Tagged with "#edtech Archives - 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?
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!
Google is the greatest search engine going – we know this, but are you making the best use of it? Check out the tips below to start using it like a rock star!
Rather than searching for themes of love, which would bring results of sites that contain all of those words search for it specifically by putting the phrase in quotes:
That will bring up search results that include that specific phrase.
Sometimes when you’re searching for a term, a recurring number of results might include words that you don’t want in your search results. You can exclude them by adding the word you don’t want to your search with a minus sign in front of it. E.g.
“banana sales” –banoffee
Site specific search
There could be times where you want to search a specific site for a phrase. This can be done thus:
“banana sales” site: www.tes.co.uk/teaching-resources/
Specific document types
Sometimes you might like to search for resources based upon specific document types. Let’s say you’re looking for a presentation on the themes of love, search for:
“banana sales” filetype:ppt
This will search for PowerPoint presentations that contain the term “banana sales”. Knowing different file type extensions helps here. Here’s a handy list of popular file types and their extensions:
• Word documents: doc or docx
• Excel documents: xls or xlsx
• PowerPoint documents: ppt or pptx
• PDF files: PDF
• Images: jpg, tiff or png
• Audio: wav or mp3
This OR That
When using a search engine, in particular Google, its default setting is to search for every term in the search bar. By using the OR operator (note, it has to be in capitals) you can search for more than one term, e.g.
banana sales OR orange sales
Want to define a word? Simply type in the search operator ‘define’ followed by the word you want defining, e.g.
This search type is particularly useful when looking to find results that contain information from within specific date ranges. For example, if you wanted to find out about banana sales between 1920 and 1930 you search using the X..Y sequence. This would look like this:
“banana sales” 1920..1930
…where between the X and the Y value there are two full stops.
Next time you need to perform an equation simply type it in to Google for it to do it for you using the +,-,* and / characters for addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.
E.g. 541318.864 * 32.2457
Hope these help!
Below is a quick introductory tutorial in how you can use Book Creator app with students in the classroom.
What’s it good for?
…including all the different elements of a project where they’ve curated those elements on their iPad.
Easy sharing of their completed book to their teachers too using the ‘Open in another app’ feature which ties in to:
- Google Drive
…so that finished work can be easily shared with teachers.
Other benefits include the obvious ability to open their completed books in iBooks in order to facilitate later revision of the topic. Books created in Book Creator can also be opened back up in Book Creator for further editing / addition but also in Creative Book Builder for the same too.
Book creator is exceedingly easy to use making it something particularly suitable for activities which require students to be able to focus on compiling elements of created work in to one location, i.e. their book
It doesn’t have some of the extended features that Creative Book Builder does but it’s dead simple to use.
Creative Book Builder – ePub creator for iPad
Spell with Flickr. A delightful tool.
Make your own words here:
I was lucky enough to be given a copy of the Zu3D animation kit following their kind sponsorship of the last TeachMeet Clevedon. Since then I’ve had a number of opportunities to familiarise myself with it and the digital leaders at the school are enjoying getting to grips with it too. I thought I’d share what I’ve found out and how I think it could be used. It’s a great piece of kit.
What do you get?
In the pack was everything you need to get yourself up and running. You get a green screen, a HD webcam, some plasticine and their animation software.
What’s it like?
With my background being Secondary schools, I think for students at our level the UI is a little bit clunky in terms of how it looks compared to some of the more slick looking software available in the market. That can be excused though because I suspect that the majority of their target market will be the Primary sector and the interface is so simple and easy to use, with bright colours and recognisable icons for younger students, it works well. I’d like to give my 3 year old a go on it and see what he makes of it. I think he would get right in to it. All of that said too, what it may lack in looks to attract an older audience, it certainly doesn’t lack in power. I was blown away at how quickly the automatic chroma-keying worked. It was amazing. The software is simply jam-packed full of features too: onion skinning between frames, easily import your own audio/backgrounds (it comes with some nice animated gifs too), titles/credits, narration options, drawing on frames, adjustable frame rates, eraser tool to remove rigging e.g. for flying objects, multiple video tracks, multiple export options (although if it hasn’t got the one you want, you can easily convert it using a free tool such as Format Factory), drawing straight on to frames to make your own animations, the list goes on – it’s really very powerful. The HD webcam is a great piece of kit too with a nice little adjustable stand. It all installed nice and easily. Since getting the software and familiarising myself with it, I have to admit, when using my PC I have been doing quick video editing in it because it’s simply so quick and easy to use. Other programs such as Premiere Pro etc are awesome, but they’re so heavy in comparison, for knocking something together that’s quick and easy, this tool is spot on.
How can you use it?
Using green screening and animation is a great way of engaging students in lots of different learning activities. For example, students can use the kit to bring a story to life, so rather than just writing their story, they’re writing it for a purpose – they’re going to turn it in to a film. It’s another way too that students can demonstrate understanding, share ideas in interesting and innovative ways and more. Not only could you use it for some great animation work but it can also act as your go to app on your PCs for editing movies, putting together clips you’ve shot using your Flip Cams or whatever camera, add titles, so forth and so on. I think that perhaps, because the way the interface looks, it might be more of a tool of choice for teachers in a Primary setting although given its power it could actually be equally at home in a Secondary setting, particularly given its ease of use.
Check out some of their example videos here for some more ideas and examples of how schools have been using the software: http://www.zu3d.com/gallery
A powerful tool for video editing and creating animation sequences, especially in stop frame animations. It’s loaded with features and given its price; it’s a cracking piece of kit. Do you need the full animation kit? Probably not, but it’s certainly great fun, particularly in a Primary setting. If you’re Secondary, like me, it would be a brilliant tool for students to use at KS3 and probably at KS4 too; although if you’ve got some higher end kit available such as Final Cut or Adobe Premiere / After Effects etc, by KS4 you will probably be wanting students to learn how to use that. That said, if you’re a teacher of a subject other than ICT, which many people are (!) it’s a tidy tool that students can use quickly and easily to create some cracking video sequences. I should say too, if you don’t want the full animation kit, you can just get the software by itself – school pricing can be found for the individual software here: http://zu3d.com/shop/zu3d_studio3.
For more info visit http://zu3d.com
I was alerted to this great tool the other week by the great Doug Belshaw when he made this presentation here: http://dougbelshaw.com/presentations/2012/eskills/index.html#/ - this web based presentation has a number of key benefits to it. For starters, it’s really really simple to use, particularly if you use the web based creation tool found here: http://www.rvl.io/.
Single sign on is supported so you can use your existing Google, OpenID, Yahoo or AOL account. Once in, you simply create a new deck, give your presentation a name and you’re presented with a number of options via the toolbar.
Looking like most text editor tools, you can simply type in to your slide and add in the media you may want with it too. Font choices, formatting, sizes, colours, alignments and more mean you can lay out your information simply and beautifully. Remember the golden rule of presentations too where less is more. When you’re ready, start a new slide with the plus symbol.
Adding new slides
One of the things I like most about the tool is that you can nest similar themes in vertical slides (down) before moving horizontally (to the right) to the next theme within your presentation. You can see this in my presentation from TeachMeet Clevedon here on SAMR and transformational use of technology to support learning: http://www.rvl.io/ictevangelist/transforming-learning-using-technology
Interestingly too, adding images is a simple process too, either add them in by uploading the local versions of the image or simply link to where the image you want to use is hosted online.
I’ve also worked out that you can embed YouTube videos in to your slides too. To do this, I got the embed link from YouTube. Clicked the HTML icon on the slide toolbar. Pasted in the embed code. Job done.
Thanks to @mattbritland for checking. Making a presentation on your iPad or iPhone is possible but you can’t really add images plus making links isn’t easy. Recommendation? Make your presentation using a different device, ie laptop/desktop. All that said, showing your presentation on your phone or your iPad looks seriously slick. All you have to do is swipe your finger over the slide in the direction you want to move to next and you’re away.
Map view in iOS
You can also zoom out and see your presentation in map view, which is always handy before starting your presentation to remind you where to go, but also nice at the end to remind viewers where they’ve been. To access this simply pinch with your fingers. Tap back on a slide to zoom back in.
To move through your slides, simply use the cursor / arrow keys to navigate through your slides. Interestingly, it also works with clickers, so it’s a great way of presenting without having to stand near your machine to move through every slide.