Networked Society

October 2, 2016

I’ve spent the last week preparing for a ICT lesson on our ‘networked society’ with year 9. It’s part of a series we do looking at how communication has changed us and society over the years, focussing on the development of the internet. 

I publish the course on google sites, so that anyone who wishes to may read or use it. 

Every year we teachers have had fun looking for examples of a ‘networked society’ and ‘internet of things’. We also ask the pupils to find examples, and some of them have been fascinating!

This year I have decided to include Amazon Dash as my main example. Further down the page I have asked the pupils to research into smart homes, it will interesting to see how many of them already have this. 

Once we finish this segment, we will be starting an introduction to coding (HTML, then CSS, then JavaScript). 

OneNote Classbook

September 17, 2016

My school activated Google Apps for Education last year, and it is quite useful. I will write a post about it soon. We also activated Office 365 this year, and I was quite excited about this because of the OneNote Classbook

As I am now the Director of ICT and have asked a group of teachers to experiment with using ICT in their classrooms, I thought I would also experiment with OneNote. So I picked my Year 9 Product Design class as my guinea pigs. I choose them mainly because they are in a rotation, so I only teach them for 7 weeks before getting a new class. Also they will be generating hand drawn ideas as well as photographs of models. 

Setting up the Classbook was easy. I just added the pupils in my class to the notebook. They were then sent an email from ‘sharepoint’ with a link to the Classbook. 

In the lesson I got them all to login to OneNote and gave them a tour of the Classbook. In particular how they copy pages from the content library into their own notebook. 

In the content library I had already created the pages I wanted them to use for the next few weeks. I discovered (after showing them how to copy into their own notebook) that I could distribute a page into the pupil notebooks.

I also populated the main notebook with the teaching resources I was going to use, as well as exemplars of previous pupils’ work.

After our first designing lesson, I asked the pupils to photograph their designs with their smartphone, email the pictures to themselves and upload the pictures to their notebook on a school computer. At the moment they can’t seem login to OneNote on their phone, hence the slightly complicated work around.

Here you can see a pupils work so far. On each page I have written a checklist for the pupils, which they can tick off as they complete it. To mark the work I opened the OneNote Classbook on my iPad Pro and annotated it with the pencil. It was easy, and remarkably fast, to mark all the pupil’s work.

I’ll find out on Monday (as that is when I next teach the class) what the pupils think!


Challenge Based Learning

January 25, 2014

This week I spent a lovely day at the Apple Education Summit in London. Whilst there were many things in the event that I felt I already know, there were several things that certainly made me think.

Delegates were allocated 2 workshops with demonstrations of how Apple technology is being used in schools. These demonstrations were given by pupils and teachers. I was fortunate to allocated a session with Bohunt School. After an introduction from the teacher, the pupils took us through a science lesson. This wasn’t a normal ‘chalk and talk’ lesson, instead it was based on a ‘challenge based learning‘ approach.

I had heard of challenge based learning before, but wasn’t really sure how it would work. Or more importantly how it could work in my subject.

Although I am still at the start of my investigation into challenge based learning, the basics are as follows:

  • You set an overarching challenge to the pupils (in the session it was that a disease had spread through Scunthorpe, but people were dying before the medication could cure them, we had to find a way to double the rate of reaction).
  • You give the pupils some guided learning (for example how to use equipment to measure the rate of reaction and how to run an experiment)
  • You then let the pupils devise their own way of solving the challenge (for example devising experiments with different catalysts to see if they can reduce the rate of reaction).
  • You give the pupils some guidance in how to document their work (using a range of tools, ie written work, video, ‘explain everything‘ etc.)

What I liked about this approach is that it uses children’s creativity and desire to find out things (or learn!). The pupils I spoke to at Bohunt told me that they really enjoyed this approach and they felt that they learnt much more than they did when they learnt science principles in the traditional way.

I am still reading and researching more about this methods of teaching, particularly how I can implement it in Resistant Materials. I have found some iTunesU courses that I am working my way through:

If you are already using CBL then I would love to hear about it.


November 9, 2013

I've been seeing 'ThingLink' talked about a lot on my Twitter feed, but hadn't really seen how I could use it in my teaching. For those who don't know, ThingLink allows you to create pictures with interactive tags on them.

This week I needed to set up two new classes on Edmodo, as my year 9 classes had rotated round to new teachers. Last time the pupils had difficulty remembering how to submit their prep after they had gone home, so I made a ThingLink using a screen shot of the turn in page to help them. I was surprised, not only by how quick and easy it was to make a ThingLink, but by how much my pupils enjoyed using it.

So here is a quick tour or ThingLink, there is a very good website and also an app (which doesn't quite have the same functionality but still works fine)

They have an educator account, and you can choose if you want your ThingLinks to be publicly available, or private (you can still embed or share with a link if it's private).

All of your created ThingLinks are easily available on both the website and the app. You can easily edit them whenever you want.
To create a ThingLink, all you need to do is:

Choose an image (from camera roll in the app, or by uploading an image in the website).

Tap wherever you want a tag to appear. On the website you have more choice of tag icons, but in the app you can easily add pictures as tags. There are a huge range of tags you can use, but I tended to use video and websites (as well as old fashioned text).

When you've finished save your ThingLink (it uploads to the website) or choose your sharing options, you can also access these again through the website but I couldn't seem to find them again in the app.

You can then open your new ThingLink and see if the tags worked as you want them too, you can always go back and edit if you need too.

I was really impressed to find that one of the automatic embed options in a ThingLink was Edmodo, but you are also given an embed code so it can be out wherever you want. I embedded a ThingLink about the Bauhaus on my school intranet.

This is the finished Bauhaus ThingLink. Although it is very difficult to embed things on a WordPress blog, so currently it seems to not be working. I will keep investigating how to do it (it took me ages to work embedding Prezis!)


Edmodo Quizzes

October 12, 2013

I like to use quizzes as a way of assessing how much theory work my pupils have remembered during our FPT projects (that stands for Focussed Practical Tasks and is a project in which there is no designing, just making something so you can learn how materials and machines work). We have now been working on a metal folder for the last few weeks, so it was time for a metal theory quiz. Normally I would have used my school intranet, which has a quiz function, but this was the ideal opportunity to try the quiz function in Edmodo.

Writing the quiz was very easy, they have a variety of question you can use. Most of them are self marking.

I liked the idea of the fill in the gaps question, but the pupil don’t get a word bank (which in my case was ok).

Written answer question have to be marked by you, but it doesn’t take very long.

I have a test pupil account, so I could take the test as a pupil. I found it very easy. The only question I found slightly difficult was the matching question as it was quite hard to drag the boxes around.

You can set a time limit on the quiz which is helpful is reducing ‘internet cheating’ (when a pupil taking an unsupervised online quiz searches for the answer).

The only disadvantage I found was that you couldn’t include picture in the quiz itself, you can upload files but then pupils have to view the file before answering the question. I wanted to use picture in the matching game (so pupils could match the picture of the tool to the correct name).

The pupils who have taken the quiz so far have told me that they liked it, and they found it easier than the intranet quiz (which they have taken with other teachers).

Now I need to find a reason to try out the ‘poll’ function!

Edmodo UK Group

September 28, 2013

Firstly apologies for a very short post. I have been horribly ill this week with a delightful head cold that has decided to take my voice. It is not fun trying to teach when you can barely speak – fortunately my pupils have been lovely about it.

This week on Edmodo Mr Ashton started up a UK Edmodo group as somewhere UK teachers can discuss ideas (mainly because a lot of the ideas being discussed on Edmodo are very American and tend to revolve around the 'common core' which we don't use).

So if you are on Edmodo and would like to join the group then the group code is t2mesx.

I have also set up a training group called (appropriately) 'Test Zone'. Not only do you get a badge for joining an Edmodo training group (although not if you're the one running it) but I thought it would be a good place to try out some of the features of Edmodo before unleashing them on pupils. If you would be interested in joining then please tweet me.

So now I will go and take more Lemsip and crawl back into bed…….


A New Resource for GCSE (and iOS7)

September 21, 2013

I wanted to show you 2 things this week, one is linked to the release of iOS 7, the other is a new resource I have made for my GCSE pupils.

As you may be aware in iOS 7 you can view your calendar from the lock screen. I thought this could be quite a useful new feature, especially since I have been trialling using my calendar as a lesson planning resource. Here is a screen shot of my calendar from my lock screen showing my lessons and activities for part of the day.

It is quite useful being able to see a quick overview of the lessons for that day, although only being able to see the next few hours was a bit frustrating. I have put the lesson synopsis in the location field.

The resource I wanted to show you is specifically for my GCSE pupils. During the controlled assessment my pupils have to assess their designs against Social, Moral, Environmental and Sustainability issues. This is something my pupils find very difficult, primarily because they find it hard to think of issues that relate to their projects.

So I made them some cue cards. The questions came from the textbook and the pupils themselves. Then I came up with some example answers. The cue cards now live on my stationery trolley, so they can be used whenever they are needed.

I thought that other D&T teachers would find this useful, so I upload my file to the shared Edmodo group and also to the shared D&T Dropbox folder.