Nearpod-LogoWhilst doing some research to support the iPad trial today I came across Nearpod – a way of creating and sharing interactive presentations (which you can create yourself). Nearpod enables the synchronised use of iPads, iPhones, ipod touches etc.. within the classroom; students ‘join’ the presentation on their individual device and the teacher can control the pace of the activity as they work through the presentation. You can include interactive content such as polls and quizzes and multimedia content such as videos and slideshows can be included as well as searching online content within the presentation itself. Student responses to polls and quizzes etc.. are all shown on the teachers iPad to assess student knowledge and understanding throughout the activity. Nearpod is a free download which in itself has a great deal of functionality, however this needs to be upgraded to a paid version for some features such as adding slideshows and browsing the web within the presentation. The free version also limits the number of presentations you can have in your library and the size whilst the paid for versions remove this restriction. Nevertheless the free version enables you to produce some great presentations with interactivity for use in the classroom.

The video below gives a brief overview of how it works and more information can be found on the Nearpod website.

I am not in a position to try this with a class as we are not a 1:1 iPad school and we are only in the midst of a small scale iPad trial with a small group of staff to look at the potential; however, I can already envisage how this could be put to use if students had access to devices which could link to the presentation and I look forward to trying this out further and keeping an eye on how it develops. I am intending to try it out with a small group of staff at our next iPad trial meeting. One of the pitfalls is that all students have to work through the presentation at the same pace as the teacher controls the change of slides / activity so it doesn’t enable personalised learning for students who prefer working at different pace or want to return to content for consolidation. Nevertheless this certainly has potential for use with certain groups of students.

iPad Trial 2 – Starting to Evaluate

ipadimageIt might seem like a bit of a leap from my first post of introducing the trial to the second one being starting to evaluate, but it has been a hectic few months with so many things going on. I will still break down and share findings in future posts such as useful apps etc. but in the meantime we are meeting as a group this week and on the agenda is the initial stage of evaluation.

To try and draw together thoughts and ideas there are a number of questions we are going to discuss as a group and as we continue with the trial we need to think about potential next steps and how we could move things forward.

The questions we are going to be considering are:

EVALUATING THE iPAD TRIAL – The story so far….
(a) Teaching using the iPad

1. How has the iPad helped fulfil general admin tasks as a teacher, has it made everyday life easier?
2. How have iPads enhanced the learning experience of your students? Have they? Could they?
3. Is there anything that has held you back in getting the most out of using the iPad as a Teaching and Learning tool?
4. Is there anything that you can do with the iPad that is not possible or is more difficult to achieve without it?

(b) Potential for student use?
5. What further potential does the iPad have for transforming learning opportunities for students in the way we teach?
6. Do you feel students could make good use of iPads in your subject area? If so in what kinds of ways?
7. In what ways does the iPad have potential to support students? SEN? Gifted and Talented? A’level students etc..?

8. What technical issues / problems have arisen when using the iPad which need addressing?
9. Are there any particular concerns over e-safety and use of the iPads by students that need to be considered?
10. What would be the main goals of any future iPad implementation? Engagement, access to digital textbooks, access to digital environments, watching videos / listening to audio; media production (editing of photos / video), or a mixture?
11. What do would be the main challenges in increasing use of iPads / implementing use with students?
12. Will iPad use always require forward planning? Or have you found tools which you would be able to naturally integrate into lessons when needed (adding to the teachers everyday toolkit)?

… and so the next stage in the trial commences!

Embedding a Voki avatar in SMART notebook (Notebook 11)

Voki_widgetHaving tried the widget for embedding YouTube clips I have been investigating a few more of the widgets available on SMART Exchange. It is a few years since I have used Voki – but it has potential for use in the classroom. Here is a great little widget for embedding any Voki avatar you produce directly into SMART notebook so that they can be used as an integral part of a lesson resource. It is very simple to use.

Simply download the widget here. Go to the Gallery in SMART notebook and click on the arrow next to My Content. Select add new content and browse to where you have downloaded the widget. This should then add it to your Gallery ready to use. Then simply create your Voki and grab the embed code.

Embedding YouTube Clips straight in SMART notebook

Embedding Youtube

I have just been playing around with a very handy little widget for embedding YouTube clips straight into Notebook. It plays from the internet so still requires internet access but it is very handy having the video embedded straight into the page and although I have only tried a couple it seems to work very well. You can download the widget from Smart Exchange here and Danny Nicholson has given a quick and easy to follow tutorial of how to install the widget on his excellent Whiteboard Blog.