Thursday, 24 April 2014

The Amazingness of Year 0

15 5yr olds + 2 teachers + 1:1 iPads + 1 App = Amazing learning (for all)

As a part of my MIT Inquiry for this year, I spent a day hanging with the amazingness that are Michelle George and Karen Belt.

Their 5yr olds had spent only 6 weeks at school by the time I got to visit them. 6 weeks to learn routines, habits and skills to set them up for a life time of learning.

Karen and Michelle have these kids so engaged with learning how to be a learner - and at the same time teaching those valuable skills of reading, writing and arithmetic.

These first two movies are examples of "writing time". In this Year 0 class the students co-construct their writing through song. The rhythm and beat make the language and structure much simpler to recall.

Students then record each other "singing" their story back again, These recordings are shared via the class Apple TV - The 5yr olds have no problem waiting for their turn and then Air Playing their device independently.  The kids even figured out early on, that they needed to film each other using the other person's iPad - keeping that record of rewindable learning on each student's own device.

Reading is still conducted in a guided sense with the teacher and small groups of 3.
The iPad comes in as the teachers utilise Explain Everything for the students to complete "Follow-Up" activities, These may involve arranging sentences, drawing a picture or practicing words. The power is that each student records their learning while they undertake the activity.
No longer is the teacher left out of the independent learning. A quick rewind and you are there with the student as they complete the task. You can truly hear them think.

Major things are happening for our smallest students and as their teachers we need to ensure that this learning develops as they move through the school.
I can see great connections with my learners and the way thinking, self management and contributing are central to their day to day tasks.
Such an honour to share a day with these ladies and children as they explore such engaging ways to encourage great learning in their classroom.

Hapara Teacher Dashboard - Limitless Boundaries

After 3 years in an almost entirely Google Environment, I was heavily reliant upon Hapara's Teacher Dashboard for work flow and monitoring.
Every student knew that their work was visible to all the right people (and beyond) with only one click. As the teacher, I knew that I could always keep on top of what was going on with such young learners.

As I made the switch to a 1:1 iPad class, I did wonder how Teacher Dashboard would hold up with non-Google products.

Again, I find myself being unable to live without this tool.

We are essentially a 1 App outfit,  in that the students are learning solely with Explain Everything. Of course they share via their blog utilising Flickr and Vimeo - but fundamentally the children would agree that we use 1 App.

The students very quickly became proficient with creating their own EEs and I was moving into creating templates that I wanted them to use. The Smart Copy function on TD allows me to Smart Copy the EE Template directly to the folder of each student - it even names the EE correctly as it copies.

What could be simpler than students opening the App and finding their work waiting and ready to go? For 7yr olds, this technology has made our learning smoother, simpler and emphasises the learning - not the tech.

To think that TD functions this beautifully across platforms excites me. Almost limitless boundaries as we explore learning, creating and sharing on tablet devices in our junior school.