Wednesday, 22 April 2015

TAB Technology for Learning

I am so pleased to have been working on a new blog to support teachers at school with lesson plans and ideas for ways in which technology can support learning in all areas of the curriculum.

Topics covered include;

  • Use of google cardboard to immerse children in environments,
  • Using green screen technology to inspire children,
  • Using LearnAR website,
  • Using embedded augmented reality worksheets from Inspiro,
and a few other gems!

Check it out

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

The risks of web use - conversations to have with your class!

'To google' – Verb, to search the Internet for information about (a person, topic, etc.): We googled the new applicant to check her background.

Often students (and staff) carry out this action as part of their 'research' based tasks. It is however, rather likely that some 12 million pages will be returned when searching for 'Cricket' or 'Romans'. It is likely that the user will click on the links on the first page of results and will take their research in the form of a copy/paste/print out from the page they find.

There are 4 main issues with evaluating the information on the web as I see it.

First of all the (often) unintentional plagiarism of passing off someone else’s work as your own. It is with alarming frequency I receive a piece of work that has been created by a pupil and given in as their own. When I pass it back and they see that I have printed off the original from wikipedia and stuck it into their book I am often met with red faces. A systematic teaching of how to cite these sources is essential in the connected society we live in and providing students and staff with the ethical understanding and foundation of citation and plagiarism is key in moving towards educated use of the web.

Secondly the issue of inaccurate information, one of the best things about the internet is that it is available to anyone to publish any material that they choose. This allows developers to produce sites that are interesting and can be published without any investment other than the time taken to produce. This does however mean that there are many factually incorrect, malicious or misleading web sites that can be mistaken for being the truth. It is essential to cross reference any information taken from the web with other sources of information, just as students would be expected to do when completing a history assignment. Other issues to consider when evaluating the source that has come from an unknown website is when it was last updated, especially if you are searching for facts that could change over time.

Thirdly I feel that it is important to raise the issue of search engine personalisation. This is where the search engines we use customise the results that they show us based on a variety of factors we do not control. For example the country you are searching from, the type of operating system you use, the web browser that you are using or your previous searches and clicks. All of this information is used to display a set of search results that are 'personalised' to you. This is an area that should be evaluated when completing searches as the information that may be displayed on one computer may be different to that of another computer because of setup differences or previous users clicks.

Finally there are a collection of issues that relate to the accessibility and quality of material that is found. The origin of the information provided can be found from the suffix at the end of the web address. The suitability and quality of the information should be carefully evaluated ensuring that there is no particular view being promoted whether it be political or ethical.

Usability and accessibility of webpages should be evaluated to ensure that they fit the needs of the people using them. A text heavy website may not be suitable for younger children even if the information contained upon it is excellent. Equally the links on the webpage being used should be checked to ensure that they have not been hijacked to direct users to pages that are not desirable.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Using technology to support learning - Clipping Magic

I have stumbled across 'Clipping Magic' which is a brilliant site to use in a cross curricular way.
If I think of some of the occasions I could have used this website in the past year there have been a couple of instances where it would have added to my lessons - not recreated the outcomes, but certainly made the lesson more relevant to the children.

Could be used in many cross curricular contexts...

Why not create a protest poster either for or against your historical figure?
Use the clipper with several figures and recreate a scene where they meet and describe their meeting underneath?
Recreate a scene and use it as a stimulus for writing - different scenes for each gives inividualised writing.

Lots of ways this can be used!

Sunday, 23 September 2012

New builds, trying to find new solutions.

There is currently a substantial expansion planned at my current school, developing new classrooms, ICT areas and a fuller learning resource centre. This means big thinking is required for the development and setup of ICT within these areas.

The main decision seems to be between the ever dwindling resources of Promethean/SMART or to use some newer technology in the form of ipads, apple TV and a stonking great plasma TV.
We were having a discussion about these very options at a meeting last week when it struck me, and it might seem rather simplistic, that ICT's role in the development of teaching and learning must be to provide the best resources possible to suit the particular teachers best teaching style.

The teacher in the classroom has to be the best resource in the classroom, regardless of the toys you chuck at them. The resources that ICT has to provide must be suited to their style of teaching - why would you invest 2.5k in a promethean/projector installation when all it will be used for is for displaying information? Why not spend 1.2k in a plasma/ipad combo which can be used in exactly the same way.

Equally we must ensure that for those teachers that create brilliant interactive content have the resources that they need to ensure their best quality teaching.

My thinking - and my thinking is not always correct - is that as the pupils increase in age they are less likely to require the more interactive style of teaching, so for older pupils we are looking like moving further towards the ipad/tv solution whilst staying with the IWB's for lower down the school.

The only question left is what to do with the cash we save? I'm sure we will manage.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

So... how good is

That is a rhetorical question, because I know.

I used for the first time yesterday with my maths set, just to warm up their brains on some division questions. I decided that I liked the look of the junk pile game which involves answering questions and being given random objects to stack in a junk pile.

This continues my love (and the childrens) for games in learning. I think we all learn best when what we are learning has a bit of challenge and a bit fun thrown in to boot.... oooo blog post about this I think coming soon...

Once signed up (quick & free) I was able to access the training section to choose the types of question that I wanted to share with the children - this was the best part (for me), I was in control of the questions that came up, but didn't have to create all the questions myself.

We chose to play against a computer from the middle section and then clicked on play. The children swapped over when their junk pile fell down.

The best part for the children? The proper graphics. It felt like a proper game, with a proper budget and a proper level of detail. Some of the other maths games available achieve highly on the maths side but none of the children want to play them because of their graphics.

I know it must have been a success, the children wrote down the web address in their diaries and keep pestering me to sign them up...

Happy days. ICT makes another impact on learning.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

New years and new roles

It has been some time since I really spent some significant time sharing with the world (or whoever would listen) my ICT ramblings. With the onset of two small children and faced with spending an hour and a half in the car everyday to get to the classroom it was kind of tricky to find to blog and share my classroom practice!

Still - here I am, at 9 at night, sat just 8 minutes away from my new school, I have more recognition (above and beyond being told how much I am appreciated - which is always lovely) and will be throwing myself headfirst into building redevelopments, a blank canvas on the ICT front and a brand new challenge - that I am loving!

So here goes... the blog is back on... hopefully with some more regular updates from all that is good to help children and teachers achieve the best they can each day.

Fingers crossed it helps someone... just one would be nice!

I found this on deviantart, which is my first recommendation of this blogging revival, a great site where you can search for user created digital art, most of which is amazing!
 - complete credit to but it is now on my markbook.