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

at Leicester and UN

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.

May 29, 2020
by Jean
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Notice nature in June!

As the month of June begins there are some interesting activities taking place to draw our attention to the natural world.

30 days wild calendarThe first is the annual event run by The Wildlife Trusts: “30 Days Wild“.

At the link you can sign up to take part as a family, a care home, a business or a school or group. When you sign up you will receive a downloadable wall chart to help you plan a month of wildlife centred activities along with some other useful and fun resources.

You can see the first two weeks of the calendar here.

screen shot from NJW websiteAnother activity that takes place next week is international Nature Journaling Week (1st to 7th June 2020). The aim of the week is to “come together as a world-wide community to celebrate and document the beauty and diversity of the natural world”. (NJW, 2020, lines 7-8).

As well as a theme of each day and “live” online activities there is a useful ‘for parents and teachers” page. It has suggestions for how to involve children in observing and recording nature in the early years, primary years and teenage years along with a website link to John Muir Laws’s resources.

BBC springwatch website Finally, of course, as always at this time of year Springwatch is running on BBC and social media channels.

 

There are live broadcasts on social media at 9am, midday and 5pm along with the terrestrial BBC2 program at 8pm on Tuesdays to Fridays for three weeks. There are live webcams streaming all the time, allowing wildlife to be observed live from wherever you are.

The weather is great so now is the time to go and look at the outdoors wherever you are and notice what is happening in the world around.

References 

Nature Journaling Week (2020) Welcome to International Nature Journaling Week. NJW website. [online] Available from: https://www.naturejournalingweek.com/ [Accessed 29/05/2020]. 

Nature Journaling week. (2020) For parents and teachers webpage. NJW website. [online] Available from: https://www.naturejournalingweek.com/parents-and-teachers [Accessed 29/05/2020]. 

BBC 92020) Springwatch. BBC. [online] Available from: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b007qgm3 [Accessed: 29/05/2020].

The Wildlife Trusts. (2020) 30 Days Wild calendar. The Wildlife Trusts. [online] Available from: https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/sites/default/files/2020-04/combinepdf%20%282%29.pdf [Accessed: 29/05/2020].

 

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.

 

 

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:

 

May 30, 2019
by Jean
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International connections on FDLT!

FDLT Students Enriching Experiences – Mystery Skype and Zoom Room

This week Year 2 Foundation Degree Learning and Teaching (FDLT) students took part in a Mystery Skype activity and had extended discussions within a Zoom Room.

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After the Mystery Skype task with the UN group on Monday, former UN Education Studies student Miti Mwape shared her experiences of teaching English in China. She highlighted the many opportunities that exist for mature students to work abroad (Teach and Travel in Hunan, China: http://teachinhunan.com/).

Dr Brenda Padilla (Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo Leónin) and her students scattered across Mexico took part in discussions with FDLT students within a live Zoom Room Video Conference. These online meetings resulted in extensive conservations between students on a range of comparative and international educational issues. The dynamic conversations crossed three continents, with FDLT student Nazia Saeed joining the discussions from India on Wednesday. Students from the Universidad da Vinci in Mexico also took part in conversations.

Dr Emel Thomas

May 22, 2019
by Jean
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Taking the learning outdoors!

Last week the FDLT Year 1 students had the opportunity to use the outdoors as a learning environment.We spent the morning beside the river exploring  and measuring the landscape.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The activities the students tried out are those which pupils need to experience when learning geographical and scientific skills and they also provided opportunities to apply mathematical learning.

We also explored the book The Lost Words by Jackie Morris and Robert MacFarlane – a fantastic inspiration for English in the context of the natural world. There are supporting resources for this here.

In year 2 of the FDLT course students will take part in a module entirely focused on learning opportunities beyond the school site so this experience was a valuable introduction.

April 16, 2019
by Jean
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A new online course from DLAB!

Our team from the University of Northampton would like to invite you and your staff to join our free online course on What if the sea level rises? Exploring language and culture in a future setting. This course has been developed as part of a European funded project, ‘Digital Learning across Boundaries’, that brings together teachers, student teachers and lecturers in Norway, Denmark, Belgium and England to connect classrooms, and to explore and share technology-related themes.

This is a fantastic FREE resource for primary and lower secondary teachers. It includes case studies of lessons and an international online community sharing ideas. We hope you can join in to develop and share your own ideas on our themes of survival, communication and sustainability. 

The course runs for one week starting on May 6th and will remain on our website for teachers to dip in and out of as much as they want.  

We hope that this is of interest. You can find out more and sign up here: 

http://dlaberasmus.eu/courses/what-if-the-sea-level-rises-exploring-language-and-culture-in-a-future-setting/

 

Alongside this free opportunity, I would like to let you know that we are recruiting for a new Postgraduate Certificate in Digital Leadership, starting on 20th May 2019. This is a one-year, part-time, fully online course that leads to 60 Master’s credits and can form part of an online Masters pathway open to an international audience. It is intended to develop both subject and leadership expertise, and is designed to accommodate complete beginners as well as those with some existing knowledge in the field. You can find more information here: https://www.northampton.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate-certificate-in-digital-leadership

 

Do contact me if you have any queries about either of these courses:

helen.caldwell@northampton.ac.uk

All best wishes,

Helen Caldwell

(And the DLaB team at the University of Northampton)

April 4, 2019
by Jean
1 Comment

Animating science!

This week in the FDLT Year 1 groups we have been using the stop motion animation app iMotion and the video editing app iMovie. The students devised, scripted and designed short animations to explain an idea or process. After they had made their film they added music and sound effects from iMovie and sounds made themselves.

The films can be watched here:

It was interesting to see the skills, knowledge and understanding that students used as they worked in teams of three or four. They had to check their subject knowledge and understanding of the ideas and concepts they were presenting. Sometimes as they worked this evolved as they added detail: vocabulary and visual examples. They worked effectively as teams, taking different roles, co-operating, sharing ideas and solving problems. Cross-curricular approaches were evident as students worked across the subjects design, art, science, English, mathematics and computing. 

Making stop motion animations allows people to move from passive users of technology to creative makers where the technology is a tool to create.

 

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