Over the past couple of weeks I have come across lots of different tools that would be fantastic to try within your organisation. Many of these suggestions come courtesy of Twitter whilst others arrive via corridor/staff room chats!
Snapguide is a fantastic free IOS app that allows users to create simple step by step guides. Not only can the Teacher produce instructions for activities or experiments but learners could create their own. This has fantastic potential especially as they can import pictures in to their guides. Here is an example of a Snapguide for you to check out.
Watch2gether is a great website that allows you to watch a YouTube video with others. On loading the page watch2gether.com a private room is created and a unique URL assigned. You simply then share the link via email or using Facebook/Twitter. The private room requires you to enter a display name, and informs you when your friends have joined. The pane on the right allows you to discuss the video you are watching which is great for analysis or reflection.
Dispatch is a project management tool that allows you to add multiple files to a single ‘Dispatch’ including Messages, Notes, Files, Google Drive, Drop Box etc. Once you have added your files simply add Team Members (by adding their email addresses). All activity is time stamped to support project management.
Whilst shopping at the weekend I called in to the O2 store and came across a product called appQuiz. In short it was simply an iPad dock with 4 buttons that allowed four people to complete a quiz game. I thought it had huge potential was a learning activity however after further enquiry it seemed you were limited to the quiz questions set by the app. I’m therefore keeping my eye out for other similar products online.
I recently attended the BETT 2013 exhibition at London Excel with some colleagues. This post aims to provide some commentary to the photos below. Personally I didn’t feel there were as many innovating products as there was at the previous BETT 2012, although many of last years highlights had been significantly upgraded especially in terms of design. I did take some inspiration from the furniture and exhibitor stands and felt that educational establishments would benefit from embedded touch screen technologies in classroom, corridor or active learning zone walls! Many exhibitors also had followed the Apple Store approach with brilliant white walls and large wooden tables. A Technogym rep explained how there products have been further developed – could we learn anything from them? Finally a presentation from Frog and there development within the school sector also provided a useful insight.
Last week I explored the use of Twitter in a class setting. Whilst watching a short documentary, learners were provided with an opportunity either take notes (with a pen and paper) or to use their mobile devices and send a Tweet. Hashtags were created and displayed on the whiteboard. The group often tell me they are constantly on Twitter and therefore i assumed they would take advantage of this opportunity. Unfortunately on reflection it was evident that the group preferred to take written notes! When i questioned their preferences/choice the main reason for lack of engagement was the fact that they saw their Twitter accounts as personal and did not wish to ‘Tweet’ about College work. On reflection I can fully understand this especially as the group was predominantly 16-18 year olds.
Fortunately I did attempt to lead by example and therefore was tweeting key facts and information throughout the documentary. In addition a colleague across the City also engaged with the activity (without being prompted) and he also managed to include professional sports players in the discussion. Learners were particularly intrigued that ‘other people’ were interested in what we were doing….. so maybe this approach can be revisited after setting up College Twitter accounts for my students?
visibletweets.com was used to display the # commentary (see slideshow below).
This week I was notified that Concept Board had been integrated within Google Drive. I wanted to explore the potential of this integration within the classroom (although the next step if for collaborative learning outside of the classroom). On a basic level some of the features are similar to Prezi in that you have a blank canvas to collaborate whether that be designing processes, capturing ideas, or simply making notes. You can upload a range of existing documents *.pdf *.doc *.ppt etc, take screen shots, and add directional arrows and shapes with ease. Using a style can also enhance some of the other available tools such as the fine liner pen especially if you have large fingers! There is lots of potential for this especially for group activities both in and outside the classroom.