1 An Open Resource Bank for Interactive Teaching
The JISC-funded ORBIT project develops an “Open Resource Bank for Interactive Teaching” (ORBIT) to promote interactive teaching for primary and secondary schools. ORBIT is aimed at use in formal HE teaching (PGCE), use in training schools and by teacher mentors, as well as continuing professional development for in-service teachers. ORBIT makes existing higher education expertise on teacher education as widely available as possible to other teacher education providers both within HE and otherwise, through
The ORBIT project promotes interactive teaching in schools – teaching that supports active learning. ORBIT illustrates pedagogical principles through concrete lesson plans and ideas. The materials are hands-on, they use actual lesson activities as building blocks, and embed theory within them. ORBIT makes this particular approach – a hallmark of effective teacher education – more accessible and tangible. There is also a significant focus on the use of ICT within mathematics and science teaching, offering pedagogical support where it is especially needed.
ORBIT is for formal HE teaching courses, for teacher mentors, as well as for the continuing professional development of teachers.
Its aims are
- to support learning in mathematics and science to fit well with the prioritisation of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).
- ensuring that relevant and high quality resources from existing and disappearing collections (both produced within HEIs and by practitioners) are made openly available to the teacher education and school teacher communities,
- developing additional materials where these are needed to fill gaps,
- contributing to broad collaboration and synergy in OER on teacher education, both within the UK, and between the UK and other countries, such as the United States, and
- to provide a substantial resource for initial teacher education courses, such as the HE-based PGCE for primary education; secondary mathematics or secondary science as well as school-based teaching programmes.
The Open Resource Bank on Interactive Teaching (ORBIT) supports teaching and learning in a significant part of an initial teacher education course, such as an HE-based 1-year PGCE course in primary education or secondary mathematics or science (or a school-based training programme), primarily focusing on interactive teaching in these two subject areas. Mathematics and science are key curriculum subjects and a focus in this area fits well with the government's current prioritisation of STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics). The ORBIT focusses on practical aspects of interactive teaching and enquiry-based learning, illustrating pedagogical principles through concrete lesson plans and ideas. The ORBIT materials are hands-on, presenting actual activities within lessons as the primary building blocks, with theoretical ideas embedded within these blocks. We seek to make this particular approach – a hallmark of effective teacher education – more accessible and tangible. Within ORBIT, there is also a significant focus on the use of ICT within the subject teaching of mathematics and science, which is an important emerging area, and one which is notoriously lacking in effective pedagogical support.
2 ORBIT developers and contributors
Bjoern Hassler and Sara Hennessy of the University of Cambridge Faculty of Education are the ORBIT project leaders. The resource bank and wiki were collaboratively developed and authored by an expert core team including Teresa Connolly (Research Associate), Caroline Jestaz (Project Manager), Simon Knight, Janet Blair, Roger Frost and Tony Houghton. A number of subject specialist teachers were also contracted to author, adapt or review resources and we are indebted to them too for their professional expertise. Other contributors to specific resources are acknowledged on the relevant pages. Damian Dadswell and Stephen Poole were our MediaWiki developers/designers along with Bjoern Hassler and Simon Knight.
We are very grateful to all those organisations and colleagues in the Faculty and externally who kindly donated their resources and in many cases their time and energy in adapting the resources, user testing the site and participating in our research interviews and survey. Julia Flutter and Teresa Connolly conducted the research.
- http://prod.cetis.ac.uk/projects/1084 (with related projects)
Twitter https://twitter.com/ORBITSTEM and hashtag #orbitstem