Using Technology in teaching KS4/KS5 Geography

I haven’t posted for a while due to the hectic nature of preparation for the new GCSE and A’level courses. Back in November however I gave a talk in London looking at Utilising Technology in Teaching KS4 and KS5 Geography and thought I would share the resources on here.

The handout can be downloaded here and has lots of direct weblinks and advice to support geography teachers in following up the ideas discussed.

The presentation given is below. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Digimap for Schools – Primary Schools Competition – Win a visit from Steve Backshall

As of today, any primary school in GB is able to access the wonderful contemporary and historic Ordnance Survey mapping in University of Edinburgh’s award winning Digimap for Schools www.digimapforschools.edina.ac.uk service to take part in a wildlife mapping competition.

Any school in Great Britain with primary aged children is eligible to enter the competition with the winning school receiving a visit from Steve Backshall (www.stevebackshall.com), one of Ordnance Survey’s #GetOutside Champions https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/getoutside/os-champions/steve-backshall-life-outdoors/.

wildlifemap-adThe competition requires schools to use the annotation tools within Digimap for Schools to create a map annotated with photographs and text labels showing signs of wildlife around their school.  Each photograph will be accompanied on the map with a question the pupils would like to ask Steve relating to the wildlife they have photographed.  If a school wishes to enter the competition but is not a current subscriber to Digimap for Schools they can register for 30 days free access to the service.

The competition is being launched at this year’s Geographical Association conference and runs until 10th June.   Schools should visit www.digimapwildlife.ed.ac.uk  today to sign up.

This is an excellent opportunity for schools to realise maps are relevant to all areas of the curriculum (flora and fauna study, history and measurement to name a few) and to find out what their school and local environment looked like in the 1950s and 1890s.

 

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.

Edynco – Interactive Learning Maps

edyncoI’ve recently come across Edynco which I’m hoping to try out over the next couple of weeks. I think this could have really good potential for helping students with revision and linking concepts and key ideas to support recall. Edynco enables simple mind-maps to be turned into interactive learning maps with the addition of other resources and links such as attached documents, audio, video etc.

There is a short introductory 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

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…

iPad Weekly Bulletin – Issue 6 (apps focus MUSIC)

Issue 6 of the iPad bulletin has a particular apps focus on apps for use in Secondary Music.

Click here to open this weeks bulletin

Click here to Open Bulletin

iPad Weekly Bulletin – Issue 5 (apps focus – Science)

Here is this week’s iPad bulletin – the fifth so far. Amongst other things it explores the “Stage” app for use as a simple IWB / document camera and has a large number of suggested apps for the Sciences – Biology, Chemistry and Physics.

Click here to download the bulletin

iPad 5

Using your iPad as a Digital Visualiser / Document Camera

Picture1Stage: Interactive Whiteboard and Document Camera is a fantastic app from Belkin International Education with great potential for extending the way you present and prepare material in the classroom, enhancing teaching and learning. You can sketch over live videos, students work, photographs etc. in realtime and record or take snapshots. You can also wirelessly stream content (using Airplay / Airserver) to the whiteboard – so combines the benefits of a document camera with the flexibility and interactivity of an IWB. A more detailed summary is available here and the tutorial video below shows you the potential of the Belkin Stage app – it certainly gets you thinking of lots of different ways it could be put to use in the classroom.

The interface is very simple to use with two menus – one either side (these are fully explained in the video above). It is possible to write on a whiteboard or blackboard background, annotate live video or annotate a photograph. At any time screenshots of your annotations can be taken and it is also possible to record all the actions.

The app is currently free with just a £1.40 in-app purchase if you want to activate the ‘record’ function (which is really useful)

I have only just started playing with the Belkin Stage app but can already see the potential is fantastic and can’t wait to discuss ideas with colleagues in school from across curriculum areas. It is also a fantastic tool for maximising benefits to teaching and learning in a 1 iPad classroom.

Some possible ideas which I hope to add to are…
1. AFL – take a picture of student work – and using AirServer project to board – annotate and assess as a class to identify aspects of good work / how could improve.

2. Science lab – recording a demonstration live, used in conjunction with AirServer so that the video is projected on to the board so that all students can see – the teacher can be discussing what is going on and even annotating / highlighting aspects of what is on screen to help focus students. The whole thing can be recorded and then uploaded to the school’s VLE or wikispaces etc. for students to access later for revision or homework.

3. create little ‘mini-tutorials’ e.g. for science / maths / geography etc.. during (or even before) the lesson to be uploaded to the VLE / blogs or even to be used as part of a lesson.

4. creating screencast type resources for use in the ‘flipped classroom’

This youtube video (Why use Belkin’s Stage app to create lessons?) also starts to explore the potential of Stage by looking at how it makes the most of the camera function of the iPad to bring learning to life in a visual way.

Making the most of a 1 iPad classroom…

We are just entering Phase 2 of our iPad trial and whilst more staff are involved in using iPads we are still in the situation where there is only 1 iPad in the classroom. Nevertheless there are still many great opportunities for enhancing teaching and learning. One of the key things is being able to utilise the iPad in a way which shares resources as a group and facilitates interactivity in a way which can benefit everyone. Here are two key ways that you can put your iPad to maximum use in a 1 iPad classroom:

   1. AIRSERVER  – this allows you to project what is on your iPad through your projector / IWB

Airserver is an AirServerAirplay receiver which effectively allows you to stream content between devices. This allows you to ‘mirror’ your iPad onto your IWB so that you can share any content on your iPad with your students during lessons. As well as images, videos etc.. this will therefore enable you to use apps purchased through the apple store in a whole class lesson situation.

Details of how to download Airserver can be found here – it is very reasonably priced and for schools requiring more than 20 licences there is a very reasonably priced commercial licence.

Once Airserver has been purchased and installed and activated on a machine to airplay from your iPad simply click the home button and a bar of shortcuts will appear at the bottom – slide your finger to the right until the play, pause, volume etc. buttons appear. The Airplay symbol will show here.

To prevent potential ‘accidental’ mirroring of your iPad to colleagues boards in other rooms around school it is strongly recommended that you set up a password system. This will prompt you to enter a password to mirror your iPad to the board. Setting up a password is easy, once you have downloaded and activated AirServer on to your PC simply click on the airserver icon in the system tray (bottom right) (if can’t be seen click on the little white arrow head) – then select settings and enter password. We have found that due to some staff teaching in several different rooms it can help to have a standardise way of setting a password (for example including the room number with a keyword) so that it enables colleagues to use AirServer wherever they are teaching.

The following video summarises the functionality of AirServer

2. SPLASHTOP – using the iPad to wirelessly operate your PC splashtop2mac_icon-100029268-gallery

This enables you to operate your PC in your classroom using your iPad – i.e. the iPad mirrors your PC and in doing so basically turns the ipad into a ‘mini interactive whiteboard’. You can pass your iPad round and ask students to ‘drag and drop’ or complete an activity which will be mirrored to the board and shared with the group. This also frees you from the front of the classroom, enabling you to show, navigate and interact with presentations such as Powerpoints, SMART notebook files etc. wherever you are in the room.

Details of products and pricing can be found here and the app is currently £6.99 on the App store.

The following video summaries the functionality of Splashtop: