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VIEW FROM THE CLASSROOM


screen and wellbeing breaks (for teachers and students), to developing creative tasks outdoors. We were conscious of our responsibility to maintain educational continuity and protect our students while they were away from our classrooms.


What types of tasks did you develop to support students learning away from home? We were aware that some students were spending a lot of time on digital devices, whether that be for educational purposes or enjoyment and socialisation. With that in mind, we wanted to promote distance between screens and encourage daily exercise. One way we did this was by capturing pictures


approach to lesson delivery and the opportunity for children to develop ‘real-world’ expertise. Using classroom technology and having a sense


of freedom, teachers are motivated to find new ways of delivering engaging and dynamic lessons. Take social media for example, we regularly share our ideas and simultaneously uncover new ways of doing things from our educational peers online. Technology is a big priority at Spire Junior School and we use tools to engage, stimulate and encourage discussion and interaction in the classroom.


How have you been using technology at your school and how has this supported student engagement? Technology plays an instrumental role in our daily lives and will be an integral part of the children’s lives growing up. The majority of students are accustomed to technology at home and it should have visibility within the learning space to ensure our children have the access to tools and experiences that are going to help them going forward. As an avid user of interactive technology within


my lessons, I have seen the potential it has not only on learning and engagement amongst my students, but also lesson planning and delivery. Using tools such as the Promethean ActivPanel, QR codes and voice activation technology on a regular basis, my classroom is an exciting and inclusive space that encourages students to participate and grow in confidence. For example, the Promethean ActivPanels we


have at our school have become the hub of the classroom. The interactive nature of the ActivPanel not only enables me to embed more technology and experiences into my lessons, but it also encourages students to move about the classroom and truly interact with their understanding. We regularly initiate split screen challenges in


which we’ll have two groups of students who will form a team to complete tasks, such as long division, faster than the other. This competitiveness encourages the students to work together and the ActivPanel perfectly facilitates this. They also sometimes compete with me and we record the results for social media to share with other educators, I’m not ashamed to admit that they often beat me!


June 2021


Technology has played a significant role in the learning space over the last academic year, how was this used at Spire Junior School and was engagement an issue? Technology has been vitally important in keeping learning moving forward, but for us it has also provided a method of protecting and safeguarding student and teacher wellbeing. Maintaining communication between teachers,


students and their peers was important to us. Our classrooms are always vibrant environments in which students talk, collaborate and discuss ideas, and the absence of this social element risked having an impact on student wellbeing. To help navigate these challenges, the school organised Zoom meetings between peers and school-wide assemblies to keep everyone in regular communication. As well as this, we also ran a range of challenges for students to get involved in to encourage conversation and visibility between students and teachers. These included Through the Keyhole style tours of classrooms and Bushtucker Trials for teachers to participate in to boost and maintain school morale and collectivism. In terms of curriculum delivery, our school


made the conscious decision to avoid live streaming lessons. Due to the difficulties some students had accessing technological devices, we opted for recorded lessons that students could access at a time that suited them. Interactive technology is at the heart of my


classroom and wherever learning took place for my students, I tried to keep that level of interaction. With ActivInspire, Promethean’s lesson delivery software, I was able to use my existing lesson preparation and therefore avoid re-creating new assets when delivering lessons digitally. This saved valuable time in the hybrid process and students were presented with tools they recognised. The platform also has a screen recording functionality, which established the grounds of my teaching methods. Using ActivInspire Screen Recorder, I was able to record my screen and talk students through the key learning points of the lesson as I would usually do in the classroom. Engagement has naturally been a challenge,


but we have worked as a school to come up with exciting ways to encourage interaction amongst students wherever they were. From supporting


www.education-today.co.uk 17


of the local area and sharing them with students. We then encouraged them to go and find the objects or places in question to win points. We found that this distance supported children to have a break away from their internal environment and helped them to focus when they returned to their studies. Also, to meet curriculum requirements, I


developed a ‘Lamppost Orienteering’ task which took students outside in the fresh air to undertake tasks such as number recognition, maths problem solving, map reading skills and coding. ‘Lamppost Orienteering’ was created by taking


a screengrab of a map, which detailed the local area around the school. I then walked the area and selected a series of lampposts and their corresponding numbers to use, before lacing dots on the map and recording the codes for the answer sheet. These were then shared with the students to go and find the correct answers and codes. This not only helped students to bolster their coding and number skills, but also gave them a new and interesting task to participate in whilst also getting outside in the fresh air. Innovation and creating interesting tasks is a


fundamental part of my job as a teacher. With students back in the classroom full time, I am looking forward to embracing technology even further and continuing to drive engagement through positive attitudes and exciting lesson delivery.


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