Practical Pedagogies 2016

Practical Pedagogies

Following the success of last years conference, Russel Tarr (@russeltarr), an inspirational History teacher, responsible for sites such as ClassTools.net and Active History is organising the second Practical Pedagogies conference on November 3rd/4th 2016 at the International School of Toulouse, “a high-impact training conference for classroom teachers by classroom teachers.”

It is a not-for-profit teacher training conference with a genuine focus on improving the quality of education in schools with sessions let by practising teachers who have had lots of hands-on classroom experience. (More information is given here).

EARLY BIRD 25% DISCOUNT RATE – for those that book before 15th June 2016 there is an early bird 25% discount rate of 150 Euros (standard rate thereafter is 200 Euros).

Practical Pedagogies 2016 is being held at the International School of Toulouse in France in November and is an excellent opportunity for teachers from all over the world to meet with the shared aim of improving the quality of education in our schools. The school is located close to Blagnac Aiport and is accessible by cheap flights from most European Cities. This years keynote speaker is Ewan Macintosh, a highly regarded educational consultant and founder of NoTosh.

There are over 100 sessions (workshops and seminars) on offer over the course of the two days, with sessions providing a focus for both primary and secondary staff and including a variety of topics from subject specific to wider whole school pedagogical issues such as assessment and revision and the use of educational technology. Delegates will be able to attend up to 8 sessions over the two days. The full programme can be accessed here.

Full details are available on the Practical Pedagogies 2016 website and there is a contact form here for any questions.

You can also follow Practical Pedagogies on twitter @pedagogies

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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.

LEGO® Education Brings Science and Computing to Life for Primary School Pupils with WeDo 2.0

New wireless, tablet-ready robot-based learning system for primary science and computing curricula teaches science and programming in a hands-on way

45300_ClassroomSolution_01 LEGO® Education has announced LEGO Education WeDo 2.0, a hands-on science and computing solution designed for primary schools. The unique solution combines the LEGO® brick, classroom-friendly software and engaging projects based on National Curriculum objectives to teach key stage 1 and key stage 2 pupils essential science and computing practices and skills.

With WeDo 2.0, pupils explore, create and share their scientific discoveries as they build, program and modify projects. Through a series of collaborative challenges, they deeply engage with science and computing, sparking a love for experimentation and investigation. Teachers receive support through training, curriculum and built-in assessment. The result, a resource that builds pupils’ confidence to ask questions, define problems, and design their own solutions by putting scientific discovery in their hands.

WeDo 2.0 includes 40 + hours of curriculum aligned lesson activities for example, the “Drop and Rescue” project, where pupils are challenged to design a device to reduce the impacts on humans, animals and the environment after an area has been damaged by a weather-related hazard. In all activities there is no single right answer, helping teach creativity and problem-solving skills. This also enables teachers to tailor lessons to meet all pupils’ needs, no matter their abilities.

Stuart Swann, vice chair of the National Association for Primary Education and LEGO Education certified trainer, says: “LEGO Education WeDo 2.0 represents a great leap forwards for delivering the Computing curriculum requirements at Key stage 2. The combination of LEGO bricks and engaging activities means that children will enjoy the learning experience while developing computational thinking skills through building and play.

“The projects are grounded within the science curriculum, drawing on concepts required throughout key stage 2. This means that teachers are able to cover the programming requirements of the Computing Curriculum within a contextualised science framework. Elements of Geography and Design and Technology are also present and identified in the teaching materials.”

The WeDo 2.0 Core Software is an essential and easy-to-use component that is colourful, age-appropriate and has a drag and drop interface that is graphical in nature. It also contains a documentation tool that enables pupils to document their problem-solving process and provides an assessment opportunity for teachers.

LEGO Education WeDo 2.0 is available today on iPad, Android, PC, and Macs. Chrome Books support will be available in the second half of 2016. For information on how to implement LEGO WeDo 2.0 in your school, or how to transition to WeDo 2.0 from WeDo, visit www.LEGOeducation.com

Online Revision tools for Teachers and Students

revision-clipart-english-clipart_11-300x270With the revision season already underway and set to become particularly busy over the next few weeks I thought it would be useful to summarise some of the most useful online revision tools / apps available for both staff and students. Anymore you can recommend? Please let me know and I’ll add them to the list!

Revision Organisation

Revision Ace – a useful app for organising revision schedules, setting revision reminders and revision targets

PocketMod – create a pocket size revision planner – templates include monthly and weekly calendars and a task list really useful for revision.

RevisionWorlda tool for creating and printing revision schedule as well as lots of revision resources for students.

Get Revising Study Planner – a useful online study planner – easy to set up (see video below)

Mind Mapping Tools:

Mindomo  – useful tool for both students and staff. Teachers can use this to produce mind maps to simplify / summarise more complex information – for example helping students to break down an exam specification into the various component parts to facilitate revision. You can create 3 maps for free with the free account but beyond that this is a paid resource with a pricing structure for education.

Xmind – a free download (open source) although a paid for pro version is available – a good mind mapping tool and results can also be saved to Evernote making access across devices easier.

Coggle – easily produce mindmaps to simply and present more complex information – can be shared with others.

Online Revision Tools:

Flashcards++  (app) – an app for iOS to help memorise from flash cards – you can create own flashcards and share with others. You can listen to cards (text to speech) or record your own audio.

Examtime (free) – has an excellent set of tools to support revision and studying, including tools for mind-mapping, flashcards, quizzes notes etc. There are also useful notes and resources on study tips.

Getrevising.co.uk – free learning tool for staff and students. Create own study quizzes and flashcards – can be created by students and teachers and classes can be set up to share these with others. Can be used on iphones / iPads and android.

Flashcards to Go – online study tool (cross devices)

Memrise – useful tool for learning vocabulary (takes some setting up).

Tools for quick formative assessment during revision in class:

Socrative – quickly assess through realtime questioning with the use of smartphones, tablets, laptops etc.

QuickKey App – the fantastic Quickkey App can be used to quickly assess students. Teachers can use smartphones / iPads to scan answers and quickly assess students and identify correct and incorrect answers (see previous post on QuickKey app). I already use QuickKey on a regular basis for Year 10 and 11 to do quick formative assessments as part of each unit (to complement other assessment skills)

GoFormative – online student response system

Creating Revision materials for use in the classroom:

IWB – SMART Notebook – the only limit to this one is imagination! There are a number of inbuilt activities for creating interactive revision quizzes etc. for the IWB, including the Lesson Activity Toolkit. Many of these are ready created activities which can simply be edited. The activity builder allows you to be more flexible in creating your own resources. Simple drag and drop can be created easily and other tools on the IWB provide opportunities for interrogating exam questions / modelling answers as a whole class.  Using SMART notebook is also particularly useful for structuring revision session as you can use the paperclip function to organise all resources associated with the lesson together (e.g. word documents, powerpoints, audio and video clips etc..) – in the newer versions of SMART notebook you can even integrate weblinks directly into the pages to use with students as part of a presentation.

PowerPoint – great for creating summary presentations for revision and you can easily integrate hyperlinks to other resources or even hyperlink between pages to create question and answer quizzes for whole class use on the IWB. There are various templates for such quizzes available on the web.

Contentgenerator – create useful e-learning quizzes with no knowledge of coding required – simply input the questions. Students love these and they work very well on the IWB as well as being easily integrated in blogs and websites for students to use in revision. Pricing structure is available on the website.

Classtools.net – lots of great tools for creating free quizzes and activities (well worth exploring – great for use on the IWB or again can be integrated into blogs).

Explain Everything – Great app for the iPad – many uses – but when it comes to revision it is great for projecting student answers on the board (e.g. using AirServer or Apple TV) and doing peer / whole class assessment to look at the development of exam technique / allocation of marks.

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

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

Random Name Generators

Encouraging all students to participate in lessons in order to elicit evidence of their achievement can be difficult. One method which involves a no-hands up policy is to employ the use of a random generator to randomly select students. Some studies have shown that this is beneficial in that it helps keep the attention of students as they are unsure whether they might be next and are more likely to maintain engagement in the lesson. There are various methods of doing this from the use of names in a hat or on ‘lolipop’ sticks drawn from a jar through to computer based solutions. The benefit of many of the ICT solutions is that they are very visual, names can easily be saved and updated and as many lessons involve the use of computer based presentations they can easily be integrated within the lesson.

Below is a collection of some of the different random name generators available, divided into 3 categories:

1. SMART notebook – there is a generator tool called the “random word chooser” which can be found in the Lesson Activity Toolkit.
2. Internet based options – a variety or web based, or downloadable tools
3. iPad based options – with the increased use of tablets in the classroom, there are various apps which allow you to select students at random, some of these are more sophisticated with options for recording formative assessment as well.

 

SMART notebookSMART NOTEBOOK

This random selector is a flash generator embedded into a SMART notebook page – so easily saved for each of your classes – and can easily be embedded as part of your lesson if using a SMART notebook file.

For staff at St Ivo a copy of this has been saved in Projects_Staff_IWB Resources_Random name and group sorters. For other colleagues who might be reading this – you can search for the “random word chooser” of the Lesson Activity Toolkit.

(similar group sorter templates are available in the same folder on projects).

 

INTERNET BASED OPTIONS

Random Nameshttp://primaryschoolict.com/random-name-selector/

You can save the names as a URL (so could be saved as a shortcut in your projects area or on the desktop.

Simple and effective.

 

Random Name Word PickerClass Tools Random Name / Word Picker This can be either as a fruit machine or as a typewriter. Names can be saved. A simple but effective internet based option. This is widely used! Could also be used to good effect with key terms – students given a key term at random to define!

http://www.classtools.net/education-games-php/fruit_machine

 

Instant Classroom (Superteachertools.net)Instant Classroom http://www.superteachertools.com/instantclassroom/random-name-generator.php

(this will also act as a ‘group’ sorting tool and allow you to show names on a desk for swapping round seating for different activities).

For this you create a group name and then add a password and add your email address.

 

 

Instant Fruit Machine – Random Selector

http://www.teach-ict.com/tools/picker3.php Fruit MachineThis one acts a bit like a fruit machine – unlike the ones above it doesn’t allow you to save names – however it will allow you to simply copy and paste names in very quickly if you have a list in word format.

 

 

 

 

No Hands – Random Student Selector http://www.ehyde.com/No%20Hands/

This requires a download to your computer and it can take some time setting up your class lists. However these only need doing once!. You have to install this one on your computer and then Read the ‘Read Me’ File in order to follow instructions of what to do.No Hands

The benefit of this is it is quite discrete and will sit nicely in your toolbar for whenever you need it in a lesson so it enables you to use it as a randomiser for picking students whenever you want.

 

Random Name Generator (Excel)

http://www.teach-ict.com/teacher/utilities/Random%20Name%20Generator.xls

ExcelVery user friendly as is in Excel – all groups can be created and saved in one spreadsheet – if you name each column with the name of the group – this will then appear in the drop down box for you to choose from!

(You do need to ensure macros are enabled for this to work).

 

Random Student Picker Tools

http://www.barryfunenglish.com/toolsRandom FunRandom Fun Dart

This option includes a random student picker and a dartboard selector tool which can be used in a similar way. You need to sign in to access this tool – it can be accessed from the free trial section – so you do not have to sign up to a paid account.

 

 

OPTIONS ON THE iPAD (then use Airserver to project on the IWB)

Name SelectorName Selector Lite https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/random-name-selector-lite/id589498393?mt=8 (Free) (there is also a paid for version which is add free for £1.99)

Simple and easy to use and you can easily turn students within a group off and on – for exactly which students you want to be included in any particular selection group.

 

PickSticksStick Pick

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/stick-pick/id436682059?mt=8 £1.99

Random selection of a student’s name from a virtual can of lolipop sticks. Each stick is linked to a mode and level of difficulty for each learner (which can be set and saved) – every time a student stick is drawn – you are shown over a dozen Bloom’s taxonomy related questions – each will be at the individual ability level set for that student.

 

iLeap Pick a studentiLeap Pick a student https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/ileap-pick-a-student/id549617029?mt=8 (Free)

This app enables staff to pick students at random and supports multiple classes as well having a number of different options for choosing students. There is a turn based selection if wanted so that every student will be picked before any one will be selected again.

 

Pick me upPick Me (£1.49) https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/pick-me!/id444045099?mt=8

This tool will also help track formative assessment – will randomly pull student names and once question has been answered – you can record whether or not it was correct using the thumbs up or incorrect using thumbs down – data can be saved and sent to your email address.