Ros Walker

…learning, education, disability and stuff

Task 3: My skills

on September 26, 2011

 

We have been asked to write about our skills. I have divided these into three main areas, those related to language, those related to computing and those related to training.
1. LANGUAGE

I am a trained linguist, with A levels in French and English and a degree in Russian. I also have training in Teaching English as a Foreign Language and I am fascinated by language and linguistics. I have dabbled in Spanish, German and Chinese. I still see myself primarily as a linguist and try to find opportunities to learn and teach language.

2. E-LEARNING

My computing skills are not hugely technical but relate to how computers are used in teaching and learning.

I have built up particular expertise in the use of Interactive Whiteboards. From 2002-2004, I managed a research project, based at the
University of Hull, where we developed an observation schedule and collected data from more than 200 lessons taught using an interactive whiteboard. From this we developed a CD ROM ‘The Good Guide to Interactive Whiteboards’ which went to a print run of more than 45,000 copies – for all schools in the UK and also widely distributed in the USA. The project website closed about a year after
the research concluded, but can still be accessed through the Wayback Machine at ‘The Review Project’.  (http://web.archive.org/web/20060823232656/http://www.thereviewproject.org/)

At the height of this project, I was acting as a consultant to several local authorities, a whiteboard manufacturer and government agencies. My interest lies primarily in the area of building classroom interaction – the board itself is not ‘interactive’ – it is the way in which teachers select and develop materials which makes for classroom interactivity.

Connected to this, I have also carried out research on the use of Expression Pupil Response Devices in English. Expression devices allow individual responses from students which can be displayed on an interactive whiteboard. I am currently working on a paper based on this research which I hope to find a publisher for in the next year.

I have some skills in the area of Using a VLE, Supporting distance learning and Evaluating software.

3.    TRAINING

I have worked as a trainer for nearly 15 years now, initially training language teachers in the use of ICT, and now working cross-curricular with teachers from all subjects. I really enjoy being in the classroom and spending time supporting teachers in all aspects of their computer use. I have written materials for many training courses (paper-based, online and video-based).

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3 responses to “Task 3: My skills

  1. debseed says:

    Thanks for the link to the IWB research, Ros. I’ll be having a trawl through that when I’ve got a min.

  2. What sort of elearning tools and techniques do you favour Ros? It would be great to hear from your expertise in secondary schools.

    • elearningros says:

      I have mainly been involved in Interactive Whiteboards and I have used primarily Promethean whiteboards with ActivStudio software, and, more recently, ActivExpression classroom reponse devices. I have favoured the Promethean whiteboards since I first came across the technology. I was involved with Promethean (a UK-based company located in Blackburn) from the earliest days of the technology and felt that the company had a very strong commitment to Education. Their products were not something that drifted from the boardroom to the classroom – they set out to design for the classroom. However, products are only as good as the people who use them, and whilst I believe the Promethean products are excellent, they have to be coupled with suitable training and professional development for the teachers. Using an interactive whiteboard appropriately requires a variety of whole-class teaching skills. Sometimes the training work we do does not focus on the technology – it looks at how the whole class can be involved. I look to educators such as Dylan Wiliam, Paul Ginnis and Alistair Smith to inform the work that we do and look at how the technology can enhance techniques which seek to involve the pupils fully. I could write loads more on this, but I’ll keep it brief!

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