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Night Zookeeper & World Creative Writing Month

| March 2, 2015 | Add Your Thoughts 

The-Night-Zookeeper-1024x1024Creative English writing resource Night Zookeeper have launched a free global writing initiative on their website called World Creative Writing Month.

The aim of the competition is to inspire children to write more stories at home. Pupils are challenged to invent their own magical animals and then are given a series of creative writing prompts about them. The stories they write about their animals can appear within an online newspaper called the Night News and also can be assessed against National Curriculum or Common Core objects in a Teacher admin site.

Schools from every continent have signed up, no doubt hoping to win some fabulous prizes. To register to take part, simply visit the World Creative Writing Month competition page of the Night Zookeeper website.

Here is an overview of some of the exciting activities in store.

As a teacher, you will be able to measure the impact on your pupils writing here.

You can learn how other schools have taken to Night Zookeeper in their case studies section.

CESI Conference 2015: Beyond the Horizon – Technology in Education, Galway, Ireland

| February 28, 2015 | Add Your Thoughts 

cesi2015

conf2015bannerWe are delighted to have made the trip across the water to Galway, in Ireland, for Beyond the Horizon – Technology in Education, The CESI Conference 2015, at the beautiful Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) campus. Well done, and thank you, one and all, for being up for the craic.

It was great to also go to the Teachmeet, last night, on the eve of the Conference today. It has become CESI’s custom, since 2009, to host a Teachmeet on the eve of the annual conference. This year, they were delighted to announce that they were hosting a special event:

“We have invited our friends and colleagues from the East to come West and join us! Teachmeet East has been running successfully for the past few years in Leinster, so we were thrilled they agreed to host a special Teachmeet “East meets West” with us. This was one NOT to miss!”

Thanks to Mags Amond, for inviting us to CESIcon, and for sharing these thoughts:

CESIThe Computers in Education Society of Ireland, known as CESI to its members and friends, is an open community of educators and innovators who are committed to using and developing technology to support teaching and learning. Our tribe includes educators from all levels and sectors, formal and informal, both “inside and outside the box”, so to speak!

Our membership is mainly drawn from Ireland, but we now have many many valued global friends.

The main event of the CESI year is the annual weekend Conference, informally dubbed #cesicon, when the family gathers to renew enthusiasm, share new ideas, and catch up with friends old and new.

We are Ireland’s longest established Ed Tech group, having recently celebrated – with great pride – our 40th Birthday! Our celebrations have taken us back to Galway, the home of our birth, for our most recent conferences.

We are in constant contact with each other online, sharing practice and solving problems, via the CESI mailing list, which is the online ‘staffroom’ of our Teacher Professional Network. We can be found debating (tweebating?) at the #edchatie timeline on Monday evenings at 20.30 GMT.

Dickie RockSeveral times a year now, we gather somewhere in the country for a TeachMeet, an idea we ‘borrowed’ from across the water in 2009. The cross pollination of ideas and information that occurs in this pleasant mixture of professional and social atmosphere has proven very popular with the membership.

At this CESI TM, and #cesicon, in Galway, we are delighted to have Keynotes from Tim & Sarah of this parish, and also our own John Davitt.

Google Hangouts

| February 27, 2015 | Add Your Thoughts 

hangoutsGoogle Hangouts can be a superb alternative to Skype, enabling disparate groups to communicate, and collaborate, together.

Record your hangout to enable replay, or non time dependent interaction.

If you were to enable editing of a document on Google Drive, at the same time as talking via a Hangout, you’ve started some real interaction, whether your collaborators are near or far.

Google Drive

| February 26, 2015 | Add Your Thoughts 

GoogledriveMany users of web tools, in schools, are possibly already familiar with Google Drive, which enables collaborative editing, through Google Docs, alongside anybody else who has a free Google account. We must make sure we don’t let it slip, and work, collaboratively, on interactive resources. “All your files, ready where you are”. You might also try GoogleDrive Mobile, a place to create, share, collaborate and keep your stuff, accessible on all your devices. Work together, while you’re on the go. (Works on Android and iOS)

Education Innovation Conference & Exhibition 2015, Manchester

| February 26, 2015 | Add Your Thoughts 

eice Mancester 2015

edu_innov_logo_web1A keynote for The Education Innovation Conference and Exhibition (EICE) at Manchester Central.

Now in its third year, EICE provides visitors with the chance to get hands-on with the latest learning technologies & receive specialist advice on boosting achievement in their schools, colleges & universities.

The Education Innovation Conference and Exhibition is an annual event designed to help education professionals integrate innovation and technology into learning. EICE combines an exhibition with a conference that includes free seminars and workshops, featuring contributions from a fantastic range of education experts.

Today, we went wild and wooly, creating our own composite creatures, using some simple, and all pervasive tools: Padlet, Switch Zoo – site and app, Endless Ocean, Wild Earth, ZooKazam & Zoo Atlanta, Simple English Wikipedia, Spicynodes, Tagxedo, Snappy Words, ThingLink, ZooBurst, Nature Sound Map, GoMixIt, Ambient Mixer, Audacity, Garageband, RunKeeper, Google Hangouts and Skype.

EICE is designed to educate and inspire teaching professionals on how technology and innovation can enhance the learning experience. We provide you with the chance to get hands-on with the latest learning technologies and receive expert advice on how to boost achievement in schools, colleges and universities.

New features, at EICE, for 2015, included:

· the Tablet Village – powered by The Tablet Academy – with advice and inspiration on getting the most out of teaching with tablets

· the SEN Hub, which featured some of the latest products and solutions for those with special educational needs

· An e-safety clinic, offering advice on how schools, colleges and universities deal with the safety of their students

For updates and maybe to register, for free, for tomorrow’s second day, visit http://www.educationinnovation.co.uk/ and you could also follow @EICEmanchester on Twitter

Thank you to Laura Scott, Conference Manager at the education innovation conference & exhibition, for organising our involvement in this great event.

Yammer

| February 25, 2015 | Add Your Thoughts 

YammerYammer is a private social network. Work in groups, share files, co-edit content, even with their free, basic plan. As there is the chance to narrow down those contributing, but you can share thoughts, and ideas, you could think of Yammer as a much more private version of Facebook. Well worth investigating.

Whatever It Takes 3rd Annual Conference, Leicester

| February 25, 2015 | Add Your Thoughts 

menuBackgroundWhatever it takes Whatever It Takes, the Leicester city-wide reading initiative, hosted its 3rd annual conference, at the Leicester City Football Ground, as part of their year focussing on the of using ICT to inspire learning & creativity, with an emphasis & reading & writing. Their header is a plane, going for it. Today, we got them to take off & fly too!

Open BookThank you to Ellen Lee – Project Manager, Whatever it Takes, for coordinating the last three days. Whatever it Takes (WiT) is the Leicester city-wide reading initiative dedicated to ensuring every child in Leicester is reading. It was established since 2009 and was formed in partnership between Leicester City Schools, Leicester City Council and is Managed by the School Development Support Agency.

Screen Shot 2015-02-21 at 10.01.20Thanks to Ellie for sharing these thoughts: The conference was lead by Tim Rylands and Sarah Neild and supported by a number of providers, exhibiting a range of products available to schools to support pupils learning by the use of ICT. The day included a presentation around ‘Raising the levels of creativity of children of all abilities’, a hands on session exploring the virtual worlds of Myst III and practical tasks delegates can undertake back at schools.
 
The follow up day,  with Feedback and Reflective Session, 4th June, has been designed to advance schools learning by  feedback and reflective sessions along with peer review. Tim and Sarah will keep in touch with delegates online, between events.

Given the ever changing and developing world of technology in education, Whatever it Takes (WiT) provides schools the opportunity to learn more about some of the effective and creative ways in which ICT can support a child’s learning and development, with a specific focus on literacy.

EduCanon ~ flipped learning tool

| February 24, 2015 | Add Your Thoughts 

educanon is a useful tool, especially if you are planning to use a flipped learning element in your curriculum. Embed questions into a video and receive feedback… and more.

EduCanon requires a free sign up.

Deliver video like you teach! This free tool enables you to embed dynamic questions into online video and track student understanding.

Through the eduCanon analytics, you can know who watched the video, where misconceptions arose, and what material needs to be retaught. eduCanon’s interface is simple ~ Build your first lesson in less than 15 minutes … like building a worksheet, except now each question is time-linked to a moment in your video. Add tables, images, audio clips, links, and even embed coded, as the question-editor behaves like a Word document

Whatever It Takes Training, Leicester ~ Day 2, Caldecote Community Primary School

| February 24, 2015 | Add Your Thoughts 

Caldecote Community Primary

A second day at Caldecote Community Primary School, leading another two sessions, with children, and visiting staff, as part of the Whatever It Takes, training we are doing this week, in Leicester. Joining us today were colleagues from Folville Junior School, Christ the King Catholic Primary, Granby Primary, Glebelands Primary, Whitehall Primary, Rolleston Primary, Shaftebury Junior School, Forest Lodge Primary, Overdale Infant School, King Richard III Infant School, Humberstone Infant School, Uplands Infant School, Willowbrook Primary, Mayflower Primary, Catherine Infant School, Leicester City Primary PRU, Belgrave St Peter’s Primary and Inglehurst Infant School.

Caldecote

Dialogic talk and roleplay feeds directly into focussed and supportive writing tasks whereby pupils can, motivated by their excitement, experiment with formal writing techniques of description, even challenging themselves to go further and make use of simile and metaphor to enrich their writing. We are sure not to constrain this imaginative energy by having pupils overly worry about spelling and other ‘rules’. This is not to say that the importance of such conventions is ignored but rather that pupils are reassured that the objective of the exercise is to record their ideas and experiment with the description so that their expressive skill is not retarded by over-formality.

The products of all such activities are celebrated by the class; shared and appreciated. The ideas and creativity of individuals is fed back into the community of the classroom, further stimulating others to improve their own work.

iversity

| February 23, 2015 | Add Your Thoughts 

iversity

iVersity provides open courses, empowering you to learn for free with peers from all over the globe.

You can participate, watch the instructional videos and follow a course for free. Take interactive quizzes during your study. Discussion boards help you to learn from professors. Everyone is in it together ~ no need to be shy!

Whatever It Takes Training, Leicester ~ Day 1, Caldecote Community Primary School

| February 23, 2015 | Add Your Thoughts 

Caldecote Community Primary School

Caldecote web header v3Our first, of three days this week, returning to Leicester, for sessions with those joining the Whatever It Takes crew on a tech trek. Today we were at Caldecote Community Primary School, leading two sessions, exploring the world of words, and beyond. Well done all.

Started the day with 40+ Y5 and Y6 pupils, their teachers and visiting colleagues from Mellor Primary, Thurnby Lodge PrimaryCatherine Junior School, Medway Community Primary, Highfields Primary and Northfield House Primary, then an afternoon with a further 40+ Y5 and Y6 pupils and more visitors from Merrydale Junior School, St Barnabas C of E Primary, Christ the King Catholic Primary and St John the Baptist C of E Primary.

Thank you to Paul Stapleford. Assistant Head Catherine Junior School (and previously The Phoenix Centre, Leicester City PRU.)

Tim Rylands ICT to inspire morning at Caldecote Community Primary School.

From seeing Tim last year at the ICT to inspire I have been able to go back to my setting with very challenging children and include some of the ideas linked to Myst to engage the children’s learning and allow them to thoughtfully respond to questions with confidence.

As a teacher, the experience that Tim Rylands offered last year on the course inspired me to think differently about how I delivered literacy to the children and what different approaches I could take using ICT to empower the children.

Today, using Myst 4 to inspire the children to give responses to what they can see and their ideas on what is happening in the setting, I saw the analog element behind the digital we shared last time. The children were reminded of what was expected from them both with speaking, listening and turn taking. (Standing here, above me the …)

They were all engaged at trying to create the best sentences they possibly could and continually kept looking back at the screen to gain ideas and inspiration. Tim uses the children’s writing to challenge themselves and level up their writing finish a paragraph in style…end with a question maybe?

The children tried to copy Tim and use a range of expression to make their writing sound more exciting…. The other children gave good feedback to the reader and were able to respond to how they could make it even better. When reading out their ideas to the others, Tim gave the children ownership of when they read out their ‘sparkling sentences’ and they moved from one child’s writing to the next with amazing fluency and the room was deathly silent as the children listened to their peers ideas.

Using the interactive whiteboard, (but only interacting with it from a distance) the moving images allowed the children to get lost in their writing.

The VillageThese increasingly confident writers were able to use different ways to say words such as simile or metaphor to help them identify what each of Tim’s responses were. He used different sounds to engage the children in the Myst setting. ‘The glass was screaming for a clean’ was a response by Jonathan to suggest a simile. The responses the children gave were superb.

The children discovered a wide range of sentence openers from the stimulus on the screen and confidently read out their ideas.

As Tim moved through the setting on the screen, the children watched and were able to respond and describe what was going on around them using wonderful language.

The children were encouraged to think of some open questions to ask the gardener and then he used some of the children to hot seat whilst referring to the setting on the screen. The children were really in their role as a particular character and could answer questions from their peers using wonderful answers. Tim used his ‘translatorsaurus’ to make the children’s responses and questions of a higher quality and then passed that opportunity to another children.

The children used the thinking dice within small groups and carried out several different roles, focusing on their speaking and listening skills.

Thanks to Ellen Lee, of Whatever It Takes, Katy Barnes, Business Manager at Caldecote Community Primary School, for organising our day. Back, tomorrow, for some more adventures.