The joys of blogging!

This post aims to serve two purposes. It is partly aimed at meeting the university assignment criteria that this blog was originally set up as part of. This requires proof of “other’s engagement” and I hope this post provides evidence towards this.

But most importantly, this post is to say thank you to everyone who has visited and commented on my blog – I’m glad you have found it useful! Some highlights from outside the blog have included being featured in the ScratchEd Weekly Roundup and being “scooped” as part of someone’s site.

I have also received some great messages on Twitter, alongside being re-tweeted by a whole host of people. This lovely message is one of my favourite:

I think the experience since “going live” has emphasised to me the benefits of blogging. Blogging provides an opportunity to share ideas with the internet and receive comments and feedback from people from all over the world. I can imagine how excited children must feel when someone comments on their blogs and I will definitely comment on different school blogs in the future.

One way that schools can ensure their blogs get the publicity they deserve is through signing up to QuadBlogging.  The QuadBlogging website states that in the last year 100,000 pupils in 40 countries have been involved in the scheme. There is a great video on Youtube that outlines the process: 

Furthermore, my colleague, Lindsay Morris has provided some more insights into Quadblogging on her blog and I suggest you check it out. 

In the spirit of sharing I wanted to finish this post with a song that was recommended by TES SEN on Twitter, who posted a link that contains lots of songs that include Makaton signing. This particular song is being sung by some of the people from Shabang. The TES website states that this could be a great ice-breaker or introductions song, which I think ties in with the theme of this blog update. Plus, I think it’s a really catchy tune that could be used in special or mainstream settings. Enjoy!

Northants BLT meet: Tuesday 23rd October 2012

Today I attended the first meet of the academic year for the Northants BLT (Better Learning using Technologies). It was an interesting event, with the 90 minutes packed full of techy-goodness.

Here are my lucky seven ideas from the event:

Greenscreen iPad app: This looks like a really cool app to use in the classroom. Children can stand in front of a screen and the background is changed to look like different backgrounds. This would be a great app to use across the curriculum. The presenting pair showed it being used with children to recreate the Titanic in history. It could also be used to produce a newsroom in English.

Drama in ICT: This idea isn’t so much about a particular resource to use in ICT, but instead about how ICT lessons can be developed. ICT lessons do not have to involve children staring at computer screens, but can be given a real-life context to give the children’s work a purpose. Value and purpose are two key aspects of creativity and this helps to fully utilise the potential of ICT.

Tagging learning: Tom Barrett gave an interesting presentation about tagging moments of learning, with reference to a school he is working with down south. He stated that the school started to build up the concept of tagging in the classroom before applying it in the ICT suite. This meant that the children manually tagged their work across the curriculum, highlighting what the work relates to with subject specific tags (Mathematics, English), subject detail tags (addition, plants) and emotional tags regarding how the work made the children feel (struggling, happy, excited).

This tied into three reflective questions for the children to consider:

  • Where have I been?
  • Where am I now?
  • Where am I going next?

This was a very interesting presentation, showing how ICT skills can be started outside of the ICT suite and how it can be used as an formative assessment tool.

Twitter in lessons: Another use of ICT as an assessment tool was provided with the suggestion of using Twitter during mini-plenaries, for example by getting the children to summarise their learning so far in the lesson. Differentiation is provided because the higher ability have a word limit (they can’t write reams and reams) and the lower ability are provided with a manageable target to achieve. If school wifi is patchy or technology limited then tweeting could be done manually, for example on mini whiteboards, or maybe children could share their ideas verbally against the clock (for example 15 seconds to share what you have learnt this lesson).

Aurasma lite iPad app: This app provides an insight into the displays of the future! The app uses augmented reality software, which can be used to digitalise displays. The app allows schools to setup their own aurasma channel to store the content they have made and want to display when you point your phone at the content.

iStop motion iPad app: This looks like a great app to use to make stop motion movies. Like all of the resources shown at the meet it could be used across the curriculum. The presenter discussed how a child that struggled in other curriculum areas really enjoyed using this app and helping other people with it – underlining the potential of ICT.

Magic whiteboard paper: This last one isn’t a type of technology, but is still very nifty. Magic whiteboard paper can be used by children across the curriculum to jot down ideas in groups. Its “magical” property means that it can be stuck on the wall without the need for any adhesives, allowing children to easily share ideas with each other.

And there we are, 7 things I discovered at the Northants BLT.

There was also a whole host of stuff related to QR codes, computer programming and the power of the blog, but these will be covered in detail in other posts.