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A weblog designed to share Geography resources with students and colleagues

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Lo-Fi learning

Looking back over this weeks lessons in my planner, I'm struck by how little technology I've used. Here is a snapshot of the learning
Advanced Higher, on returning from a fieldwork weekend, mind mapped hypotheses, methodology, results and conclusions in stations for psammosere, hydrology, coastal and slope studies. It was the easiest way to share understanding with a tangible, visible result. It also prepared the students perfectly for the subsequent NAB assessment for Geographical Methods and Techniques later in the week.
With S4, we made a concession to technology and used Google Earth to introduce an area, including layers and streetview. However, the main focus of the lesson involved a whole class post it sort under defined headings followed by groupwork on diamond 9 templates to prioritise solutions to physical, social and environmental problems of developments in the tundra.
Higher used post its also to label a blank hydrological cycle in sequence. Although the topic was new, the cycle was not, and this was a quick way to establish strengths and development areas and cut dead time from the learning process.
The main interactions today which were not linked to Monday's lessons involved introducing an assessment task to S2. We are trying to move away from the idea that assessments are sit down, silent, solo exercises and this involved a paired card sort on a Japanese natural disaster, followed by a 100 word summary of the event (students found this incredibly difficult, particularly as we also imposed a lower word limit which they had to exceed). The options thereafter involved using the card sort to either write or storyboard tsunami causes and the specific impacts of this event. Again, the criteria for this introduced significant challenge. It will be interesting to hear students self reflection on this.
S3 had been given a single term each and had to pool these together as a class to distinguish between cause, effect and solutions for river pollution. David Walliams Thames trials were the focal point for introducing this topic, proof that students do heed at least some of the news
Wednesday and Thursday mostly involved giving time over to students to complete some of the learning activities from earlier in the week and present their findings. One S4 class did, however, begin looking at the Mediterranean Climate. We sources information in 30 second slots, working individually, then in pairs, then groups and presented these on a spider diagram for all to see. Brilliant outcomes, as the image of the typical package holiday was screaming out from the board and allowed us to both suggest this image could be challenged and begin to look at the pros and cons of tourism.
As many people before me have said, technology should be a vital component for today's students, but it shouldn't be a crutch and it shouldn't be used just because its shiny and new. I think I could probably have used elements of tech to deliver similar lesson outcomes, but I'm not sure the lessons would have been more effective. In many ways, having access to less technology in my current school has forced me to be a more resourceful teacher. The important thing is to take it off that planner page and continue to share it. This, for me, is one of the truest values of technology and is central to how we are also trying to promote our students work, paper or electronic.



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