Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Kahoot! - Create a quiz

Quizzes in the classroom are great fun for the kids - use them as lesson starters or for plenary. I was recently introduced to Kahoot! for use on the iPad by the Kahoot! team themselves via twitter and I have to say Ive not used any other quiz software since!

Its free, simple to use, and designed with education in mind. It appeals to all ages of student, and with a timed challenge for each question and a leaderboard its guaranteed to engage and motivate your entire class. Whenever Ive used this with teachers excitement runs high!

Because its web-based, and not yet an app it means you have greater flexibility in using it. So, for instance, the teacher or a group of kids can create a quiz on their desktop computer - mac or PC and then ask the class to access the quiz from their mobile devices - android or iOS iPad/ iPod. Kahoot! behaves like a voting system and answers are sent back to the teachers device screen and projected for all to see.
The results can also be downloaded by the teacher for knowledge based evidence purposes.

Find out more by visiting the Kahoot! website and try it for yourself.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

NEW Serail Mash Reading resource

2Simple Logo
Serial Mash 

The ideal solution for both teachers and students!
Serial Mash is much more than just a collection of e-books. It has been tailor-made for use in educational settings.
Teachers get access  to Serial Mash a full half-term in advance of the students, giving you plenty of time to plan. You'll find Serial Mash in the'Teachers Tab' inside Purple Mash.

Teacher Release: 09/12/2013
Student Release : 24/02/2014
What makes Serial Mash special?
  • The first series of books are written by award winning children's author Jonny Zucker
  • Each chapter comes with National Curriculum 2014 ready teacher resources
  • Each chapter comes with a range of fun and creative educational activities from Purple Mash
  • You can adjust the formatting to make it more accessible for students with special educational needs
  • Children can access it from school or from home
  • It works on whiteboards, desktops, laptops, and tablets
  • It has a built-in word look-up to expand vocabulary
  • It builds into your school's own digital library!
"Jonny Zucker is our school's author-in-residence and he came in to give us a preview of Serial Mash. The kids loved the stories and the activities. I was particularly impressed by how engaged they were with the narrative. They thought the game-show style comprehension quiz was fab and they did some amazing extended writing work. The whole school is now eagerly awaiting February!"  
Ms Jayasuriya, Head Teacher, Kenilworth Primary School

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Use QR Codes to celebrate work

Ive just stumbled across this idea on twitter this morning for a creative use of QR codes in primary schools. Thanks to @TomBrush1982 for the idea.

If you want to share a child's success or achievement easily with parents, what better way to do it than to generate a QR code linked to that piece of work. Stick the code on the postcard and send it home. Parents can then scan the code with a Smartphone or other device with a free scanning app and view their child's work. 
A brilliant and fun idea!

Courtesy of @TomBrush1982 via twitter

Example postcard using Pages template - doesn't need to be this fancy just use a standard postcard as above.

Some more great ideas here for using QR codes, in business and education but a talented, creative teacher can adapt those ideas easily to make the classroom an exciting and engaging place to learn!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

2014 Computing Curriculum

Most of you reading this will know that schools in England are expected to introduce the new Computing Curriculum by September 2014. That gives schools this academic year to get to grips with what is expected in each phase.
Do these words leave you scratching your head in frustration? Dont worry, I feel exactly the same! 
  • algorithm
  • ambiguous
  • non-ambiguous
  • debug
  • program
  • object orientated language
  • Java Script
  • non-sequential
If, like many other teachers, this is something you've never had to teach before and are left feeling confused and/ or overwhelmed by what you have read so far, you may find this outline useful.

And if you're still bewildered by some of the terminology then you might like to consider some of these products to help you deliver it.

  • Free until October 2014 to all schools - click the link to find out how you can access this in school right now. 
  • Includes a wide-ranging Scheme of Work, providing teachers with a comprehensive coverage of the new coding aspects of the updated Computing curriculum for Year 1 to Year 6.
  • Teaches pupils how to create and publish their own apps and games, which can be shared with parents and friends. 
  • Designed to stretch upper primary children by offering the option to Code using elements of JavaScript (an industry standard).
iPad apps

Allows you to program from EYFS using the simple keypad to upper KS2 programming Roamer to react to its environment through the addition of sensors. 

PC/Mac computers:

NC Computing Curriculm 2014 Requirements:
Key stage 1
Pupils should be taught to:

  • understand what algorithms are; how they are implemented as programs on digital devices; and that programs execute by following precise and unambiguous instructions
  • create and debug simple programs
  • use logical reasoning to predict the behaviour of simple programs
  • use technology purposefully to create, organise, store, manipulate and retrieve digital content
  • recognise common uses of information technology beyond school
  • use technology safely and respectfully, keeping personal information private; identify where to go for help and support when they have concerns about content or contact on the internet or other online technologies. 
Key stage 2
Pupils should be taught to:

  • design, write and debug programs that accomplish specific goals, including controlling or simulating physical systems; solve problems by decomposing them into smaller parts
  • use sequence, selection, and repetition in programs; work with variables and various forms of input and output
  • use logical reasoning to explain how some simple algorithms work and to detect and correct errors in algorithms and programs
  • understand computer networks including the internet; how they can provide multiple services, such as the world wide web; and the opportunities they offer for communication and collaboration
  • use search technologies effectively, appreciate how results are selected and ranked, and be discerning in evaluating digital content
  • select, use and combine a variety of software (including internet services) on a range of digital devices to design and create a range of programs, systems and content that accomplish given goals, including collecting, analysing, evaluating and presenting data and information
  • use technology safely, respectfully and responsibly; recognise acceptable/unacceptable behaviour; identify a range of ways to report concerns about content and contact.

DFES © Crown copyright 2013

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Downloading YouTube videos to mac/ iPad

Since Apple have put a stop to downloading YouTube videos to iPad using the iCab Mobile app Ive started to use this workaround. In my lessons we use YouTube videos as much as possible for making the news, voice-overs for adverts, weather forecasting, exploration, science transcripts and much more. Great for speaking & listening, working on script writing and performance.

I now use MacTubes on my Mac to download the video as an mp4. Just click download on the web page and the app is downloaded to your downloads folder. Double click to open the app.
A window something like this will appear.

In the YouTube search box enter the URL of the video you want to download.
The video icon will appear in the MacTubes window- as above.
Simply right click this and choose Download mp4 from the options. The downloaded video, for some reason, dropped onto my desktop, not into my downloads folder - easy to locate though.

My next step is to send this to my iPad/s. I now use Photo Transfer for this purpose - so easy. Click here to read a previous blog entry on how to do this.
Now I can access the video in my Photos on the iPad and this makes it automatically available in the iMovie app to edit and record voiceovers.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Sharing Class Books on iPad

The class have used the Book Creator app (£2.99) to make Books but they want to be able to share them with other children in their class and between classes and different year groups.
We decided to export the books to a teacher Dropbox account and from there copied the link to the clipboard. This is it – Where I Live
This next book example is from a hairdressing department in a college.
As a teacher I’m interested in how we can now share that link so that all the children / students can open the book on an iPad in iBooks. It should be as simple as tapping the link in this blog and choosing download then open in iBooks. You don’t need to have a Dropbox account to do this. But the teacher/ tutor will need a common place to host the URLs for the books. 
A class blog is perfect for this or a school website. The other way to share might be through the use of a QR code which adds an extra fun dimension to learning.
This next example book about WWII is created in Creative Book Builder – again, simply publish to a Dropbox account and then share the link from there. Tapping the URL in a blog will allow you to open the book in iBooks.
There are book apps for iPad available that allow you to export a URL directly from the book which cuts out the step involving Dropbox.
Check out the My Story app – you can choose the option to copy the book link or email it and then start creating your QR codes.
Try it now and let me know how you get on.
Using QR codes in your class to share books
Link the QR Code to a book URL as in the example above – the Red Laser QR app (free) gives you the option to generate a QR using a URL from within the app itself.
Simply print the QR code, laminate and stick them around the classroom on the walls to make your own learning quest or adventure/ hunt.

Sharing Sound files on iPad

I’ve been working with a class recording poetry -speaking & listening, poetry & performance.
1. We used AudioBoo to record the poems and then clicked on the export arrow to copy the link.
This can now be pasted into a blog or onto a website or you could create a QR code to open it.
Click on the link below to listen to the poem.
2. Another way to share sounds is to create the poem in GarageBand, export to sound cloud and open the sound in the SoundCloud app. A teacher could have a single email address eg. Class4@gmail.com that children use to log in to the account.
Castle Poem – SoundCloud
To alter privacy settings in SoundCloud, log in online. If you click on 'my stream' you can make specific recordings public or private. You can also delete recordings from here and share with others.
3. A third great way is to record a sound/s in Book Creator. Teacher sends to Dropbox and copies the link from within Dropbox. Create a QR code using this URL ( red laser) and children can scan & listen to the instruction or sound.
4. The Audio Note app is simple for use on the iPad (£2.99). You can paste additional notes into the area & record your instructions/ ideas.
Notes can be saved in iCloud or on the iPad and shared across devices or computers either by email or wifi. Useful 'how to notes' here.

To put an AudioNote into DropBox:

  1. Install the DropBox App on your iPad Dropbox - App Store
  2. Open the note you want to transfer in AudioNote
  3. Hit the Share button
  4. Choose 'Open In..'
  5. Select DropBox from list of Apps that can open AudioNote files.
  6. DropBox will open and ask where you want to save the file.

To open a DropBox file in AudioNote:

  1. Find the audio file in DropBox and hit the Share button 
  2. Select AudioNote in the list of apps that can open it.
  3. It will be added to your file list in AudioNote as a new file.
5. To keep things simple you could just use the camera app in video mode and record performance poetry or similar. Cover up the camera so its just audio. This saves back to the camera roll and you can email the file and link it to a QR code as above.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Specialist Crafts Animation Workshops

Ive recently been involved in delivering taster animation workshops to secondary teachers from Art and ICT departments. Many of these teachers have never attempted stop-motion animation with their students.
Its amazing what can be achieved with good, intuitive software in just 2 hours. With a little more time to focus on sound, these projects would be brilliant!

If you would like to find out more about stop-motion animation and how to get started in your school then check out the Specialist Crafts website for more information about their creative courses they run across the UK throughout the year.
It's an inexpensive way to get you trained up and you come away with a £75 voucher to spend on resources in your school! - exceptional value for money.

You can view recent projects here on YouTube and maybe share them with your class to give you some ideas. I also have a blog page devoted to animation with links to additional resources here.

Follow Specialist Crafts on twitter to find out more: @SpecCrafts

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Make your own talking books with a QR Code

Image Karen Gruener
This is a great idea for primary schools, and what a motivator to get children to read! Thanks to karen Gruener for the idea and the SnapGuide she created.
More details here on SnapGuide:
1. Log into a google or Youtube account before you begin.
2. Use the iPad video camera to record the child reading the full story. If you dont want the child to be seen you can cover the camera up.
3. Go to photo gallery/ photos on the iPad and locate the recording.
4. In the top right corner click the arrow jumping out of the box – export option and choose Youtube.
5. In Youtube add a title, description, tags & click unlisted – click publish.
6. Log in to your Youtube account – locate your upload, click info and settings – grab the URL – highlight and save the URL.
7. Create a QR code – you will need a QR code generator to do this. There are lots available online – do a google search for one - Red Laser is great for this, easy to use and free. To generate a code, paste the URL of the Youtube video into the relevant box and click generate.
8. Copy and paste the QR code ready for you to print it – its a good idea to add the child’s name underneath it.
9. Print – Cut out and tape the QR code to the front cover of the book.
10. Use a QR scan app to scan the code on the front cover of the book and listen to the story.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Sharing class books created in IBA

For those teachers wondering how they can share an iBooks Author project with their
class this is a simple solution.

Lets say that a student has created a book but you don't want to publish it to the iBooks store. However, you do want to make this book available to other students - to download, share and read it.  

  1. Export the book as an iBook from the Share menu in iBooks Author and the finished book will have the .ibook file extension. 
  2. Next, upload this copy to Dropbox and share the link with your students.  
  3. Place the file into the Public folder in Dropbox, this takes less clicks to download. 
  4. Finally, students need to visit the Dropbox site in Safari on their iPads and click the option to open the file in iBooks.
  5. All students now have access to the finished book and can read it in iBooks on their own iPad.

Snapguide - create & share How to's

Anyone involved in Education and training will love this free app. Its simple but oh so effective. Students (and adults) of all ages can choose to create a guide about something or learn how to do something by reading somebody else's step-by-step how to guide.

Finding the category of guides you are interested in is simple too - simply filter by Topic. 

Download from the App store here

Perfect for explaining science experiments, maths concepts, writing instructions. Learn how to create, build, make or draw something or use a particular technique. With built in photo-editing features you can now rotate and enhance images as you write your guide. 
Snapguide is also available as Web2.0 software and works on a computer as well as an iPad. Students can choose to create a guide from their PC, Mac, iPhone or iPad and learning can take place anywhere, anytime from a mobile device. Brilliant for assessment opportunities and revision.

Check out How to Grow Cress by Barbara Ainscough on Snapguide.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Example iPad policies

If you're working in a school or college environment and using mobile devices like iPads, then inevitably you will be expected to have a policy on various aspects of iPad use.

Many thanks to Simon Elliott  at Mounts Bay Academy for sharing these policies and other pdfs such as essential apps and lesson plans.

Simon Elliott is happy for anyone to use the documents as long as credit is given to Mounts Bay Academy and Simon's website thefreemac.com.

Courtesy of Mounts Bay Academy

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Scratch programming - Red Nose Day

Scratch Your Nose
Hope that you get your school involved!

Why not get your students and colleagues creating Scratch based Red Nose Day games?
To support Red Nose Day
Get students programming in Scratch
 Have Fun!
Volunteer University Students and school students have started to add resources and links on www.scratchyournose.com please register to offer your support and get updates.Inspire
Students at Highfields School, Wolverhampton, supported by Inspire will be live streaming out support activities during the day, schedule tbc. 
scratch your nose thumbnail

Why not download a poster from here, print it out and put it up in your school.

How many students can you get programming this week?
Andrew Goff
Director of Education
Proud supporters of scratchyournose.com
In support of Comic Relief, 
registered charity 326568 (England/Wales); SC039730 (Scotland)

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Padagogy Wheel

Thanks to Allan Carrington - University of Adelaide for this idea. 

I find the wheel really useful and the process of Analyse - Evaluate - Create - Understand - Apply - is already very familiar to the teachers I work with.  
More information about this wheel, including a link to the app wheel with hyperlinks to each of the apps in the iTunes store can be found here.

Allan put this wheel together several years ago so you may not agree with his app choices but thats no problem! Simply substitute your own favourite apps into the wheel to create your own bespoke pedagogy for your school.

Click on the image and zoom to increase the size.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Blogging Tools for the iPad

If you like the idea of introducing your class to blogging but are not sure where to start or which tools to use then take a look at the following suggestions - all three blogging tools are FREE.

Traditionally Ive been a big fan of Blogger, which is what Im using right now. I was introduced to Wordpress on the iPad and found that to be equally useful, and tend to use one or the other when Im training KS3 and KS4 teachers and students.

However, Kidblog was drawn to my attention just the other day and this looks fantastic for primary pupils. What I particularly like is the ability to embed a host of multimedia resources such as video, images and audio - Wordpress is not so straightforward with handling video, but perhaps thats the way youd prefer it as a teacher?

Kidblog is designed for K-12 teachers who want to provide each student with an individual blog - but having looked at it Id be more than happy to use with College students too. 
Students publish posts and participate in academic discussions within a secure classroom blogging community. Teachers maintain complete control over student blogs and user accounts.

  • create classroom discussions
  • learn digital citizenship
  • practice writing skills
  • create an e-portfolio
  • reflect on learning
  • formatively assess writing
Kidblog makes it easy to publish rich multimedia content - embed slideshows, videos, podcasts, artwork, Google Docs etc. all in a single, secure e-portfolio that you’ll be proud to show parents and colleagues.
Teachers control all privacy settings, everything is moderated by you, so nothing gets published until you decide. 

If you feel youre ready to get those kids of yours writing for a real purpose and audience then maybe its time to download a FREE blogging app and get started.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

New Stylus for iPad

I had the pleasure of working on the TTS Group Stand at the acclaimed Education ICT Bett Show this year (Jan 30 - Feb 1 2013).

TTS have just released a new set of affordable resources for the iPad in schools.

Poppy drawn with iCrayon in Brushes app
Something I almost overlooked, but now Im convinced I could not work without in a classroom, are the new range of styluses. Check out the iCrayon at just £5.99 or the Paint brush stylus for something even more sophisticated with an interchangeable head.

Once you pick up the iCrayon you will be reluctant to put it down again. Not only do I use it for drawing and painting but also find myself using it across a whole range of apps including Explain Everything, Showbie and Bee-bot.

This is my first attempt at painting a flower using the Brushes App, so much easier to do with an iCrayon than your finger! - have to say Im quite pleased with the result......

Just one last thing I need to do - get my class set of iCrayons ordered! 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

FREE Collins Big Cat iPad apps

Exciting news - Collins Big Cat iPad apps are now FREE to download!
Collins Big Cat apps, created with Shoo Fly, help to aid language acquisition with an animated book, containing audio and sound effects. They have a simple 'Story Creator' feature, so children can record their own narration and play it back as they read the book. 
Download here