Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Lincolnshire CfBT Fast Forward Conference

I was lucky enough last week to be asked to provide the final keynote at the Lincolnshire CfBT Fast Forward Conference. I spent the whole day there and sat in on a number of workshops.

The conference and a theme of using video within Literacy and Numeracy and Games Based Learning.

I sat in on 4 sessions and had to make some hard choices as all of the sessions seemed great.

Games based learning led by Darren Price.

Darren overviewed the work that he had been doing and supporting across their borough. (Which BTW is a lot bigger that London ones) His work focus on using GBL to support mathematics.

He talked briefly about the impact of the work stating that most children increased their average point’s score by 6.3 and even sighted one example of a child who had an increase of 11.3. He explained that the games where allowing children to use and apply their math’s a lot more confidently.

He then when on to demo a number of number of class activities.

He used Deal or no Deal on the Wii to discuss fractions.

As numbers where removed what was the fraction of blue and red values left.

When the offers came from the banker they would then look at the mean amount of money left to see if it was a good offer. Lots of discussions about probablity can be introduces how likely is it that a red number will come up next? Etc.. It does like any lesson require careful planning of questions.

He suggested that unless you plan questions and activities carefully when using games based learning you are just playing a game.

He extended the work by looking at screen shots taken from Deal or no Deal and asked us to decide who had the best chance of getting a red number? A great discuss came up about decimals or equivalent fractions.

Next he looked at Pictochat. Children shared a DS between two and they discussed the questions and recorded the answers. He used an ITP called guess the number. It gives you clues and you need to decide what the possible numbers could be. Children use pictochat to give possible answers. As a teacher you ask other questions what is the smallest/largest number it could be so far? Great for AFL learning.

I’ve never been a great fan of pictochat as I always feel that a WB is faster and pictochat slows things down, but Darren’s demo really showed the powerful tool it can be to get children to think and then discuss answers in some depth. I’ve always thought if it used in MM starters but this was a lesson and worked a lot better. Sold on that now, got to try it….

Finally he showed us WiiFit plus and a game where you have to make 10, it is a really simple game that supports a basic core skill. He said he had used this in year 6 and when the game used 3 numbers even they seemed to get stuck. How to make 10? What does it look like?

This then moved onto another example – Give 4 numbers arranged like the Wii Game and then asked to make 10 using as many ways as possible. (5, 3, 2, 4) This was extended to 4 number but then given a range of numbers including decinals. Like count down but with 4 numbers that you could use again and again.

A great session that included loads of games and ideas that I had not seen used before.

Screen to page led by Chris Whitney and Peter Wall.

This was a really interesting session on Film literacy and the Grammar of writing.

They suggest that when children know how to make films they can apply this back to their writing.

They pointed out that reading and making of film needs to be already familiar to children in order to fully embrace this.

When you think about composing a film you think about shots, sound, cuts all these things can be applied to your writing setting, description and paragraphing. A scary film has these sounds. How can we show this in writing? A film in the past is sepia how do we show this within text? Editing a film link to choosing where the best places for sentences and words are.

Peter spoke about his work in KS1. Where the children would make a film as part of the writing process, compare it to the drama work some of us to before we write.

He showed some great examples of films made using photostory about the Gruffalo. They took photos of the story, narrated it and then wrote it.

He talked though a number of examples using The Lighthouse Keepers Story and Lost Happy endings. He also showed a non-fiction film about pandas that had been made that led to a piece of report writing.

It was great to see this work and once video use within schools is embedded it is a great process to adopt.

F1 Fun in Maths – led by Daniel Ballard

This was the second session based on GBL. It focused on his love for F1 racing and all the maths work that could be gained from it.

He used Video clips of the races to discuss the times and how decimals are used. Looked at how to order the timings. If one car came 3rd what was his actual time, so bringing in addition or decimals. A good example of good question to bring out the learning.

This continued by investigating how the points where given out to racers. How could a racer get 8 points over 5 races? What are all the possibilities. Is it possible to get 141 points over 18 races?

Mario Kart was introduced and the points system was compared. This led to a lot of work on what is a fair system.

He said himself that he could have gone a lot further with it over the 4 weeks, buy looking at Kart and track designs. How could you make a track that is 45cm long?

Another great session that really showed the potential using context to teach complex mathematical ideas and keeping it fun.

Superheroes, Master Villains Excited Pupils led by Andy Dickenson

This was the best talk of the day for me. Using comics and comic characters with children.

He explained the basic structure of the lessons.

It starts by making children either a member of league of evil or team hero. You show a trailer about them becoming superheroes or villain and then the children have to create their identity. The trailer really grabs their attention it did mine. ;o)

It promotes a lot of discussion. What do they know about superheroes? What makes you a hero or a villain? Why is a dalek evil? Are all superheroes good at their job? Then what powers do you have? Do you have any? This is a good one for G and T pupils.

Children look at creating a cool wall of ideas and words. Children think about the best adjectives for good and evil. What is the antonym to each of these words. Children can be paired by hero and villan and write the same stories from different points of view. You could do diaries of each days work? Or recounts of someone being saved? There are loads of possibilities.

Create your own here on Dress the character. Print screen and create a comic cover.

A great session which being a comic geek I loved. This I will also be doing next term in my class.

I like to say thanks to all involved and hopefully everyone enjoyed my final keynote about the work of the Redbridge Games Network on Games Based Learning