Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Don't Panic

With a huge number of teachers strugglling with illness the possibility of leaving the safety of the ICT room and working in a classroom all day reared it's head today. We were warned last night that this might be necessary due to the likely absence of several at a staff meeting after school yesterday.

Having attended a meeting regarding a forthcoming conference in Hong Kong until 9.30 last night (more on this later), preparation for a full day in the classroom was always going to be a bit rushed. However, armed with ideas from the likes of Tom Barrett and Derek Robertson I decided to try a little experiment and teach the day's lessons with the help of a Nintendo Wii.

Our Literacy lesson would have been spent looking at Endless Ocean and using the underwater environment to stimulate writing, whilst Wii Sports Golf is a great way of tackling aspects of mental maths.

Soon after arriving in school it was clear that a number of our ill members of staff had dragged themselves out of their sickbeds to man the classrooms - why do teachers do that?! - so I wasn't required.

Undeterred though, I set about trying to get the Wii to work on one of our Promethean whiteboards. The video was no problem but the sound proved to be tricky and a few different combinations of speakers and adapters were required before things were sorted. Ms Li had a quick spin with Endless Ocean and proved herself to be an excellent diver. First glimpses of Endless Ocean indicate that it could indeed be used as a stimulus for writing and as soon as I can convince one of the class teachers or year groups to dive headlong into an ocean based cross curricular project I'll be all set!

Our P4 class were the first to use the Wii as we used the golf game as a way of practising addition and subtraction. Golfers hit the ball whilst their classmates worked out how far they had hit by subtracting the distance left from the total distance of the hole. The maths worked fine, but as anybody who is familiar with golf knows, it's not really that simple as the ball rarely (for me) goes in a straight line. P5 students did a similar activity, but as they have been using spreadsheets in recent lessons, they had to calculate the distance hit by entering a formula into the cells.

Students in both classes worked enthusiastically and enjoyed the novelty of the Wii as a context for their work. The activities we worked on were fairly simple and were only really an experiment to see whether the device could be set up to run in a classroom. Now we know that it's possible and some simple tasks have been started, we now need to look at how we can create a more comprehensive module of work like the one Derek Robertson talks about in the link above.

1 comment:

theresa said...

Thanks to Mr Dawes for dropping me to the sea :)
I must say that I have totally enjoyed the diving, which I wouldn't have done so in real life! Through the diving, I have learnt names of different fish, I fed the fish and even tickled them. Amazing!
Without Mr Dawes, I don't think I can be an "excellent diver".

Ms Li