#ASEchat – SEND special

Following the publication of my article in the ASE’s EiS (Education in Science) magazine and on their website, I was offered the chance to host #ASEchat on Twitter with a special needs theme.

@viciascience opened with questions about specific needs which led to a discussion about visually impaired and hearing impaired students.  @cleverfiend raised the issue of specialist vocabulary and @viciascience promoted an event in Huddersfield on 21st Nov.

@DrWilksinsonSci said he gave out slips of paper for everyone to answer same question on, then some were picked to critique as a group, and the rest were checked by teacher later for misconceptions.

@cleverfiend asked if it was teaching SEN students that teachers struggle with or having to teach them within a larger mixed ability group.  @viciascience reminded us that their diverse needs could be hard to meet, especially when some are very demanding of attention.  Photography was suggested as a useful strategy and @cleverfiend added video, and with tablets tools like comic strips become a powerful tool.   ComicLife and HalfTone were suggested as good comic strip apps.

@A_Weatherall recommended a comic book about the universe which he had used with students http://www.jldunbar.com/home/the-universe-verse

Kinaesthetic activities and practical activities were recommended by chat participants, for example modelling solubility with rice and peas.

Talking Tom was suggested as a good app to encourage reluctant or EAL students to speak in class.

Graphing was a problem, especially where maths ability lags behind science ability. @cleverfiend suggested checking out the old Science Year CDs from the ASE and advice from Anne Goldsworthy.  @ViciaScience suggested the AKSIS materials from the ASE for good advice on scaling etc.  IanMcDaid suggested gingham tablecloths and dry wipe markers.


#ASEchat summary – putting the science back into science teaching

The topic of the chat was “putting the science back into science teaching”.  Although no-one owned up to voting for this topic it was a clear winner.  The first part of the chat concentrated on unpicking why we need to put the science back into science teaching.

There were some different opinions about what this topic meant.  One interpretation was that there is too much time spent assessing and testing science rather than actually teaching the content.  Another interpretation was that we don’t teach enough “how science works” skills and that we should be doing this.

The talk turned to AfL and the misconception that because many of the materials referred to the old curriculum that AfL doesn’t apply anymore.  @NeedhamL56 and @stuartphysics pointed out that AfL is not subject specific but is part of pedagogy.

Talk turned to CPD and how teachers can keep abreast of the latest science (so to put the science back into their teaching).  Some excellent links were shared including

  • http://isaacphysics.org/#9a92da58-1c1d
  • http://www.opalexplorenature.org/surveys-research-results
  • https://isaacphysics.org/mission

@Viciascience spoke of using Pocket to save and read his science information later.  @Cleverfiend said he uses it with IFTTT and has written blog posts about some of the tools he uses.

A full transcript of the chat can be found here.

#ASEchat summary – Published schemes of work – how do you choose and use them in science?

I opened the chat by asking “Published schemes of work – how do you choose and use them in science?”  Viciascience responded by saying he imagines that every school has a standby set of textbooks and others joined in by discussing their purchased schemes (see chat transcript for details).  ViciaScience asked the going rate for a KS3 scheme and GregtheSeal responded with the figure of £3000.

Deepexperience1 suggested we get out those textbooks for the 1950s and Cleverfiend responded by saying if there is a match with content then why not?  Deepexperience1 went on to say that modern schemes relied too heavily on worksheets, and cleverfiend replied by saying that being in special measures at his school had resulted in a move away from worksheets.  MissWatford confirmed that they are used for last minute cover work whilst gregtheseal said they good for independent research.

Some chatters had an issue with the length of lessons not being matched to their schools, for example two chat participants had 100 minute lessons.  TFScientist thought that a department made scheme is best, then you get a format for your lessons and everyone is invested in the scheme.

ViciaScience suggested that iBooks might be the way forward with cheap publishing and purchasing costs.  Gregtheseal suggested a crowd-sourced book published through iTunes. HRogerson told us that most publishers are supporting ebooks (although many require a subscription rather than purchasing them), Hodder are letting you buy ebooks through Amazon.  It was felt that there was an issue of quality control when crowd sourcing materials and despite many of the ASE members having been involved in writing schemes in the past, there wasn’t a single scheme that received universal praise from chat participants.

ViciaScience asked about a central skeleton scheme of work and Cleverfiend raised the prospect of another QCA scheme being a bad idea.  Some people like the idea of a scheme and HRogerson pointed out that at least the QCA scheme being widely adopted let you mix and match resources from different sources.