More about iTunes U

March 9, 2013

I wrote a couple of weeks ago about how easy it was to set up an iTunes U course. Well this week my first iTunes U course was used by a pupil, so I thought some screen shots and information might be in order.

But first a little back story. As you may have gathered in previous posts, I teach Resistant Materials. My GCSE pupils have to produce a large project (20 A3 pages of design work, planning and evaluating) as well a made product out of wood, metal and plastic. This process takes a long time, just over 2 1/2 terms. The final project is worth 60% of thier GCSE grade, so it is very important.

We are finally reaching the end of this very long process, and all of my pupils are in various different stages of stress as their major deadline approaches. All except one pupil. He is amazing at my subject, and he finished his entire project 2 weeks ago. There is nothing he can improve on (it really is that amazing). So my difficulty was, how could I stretch and challenge him, whilst also being able to help and support all the other pupils in the class.

So after spending half term writing content for my course (as well as moving house), I asked him to bring his iPod touch into school this week. I spent a few minutes showing him how to set up iTunes U, enrolled him in my course and let him start revising at his own pace. I kept checking on him throughout the lesson, and was impressed as he worked his way through the content, watching the videos I had found to extend his learning. He then started to research more into the subject (it was on Smart Materials) on the school computer, building on the topic he had been revising in my course.

An iTunes U course has a front page, where course information can be found.

A series of posts under headings, which update automatically whenever the teacher adds new content.

Each post can be opened to see in more detail. You can see that this post on Shape Memory Alloy has some attached materials (a video link and a web link for more information) and an assignment.

Although putting the course together was time consuming, it is now there. This means that my other pupils (when they have finished their projects) can also use the course in their own time, even when they are on study leave.

Although my amazing pupil has already finished the content so far (it took him 2 double lessons), so this weekend I am writing him some more!


A New Blog Editor

January 26, 2013

You may have noticed that I have been using a new blog editor for the last few weeks. Blog Pad Pro is a very easy to use WYSIWYG blog editor for WordPress blog (either .com or .org).

One of the reasons I like it is it has more functionality than Blogsy. 

As well as your standard editing tools, you can also check your WordPress reader and see your blog stats. It is also much easier to add links. You can also choose wether you want to have the menu on the left or right hand side.

You can operate more than one blog, I have two WordPress blogs and find it very easy to write posts for both of them through the app. When you first want to start writing a post, you tap on the ‘B’ at the top and choose the blog you wish to use.

You can see and edit previous blog posts. To create a new post tap on the ‘+’ and enter the detail of the post. 

It’s very easy to schedule posts, but you can’t set up the categories and tags at this stage. Once the post has been created you can click on the gear in the top right corner.

This enables you to edit the categories and tags for the post.

Blog Pad Pro is available in the App Store. The FAQs and ‘How Tos’ are comprehensive but more importantly the customer service is fantastic, prompt replies to emails and the most recent update addressed an issue that I had raised – so they definitely listen to the users.


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