The purpose of this blog was initially to support the sharing of ideas, resources and create a forum for discussion.
It has been some times since I last posted anything on this blog, mainly because, for a period of time, my focus in schools drifted from teaching and learning. Fortunately, my role within a new multi-academy trust, and an organisation that I strongly believe in, has allowed me to focus my attention on teaching and learning once more and the development of policy and practice across a family of schools.
In June 2016 I was delighted to join Reach4 Academy Trust as Deputy Director of Education. Our purpose is to bring educational equity to areas of the country that deserve good schools and good teachers the most. It is an exciting time and I am delighted to be working with a group of excellent school leaders who are committed to providing excellent opportunities and outcomes for the children in our care.
The Essential Guide to Classroom Practice was a project to bring ideas together and share them so that they could be discussed and used to influence classroom practice. The book was written over three years ago now. My perspective on education, ideas and practice have significantly changed and grown. I regret that I have not been able to share my thoughts and learning through this forum. It seems I am not much of a blogger, or a ‘tweeter’ for that matter (something one of our Directors of Education keeps reminding me (he is though, and a great educator to follow – @Benedick1). However, I do wish to share and collaborate with teachers outside my own circle of schools.
From time to time, I am contacted by teachers who have read my book. I always enjoy hearing from teachers and enjoy sharing the strategies, policies and practice I am working on. Indeed, I am very excited to be working on a new book. It’s a slow burner and will take some time to bring everything together. It will explore the principles and practice around all-through education. Something we are very passionate about at Reach4.
So, if you have come across my book and have found your way to this blog then I apologise that it is somewhat lacking in the sort of content and rich debate you will find on some of the other wonderful education blogs out there. I just don’t have the time!
Nevertheless, please take this as an invitation to get in touch with the author to share, discuss and collaborate. After all, this is how we learn.
I recently came across http://www.edpuzzle.com when planning a cover lesson.
EDpuzzle is a website that allows teachers to create tutorials, assignments and projects easily by importing and editing video. The inherent problem with using videos for teaching or flipping the lesson, is that, unless we have made the videos ourselves, the content doesn’t always meet our needs. Perhaps additional concepts are covered or the explanation or example doesn’t quite suit the specification or class we intend to use it with. Edpuzzle has a number of features that help us get around some of these problems.
To start, EDpuzzle allows you to search for and pull content from various sources, such as YouTube, TED, or upload content yourself. The first handy tool is the crop function. No longer do you need to specify a time frame to watch, just trim down the unnecessary content.
Perhaps the two most useful tools of the website are audio track and audio notes. An Audio Track acts as a voiceover recording. I’ve found this particularly useful when I have needed to replace video audio with my own explanation or instruction. For example, when interpreting the images on the screen such as adding my own explanation to a diagram as it is being drawn on the screen or providing a commentary to the visuals.
The Audio Notes add similar functionality, but instead of providing a voiceover, allows you to pause the video and add your own explanation. This is my favourite tool as it allows you to add clarification, prompts and explanation at relevant points. Something you can’t usually do when students watch a video outside of the classroom.
The final function before exporting your video to an assignment, project or a class, is the Quizzes function. This allows teachers to pause the video and add any type of question you like. Multiple choice, short answer, extended written response or simply your own comment (like adding a voice note). The answers submitted by your students when assigned as a class are then collated for you to view on the website. There are also additional settings you can apply that prevent students from skipping any of the features you add to the video. The results of the questions and progress on each video are collated and shown visually on the dashboard. Multiple choice questions are graded automatically and open questions can be marked online with feedback given to each student. The results can even be exported to a CSV file.
I’m still learning, but initial attempts to use this resource have been promising. A great website that is effective and simple to use.