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July 8th, 2011

Doon in the wee room: Embedding technology in and across learning 1/3

Derek Robertson
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In Scotland as in many countries throughout the world, active learning
is seen as an appropriate way for children and young people to develop vital skills and knowledge and a positive attitude to learning. In order for active learning to be embedded in environments that offer challenge, demand and appeal we must have teachers and support staff  who are well informed and skilled enough in all requisite areas to be able to do this. This series of three blogposts will feature a teacher from Tarves PS in Aberdeenshire who has made great efforts to embed technologies into the life and learning of his classroom so that they can play an active, purposeful and integral part in his pupil’s learning experiences.

Jonathan Cordiner

Having spent 2 years on secondment as a member of the Glow Development team in Aberdeenshire Jonathan Cordiner was keen to return to class so that he could apply, in his own practice, the range of resources and approaches to learning that he had been promoting in his Development Officer role.

Jonathan Cordiner

“Doon in the wee room underneath the stair, everybody’s happy, everybody’s there…”

On a recent visit to Aberdeenshire it was recommended that I pay a visit to Jonathan’s class to see just how he had been making progress with embedding technologies in to the life and learning of his class. Having worked with him before on some GBL related initiatives I fully expected to see some good practice particularly in view of the high standard and high aspirational levels that he and the team in Glow team in Aberdeenshire attained. On arrival at the school I was welcomed with a wonderfully happy chorus of that great Scottish folk song – Doon in the Wee Room. It set the tone for our visit because it was obvious that everyone is happy, everyone is there, and we’re a’ makin’ merry each in his chair, doon in the wee room underneath the stair.

It was also immediately obvious that the  high standards he had been used to in his development role had been maintained and that technology was something that the children in his P2/3 class were more than used to. I saw technology purposefully embedded across a range of contexts that included his pupils:

  • independently using Digital Scrapbook to make graphics for their iCan (more to follow about this)
  • managing a stop-motion animation set
  • using the Flip camera to video each other’s work
  • recording their own reading with Easispeak mics so that it could be played back as an audiobook
  • managing and manipulating their own pages in Glow
  • confidently controlling the IWB interface
  • building their own animated stories with 2Createastory

The level of competence and confidence in the use of a range of technologies displayed by the children exemplified just how a thoughtful and skilled teacher can create the active, purposeful and challenging environment that children can thrive in. You can clearly see this as you watch the video that is embedded in this post and as you do please reflect on just how at ease the children are with the technologies that you see them using. How far down the road of developing and attaining CfE outcomes such as TCH 1-03a, TCH 1-04a & TCH 1-04b do you think these children are?

If there had been more time then the aspects of CfE that were linked to the wider learning experiences in which the Technology use was embedded could have been teased out a bit more because it is clear from what I saw that Technologies were seamlessly woven in to the fabric of learning in this classroom.

Mr Cordiner’s class has since moved on to their next challenge with Technologies by making their own computer games with 2DIY. You can view some of these in their class Glow group.

What an experience these pupils are having ‘Doon in the Wee Room‘ at Tarves School. Isn’t this what school should be about? I am very pleased to say that in my experience in visiting schools throughout Scotland that there are very many teachers like Mr Cordiner who are embedding this level of challenge, demand and expectation in all aspects of learning but who are also effectively embedding technologies in and across learning.

Thank you to all at Tarves PS for sharing their great work and for making me so welcome.

There are two other blogposts that share Mr Cordiner’s practice. These can be accessed here:

2. Doon in the Wee Room: Learning about 3D shape via stop-motion animation

3. Doon in the Wee Room: Building a can-do culture with the I Can

Categories Aberdeenshire, Curriculum for Excellence

One Response to “Doon in the wee room: Embedding technology in and across learning 1/3”

  1. Ed Tech Crew » Ed Tech Crew 176 – Games 4 Change September 27th, 2011 at 8:04 am

    [...] nurturing a culture of creation and not just consumption… [...]

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Discover what can be achieved by applying ICT and games based learning to education; explore how you can develop it in your classroom.