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

at Leicester and UN

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.

 

 

May 18, 2020
by Jean
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Make your own miniature books with the British Library.

There are lots of fantastic resources to support learning at home available on the British Library website. 

In the one outlined here we are shown the collection of miniature books called The Infant’s Library which were created in the nineteenth century. They were 5.7cm x 4.7 cm in size.

The collection can be explored online here.

 

Some of the tiny books in the collection were created by Charlotte and Anne Bronte about their own toys and others were made for Queen Mary’s Dolls House. Many are handmade by famous authors. 

After exploring the collection of miniature books there is an activity that outlines how to plan and create your own miniature book.

You can also watch contemporary authors and illustrators read their own miniature books here.

When you’ve made your book you can share it social media using #discoveringchildrensbooks to @BL_Learning or email them to learning@bl.uk 

If you are concerned that your pupils do not have access to the internet the British Library are distributing printed packs through public libraries, food banks and sheltered accommodation as well as emailing PDFs to teachers. 

There are lots of other creative and story based ideas to explore here.

 

 

May 7, 2020
by Jean
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Take part in the Urban Tree festival!

Save Our Street Trees is delighted to be taking part in the first-ever virtual Urban Tree Festival – to celebrate our beautiful urban trees.

Between May 16 and 24, Save Our Street Trees – Northampton will be asking people to turn over a #newleaf with a Virtual Urban Forest in their windows for everyone to enjoy on their daily walks, along with people all over the UK.

We’re tasking families and children to design a bare tree and display it in their window – and each day craft a #NewLeaf to slowly build up a tree canopy. Each #NewLeaf can have a message for passers-by, such as tree poems, tree quotes, forest facts and calming/motivating messages to get people through lockdown.

The idea is one of celebrating urban trees – but also new beginnings, new life, positivity and regeneration. We will be providing downloadable tree trunk templates, leaf cut outs, and lots of leaf art ideas nearer the time.

Watch this space! We’d love you to share photos of your trees and leaves during the Urban Tree Festival week via

Facebook event: Save Our Street Trees – Northampton and Urban Tree Festival here, and on

Twitter: @SaveStreetTrees

Instagram: @saveourstreettrees

Join the Facebook group here.

 

April 19, 2020
by Jean
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Support for learning at home

Tomorrow two new national support resources for learning at home are being launched. If you are providing learning for your pupils at home or supporting your own children you might find these useful. 

The first is by BBC Bitesize. This consists of daily lessons on the BBC Bitesize website along with special programmes on BBC iPlayer and the BBC red button. There will be a new daily English and mathematics lesson for all ages, supported by videos, practice tests, games and articles. There will also be lessons for science, history, geography, music and art. There will be programmes each evening to support learning at GCSE and A level for older students. Daily podcasts for primary and secondary pupils and an app are also part of this resource along with interaction on Facebook and Twitter for parents and Instagram for teenage students. 

Facebook page

Twitter

Instagram

 

(BBC, 2020)

The other resource is from a new organisation called the oak national academy, a group of schools and teachers who have been commissioned by the DfE to provide a sequenced series of video lessons and resources. It is providing resources for pupils from reception age to year 6 in the subjects of English , mathematics and a range of other subjects and areas including science, humanities, creative and Spanish and for pupils in years 7 to 9 the subjects of English, mathematics, science, history, geography, Spanish, French, Latin, RE and art. The Oak National Academy can be followed on twitter here.

(Oak National Academy, 2020)

References.

BBC (2020) Daily lessons start Monday. BBC. [online] Available from: https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize [Accessed 19/04/2020].

Oak National Academy (2020) Web home page. Oak National Academy. [online] Available from: https://www.thenational.academy/ [Accessed 19/04/2020].

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.

 

 

March 17, 2020
by Jean
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Learning at home

If you are a TA or HLTA you might be involved preparing work packs or ideas to support learning at home in the coming weeks or months. On the Padlet below are and links to activities and resources that you might find useful. These include:

  • Non digital resources that can be photocopied and handed out to pupils. Some of these are in formats that can be used as a model and applied to a range of subjects and age groups.
  • Digital tools that are already free or are offering temporary free access.
  • Advice about safeguarding, planning and news.

It will be important to consider the practicalities of staff, parents and pupils learning to use new tools in short period of time. It could be more user friendly to stick with whatever they are familiar with.

Made with Padlet

October 21, 2019
by Jean
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The Good Childhood Report 2019

Each year since 2005 the Children’s Society have surveyed children’s views about the issues they face. They say:

“Our well-being research was initiated in 2005 to fill the gap in research regarding young people’s views of their own well-being. The research focuses on positive rather than negative indicators, and on well-being in the present rather than ‘well-becoming’.

Our research aims to:

  • Develop a better understanding of the concept of well-being as it relates to young people, taking full account of the perspectives of young people themselves
  • Establish self-report measures of young people’s well-being and use these to identify the reasons for variations in well-being and to monitor changes in well-being over time.”

(Children’s Society, 2019a, lines 16-24)

You can read this year’s report here.

As people who work in schools it is interesting and informative for you to know more about what your pupils’ views and hopes are. 

This year’s key findings are that:

  • An estimated quarter of a million 10-15 year olds in the UK may be unhappy with their lives
  • Boys are becoming less happy with their appearance
  • Happiness with friendships is in decline
  • Any experience of financial strain or poverty in childhood is linked to lower well-being by age 14.

The Children’s Society note that:

“We are calling on the Government to introduce national measurement of well-being for all children aged 11-18 to be undertaken through schools and colleges once a year. This would enable the experiences of young people to be recorded and issues acted upon for future generations.”

(Children’s Society, 2019b, lines 4-7)

 

Reference:

Children’s Society (2019a) Well-being. [online] Available from: https://www.childrenssociety.org.uk/what-we-do/research/well-being [Accessed: 17/10/19].

Children’s Society (2019b) The Good Childhood Report 2019. [online] Available from: https://www.childrenssociety.org.uk/what-we-do/resources-and-publications/the-good-childhood-report-2019 [Accessed: 17/10/19].

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