Sunday, 3 November 2019

Paper saving ideas

For so many good reasons, we could all do with using a little less paper.   Here are a few ideas of how technology can help.

Home/school communication

Rather than printing letters, newsletters or homework intended for home, why not use an electronic format such as Seesaw (or Parentmail, ClassDojo etc)?  Sharing documents with parents is easy with Seesaw, and you don't end up with soggy letters left in the bottom of school bags.  Parents can open documents sent home via phones, tablets or computers, and the success rate of a letter reaching its intending audience must surely be comparable to traditional methods.


Electronic handouts

Schools spend so much time and money printing handouts from lessons or training.   Why not share the document electronically instead?   Seesaw, Google Classroom and SharePoint all allow staff and pupils to access documents with unlimited pages and in full colour, without any wasted paper.   Documents can also include links to websites, videos or quizzes, with much more functionality than a paper based document.   Many people prefer to read a paper based version of a document - I understand this completely, but many people prefer (or are happy with) an electronic version, and if people desperately require a paper based copy, they can print it themselves.


Electronic worksheets/writing frames

Teachers often create or use paper based 'worksheets', often providing an element of scaffolding for the writing process.   Such resources are often electronic anyway, so why not give pupils access to an electronic version of the worksheet instead?  This can be done via Seesaw, Google Classroom or Sharepoint.   In addition to saving paper, pupils get the added benefit of having features such as text-to-speech synthesis, spell-checks and word banks.   Apps such as 'Book Creator' can also be used to share electronic resources with pupils.

Alternatives to printing pupil work for school exercise books

Many staff and pupils print work to be trimmed and stuck into exercise books.  Such printed work is often in full colour and, as the printed version is paper based, missing any features of the original document such as animations or video.   An alternative is to use an 'electronic exercise book' such as Google Classroom or Seesaw.  Here, pupils can post their work to their class, and the teacher is able to leave feedback via written, audio or video comments.   Naturally, teachers are often concerned about having evidence in exercise books; however, a short note, directing a parent or other member of staff to Seesaw or Google Classroom for a particular piece of work is an alternative to printing.

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Developing mouse skills

With tablets in such wide use, mouse skills aren't perhaps as fluent as they were in the pre-tablet era.  As such, here is a list of sites useful for developing mouse skills:


FunBrain

Swing Fling

Move the mouse to swing the bird(?) https://www.funbrain.com/games/swing-fling

Pig Pile

Click to remove the objects https://www.funbrain.com/games/pig-pile

Frost Bite

A little bit harder!  Click to stick out a tongue and catch a snowflake https://www.funbrain.com/games/frost-bite

Simon Says

Click the eyes on the monster to match the mirror https://www.funbrain.com/games/simon-sees



Jacob's Lessons

Colouring Book

Move the mouse to reveal the picture http://www.jacobslessons.com/coloringbook.htm

Bumblebee

Move the mouse to the flowers http://www.jacobslessons.com/bee1.htm



BBC

A Year on Your Farm

Click and drag activities https://www.bbc.co.uk/cbeebies/games/down-on-the-farm-a-year-on-your-farm

Farm jigsaw

Click and drag the pieces to the correct position https://www.bbc.co.uk/cbeebies/puzzles/down-on-the-farm-jigsaw

My World Kitchen

Clicking activities https://www.bbc.co.uk/cbeebies/games/my-world-kitchen-game

Saturday, 24 November 2018

Exploring Chromebook accessibility settings

We are really enjoying using Chromebooks, for many reasons including:
  • excellent battery life
  • quick login
  • lightweight OS with no 'updating in progress' messages
  • ....and many more reasons.
Accessibility features are, of course, essential for users to successfully use a device, and we have begun exploring the wide range of features offered by Chrome OS.  We would very much like to hear of any other accessibility features that you have found to be useful.

Turning on Accessibility



Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Which e-assessment/portfolio system?

Over the last few years, we have been searching for the perfect electronic assessment and recording system.   To help us collect our thoughts, I've put this post together, considering some of the pros and cons for some of the systems we have explored.   I will be adding to this post over the forthcoming weeks as we explore further.

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Interesting places to visit on Google Maps

I'm in the process of putting together a collection of interesting places to visit using Google Maps.

The locations should be set to open in street view format for easy access by students.

If using an iPad, the 360 degree views can be explored by moving the iPad around, giving a 'virtual reality'-like experience.



Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Iris Connect - getting going

After several months now of exploring using Iris Connect, this post is to share my thoughts so far.   Iris Connect is a platform for filming, and subsequently reviewing, teaching and learning in the classroom.  The hardware element consists of either one or two iPads, and either one or two iPod Touches.  The iPad (or iPads) record video; if two iPads are used then the video is synchronised, giving the viewer multiple views of the classroom.  The iPod Touches are used to record audio, the audio being synchronised with the video.  One iPod touch can be used for recording sound from the presenter, the other can be placed on a table to record pupil voices.  The iPads come with tripods to allow flexible positioning.  Also available is a ‘live view’ 360 degree hardware device that I haven’t tried just yet.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Teaching Creative Media - a reflection after the first year

I have been privileged to have had the opportunity to teach Creative iMedia this  year for the first time.  This post describes some of the software applications and hardware that we have used in meeting the requirements of the three units taught this year.  For more details of the course, including all of the units, visit the OCR website: http://www.ocr.org.uk/qualifications/vocational-qualifications-qcf-creative-imedia-level-1-certificate-04305/

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Positive impact of game making part II - trip to Sweden

On 24th April 2017, I was privileged to visit Gothenburg, Sweden as part of the game project. I have blogged about the project previously - link to my previous blog post. The Games Project is an action research, collaborative project between Sweden and the UK, funded by the Erasmus+ programme – more information is available from the website:  http://www.gamesforlearning.se
Whilst at a first look it may seem that developing computer programming skills is at the heart of the project, this is far from the sentiments portrayed by everyone involved; first and foremost is the desire for students to develop social skills, including teamwork and respect.  The game making process also gives students opportunities to take a real pride in their achievements and, perhaps most importantly, develop their own self esteem, via making games or supporting peers in developing skills.  Championing the project is teacher Tom Boardman.  Tom has a really useful and interesting blog, which can be read at: https://mrbgamesproject.wordpress.com

Thursday, 27 April 2017

The Positive Impact of Game Making

Today, I was privileged to attended a workshop organised by Stony Dean School, entitled:

Understanding and developing the use of digital games as a pedagogical tool in the classroom

The workshop featured presenters taking part in 'The Games Project'.  The Games Project is an action research, collaborative project between Sweden and the UK, funded by the Erasmus+ programme - more information is available from the website:  http://www.gamesforlearning.se The ethos of the project is centred around 'Maker Culture' (Maker Education Initiative – Every child a maker - http://makered.org), following the assertion that if pupils are makers they are more actively engaged.  In this project, such making is facilitated by computer programming to create and play digital games (artefacts).

Monday, 24 April 2017

Essential iPad apps for supporting SEN

App review sites and sites describing apps are found quite widely when browsing the Internet with just a quick search.  Also, to make life easier for educators, many kind people have created 'app wheels'; app wheels are another great way in which a range of apps can be explored, linked to areas of learning.  Here is a link to an example app wheel for pupils with ASD

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Scribbling on a PDF using Smart Notebook

In this short (3 minute) video clip, I  demonstrate how to import a PDF document into Smart Notebook.  Why would you want to do this?  Many teachers have PDF documents downloaded from a variety of sources; with such downloads, teachers may wish to add notes, labels or highlights.

Please note: whilst I discuss 'editing' a PDF in the video, what I really mean is 'scribbling over the top of'; to edit, tools such as Adobe Acrobat (not Adobe Reader) are required.


   SaveSave

Friday, 10 February 2017

Word Aware - electronic resources

Word Aware is an evidence-based approach to Teaching Vocabulary.  It is a ‘Universal’ intervention, designed for all pupils.  It is intended to be part of the life of the school, embedded rather than arbitrary.  Related text books include the  Language for Thinking series, which help teach increasingly complex questions.

Monday, 2 January 2017

The amazing Class Dojo

I've just received our 'School Report' for the year from Class Dojo.  The highlights include:
  • 17 teachers in our school used ClassDojo
  • 7 parents connected to our school
  • 25 Story posts
  • 1,628 moments celebrated
  • On Task was the most awarded skill
If you've never heard of Class Dojo before, it is an online tool for celebrating the success of your pupils.  Incredibly for such a feature rich tool, it is completely free, and can be accessed from a PC or using the Class Dojo app on tablets.