East Lothian Inspiration

A HUGE thank you to Ollie Bray who organized a busy and information packed Wednesday that took us to Wallyford Primary and Musselburgh Grammar to see Games -Based Learning in action in a variety of classes and age groups.

Gail and I were accompanied by Margaret and led out by Ollie to see a range of game platforms being used by great teachers, enthusiastic students and a proud & passionate Mr Bray.

Without exception, students from the two schools were engaged and enthusiastic about the use of games in their classrooms. Whether the games were being used for skills practice, skill speed improvement, concept development, or as a context for learning new skills  – students responded to the playfulness and fun of the games.

This allowed teachers to harness and support this enthusiasm into meaningful learning experiences for their students.  Maths drill and practise became purposeful and competitive; story writing was embedded in a shared context; and dance and movement was personally challenging with goals and targets to keep on track.

It was interesting to see how the teachers “unpacked” the learning taking place with their students. Discussions, suggestions, strategies and rules could be seen in charts and on walls of the classrooms that indicated the learning that was taking place was deeper than the skills emphasized in the games themselves.


Problem solving strategies were listed and articulated, child protection issues were talked about and solutions offered, management routines were developed with and by the students. All of which engendered ownership of the learning that was taking place, and the strategies and routines that students could use to confidently use and make the most of the games and learning they were involved with.

All in all a wonderfully fun and enlightening day in many ways. Thanks to the teachers who were so willing to share their classes and teaching with us.




ReView and PreView

 timeout.jpgAfter an interesting week or so on Jury Duty I’m back – rearing to go after an enforced “time-out”. 

My last week at school saw me using our new laptops in my room. After a frazzled first session – sorting internet cords, and placement of the laptops within the room – we made a great start at our individual maths focus contracts. The students felt responsible for getting on with their work and seemed very motivated to work on their own to complete the maths topics they needed to work on. 

The setting up of the laptops got quicker over the week and the students came up with exciting ways to take advantage of the laptops when they were set up. We had a great session with the kids working in threes using Google Earth to locate places referred to in the “Behind the News” current affairs program we watch each week. 

My use of the iWB was probably not as exciting as I had hoped – a few techno problems, but they will be sorted soon I hope and I will continue on (and on and on!) 

My focus for this coming week will be:

  • Laptops – in the room as much as possible – set up and ready for the kids to work on.
  • Writing Focus – narrative using an internet game again to support and motivate students and improve their writing. This time I will start with the planning of the game narrative: does it fit the planning model we are using? How does it differ? How are the different parts of the narrative linked to each other?

            Hmmm, lots to work on here!

  • Look at using the DSLites for daily? thrice weekly? basic maths practise. I’m sure this will really motivate the class to improve their basic operations skills, and by recording their scores we can collate and graph results. This will link in to the Data section of our Mathematics curriculum, and “interpreting graphs” is an area my students need to work on.

        The DSLites are set up to use in the Library at lunchtimes so I will have to make sure we use them first thing in the morning and then reset them up ready for lunch 🙂

 Heaps to look forward to……. BIO!  (bring it on!  😀  )

Image is “Timeout” by katenet

Wanted: Creative Passionate People

Learning is changing – what sort of vision do we need to help navigate this change? I put forward that




are the answer! 

CPP take the old, the tried and the tested  content and use ICT to interact with  it in new, exciting and creative ways. Students and teachers (all learners) get to take the content and work together to manipulate it, modify it and have a personal stake in it.

At BETT (British Educational Technology Trade Show @ Olympia, London) today, I came across two stand out CPP – a large organization and an individual who love what they do, want to make a difference and have stepped up to creatively lead the way.

Promethean, with their Promethean Planet  teacher website, their online Training and Develoment opportunities and their new AcivPrimary 3 software, are promoting a range of products, tried and tested that encourage both teachers and students to creatively approach their learning.

Students and teachers are supported through new learning experiences, but not directed in an over-bearing way. Users can interact with each other and the programs to create new and exciting learning experiences that combine different bases of knowledge to raise questions and solve problems together.

Shooflypie promotes big books in digital form. Students interact with these texts, with each other, and with technology to explore, develop and articulate ideas and concepts. Students use the texts on the interactive whitebord as a springboard to develop traditional storytelling skills and enrich language through other cross-curricula areas ( such as music, drama, art, design and citizenship).

Anne – the author and developer – drew upon her strengths and skills as a passionate teacher, a gifted story teller and an educator to develop creative and inspiring materials.

For students to become passionate and creative about their learning they need to be exposed to, and make use of , creative teaching practices and creative ICT applications – which they can interact with and have control over. I found two examples at BETT today!