I really like the idea of online resources and textbooks. I will admit that I don't yet know how useful they will be to 11-14 year olds, but I think as the technology develops for GCSE and A-level students I can see being able to interact and annotate an online textbook will be really useful. As I type this it feels like I will buy the kerboodle/OUP resources, this is because I am impressed with the online testing. I know other publishers intend to produce similar resources with the ability to support students in dispelling their misconceptions through online testing/resources. I look forward to seeing this at GCSE and A-Level.
Online resources have come a long way since samLearning. It is an exciting time.
However, I really can't see a great deal of progress in the schemes themselves. I haven't looked with forensic attention to detail, but with the exception of 'better teach science' by Hodder I don't see anything that catches my imagination.
The order of the information, the route through the sub-topics, seems to be very similar to previous schemes. The ideas, activities, contexts, and investigations seem to be very similar to resources I already have in my possession.
(There are two possible reasons I can see for this: Science education is well researched and we know enough about the best order of teaching to be pretty confident we have it right and it doesn't need to be changed or we lack the creative skill and motivation to come up with anything new).
What does this mean for me? Well, my department is going to invest in a new scheme, a one that includes all the online learning that I mentioned. We'll see how that goes. For me it is perfect timing as the girls have to come to school in September with an iPad alongside their pens and pencils etc. The timing is right to invest in this technology. Even if this were not the case our textbooks are out of print and looking very tired, so it is opportunity to change. (We give each student access to their own copy of a textbook, and this isn't something I am in a position to alter. I don't have the time to write my own set personally - one day?).
On a leadership level I feel I need to help my department continue to work on embedding the development of literacy, numeracy, ICT and working scientifically skills into their teaching. I believe that 'how science works' is the single most important thing I am teaching the young people in my school. This needs to be reflected in the changes we make at key stage 3. There is more to come in this area.
I have realised that rearranging everything isn't necessary. (I hear you Richard and Linda!) As I did with the draft curriculum I will point out the deviations from the QCA schemes of work and work on these areas. As I see it at the moment, genetics in biology and energy in physics are the areas that need most attention. (I am ignoring catalysts and ceramics in chemistry for now). The other areas get a nod in at least one of the old key stage 3 schemes I possess, although I think upd8 segue covers a section of the genetics part.
I won't get the scheme I want from this, but I might get something more workable than what we have at the moment.
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Location:John Street,Bath,United Kingdom