As a teacher, I am always keen to try and improve my teaching techniques for the benefit of my students. I’ve tried numerous different teaching styles over the years and seen fads and gimmicks come and go. However about 18 months ago, when I joined Twitter, and saw several people posting about how fabulous their new visualisers were, I decided to investigate.
I spoke to my head of department, telling her ‘these visualisers look fantastic, can we get some?’ She replied that we had five still sitting in their boxes in our office, which had been there for some time. I didn’t need telling twice! With a quick request to our IT support service, I soon had a visualiser up and running in each of the rooms that I teach in.
To say these devices are a game changer is an understatement. As a geography teacher, I have often struggled to get an entire class to grasp skills such as four and six figure grid references, measuring distances and giving directions. Clunky demonstrations on the board often ensued, bearing no relation to the map that they had in front of them. However, using my visualiser, I am able to place maps and textbooks under it which are identical to those that my students have in front of them, and point to exact features or demonstrate exact skills underneath my device. The image is then projected onto the screen at the front of the room for all to see. The difference in my students’ levels of understanding and ability to grasp the skills has been astounding, freeing me up from having to go around and re-teach several groups after my initial demonstration, to being able to check for understanding and to give next steps whilst they work.
Another skill which my GCSE students need plenty of practice with is writing exam answers. I am a big fan of giving them model answers to use to compare with their own so that they can make improvements. However, my visualiser has allowed me to take this one step further. I can now write model answers and model my thinking in front of them on the board, which will help them enormously when they themselves are in the exam room having to think for themselves.
My school has recently moved away from a policy of written marking, to one of verbal feedback. A particular favourite type of feedback that I try and carry out every lesson is live marking under my visualiser. This involves taking a student’s work (it does not need to be the best one), placing it under the device, and live marking it for the class to see on the board. Again, this allows the students to think about what makes a good answer, as well as being given time to use the work on the screen to improve theirs.
All of these methods have improved outcomes for my students, and the vast majority clamour to have me pick their work to place under the visualiser.! I have only ever had one student decline my request to use their work. One more unexpected bonus of a visualiser is that it can pick up student misdemeanours when they least expect it! Due to the angle of the lamp on one occasion as I plugged it in and switched it on, one poor girl at the front was caught doing a huge, lengthy yawn on the screen for all to see! Not the worst misdemeanour, but it certainly let the class know that there may be another pair of ‘eyes’ watching them when they least expect it!
In essence, if a fellow teacher asked me which one piece of kit I could not do without, it would be my visualiser. There is not a day goes by where I don’t use it several times, in fact it features in most of my lessons now. And of course, it has reduced my workload – no longer do I take piles of books home to mark, as my visualiser enables me to give live, instant feedback in class. How did I ever survive without one?!
This post has been sponsored by IPEVO, a giveaway prize prouder for TM Geography Icons 2019
Check out their website and visualiser collection herehttps://uk.ipevo.com/products.html
We've a number of attendees that haven't received the information email sent out last week. Please find below important information for the 22nd June.
Vaughan Jeffries Lecture Theatre, in the Education building (R19 on the UoB campus map - https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/contact/directions/index.aspx). For directions the best postcode is B15 2WN, Pritchatt’s Road.
There is limited parking on-site, hence we highly recommend using public transport. It is super easy to get to the university from Birmingham New Street station. (Directions - https://www.google.co.uk/maps/dir/birmingham+new+street/University+of+Birmingham,+Birmingham+B15+2TTfirstname.lastname@example.org,-1.9307993,14z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m13!4m12!1m5!1m1!1s0x487096f1df0e0571:0xedfa487a0f2ea32e!2m2!1d-1.89895!2d52.4777506!1m5!1m1!1s0x4870bdcf028ccfaf:0x5eb315231196339a!2m2!1d-1.9305135!2d52.4508168)
The £10 deposit (excluding Eventbrite fees) will be returned to you in cash upon registration. This may therefore create a bit of a queue. Therefore, registration will open from 9 am giving you time to mingle before the event begins at 10 am. You need to print your tickets.
Refreshments will be available similarly to last year, thanks to our sponsors Pupil Progress and Discover the World. These will be available during registration, during the tea breaks and during lunch break. We've managed to get a cafe in the building to open up for us, you may wish to purchase lunch or fancier refreshments from there throughout the day.
We've two fantastic sponsors, Discover the World and Pupil Progress. Without their support, this event would not be possible so ensure you check them out on the day.
1. Explore Geography
Gemma has been working alongside colleagues from the RGS to put together a free student and/or teacher day on the theme of Explore Geography on the 21st June at the University of Birmingham.
To attend as a teacher sign up here https://www.rgs.org/birminghamcpd/
To book a place for your students, complete the form here https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/schools/gees/outreach/index.aspx
2. Routledge Books and Book Signing
Routledge Education will be attending the event with Geography texts and Teaching and Learning books, so you might want to bring some money along with you. In addition, our lead organiser Victoria (MrsHumanities), will be available to sign copies of ‘Making it as a Teacher’ during the lunch break.
After last years event we have explored ways we could reduce our resource consumption and the waste produced from our event. We’ve therefore taken the decision to limit marketing freebies, including Twinkl mugs. We hope you understand our decision.
However, we’d love you to help us reduce waste further so to encourage you to bring along your own reusable mug, cup and/or water bottles, we are in talks with the Centre for Alternative Technology to get an additional prize for an ‘eco-raffle’ to celebrate sustainable choices. Show us at registration and we’ll provide you with a ticket for the ‘eco-raffle’.
We very much look forward to welcoming you on the 22nd June.
Victoria and Gemma
We had such a fantastic range of speakers apply to speak and many others that wanted to but were a little to nervous to take the plunge, so we came up with a great way for everyone to contribute to the event.
We'd love to invite you, whether you are speaking, attending or can't make it, to contribute to the sharing of great practice through the production of a poster.
You can make it as simple or designed as you like. Simply take an element of your practice that you are proud of and think others will benefit from. Turn it into an A3 poster and submit it here or if you prefer, email it to us at email@example.com.
Include your name and twitter handle (if relevant) on your poster.
We've already received a handful and look forward to receiving many more.
From Monday 18th March, we will be announcing one of our 14 speakers.
We've an exciting selection of presentations on a wide range of topics.
Each speaker has been selected on the merits of their proposed presentation.
During the selection process all identifiable information was removed leaving only the title, outline of the presentation and whether they had spoken at a teach meet before. From here we selected the most appropriate range of topics to ensure variation.
We appreciated all the fantastic applications which made the decision process very difficult.
We can't wait for you to see who we have speaking at TMGeographyIcons 2019.
Check out the announcements on twitter at 6pm.
Applications have now closed.
For the 2019 event we want to open the floor to both the new and experienced.
In order to create the best possible array of presentations, we'd love for you to take the time to apply.
There will be a series of 5 and 10 minute presentations throughout the day as well as two keynote speakers.
To apply, simply fill in the application form below. Applications will be considered in February and you will be informed of our decisions in early March. If you're not invited to present, don't worry there will be other opportunities to share good practice on the day, so watch out for exciting further details.