February 24, 2008
In cooperation with humanities dept,Year 7′s are researching Native American Indians for their Desktop Publishing / Leaflet module. They have been allocated a famous/historical native american and were given 2 weeks to find some information from a BOOK and write it in their own words. They had to also cite the Author, title , publisher, year published. I told them about encylopedias and told them to go to the library and NOT use the internet. Internet research comes next.
Maybe I rushed the setting of the homework, Maybe I didn’t make sure that they wrote down the “In your own words” bit. But no one managed to do the home work properly.
Most just copy and pasted information from the internet. Some actually cited a book (probably because it was written on the internet page) but still copy and pasted text. The best (least Internet) was a photocopied a page of an encyclopedia with the source properly cited – and I’m sure he got help.
In fact all the adults that obviously helped the low ability kids got it wrong too. I can imagine the scene “There you go just look it up on the computer”.
I don’t know how much of a fuss to make about this. What with the native Americans, that I know nothing about, foisted on me and there being very little in the library to help, shall I just chalk it down to experience and move on?
Or should I stop everything to labour a point – just for all the kids and their teaching assistants and parents to go “Wha?”
Humanities should have some text books though. I could get the encylopedias down into my classroom. Kids have to learn how to look up things. I always have a race with yellow pages and yell.com to find a plumber and sometimes the internet guy wins even though I make them login in to the network and then the internet first.
February 20, 2008
Children driving their own learning, investigating, doing, planning… This is on my radar
Check out the following link for a video introduction.
February 20, 2008
I have spent hours today trying to get my old WordPress (2.0) blog upgraded to version 2.3.3 so I could export the xml file that this hosted version of the blog needs.
Once I managed the upgrade (ftp kept failing) the transfer to WordPress.com was effortless. Just one thing to note though, before all the posts were imported I was told I had to rename the author from richard to richardradio which is obviously my wordpress.com user name. I soon fixed that though by changing nickname in the user profile.
I was disappointed that my blogroll links didn’t make it in. But that wasn’t enough to stop me make the changeover, Later I pulled the opml blogroll off the old blog and imported it separately.
Note that although I haven’t switched the domain over at the time of writing, it looks like the domain mapping is free as I already own richardradio.com all I have to do is point the ns record at wordpress.com – easy again.
[Correction I have to pay $10 annually for this]
I still have to: Upload (or relink) some of the attachments that appear in old posts – they didn’t get included in the export.
All in all I’m very pleased with the transfer, as someone who is not programming or messing about with hosting companies every day it’s a huge burden off my mind that I won’t have to to touch .htaccess files, ftp and phpmyadmin again to keep wordpress running.
February 11, 2008
In all our years except Y11 we get kids to do work, hand it in (usually in PDF format into shared folder) and then chase up those who haven’t done the work. The best method as I mentioned yesterday, is to mark and give a formative comment. This also serves to flag up under-performance early on.
For Y11 because they save their work into an eportfolio, the job is made much more difficult because we have to check they have done the work AND put it into their eportfolio. This is the bane of my life, clicking around the network checking that kids have done what they say they have done.
Would we be allowed to use the same method as other years? Would this scaffold them too much and remove the need for independent learning and independent structuring? I would argue no (but I haven’t checked with anyone else yet). From a data point of view its simple you splitting the work by publication rather than by student (although they will have to make their eportfolio later) It would certainly make the job of tracking a group much easier eg. imposing deadlines and getting kids along to catch up.
In addition, it would also mean that when the work is done, I already have a copy of it. So this would avoid the problem of the student saying that their work has “disappeared” from the network.
February 10, 2008
I’m marking Year 10 work. Forgot that there is a tracking point due tomorrow. Two comments here:
Firstly that tracking points are a pretty good way of making sure that you are doing your job properly – I am just realising that I have been a bit lax this term with Y10.
Secondly that you can think that your groups are doing really well but when you actually mark the work with a decent criteria you notice a lot of things that need correcting, and if you didn’t do it and more than a couple of weeks has past, it’s probably not going to be much use correcting it.
What with marking electronic work, usually in PDF form I normally give a grade and a formative comment in my mark book from the penultimate lesson. On the last lesson I put my excel markbook up on the projector for them to read before they make the final improvements. With a class of 25 they will need to come up to the front to see their comments. Mail merging from excel is also possible but uses a heck of a lot of paper. It might be an idea to get them to copy the comment in to their planners because they can be too lazy to come up to the front later on in the lesson!
This method means marking the work twice, but its such a powerful learning tool that I think it’s worth the effort.
February 10, 2008
I don’t update my blog much at the moment, but it seems that every few months it keeps breaking – usually because the hosting company has upgraded php or mysql. I think I’m going to get a hosted version at wordpress.com with the domain name included. Think its around £15 per year.
Now I am remembering, I lost most of my images and files that I’d uploaded when the hosting provider deleted my account last August. Yes hosting is definitely the way forward