A blog for students on the FDLT and BALT courses at the University of Northampton

at Leicester and UN

July 21, 2021
by Jean
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Develop your use of technology in learning

There are a number of opportunities to take part in free online training in using apps and tools that are useful when supporting learning in the classroom and in your own study. Listed below are four places to start. You might consider the apps and tools most commonly used in your setting and see what is offered in relation to those or just follow your own interests. 

BookCreator Certified Author

This short online course provides a through overview of all the tools available in BookCreator and is a great starting point for using this excellent tool.

Creating visual learning materials with ThingLink

This is part of the Microsoft Educator Center set of training modules. It is worth browsing these are these are some interesting and useful short online courses of relevance to classroom support. 

Adobe Creative Educator Level 1

This short course introduces you to using Adobe Spark to make visual and interactive  learning resources. It is one of many useful short courses available through Adobe Education Exchange.

Apple Teacher / Portfolio

Completing the six ipad or Mac Apple Teacher units is a thorough introduction to using Apple apps and tools to support learning with pupils. If you have done this the next step is build your Apple teacher Portfolio.

As you complete these courses you can use the digital badges you earn on your email signature and of course, add them to your CV. 

July 15, 2021
by Jean
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Summer Reading Challenge!

This year’s Summer reading Challenge from The Reading Agency is called Wild World Heroes! You can find out more about it here. There are resources to support it available for schools, libraries and for use in the home so everyone can take part wherever they are. Its a really good idea to keep children reading over the summer and this can help enormously.

Summer reading challenge opening screen

 

 

 

June 18, 2021
by Jean
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A creative finish to FDLT Year 1!

making of stop motion animationsThis week our FDLT year 1 students reached the end of their first year at university. It was great to be able to welcome them back to Devonshire Place and the Waterside Campus, Northampton to work face to face making stop motion animations. As you can see from the animations on the Padlet below they worked creatively and co-operatively to explore this approach and produced some great results. For many of them it was the first time they had made animations.

We used the app StopMotionStudio and there is potential for the animations to be opened in iMovie so sound effects, dialogue and music could be added – most of us did not have time to do this in the session! 

As you can see from the photos here the students have great skills of making, measuring and improvising. This is what makes them such great supporters of learning back in school.

We wish them all a restful and enjoyable summer so that they will be ready for FDLT year 2 in September!

Made with Padlet

February 24, 2021
by Jean
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Adding sound to art!

This week I gave an online talk at the Primary Art Craft Design Network Meeting for County Durham Art Co-ordinators. It was based around using audio and images together in viewing and making art.

Here is the digital book used to support the talk. It includes details of how to use the BBC Sound Effects website; how to make a Google Slide with added audio; how to ‘hide’ sound effects in a BookCreator image and using ThingLink to add sound to images along with other ideas about being creative with sound and images.

 

 

February 13, 2021
by Jean
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Mathematics resources and ideas!

Some useful resources to support learning in mathematics:

The Association of Teachers of Mathematics (ATM) have put together a collection of resources to support mathematics away from the screen. You can access it here. It is huge collection of useful recommendations from members of the ATM/MA joint primary group and well worth exploring. 

maths bitmoji classroomOne of my colleagues here at the University of Northampton, Lucy Westley, made this mathematics digital classroom using GoogleSlides. It gives you the opportunity to explore the range of mathematics resources available to support learning. Have a look at it here.

 

Another interesting resource is this from Mathigon. It gives you access to a wide range of mathematics manipulatives to use in digital learning, along with puzzles, games and information to use in supporting learning.

maths digital books online image

 

 

January 14, 2021
by Jean
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WindowSwap in the classroom

screenshot of window swap websiteYou will probably have come across the site WindowSwap this week. It can be accessed here.

It is a simple series of video views through windows around the world and as such has so much potential for use in learning. 

Each window lasts ten minutes and includes sound, which can be switched on or off. You can move on to another random window by clicking the bar at the bottom of the screen and the name of the place where the window is appears in the top right of the screen. The one you can see here is in Hazelbrook, New South Wales, Australia. 

screenshot of a jam board

Here’s a Jamboard with some ideas for using WindowSwap and you can see it as a Jamboard here. I’m sure you will have lots of other ideas too – why not add them as comments below?

November 20, 2020
by Jean
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Digital Futures Commission

Today, on World Children’s Day, the Digital Futures Commission (DFC) has been launched to explore digital innovation with a focus on children and young people and informed by their voices. Their research focus is on:

  1. play in a digital world
  2. beneficial uses of education data
  3. guidance for innovators

You can read the results of a consultation called Children and Young People’s Voices here. The report focuses on the question: what do children and young people value about the digital world and what changes do they call for? in relation to the three research focuses listed above. 

cover of Free Play in a Digital WorldToday the DFC has launched a consultation on play called ‘Free play in a Digital World’ and is seeking views from children and young people, parents and carers, and professionals who work with children.

You can download it here. The consultation opens today and runs until the end of February 2021. If you fall into any of the categories above you can join in by taking part in a 45 minute discussion online. Read more details on p4 of the document. 

You can also read more about free play and why it matters here in a blog post by Dr Kate Cowan who has written a review called The Panorama of Play. As a student you would read the blog post as a way into reading the actual review, which you would find informative for your work in PDT1076. 

September 18, 2020
by Jean
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New resources from the National Literacy Trust.

This week the National Literacy trust launched two new online resources to support families and educators.

authors of the week

NLT, 2020c

The first is called Virtual School Library. You can access it here

Each week the Virtual School Library will introduce a children’s author or illustrator and share books, videos and recommended reads.

Here’s an example from this week (w/b September 14th 2020).

Words for Life resources

NLT, 2020b

The second is called Words for Life. You can access it here. Words for Life provides resources “for parents, children and young people to improve their language, literacy and communication skills from home” (NLT, 2020a, lines 3-5).

The resources can be accessed by age group and are practical and engaging. 

 

 

References

National Literacy Trust. (2020a) Words for Life. [online] Available from: https://wordsforlife.org.uk/ [Accessed: 18/09/2020].

National Literacy Trust. (2020b) Happiness and wellbeing. Words for life. [online] Available from: https://wordsforlife.org.uk/ [Accessed: 18/09/2020].

National Literacy Trust. (2020c) Current authors of the week. Virtual library. [online] Available from: https://wordsforlife.org.uk/virtual-school-library/authors/ [Accessed: 18/09/2020].

 

 

 

 

apple teacher modules

July 13, 2020
by Jean
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Learning to use digital tools 3: Apple Teacher

apple teacher logoMany of you will be using iPads to support learning in the classroom. As you use the iPad you and your pupils will quickly be able to work out how to use various tools as and when you need them. One of the great features of the iPad is the way you can use it intuitively and rapidly work out how to use it to support your own learning and the learning of your pupils. 

Another way of developing your skills is to complete the Apple Teacher course available through the Apple Teacher Learning Centre. You can access it here.

apple teacher modulesOnce you have used your Apple Teacher ID to sign into the site you can work your way through the iPad modules: iPad, Pages for iPad, Keynote for iPad, Numbers for iPad, iMovie for iPad, Garageband for iPad and creativity with iPad. Having worked your way through these modules and taken a test you can then display the Apple Teacher digital badge on your blog and email signature. In addition to the iPad learning there is also set of four modules with a focus on coding and Swift and a set focused on using the Mac.

The modules are user friendly and informative, based around digital books that you can download and return to. Alongside them are many other useful resources in the site that can take you further with using tools such as Clips and explore themes such as being creative and remote learning. 

If you have completed Apple Teacher let us know in the comments below. How has it supported your work in the classroom?

 

 

Google AR TL image

July 6, 2020
by Jean
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Learning to use digital tools 2: ThingLink

ThingLink is a digital tool available for all to use in a free and in a paid for version. The tools available through the free version are a great place to get started. Although it is available as an app it is also available online. You can access it here.

It is a tool that allows you to add tags to images and video. The tags can include text, audio, images / video and links to a wide range of other resources and tools. You can then share your ThingLink with users who can access all the materials from the one place. There are useful accessibility features that make it supportive for all users. ThingLinks can also be embedded into blogs and digital books made in BookCreator and added to Padlets.

screen shot from Microsoft course pageA useful way to get started is to complete the Creating Visual Learning Materials ThingLink course in the Microsoft Educator Center. This is a comprehensive introduction for the new user  but also contains information about recent changes that was helpful to me as a longtime user of ThingLink. The course contains the following:

Modules Overview – Each module has an interactive video ThingLink and helpful overview

  1. What is ThingLink?  
  2. Your ThingLink Account  
  3. Base Images and Videos  
  4. ThingLink Creation and Tag Types  
  5. Embedding Microsoft Tag Ideas  
  6. Accessibility and Publishing 
  7. Collaboration and Teams  
  8. Support and Resources – Followed by our Quiz!  

After you have completed the quiz you can download a digital badge to display on your blog or email signature. 

A recent example of a ThingLink I made is this one that introduces you to the AR features in Google.

If you join ThingLink and browse existing ThingLinks you will easily find inspiration for using this tool in school. There are so many examples across all age groups and subjects.

How might you use ThingLink in your practice? Share a link to any ThingLinks you make in the comments below.