Tag Archives: ICT

Weeknotes – Week 6

Here’s what’s been going on this week.

  • I bought a ukulele. This bad boy is winging its way to me as we speak. It’s a bit of a risk as I haven’t played this model, but Ukulele Hunt highly recommend it and it’s not stocked in any shop in Scotland. Hope it’s as good as it sounds on youtube!!
  • Digital leaders are nearing completion of episode one of our podcast, which will be available to listen to from here.
  • Another of our digital leaders has completed her wiki of useful websites for nursery!
  • I had an attainment meeting with my brilliant HT Fiona discussing my forward plan and attainment within the class. This was great, so much better than being given a feedback sheet about my forward plan and as the meeting was in real time, rather than paper 2.0. If there was anything either of us were unsure of we could discuss it…there and then! Simple, but so effective.
  • Sadly I missed our CPD about probability with John Sexton the staff who were able to attend said it was really good, and I’m looking forward to the next CPD session, and looking at the presentation which went along with John’s CPD.
  • I had a lesson observation this week for which I was really nervous. That too was about probability, and for me the most interesting thing was using a ‘What do we know..?’ type questions in the starter and subsequently changing my groupings ‘on the fly’ as one child answered brilliantly and could clearly do a more challenging task. This ‘what do we know?’ start is one I also used in an IDL lesson on Monday – and helped me to create an independent working group who developed the task further and at a greater pace.
  • I discovered that if your Step-Daughter is involved in a house fire, and the person whose house she is in doesn’t give you any details about the fire, you can request and receive a copy of the fire report from Lothian and Borders Fire Service by e-mailing them. A really efficient service, albeit one I hope you never need to use.
  • I was really pleased with 8 of my children choosing to present their poetry work in a poster/book style this week. At the start of the year, they would all have chosen to use a computer, as I feel it was a bit of a novelty. Now they are viewing ICT as the tool it is in their learning toolbox and are making decisions for themselves on whether it is the tool they want for a particular task! You can see the work, ICT based and paper based here.

I’m on half-term break next week – well I’m off on Monday anyway.

Weeknotes -2013, week 4.

Here’s what’s been going on this week.

  • I attended some training about teaching fractions, decimals and percentages and was introduced to the Scottish Survey of Literacy and Numeracy. It was interesting looking at the survey and discussing it’s implications. However, having taught in a top down system for many years, I wonder if there is a case for national expectations for attainment being made more explicit.
  • I also attended lesson two of our Ukulele training. This was great fun again, and I loved playing on the concert Uke – watch out music shops of Edinburgh – it had a wonderful tone. I’m looking forward to beginning the lessons with my class.
  • I’ve been reading a lot of work on the Learning Spy. I’m finding it thought-provoking stuff and it’s fitting in nicely with the work we are doing with the raising attainment group in West Lothian. I tried out the who would lessons from this page and was pleased with the resulting discussions in the class.
  • I have had some good discussions with colleagues about differentiation (maybe on the back of my reading of the above). I feel differentiation is not about groupings in a class,  it’s more about having different expectations of outcomes from different pupils and creating opportunities for more ‘open learning’ and sharing of learning. Children need to be given the chance to experience all the learning available, not have it ‘trimmed down’ to ‘suit their needs’ (whatever that patronising, yet often heard, phrase might mean).
  • I have signed up for a MOOC Elearning and Digital Cultures which begins next week – hopefully time will allow me to complete the course watch this space!
  • Digital leaders have decided to create a podcast, rather than vodcast and have made up some great interview questions to ask the teachers. Hopefully we will launch episode 1 soon!
  • Sadly Frank Keating died this week, adding to CMJ and Tony Greig dying within the last month. Whilst not knowing them personally I know their work intimately and I will miss reading and listening to them.
  • I updated our school resources site to include the SSLN work and also the Ukulele presentations we have been following in our lessons.

Blogging.

I love the idea of children blogging (and our digital leaders are proving they do too!). The thought of children writing and sharing their work with each other is a major positive of the ‘internet age’ I feel. The fact that children can have an immediate audience for their writing and can interact with each other’s writing is so far removed from life when I was in school (which was not quite in the Dark Ages).

One of the features of blogging I’m trying to develop with my class is the quality of their comments. Commenting on a blog post was on of the tasks our digital leaders had to do as part of their interview process. The comments they wrote (using paper 1.0 and pencil 2.0) were great, but too often comments are not written on the blog.

I have created a website www.commentsbykids.com and a twitter account @commentbykids to promote high quality commenting by children and share these comments around the world.

I aim to use it to inspire my children onwards to the great comments I know they are capable of.

It would be great if you or your digital leaders found the time to add some of the awesome comments from your class blog.

Digital Leaders @Uphall

After attending Naace’s amazing 3rd Millennium hothouse event in Crewe over the summer, one of the things I was keen to start at Uphall was creating a digital leaders group. It was the knowledge, enthusiasm and energy of @shellibb @chrismayoh and @lagerama who gave a wonderful presentation at which convinced us to give it a go at Uphall.

For anyone who is unsure of what a digital leader is, have a look at Shelli’s work here

The first step in selecting our Digi Leaders was to announce our intention in assembly and ask the children to apply online for a position. I created a simple presentation and online google form to collect the information, and you can see these below.

Once the children had completed the application, we made time for the HT (@fiona_macphail) and myself to interview them. We drafted 4 questions and shared them with the children the day before their interview. Having Fiona on board was great as it made things very ‘special’ for the children, being interviewed by the HT

The questions we asked were:

If you could show or teach children once piece of ICT software/website/program what would you choose and why?

Someone in a class you are supporting is stuck on their ICT work. What would YOU do to help?

What do you love about using ICT?

Are there any questions you would like to ask us?

Finally I selected a piece of shared writing from my class blog page, and ask the children to write a blog comment about it – this was an unseen task for the children.

We interviewed the children in groups and their answers were amazing.
I have created a tagxedo cloud of what the children said which really impressed Fiona and myself.

Since appointing the successful candidates, we have created a space on Edmodo for us to share ideas between ourselves and created a web space joined as part of the school website.
You can see our website here and see how we develop our digital leaders.

Fiona and myself do not know where the digital leaders @uphall will go, that will be very much up to our leaders. We do know that we have immensely creative, talented and thoughtful children in our group, and that wherever they choose to lead, it will be a great trip for all of us in school!

Appshed.

Appshed.

After an amazing 2 days at Naace, I thought I’d share some of the wonderful things we were introduced to in short blog posts. I will also post this to the www.uphallresources.com website for Uphall staff CPD.

Appshed is a web based program which allows you to create web apps on any topic you wish for free. The program is easy to use, once you have registered and logged in. There are a variety of wizards within the package which explain how to add all of the aspect you wish your app to have.

Have a look at the NAACE app in web form or on your mobile device.

Using the wizards and other instructions around the site, it seems easy to produce high quality, accessible apps and these could be created by adults or children – for children their desire to create the app will allow them to persevere and solve any problems that arise for them. This piece of software allows our children to utilise ICT to create their own work, online and make it accessible for all. It fulfils many key aspects of what 3rd Millennium education should be.

When we were being introduced to this piece of software, there was a real buzz around the hall with mutterings of ‘Is this free?’ and ‘How can this be free?’ Well it is free, the company charges for other services (such as creating apps for you and sending them to the apps stores for different devices etc).

The fab @squiggle7 has also written about this piece of kit and you kind find her writing here

Have a look at the site, register and have a play, I think you’ll be glad you did!

The Kids Should See This.

One of the great things about the Internet is sharing stuff – music, video, pictures. This is true for adults and children alike, I often hear children discussing things they have seen (often on youtube) and explaining to their friends how to find said item using youtube’s search.

The Kids Should See This shares things which might have slipped under the radar.

I love the stuff that is on the site and so do my class. Have a look and see what you think!

Popplet – Multimedia presentation.

I’m spending some time looking at resources to use in IT across the school. I’ve been reading many of the blogs listed along the left hand side of the page and I came across Popplet via Ian Addison’s Blog. I’ve embedded the YouTube video from the site’s front page which will show you what the program can do. How it can be used is down to the children (and teachers), but I felt it could be used in many ways.

I like pieces of free software like this for a couple of reasons. Firstly, they’re free – this means that school budgets are saved but more importantly I believe, children and their families can use the program for free at home. That ties into my second reason.

Children and families can use free pieces of software at home, friends houses, relative houses etc, as well as in school – sharing their work between the two places. This provides an added benefit being that this also allows children to share their work with their parents and family helping to ‘lift the lid’ off their education.

Watch the video and see if you think you could use it in school.

Primary Games Arena.

The Primary Games Arena is a site which contains lots of games aimed at children in the primary age range. There are games for a wide range of subject areas aimed at learners right across the primary years. The games are available on android mobile format, ps3 and wii (which my class feel adds to the ‘cool’ factor).

Have a look at the site and see what you think.

The link is http://primarygamesarena.com/# 

Primary_school_games_fun_curriculum_games

2011-2012 School Year

Next school year, which begins in August in Scotland, will be a very exciting one for me.

I will be teaching IT and some Games Based Learning across the school as the McCrone cover teacher. This is something I am really excited about. I have spent some time in school organising the new classroom/IT room and I am beginning to get stuck into some planning (bit scary when thinking about P1 as I’ve never taught that age range before).

I spent today printing and mounting a range of posters about ICT, these came from two sources, Simon Haughton’s blog and Teach-ICT.com The posters inform and explain a range of key IT skills and techniques, and I found a range which would be suitable for all of the ages I will be teaching.

I particularly like the keyboard shortcuts display, as I think this is an area all of our children could develop.

Once the displays are up, I shall photograph them and share them here. 

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Remington Rand Computer :

Consolidated/Convair Aircraft Factory San Diego EquipmentSan Diego Air & Space Museum Archive

About Dropbox.

Online/cloud storage is becoming more popular with many services available, to store and sync my documents I have been using dropbox for around 4 months now and find it’s a great service which has never once failed.

I discovered dropbox via my Personal Learning Group on twitter.

Basically, Dropbox is a web based storage facility which allows you to drop files/folders/stuff into your dropbox on one laptop, and then access the same stuff via the dropbox on your other machines. The stuff in the dropbox auto-sync and immediately appear in the ‘box’ on any other laptops you wish to sync with.

I use it in quite a  simple way. On both my school laptop and home laptop, I downloaded the dropbox install package and it placed a shortcut on my desktop. Open the shortcut and you can place files and folders inside and they will appear within a minute on the other machine also. Each time you save a version of a document, that new version is saved on you other machines too. It’s just like placing a file in folder on your desktop.

There is also a web login which means you can access your files which are saved inside dropbox on any machine with internet access, even if it hasn’t got the ‘box’ downloaded and on the desktop.

Dropbox is free for 2GB of storage, which in 5 months has proved ample storage for me (and is similar to many pendrives) and you can upgrade to 3GB by getting your friends to sign up. If you need more storage, you can upgrade to 50GB for $9.99 a month or $99 for a year. Or you can upgrade to 100GB for $19.99 a month or $199 a year. I would certainly consider upgrading if my current storage got used up. It can be downloaded onto more than two machines if you need to.

For collaborative working, you can share a folder with a colleague who has a dropbox account also. Again, this is a very simple, efficient process (and can earn you a bit more storage).

To read about the other online storage options, have a look at Doug Belshaw’s excellent blog which has a posting about what else is available.

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