29 Nov

As I mentioned in my blog last week, we had a team from Apple’s Northern Europe office visit the school on Monday as part of a wider Trust visit. The visit was not only an opportunity to share with them the work that we are doing and discuss ways in which they can further support us to be successful with our 1:1 iPad project, it was also an opportunity to reflect on our progress so far and review how we are beginning to integrate technology into teaching and learning.

As we showed the team round school, dropping into different lessons, there were so many examples of this integration in practice. In English, we saw three lessons in one, with the class split into three groups, each with their own learning tasks they were working on with the help of specific resources accessed through their iPads. In Maths, this differentiation went even further, with learning tasks personalised to each pupil and allocated to them by the teacher in their virtual classroom using the Showbie app. This allowed pupils to work completely at their own pace at a level of difficulty matched to their current ability and receive immediate feedback from the teacher to help their progress. In PE, the iPads were also being used to give pupils instant feedback. This time however, it was peer to peer feedback, with pupils filming each other carrying out different bodyweight exercises and reviewing the footage together to identify what they did well and what they could do to improve. In the Interactive Base, the team were exploring how the iPads could be used to provide stimulating audio-visual experiences and how the pupils might be able to control these using switches, whilst in a Music lesson, Year 8 pupils were using the piano in GarageBand to play a song together as a class, and in Geography, Year 8 were also developing their conceptual understanding of a map using an augmented reality 3D room mapping app. Finally, in the Autism Base, the team demonstrated how they have used the Numbers app to create a bespoke progress tracking tool that allows the teacher to quickly record evidence using voice notes, images or videos.

Since we started this project, we’ve been keen to develop our understanding of the iPad, the apps that come with it and how they work, but also to explore the answers to the following questions:

  • How can technology help our pupils develop the skills they need to reach the destinations they aspire to?
  • How can the use of technology enhance or transform our approach to teaching and learning?
  • How can technology help us to monitor the progress of our pupils towards their destinations?

We believed that as we developed our answers to these questions, alongside our understanding of the technology and what it can do, we would begin to integrate the two, and this, we hoped, would be where the magic begins. Well, after Monday’s visit, I’m definitely thinking the magic has begun!

There has been more magic happening in school, as Mrs Coleman-Celis explains in a closer look at our Autim Base Communication Group..

Well, where do I start with what ABSCS have been up to? It’s been a busy half term so far with our work on Remembrance Day in English and Maths, then on to history – why we have a day to remember and why the poppy is a symbol used to honour our past and present armed forces. All this followed by helping to create our new display board with beautiful poppies made by each student.

We have just moved on to our new topic of Thanksgiving, looking at how it is celebrated and what we are thankful for. Each student has identified different things they are thankful for; family, home, food and friends were among most of the chosen things.

The group have enjoyed their usual trips out in their Outdoor Education lessons with an emphasis on wildlife and habitats, this also included visits to a small animal farm and to Lightopia, in search of the real life size animal lanterns in Heaton Park.

It’s been a delight to watch the students in the group start to bond and build on old and new friendships, with our Year 7 students really settling into their new group and our older Year 9 students and Year 11 students making them feel welcome.

As always the students have been working hard and have been wonderful to teach. They are all looking forward to our Christmas activities, as are the staff, sharing this upcoming special time of year (the elf will be coming to visit our classroom as usual!).

I am delighted to announce that all the money raised for Children in Need has now been counted and comes to a grand total of £424.34! If you missed our special feature on Miss Patchett’s Life Skills Pathway’s efforts earlier in the week, please click here to see it.

The Nurture Group have been very busy preparing items to sell before Christmas as part of their Enterprise project. Their first sale at break time on Friday was a big success, just look at how hard they have been working..

video

Their popular Christmas biscuits will be on sale again at break time on Friday 6th and Friday 13th December for 50p (including a gluten free option), while their lovely sweet cones will be available for £2 each on the last week of term – they make nice stocking fillers!

We’re really looking forward to the first meeting of our new Parent Group next Wednesday 4th December (please click here for details) – we very much hope you will be able to join us!

I hope you all have a good week,

Gavin

Click here for this week’s news from Graham

You can find Dawn’s blog for the Learning Centre here

For news on our Key Stage 5 pathway groups at Medtia Square please click here

You can find my previous blog posts here