Hoarding Teachers

I have accumalated a lot of objects over my three years at Plymouth University. Most interestingly included; a dozen free lanyards, a dominos free t-shirt, a wrapped up poncho in a ball and a selection of unused expensive textbooks. All these objects could be found in any students possession.

However, as a trainee teacher, stating I have ‘objects’ doesn’t quite show the enormity of the situation. I have now sorted through three years of resources, files, paperwork, lesson plans, lectures and seminars all stating ‘vital’ information. I have more children’s books than my own personal collection of reading. I have knick-knacks, trinkets and decorations that can all help in some big or small way to children learning. I have a working solar system model, just in case.

The issue I am having is I do not want to throw it away. I am not attach to the items but you never know… a poster of British inventors could inspire a child one day in the future. And that is why ‘just in case’ is the only excuse you need to keep anything as a teacher.

My Spelling Suks

My personal barrier has always been my spelling. It causes me daily struggles, from writing essays to filling out a form. I rethink and question every word I write, panicking if I make a mistake. Being asked to scribe for a group or the whole class causes my whole body to tighten and sweat. Even when I openly state, in a jokingly fashion, that ‘My spelling is awful’.

Embarrassment can be a torture technique that causes stress levels to rise. You are not in control of the situation you are in and you feel uncomfortable and personally completely stupid.

Even though it is my struggle, I can see a very clear positive. I know what it is like for a child to struggle. I hope to use my inside knowledge to not only support the child but give them the tools to be able to struggle happily and to not let it stop them from trying.

A Sign of Passion

I recently completed a Makaton course, which I believe has given me some of the most important skills I have ever learned. The course opened up my mind and senses to children who fall behind in education and life because the world does not give them a fair starting chance.

By using Makaton, connections between speech, writing and actions become strong and each factor helps the other. For instance, a child could know the animal standing infront of them is a cow, but they can not remember the letters and sounds for the word ‘cow’. At this point they are perceived as not knowing the answer. But what if the child raised their hands and created horn like shapes out of the top of their head? This, the Makaton sign of cow, shows everyone that although they do not know the sounds they’re knowledge is there. By using Makaton they were able to show this.

Makaton or other sign languages helps all children whether they have communication difficulties or not. It is a strong way of communicating and we all use it daily without realising. By using our facial expression to show someone were sad. By waving our hands in a certain way to say goodbye. By looking someone in the eye after asking “Are you really okay?”

Makaton includes everyone in the classroom not just children with SEN or EAL. By using Makaton effectively it can give children more support with their learning and create more opportunities to have conversations and solve problems.

Learning Environments

Over this term I have learnt so much about the different types of learning environments.

I started my journey with getting to grips with what learning actually is, giving me a strong base to expand my knowledge. From there I explored learning through the help of perception and memory. Using the information I had gathered to enhance my understanding of a powerful working environment. I then developed my understanding in physical and immersive environments that children can work in.

I feel like I now have the knowledge to create these different environments in my teaching practice. Also by understanding memory and perception I can adjust my teaching to suit all learners.

Immersive Learning

Over the last few days I have been on two field trips, one to the University immersive vision theatre and the other to the Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery. In both of these visits I was taught about immersive learning within the particular environment. The idea of immersive learning intrigues me as it is a relatively new concept which helps me to push my I.C.T specialism.

Immersive learning is when a student can be fully involved within an interactive digital environment (Marsh, 2015). This can be in the form of an immersive theatre, a headset that puts you in a different environment or even a digital land created online.

The immersive vision theatre is a renovated planetarium used now as a transdisciplinary instrument giving the audience the feeling of being in the video clip (Plymouth University, 2016). In the Immersive vision theatre they explained how they brought primary aged children in for school trips and took them on a tour around space. They showed how they can create 3D models of animals and the human body. How they manipulated the image and used sound to make it seem like we where moving through it. This fully technological way of learning is completely engaging. It would be fascinating to think that this could be the future to learning.

The museum over the next 4 years is being transformed and renovated to hold more exhibits and also to increase interaction and engagement. During the talk, it was mentioned that the use of 3D projections are going to be used to create an immersive environment for learning to take place. By using immersive technology, children who have a disability of the senses will be able to engage with the museum at a much higher level because of the different ways to learn (Villani and Wright, 2007).

Immersive learning can stop children worrying about grades and can also get them to work more independently (Tüzün et al, 2009). This gives hope to using immersive learning in a formal sense in the primary classroom.

I would love to see more immersive technology being introduced as a learning tool, I believe it creates engagement straight away. It also produces information for visual, auditory and kinesthetic learners as well as learners that learn best when reading.

References

Marsh, J. (2015) What is immersive learning, and how can it benefit your school? Available at: http://www.innovatemyschool.com/ideas/item/1239-what-is-immersive-learning-and-how-can-it-benefit-your-school (Accessed: 2 March 2016).

Plymouth University (2016) The Cosmic Perspective. Available at: https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/whats-on/the-cosmic-perspective (Accessed: 2 March 2016).

Vallani, N. and Wright, K. (2007) ‘SMILE: an immersive learning game for deaf and hearing children’, AMC Digital Library, 1(17), pp. 17. doi: 10.1145/1282040.1282058.

Tüzün, H., Yilmaz-Soylu, M., Karakus, T., İnal, Y. and Kizilkaya, G. (2009) ‘The effects of computer games on primary school students’ achievement and motivation in geography learning’, Computers & Education, 52(1), pp. 68-77.

Memory and Effective Learning Enviroments

 

I was set the task of creating a short 1-3 minute film based on something specific that I found intriguing, valuable or worth while to my teaching practice that I had learned over the seminars, lectures and experience of my subject specialism of I.C.T. We had to conclude the film by linking the information to making the most effective, productive and comfortable learning space.

I chose to base my film on memory as I found this topic very interesting and I also studied this in A level psychology, giving me some background knowledge. I have not included as much psychology knowledge as I wanted because I thought it was more beneficial to stick to the main bases of education and the perfect learning environment.

However, there was something I realised which intrigued me after I had made my film: ‘How can the use of Short Term Memory (STM) specifically aid learning environments?’

The STM of Aktinson and Shiffrin’s (1968) model of memory can only hold 5-9 things at any one time, according to miller’s magic number seven, plus or minus two (Miller, 1956). Unless you chunk bits of information together, for instance;

 

(Fisher, 2015)

Using Miller’s (1956) chunking method you can retain a lot more information therefore making the most out of the 5-9 items of knowledge. By taking this information about STM storage and chunking, an effective learning environment can form. By only having 5-9 key points on presentations and by using chunking to get the most information across, you can keep the students minds working and also make sure that the information has safely travelled from sensory memory to STM. After teaching the students the 5-9 items of information, there needs to be a time where the students can retain and write down the information they gathered and process it in to Long term memory, ready to begin again with the next 5-9 items of information.

This can be recreated in a classroom layout, by having 5-9 different stations explaining a different items of information, where the students move round the room using the different stations for their intended use. This would hopefully help push the information from sensory memory to STM.

REFERENCES

Atkinson, R. C., & Shiffrin, R. M. (1968). Chapter: Human memory: A proposed system and its control processes. In Spence, K. W., & Spence, J. T. The psychology of learning and motivation (Volume 2). New York: Academic Press. pp. 89–195.

Miller, G. (1956). The magical number seven, plus or minus two: some limits on our capacity for processing information. Psychological Review, 63(2), pp.81-97.

Fisher, O. (2015). Have I Lost My Mind — Or Only My Car Keys? Technology’s Effect on Memory. [online] The Huffington Post. Available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ossa-fisher/have-i-lost-my-mind-or-on_b_7895534.html [Accessed 17 Feb. 2016].

Learning Space Project

Screenshot 2016-03-07 at 10.25.14 AM.pngI worked on the project of designing an imaginary seminar room for the use of BEd Primary Education students. I have attached the completed academic poster to this blog post to show the final design.

I focused mainly on the use of the body senses to create the most productive, creative and comfortable workplace. I learned about how visual stimulation through colours and displays helps people to learn. Then I considered the use of different technology and resources that students could use, and how Touch walls may enhance this.

It was difficult to remove the confining idea of a classroom based set up where the students face the ‘front’. There are many positive reasons as to why a classroom has a ‘front’, for instance getting eye contact with all pupils at once when describing the next task (Admin, 2006). However I wanted to break the norms of a classroom and by taking into account the students maturity I could remove the ‘front’ and make the whole room a ‘space’ for learning.

References

Admin, (2006). Teacher positioning in the classroom. [online] TeachingEnglish | British Council | BBC. Available at: https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/teacher-positioning-classroom [Accessed 17 Feb. 2016].