Wordwall – create interactive activities for the classroom

WordwallWordwall makes interactive activities and I like the look of this new tool for creating engaging content for the IWB. I particularly like the idea of the simplicity with which it seems resources can be created which would appeal to a wider number of staff who are sometimes put off by having to learn difficult new software. The promotional information says that teachers can choose from a variety of templates and with just a few words and a couple of clicks create something that wouldn’t have been possible traditional presentation software. There is a free personal licence for teachers to use on their personal computers and a variety of licensing options beyond that.

There is also an additional option for buying Wordpads to enable students to directly interact with the activities.

There is a software demonstration video here:

Explore the ecological tapestry of the world – A New Global Ecosystems Map of unprecedented detail

ecological tapestry of the world

This collaboration between ESRI and the USGS is the most detailed global ecological land units map in the world more details of which can found in this blog post. Very useful for looking at the application of GIS and enables further exploration through GIS with the availability of ready to use data layers which can be utilised in ArcGIS.

There are a number of ways to access the Global Ecological Land Units Map:

1. Explore the introductory story map which consists of two aspects:

  • 1. Ecosystem Browser – zoom in / pan out on the map and click anywhere to identify the name of the ecosystem found there.
  • 2. Ecosystem Tour – allows you to take a tour of areas with a high ecological landscape diversity

2. Explore the ecological tapestry of the world here in the online application

3. Use the content in ArcGIS to explore landscape analysis using ready prepared data layers from Esri.

4.  Detailed publication (.pdf format) detailing the approach taken to mapping global ecological land units

Rockfig – ‘Pininterest for Education’

RockfigRockfig has been described as a ‘pininterest for learning’ (@merlinjohn) as it enables you to collect together lesson resources and media in a single location. The Rockfig website also enables you to browse resources sets put together by other users making it a great tool for quickly identifying useful resources for your subject area. Everything is organised by age, National Curriculum subject and topic making it quick and easy to use.

You can create your own collections as well as store your favourite collections from the user community and you are also able to share Collections on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and by Email. Subjects currently supported are, Chemistry, Biology, Chemistry ,Physics, ICT, Computing and Maths with more subjects coming soon.

How to view a collection in Rockfig

How to create and share a Rockfig collection

Timers for the Classroom – Vol 2!

Back in 2009 I wrote a post on Using timers in the Classroom. Things have moved on a lot since then, some of the ones on the old post are no more and I have just found a few other great timers so I thought I’d do a quick update with a new post.

Classtoolsnet timerI hadn’t seen this timer before but this is from the fantastic Classtools.net – it is brilliant! I love the fact you can add multiple timers and you can either run them all at once if you have different groups being timed in different ways, or they can run in sequence! I am looking forward to using these to help my Year 11s practise their timing when completing exam questions. You can also add tunes and youtube videos to your timers! One of my favourite features is the fact that you can save weblinks to your customised timers so you can set things up in advance and have a range of timers set up and saved for a variety of purposes.

Here are few links to some other timers as well:

Nutshell – short, sweet and succinct!

NutshellNutshell is a new release from the people behind Prezi. Using the iOS app you can take create a short movie sequence by taking three photographs in succession and then overlaying text and graphics. The basics are summarised in this “Introducing Nutshell” video

I need to play around with this a little more and it depends on students having access to digital devices but it could be useful for encouraging students to create short little discussion point clips perhaps about their local area or even short little revision clips for a key concept or case study reminder. Or even to quickly summarise what they have learnt in the lesson! Anyway – I’m looking forward to having a play!

Emaze – an alternative to PowerPoint?

emaze_logoEmaze looks like a potentially useful tool which can be put to good use in education, whether it is for students to create online presentations for homework or assessment purposes, or for teachers that want to create a presentation with a different look to PowerPoint with stunning visual effects for added impact, either in the classroom, or for creating CPD presentations for training purposes.

Emaze is also said to have  animation facilities which surpass those available on Powerpoint. It is a cloud based technology so you can access your presentations from anywhere. Another benefit is that it is multi-device so that it can be viewed and edited on PCs/ tablets / smartphones etc. There are also ready made templates and slides which can be easily edited.

Whilst Emaze wont replace my use of PowerPoint and SMART notebook in my teaching I can certainly see the benefit of having another tool in the toolkit when wanting to make a particular impact with a presentation, for example I am quite keen to try it out for creating an options presentation for KS3 into KS4 with a different look to the standard PowerPoint overload. With more and more students making use of digital media to present homework tasks I can also see some of them putting the free Emaze account to good use. There is also a presentation template designed specifically for education.

Whilst there is free account option there are premium plans for those that want to do more, including a special education plan at a reduced rate which includes all the features of their premium plan. With the pro version there are additional options, including creating video presentations which can be shared on blogs etc.

Here is a useful Emaze demonstration which gives an overview of what it offers…

Padlet and Padlet Backpack for Schools

padletPadlet enables communication and collaboration between multiple computers and devices and therefore facilitates collaboration within the classroom and between staff and students. Essentially it is an online collaborative bulletin board but it has great potential for use as an educational tool; open ended questions can be posted to ellicit discussion and debate through student responses or collaborative research can be undertaken with findings shared in one area.

Volcanoes researchI have just started trying padlet with classes for homework activities. For example one of my Year 9 groups have been asked to each research a particular volcano and they will then share the results of their findings on the padlet wall shown here to build up a collaborate resource showing some of the worlds major volcanoes.

The uses of Padlet in the classroom are widely documented and the two videos below give useful overviews of the educational potential of this tool.

Padlet Backpack for Schools

The new Padlet premium version for schools looks like a great tool – Padlet Backpack for schools gives a greater degree of privacy and has no social media features. Teachers can create student accounts and have complete control over them with regards to what they can can’t do. Student accounts don’t require an email. You can your own school logo and either use your own domain or get your very own subdomain. As it is on its own domain the school IT department can block access to the open padlet.com whilst maintaining access in school to your Padlet Backpack version. Features on their way soon also include integration with LMS, Google apps and Edmodo to enable login without setting another password and content filtering. A 30 day free trial is available. Further details can be found here.

Padlet have created a number of video tutorials to support the use of Padlet Backpack School, including…

How to signup and log in to your Padlet Backpack School

How to import your padlets into your Backpack account

Adding your school’s logo to your Backpack account

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