Tag Archives: ideas

Noob, Master or Wizard

Differentiation is a focus this year, not only at my school, but also in the region. This has meant that there is a massive push to make a range of strategies more explicit in our programs and units of work.

So, what is Differentiation?

It involves the use of teaching, learning and assessment strategies that are fair and flexible, provide an appropriate level of challenge, and engage students in learning in meaningful ways. Differentiated programming recognises an interrelationship between teaching, learning and assessment that informs future teaching and learning.

http://syllabus.bos.nsw.edu.au/support-materials/differentiated-programming/

Being unique and different isn't all that bad

Being unique and different isn’t all that bad


The concept began as a strategy to enable Gifted and Talented learners to be challenged in mainstream classrooms. The realisation is all students learn in different ways and when provided with a range of ways to problem solve, a choice of product outcomes and the opportunity to work at a pace that suits them, students will achieve better and more to their potential. No longer is the “one size fits all” solution adequate in the 21st Century classroom.

There are a few suggested strategies that can be used. These include:

  • Differentiating¬†the process or activities
  • Differentiating the product outcome or assessment
  • Differentiating the content and materials
  • Differentiate the environment

All the above can be further explained when you examine the following models:

How does this translate in the classroom?

I feel confident from teaching the GATS class that I am able to accomplish these ideas when programming and implementing a unit of work. But when we sat down to discuss it as a faculty, there was a need to have it more explicit and each concept defined and used clearly by each teacher. (Now there is irony – teach in a differentiated way, but don’t program like it! HAHA!) There was also a push from above for each faculty to focus on one strategy to become experts at it – the Art department scored Extended Brainstorming. The more that I thought about it and read about differentiation, the more clear it was to me, that in Art we are really lucky. While we teach students a skill in using materials, the concept development and inevitable outcome, is always differentiated. Students are always working at their own pace and some extend their artmaking when they feel confident, while others are more complacent.

For me, reflecting upon my classes, I thought perhaps I had let my Visual Design class down. Because I teach in such an open-ended manner, I feared that maybe they weren’t developing good enough Graphic Design skills, and some were not all confident with using Photoshop. I don’t like to set down in stone HOW to use the software, I figure that as they problem solve and decide on a visual concept, they are going to have to learn how to use the software, to make it do what they want.

In saying this, I decided to PRE-TEST their skills. I gave them a task that was open-ended, but the end product was like a test of their developing skills.

Here are some of their products.

There is such a range. But it really challenged them and gave them the chance to really showcase what they could or couldn’t do.

So, are you a NOOB, MASTER or WIZARD?

Once complete, I assigned the students the next design brief. However, I based it upon these previous submissions. I was going to tell them what to do, but let them choose. I let them choose from 3 possible project – each increasing in difficulty.

The NOOB task is for students that are developing their Photoshop skills.

The MASTER task is for students that are able to use Photoshop, but not always confident.

The WIZARD task is for the super dooper students who want a challenge and know what they are doing.

The feedback discussions we had about where they were placed in their ability was great, and now the are all doing something that they are enjoying and with enough challenge to learn new and develop their skills.

What are some things you have tried to differentiate in your classroom?

Advertisements

Introducing Bring Your Own Device aka BYOD

_MG_2792

After 4 years of the Digtial Education Revolution (DER), and the governments commitment to giving all Year 9 students a laptop to keep until Year 12, it is all coming to an end.

Now that pedagogy’s are shifting, there has been equal access to technology between rural and city schools and students are all excited to be given a new learning tool – the funding has stopped. We all knew that it would end, but we were enjoying the ride too much. Realistically, now that the revolution has started, it is up to schools and educators to maintain the momentum.

I know that many Department of Education and Community (DEC) Public schools are seeking solutions to the gap in technology that is imminent. Does each school fund the continued access to laptops and computers? Or do we rely on the school community and parents?

IMG_3351

At my school, we have decided to trial BYOD.

Bring your own Device.

One class in Year 7 (My gifted and talented class) are the experimental class. Parents are keen to support it, so we have jumped in the deep end. We have decided to let the students bring whatever device they like.

Uh oh!

Yup – On Tuesday when they first brought them in, I looked around and knew this was going to be interesting!!! While this gives them ownership over the device they have chosen – someone hasn’t thought about the impact this will have on the classroom management and teachers. While I am capable of dealing with different platforms, as I am experienced and confident with technology, others may not be. It was interesting to note the percentage of students with Mac devices vs PC. Only 3 of the 28 had PC and they have had trouble connecting to the DER wi-fi network at school. (If you have a solution to this, I would love to know!)

A few parents from the class have been calling me and asking for my advice on which device to get. I have given them my opinion and are letting them make their own choices.

Over the next few weeks I will evaluate how I think this has worked in our school….

Just little old me, being a teacher, but loving technology and learning!

Just little old me, being a teacher, but loving technology and learning!

And the Students?

To drive the students and get them ready to have BYOD in the classroom, I have given them a great project.

They have been researching and comparing devices and prices, learning about digital citizenship and figuring out the problems they may face.

I also want them to be pushing their teachers to use these devices (after all, their parents have invested in them to be used!) SO the students have to redesign a unit of work based upon something they have already done, and see how using technology would change it.

I want them to present to the key stakeholders: parents, principal and teachers on a panel. They are super excited and really keen to be using their new ‘toys’ in the classroom.

Let’s see how this goes…..