In my previous post I reflected upon E2 and how collaboration and sharing is fundamental to any successful initiative or project. The resources, support and time Microsoft is investing in education across the globe is staggering and a fundamental part of this is The Microsoft Educator Community (MEC) https://education.microsoft.com.
The MEC is a free online training resource that is open to any teacher anywhere. I can’t recommend this enough and I have been promoting the MEC in my own school through staff training sessions, faculty meetings, via email invites and by adding the MEC link to my email signature.
If you want to see successful engagement with the MEC and how we as teachers can involve the wider community please see the inspirational Paul ‘Lanny’ Watkins Twitter feed @ . Paul is doing outstanding work with technology and student engagement in South Wales and he is a real driving force with how to engage not just students but adults with new ways of thinking and learning. Paul has really helped me to see how important collaboration is in this process.
With so much technology and pedagogic approaches to choose from the possibilities are really exciting for developing blended teaching and learning opportunities for students for the 21st Century. In my own school I am responsible for the Creative Arts Faculty and the Action Plan at the top of this post is a way to filter and refine what we want to put in place to match and meet the needs of our students.
In the Creative Arts we are at the beginning of this journey and the headings below just briefly outline how we are starting to blend different technologies with our day to day teaching practice.
OneNote – A Level student class notebooks – Assessment for Learning and tracking feedback, shared collaboration space with US school. Faculty staff OneNote – minute meetings, track management documents/policies, continuing professional development, sharing good practice, standardising artwork using OneDrive & Office Lens to photograph artwork direct into OneNote, department handbooks, assessment point staff data analysis.
Office 365 – Students upload files and work online/desktop, share digital files with staff to review and add feedback using Word comments, staff use Sites to access shared and collaborative resources such as shared digital Excel markbooks, PowerPoints and Scheme of Work files, created links on site home page to key sections, added key date information
PowerPoint (Office Mix) – Photographing student artwork and uploading to online PowerPoint to use current student work in the classroom, sharing PowerPoints using Sites, created an Office Mix for a visual display competition, recording Office Mix Photoshop worksheets with narration to show how to use different functions
Sway – A-Level A2 Photography students presented written assignment as a Sway allowing them to include their own photography and use the comparison slider to show evidence of progress.
Use of handheld devices/tablets – We are part of the school handheld device trial and we use OneNote with an HP device and project onto a flat screen TV in the art room as we walk around the group. Allows us to type feedback direct into the students OneNote notebook in real time. Art staff have been using the OneNote app on their mobiles.
Flickr – Promoting and showcasing the Creative Arts using Flickr.
Twitter – Music staff developed a Creative Arts Twitter page.
I am also lucky that my school is embracing technological change. We are able to meet, share ideas and we are encouraged to innovate and try new approaches to teaching and learning. From this we are trialling in Art the use of ClassDojo for Year 7 and Year 8 students. https://www.classdojo.com
ClassDojo is a digital and interactive behaviour app/site that is widely used across the world. We hope it will help us with the student transition between Primary and Secondary school and develop personalised lines of communication with parents. I hope that by using this software, it will prepare students, staff and parents for further uses of technology such as OneNote, Office Mix, Sway and OneDrive.
Technological change in education can be challenging as it is constantly evolving and another new skill set to learn, review and then apply in the classroom. This is as well as keeping on top of all of the other teaching responsibilities that we have.
By using ClassDojo with staff I hope to show how hand held devices/tablets can be used in the lesson, how you can move away from the front of the class and become untethered from a set position in the room and how you can involve students as ‘Digital Leaders’ and parents through technology. I feel the skilful use and selection of technology can help educators work smarter and not harder in the classroom, improving student engagement, and teacher effectiveness.
We re-named the students tables from table 1,2 3 etc. with names of artists and photographers to try and add layers to the use of technology and to embed in the students the significance and importance of different art movements and artists.
What is really exciting is the momentum this new approach to technology is building and how Microsoft 365 is enabling students to learn and develop their understanding at their own pace in and out of lessons.
OneNote for example allows information and learning to happen 24/7, which in turn supports students who may have missed lessons and eases the pressure on teachers as all the content is accessible thorough OneNote online. Over the next few months ready for September, I will be reviewing our use of OneNote and how we can use it with GCSE Art students as a form of Flipped learning without diluting or taking the students away from the kinaesthetic approach to art. I want to use technology as an additional resource/media to further differentiate our provision for students alongside painting and drawing, sculpture, photography, collage, printmaking etc..
I can’t wait to start the MIE Surface program https://twitter.com/Surface_UK so we can introduce digital approaches to art and drawing that will blend with traditional approaches.
This blend of technologies is important and it is also leading me to consider moving away from Word documents when writing Schemes of Work to creating with staff, Sway presentations that are shared in the Microsoft Cloud.