A typical day for a learner using Life could be…

As Jessica gets ready for school in the morning she checks MyLife on her handheld device. Having recently moved to the area Jessica is new to her school but is able to quickly see which lessons she has that day through her timetable, what materials she needs to bring with her to each lesson through her updates, which pieces of homework she should have submitted, and which assignments have now been marked and are available for her to see through her assessment space. Jessica is delighted that she has achieved high marks in both her effort and attainment in her recent science investigation and enjoys listening to the podcast feedback that her teacher has provided on areas for her to develop in future.

Yesterday during tutor-time, Jessica updated her profile to show that she is particularly interested in the forthcoming Olympic Games, and today when logging into Life again is delighted to see invitations for her to join Olympic Learning Spaces on Life, suggested Olympic films to watch, and activities to participate in, and suggested Olympic athletes who she can follow on Twitter, or engage with through Ask-the-Expert learning spaces. Jessica can also see that Life is specifically recommending an activity and support group for her to join based upon her Maths target for an area that she is struggling with as part of her functional skills maths development.

Given that she is struggling to find her way around her new school Jessica uses her handheld device to access Life so that she can see the virtual map created by the school council which has labels, films and annotations identifying which subjects are housed where on the school campus. She is also able to see the latest whole-school news bulletin for the morning on her My Life overview page, so that she is aware of the fire-practice due later that day.

Jessica arrives at her first lesson, which is part of her Society, Health & Development diploma line of learning. This lesson, Jessica’s group are video-conferencing with a nutritionist from Royal Hospital about some of the challenges surrounding healthy eating, as they have been exploring the impact of diet on the lives of young children from different socio-economic backgrounds. Prior to the video-conferencing session with the nutritionist Jessica’s group have been asked to take part in a discussion forum with each other to identify the questions that they already have, and to respond where possible to each other to filter down the questions upon which the nutritionist session will focus.

After her Society, Health & Development lesson, Jessica moves on to her English class where she is able to enjoy Shakespeare’s works by downloading the podcasts of the A Midsummer’s Night Dream scenes that the class are currently analysing to her iPod, from Life. Jessica notes that in A Midsummer’s Night Dream there are many elements of ‘fairy story’, a genre that she has been exploring in her Society, Health & Development work placement at a local infant school. As she is particularly enthusiastic about this genre, Jessica takes part in the themed debates in the forums within Life which look at themes within the play; specifically contributing to the fairy-tale debate! S Jessica is able to develop both creative writing and reflective learning through these themes, and so she also uses this opportunity to create a fairy story version of A Midsummer’s Night Dream using media-rich wiki pages in Life for the children in her work placement at a nearby infant school. Jessica takes advantage of the opportunities to embed graphic illustration and sound recording for young children alongside presentational text.

As a result of these activities developing a wide range of cross-curricular skills, Jessica is able to evidence and reflect upon her achievements in her MyLife portfolio, referring specifically to aspects of the PLTS framework, which can then be viewed and annotated also by her teachers and parents. In this way, Jessica is able to connect her learning in subjects such as GCSE English, with applied and work based learning in her diploma line of learning, and also her PLTS and functional skills, in one central place, for her own self-assessment, as well as for teacher assessment and parental engagement.

5 responses to this post.

  1. Daniel is on the autistic spectrum but attends mainstream school. To support his confidence through the varied routine and complex social situations that he now experiences at secondary school, and as part of his Individual Educational Plan (IEP) Daniel has been using a visual timetable which links through to activities and learning spaces. As part of building his confidence and calmness during times of change Daniel can watch what is going-to-happen before participating, thus taking on board the ‘newness’, and being able to ask plenty of questions about what is about to happen before moving beyond his comfort zone.

    As Daniel also has cognitive learning difficulties this visual timetable is complemented by the use of symbols and a screen reader so that he does not need to depend at all on text for either navigation, cognition, understanding or instruction. Having increased independence in this way supports Daniel as he interacts with different learning activities throughout Life, ranging from discussion forums using the sound recorder, to quizzes using images and film, to co-construction through image and symbol based knowledge wikis. Through the easy use of embedded photo, sound and film capture and the automatic synchronisation of these files into Daniel’s My life, he is also able to evidence and self-assess his own progress towards IEP and curriculum goals.

    Through Life, learners and teachers are also able to link people together through spaces within and across schools, and practitioners are able to seamlessly move between individual and class learning spaces, sharing resources, accessing communication, collaboration and co-construction quickly and easily, reducing workload and easing their administrative burdens.

    Reply

  2. Posted by Mandy on March 16, 2010 at 8:45 am

    I don’t like the way this is going, I’m all for change and keeping up with technology but at the same time I am sad to see teachers and educators guide us towards ‘eteaching’ and believe that we are heading towards a model of teaching which is focussed on technology only. Jessica should be able to think for herself and organise her own day without needing to rely on a website to tell her what she is doing and what she will need. She should also have the opportunity to talk to her teacher herself and get some personal feedback on her Science experiment rather than listen to her teacher’s podcast. Also, Jessica’s class should be able to talk to each other to generate questions for the nutritionalist rather than communicate wit them via a forum! I’m a KS1 teacher and already find uniservity to be more suitable for older children. This is going to distance KS1 children even further.

    Reply

    • Absolutely! Children need direct and personal “in person” support. As every teacher knows it’s hard to achieve this for every child, every lesson, and so technology is available to help (not replace!).

      It’s situations like this where the learning platform can be a way of meeting more of the Children’s needs. Technology should be used where it adds value to the learning experience, such as extending learning opportunities or supporting increased independence which these scenarios outline.

      Have a look at the latest post about the benefits of combining online and offline learning with the Life learning cloud for a more primary-centric look at some of the benefits the cloud brings to “offline” activities. Another teacher has also posted some primary scenarios which help explain the benefits brought to learning.

      Reply

    • Posted by Llara on July 7, 2010 at 8:51 pm

      I completely agree with Mandy, however there are foundation and key stage 1 teachers who have been really focusing on the benefits of using their learning platform to enable stronger links between home and school through means such as extending learning opportunities into the home, enabling parents to view pupils’ work and allowing parents to share their children’s achivements at home with school. Like all new ideas, technological and otherwise, one or two people with one or two ideas can soon generate many possible future opportunities and it’s a cumulative effect. However exciting this new opportunity is, it is still a tool for teachers and learners to use to enhance learning and teaching.

      Reply

  3. Posted by Pilgram on March 22, 2010 at 9:48 pm

    It’s Friday morning in Life School and it’s Gym. The class have been working on their sequences for the last five weeks. Last week they used their mobile devices to video each others sequences. These were uploaded direct to Life from their handheld device via the school wifi. During the week they have watched each others videos in class and commented on good points and points to improve. Now they are back in the hall watching their videos from last week and seeing where they have to make changes and improvements. Next week they will be videod again and be able to see their improvements.

    Next it is Literacy. Using forums and their handheld devices, the children are writing and improving each others sentences. Comments are flying back and forth, via the internet and the learning platform. The children are also seeing the work written by their peer groups in the parallel class, and sharing them via the IWB.

    Now they move to a longer piece of writing which has been ongoing for some days. They review the work on their handheld device, before editing and improving it. They then evaluate the work of their peers and learning partners, making and posting further improvements.

    After break it is Maths. The children are working in groups with various problems set on Fractions. They use the handheld devices as mini whiteboards, writing with a stylus on the screen and sharing the results. Cooperating together they solve problems, the learning platform and the IWB being the glue that sticks the shared learning together.

    All afternoon is given over to DT. The children have already viewed flash animations of different mechanisms for their models. They now design their moving vehicle on their handheld devices, drawing and annotating diagrams into a presentation which is uploaded on the Learning Platform. Each group has to create a complete design proposal, adding to a visual folder of their work. When this is complete, they will start the making process, recording in video at the end of each stage. They will also record an audio blog of their progress, all uploaded to the learning platform for review later.

    The use of ICT is personal and yet shared. Collaborative, Creative and Cooperative. The learners make meaning of their world supported by the interaction of device and learning platform, but primarily through their curiosity and creativity.

    Reply

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