Thursday, 12 January 2017

Working Walls and display: Episode Two

Well it has been a while since I had the time to complete a blog post. This one has been sat in draft from for quite a long time (so long that I had forgotten about it since returning to school in September) and now seems a little out of place with my current position. I still felt that the walls and ideas were valuable to share so that the end of my year 4 journey could be seen. 

I was asked the question yesterday, what has the impact of my CPD been, one answer was that it had improved my practice in the classroom, another was that it had impacted on the learners, I had seen evidence of impact in other schools (see pictures below) and I had a stream of hits via the UKEdChat community.

So here are a few examples of working walls from the tail end of the 2015-2016 year. 

Story maps of Kensuke's Kingdom were used to support whole class guided reading sessions and writing:

The English working wall was used to build vocabulary for character descriptions during a unit of work on Roald Dahl's -'The Twits'. 
Application tasks and recall tasks were used to assess the children away from the point of learning. These were self directed or teacher directed when the children had achieved class tasks and used to inform teacher assessment against curriculum objectives on Class Track.

Impact outside of my classroom
This photo was taken during a learning walk at another local school, the class teacher had 'borrowed' and adapted the calculation method working wall concept and refined it for her class.

This photo was taken in the same school as the previous photo. I liked the developing nature of the Language Through Colour display through the topic. 

I've now moved to Year 2, I'm feeling a bit like an NQT again. But it is very exciting...if only the children could reach my taller boards...

Sunday, 29 May 2016

The not so Smartboard...

Shall I compare thee to a blackboard?
Thou were more useful and less dusty,
A shining glossy tool,
Upon which,
We were all thrust.

And now - over ten years on,
There are still those who shudder,
At the thought of orientation and 'interactive' preparation,
Leading to training and development need,

A hurdle that some still struggle to jump,
What went wrong?
Was it the walls, the ceilings, under-powered projectors,
Or were we truly seeing a vision of the future of teaching? Learning?

One touch surface at the front, 
The font of all knowledge, 
Or a mouse dressed up?

But sir, your handwriting isn't neat on there...
I can't show you that straight line, it keeps jumping again.

What I'd give for the old chalkboard back again...

So at this moment I find that I am doubting the value and impact of interactive whiteboards in the primary classroom.

I wanted to believe, I did believe, I trained others, represented the LEA and led 'Hands on Support' and yet I know from looking around many classrooms that the much celebrated tool, heavily invested in, has had little measurable impact on learning for all children. There are, as with all new devices and technologies strategies that keen and resourceful teachers use very effectively, however, at such a high cost of investment these have had little impact on all pupils at once. In the new year I replaced my classroom Smartboard with a standard whiteboard at a fraction of the cost of an interactive model. 

The projector and computer are still being used, and I have to admit that I have not missed the interactive board. Instead I have found that I have used an iPad to mirror the device screen more, and now use Google Slides as the base presentation tool to set up my lesson slides. 

Using Google Slides instead of Smart Notebook has allowed me to share my slides with other year group partners further enabling a collaborative approach to lesson preparation. The ability to use the iPad within the session to make changes to the slides, and model effective work by importing pictures instantly has had a positive impact within our sessions.   

I haven't missed any of the features of the smart board or the software.  I certainly don't miss the orientation process.  I do love being able to write normally again and have my writing appear where I intended it to. 

Within our current environment of studded walls and suspended ceilings, which make up 90% of the buildings within our school, the long-term cost implication of replacing the interactive whiteboards with straight replacements is not in my vision for the future.  
I am very happy with my current setup...but also eagerly anticipate having a good trial of newer touch panel displays; but the price has to be right when set against impact in learning.