Lino- the online post it note

downloadNeed a collaborative work space for your class to post and share ideas in real time? This simple app does just the job.

It is literally an online corkboard on which post it notes can be stuck. A list of ideas on how to use this app isn’t really needed, as the opportunities are endless…

One easy way to start, is to use the app as a tool to aid a pre assessment when introducing a new topic to the class. An online KWL grid…

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We looked at what the children knew (green post it notes), what they think they knew (orange post it notes) and what they wanted to discover (red post it notes). This then created a great online working space to start with. I could check misconceptions with the green and orange post its and steer the content of the topic through their questions on the red post its.

 

 

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Floors Game Design

icon175x175Ask any groups of children what they like to do in their spare time, and no doubt gaming will come into conversation somewhere along the line. Gaming is something that children do every day and more importantly, something children love to do every day. This noted, I decided to try and use this with lessons.

Within the new computing curriculum, the ‘programming’ element lends itself brilliantly to game creation. To create a game holds so much value, from planning, drafting, designing, making, editing graphics and evaluating. This is exactly the process we followed with an app called ‘Floors’, an app made by Pixel Press.

Floors is a brilliant app that allows pupils to create their own video game from scratch. There are two elements to the game, to draw your design either by hand or to design it online.

We took this game design as a unit of lessons within our computing sessions. The first thing we did was to allow the pupils to explore some of the games already created. This app has a great element of sharing games that have been produced. This gives that ‘wider audience’ element for the pupils, knowing that their games could be shared globally once created.

After this, we looked at the key, in detail, for how to create the game. I found this to be fundamental in ensuring functioning games at the end of the unit. Although it seemed harsh to the children, having a lesson exploring the design ‘key’ and not actually creating, it allowed them to fully understand the potential of what they were creating. Having just ‘played’ with design, I am sure we wouldn’t have had so many interesting teleports, sinking blocks, keys to new worlds, etc.

Click here for a detailed pdf on the key elements.

After the key, came the creation. With this app you can do this in two ways, design on paper to scan or design online. I chose both. The pupils created a draft world on paper, which was modified after feedback given. Then they designed their programme online also. The simple reason behind this; the scanning tool wasn’t very effective with our iPads. However, whilst copying their hand-drawn world, I found the pupils continually flicked between the design, and what it actually conveyed to, reviewing and editing their work independently as they went along. Fab!

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After the games were created, we looked at how the graphics could be changed, changing characters, coins, obstacles, etc. The children thought about the ‘theme’ of their game and edited these accordingly.

Lastly, and most importantly, the children were given time to play and evaluate each other’s games. I structured this session before the children’s games were published online, and before other pupils from the school played them, in the style of market research. We rotated, each playing the game for two minutes (although they felt this was too short when they were hooked on the games) and then each child left both positive and negative feedback. The pupils were then given time to make final amendments on the game, taking into consideration the feedback of their peers.

All in all, Floors was a brilliant app for computer programming. From understanding the working of the app, planning, editing, designing graphics, reviewing and publishing. Brilliant.

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Google Chrome Takeover

Starting the lesson with a personalised Google screen hooked the children in today’s computing lesson.

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That, followed by a spoof newspaper article about the stench of another college. What more could they want?

image1Today was an impromptu lesson on looking at the coding behind websites. It was an introduction to familiarise the pupils with HTML code, but in an engaging way. We have recently been looking at newspaper articles in English and I just so happened to stumble upon a way in which to manipulate the appearance of websites. Cue playing with BBC news.

On Google Chrome, there is a genius tool, called ‘inspect element’. This enables you to change any part of a website, simply by right clicking and choosing ‘inspect element’. This will bring up the coding for the page. Click on ‘edit HTML’ and you’re set to have some fun.. change the text, pictures, just about anything!

Step one:

 

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Step two:

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Step Three:

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Here are the two short videos I watched to get the basics!

   

I taught this, alongside how to copy a URL of a photo, to change the pictures, and skills suck as ctrl F to search, making their code editing easier. For our first lesson, the children really picked up the code well, making some interesting headlines..

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123D Catch

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An app that augments just about anything!

I love this app and recently used it with my pupils within a Design and Technology lesson. We were working on a project of making a volcano, with some fantastic models (no bias at all..), and I wanted to be able to share their work, thus, 123D.

In a nutshell this short video shows you about the app…

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The app allows you to take photos of just about anything to produce a 3D online augmented model. The pupils took photos of their volcanoes to create their 3D versions, which, in turn, produced a link for each project. We went on to share our links on our blog, allowing parents to see the model. However, this app not only allows you to see the model, but to rotate around, zoom in and out, really bringing the pupils work to life.

Alongside this, 123D catch provides an online database for all models. This provide endless opportunities, from being able to look around prehistoric burial ground in Sweden when covering the stone age, or just looking at cupcakes..

Christmas Advent Calendars

An idea from Mr Parkinson (if you haven’t checked his blog, you should), on ways to use the iPads around Christmas. Using the piccollage app and thing link, you can make an interactive advent calendar to share with your pupils.

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Extremely easy and quick to create!

Firstly, on piccollage, create your advent calendar format. Simply choose your Christmas image and set as your background. Then add text on top to make your windows for each date. Once you’ve made your calendar you can export it by saving to camera roll.

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Then open up the thing link app (you will need to set yourself up with an account, which is free). Insert in the photo from your camera roll. Once inserted, you simply tap where you would like to place your media and then you will have the option of filming a video, inserting a file from your gallery or inserting a video from YouTube.

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Lastly, when you’ve finished your calendar, you will need to log into your thing link account through safari or the internet. If you click on your image, it will give you the option to share. From there you need to highlight the embed code to place it into your blog. A working model can be seen on our class blog here.

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This idea could be used for numerous other projects, not just Christmas. For example, to record orally descriptive sentences for different elements of a photo, or highlighting parts of a map, etc.

A great interactive tool

Adverts using iMovie

So after two weeks looking at persuasive writing, and the children writing some very impressive letters to Nicky Morgan as to whether or not iPads should be used (uninfluenced by me of course), we decided to have a no writing couple of lessons.

We investigated different adverts and debated the ethics of advertising on TV. This all built up to the pupils creating their own advertisements for a holiday destination of their choice.

Here being one of the results:

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After looking at all the features of persuasive writing, I decided to see if the children could embed these in a different format. We used iMovie to create our adverts. This can be done through the trailer option within the app; providing ready-to-go trailer formats. First step, was to show the children what was expected, cue a silly modelled version of an advert by myself (they love it, and it allowed me to work out how to use the app).

imovieThen, and probably most importantly, I gave the pupils a planning format, as you can see. I can’t take credit for these as they were found here thankfully. This allowed children to see clearly how many pictures and titles they had to complete, steering them think through their structure of the advert.

Once they had finished their trailers, I challenged them to come up with a voice over to sell their product further. This can be done by saving the finished product, opening up a new movie on the app and then loading the exported trailer into the movie version of the app.

This was both a fun activity for the pupils and a good final assessment point to see who knew how to take the features from their writing and use them in this context. Enjoy.

R.I.P Lollipop sticks

May lollipop sticks with your cname3lass’ names be a thing off the past (not extinct mind you, as technology can never be 100% reliable).

However, the app replacement is an excellent tool to spark a little more engagement in the classroom. The exciting nature (and our guilty pleasure of the theme music) make the children want their name to pop up, who’d of thought!

 

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You can create more than one group or class and add as many students as you wish to the classes. The App randomly selects a pupil from the  group, with all names being displayed before a name is displayed for a second time (the pupils don’t need to know this) However, if you do have that ‘relaxed ‘(lazy) pupil you can change the settings so each name can be displayed up to three times, so the pupils never know when they may be called upon again!

This once free app, now can be purchased for £1.99 through the app store.

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