Saturday, January 19, 2008

What does good look like?




I am piecing together some thoughts for a presentation on 'What makes a good ICT lesson'. I have a number of good sources to draw on for this, these are listed below. However I am trying to avoid listening to or reread with a highlighter before I throw my own brainstorm down as a blog post. I want to draw on my own teaching experience first before I consult the experts.

My thoughts- very much a work in progress- please comment and critique

Planning
Good ICT lessons need a good plan - we spent hours agonising over a Numeracy or Literacy plan, but it can be the case that we rely on an aged paragraph from a scheme of work from QCA or the ICT Coordinator as a source for the content of our lesson. I am not suggesting that we spendthe same agonising time on a plan for ICT as we would for the core subjects- a good plan does not make a good lesson, and furthermore I can remember feeling so exhausted with planning that I was zapped of the energy to actually deliver what I needed to teach! What I am suggesting is that we consider 'what the class/group needs now'. It would be ludicrous to use a 3 year old medium term plan to teach Fractions to a Maths set in Year 5, It would need a lesson that was relevant to the current group of children and where they are at!

Questioning
Closed questioning can help children to recall important facts such as data analysis procedures, Logo commands and keyboard shortcuts, but if all the questioning is closed or is just between the pupils and teacher then children will be deprived of a rich learning environment that is produced through opportunities for talk and good questioning. Open questions will challenge pupils to think about what they are doing and why.They can be made to critically evaluate their work, in order to review whether it is fit for the audience. can The same characteristics of a good lesson that we attribute to a Maths lesson or English lesson should be applied to an ICT lesson

Equality in access
Surely not all children need to be using the same program- for some children it will be too difficult to 'type up their poem' key stroke by key stroke, whereas if they are using Clicker 4 or 5, then they can build up their composition word by word, they can also be aided by picture cues too!


Reflection
This is the one thing that sticks in my mind from my four years at teaching training college. It was drummed into use to reflect at the end of each lesson. Thinking how else we could have taught a lesson, should then inform the direction of the next lesson in the block, rather than just repeating the next lesson as it is written in the scheme of work.


High Expectations

In my work I come across a range of attitudes and approaches to ICT , though most are positive, there are those who place limits on children and it saddens me to hear comments such as :

'They can't do that they are only four '

The work in Northampton and their EYFS ICT strategy, along with that carried out in Homerton and Gamesly, proves that with support and exposure to ICT applications children can far exceede our limited expectations, not to mention what many of children do at home with their consoles, computers and household technology. This should not just relate to early years either, a recent OFSTED publication emphasised an area for development nationally as extending more able at Key Stage 2.


Asessment
Not a a tick sheet of skills that is slavishly completed, but a knowledge of where the children are in their ICT capability, leading to differentiated work that stretches and supports. Assessment for learning often stays at the door of the ICT suite.

Enjoyment
If at the end of the lesson, I am having to peel the children off the
ir seats, or you can feel a certain buzz in the room, then you know you've cracked it!

Innovation
Linked to enjoyment really, in that the same old thing can become boring for both teacher and pupil.



Relevance
-
Why are we creating a database to find out who has brown eyes? Why make text a different font? The more realistic a context the better...

Progress
To use adviser speak- do all learners make progress within the lesson?...
Others

Links- I am still exploring
Terry Friedman and Russell Ingelby give a presentation @ BETT 2007
BECTA and NAACE position paper from 2001

And a brilliant book which I read last year

'Go on bore Them' by Terry Friedman

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