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Jun 03

Sinatra Light

Posted by: ben

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The first year that I worked at Learning Curve Education I developed a program called Sinatra. This was an amazing forward planning tool for primary school teachers. You could do virtually anything you want with it - and that was part of the problem. The tool needed quite a bit of time to get to learn how to use it, and even though we provided a lot of video tutorials, teachers were not as ICT literate 7 years ago as they are today.

Of course many teachers didn't see the point - why do I have to trawl a database of over 13,000 pupil activities and experiences all linked in to the 5-14 arrangements when I can just photocopy my plan from last year?

Now everything is changing: 5-14 is going and the new Curriculum for Excellence with its new "philosophy" mean that everyone needs to go back to the drawing board with regards to plans.

Rich tasks within meaningful contexts embracing different areas of the curriculum and incorporating Formative Assessment techniques mean that photocopying last year's plan is no longer an option (although it shouldn't ever have been!).

I have long considered that Sinatra could have been improved by removing 2/3rds of the functionality and focusing on the core production of rich plans - this was going to be called Sinatra Light. But with the imminent demise of  5-14, it made no sense to further develop an application which was built around it, so Sinatra Light never saw the light.

Now however, as part of our new suite of resources to support the new Curriculum for Excellence we will be producing a new planning tool. It won't be Sinatra, but will incorporate the best bits of Sinatra, and it will help Primary and Secondary teachers to plan for the new curriculum.



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