Module :

Patch Studies

Action Research Diary

Various comments from the different teachers on their experiences when untaking the Patch Studies.

What activities work and Why?

"This module combining all the skills acquired to date, proved very popular with 5th and 6th class alike. The chosen topic of food is an easy one to deliver vocabulary wise. It is of common interest to children all around the world, to the pupils in fifth and in sixth class. Nonetheless, it was necessary to devote a 30-40 minute class to learning the language involved in order to conduct the succeeding activities. This was appreciated by all concerned, as the teacher and pupils could build on the initial language learning through the ICT activities."

"The pupils were delighted with the speed and accuracy with which they were able to launch applications, and work on tasks at hand. "It's so easy now!" was a comment heard several times when using Microsoft Publisher and Microsoft Access, applications that were considerably daunting at the start. It amazed me to see them produce a table in 20 minutes".

"The making of the Carte d'Identité was a very useful activity from the point of vew of the teacher, as it also allowed for a lot of revision of topics previously covered. The pupils enjoyed it, because it involved a bit of creative input on the their part. They enjoyed emperimenting with various borders, fonts etc."

"Importing imagees from a floppy disc (pupils photos) was a new skill, and the pupils mastered it very quickly."

"The module afforted the opportunity to adopt a cross curricular approach and integrate a variety of computer applications. The children were keen to research and learn about various aspects of French culture and lifestyle. The expressed a genuine interest in the everyday life of their French peers."

"It is important that the teacher helped the children to categorise and put parameters in place for their work and gave them guidelines for their research. Otherwie, a lot of time could be spent browsing the WWW resource books."

"The chance to integrate different aspects of ICT was keenly embraced. When writing the one page magazine, their inhibitions at using the foreign language seemed to disappear having enjoyed the success of lessons 1 to 3 and the production of such a wealth of material."

What is not helping and Why?

"Unfortunately, the fifth class is still struggling with the language basics and many pupils found the Word Processing exercises too long and difficult. They were daunted by the amount of text and needed more than 30 minutes to complete the exercises. It was necessary to adjust the length of text given."

 "The ratio of pupils to PC was difficult to manage. Using Microsoft Publisher is so exciting that some of the groups of 4 wanted to subdivide into groups of two. Fortunately, this was possible in most cases although it meant that more time was given to accommodate the class in the computer room."

 "The Internet connection was unreliable and had to be abandoned on the day for which these activities were planned, because we could not get a dial-up connection. The rota system required needs to be so strict time-wise that each group gets very little time indeed. Co-ordinating the activities in Ireland and in Germany were not completely successful."

"School events meant that this module, like others, was quite disrupted. Two weeks elapsed for the classes due to other events such as school tours, camogie final, camogie final victory party, teacher on course days, in-service days, SIP meeting, unexpected visitor to the class. The momentum of the Patch Study was lost somewhat."

 Other Observations (benefits, integration..)

"The pupils are extremely proud of their language and ICT skills. The most unlikely pupils were reaching for dictionaries and practising reading their German compositions aloud. In this module, it was particularly gratifying to truly witness how the various ICT equipment can bring communication alive."

"The patch study module provided an opportunity to consolidate computer skills learned to date and I could forsee this format being useful in future years when the children had mastered a variety of computer applications."

"The idea of a Patch Study is a good one. It is particularly suitable to the last term, as an interesting way of revising and building on the work done throughout the year. It is important to pick an interesting topic to start with, otherwise 'burnout' ensues very quickly!"

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