Revision Strategies in and beyond the classroom

Revision Strategies and Support in the ClassroomThere are lots of websites with ideas for students on revision strategies and how to structure their revision. However, with the exam season rapidly approaching, course content nearly if not already taught, and a focus on revision in lessons over the forthcoming weeks, I thought it would be useful to try and compile ideas for teachers with regards to planning revision activities for both in and beyond the classroom in one document.

Some of these ideas are for activities which could be adapted and used in lessons whilst others are for creating revision resources which could then be shared with students via email, the school network or online (for example on blogs) to help them with revision beyond the classroom.

I am also interested in bringing together ideas on how new technologies can be used to support staff in creating and sharing revision resources with students. I have therefore written this document which I hope can be updated with suggestions of strategies that have worked well for you which you would be happy to share with others.

Please do email any suggestions to me (contact at side of blog).  Ideas can also be sent via twitter to @RobGeog.

Above all – I hope it is of some use to you in preparations and planning for the forthcoming revision period!

PingPong – free app for Question and Answer – great for AFL

PingPongI’ve just come across PingPong, a great little free app which looks like it has lots of potential! I haven’t had chance to try this yet but I think with the revision season to begin in full flow on our return to school this could be really useful. Questions can be created on the spot and students access the ‘ROOM’ through use of a simple room code. Questions are set and realtime responses given. Questions can be multiple choice, true or false or up to 40 character responses or annotated diagrams can be sent by students. The app can be linked to Evernote to export responses. It has a very simple interface and seems to do ‘as it says on the tin’ rather than having lots of extras but the beauty of the app is likely to be the simplicity of use. For schools with 1:1 ipads or where all students have access to some form of electronic device this looks like it could be a useful additional app for the response system toolkit!

There is quick introduction video which gives an overview here:

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:

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:

Use of Random Generators – thoughts..

My last blog post was looking at the use of random name generators as a way of helping to engage students and elicit responses from all students rather than the simple use of hands-up. Having just participated in some discussion with colleagues, whilst it is recognised that random name generators can be very useful in many situations, one issue raised is that they don’t allow for differentiation if you ask a question first and then use the random generator to select a student. Just as using a random generator wont be appropriate in all situations anyway, the way you use the generator is important, depending on the desired outcome. Randomly generating the name and then ‘tailoring’ the question to differentiate as necessary is one way (in this instance one of the more discrete generators such as the “No Hands” student selector might be appropriate). You could also put key terms into a generator rather than names so the generator will randomly select a key term and you then ‘differentiate’ by who you might select in the class to define the key term (or answer a question related to it). This would still maintain engagement as all students would be more likely to consider the meaning of the term whilst waiting for you to select a student to answer the question.

Random Key Term

Ideas to Inspire

Ideas_to_Inspire

Today I came across this superb site relevant to most curriculum areas and it certainly does what it says on the tin – it has many  “Ideas to Inspire“! The site has been put together by Mark Warner and is a collaborative project including a series of presentations giving short overviews of creative ideas for use in the classroom. The presentations have been put together using ideas contributed by classroom practitioners and provide real inspiration for engaging students.

The site is divided into 3 areas:

(i) Curriculum Ideas – specific ideas and resources for areas across the curriculum (e.g. Maths, Science, Geography etc.)

Inter_Maths

(ii) Interesting ways to use ICT in the classroom – one of my favourite sections – this takes particular ICT tools such as the IWB, Visualisers etc. and looks at creative ways of making the most of these to enhance the teaching and learning experience.

Ideas_IWB

(iii) Other Collaborative presentations – such as this superb one on “Techy” tips for not so “Techy” teachers!

Techy_Tools

The site is rapidly increasing and Mark has reported 500 ideas already and 50 new ideas on the site just this week!! A brilliant site – well worth frequently returning to (I have added it to the Professional Development links) – a huge thanks to Mark and all the other collaborators for sharing such a wealth of ideas.

Using Audio-visual resources in classroom (1) – Creating resources using Moviemaker

Audio_Visual

Last weeks Teaching and Learning group meeting was focused on looking at the use of audio-visual resources in the classroom.

Audio-visual resources can greatly enrich the everyday classroom bringing to life teaching and learning opportunities and giving the potential to bring the outside world into the classroom broadening and enhancing our students experience. There are many ways in which audio-visual resources can be utilised and this is an area we will keep returning to.

The aim of our last session however was to look specifically at the use of combining audio, video and images to create short educational presentations in video format which can be played using programmes such as Windows Media Player or Real Player, or converted to a .flv file (using zamzar) and inserted into a Smart notebook file and then annotated etc.

Using video presentations in the classroom:

Examples of how Audio-Visual Resources might be used in the context of short video presentations:

  • Creating an atmosphere and setting the scene for a task
  • Providing a stimulus for students to help them empathise with others as well as develop their understanding of the subject
  • Introduce a new topic
  • For the creation of quizzes and revision opportunities
  • Explain and demonstrate a concept
  • Celebrating achievement, recording experiences such as fieldtrips etc. (although child protection issues must be considered carefully with relation to storage and use of images)
  • To widen the experience for students and present things in other ways

At the meeting I showed example presentations for each of the above – if you were not able to be there and would like to see them to get an idea of how moviemaker can be put to use give me a shout!

There are many programmes which can be used to create video presentations and they vary in their degree of sophistication and thus what is achievable. A great starting point, is Windows Moviemaker, which is a free application which is available on all computers which run Windows.

Using Windows Moviemaker

1. Instructions for creating a simple movie – I have created a simple set of instructions which can be downloaded here on how to create a simple movie using Windows Moviemaker – including the addition of images, video, text, audio etc.

The important thing to remember is that there are TWO stages that you must go through when you actually save your movie. (i) Save Project as (this saves the actual file so that you can come back and edit it) (ii) Save Movie File (you must do this so that you can play back your movie in the classroom! – remember it is the .wmv file you will need to save and take in!). Please read the full explanation of this in the instructions leaflet.

2. Getting used to the interface – the Windows movie maker interface is very user friendly – this downloadable outline may help you identify the main parts of the interface that you will be using frequently.

Interface

There are lots of resources and ideas for using Windows Moviemaker – including some great templates for giving a really professional look to your videos. Try out the following two links for some further ideas (thanks to Adam Lawson for suggesting these):

  • Windows Movie Makers forum – lots of great ideas as well as a forum where you can seek help!
  • Hit the Bongo – some great extra titles and transitions here which you can download and make use of (including the James Bond example shown in the meeting!)

Copyright Issues

Please make sure that you bear in mind copyright issues when making audio-visual resources  – particularly if you are sharing resources with students on line. There are many photographs, music etc. which are shared under creative commons licenses which enables them to be used in creation of resources as long as the owner of the copyright is credited (e.g. in a credit list at the end).

Here are some examples of sources of audio-visual materials:

Photographs:

(most just require credit to owner of photograph (could include credits list at end!) – see the terms and conditions on individual sites from more details)

Video:

Some video clips – such as those in YouTube can be downloaded using zamzar (www.zamzar.com) into a format which can then be used in video editing software.

Music / Soundtracks / Spoken Word

Enhancing teaching and learning with ICT

This morning I was at Homerton in Cambridge working with the Faculty of Education PGCE Geography students, looking at the way ICT can be used to enhance the teaching and learning of geography. We talked about department websites, VLEs, blogs, wikis, podcasts and the Interactive Whiteboard. Obviously many ideas are generic and can easily be applied to other subject areas. So in case anyone would like to find out more, the presentation I gave is below and the follow up materials and links are available here. Give me a shout if you have any questions.

Using Games in the Classroom

The primary aim of Tuesday’s teaching and learning meeting is to explore how new technologies can be used to facilitate the use of games in the classroom and to provide some training in how to create simple yet effective games and quizzes that can be used both in the classroom on the IWB and published online for revision and follow up by students.

Reasons for using games in the classroom include:

* Motivation – games can engage and motivate students and in doing so they are more likely to interact in topics covered
* Games can provide feedback to both the learner and the teacher – outcomes help students to identify their current levels of acheivement and staff can intervene, scaffold and adjust learning opportunities as neccesary in relation to the outcomes.
* For many students the nature of a game or quiz is less threatening than some other learning opportunities
* Can be used to review learning in the classroom through starters and plenaries
* Can be used as useful revision aids and through online sources can be used to support independent revision by students.

See this article by Vondracek and Pittman for more details on some of the points made above.

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CONTENT GENERATOR GAMES

contentgenerator1

Andrew Field (Head of ICT at  Neale-Wade) has produced an excellent set of easy to use interactive game generators www.contentgenerator.net which students love. The content generator software can be purchased as a personal or school licence and once purchased allows you to produce unlimited games for your website, classroom etc. We already have a school licence for the Suite 1 applications, and the generators can be found in the Staff area of Projects. The generators are very easy to use and you don’t have to have any knowledge of computer programming – all you have to do is simply enter the questions and answers and the games are automatically generated for you!

contgennew1There are a number of games as well as some great revision tools – here are some examples:

Games in Suite 1 which you can make your own games for include:

At the moment we don’t have a school license for Suite 2 – however it there is enough demand this is a possibility – so please let me know how you get on with the games!. I have a personal license for most of the Suite 2 applications which include HoopShoot, Fling the Teacher, En Guard, Practice Paper (see below) and Grade or No Grade

Free Resource:

Half a min is a great little generator for creating simple starters and plenaries, it is brilliant for developing vocabulary and literacy! It is a free download for anyone and is part of what is called the mini-suite – you simply need to register on the excellent support forum which can be found here.

Revision Tools:

Suite 2 also contains the Practice Paper generator which I believe has massive potential as an interactive revision tool to support students in independent revision and exam practice. Students can take their pick from a selection of exam questions, type in their answer and then ‘submit’ it which results in a mark scheme or model answer being displayed – students can then print both to compare the answers. It is possible to use colours and other formatting to bring out key terms, examples etc.. used in the model answers to help students develop their exam technique. See the example below by clicking on the screenshot.

pracpaperunit1

Another great tool for revision, which both students and staff at St Ivo do have access to is the Interactive diagram tool which enables the creation of mind-map as revision tools  – for a description see here

As we have a school licence it is also possible for students  to create their own games which in itself is a useful revision exercise and of course these games can then be shared via department websites/extranet pages or on staff blogs.

There is already a growing collection of these games available on the internet for many different subjects – see some of the following links for further ideas and to see the potential for using these in your own areas – have a go at making them – they are VERY easy!

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Hot Potatoes

hotpot5This is a popular set of educational software tools which have been developed by the University of Victoria Humanities Computing and Media Centre.

The software tools are free to use by non-profit education institutes on the condition that the games that are created are made freely available to anyone on the internet.

hotpotcrossThere are a series of 6 generators which enable staff to create online tests, quizzes, interactive starter/plenary activities which can be made use of on the IWB in the classroom and used by students independently by uploading to staff blogs or department pages on the school extranet.

No expert knowledge is required to produce the activities and each quiz has a simple generator – you simply have to enter the questions, answers and responses and press a button to generate the pages – it is as simple as that! You can also add audio, text and other media to your quizzes – making it ideal for a range of subject areas.

There are 6 generator options:

1. JCloze – simple clozed exercises involving gap-filling can be created, students can also be given clues to the missing words.

2. JQuiz – includes multiple choice and short-answer quizzes, feedback can be given

3. JMix – creates jumbled sentence activities

4. JMatch – creates matching/ ordering activities

5. JCross – creates interactive crosswords (a hint button can be used to give ‘free’ letters)

6. Masher – can be used to create complete units of different activities in one go.

The generators themselves are very user-friendly, however there is a free Hot Potatoes guide that can be downloaded from the Hotpotatoes Website.

Saving your Hot Potatoes quizzes:

1. Create a dedicated folder in your area where you are going to store your quizzes

2. The saving process requires 2 stages – firstly you need to save the information file with your quiz data in – this will enable you to open your quiz file up again at a later date and make changes to your quiz. To do this – simply go to File_SaveDataFileAs.. and give your quiz an appropriate name.

3. When you are happy with your quiz you will need to export it to create a web page which can be viewed in a web browser for us on your IWB and for uploading to the internet for revision etc. To do this, select File_Export – and then choose the appropriate option for what you want to do.

The Hot Potatoes generators can be downloaded here for use at home and in school, the generator tools can be found in the projects area of the network (please see me if you have any problems locating this).

Examples of Hot Potatoes Quizzes:

Some examples of Hot Potato Generated quizzes can be found here:

Ideas for Using Hot Potatoes in the Classroom:

  1. Starter and Plenary activities can be created for use on the IWB
  2. Quizzes and activities can be created for use by students independently for use both in the classroom and for homework
  3. Online Revision materials on staff blogs or subject extranet pages can be created for students, enabling immediate self check / feedback to be given
  4. Students can be encouraged to create their own quizzes to share with each other.
  5. Within a department staff could divide up a topic area and create and share resources

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Classtools.net http://classtools.net/

This excellent site enables you to create your own free quizzes, activities, games and diagrams which can be hosted on your blog on website. The site is run by Russell Tarr, Head of History at the International School of Toulouse. Includes resources such as: flash card generator, diamond 9 generator; Venn diagram; timeline; living graph; priority diagram and many other excellent educational tools for use in the classroom on the IWB and on staff blogs and department websites.

timerIt also includes an excellent class timer – for more examples of classroom timers – see this earlier post on “Using Timers in the Classroom”.

 

 

 

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Sandfields Comprehensive School – Free Flash Resources

An excellent site from Sandfields Comprehensive School in Port Talbot providing free flash resources which can easily be personalised – including such games as Lingo Bingo; Flip Flap; Dictionary Duel, and Random Choice amongst others. A fantastic classroom timer (to which you can add your own audio tracks!) can also be found here.

dictduel————————————————————————————-

Other Ideas:

If you have a staff blog – myStudiyo – enables you to create multimedia rich quizzes for directly embedding into your blog – you can include videos from sites such as You Tube and images.

Qedoc – is a new find for me and one I hope to explore and write more about on here in the near future – a site which provides interactive learning resources and a free authoring tool (free for those who share / contribute). If anyone already has experience of this I would love to hear more about it.

Other good online tools for creating quiz style activities:

Sliding Puzzle Tool

Puzzlemaker (Discovery)

Online Crossword Puzzle Maker

Online Wordsearch Maker

Puzzles and Games Downloads – include Who Wants to be a Millionaire Template

SuperTeacherTools (includes seating generator, random name generator, group generator and templates for games such as Who Wants to be a Millionaire and Jeopardy)