Monday, October 26, 2009

Dan Lea


Last night, I watched the Teaching awards and I was thrilled to see Dan Lea, from Gearies Infants, receive the Next Generation learning award.

Dan is not one to shout about his work, he is too busy planning the next lesson or pondering his next creative idea and therefore many people won’t have heard of him. He is not on Twitter but he does share all his ideas and tried and tested projects on his blog.

To prove that Dan’s work is a cut above, take a look at his entry to last years Redbridge Film Awards, which was based on a project on refugees:


Dan has been an AST in Redbridge for some time and I am pleased to say he will be working with Redbridge Primary ICT to help us in NQT and Subject Leader events over the next few weeks.In preparation for these events and because I wanted to see what all the fuss was about, I went to see him teach last term.

I have to say I was quite blown away by what I saw. For one, Dan never seems to set an ICT ceiling on his learners, they have long since given up following neat QCA units or working in a one size fits all environment. What struck me about this learning environment was that there was a good deal of autonomy and choice. Children were given clear input on how to edit and customise their blogs and edit with Movie Maker, but then they worked in teams to bring their projects to completion, tutoring each other along the way.And while this went on their teacher would intervene sensitively and where necessary with questions and challenges in order to push the groups on further. I must also point out that this cross-curricular work is backed up by weekly ICT lessons from the school ICT Coordinator Val Barker, who is equally dynamic and keen to be at the forefront of new tech.

In one 90 minute session, I saw a group editing their blogs, and lets be clear the blogs here were not substitute school websites they were journals of enquiry around science and environmental themes. These seven year olds knew how to blog too, they could quite happily lead blogging workshops for adults if they were asked. The girls I talked to didn’t need any help or advice from this professional blogger thank you.

Also taking place were groups of children transferring video clips from Flip cameras to Windows Movie Maker, and then editing down their film and beginning to consider their audience.

In an area outside of the classroom a group of children had created a cardboard city called New Paris, which a customised Beebot (it had a a Flip camera taped to it) was being programmed to film a virtual tour.

I managed to film these children explaining what they were doing, along with some other pupil attempting to explain how they had been using green SMART USB wristbands. These devices, which were kindly loaned by TAG Learning, store a copy of SMART Notebook student edition and allow children to create notebooks at home, which can then be shared in school on the board.





Read more about Dan on the Teaching Awards Site- click here

Get the latest from Dan’s Blog -here

Watch the awards on Iplayer – for a limited time – click on the link

teaching awards pic iplayer

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