Using new technologies in Geography

Back in January I ran part of a training session for a local network of Geography teachers. The main session was taken by Jason Swale from ESRI UK looking at the fantastic ArcGIS and the ways in which it can be used to successfully integrate GIS into the curriculum, particularly in light of the new GCSE and A’level specifications. Prior to this I did a short 30 minute session exploring some of the ways in which new technologies can be utilised in the teaching and learning of Geography, drawing particularly on some of our experiences in the ways we use it in my department at St Ivo School. Here is the presentation summarising the key ideas discussed during the session.

In case it is useful you can download the handout of links I gave out on the evening here to help explore some of the ideas covered in more detail.

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Into Film Launches Innovate Free App Storymaker – The Gruffalo Edtiion

Education charity Into Film puts film at the heart of young people’s learning and have just announced the launch of new teaching aid Storymaker: The Gruffalo Edition. The innovative new, literacy focused iPad app and teaching resource has been developed in partnership with Magic Light Pictures and is available for free, along with a free film club membership. The charity’s UK-wide programme provides 5-19 year olds with unparalleled opportunities to see, think, make and imagine, contributing to their educational, cultural, creative and personal development and is supported by the BFI through Lottery funding.

App store preview image 2

App store preview image 4Using the app, pupils can record their own dialogue, music, and sound effects for a number of selected clips, and create their own unique version of the award-winning film, for the very first time.  This new platform will allow students to apply their creative skills to an actual film and is currently also the only app to be supported by an extensive teaching resource. Designed for Key Stage 1 (and useful also for older pupils who have SEN or English as a second language), the app enables students to develop their reading, writing, speaking, listening and technical skills by interacting with popular fictional character The Gruffalo, in many different languages.

App store preview image 3Highlights from Storymaker: The Gruffalo Edition include the ability to watch key moments from The Gruffalo film and for users to record voices over the top of the clip using subtitles from the original script, or creating a new narrative completely. Users can add depth to the scenes by choosing suitable soundtracks to enhance the mood, or record their own sound effects.  Each creation can be saved to the device and shared in class.

Russell Hardy, a teacher at Bookwell Primary School in Cumbria who tested the app said: “There is lots in there education wise – speaking and listening. Play is such an important part of learning at this age. Some students find it hard to articulate themselves so giving them the chance to have several goes at reading or saying something in their own time like this was valuable to them.

This new platform for learning can be downloaded from the Apple app store and accessed by any school, college or youth organisation which runs a free film club with Into Film. To start a film club and access the app click here.

For more information visit www.intofilm.org.

CanaryFlow

Since taking on my new responsibility as Head of Geography from September, I haven’t had much chance to post, but finally half term has arrived! Although my school responsibilities have changed, my philosophy hasn’t and I’m committed to continuing to explore ways in which new technologies can help support teaching and learning. One of the areas I hope that one day I can myself explore is the use of one to one devices. I am not in that position at the moment but it is interesting learning from others who are currently in this position and exploring new apps and programmes that can support with this.

CanarOne which I have recently discovered through my ‘TPD’ (Twitter Professional Development) is CanaryFlow from Canary Learning. I can’t try this one out myself because not all my students have devices but it certainly looks like it has great potential for those of you who are in that lucky situation. Hand out assignments which are are automatically downloaded to student devices and students can work on it even when they are not on-line. Students then submit and everything is automatically downloaded to your device. Comment you add are remembered so for ‘common’ mistakes or comments they can reused across student work if necessary.

More about the CanaryFlow plans is available here and CanaryFlow Teacher is free.  Student and Teacher apps are available on itunes.

Canaryflow example

Student’s see all the content teaches want them to see and there is a useful calendar view as well (photo below – taken from Canary Learning website).

As CanaryFlow works completely offline you don’t have to be online to work.

The following video gives an introduction to Canaryflow 2.0