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The West of England ICT Conference

| June 30, 2016 | Add Your Thoughts 

WEICT16

WEict-Logo-smallThis year’s theme is unlocking and opening Digital Doorways that will takes delegates on learning journeys to make new discoveries and explore new places, exploring how technology can empower teachers and learners, as global citizens, to unlock learning and connect to new opportunities.

Thank you to Jo Briscombe, Teaching and Learning Adviser and CPD Lead, Integra Schools, for inviting us to present a keynote.

We enjoyed a full on and up for it Ani~smiles/animals/animules time with all the folk here today.

digital-map-fullTaking a journey in the digital age, we all set out on an amazing adventure. We focussed on tech, but, also on the power of picking up words and juggling them.

Reading and writing are a stimulus and model building sophistication in children’s own writing. Speaking and listening, come alive when we expose children to new opportunities, valid, interesting and real, whether that is through ICT, trips, or other experiences.

Oral rehearsal boosts quality and confidence … sometimes, making it up as we go, verbal, or written “jazz”, produces some of the most intriguing, and fascinating results. Today, we looked at how to inspire all of these elements, through the use of technology and beyond. Well done all.

We created, researched and reported on, our own magical imaginings, and, using creative technologies, we went wild and woolly with our new, remarkable creatures.

We explored the power of inventive technologies and visual literacy elements, and saw how they can have a huge impact on raising confidence in children across the creative curriculum… Unlocking (Digital) Doorways.

Myst III: Exile at Park Mead Primary School

| June 28, 2016 | Add Your Thoughts 

A huge well done, and thank you, to Mr Driscoll, from Park Mead Primary School. We have heard from Jack before back in 2013 when he has sent us his pupils creations – Some Crazy Cranleigh Creatures.

Here are some more of his celebrations, this time using Myst III:Exile.

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I just wanted to contact to say how continually surprised I am with the results of using Myst 3 in the classroom. Even with the graphical improvements today it is still hands down the kids favourite part of English during the year. I’ve attached some writing that my class did this week! #proudteachermoment

We have used Myst 3 in Year 4 since Tim visited a few years ago. It continually surprises me just how fantastic the writing is from it. My class are always eager to return to the lands and their descriptions of it are vivid, showing the high level of engagement they have. I have also loved using Myst III as a teacher because each class you have come up with slightly different ideas and descriptions of the landscape and wonderful scenery the game has to offer.

Attached are a few pieces of work from my Year 4 class, who showed a great deal of pride and enjoyment in their writing.

Mr Driscoll
Park Mead Primary School
@parkmeadprimary

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Wordsmyth

| June 28, 2016 | Add Your Thoughts 

Wordsmyth is a suite of dictionary-thesaurus resources, useful for many ages & abilities.

There are different levels of dictionary, each with their own style and structure. The Beginners’ Dictionary, for example, has very easy-to-read entries written with a simple defining vocabulary of 2000 “starter” words.

The differences between the dictionaries could be useful when looking at use of language. If you try looking up “inspire” in the Beginners’ dictionary, in the childrens’ dictionary, and then in the advanced dictionary, you get carefully selected results. All include the word in an audio format.

Wordsmyth also includes an anagram solver, a useful crossword solver, a reverse search and a very useful, quick, glossary maker, when you, or a pupil, have written a text introducing vocabulary that might need some explanation.

Harry Potter’s Renaissance Science, Magic & Medicine

| June 24, 2016 | Add Your Thoughts 

Designed to accompany the Harry Potter Exhibition, organised by the US National Library of Medicine, the Online Education Resources are a touch of magic in their own right.

Follow the clues, to discover similarities between Harry’s fictional world and ours. Investigate the Potions section and find answers to things such as the difference between the Sorcerer’s Stone and the Philosopher’s Stone, and what Nicolas Flamel was really famous in history?

Examine the historical records in the Monsters section and find answers to investigate The Monster Book of Monsters that Hagrid used to teach the Care of Magical Creatures class in Hogwarts, and the creatures and monsters that Gesner’s Historiae Animalium included.

Mandrake is used in a potion for un-petrification in Harry Potter. Find out what Mandrake was used for historically in the Herbology section.

“There was a lot more to magic, as Harry quickly found out, than waving your wand & saying a few funny words.”

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, J. K. Rowling

BlogBooker

| June 24, 2016 | Add Your Thoughts 

We’ve mentioned a few ways to export a website, or blog, as a pdf or jpeg. Blogbooker does the job in great style.

It exports everything, (except embedded flash files, for example) including images, and every hyperlink. It even produces an index page & each title links to the relevant post.

The process is easy & requires no sign up. Produce a pdf booklet of all of your hard work.

IT16 Conference & Exhibition ~ Kent

| June 23, 2016 | Add Your Thoughts 

EIS 16

EIS KentA Keynote and workshops at the IT16 Conference & Exhibition at the Ashford International Hotel in Kent.

There was an other Keynote from Peter Twining.

Our keynote was called Animal Magic! A Mission Improbable.

We spent some fun time exploring the power of inventive technologies and see how they can have a huge impact on raising computing skills and creativity in children, right across the curriculum. We need to inspire young people; enhance their creativity and confidence so they can pick ideas up and start to juggle with them; encourage resourcefulness through challenge, but also the ability to reflect and benefit from the experience of others; to motivate a love of learning for life. With a focus very much on creativity, particularly engaging learners’ imaginations, we investigated ways of working that are centered on innovation with many free accessible tech tools and practical ideas.

Our workshop was called Out of this World. Tech to Inspire…. Games Based Learning for Real

Accessible tools and ideas for raising the levels of creativity, writing, speaking and listening among children of all ages. Understand the powerful effect of using digital games, Web2 tools, software, handheld devices and more, to model a way of teaching that focuses on quality learning, rather than the latest gadget. Investigate how virtual worlds, with their stunning landscapes, peaceful characters and realistic challenges, can be used across subject areas.

Culture Street’s Picture Book Maker

| June 21, 2016 | Add Your Thoughts 

Culture Street’s Picture Book Maker

Whilst it is not perfect, you can, quite quickly, create some little gems.

Choose your characters, some backgrounds, objects and artefacts, then get composing your tale over multiple pages. This can help break down simple stories in to distinct sections, perhaps as a plan for a more extended tales

Younger children could find the Picture Book Maker a great stimulus for planning, but also for presenting the end results of their writing.

gosoapbox.com

| June 20, 2016 | Add Your Thoughts 

SoapBox is a controlled digital space, designed to “improve student engagement by breaking down the barriers students face when deciding whether or not to participate in class, and gives teachers a concrete assessment of student comprehension, in real time”.

Soap Box is a service that enables teachers to gather instant feedback from students through their cell phones, tablets, or laptops. Soap Box offers nine useful functions for teachers and students. There is even a “confusion barometer” that enables students to put their status as either “I get it” or “I’m confused.”

As there is a chance to communicate through a back channel, there is also a “profanity filter” that blocks inappropriate language from being posted.

SoapBox is currently in beta and free of charge. This could be well worth exploring within schools who are lucky (and wise) enough to allow, and encourage use of mobile technology, and interactive judgments, and evaluations, within lessons. A hard point to debate. Maybe try it through Soap Box.

 

The Levelator®

| June 20, 2016 | Add Your Thoughts 

“Do you believe in “magic”? You might after using The Levelator® to enhance your podcast.

An old and archived piece of software but genuinely useful

So what is The Levelator®? It’s software that runs on Windows, OS X (universal binary), or Linux (Ubuntu) that adjusts the audio levels within your podcast or other audio file for variations from one speaker to the next, for example. It’s not a compressor, normalizer or limiter although it contains all three.

It’s much more than those tools, and it’s much simpler to use: Drag-and-drop any WAV or AIFF file onto The Leveler’s application window, and a few moments later you’ll find a new version which just sounds better.

(*The sound of a clink in their TipJar would be enhanced with The Levelator® too, b.t.w. :-) )

email dodo

| June 20, 2016 | Add Your Thoughts 

With eMailDodo you can create and administer email groups in one central place (‘in the cloud’).

Because eMailDodo is a cloud service, all members in your group can use the same single email address for the group on any pc or mobile & it’s easy to remember.

Never again worry about misspelling an address or accidentally leaving somebody out of an email.

Via eMailDodo you can not only send eMails but also Questions (“polls”).

Hertfordshire Deputy & Assistant Heads Conference

| June 16, 2016 | Add Your Thoughts 

Herts for Learning
inner_logo‘Resilience’, the Enabler or Barrier to Effective Leadership  – A one-day national conference for primary deputy and assistant headteachers. Strong leadership in schools is key to driving up standards and ensuring all young people get the good education they need at The Auction House, Luton.

Exploring the power of inventive technologies and see how they can have a huge impact on raising computing skills and creativity in children, right across the curriculum. We need to inspire young people; enhance their creativity and confidence so they can pick ideas up and start to juggle with them; encourage resourcefulness through challenge, but also the ability to reflect and benefit from the experience of others; to motivate a love of learning for life. With a focus very much on creativity, particularly engaging learners’ imaginations, we investigated ways of working that are centered on innovation with many free accessible tech tools and practical ideas.

One element that is very important to us, is the many ways to inspire and motivate children into believing they are writers. Changing the perception of themselves into being a writer. “I didn’t know I could do this and… I’m actually enjoying the process. Did I write THAT?!”

Don’t guess at things. If there’s something factual about your story, check it. Research can be great fun.

Get someone you trust to check it through for any mistakes (but don’t let them re-write it for you!).

And, of course …..

It doesn’t always have to be digital

Always try to make your first line or paragraph unusual or interesting to get the attention of someone who’s just idly picked it up.

Get dialogue going quite quickly.

Do work on good description BUT don’t over-do it.

Try to avoid using clichés to describe things – ie: instead of saying ‘Scared to death’ think of a way to really describe how you felt. Eg: ‘I felt my stomach clench and my hands start to shake, while a feeling of panic seemed to rise up in my throat’.

Use your own experiences. Use your imagination, of course, but also write about things you know about. This makes your writing ring true, which is really important.

Thanks go to Lynne Wilson and Danielle Wallington for inviting us and cooordinating today’s event.

Other keynotes included Dr Angela Smith is a forensic psychologist, coach, trainer, keynote speaker and regular blogger on the Huffington Post and Jonathan Lear, Award-winning practising teacher, deputy head and creator of Guerilla Education.