I took my second year class to see a production of “A MidsummerNight’s Dream” in Edinburgh the other day and, if ever I needed proof that my stumble into social media was beneficial to the knowledge and understanding of our children then I was handed it on a plate. Only twenty five of the fifty kids I had with me had actully read the play, I gave them very little assistence while doing so and watched as their understanding unfolded on their wiki space. In class they could navigate their way around the characters and the diffeernt plot lines and became quite fluent in “Shakespeare speak” busilyily working away at tasks of all natures: discursive, analytical, imaginative, historical all the time aware that anything they did could be seen by others the world over.
In the theatre that day I was asked whether wikis did truly make a difference. As the curatain went up I got my answer as twenty five pupils led the other twenty five through the play with astounding knowledge and conviction. “Now you see she loves…but…” and “What they mean is…” and “Well now that’s because…” resonated in muffled whisphers around me with nods of agreement and gasps of excitment following.
On the bus afterwards one kid summed it up beautifully, “Here Miss, I was sitttng next to Anna, I reckon she knows more about this play than even you.” The small smile that crept across my face before I turned and sat down was simply my way of saying “yes, she probably does.”
I have just signed up to speak at the teachmeet 08 session happening in Perth: http://wiki.scotedublogs.org.uk/index.php/TeachMeet_08_North
I am really excited that this has been organised as the last one I attended was truly inspirational. At the moment I am hoping to talk about the use of Wiki’s in the classroom. This is something that (until the Scottish Learning festival) was totally alien to me but has now become a real passion. I want to show that they can promote learning at every level as well as enthusiasm and confidence. My second year class have been working on their’s for some time now. Visit it at http://midsummerdreaming.wikispaces.com Let me know what you think.
As the new term starts I feel all refreshed and ready to go again- it feels nice to have some energy. In fact while I am on that subject let me reflect on energy. Everday across Britain in hundreds of school and thousands of classroom millions of students and teachers are investing their time and energy into their work. My question- why then do I not have a clue about what is happening in the classroom two doors down?
I was rescently discussing some poetry with my higher class, poetry that I taught last year and that countless other teachers across the land will teach this term. The work done in class was excellent and the pupils felt really proud that they were grasping the idea of analysis. “But Miss couldn’t that also tie into…” and “Do you think he meant…” echoed around the room. Now, being an effective practitioner I encouraged and egged my pupils on with positive praise of their hard work. What struck me afterwards was this diversity with which pupils responded to a poem consisitng of some sixteen or so lines. What some were adament about others cast aside in favour of their own line of thinking. It felt good to be so involved, so full of energy and yet how do I preserve it? At home that night how many pupils were asked what they did that day? How many said “nothing?” How many said “stuff”?
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could share what we do in class? If we could have an open space to write our ideas and opinions? If we could generate discussions about the things that we agree and disagree about? A space where pupils, teachers and parents could all be involved and work together to achieve excellence. Well, such a space exists and it exists in the form of social media. If we are to equip students for “real life” then let them use the tools available in real life. It is time to share…
It is amazing how quickly Sunday night comes around. As we move towards the end of term it is time to take stock. The highs and lows of term time can really work on even the stong willed but as pressure builds and time dwindles away consider the following: “You can plan a pretty picnic but you cannot predict the weather.” My advice? work hard- but not too hard.
A wise man once told me that good things come to those who wait and well folks he was right!!! After much deliberation here I am shedding my technical virginity and joining the world on line. This years SET put a fire in my belly when I finally recognised the power that we have quite literally at our finger tips. My new years resolution? To take what I have learned and keep learning- the fact that I have started in September means that this resolution has lasted some nine months longer than my last- indeed I am still a slave to the chocolate digestive!! On a serious note – actaully I don’t need a serious note…Enjoy