>Articles by "Mark Anderson, Author at Mark Anderson's Blog"
I’ve long sung the praises of using QR codes as a vehicle to support learning with these two posts being two such examples:
…and I’m not the only person either:
There are lots of places online that you can use to create your own QR codes for free too. The simple Kaywa site is one of the most popular and certainly ranks most highly on Google. Another site I like and use more frequently because of the colouring options is BeQRious and is really simple to use. More often than not however I use QRafter app on my iPad (the link will take you to the paid version, but there is also a lightweight version available for free here).
Today I found another site for creating QR codes called http://www.visualead.com/ - the USP with this site is their ability to embed QR codes in to existing images. You can do this for free too. You will need to sign up with your Google or Facebook account but once your there you can create some really nice QR codes which you can then edit and tweak as per below.
Why not give it a go!?
If you know of any other sites that do this or have some more ideas on how QR codes can be used, please let me know in the comments or say hi on twitter.
Whilst writing too, as I hit my 200th post on here, I’d just like to say thank you to everyone who keeps on reading my ramblings and finding them of some use. I love to hear from you – thank you for all the support and help you’ve given me.
I remember when I was a teenager. I know you might think that would be a difficult thing for me to do, what with it being so long ago and all that. It actually wasn’t all that long ago though. Ok, so maybe 25 years ago is a fair amount of time. At age 14, I was really in to technology already. Like many teenagers, the excitement of computers in the home were beginning to be a reality. I’d already owned a few devices, what with the Atari 2600 console and a few other bits – my favourite being the Sinclair Spectrum 48k with rubber keys.
Oh how I miss the days of introducing myself to coding with simple lines of basic
10 PRINT “I LOVE MY SPECTRUM”
20 GOTO 10
…and the pummelling I used to give the “N” and “M” keys on Daley Thompson’s Decathalon [find out more here: http://www.zxspectrum.net/]
I remember waiting with baited breath as the cassette (that’s right – cassette!!) loaded the game up. Oh how I miss the noise of the loading games on these amazing machines and the graphics… well, they were amazing. Check this out:
So what’s this ramble all about then? I think back to the opportunities I had when I was at school and what I had available to me and wonder what if I was a student now. What would I have been able to achieve? Technology is so pervasive now. So inspiring. Everything is so readily available too. What if you have access to all of this technology. All of this learning material. All of this information. What can you achieve……..?
As a general rule, I don’t tend to blog too much about what I get up to at School, that’s not really what my blog is about. That said however, some of you that also follow me on Twitter may have seen me tweeting recently about a student I teach who has developed an iPad App for the School. A few people, such as Pedagoo asked me to write about it and so here are some of the steps to how this happened, so that, if you wanted to try and replicate this yourself, you might be able to.
So what do you need? Well, to be completely honest, the student who made the App must take the credit for how it came to be. He had a real dream to become an App developer and to get an iPad App on the Apple App Store. Add to that too, that his coding skills, far outstrip my own – he has shown during the development period through to completion, real grit, determination and tenacity. I really have been a guide on the side with this project as opposed to someone telling the student how to do it.
The first thing that needed to happen was that the student needed to up-skill himself a bit in terms of his ability to code. He was already pretty fluent in HTML and CSS and had been dabbling with other code for some time, but he needed to get himself acquainted with a language called ‘Objective-C’, the language that is used to code iOS Apps. You can access this for free if you have a Mac utilising the free tool ‘Xcode’ which is what he used to develop the App.
We knew as well that if we were going to get something on the App store we would need a developer license so that we could put it on to the App store. You can find out more about this process by visiting: https://developer.apple.com/. Once our developer license was purchased (by the school) we were then able to go through the process of thinking about getting the App built and put on the App store.
The student wanted some guidance on what App to develop. Taking on board the tenets of the ‘Apps for Good’ campaign, I really wanted the student to create something which would stretch but also be possible doable AND be something of benefit to our community at school. Together we came up with the idea for a handbook which would have information in it to help Year 7’s as they come in to the school. The proposed App had 6 sections.
- Directions – which would facilitate directions to the school
- Map of the school – to facilitate movement around the school
- Bell schedule – so students would know when lesson changeover is
- Home – so students could access the school website from within the app
- Contact us – so it was easy to send a contact email to the school
- Help & Questions – access online to the school rules and what to do
We also spent a fair bit of time thinking about look and feel and tried to make sure some iOS-esque effects/animations were included in the design. Also – a fair amount of time was spent working with other colleagues too on designing some of the icons for use in the app to ensure consistency across the design and for it to look as professional as possible.
Given this was going to be an App for young people at the school to use on their iPads too, it was important that we signposted clear e-safety information so we put on the ‘Report Abuse’ button and linked that directly to the site so that young people could report if they needed to. Held within the questions section too were clear guidelines and information on the school’s peer listening service and much more.
Once the App had been thoroughly tested by myself and various members of the SLT and Digital Leaders we were then ready to pack the app up in Xcode to be transferred to Apple. The testing process in itself is a bit of a learning experience as you have to setup devices to be able to push a copy of the App to that device for testing. Instructions on this can be found on the https://developer.apple.com/ site and also on https://itunesconnect.apple.com/ – you will need to get set up on itunesconnect so that you are able to set up your various users and admins etc. You’ll also need to go on there too so that you can manage your Apps that you have on the App store. You can see on there too what status your App has at any given time. Once the App has gone through the Validation and checking process within Xcode and it has been packaged up and sent to the App store, you are greeted by this exciting screen.
Next came the longest bit of all which was the waiting for the App to go through review. This took eight painstaking days, but on April 21st, it went live and the response has been fantastic. 100’s of downloads and lots and lots of press interest in it too: http://www.thisisbristol.co.uk/Clevedon-school-boy-s-web-success-school-guide/story-18768889-detail/story.html#axzz2SKwRggBN
The student has already begun working on his next App for the school and his focus is on even bigger and more amazing things.
The impact of this work has been far more reaching than just something which can support students too. Lots of students have been inspired by the work of this individual student. Others now believe that they can do it too and they want to too. That for me is absolutely brilliant and inspires me to support more and more students to do this too. It’s not easy. Mistakes will be made. But as Thomas Edison said:
If you’ve made your own school App or are thinking about it I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments on this post. If you’d like to see our App please download the app and see the results of the work here: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/clevedon-school-handbook/id632060037?mt=8
There’s been a fair bit of mention of the SAMR framework recently so I thought I’d share another rendition of the framework. I’ve always preferred looking at it in a vertical sense, moving upwards rather than a top down looking model. It makes more sense to me. What do you think?
Digital Citizenship is an area of massive importance and if you’re interested you should really check some of the links at the end of this post. Following JISC and looking at their work and connecting with the likes of @dughall, @simfin and @dajbelshaw among many others and @naace would be a great way forward.
Digital leaders have been doing assemblies all week on acceptable use, digital citizenship and more and if you’re interested in a bare bones version of their assembly presentation it’s on the #DLDropbox for you to take. If you’re interested in joining the #DLDropbox, please give me a shout on Twitter. As with many of the shared Dropboxes out there, it’s a great way to pool resources and share good practice. If you join up, please do share back!
Speaking of sharing, I saw this poster some time ago tweeted by @mrrobbo:
…and really wanted a version for us to use ourselves. I thought it fantastic so I’ve created my own which you can see below. The PDF version will print to A2 without any loss of quality and as above, the poster is also in the #DLDropbox.
If you have any further thoughts or links relating to this topic, I’d love you to share them in the comments. If you end up using this poster in your schools too, I’d love to hear about it too. It’s very satisfying seeing them being used elsewhere!
This is a blogpost in line with the April BlogSync project here
How many people in this month’s blogsync are going to use this image in their post? Quite a few I imagine, because like in many classrooms around the country, I suspect progress looks and sounds the same. “They know more now than they did when they came in.” I’d like to think however that we can see progress in many different ways and that we can measure it in a number of different ways too. A student’s happiness in their learning, their ability to apply new learning, their ability to share their knowledge and understanding with others, their ability to regale that knowledge and understanding or that skills 2, 3, 4 weeks, 5 months, 2 years down the line. Progress comes in lots of shapes and forms. The thing is, the phrase that many people think of when thinking about progress in education is the phrase ‘rapid and sustained’ progress.
Recently there has been lots of discussion about this topic, for example here: http://dailygenius.wordpress.com/2013/02/12/the-myth-of-progress-within-lessons/ and here: http://learningspy.co.uk/2013/02/14/can-progress-be-both-rapid-and-sustained/ - and in many ways, I tend to agree with David Didau’s assertions in his post.
For me, rapid and sustained progress is not something that can happen at exactly the same time, but they are definitely things that you can see at the same time when looking in on a lesson when looking at a practitioner’s work. When it comes to rapid progress you can see this in a single lesson context because the practitioner can bring about learning opportunities for this to take place. In a single lesson context however, sustained progress is something which can only really be seen over a period of lessons. If you’re observing a class on a single lesson basis and it’s something you’re looking for, then as a class teacher it is important (and not just for the big ‘O’) that you have good record keeping. See ‘sustained’ section below for an expansion on this.
This is the sort of progress that you (should) see in all of your lessons. Students are taking on board new knowledge, practising new skills, sharing new information; turning what for them is essentially data at the beginning of the lesson, be given contextualisation from the resources and support structures you have provided whilst being that ‘guide on the side’ and turning it in to new information. Activities such as those I will go through below will show that rapid progress can be seen in the course of a lesson.
Sustained progress is something again which you can see over a period of time if you:
- have good record keeping
- are tracking the work that your students do
- keep a regular pen portrait of the learning experienced by your individual students
- differentiate lessons based upon their needs
- personalise the opportunities in your lesson so that individuals can access the topics
…and this is something I do for all of my classes. It’s important.
In my post for blogsync however, I thought I’d go through one of the ways that I provide opportunities for students to have big progress wins in their lessons with me so that opportunities to learn are explicit, shared, owned by all and demonstrably more powerful than just me being a sage on the stage who tests students at the end of the lesson.
- intended impact
- description of classroom action
- reflection on effect
- measure of impact
I have a class that is completing a Computing course. It is highly technical. I was looking for new ways to measure their performance, check their understanding and support them with opportunities to practice their analytical programming skills away from the actual programming interface. I also wanted the activities to be differentiated with the sky being the limit and for students to know explicitly the topics to be covered, that the audience for their work would be the whole class and that I would be sharing the best pieces of their work with the world at large at a conference I was speaking at. With the scene set, I set them off on a task using the brilliant free tool, Socrative. This brilliant tool allows you to create a number of performance / knowledge / skill tests that can be completed online. There are massive learning wins possible through this tool – I strongly urge you to look in to it.
The Socrative Space race is good for promoting competition
I wanted students to have a real sense of agency in their work. One of my marginal gains targets is to develop communities in my classes this academic year and so, linked with that, I thought that I would be able to do this through my performance/progress checking process, to facilitate performance measurement in a way which was multi-faceted. Not only was I going to create performance checking tests, but they were too. This would create the sense of agency and community within the group. I also thought this would be a great way of checking their knowledge and understanding by them creating their own test, completing the tests of their peers, feeding back on the various tests, the process of actually creating their own tests would also check their knowledge and understanding of the various topics by the very nature of them creating their own tests. Part of the preparation process also involved going through previous past questions to look at the ways in which questions were written, the types of language used and the range of options available on either multiple choice questions or short answer questions.
Description of classroom action
The class both completed and created peer based assessments of each other and some created by me which involved open ended answer questions, multiple choice and questions derived from image response. The classroom action was really powerful. Seeing the students work in this way was something which the class had not explored before, although I have used it to great success with other classes so I was positive it would work with them too. The tasks were broken down in such a way that students had to create at least ten different questions on given topics. Different types of questions had to be included too. Socrative is great with multiple choice questions as it marks them for you, but I knew it was important for the learning process for them to include short answer questions too. They included open and closed question types. My test also included questions derived from image responses – this is an update coming soon to Socrative which I’m able to access currently ( ).
Reflection on effect
What was particularly noticeable here was the improved value that the students have been giving to their own learning and reflectiveness in using the tool. I was really pleased to see the improved sense of agency that I’ve seen in the students. I’ve seen this through a number of positive behaviours in the students.
- Students have been completing homework to deadline
- Students were creating more questions than they had to
- Students created increasingly complex questions
- Students created questions that were complex and above the level I would have expected to see them working at given their previous levels and their FFTD target levels
- Students have been more engaged in the learning checking process
- Students have been competitive in terms of their creation and completion of learning checks
- Students have been innovative with their use of the software
- Students have been more cooperative and reflective
Learning from the process the one thing that I would go back on is that I would ask students to create some detailed mark schemes which would elicit different ‘correct’ answers in more detail for their short answer / open ended questions. This would bring out even more learning opportunities which was missing from this activity.
Measure of impact
Is this progress? Has their performance come on further than it would have done otherwise? Some of the questions and sections that the students created quizzes on were actually areas that I hadn’t even covered with them as a class. These were areas that they had taught themselves in order to be able to ask the questions and give the correct answers and mark scheme at the end.
So, going back to the beginning of my post:
- Have I built communities? Yes – students are more engaged, they’ve shown resilience, determination, grit and real character in doing this work both inside and (mostly) outside of lessons – often collaborating with each other on difficult topics.
- Has the sense of agency improved? Yes – students have taken on board a new sense of responsibility and are working in a way that will really help them in their future studies, not just in my lessons but in others too. Students have learned new skills to help practise their existing knowledge using new means and as a result they have new transferable skills which they can employ in other subjects.
- Have the students made progress? Yes – they have made demonstrable progress, further than they would have done if I had just ‘taught them’ – sage on the stage style and then tested them at the end of the lesson.
- Have the students performed? Yes – where there have been inconsistencies in their quizzes, they’ve fixed them. Where there have been incorrect answers in the tests they’ve sat of others, they’ve gone back and done them again to improve their scores. The list of wins continues.
This obviously can’t be the only method for working with the students and getting them to perform and show progress in my lessons, but more on that for the future. For now, the students are doing really well, I’m very pleased with the group and that on top of their developing Computing skills, they are also learning some great transferable skills to help them with their future studies both in and out of my subject area.
Over and out.
What I didn’t include as I thought my post was getting a bit long was some of the other things that took place during this 3 lesson, 1 homework slot.
The planned sequence of sessions was not a co-constructed sequence, however, the way I organised it was done in such a way as to appeal to some of the boys in the class who had not been quite as engaged previously as I would have liked. As many will testify to, the Computing courses at KS4 and 5 are pretty technically demanding and as such I wanted to engage some of the boys who had turned off a little bit to the course. Knowing through some anecdotal evidence that gamification of learning can improve engagement of boys, I thought I’d use this method of working with the group.
The other thing I omitted was the refinement loop that took place during this where we used a musical chairs critique strategy as a means of gaining feedback on questions. Students were given the ‘kind, specific and helpful’ feedback framework and were asked to give feedback to two students in the group, sitting down in their chair when the music stopped and then having a few minutes to go through the quizzes and offer some feedback for improving the various quizzes that they were creating. Students then had the opportunity to go back and refine their quizzes based upon the feedback they had received.
Here are some related posts and videos on gamification that may be of interest:
Gabe Zichermann’s TED Talk: How games make kids smarter
Professor Henry Jenkins on games-based learning at SxSWi 2009
Integrating Games-based Learning: A Conversation with Tim Rylands
It’s not often that I write a specific post on a specific app but I am today. I’ve been using the app ‘Grafio’ for some time now. I found it because I was looking for an app that I could use to create my own infographics (a diagram that plots information in an often stylish way as a graphical object – if you’re looking for some classy examples, check the amazing site www.informationisbeautiful.net – it’s amazing!) and this was the best recommendation I received.
So why am I writing about it? What is so good about it? Well for me, the first thing really that makes it so powerful is that everything you create within it, is vector. This means that the quality of the items put on to the page are lossless. You can scale up a vector image to whatever size you want without it pixelating. This means that you can make really classy pieces of work which can be also saved in to a vector format (in this case PDF) which can then be printed A4, A3, A2 etc. In fact, the app even gives you a canvas up to A2 in size to work with. It is an exceedingly powerful tool.
So what could you use it for? Well, it allows you to:
- Draw and sketch freely
- Communicate ideas
- Make flowcharts (great for Computing & Maths & DT), graphs etc
- Great for organisation charts (Business Studies / Economics)
- Mindmaps, brainstorming ideas – learning tool
- Taking notes
- Record audio on each shape added to the graphic
- Make a presentation
- Create a design
- Play with typography
- Autoshape / smoothing from freehand shapes
- Insert images from Camera roll (bear in mind these would not be vector)
- Export as PDF, PNG or JPG or even export as a video showing the different stages of the process
- Connectivity with dropbox and box.net
Want some examples of what you can do? Here’s some I made earlier, which, while small now will if you click on them grow quite large. In the vein of sharing too, I have embedded the classroom rules poster at the end of this blog post as a PDF so you can print that A2 should you so desire.
So, you might not believe me that Grafio is any good. That’s fine, but I’d urge you to give it a go. The proper full version is normally circa £5.99 (I paid £2.99 for it one weekend when they’d reduced the price) but to have a go with it, why not just get the Grafio Lite version and have a play around. It’s free, so the only thing that’s going to take a hit is your pleasure and unleashing some of your creativity. Grab the lite version here: https://itunes.apple.com/tr/app/grafio-lite-diagrams-ideas/id393111242?mt=8
The developers have also created some video tutorials to support your use of the app here: http://bit.ly/grafiovideo
It just leaves me to say, I hope you have some cracking fun using it I’d just ask if you do like it, use it already, that you share some of your creations with me? After all, information is beautiful!
Original image at top of post taken from Deviant Art.
Here is the downloadable PDF version of the Classroom rules poster:
Whilst I’ll write a longer post soon about the inspiration from the day today at Berkhamsted’s “Teaching, Learning & Assessment” conference yesterday, I did say that I would put up my presentation and resources from the session. So here they are:
I also spoke about a SAMR flow chart based upon Ruben Puentedura’s work as a tool for helping with decision making related to planning lessons using technology. It looks like this:
If you have any ideas / feedback for how this could be developed further I would love to hear your thoughts.
You can download a higher quality version of this here which can be printed to A3 for your team/staff room notice board/dart board:
SAMR flow chart
Thanks to everyone at Berkhamsted who helped make yesterday such a fantastic day, in particular Rebecca Brooks & Nick Dennis. Here’s to TLAB14!
Plan to add to these in coming days / weeks but feel free to share under a share and share alike creative commons.
1% inspiration 99% perspiration
Kind, specific and helpful
Kind, specific and helpful
I’ve been thinking more and more about the working habits of students. Most recently today I’ve been thinking about the way in which students submit their work to us. They can do it in a multitude of different ways, and we try to drill in good habits of presentation when students are filling in their books, so why does that fly out of the window when students are presenting their work electronically? Header and footers and pagination are a must in my classroom but I still have problems with the dreaded beast we call email.
I think that perhaps the more we can focus students on ensuring the basics are right and have good habits, the more we can focus on the learning at hand. Also – if we can get those habits right, then actually, we are offering students another golden opportunity to reflect upon their learning and to make more progress than they otherwise would. Why just attach and send a piece of work to your teacher, when you could start the process of a discussion about the work in the form of email? It seems a no brainer to me, that’s why I’m looking to start an emailing code of practice. Not just for work submitted in an ICT lesson but across all subjects. Hands up if your students send work without really giving much away when they send it to you? Let’s get on the case and instil some good habits of presentation in the electronic work of our students, not just in the analogue.
Here are my top 5 tips for learning/literacy filled emails:
1. Start a sentence with a capital letter
2. Run a spell check, not doing so is simply lazy
3. Have a salutation & complimentary close (even better, create a signature in your email client!)
4. Make sure there’s a subject line in your email
5. Explain in the content of the email what you’re sending and why and include an EBI & WWW
If you’ve got a code of conduct for doing this kind of work I’d love to hear from you or if you have any other comments, please leave them below.
With renewed faith in Wallwisher and it’s reinvigorated form ‘Padlet’ I’ve created one where I would like to curate your points of view and experiences in iPad apps for education.
What I am looking for is your favourite iPad app for education and why it is useful. I suspect I’ll end up with some repeats, but if you see Evernote or Dropbox a fair number of times already, could you add in another app or use that you find particularly beneficial to your practice or student learning in the classroom?
I’m hoping this can be massive! Let’s see!