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!
September 12, 2016
It’s been a while, in fact it’s been 2 years. A lot has happened in that time and I thought I would give a little update.
I all but stopped using my iPad to teach with in 2014-15, for a variety of reasons. But mainly because I prolapsed a disc in my back and had to have surgery to fix it. It kind of put life on hold for 9 months while I got it sorted out. But my love of technology hasn’t stopped, although it did take a while to get back into the swing of things. I am now using an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil (mainly due to my recent 1 year appointment as Head of ICT) to teach with.
My school started using Google Apps for Education last year, and I have been actively involved in training staff in different ways of using drive, docs and classroom. We also activated office 365 this year and I am starting to experiment with OneNote Classbook.
As my use of technology (in particular Apple products) has grown and changed so much, I thought I would have a go at restarting this blog to document the things I am doing now. So watch this space……
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.
January 11, 2014
I haven’t posted for a while for two reasons, first I haven’t been trying anything new (mainly because my use of my iPad seems to have reached an equilibrium in that everything I am using is working and I don’t feel the need to look for an improvement yet), secondly it has been unbelievably busy!
But this week I did try something new, and I think it is quite useful (and not just for teachers). I often find that I am repeating tasks on different social media sites, or saving information in a variety of different places (for example bookmarking websites, favouriting tweets).
One of my pupils told me about IFTTT (IF This Then That). This website enables you to create recipes so that is something happens on one website you belong to (for example I favourite a tweet) then it is automatically added to Evernote (thereby consolidating some of the information I collect).
There is also an app for IFTTT, which is remarkably easy to use. You can only create ‘recipes’ with ‘channels’ they have already got – but there is quite a lot.
You activate ‘channels’ through the app (so far I have activated Twitter, Evernote and Instagram). You can then either create your own ‘recipes’,
or you can use one that someone else has created.
You can view all the ‘recipes’ you have created and see how often they have been used.
You can see that I have already created two and they worked very well.
I am hoping that by automating some of the things I either do, or wished I was doing, then it will reduce the amount of time I spending on these things. Now if only I could find something to mark homework for me!
October 26, 2013
It is not often I review something negatively. However in my recent browse of the App Store for new teacher apps, I came across another grade book app which has annoyed me so much in testing it that I feel I should notify you about it so you can avoid it.
As you may know, I collect a lot of planning and grade book apps (especially when they are on sale or have free 'lite' test versions).
So when I came across 'Lazy Teacher' (which had a free lite version) I thought I would see what it was like – even though I found the name slightly offensive.
When I opened the app to experiment with setting up some test classes, I was surprised to find that it was almost identical to Teacher Kit, an app I use all the time.
This is the first time I have come across a grade book app that is practically identical to another. If this was a piece of homework I was marking then I would be speaking to the pupils involved about plagiarism!
By now another (very irritating) thing had been happening. Every time I tapped on something; to start a new class, add a pupil to the class, change a setting; a pop up would appear.
I am assuming that this doesn't happen in the real app, but it doesn't make me want to spend money on this as it was extremely annoying.
After trying out 'Lazy Teacher' for a bit I concluded that 'Teacher Kit' was much better (and offered the app for free, with an in-app purchase if you wanted the reporting tools).
October 19, 2013
This week one of my most used apps received a very useful update. I use Teacher Kit every day at school, it is my register, mark book and behaviour monitor for each class.
The update came with an optional in app purchase to allow you to generate reports, it cost £1.99 but I think it is worth it.
Now when I open my class, I am given a breakdown of the class performance (attendance, grade book and behavior).
You can generate a much more detailed report by tapping on the report button at the top of the screen.
Instead of tabs to access the different areas in each class, you now have to tap a menu button at the top (slightly more long winded, which is annoying).
But the feature that I liked the most was the ability to generate individual reports on pupils (very useful for the upcoming parents evening!). For obvious reasons I have hidden all the pupils details!
I am quite interested to see how useful the data analysis becomes as the year progresses, especially as we are only 1/2 a term in.