Luke and Linda have come from Westbury Infants to explain what they do with the Visualisers in class to show how powerful they can be.
Linda explains that writing, speaking and listening are what they target and it’s always been quite low, so that is what they decided to target. Apparently it is a problem faced by the cluster in Westbury (feel like I should know this already). Luke said that to begin with they put them into classrooms and left them for a month to see what happened, to try and iron out problems, though to begin with the reaction was quite negative. Early adopters found that it was a really helpful tool and could be used for everything, even ought the initial purpose was for students to improve their writing.
What the students in year 2 liked was their teacher having a book and doing the same thing and the same lesson. This is excellent modelling for them of things as simple as filling a line and writing on every page.
Students loved showing their work and it improved the quality of presentation. Students were really quick to learn how to use the visualiser so teachers could teach from the back of the class. They became more enthusiastic and made the learning more fun. They self-assessed the quality of their work because they all wanted it showed but wanted to make sure it was good enough, too. Handwriting has improved and they understand why handwriting is important.
It had a big impact on progress and students began to edit their own work, from year 1. Tey were able to mark their work and create next step targets.
Then they started to use them in other subjects – counting beads, leaves and live insects and burning candles in science lessons, masks and plays….it can be used for video and recording, green screen etc as well. Some models don’t do this so it’s worth thinking carefully about what they do. The school chose midrange ones which do everything they wanted. Linda says she likes the fact that they are dedicated machines, unlike iPads or similar, which are always wanted elsewhere. I am reminded that this is why I wanted Kindles.
Then we get a chance to play with a visualiser! Lots of fun. I’m impressed with how far they zoom in. Apparently one school had it set up zoomed in 200m on a robin’s nest. They play mystery object: zoom right in on a hidden object, what do you think this is?
They recommend making sure there’s space and that it stays plugged in so it is ready to go – good advice for any equipment really!