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Simple and effective wins with technology in the English classroom

By February 1, 2017No Comments

As with most posts I write about technology, often – it isn’t just about what you can get the students to do with technology – often it’s just as important to have a number of easy wins in your back pocket to support children with their work and/or where you use technology too. With that in mind, this short post will be broken down into subject specific wins for the English teacher in the classroom, although many of them are applicable to all classrooms, whatever the phase.

Technology wins for the English classroom teacher

If we have access to technology there are a number of simple wins that you can capitalise on to make a great impact with technology yourself.


Word clouds

Use of sites such as Tagxedo, and apps such as WordFoto, Phoetic and WordSalad can make some lovely visualisations for your classroom. You can read more about ways to use word clouds on this post here too.


Images can be great prompts for writing but where to find them? Google Images can be quite a minefield, particularly when you’re worrying about royalty/copyright free images. If you didn’t know, you can refine your search so that the results only bring up images that are copyright/royalty free. Simply go to search tools >> usage rights >> and then choose the appropriate filter. For more on this have a look at this post.
Alternatively, why not use the awesome Flickr site? If you go to CC Search then you can filter your image search to Flickr to find images that you can reuse that are of some seriously high quality. Alternatively why not look at the awesome Pixabay site. I wrote about it and other quality sites here.


Sharing explanations

Often there are key phrases, explanations or links that you want students to have for their revision support. Why not curate these into a revision resource sheet that students can stick into their books with a 3 (wide) by 10 (tall) bank of QR codes that link to different resources. You can easily record a short podcast using the free Audioboom app for example, link to quotes embedded in the QR Code, so forth and so on. Not only are you saving on printing and paper, but you’re making the resources more accessible too. You can do this sort of thing with your wall displays too.

If you’re not too sure on QR codes and how to make them, the BeQRious site is pretty simple to use and self-explanatory. If you’re looking for a QR code that’s a bit more snazzy, then why not try VisuaLead where you can embed the QR code into a picture.

I wrote about QR codes in more detail here with some more ideas on their use too.


Mobile technology

If you have an iPad or other mobile device, why not load up a news website or App, pass the device to a child, ask them to pick a story and then read it to the class. If you have mirroring in your classroom, even better! The rest of the class can read along at the same time. After a minute or two, say thank you and pass it on to someone else. Engaging. Helpful for speaking and listening. A simple win.

If you have mirroring capabilities too, why not showcase great work going on in your classroom in pupil books by showing that work on the big screen!? Mobile devices make fantastic visualisers and many of us have them in our classroom already – why not save on the cost of a visualiser and use your tablet?

Why not capture some of the other types of analogue work in your classroom too such as your creative use of Post-Its with the fab Post-It-Plus App?

Further inspiration

Why not engage students with some simple AR (augmented reality) with the ColAR Mix App or alternatively, let them roam around the immense world of Epic Citadel (free App) taking screenshots for their inspiration which they can then add written or audio commentary on. Easy wins for great learning inspiration that can engage a child’s curiosity and creativity.

There’s so much you can do that is simple, effective and purposeful – without having to be an ICT wizard.

I hope you’ve found these few ideas helpful. I could go on ad infinitum but this should help get you started.


Mark Anderson

Mark Anderson, @ICTEvangelist. Click here to learn more.

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