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

at Leicester and UN

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.

 

 

April 19, 2020
by Jean
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Inspiring learning at home

As we move into the summer term and continue to educate many pupils at home the amount of resources to support and inspire learning at home as exploded. In the previous blog post I shared information about two national resources that are launched tomorrow. As well as these there are many other resources provided by many people and organisations that can be used to inspire and connect our children. 

Here are just a few of the creative activities and challenges that I have come across:

#stayathome art task by artist Bob&Roberta Smith @bobandroberta (Twitter) 

Bob&Roberta tweets short creative challenges to get people being creative using short videos on twitter.

You can see the most recent one here.

 

People then share the outcomes using #stayathome

 

#hometasking by Greg Davies and Alex Horne from the TV programme #Taskmaster

Alex Horne sets a creative and lateral thinking practical challenge for anyone to have a go at. 

You can see all the tasks on the YouTube channel here.

People share the outcomes using #hometasking 

 

#noelsartclub by Noel Fielding

Noel Feilding (@noelfielding11) tweets an art challenge for children to respond to in any way they wish. 

People share the outcomes using #noelsartclub

If you have come across any fun and inspiring resources that are working for you and your children why not comment below then we can share them more widely.

March 27, 2020
by Jean
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FDLT exploring augmented and virtual reality

Earlier in March FDLT Y2 students had the opportunity to explore augmented and virtual reality and consider how it could support learning now and in the future.

The UoN students had a go at using the VIVE virtual reality headset and controls, exploring Google Earth and TiltBrush. They also looked at using greenscreen apps and CoSpaces. We discussed how virtual reality could have the potential to give pupils’ experiences they couldn’t possibly have eg distant places, places from the past, places they couldn’t possibly go and imaginary places. They brought up the points that some children could find it hard to distinguish between virtual reality and real world; the relationship between virtual reality and what pupils experience in gaming and the expense of the equipment along with a need for technical support. We wondered if, over the next ten years. this could become one of our tool for teaching and supporting learning, or whether it will remain something less commonly used in schools.

The Leicester students visited the Van Gogh: the Immersive Experience, where they explored the works of Van Gogh in a digital exhibition. We lucky to be in the exhibition at the same time as a class of young children, who were captivated with the way the pictures had been subtly brought to life digitally. An example was a series of landscapes with a railway line running through which had the train moving through the pictures and then steam from the train appearing around the floor and walls. My favourite was the blossom – petals fell and swirled on the floor. As the paintings were brought to life and spilled out of the frames and onto the walls, ceiling and floor the children became more engaged with the spectacle.

The exhibition also contained the opportunity to have a brief VR experience during which we could see children talking with each other about what they could see. They could also draw a picture, scan it and see it projected onto the wall immediately.

 

 

January 30, 2020
by Jean
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Animating science!

Over the last few weeks the FDLT Year 1 students have been making stop motion animations.

They used the app ‘StopMotionStudio’ on ipads to make their animations, and the app ‘iMovie’ to edit them, adding sounds and music. 

The students chose an aspect of the science PoS to explain in their animations, using visuals and words to explore ideas such as how water is used by plants; seasonal change; the cycel of the moon and many more.

You can watch the animations on this YouTube channel:

 

August 26, 2019
by Jean
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Getting to know your new group

Before you start the FDLT course we’d like you to introduce yourself to the group on these Padlets.

Leicester group Padlet.

UN group Padlet. 

There is no need to have a Padlet account of your own to post onto the Padlet. All you need to do is click on the link above to open the Padlet and click on the pink plus sign to open a box to type into.

 

 

You can also upload a photo by clicking on the upload arrow at the bottom left below the text box.

If you want to comment or ask a question you can comment below the posts.

Please make sure that you have done this by September 4th.

If you need any help with this you can email jean.edwards@northampton.ac.uk 

July 29, 2019
by Jean
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Padlet

For new students to the FDLT and BALT courses:

Padlet is a digital tool that we often use for teaching. You do not need an account of your own to use it. When you are sent a link to a Padlet just click on it and you will be taken to a Padlet board with posts and links to useful information. 

Sometimes we will ask you to post on a Padlet. To do this you click on the pink plus sign at the bottom left hand corner of the screen. A box will open for you to type into. You can also upload a photo and add a link by using the icons at the bottom of the box.

 

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