Sunday, 22 January 2017

Expanding into new tech for the FE Classroom! The start of the FEMathsGuidebook YouTube Channel!

This is something new that I am going to try, especially towards helping students within FE understand maths principles and work towards improving maths skills across the board. All weekend I have been excited by the prospect of starting a YouTube channel (no guesses for the name) and realised that the market is saturated with resources for young people.

With the growing demand for young people to use their phones and have them on their person 24/7, there is massive opportunity for learning right within their pocket. Some applications are very good in helping students to gain mathematics skills, I particularly like HegartyMaths as well as MyMaths for students to build their own maths skills on the go, however I feel the human touch is always the easiest way for students to learn, develop and gain more mathematics skills which both these excellent applications offer.

So I start my YouTube channel, scheduled in two videos for the next week and am very happy with the results, it made me question what equipment that we need as lecturers in order to build ICT within the classroom and how we can use the technology that the students have in order to enhance the learning environment for our young people within their mathematics education.

A new service that hit our staff room this week was kahoot! A massively open online resource for students to answer quizzes using their mobile phones. I was sceptical at first as I know that students struggle to work well with their mobile phones in compulsory subjects however I was pleasantly surprised when all the students were engaged, participating and active in responding to the questions that I gave them within this application. I highly recommend Kahoot and you should definitely consider it with your learners in the future weeks, they are also a fantastic bunch of people too:

- A reply from the Kahoot team after I tweeted at them about their app! Follow me while you're there (@feguidebook)

It made me wonder about the other applications and technologies we are all apprehensive about using when working with young people. I believe that a blended approach can work within FE providing you set clear boundaries and guidance for students to participate within their own learning. My approach will take time to set up but I like the idea of eventually creating my own resource bank in which students will be able to work on their Maths problems without me being there.

One of my biggest reasons for doing this is for the sake of the students that really try within their Maths but just struggle to remember the basic maths skills they need. I have one student who works hard within her maths but has been with me for nearly 2 years and is struggling to complete the Level 1 Functional Skills qualification. As heartbreaking as this is for me as her lecturer, it is equally upsetting to her as she is desperate to complete and pass her maths qualification this year. I am determined to make that happen, and so through the YouTube content that I will be creating, I will aim to help students outside of the classroom to complete their own mathematics journey, revisiting the teaching that I have provided over the next year.

We have to ask ourselves why we do this role, and as educators I believe it's because we want to help others as much as possible. I have also been looking at other methods and found a fantastic starter activity given by Ross from Teachers Toolkit called Flying Start, an activity in which I am eager to try in the next few weeks, especially for revision on certain topics, the video will be linked here:

-Ross from Teacher's Toolkit demonstrating Flying Start at SSAT

As a teacher, I didn't think that I would also be finding value within YouTube as a resource for my own professional development, Ross's video shows me that actually there is a lot to be gained from the technology that we all use day to day. It would be interesting if we could get our students to also think about how we use these resources to develop our own teaching practice and enhance the learning environment. I hope you've found something useful here and let me know if you plan on using Flying Start within your lessons as well. I will be sure to let you all know how it goes!

I still really want one of these things, but I don't know if my department can justify the price-tag, ouch!

- Entry Level Visualiser, used for classroom demonstration

Enjoy your week!

- Matt