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.


Workflow (IFTTT)

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!


An App to Avoid

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).

 


Wow, Thank You Apple!

October 5, 2013

Instead of a post about what I am doing in my classroom, I wanted to share with you something that happened last weekend that made me appreciate my Apple products that little bit more (I promise I am not one of those Apple evangelists).

My daughter is soon to turn 13, like most teenagers she is very attached to her technology. Last year she spent months saving up her allowance, birthday money, Christmas money as well as working odd jobs to earn extra so that she could buy herself an iPod touch. So finally in January 2013 she was to purchase it, and since then it seems like it has become surgically attached to her.

Just to give you an idea of how much it is used, here is a short list of some of the apps she uses on a regular basis (and not just to surf the internet or listen to music):

  • iAWriter – she is writing her second ‘novel’ on this (and is determined to be a published author)
  • Crunchyroll – where her current obsession with Japanese Culture and anime can be fulfilled.
  • iStudiez Pro – so that she can keep track of her homework.

She is unbelievably careful with her iPod, keeping in a zipped pocket of her school blazer and in a case to protect it. However through a series of horrible coincidences her iPod managed to fall out of this protection and bounced off the flagstones outside her school. Fortunately it only dented one corner of the iPod, but this happened to be the corner where the power button was.

From that moment on her iPod kept trying to randomly shut down, or take screen shots whenever she pressed the home button. So we decided to make out first ever trip to the ‘Genius Bar’ at an Apple store to see if it could be fixed.

The Apple store ‘Genius’ took one look at her iPod and said ‘that can’t be fixed, you need a new iPod’. My heart sank because I knew we couldn’t afford one and while he went to speak to his manager I explained to my daughter that she might just have to cope with a broken iPod for a while longer.

Imagine my surprise when he returned holding a new iPod, handed it to her and said ‘here you are try not to break this one’. Now I realise that they are probably going to refurbish her old iPod and sell it, but by giving her a new iPod for free to replace one that she had broken was amazing.

So we used the money I had set aside for repairs to buy her a better case for her new iPod.

It’s a Speck Geoskin which she chose for the simple reason that it protects the buttons.

And in case you wondered, we had backed her iPod to iCloud before we went, so when we set up her new iPod we used this back up to it up. So all her apps were back, with all ther data. Even her background picture was in place. It’s so nice when things work!
So thank you Apple, you have made my daughter (and by extension, me) very happy!

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…….

 


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