West Barns Primary School was inspected in November 2013. The lead inspector during the feedback challenged the school community to develop the curriculum to make it the ‘West Barns Curriculum’. Over the past 18 months, the school community has worked to develop the curriculum – moving from ‘a blank wall’ to a shared understanding of the rich West Barns Curriculum experienced by the learners. Follow the link to the West Barns Curriculum Magazine to look at how the school has outlined the curriculum for parents:
This new resource from Learning and Teaching Scotland is packed with ideas and resources and links to help you create learning experiences that bring STEM subjects to your pupils. Using the focus of engineering, the STEM Central website offers stimulating and challenging experiences for sciences, technologies, engineering and maths based around topical contexts such as electric transport and renewable energy.
All the teaching ideas are linked to specific Curriculum for Excellence experiences and outcomes at levels three or four, and the learning journeys are supported with videos, activities and challenges, links to additional resources and advice and information. To help inspire your learners, there are also links to careers resources and the real-life stories of contemporary Scottish engineers.
It enables you to explore the key learning and teaching approaches that can support STEM learning and meets the aims of the ‘Science & Engineering 21 – An Action Plan for Education’ by highlighting the big issues around science today and allowing young people to gain an insight in engineering careers in Scotland. See the STEM Central website
An interesting view on the future of education. How do these ideas relate to Curriculum for Excellence…?
Lots of East Lothian pupils and teachers now have access to an EduBuzz Google Apps account. This brings the power of Google’s email, docs, sites and calendars into the classroom. Robert Virtue from the CDT Department at Musselburgh Grammar School has kindly shared how they are making use of these tools with their pupils.
What have you been doing?
We are in the process of introducing online assessment and evaluation using google docs. Staff invite their classes to view their own web pages where course work, examples of work, tests and evaluations are kept. All pupils work is saved in jpeg format and uploaded to their personal web pages. Staff can access these sites to moderate pupils performance.
In what ways does this practice relate to Curriculum for Excellence?
Evidence of literacy can be gathered for all work through the online evaluation. Pupil engagement and high interest, along with good use of ICT through use of internet searching, digital cameras, blogging software, as well as being introduced to a range of computer packages which include Photoshop – Inventor – Google Docs and Comic life. Collaborative work and working with others is evident in all stages of this initiative.
What were the reasons for doing this?
To educate pupils in a way that will enable them to make informed decisions regarding applying a range of skills, processes to their work in order to have maximum success and fulfilment. To try to encourage pupils to produce high quality work, work with others, use ICT with confidence and write extended answers whilst evaluating their project work.
What has happened as a result?
A huge improvement in class engagement and a major increase in productivity and pupil performance during these tasks
What would you do differently next time?
It still in its early stages but I would increase the length of the class tests to fully examine pupil performance.
A huge thank you to Robert, and the MGS CDT Department, for sharing this. If you don’t yet have an EduBuzz Google Apps account, but would like one – email David Gilmour.