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Showing posts from 2017

First steps with OneNote

In all my years of teaching I have always written to-do lists to help me keep organised and have had a lovely black academic diary that I have refilled each year.  However, over time I have relied increasingly on my outlook calendar for important dates and deadlines.  Last April, knowing that as a school we would be implementing Office 365 tools in the classroom in the near future, I saw that One Note would be a good place for me to start learning.  I could cut my teeth on my own Notebook and be ready to introduce Class Notebook in September.

I started using my notebook as a personal organiser in late May and by the end of June I had made my decision to give up my old ways of organising my busy working life.  As time has gone on I have become more adept at using the tool and have organised my Notebook accordingly.

Firstly some OneNote Notebook clarification:

A Notebook has sectionsWithin sections there are pagesPages can have sub-pages. In plain language, imagine that a Notebook is lik…

Learning to teach with Microsoft in Education

Until some point in the summer term of 2017 I was a staunch supporter of Google Classroom.  I have posted a number of times on the topic of using this excellent tool in class and you can read about it here and here. There were many features of Google Classroom that I enjoyed; for example, the ability to collaborate, to provide fast and effective feedback, and to set assignments to name but a few.  This tool enhanced the learning experience for my students and I really enjoyed the opportunity to use it.  Thus, it was tricky to switch tools recently but the Microsoft in Education path along with its suite of applications in Office 365 has furnished me with many similar opportunities as those provided by Google Classroom and Google Drive.

As with all new tools there has been a lot to learn and it has been a steep learning curve. Nonetheless,
 I intend to share my experiences with Office 365 and the variety of tools I have been using since September 2017  over a series of blog posts and …

Does education really need technology?

There may be many with a view on what makes for a good lesson.  Most would not argue with the ideas clearly expounded upon by Hattie and Yates (1) that a good lesson starts with an initial review of knowledge, moves on to a formal presentation, guided practice, initial feedback, independent practice and a follow-up review.  In terms of my own practice this is a model that I follow.  Not via any particular tools because I know that my target audience need variety and must not settle into any type of formulaic process.  Thus, I follow the steps but use different methods. Far be it for me to claim that this effective lesson cannot be achieved without technology.  Having started my teaching career over 20 years ago I know that it is possible to be an effective practitioner and deliver a lesson where progress is made using old-fashioned methods that may well have included some worksheets created on the trusty (rusty?) Banda machine.  Nor am I here to advocate that this process is more effe…

Flipped Learning with Nearpod

Recently, I have been trying to get my Year 12 confident with pronouns (direct and indirect object pronouns).  Anyone who teaches French will know that these can be complicated for some pupils and it can be tricky to teach.  Thinking that I really needed to get my pupils to work at their own pace and take their time over exercises testing their (hopefully) new-found knowledge I decided to put together some lessons using Nearpod.  Nearpod is an online tool that allows you to create inspiring and engaging lessons and provide you with 'real-time feedback and post-session reports'.  This last term I was able to benefit from the ability to embed videos from YouTube for free (normally, you would have to upgrade to be able to use Web Content) and over a suite of Nearpod lessons I started each different grammatical point with a video.  Of course, if I had made the video myself, there would have been no problem in simply uploading that from a number of different sources (eg dropbox, g…

Quizlet Learn - effective learning.

Just a few months ago I was writing about Quizlet Live.  A fantastic tool that encourages classroom collaboration and discussion and further enhances pupil learning of key facts, terms, vocabulary, dates (take your pick, depending on your subject). You can read about it here.  Recently, I have had the opportunity to try out Quizlet Learn; a new feature that the Quizlet team have worked on with students' progress right at the heart of their creation.  The feature takes on board study and research on how learning occurs most effectively.  Simply set the test date and let the tool create a study programme that is fun and engaging and gives you reminders of what remains to be studied or revisited in order to progress.   The tool provides practice via a variety of quizzes that adapt to the students' progress (or lack of!).  As the student improves so the questions become more taxing getting the student match fit. 

I am a big fan of Quizlet.  Like a good teacher, it is always thinkin…

Vidra - creating videos has never been easier.

A while ago I was thinking about how each student I teach is an individual and has such different ways of viewing the world, approaching their lessons, focusing on their studies and indeed learning.  I am always thinking about how I can ensure that I provide a variety of ways to tap into students individual learning needs.  Some of my students like the power of the pen, some prefer typing out notes and others might create a mind map. If they have access to their own device, I would point them in the direction of Vidra.  The tool has a variety of great, simple images to use and providing voice over is achieved simply by clicking the microphone icon.  You can add background music and you may have as many or as few slides as you wish.  That old history project, explanation of weather patterns in geography or project on Jewish festivals in RS can now easily be undertaken by creating an explainer video.  And why not? After all, we are all unique and redefining a task in this way taps into …