Caron Downes, Head of Classics
Over the past year I have been ttrying to find ways to use technology, particularly my i-Pad, in the classroom in a productive manner. I have been using Quick Response (QR) codes to display information in lessosn and to display students’ work. The codes are simple to produce using free online creators and most students have a device that could read them.
I regularly set open-ended homework tasks, particularly for the paralinguistic material in Latin. For these taks my students are very enthusiastic about creating videos and audio clips to show they have read and understood the material. I usually allow a few minutes of ‘show and tell’ of the work students have produced and found they were really keen to see videos others have created. I decvided that it would be motivating for my students if I could display their videos or audio clips on the walls for everyone to watch. I had a private YouTube channel set up by the ICT department at school and through this I was able to use a QR code to link to the YouTube videos to display the work. My students love seeing their work displayed on the walls and I have found their efforts on homework pieces have increased.
In lessons, I have used QR codes to hide information on a topic for the students to find and scan. I have used an outdoor workspace for students to hunt for information on Agricola and the Roman army for Year 10 students who were starting Stage 26 of the Cambridge Latin Course. I created codes with links to Horrible Histories clips on life and punishments in the Roman army and asked students to consider what might happen to Strythio and Modestus if they are caught trying to feel from the camp. I also coded images and information (in English and Latin) about Agricola. This was my first use of QR codes and I asked students to complete exit tickets at the end of the lesson to tell me their thoughts on it. All of the students gave positive feedback about being able to use technology to learn about a new topic and they were pleased that they had been able to find the information at their own pace.
I also created a QR code hunt in an introductory lesson on the Eratosthenes / Lysias case for the OCR Examination Board’s GCSE Greek prose set text.
I QR coded the laws and information about Athenian courts as well as creating some speech from three key characters. I turned the classroom upside down to create the crime scene and hid the QR codes amongst the desks. I then drew two silhouettes onto sugar paper and drew around a student onto the whiteboard as the dead body of Eratosthenes and attached QR coded speech to them. The students then had clipboards with their ‘crime investigation sheets’ to fill in to note the information they had found. The students were really excited and took photographs of the classroom to put onto Twitter for their friends to see. Most importantly, they understood - and could recall all year - the main points of the case, the laws involved and the names of the key characters.
Finally, I have found QR codes are a useful way to summarise information for students to scan and read at their own pace. Now that we have completed Cambridge Latin Course Book 4, we are going to put Salvius on trial in the last lesson of the term with the Year 10 class. The students have been finding the ‘crimes’ Salvius has committed from the stodies in the books and coming up with their case against him. To help them to understand how an ancient law court worked, I drew a simple outline of a court on the board and put all the information about who would attend, how they would dress and how someone might defend themselves on the board. The students then drew a copy of the court and annotaged it with the information which one student would scan at a time. This allowed the students to run the activity at their own pace and they were interested in scanning and reading the information rather than listening to me talking them through it. Again the feedback was very positive and the students were engaged throughout the activity. I have used the same idea with my Year 7 students who are at Stage 10 of the Cambridge Latin Course. I coded the information about the ancient classroom and put the codes on objects around the room and asked students to create an annotated drawing of what they thought an ancient classroom may have looked like based on the information. Whilst this activity engaged the studetns it also meant they were able to practice summarising information which the class has struggled with previously.
All of these activities have produced positive feedback from my students both in the exit tickets at the end of a lesson and in feedback forms at the end of the term. The students are motivated and engaged by using the technology and I have not seen any students taking advantage of using their devices in a lesson to go on the internet. I am pleased with the results of using them so far and it seems one of the most effective ways for me to use technology in the classroom, especially whilst I only have a limited number of devices available to use in lessons.