Thursday, 8 October 2015

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Parent Professional Development: Internet Safety 

Today I delivered a workshop to parents on "Internet Safety", Its so important for parents to understand the potential dangers of their child using the Internet. 


Young people of today are known as the digital generation, and we can either fight the progress or attempt to embrace it. The challenge is to keep our children safe in a world that at times is foreign to us. 

The aim of this session was to educate parents about the dangers that exist on the internet and to look at ways to promote cyber safety and ensure that their child is Responsible, Respectful and Safe online. Please click on the link below to download the full presentation.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

App of the Week

Plickers 


Plickers is a wonderfully easy app to use, in and out of the class. What I love about this app is that you can use it with any age group and only one iPad is required. Plickers is an iPhone app, so when going to the app store enter 'Plickers', iPad Only and choose the iPhone option and you should see it appear.


The app can be used to check if your students have understood the concepts you have taught. Plickers gives students anonymity to participate and engage in learning without feeling self-conscious. Its a quick and easy way to collect formative assessment data.

The class and sample questions I have based this tutorial on is for a KG1 class. 

Preparation:
  1. Create an account by going to this website link  Plickers
  2. Go to the Cards tab and print out the type of cards you want (I just went for standard) I would recommend that you have them laminated.

For a tutorial on how to set up a class and use Plickers in the classroom, please refer to the movie below;








Below are some of the questions I created for this KG1 class. You have the choice of either multiple choice or true or false questions, with or without images.


The report feature allows you to see how many students answered correctly or incorrectly in graphical form.


Students names have been blanked out, but you can see from the report below that you are able to identify students who took part and who didn't. 


Each question can be analysed too, so that you are able to see which students answered the question correctly or incorrectly.



For more further support and guidance on using on Plickers please go to:plickers.com/help

Top Tips!

Stick the cards onto/into students books, so that you don't need to hand the cards out each lesson. the students can merely turn and raise their textbooks, to answer the questions.

Inform Planning - another way to see if your students have made any progress in lesson is to duplicate the questions and ask students questions at the start of the lesson and then at the end of the lesson, you can then check the report and analyse the data to inform planning by identifying which student you need to focus on. 

Thursday, 11 June 2015

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Some Free Apps and websites for Informal Learning 


MOMA 

Grades 1-8
Concepts - Imagination, digital creation, self-reflection, investigation
Want to take a trip to the Museum of Modern Art without going to New York City? With the MoMa Art Lab app, kids can take a closer look at the museum's collection and get inspiration to make art offline. Included are drawing and collage tools, art inspiration, art activities, a camera for screen captures and a gallery. Prompts provide enough context for kids to get started while remaining vague enough to encourage deeper exploration and informal learning. MoMA Art Lab is a wonderful window into the museum's collection, sharing an introduction to modern art that is accessible for all ages.

Project Noah
Grades 4-12
Concepts - Ecosystems, plants, analysing evidence, collecting data, making conclusions
Project Noah is a crowdsourced online database of plants and animals that lets kids become citizen scientists. Kids use the cameras on their mobile devices to capture images, share them through the app (or by uploading them to the Project Noah website) and contribute to a growing, interactive field guide. They also can join specific local or global missions, providing valued scientific data. Project Noah encourages kids to actively observe and learn about plants and animals in their neighborhoods and around the world. While doing this, they're participating in real-world scientific research that supports informal and authentic learning.

Codeacademy
Grades 7-12
Concepts - Programming and coding, digital creation, logic, problem solving, sequences
The Codacademy: Code Hour app offers an easy-to-digest, lean introduction to computer
programming for teens. It's made up of mini-lessons that offer lots of positive feedback as students work through the nuts and bolts of code. Each lesson consists of quick instruction, a snippet of code and part of the code for the student to manipulate. These steps help build self-confidence about programming, and the app keeps kids interested through encouraging feedback. By the end of the lessons, newly minted programmers can show off their skills by making a Web page on the Codecademy site. These skills have enormous possibilities in our current economy and will instill the confidence kids need to keep learning and building in the digital world. 

Instructables


Grades 8-12
Concepts - Following directions, brainstorming, innovation, making new creations, part whole relationships
Instructables is a slick DIY app and how-to Website full of cool projects and contests for older teens. Projects range from making a giant sun jar to baking maple-bacon-cheddar-garlic biscuits to building a homemade arc welder. Contest topics include jewelry, puppets and bikes, and registered users can vote for their favorite topics. Attempting an "instructable" means applying information, testing meaning with real-world objects, making inferences about part-whole relationships and thinking critically. Projects are well-described and empower kids to be successful in their own attempts, building confidence for them to keep improving and learning as they engage in fun, thinking-outside-the-box projects.







Monday, 8 June 2015

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My Top Apps for education

For a long time teachers have been asking me what my top apps to recommend would be, so I finally decided to compile a list..... here it is folks!

To find educational apps for all subjects within the App store you can go to Education in the App Store 

Presentation Apps
  1. Keynotes 
  2. Prezi
  3. Explain Everything
  4. Puppet Edu
  5. ShowMe
  6. Topic
  7. Google Slides
Collaboration Tools
  1. Google Docs
  2. Google Sheets 
  3. Padlet - Not an app but a favourite collaboration tool of mine
File Storage
Audi Recording Apps
Digital Story Telling 
Fun Cool Apps
  1. Aurasma
  2. Post-it
  3. Stage
  4. Elements 4D
Question/Quiz Apps
  1. Plickers
  2. Socrative Teacher (there is a student one too)
  3. Kahoot  Not an app yet, but students can interact using their iPads
  4. Quizlet 
Student Portfolios
Reference 
Apps for Planning & Grading
Blogging apps

Thursday, 4 June 2015

App of the week

Green Screen by Do Ink 


You know how I always talk about my favourite app...well this one really is my favourite........at this moment in time!

This app allows you to create special effects that make your movie's more exciting.

There's a little bit of prep work and some other resources you will need before you can start making your movie using the Green Screen App, but don't worry I will walk you through it.

Resources
  • iPad obviously!
  • Green Screen by Do Ink App
  • Keynotes App
  • Camera function or Safari
  • Green Cloth (Sellotape to stick it to the wall)
  • Chair
  • Book
Prep Work 

I stuck the green piece of cloth on a flat wall in a room that was well lit.



I then took a movie of Corleen, our librarian talking about one of her favourite books from the school library using the camera function on my iPad. I made sure that she was sitting on the right hand side of the green screen, so that when I put my images up on the left hand side she would not be blocking them.


video

Note! if you are using your iPad to film, then make sure the person you are filming is talking quite loudly as the speakers on the iPad are not great at picking up sound from even shortest of distances.

Your next step will be to prepare your backgrounds. I've created these by taking pictures of some of the images from the book Corleen is reading or I could even search for them using safari and save them directly to my camera roll.

How to create your backgrounds 

Im going to give you 3 options to choose from

Option 1
  1. Open up the Keynotes app (I use keynotes because it gives you the perfect background size) 
  2. Insert your image, I have chosen a pale blue background for the slide, you can choose any except for Green. 
  3. I have placed the image to the left because I want my movie of Corleen to sit on the right hand side. 
  4. You can create as many backgrounds as you want or need (see image below)

    5.  Once you have created all your backgrounds press the play button to see the slides in          full size, take a screen print of all the slides, your screen print should look like this.                These screen prints will automatically save themselves onto your camera roll.


Option 2

You can insert images from your camera roll directly into the Green Screen app and resize it to fit the frame. But sometimes the images can get distorted, so be aware of that when using this option to create backgrounds.

Making your Special Effects Movie using Green Screen.

This is the fun bit! watch the movie tutorial to see how to use the Green Screen App and create special effects.


See below for the finished movie

video


Option 3

You can also insert a movie into the background too. To create my iMovie, I saved images to my camera roll opened up the iMovie App and inserted the images and added some audio from the sound effects option, you are free to use all the different options within the iMovie App to jazz up your movie as much as you want....but I've kept mine simple. Once your happy with the finished movie, export it to your camera roll and voila! you are free to insert it as a background in the Green Screen App.

Some examples of Green Screen Movies made for Grade 2 students talking about the explorers they had researched.

video


video

Have a go, its super easy!








Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Teacher Tools

BrainFlex

As the school winds down to a close very soon and we worry that students might forget important learning concepts over the summer holidays..... worry no more! refer them to the BrainFlex website.

BrainFlex has created a free daily practice program for math and science students to help them practice and retain their learning achievements over the summer break.

The CK - 12 Brainflex Summer Challenge will begin in a months time and is a program that students can use to practice math and science skill reviews. Students' progress on their chosen skill reviews is recorded for them in their CK - 12 accounts. The beauty about this program is that it is self-paced and students choose the subjects that they want to review.

Applications for Education 

Teachers can send invitations to students to participate in the CK-12 Summer Challenge. With those invitations teachers can include suggestions for subjects to review. CK-12 also provides a template for a letter to send to parents with suggestions on subjects for their children to review over the summer.






I came across this resource recently through another great teacher web based software called Nearpod which I will blog about another time.

Teachers create an account and invite your students to learn! BrainFlex

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Teacher Tools

Google Education Group Event!

If you really want to see true IT Integration and use of Apps in the Classroom in action here's your chance!

The Google Educator Groups (GEG) UAE Community is hosting its first online event exploring practical case studies of using Google Apps in the classroom. 

This takes place on Wednesday, June 3 at 7:00pm - 8:00pm via Hangouts on Air, this will be a great opportunity to learn directly from a teacher who is using Google Apps in creative and inspiring ways.


Don't miss the opportunity to learn about Student E-Publishing using Google Sites and Blogger with Matthew McGrady from the American Community School in Abu Dhabi.

Click here to go to the Event Page  to join in the live session taking place on the date and time mentioned above. If you cant join the live session I will post a recording of the hangout session later on.