Interesting Ways to use Voicethread, Wordle and the Nintendo DS

It has been great to see the range of classroom ideas in the “Interesting Ways” series really expand and develop over time. It is always great to connect with a fellow educator and invite them to edit the various presentations.

The most recent presentations have included Voicethread and Wordle which are really great little tools and their flexibility is reflected in the wide range of ideas that people have offered.

We are about to kick off a Nintendo DS project at school, which you will hear more about here soon, and so I have been thrilled to see a bunch of ideas outlined by people with direct classroom experience of using the consoles. It will prove a useful set of current thinking for our teachers and I hope we’ll be able to contribute too.

I hope that you are finding the presentations useful. As always if you have an idea that you would like to contribute then just get in touch. Thanks for all of the support and contributions so far. (By the way the very first presentation on the IWB has just hit 40 different ideas!)

Developing Leaders NCSL Conference: Classroom Without Walls

Last Thursday the National College for School Leadership held the third of their national Developing Leaders events and I was invited to run a workshop titled Classroom Without Walls.

I approached the workshop with the idea of connections, how we as teachers can connect using Twitter and how we can connect children’s learning. You can see the presentation I used below and in the first few slides I shared my use of Tutpup and Voicethread – simple but hugely effective tools for the classroom, both of which connect children to each other’s learning.

Classroom Without Walls” suggest looking at or beyond the horizon, however I raised the idea with the participants that we sometimes overlook the walls between our own pupils. I explained that using tools such as Voicethread we can perhaps first address how we can connect children within our own class. When was the last time your children looked at each other’s work? Peer assessment is important but often difficult to find time to do. When working with Voicethread, peer assessment is just part of the process not just an additional session you need to timetable.

I helped demonstrate the idea of a networked teacher by asking the participants to find teachers who had tweeted a clue about their location to me via Twitter. As usual my network provided some great responses and the workshop participants used Google Earth to try and find the schools and colleges that were shared. It was really engaging and rooted in a lesson that I taught last year to my year five class.

It was interesting to see that out of the two workshops around 90% of delegates had a Facebook account and only about 15% had a Twitter account. Some had both. But these young teachers, although very aware of social networking between friends, have not yet engaged with the idea to create a professional network. I hope I gave them a nudge in the right direction.

If you get a chance then also take a look at this Mastercard advert “Milton Avenue”– it resonated with me as I was thinking about how important a network is to me for information and advice. I don’t have all the answers but perhaps someone in my network does. This was underlined on Friday when a teacher at school asked my advice about domain names on behalf of the school she is a governor at. My experience of purchasing domain names is limited but a quick question on Twitter allowed me to provide her with great recommendations and advice.

It was agreat day at the NCSL and I was thrilled to get some time to catch up with Dan Sutch from Futurelab who opened the day with a thought provoking keynote on the future of schooling and leadership. John Davitt was there to wrap the day up in his unique and entertaining style, the first time I have seen him talk beyond the TeachMeet 7 minutes.

100 Interesting Ways

In November 2007 I began the first of a series of Google presentations gathering together some ideas about the uses of different tools for the classroom. I thought that the easy manner of sharing Google Docs was ideal to collate thoughts, tips and suggestions from teachers and educators all over the world.

I began with interesting ways to use the interactive whiteboard and the family has since grown to include, tips for Google Earth, Google Docs and the most recent Pocket Video Cameras. It has been great to watch them evolve as people get in touch and I add them to the document and they make their own edits.

Here is the family photo 🙂

My intention from the beginning was that there should be many authors of the presentations and that teachers and school staff could happily take the resource and share it with their colleagues. As it is in a simple presentation format it seems to have been successful in doing that.

In total we have collated 100 101 suggestions, tips and ideas for the classroom! (I can’t type quick enough and people keep adding more ideas!) It is fantastic to be part of that collaborative effort to share what we do.

The most recent on pocket video cameras seems to have really hit a rich vein of classroom ideas – so far 29 ideas have been shared by people all over the world and I only started it 3 days ago. I haven’t had chance to add an idea myself yet! Perhaps this wealth of ideas illustrates the power and potential of video in the classroom – which isn’t particularly new but pocket video cameras give us, and the children we work with, much easier access.

Who knows what the next 100 ideas will be about but I hope that you can be part of it – please take some time to take a look through some of them above, let me know if you have used the presentations with your staff. If you want to add an idea to any of the above presentations just let me know your email address and I will add you as an editor.

Del.icio.us Staff Meeting

Tonight I delivered a staff meeting that introduced the social bookmarking tool del.icio.us. It was really well received by all and I began by explaining that the need for such a tool had been highlighted in responses to subject audits which coordinators had carried our for the SEF (Self Evaluation) and wider school improvement planning.

Del.ici.ous was an obvious solution to the need to have a more structured approach to online resources. I also believe that we will benefit from other school’s similar commitment to the use of social bookmarking. So not only do we get a better system for our own online resources that we know and love, but get to see other school’s take on it too.

So far I have got a handful of schools that have begun using del.icio.us as a whole school resource, and I would really appreciate anymore that you know of so that we can benefit from a greater network of resources.

We are priestsic on del.icio.us 🙂

For the session I produced some simple cards that I laminated and trimmed down so that staff can stick them up close to their school computer. One explained the login details and the other was a simple summary of how you can easily add a new bookmark.

The resources are on a computer at school in MS Word format but I will publish them tomorrow so that you can use them in your own staff meetings etc.

I must just thank David Muir for his excellent Simply del.icio.us guide that I directed my staff towards at the end of the session.

INSET on Blogging

Last week I completed my penultimate workshop for this term on classroom blogging. I changed the day to later in the week and had a great turn out, I always like to think of it in terms of the year groups I am reaching with this training and I managed Foundation stage right through to Year 6 so every year group was represented.

I just wanted to raise their awareness of what edublogging is all about – have a look at my class blog as one example and give them some next steps. The response was great and very, very positive – I hope that this continues and is not dampened by Christmas too much. I am still aiming to get more class blogs up and running at school. I am just pleased with the great response!

I now need a list of early years blogs to help exemplifiy to some colleagues- so if anyone has a handy list somewhere, that would be helpful!

Flickr up next – later this week.

ArtRage 2 INSET today

After school today I delivered some training that introduced ArtRage 2 a paint application from Ambient Design, a New Zealand based software company. The intuitive nature of the software made it a real hit with my colleagues.

Most importantly as a teacher you can clearly demonstrate mixing of colour with paints. The virtual paint behaves just as paint does (but without the mess) I did make a point of explaining that there is obviously a place for using the real thing when demonstrating to a small group or to younger children. I used a large clean paint brush on the SMARTBoard instead of my finger during the training which is a nice little touch.

Well worth a look. ArtRage2

Autumn Training Workshops

This half term I am providing some voluntary training workshops in school on a real variety of different exciting topics, tools and concepts that I believe will be extremely important in the definition of a modern classroom embedding ICT and making the most of web 2.0.

  • Infomapper
  • ArtRage2 – this is amazing and a valuable addition to the schools software. I will post more about it soon.
  • Google Earth
  • Flickr
  • Classroom Blogging
  • 2Simple’s 2Connect and 2Investigate

These (not in any particular order, although I am delivering the ArtRage2 work tomorrow) will be short 45 minute sessions that any member of staff can come along to. I have already delivered some work last Tuesday on Infomapper that utilises OS data sets (bought by the LA).

Thankyou to Highwood Infant School

I spent most of today attending an INSET day at Highwood Player Infants School talking to them about using their IWBs which they have just had installed.

Many thanks to everyone at the school for inviting me and making me feel so welcome I hope that some of my ideas provide a springboard for your school’s IWB development.

Apart from the resources I planned to discuss we spoke about and used a range of other material. Below I have tried to record most of those thoughts from the morning:

  • Artrage 2 – a fantastic art package ideal for the use on the interactive whiteboard. Look out for more on this soon, here on my blog as I will be introducing the use at my school and planning some training.
  • Microsoft Local Live – we looked at the school and Highwood Player had really clear imagery from the “bird’s eye view” setting. Would be useful to look at before short walks or local area studies.
  • Quikmaps – Another mapping site that allows you to scribble and add placemarks. Again would be to look at before short walks or local area studies.
  • BBC Little Animal Activity Centre – we had a read of the animated books and phonic activities.
  • Google Earth – just mentioned this briefly but a wonderful tool that I am huge fan of. Read the rest of my blog for more information.
  • Topmarks Educational Website Search Engine – very handy when looking for something specifically aimed at schools.

Please follow the links above to the relevant sites.

Further down my blog, you will have to scroll a bit, there is the notes from the session with the links from the images. Please feel free to print these and use in school.

Notes from session (handout)
Ferry Halim Guidance
Powerpoint of Year 2 Instructional writing work (ordering digital images)

I would really appreciate it you could take some time to leave me some feedback about the training session – scroll to the bottom of this post (or the one further down) and find the word “Comments” click on it and leave me your thoughts.

I really value your feedback and remarks so that in the future and can take them into account for other similar training sessions. Thanks again.