Open Classrooms Week Nov 14- Cheryl Pennington

This is always such an exciting week in college with classrooms opening their doors through the display of a welcoming #GreenDoor sign. Visitors are encouraged to drop into see their students’ learning and learning environments.

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For me, Open Classrooms November 14 got off to a great start on Monday with a number of visits to Foundation classrooms. Students were fully engaged with a whole range of activities from presentations about their culture in their home country, to a maths lesson where students were planning a budget for a camping trip. Students commented very positively on the introduction of Google Classrooms this term, saying it ensured all their work was easily submitted and feedback received from their teacher.

Whilst visiting the department, I took advantage of taking photos of some amazing noticeboard displays and ‘Pacman’ game wall transfers.

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From there I went to meet our Chinese visitors from Wuxi Institute of Commerce to Activate Learning. I enthusiastically showed our visitors our #GreenDoor signs explaining their purpose and that this was the start of Open Classroom week. We then left room B2 for a tour of the campus. To our visitors’ delight, we came across our first green door and the President, Yang Jianxin was keen to have his photo taken with a ‘real’ green door sign.

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After this, we came across another green door, and another and another….. I am pleased to say our green door signs proved to be so popular with our visitors that a couple have been packed into suitcases and are bound for China.

The next highlight of my week came in the shape of #GoogleGlass being tried out in the engineering workshop. This latest innovation in wearable technology has so much potential for use in learning in a vocational practical environment. Here Google Glass was being used in a practical engineering session to live stream to students’ phones.

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Wearable technology is an area of innovation to look out for in shaping learning in the future. Research shows that in 2013, 13 million pieces of wearable technology was sold and predictions are 170 millions pieces of wearable technology will be sold in 2018. This infographic provides the stats.

If you want to read more about the impact of wearable technology on learning, take a look here or here.

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Back to open classrooms…. my next highlights were visiting the production kitchen in Hospitality. This is always an absolute privilege and makes me feel so proud of how we transform students’ lives through the professional standards and experience they have at the College. Students’ maths skills were being developed in a seamless way: ‘How many 40 gram bread rolls can you make from a 1 kilogram piece of dough?’

I came across a treasure trove of vibrant learning and wonderful student co-created displays in Health and Social Care. What an inspiration! Students working with such focus and engagement. The classroom was skillfully decorated with different parts of the room being used for flip learning, ‘progression mountain’, spelling and technical vocabulary.

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The final day of Open Classrooms revealed yet more fantastic examples of students’ learning from across the college. In a whirlwind 45 minutes I managed the last 10 minutes of an English AS level lesson. Students really enjoyed the fact they could sit in a circle without desks and share their descriptive writing pieces with their peer group. One student even said ‘can we have another hour of English please?’ It made me reflect how true the quote, ‘a change is as good as a rest’ is.

Then onto a lively discussion with a group of Access students: the topic being debated was the ethical issues of using animals in psychological research. The students confidently and passionately put their views across on either side of the argument.

Lastly I entered a classroom with busy mathematicians hard at work on solving algebra equations. This was an excellent example of differentiation with students working on different tables based on their working at GCSE grades for this term. For example the blue table were working at a C/D grade border and their algebra.

Differentiated Algebra Worksheets

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