Do You Wonder?

I have a confession to make.  I am a BBC-oholic.  I think that they have produced, and continue to produce, many resources that help make teaching more engaging.  Their resources for primary schools are used widely but with changes to the curriculum over recent years they have been chasing concrete information from teachers so that they can continue to create content that could be used in the classroom.  They ask teachers to help them with this and give us the grand title of “BBC Learning Consultant”.  Our job is simple, to give feedback on current projects as well as to share changes to the curriculum and our profession in good time for the BBC to act upon.  This is not an easy task, many is the time we have sat around saying unhelpful things like “well, some teachers might use that as their topic,” and “the resources need to be open ended and easily link to other things.”  Super helpful, obviously!

In 2009 I was involved in a project which introduced me to the BBC Learning in the North team, I’m proud to be a small part of this team now and love it when the email pings in asking for involvement with a new project.  I try to share the projects around school with teachers who may have more experience than me in that area of learning.  The opportunity to be part of a professional discussion relating to content that may be available in the future via the BBC is too good to miss out on.  I find that the opportunity to pose in their swanky Salford Quays office is also too good to miss out on!

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Posing with a pillar.

Something that always seems to come out of every meeting is the fact that teachers want open ended resources that they can use in any way they want.  Prescriptive lesson plans are out, and in needs to come content that can be used across the curriculum, creatively, and in whatever way the teachers see fit.  We have been giving this message for a while, and as they say, good things come to those who wait.

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Click the above photos to go to the iWonder home page.

In the words of Chris Sizemore, executive editor, “BBC iWonder provides thought-provoking answers to the questions sparked in your everyday life”.  A very simple quote to describe what is quickly becoming a vast resource for teachers and children to access.  It was launched with a WW1 slant and now has content linking to many areas of the curriculum with much more content in the pipeline.  I took a couple of Year 6 children to an initial meeting about the iWonder concept where they created their own guide and were filmed working on it as well as discussing how they had chosen the content for it.  Creating your own guides is a concept that would be useful for schools, this potentially could be a feature in the future but there are no promises from the BBC on this.  The guides are available online, across all platforms, and open up many opportunities for learning.  I particularly love that each audio part of the guide comes with a pdf transcript which is great to support your visual learners as well as your auditory ones.  They can be used to encourage the children to generate their own questions as well as to involve them in making discoveries more frequently.  Something that we, as educators, know is an important facet of learning.  Ownership.

Take a look for yourself, and you will see that the possibilities to enhance the learning of the children in your class are phenomenal.  The best thing about it for me is that there are no prescriptive lesson plans.  Simply, do with it what you wish for your learners.  Let them wonder.

Further links to check out:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/learningzone/clips/public-art-and-perspective-in-blackpool/12601.html

http://www.bbc.co.uk/learningzone/clips/public-art-juame-plensas-dream/12597.html

http://www.bbc.co.uk/learningzone/clips/public-art-in-sheffield/12599.html

The first time I was ever invited to join a BBC discussion resulted in these films being made.  The brief was to create films that would help the children to have a sense of place, specifically in the North.  My love of sculpture must have come across well and the decision to create these films was made.  The Blackpool one features children from our school.