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Perspectives from each side of the transition: Four years as a School Teacher Fellow David Read.

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Presentation on theme: "Perspectives from each side of the transition: Four years as a School Teacher Fellow David Read."— Presentation transcript:

1 Perspectives from each side of the transition: Four years as a School Teacher Fellow David Read

2 How many Variety in Chemistry Education conferences have you attended? A.More than I can remember B.5+ C.3 or 4 D.1 or 2 E.This is my first Variety!

3 Background

4 ▪ Southampton received funding under strand 3.1 of Chemistry for our Future (‘From Registration to Graduation’). ▪ £45k over 2 years (~ 0.5 FTE). ▪ SoC matched the funding  School Teacher Fellow. ▪ Two roles- develop support for the transition - contribute to outreach activities ▪ Took up the post at end of May 2007. ▪ Admissions tutor and Director of Outreach (2009-2012). ▪ First year tutor (2010-2011). My role at Southampton

5 ▪ B.Sc (1996) and Ph.D (1999) at Bristol. ▪ Postdoc at Washington University in St.Louis (2000-2002). ▪ Sorting letters at the Royal Mail (2003). ▪ Trainee teacher on the Graduate teacher programme at Theale Green Community School (2003-2004). What was I up to before this?


7 Some experiences from the classroom + =

8 The student view

9 ▪ Advocate of practical work and demonstrations. ▪ Strong interest in VLEs. ▪ Worked closely with kids with special education needs (ASD). ▪ Collaborations with teachers in school and elsewhere. ▪ Sharing resources online. ▪ The ‘Chipfat Challenge’ (£500 funding from Volvo). My interests in the classroom

10 ‘Champion of Uniservity’ Baker, E. and Read, D., Educ. Chem., 2008, p.122.

11 Self-assessment exercises


13 Collaborative learning (unintended!)

14 Out of the blue…

15 The early days

16 Key issues impacting upon the transition to university Students are: Much less independent than in the past (used to spoon-feeding?). Used to smaller classes. Used to extensive one-on-one feedback. Often used to structured lessons (in small chunks). Easily put off by things they find difficult. Often unable to identify their strengths and weaknesses. Academics are: Unaware of changes to school curricula. Unsympathetic to the plight of students.

17 How well do you know the content of modern A-level chemistry? A.Very well B.A little C.I think I know it but probably don’t… D.Not very well E.Haven’t got a clue!

18 A little warm up task… Review of 5 English exam board specifications. Detailing the content, but not mapped to 1 st year chemistry. 2010 update covered the post- 2008 specifications and included WJEC and CCEA.

19 A pre-registration ‘Welcome Website’ ▪ Creation of ‘Welcome Website’ online in August 07 (after A-levels). Deployed again every year, and the format is now being used in other departments. Contents: ▪ Course overview. ▪ ‘Week in the Life’. ▪ Virtual tour of dept. ▪ Online survey. ▪ A-level revision resources.

20 Student view 77% stated that it was a useful resource (some access issues). “I really like the website; I think it has been well put together…it's especially nice to see a couple of examples of the timetables…it has given me an idea of what it is going to be like at uni.” “It has proven to be very useful and is easy to use. I particularly like the 'Week in a Life'. The Q & A tells you how much work is expected. The virtual tour is a very detailed introduction to the School. It has helped to increase my confidence about coming to uni.” This was a key feature of NFER’s interim evaluation of the Soton contribution to the initial phase of CFOF.

21 Voting pads (or ‘zappers’)

22 What’s your experience of using Electronic Voting Systems in your teaching? A.I use them regularly B.I use them occassionally C.Other people in my department use them D.Other people in my university use them E.Never heard of them!

23 Use of zappers in undergraduate teaching Interactive lectures To teach successfully, it is important to have dialogue between teacher and student. This isn’t easy to do in a lecture with up to 150 students present. Voting pads (‘zappers’) are devices which allow a teacher to quickly ask multiple choice questions of their students and to respond rapidly to their answers Niyadurupola, D. G. and Read, D., New Directions in the Teaching of Physical Sciences, 2008, p.27. Read, D., School Sci. Rev., 2010, 91, p.107. Page, E.M. and Read, D., Educ. Chem., 2010, 47, p.183.

24 Use of zappers in undergraduate teaching A-level revision sessions Post-lecture series quiz Integrated into a lecture Polling answers to in-class tests Obtaining student feedback Zappers (electronic voting systems) have been used extensively in UG teaching and outreach

25 What happens to atomic radius as you go across a Period (Left  Right) ? 1.It increases 2.It doesn’t change 3.It decreases Now discuss it…

26 What happens to atomic radius as you go across a Period (Left  Right) ? 1.It increases 2.It doesn’t change 3.It decreases Approach based on the work of Simon Bates at Edinburgh

27 A.I like them – they genuinely help me to learn. B.I like them, but I don’t think they help me to learn. C.I have no view either way. D.I’d prefer not to use them. The student view… After a few goes, what’s your view of the zappers?

28 In-class tests: 12 per year, 10 – 15 questions, usually multiple choice, credit bearing. Done on paper under exam conditions. Answers polled using the zappers. Marking done automatically, paper copy kept in case of dispute. Students receive personalised feedback the same day by e-mail. Personalised, rapid feedback.



31 Based on a list of questions previously used in engineering. Surveys carried out in 1 st, 2 nd and 3 rd year lectures to capture a large sample at each stage. Questions posed in pairs: Practice: Does the feedback you receive help you to improve? Value: How important is it that the feedback you receive helps you to improve? A question of feedback: Practice value surveys.

32 Are you familiar with the learning outcomes for a module? Y1: 2.9 Y2: 2.4 Y3: 2.4 1) Assessments clearly test the learning outcomes in the modules.

33 Difficult by exam 2) All learning outcomes in a typical module are assessed.

34 Y1 - uninformed 3) Module requirements to achieve a 1st, 2:1, 2:2, 3rd and a pass are clear.

35 Effect of in-class tests in Y1? 6) The feedback I receive helps me to improve.

36 8) The marks I receive are typically what I expect them to be.

37 Problems in the lab…

38 Why change our provision? The amount of practical work done by incoming students when at school is variable. Observation of laboratory sessions shows that students tended to ‘ follow the recipe ’. Many students get hung up on the mundane aspects of the procedure. The lab is somewhere that students should be able to build a foundation of confidence.

39 What’s your department’s position regarding online pre-labs? A.We’ve used them for years. B.We introduced them recently. C.We’re working on them now. D.We’re thinking of using them. E.We won’t be using them any time soon.

40 Our approach: Pre-lab Blackboard course. Practical script. Theory videos (Camtasia). Practical techniques videos. Animations. Compulsory quiz.

41 Which statement matches your view of prelabs? A.They help me to prepare for the lab. B.They probably help me but I don’t know it! C.I’m not sure I whether they help me or not. D.I’d learn as much just by reading the script. E.They definitely don’t help me. The student view…

42 Feedback – some quotes Do pre-labs help you to prepare for practicals? YES! Gave us confidence in the lab. Particularly helpful in semester 1 when everything was new and scary. Really useful – makes you read the script and tells you exactly what ’ s being made. Do the videos help you perform lab techniques? YES! You’ve seen someone doing it before you do it yourself. Helps us to understand the script better. Yes, close up clips allow you to see the model way of setting something up. Means you worry less about what to do. Acted as a useful reminder in Sem 2.

43 The Interactive Lab Primer

44 How much practical work did you do at school? A.There was a practical or demonstration every lesson. B.We had a practical or demonstration a couple of times per week. C.We had a practical or demonstration a once per week. D.We rarely did practicals but had lots of demonstrations. E.We rarely did practical work and rarely had demonstrations.

45 What is the role of practical work in schools? Check out Keith Taber’s Endpoint in June’s Education in Chemistry.

46 Further use of video

47 A format for presenting video lectures Andrews, C. J., Brown, R. C., Harrison, C. K., Read, D. and Roach, P. L., New Directions in the Teaching of Physical Sciences, 2010, 6, p.56.

48 What’s your department’s position regarding the recording of lectures? A.We record all lectures. B.We record a number of lectures. C.We record a few lectures. D.We’re thinking of recording lectures. E.We won’t be doing it any time soon.

49 Organic chemistry = problems. Y2 exam performance in January was poor… Remedial work was needed in order to: help students to improve their basic skills in organic chemistry assist them in working effectively on their own boost their confidence and keep them engaged Turning worked examples into self- assessment exercises

50 Set of problems assigned over the Easter holiday. A video mark scheme was produced for self- assessment. Marks were reported back via VLE (+ feedback). Video mark scheme resembles a tutorial. Turning worked examples into self- assessment exercises


52 Feedback from the students was excellent: The resources are fantastic…’ ‘…I feel that I got some decent learning out of this exercise.’ ‘It was a brilliant exercise in covering things I had already understood, whilst simultaneously highlighting things I'd clearly managed to remember or even learn wrong in the first place.’ Turning worked examples into self- assessment exercises: evaluation >8000 words from ~60 students

53 Some students talked about reflection. Improvement in attainment. Won the ‘Most effective use of video in an educational context’ award from the ALT. Further resources are being developed. Turning worked examples into self- assessment exercises: evaluation

54 Teaching innovation at Southampton We now have a team of teaching fellows in the areas of organic and inorganic chemistry. These are subject specialists with a flair for teaching, who are keen to innovate. Established academics are taking up the mantle (e.g. Tablet PCs). Charles Harrison is completing a Masters and will (hopefully!) start a Ph.D soon. What am I up to?

55 Have spotted any glaring errors in any 2011 New Directions Papers? A.Yes B.No C.I haven’t read the 2011 edition yet!


57 Some items to share Some useful Java applets: Particle in a box ( Particle in a 2D box ( Particle in a well ( Copyright free image bank (Phys Chem) Coming soon: A-level organic drag ‘n drop games Acknowledgements

58 The curse of the iPhone…



61 Acknowledgements Prof Gill Reid Dr Jeremy Hinks Prof John Dyke Prof John Evans Prof Phil Gale

62 Working with students 62 They can be talented/ skilled, motivated, hard working, inventive and fun to work with and excellent value for money. They may also have some unusual working practices…

63 Acknowledgements Prof Gill Reid Dr Jeremy Hinks Prof John Dyke Prof John Evans Prof Phil Gale Charles Harrison Chris Andrews Ben Littlefield Rosie Brooks Joanne Boniface Tom Fleming Dom Collis Jon Tootill Anneka McLeod Rob Ballantine Collaborators far and wide… Funders:


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