So, the summer is here and as we begin to wind down for our summer holidays, I already find myself casting my gaze to the 2017-2018 academic year. Without doubt, I have made some mental memos about things I want to do next year but that’s often not quite enough. If you have ideas get them down on paper and start thinking what needs to happen to make your ideas a reality.
I made sure to arrange a meeting with the Principal to discuss what ideas I would like to implement next year. So here are my top three plans and it may be no surprise they all have a digital theme!
- Student-led Teacher ICT Training: I got this idea from a tweet and I was instantly intrigued. Teachers are at different levels with their ICT competency and many need a helping hand or to have a good idea demonstrated to them. This year Kahoot!, cloud storage using OneDrive and OneNote have taken off in our school, however not all teachers have managed to learn about these tools. Yet, the majority of the student body are very abled when it comes to navigating notebooks, uploading and sharing files and creating quizzes. They have lots of ideas on how these tools can be better integrated across all their subjects. For example, my first year Math students will often make amazing Kahoot! quizzes challenging their peers to consider common misconceptions. So why not give them an opportunity to show other teachers. We are definitely going to try this idea. If it is successful we plan to award some students with ICT Ambassador roles in the school.
- Digital Creativity Programme for TY: Earlier in the year the TY Team in our school sent around a questionnaire to all staff asking for their ideas and any suggested modules that could be run in the school next year. I took this questionnaire and had a discussion with our current 3rd years (next year’s TY group) about what sort of digital skills they would like to develop. Their suggestions were
- Use Microsoft Word more effectively – Students explained they were not aware how to use many important features like the format painter, creating a table of contents, using templates, referencing tools etc.
- Similarly, they wished to use PowerPoint more effectively, using animations, adding audio and voiceover with Mix etc.
- Video editing so that they can crop, merge, add soundtracks, text etc. to create their own digital stories. There are lots of free tools to achieve this such as Movie Maker, iMovie or YouTube Video Editor.
- Animation so that students can create animated video stories and get a deeper understanding of how animation overall really works. I plan to use a mixture of freely available online tools for this such as PowToon and Khan Academy’s Pixar in a Box.
- Taking Advantage of Microsoft Teams: Our school has a Office 365 license and I just love all the opportunities the suite of Microsoft tools provides to students and teachers alike. A recent addition has been Microsoft Teams and I am already setting up some of the classes I will be teaching next year in a Microsoft Team. Teams allows you to create a space which can act as a one stop shop for communicating, collaborating, and sharing with and between students. You organise your team’s space with tabs providing easy access to documents, notebooks, webpages and other applications all from the one place. My favourite part of Teams so far is the ability to embed webpages into a tab. The new Teams addition to the Microsoft apps family deserves a whole blog post unto itself, which I plan to give early next September once I have tried and tested it with my students.
Have you any big ideas you are planning to focus on next year? If so, feel free to share in the comments below.