Last of the Summer Wine

July 6, 2012

Today I had a lovely lunch in The Millennium in George Square. Two courses for £13.00 and high quality food. The wine was £18.00 a bottle but we were celebrating. I started teaching in 1976 in the same school as the teacher who has given up teaching on the same day as me. It could have been a sad day but good company and a bottle of wine was an excellent start to life as a free person. I am happy.

I really must change the name of this blog and delete all the others.


Assignment 1 #edtechcca1

January 24, 2012

Not having the time to learn any new tools I resorted to that old standby Powerpoint for this task.

The first sign is for the Beauty Therapy Electro-cosmetic Therapy course.  In outcome 1 the students learn about UV radiations and Skin cancer. The sign is to remind people to use sunscreen. The arm is too faint but that can be fixed later.

Use sunscreen

The second sign is a warning sign. I am surrounded by students – and staff – wearing shoes that should come with a health warning. While not for a specific course warning sign might make students thing before they go teetering about in ridiculous heels.

Heel warning

Once the signs were prepared in powerpoint they were saved as jpegs for easy upload into the blog.

Educational Technology Creative Collective – Preliminary Task

January 13, 2012

I am looking forward to what everyone else is getting up to for the Educational Technology Creative Collective. I hope that I will learn from people more creative than myself. An art teacher once told me I couldn’t even doodle. I beg to differ – I get plenty of practice in my many meetings. I have become more cynical recently – Impossible!  I hear those who know me cry. I really have.

I have put the ‘about me’ in the about me. I am feeling old because I have been reading lots of stuff about retirement. Clydebank College is merging with Reid Kerr and James Watt and staff at Clydebank have voluntary severance to consider.

I must say looking at the list of participants I am already feeling like a duck out of water. I guess I will be the one with the most to learn.

Thus endeth the first post in the refreshed blog.

Sustainability vs Quality/Equality

November 22, 2011

All over Scotland maths teachers use the LTS Maths packs produced for Higher Still. They are not pretty but are functional. If they were updated I reckon they would take about 4 times as much paper. At a time of budget cuts they would cost 4 times as much. How to square the circle?

Digital Mathematics

November 19, 2011

A brilliant report is just out

Why do the SQA still insist on graphs being drawn by hand? Why can students not use Wolframalpha for calculus? I could go on. I have a dream that by the time I retire students in FE will be doing a unit called ‘Digital Mathematics’. In general, I am not teaching mathematicians of the future. They are ‘turned off’ and ‘failed’ mathematicians. We could rekindle some enthusiasm for maths but instead we teach them ‘indices’ and how to differentiate totally unrealistic expressions. Come on SQA develop a unit and let students have some fun with maths.

What’s Happening?

October 1, 2011

The blog has been quiet for the last few weeks. I have been busy teaching 3 numeracy classes along with the evasive hairdressing students.

The Early Years class has learners who would struggle at level 3 and one who should be doing level 6. I am teaching Levels 4 and 5 – feeling guilty about the sinking level 3 students and the student who should be doing Level 6. I signed the class up for the Scottish Learning Festival which they found worthwhile. One managed to collect 36 pens.

The NC Computing has 8 Polish students in the class who are very good. Contextualised learning has included number systems. The Polish students have enjoyed learning about UK Income Tax and National Insurance.

The Health and Social Care group have been following 2 courses. The future nurses need different numeracy from the future social workers. We did the topic ‘alcohol’ as it was relevant to both groups. Working out units of alcohol proved challenging to some. I wonder if requisitioned alcopops, gin, wine etc. I would get away with it. Empty bottles were not the same as the real thing.

There is a lad in one of the classes with cerebal palsy. He struggles with writing and using a calculator. He makes errors because he can’t read his figures. For the last couple of weeks I have been teaching him how to use Excel so that he can use it for assessments. He has to know how to do the question so that he can set up the spreadsheet. The skills he is using are more useful for his future than accessing software that he won’t have when he leaves college.

I wonder if all students should be taught how to set up a spreadsheet to do numeracy assessments. Would the SQA approve?


Hairdressers and Donuts

December 7, 2010

donutsOne of meetings last week was to think of a way to contextualise Core Skills for Hairdressers. I remembered seeing some excellent resources at the Scottish Learning Festival 2009 and tracked them down. Axis Education has good quality materials for some vocational areas. This would save re-inventing the wheel.
Julie and I have been looking at Donuts. Not exactly the most inspiring task but its a good place to start looking at where Core Skills are being assessed – or not. If students learners are doing the work maybe a little more would get them their Core Skills units. Why does this matter? Here’s an example: a Modern Apprentice can’t pass unless they have all 5 Core Skills at the appropriate level.