Over the past couple of years I have been reviewing the departments effectiveness and looking for ways to develop it to become truly 21st Century.
In that time the department has become fully engaged in digital technology both for teaching and learning, staff efficiency and for the tracking and progress of students in all courses. This year also sees the work being developed in supporting literacy and numeracy across the school which has been a bit of a passion for me.
I wanted to just take a moment to sum up where we are, as a tool for any new staff that join us in the team, but also to support other departments in moving in a similar direction.
All classes have an Edmodo group which serves several purposes. the students use it to reflect on their practice after sessions. The teachers have been asked to give a synopsis of the lesson and to then set a few reflective questions to get the students engaged in the learning outside of the class.
In this section the students are engaging in some literacy work and the intention is that teachers give feedback on the literacy of the students frequently to support them. We are also starting to look at how we can record our feedback in sessions.
As practical teachers our marking is often the verbal discussions we have in the middle of a lesson. This is usually very high quality but how can we develop these skills? The proposal is to use the iPad as a voice recorder to capture some of the feedback. This is then shared with the students on Edmodo as reference but can also be shared amongst staff to ensure high quality and support staff in developing practice.
We are also really developing the numeracy in lessons through gathering data or finding practical uses of numeracy that support sporting developments. the key within PE sessions is to support PE but we are also looking at ways to teach maths through practical sessions.
This year we have introduced a few new things to ensure ongoing support is given to all students at any time. We now assess students at the start of the year, give them opportunities to show what they can do in a full range of sports and roles within sports. Once this has been moderated we will then set levels and targets accordingly. to help support the progress we have a new Google Drive system to ensure our tracking is recorded regularly. When we see students working at a level we can record it and where students are showing areas of weakness we can quickly intervene. this will then integrate simply into Edmodo so students can see the progress they are making.
KS4 and 5
A similar process is in place for our BTEC and GCSE students, the process is simple, they all have Google accounts, they receive feedback through Google drive that allows up to date access, wherever they are. We also use it to track their progress, the same as in KS3 it allows for instant intervention.
These systems are open to all staff so we have a process that supports both staff and students. the students can receive support from any member of the team and staff can see each others feedback which supports our staff development.
Students use Edmodo to access the course, to submit their coursework and to access extra reading. This method has allowed us to expand the school day beyond our teaching timetable as students have access to a lot more information than before.
This is quite new to a lot of staff so we have made sure that support is available to guide people in the new technology. I have set up iTunes U courses in an effort to ensure that staff can read up on ideas as well as allowing for face to face training. Just this week I launched an iPad training group. Each Wednesday I look at a new app, or way of using the iPad in the classroom to help support teaching and learning. The course is also mapped to the teacher standards to further support staff. using iTunes U in this way will help staff keep up to date with developments in an environment when meeting time is at a premium. At present there are over 20 people signed up to the course so we are looking at a high impact on staff practice.
These methods are not PE specific, the support of tracking and progress, the capturing of evidence, the interventions and target setting and the innovation of teaching methods go across the whole curriculum. We will continue to develop our practice in PE as I come up with new ways to ensure students get the best possible support. Innovating practice is essential in keeping up with the developments in the world that students are going into.
As teachers we love our subjects, we are passionate and very knowledgable. But do we realise that the students that don’t share this passion may get missed out? For example, I may love my sport, I can teach it well and can enthuse my passion for it in others, but there will always be students that just don’t like it. I was in school with people just like this and I have always thought of them in my teaching, that’s why I try to be creative to engage all learners. By developing our practice and being innovative in curriculum design we can engage all learners in their development, in all subjects. It’s not about replicating what we did in school, it is about innovating things to meet students needs.