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

at Leicester and UN

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?

January 9, 2021
by Jean
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Supporting remote learning

Many of you will be planning and delivering learning remotely since the recent changes in school opening.

Oak National Academy opening pageThe Oak National Academy is providing a wide range of plans and resources to support schools and these are for all key stages and subjects.

You can explore these here

 

In addition from week beginning January 11th 2021 the BBC is broadcasting a range of educational programmes. 

BBC schools timetable

Here is the timetable for primary schools and you can see the secondary timetable here.

There is more information about what the BBC is offering here.

December 7, 2020
by Jean
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Dictating your text in Microsoft Word, Pages (Apple) and Google Docs.

You might wish to have the option of dictating your text when word processing. This can be useful when you are making notes, organising your thoughts or when you are tired of typing! It is available in Microsoft, Google and Apple word processing software. 

When you sign into your Microsoft Office package using your university account you can use the ‘dictate’ option in Word. For a demonstration watch this short video:

In Apple’s word processing software, Pages, you can do the same on an iPad or Mac.

iPad: how to

Mac: how to

In Google Docs the same is possible – read more about it here.

Thanks to @mtholfsen and @bjgreen25 on Twitter for sharing and pointing out the Microsoft Word support video.

 

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. 

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.

June 30, 2020
by Jean
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Learning to use digital tools 1: Book Creator

book creator logoBookCreator is a digital tool available to all of us to use through Google Chrome. You can accesslist of book creator modules it here.

It is a tool that allows you to create digital books of your own incorporating a very wide range of media including text, images, video and digital items from other other sources. The accessibility features make BookCreator a tool that supports inclusion for the reader.

A useful way to get started is to work through the Book Creator Certified Author Level 1 activities. These provide a comprehensive and user friendly introduction to the tool. If you have not used BookCreator before this a great introduction. I have been using BookCreator for a while and I learned a lot too, especially about the range of accessibility features available to the writer and reader. 

You can see in the list on the right that each module is a short and focused introduction to an aspect of the tool. If you work your way through the items and complete a quiz you can gain a BookCreator level 1 certificate and a digital badge to display on your blog or email signature. 

I have made BookCreator books with pupils and students, often to share their work on a topic or area of study. More recently I have created digital text books for students to use as the basis of university sessions. Being able to choose to have the text read them was supportive for some students who accessed the books. 

This is a digital book to support a session of developing vocabulary when supporting learning in English and across the curriculum. It is written for university students in the first year of their degree. It was especially useful to be able to share information in this way when most of our study and learning took place online recently.

I also made a more practical book based around different ways of using technology in supporting learning in and teaching English. This book allowed me to collect together and share a range of other digital tools that can be used in English lessons. 

 

How might you use BookCreator in your practice? Share a link to any books you make in the comments below!

 

bitmoji outdoor classroom

June 17, 2020
by Jean
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Create your own virtual classroom

You might have come across the idea of the #bitmojiclassroom on social media. Over the last few months, with many teachers and TAs away from face to face contact with their pupils, the idea of creating a virtual space that is visually and user friendly for pupils and parents has become popular. Combined with the tools to create emojis that look like ourselves and add links to images in Powerpoint and GoogleSlides there are now many examples to take inspiration from.

bitmoji of jeanThe use of a personalised bitmoji allows us to make a connection with our pupils. This is mine. 

You can make your own bitmoji by creating an account here

Once you have an account and you have made your bitmoji you can then easily search for it in many different versions and positions to use in making resources.

This is a useful guide to how to create a virtual classroom using GoogleSlides by teacher Thomas Blakemore.

If this is something that interests you, it is worth browsing social media for examples, as there are many that you can learn from and repurpose to use for your own pupils. Search #bitmojiclassroom on Facebook or twitter to find posts and videos that will help you.

Last week I made my first #bitmojiclassroom to find out more about how to do it. It is based on learning outdoors. You can access it below. Click on the ‘present’ triangle symbol to explore the links attached to many of the items in the image.

One important area to consider when making your virtual classroom is protecting the intellectual property rights of the makers of resources available online. You will find yourself searching google images for pictures and google for links and it is important to note and acknowledge these. When searching for images you can choose ‘labelled for non-commercial reuse’ in the search settings and keep a note of the information to reference. For the resource above I have another slide with the references related to this image listed.

May 26, 2020
by Jean
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Digital tool: Classroom Screen

I came across a useful digital tool last week, introduced to it by Mat Pullen on twitter (@mat6453). It is called Classroom Screen and it is an online screen that gives you access to many of the tools available on a classroom interactive whiteboard.

blank classroom screenWhen it opens it looks like this image. You can choose from a range of backgrounds, animations, colours and your webcam. 

At the bottom of the screen the tools appear in a bar and these are the tools you can select and use.

They include: a random name generator, dice, sound level monitor, QR code generator, drawing screen, text typing screen, work symbols, traffic lights, a timer, a stopwatch, a clock and a calendar. All of these can be presented on coloured backgrounds, some can modified in size and in other ways and moved around the screen.

screenshot of tools open on classroom screenHere’s an example of a screen with some of the tools open.

This is a great tool for allowing you access to the classroom organisation tools you might be used to having in the classroom but on your laptop or tablet to use use a virtual classroom scenario. It could also be useful to access in a classroom that does not have an IWB but does have a laptop and screen.

At present the screens cannot be saved so it is a use and use again tool.

Mat has made a useful demonstration video that you can access here.

 

 

April 30, 2020
by Jean
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Keeping in touch with friends and school

There are lots of creative and inspiring ways for pupils and schools to show that they are together, even when not in the same physical location.

This is a great PicCollage made by the teachers of a local school where one of our graduates works.

 

 

This wonderful collection of miniature dolls was made by a teacher in the Netherlands, Ingleborg Meinster-Van der Duin, and represents the pupils in her class.

A school in England has made made a huge circle of pupils holding hands (shared by @AdrianBethune on Twitter).

 

These lovely videos were made at the school of another of our graduates.

Finally in this school in Wales has created a wonderful ThingLink set in the school and allowing all the staff to send messages.

You can view it here.

What has your school done to keep in touch? If you want to share ideas let us know by commenting below.

 

 

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