 2014, I knew this was an opportunity to trial this - More to come on this when I've finished the book.

So here goes.  I used Quicktime to screen capture the video of me modelling the process and I've published it on 

I'm going to email the children the link to the video and see what happens.  It'll be quite cool to see them watch, pause, rewind the video and eventually export the .MP3 file, ready for publishing to their own blogs.  It will be even better if they watch the video at home and then practice the skills at home prior to coming to school. Let's see.

It's half term at the moment here, so I'll have to wait until I return to school next week to see who's watched it.  I'll be trying it with mathematical concepts as well.

I've also arranged training for staff after half term to create their own voice recordings or podcasts at school.  I'll be using the video prior to the training sessions, and ask staff to bring questions and examples to the meeting rather than using the 'stand and deliver method' you sometimes receive at staff training.

I'll report back next week. Pause, rewind your teacher, I like that!

In the meantime: 

Follow Me on Twitter @chriswaterworth