Friday, 26 October 2012

Specialism Week

This week at Plymouth we had a specialism week where we focused on our chosen specialism, mine being digital literacy. I went into this week not knowing at all what I would be doing, worrying slightly as to whether I'd be able to do it or if I'd struggle.
When I first settled into the room I found out we'd be making animations and then teaching them to the children that we were going to be teaching. We started looking at a programme called "I Can Animate" and could choose whether we used and iPad or the laptop. In my pair we chose both of them so this gave a good mix. I automatically went for the iPad as I long for one, they're so cool. We went out of the computer room and sat outside and set up our green screen. We used blu - tack to keep our little lego people still and moved them a little bit every picture. When you use I Can Animate you have to take one photo, move the lego slightly, take another etc. This is a long process and when using the iPad that you aren't able to stand up your arm begins to ache. After a long time of moving and snapping we finally created this little project..

So once we had worked on this for a day we then moved onto working out how to teach it to the children at the school we were going too. The teachers came in to inform us that we were going to be teaching Tudors to the children. Unfortunately, I remember very little from my days at school about the tudors. I struggled to remember the rhyme let alone information to teach with. I knew that both Tuesday and Wednesday I would have to do a lot of research about the Tudors so that I knew exactly what I was teaching them and so I didn't look like a fool.
By Wednesday night I had prepared an example video (see below), a lesson plan, activities and resources and was raring to go. I knew that Thursday was going to be a long day but was looking forward too it.



As soon as I arrived into the school I could tell that this was a completely different school to where I had worked before. There was silence. That was the main shock as we walked in, no noise from screaming children excited to see everyone, no stern voices from teachers. Either the children were really well behaved or we were entering a school with outstanding discipline. Once again we had to hide our phones and walked to the ICT room. On first glance we didn't know how we were going to work in here because of the computers in the middle of the desks but no one said anything. Just after an ICT teacher came in and pressed a few buttons on the desk and the computers started lowering into the centre of the table. Even though we are all ICT students we were all fascinated by this. We then moved into the classroom to introduce ourselves to the children. They all sat there and stared and we stood there and stared. Safe to say, it was a very awkward introduction session.
I moved my stuff into the classroom and set up with my pupils. They sat there and stared at me, not uttering a word. I knew that I would have a lot to do to help these two to feel comfortable enough to work. I asked them about the wives and about who was beheaded and who wasn't and then they finally began to open up and chat more. I had them colour in their Henry VIII pictures and then set them to work on writing a script and their storyboard. They seemed very excited about making the animation and were more talkative now.
After a few struggles of having to set up the webcam and green screen we finally had it all set up and were ready to go. The children found it hard to understand that you only move the pictures a little bit each photo and didn't always move their hand so I had to go back multiple times to correct that picture. They were very happy with the end result.
However, the laptop I was using decided to have a funny five minutes and wouldn't let me export the video and now it has corrupted and is unable to play. I was very disappointed about this as I really wanted this one to work. As bad as that was, I knew what I needed to do the next day to change what happened on this day.
The next day was more relaxed and instead of going into the classroom I stayed in the ICT room to see what the change of atmosphere would have on my teaching. I felt more relaxed in the ICT room but I still haven't really worked out why. The two children I had on the Friday didn't talk much at all. Until over half way through the day. The boy knew an excellent amount of information about animation and the tudors and I could just tell he was a fan of history by the way he spoke so passionately about it.
They seemed to understand the small movement concept a lot more than the previous children on the previous day. They kept leaving their hands in the camera though, that still was a problem. They were very keen about looking at their video and were so happy with their work. They sat making their credits and choosing their animations, effects and transitions so that their video would be the best. They invited their teachers over for the big moment of seeing their video as one complete film. The teachers praised the children and you could see the glee shining. They were very proud of themselves. Below shows their creation.



This week gave me a lot of time to see whether teaching is the course for me as it shows how much stress can go into just one lesson plan. Many questions go through your head "will they enjoy it?" "will they both understand what to do?" and so on.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the school and on the specialism week. This course is amazing and I'm glad I'm doing it. Just want to be an actual teacher now though!!

Friday, 12 October 2012

Wordle - Internet Survey Results

In Digital Literacy today we were inputting our data that we collected from a Primary School and analyzing it. 
We looked at intagrams at first. An intagram is graphic visual representations of data. We used a website called "www.easle.ly" and started creating them. I spent about 20 minutes playing around and then Oliver introduced us again to Wordle. Wordle is a website where you put in a load of data, click create and it create a bundle of the most used words. A better way to explain Wordle is: a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. 
I fiddled around for a while with the data inputting it and created this first image: 
I felt that this didn't represent our data to the fullest. Our question for the analysis of information was "Do Boys and Girls Use the Internet Differently?" From the following images you can see that they do in fact use the internet differently. 





Question: Do boys and girls use the internet differently?
Analysis of data:
YEAR 2 GIRLS: (Ignoring boy’s analysis due to lack of data):
With the data which we collected for year 2 children there wasn't a sufficient amount of male results to include into our data for the question "what ways do you use the Internet?" so we decided to just analyse the results for girls in this year group. Some of the data which was collected was very relevant to the question for example some children said they use the Internet to search for things and to use google, which shows us that these pupils understand how to the use the Internet but are unaware of the many different ways in which the Internet can be used. Other pupils didn't understand the question and were giving answers such as 'Microsoft word' which isn't a form of using the Internet therefore is not valid for our analysis of this question. 


YEAR 3 GIRLS: (Ignoring boy’s analysis due to lack of data):
The data that was collected for the year 3 pupils mimicked the data from year 2 in terms of their being a lack of male data therefore we again chose to only undertake the analysis for the girls of the year group. For the question "what ways do you use the Internet?" the majority of children who was asked, misunderstood the question and was giving answers such as "computers" and "interactive whiteboards" which again was not relevant data for this question. Although the data from the bulk of this year group was irrelevant there we're a few useable pieces of data which shows that the children have a brief understanding of the internet for example they knew that the internet was mainly used for searching.  


YEAR 4 GIRLS:
From the information we collected we can see that the girls we interviewed gave us more information to support our claim that “do boys and girls use the internet differently?” The boys data was very lack and gave us little information. The question we asked the children was “in what ways do you use the information” and it seemed two children misunderstood the question. Answers “tablets, computers and laptops” were incorrect and signs that they did not understand the question. However one child said they used the internet for google showing that this child was on his way to getting the correct answer. One child said they used the internet for “get photos and search for games” presenting that he understood the question.
The girls gave us a lot more information and they understood the question more. We had four year four girls answer and only one misunderstood the question by replying “PCs/Through Smart Boards”. The other three girls answered: “maths, Microsoft powerpoint, presentations and videos”.
The evidence given proves that girls in year four appear to be more educated about how they use the internet. It could also be said that girls don’t feel the need to play up or copy their friends whereas boys do, to feel “cool” or “part of the group”.


YEAR 4 BOYS:
From the information that is shown from the results that year 4 boys have answered with, the results show that they have understanding and knowledge about the internet but interpreted the question in different ways. With only 3 boys actually answering the question it was hard to get a good amount of understanding. Two of the three answered the question based around what hardware they used e.g. the computer, laptop ipad etc however the third answered about what he does on the internet e.g. gets photos, searches for games and uses google. For just general websites. With only this amount of data it is hard to fully comprehend how they use the internet as the answers were not very clear.


YEAR 5 BOYS:
Half of the boy’s data relates to the technology they use to go on the internet and the other half refers to what they do once they are on the internet.
Two boys who answered the questionnaire referred to Laptops, Computers, Projectors and Ipads as ways they ‘use’ the internet, I think we are allowed to observe that these children may have misunderstood the question.
The other two said they used the internet for research, information, educational games and front covers; this is more relevant to the question.
From the data we can suggest that boys like to be academic when they use the internet, there is no reference to uneducational entertainment games. However, the answers may have been slightly biased as the boys may have felt the need to lie as they were in a school setting whist answering.



Monday, 1 October 2012

Linchpin - Seth Godin

"The New World of Work" 

A lot of what is written in this book is quite interesting.
On page 8 of the book Godin writes: "We need original thinkers, provocateurs and people who care" I think in the field of teaching you need to be an original thinker. You don't know what type of child you will be dealing with; be it an autistic child, a child with ADHD or something else. You need to make up original lessons and get each child involved, an important part of teaching. You need to be a caring person as young children may end up going through some family crises or something similar and you need to be there to support that child. When he writes "the one person who can bring it together and make a difference" this, I think, relates to me a lot. I definitely want to be that teacher. That one that can make a difference to a child's life.

"Thinking About Your Choice"
"It's not about what you're born with, it's about what you do" I think is the most important message in this chapter. You could be born amazingly tall, as it says in the book itself, putting you into the position of a star in basketball, but how many of us have that chance? Not that many. So what else could you do with your height? Something to think about. Something else that is something to think about is where it says "Great teachers are wonderful. They change lives. We need them. The problem is that most schools don't like great teachers. They're organized to stamp them out, bore them, bureaucratize them, and make them average." How far would you say that is true?
"You can't - or don't want to?" This is an important thing to think about. You can always do things. It may not be easy, it may be a struggle; but in the end you will be able to do it. It's all about motivation in my opinion. If you are motivated to do something then you won't say you "can't" do it. If you can't do it, you may not have tried as hard.

Jack and the Beanstalk Project

So the first two weeks at university we had to do a Jack and the Beanstalk production. We had sessions with Rob who taught the songs then we were left on our own to produce one song and a few lines of dialogue.
The first few hours of this project there were a lot of mixed feelings in the group. Most people were unhappy about what we had to do as they weren't into performing, others (me included) were ecstatic about this project as performing was the thing they were happy to do. The boys in the group were definitely the ones that needed the push forward. They were lacking in confidence and needed a confidence boost from us girls and that's what we did.
That's what I think that project was about. Not about creating an amazing show but to get the group together to give each other confidence boosts and work as a team. Working as a team of course is how you succeed in teaching.
When performing the production to the other students and lecturers the whole group had faces of glee and contentment. Every single person in that room was so happy to be performing and when we all sung our group song you could see everyone looking at each other and smiling, a bond had been created.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Transformation from secondary schools to university

So I thought the transformation from GCSEs to Alevels was difficult. The harder and more work. I thought that it would be the biggest education struggle. OHHH how I was wrong! The transformation from Alevels to University work is definitely going to be one of the hardest.

With lectures almost everyday until 6pm and a huge pile of books to read seems daunting. But if you really sit and think about it. It really isn't that bad at all. When you're at school the work load seems horrible because it includes subjects that you may not be good at or enjoy. If you don't enjoy a subject at school that is compulsory to do, it is proven that your motivation for that subject is in fact weakened. As your motivation falls the success of your grades also falls.

However. When you finally choose that path in life to go in the work load that university gives out doesn't seem that bad. When you see that it is something that you thoroughly enjoy, for me it's teaching, you feel more excitement than dread at the work load.

The fact that you will be studying a subject you love and have a passion for means your motivation will increase. So to conclude, I was once dreading the work load at university but after sitting and thinking about it. It doesn't seem that bad!! I am now VERY excited!

Animal Hoarders

Anyone watch that Animal Hoarders show on channel four?
Don't even look it up on youtube or anything. It is absolutely disgraceful.

So it's about Terry Thompson, a man from Ohio, with a passion for hoarding things. He hoarded guns, planes, cars, helicopters and wild cats. Not wild cats as in your common tabby cat. Wild cats as in exotic animals. Lions, tigers and bears. He had 18 tigers, 17 lions and 10 bears and multiple wolves, monkeys and baboons. Cages constructed out of thin wire and wood. Very safe.

It turns out that the animals got out, well, they were let out of their cages by Terry in a suicide. He let the animals eat and kill him then they roamed. They didn't attack anyone else. They didn't get anywhere near the public. Yet they still killed the animals.

I know that you can't read the minds of animals. I 100% understand that. But they weren't going off the field apart from one bear that just stopped by the edge of the field and then turned to go back but was shot dead.

I just don't understand how they could kill those animals. I understand if they got out and started getting closer to the public. Yes I agree, they need to be controlled. But they found two lionesses still in the cages. They were showing signs of fear, not anger, yet they were killed too. I just don't understand the way people think. Those two lionesses weren't showing any anger.

I don't like the fact they showed the photos of the animals all dead and bleeding. I think the viewers know the animals were killed, we don't need to see the proof of tractors pulling the dead bodies up the road and piling them all onto the floor.

I also don't see how the american RSPCA weren't called? The police were at his house to see the animals on multiple occasions before the release of these animals.

So it said just now, that Terry had undone his trousers and let them go down to his ankles along with his pants as big cats tend to eat the softest part of the body first, the private area. It was a suicide attempt and his wife must have known that he was going to do it because she had disappeared a few days before the "attack".

Ohio aren't allowing exotic animals to be sold now. Good. Alabama, Nevada, North and South Carolina, West Virginia and Wisconsin are allowing the selling of exotic animals.

At least the 49 animals that were killed had a burial. Oh and one monkey is still missing.

I feel so strongly over the protection of the beautiful animals this world has. This programme has made me angry!