Category: 2) Useful n Interesting
Big Think contains a vast amount of articles and videos of some of the most intriguing thinking around. A forum of knowledge and ideas from some great brains, including Ruby Wax, (of course!) on Neuroplasticity and how “You’re the Architect of Your Own Brain”. Some complex issues, but worth an explore to stretch our own thoughts. Try out some of the playlists, for some fascinating views on the world around, and within, us. Not for everyone, but a fascinating collection of concepts. Think Big with Big Think.
Here’s one for those who benefit from a little relaxed, industrious ambience behind their thinking. Brew up a virtual cuppa, with Coffitivity, and get creating. Relaxed chatter, that could enhance your thinking. Research has shown that moderate ambient noise helps enhance creative thinking! Stream the sounds of a coffee shop at work! Add your favourite tunes, sit back and go for it.
WikiSpaces enables a simple place to generate a members~only website, where your users could have discussions, debate, share documents, and so much more. Designed for education user, there is also a special ‘classroom’ element with a focus on collaborative writing.
If you’re looking to provide wikis to an entire school, area, or even university, you may want to try Wikispaces Campus.
Do you ever have that problem where your children need to visit an internet address (URL) but they are unable to accurately type out the URL in the browser address bar? Do you spend twenty minutes trying to get your children to the website before you even start your teaching? Well, we may have the solution for you.
Before I found out about 3×3 links, I used a Word document as a workaround, in a shared folder on the Students Pool, that the children would navigate to, and press ctrl+ right mouse click to go to the link I had saved for them.
But this is quite confusing for the little ones, for lower Key Stage 1.
So here is our whole school solution to easy navigation to websites, for every lesson.
3×3 links is a webpage which can be embedded on to your school site. This means that it can stand alone as a webpage, or your school website can host it as its own page. This is useful for when you need children to access links from home that you are using in school; all they need to do is go to your school website. For example, check ours out HERE
This is set as the children’s homepage for when they go on the internet at school – it goes straight to the school 3×3 links embedded page.
What you can see are nine ‘buttons’. These can either be links or folders. Clicking on, say, my Year 5/6 class button, (below) you are taken to their set of links:
As you can see, there is a home button to return to the previous screen, and eight other buttons which can be links or folders. On the image above, you can see two of mine are common links (Sumdog and Purple Mash) that the children use often. The others are further subfolders for subjects. This gives you scope to say, “Right children, go to the Year 5/6 Literacy folder and follow the link for adverbs” or something similar.
Before each lesson you can change and edit links which will be appropriate for what the children need to access.
All the children do is click, click and perhaps click again. It’s clicking easy!
So, what do you need to do to sort this out? Well, register with a Google account (Gmail, Googlemail etc.) at http://www.3x3links.com/ . You can then create your links page, changing folder icons to preset ones or you can upload your own that are relevant to the folder or link. For more popular websites, the button automatically draws a logo if there is one (like Sumdog or Purple Mash in the images above).
I would advise editing in the grid view as this is more visually in line with what it will look like when finished.
You can send out invites so that other teachers (with Google accounts) can access and edit the page.
For those people who need to embed their page on another website, you can access the code from the Personal Links tab on the Options page:
And there we have it, your very own host of buttons that your children can click without having to type!
Creative 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.
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.
Google 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.
Many 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)
Yammer 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.