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Best of both worlds: Estelle’s journey in a pioneering role - May 20

Author: e.ashman

I can’t believe that as I write this blog it has been 50 days since we first officially moved the whole Ukie office to work remotely! I’m finding as time goes on, I am getting used to the new rhythm of my working week and am even enjoying the challenge of finding better ways to teach remotely.  

With 5 live streamed workshops under my belt I though I would discuss a little about the pedagogy behind the delivery of our Digital Schoolhouse live streamed workshops. 

Firstly, I must thank the late Sir Terry Wogan. In the run up to the first of the live workshops I happened to be listening to the radio and they were talking about how Sir Terry had a mantra by which he recorded his radio shows: "You are not talking to an audience, you are talking to one person. I took that on board for the style of my live workshops; I am not talking to a class but to one student – I don’t know if it comes across like that but it certainly helps my delivery to think that I am speaking 1 to 1 with a student and that they are feeding back and answering my questions as we work through the challenges together. 

The content itself hasn’t changed all that much. Some of our unplugged activities have had to change as they were designed for group work which is obviously impossible via Twitch. I didn’t envision having to play games of musical chairs with Lego Minifigs to demonstrate a character not being able to go backwards when I originally came up with the idea of using party games to illustrate game mechanics, but it seems to work. I think there is something about the practice of play that is engaging no-matter the situation.  

The rest of our resources have been simply brought to life via a visualiser (a big thankyou to Gildredge House for letting me borrow one!), the reality being that what I have been doing on the visualiser is often the kind of 1 to 1 work I do to help less able students in my classes to grasp exactly what I am asking them to do. As much as possible we have tried to provide content which requires little specialist tools – part 1 of all the workshops requires no technology (other than to stream the video itself) which was an early decision to try to make the workshops as accessible as possible. Probably the strangest thing is not having the usual feedback from students asking questions or clarifying things – I am extremely lucky in that I have run these workshops several times and therefore know some of the common queries I get. I hope that means that I catch some of those misconceptions before they get too far along. 

Digital Schoolhouse has always been proud of the way it is at the forefront of pedagogy and practice and works hard to incorporate the latest of educational theory into their resources. The live workshops are no different, ensuring well signposted use of PRIMM (a theory used in the teaching of programming) and semantic waves (a theory used for improving cumulative learning) are included in all of them.  

However, there is no substitute for having a dedicated teacher who can mark and check on understanding. Feedback is so important for students to be able to check their own understanding and progress, without it the work can become meaningless.  

It is my hope that there will be Computing teachers out there that will take our live workshops and embed them into a practice that includes collecting in the work that students are creating and giving them feedback. 

Digital Schoolhouse’s live workshops are streamed twice weekly on Tuesday and Fridays via Twitch!

Full details of upcoming workshops can be found here.  


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