Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Decisions Decisions; where to start when using ICT

I have said this before, but in September all the students will have 1-2-1 iPads. I have spent two days thinking about this opportunity. I would welcome suggestions and possible pitfalls.

One thing I have realised is that there is too much choice.

Do I use google, showbie, dropbox, onedrive, Evernote or what to share content with students? Do I create a blog? Will what I choose cause confusion if other staff go with something different? I have read about iTunesU, but I don't have permission to 'bind my institution to the terms and conditions'. Which is disappointing. I think that despite the enthusiasm on the internet for this, I will give it a miss for now.

However, after a recommendation from a colleague (who like me didn't get an iPad in the roll out) I have settled on nearpod as a starting point. I only get 50MB storage though, and probably need the gold package. However, as you can link to websites I should be able to link to youtube so won't need to upload videos and therefore manage to keep presentations small.

I do love the way that you can allow students to draw a picture as one of the actives in Nearpod, this means that I can allow students to show their working in physics and maths questions that are hard to type due to all the funny symbols. I might have to ask my students to consider a stylus though.

I think that I will ask my students to get an evernote account too. I feel that evernote is the best way to keep your lesson notes organised. Being able to tag notes will also help as well as being able to add photographs to notes. (Which reminds me, I must help students by adding suggestions for tags to my presentations, especially as you can also add tags in pages on the mac).
Until reading this article, I hadn't really considered the full idea of workflow. I have thought of how to get work from me to them, but not whether I want to get electronic work from them, mark it and send it back to them. At my previous school the Head of Chemistry used moodle to set all homework and loved that he could annotate the work that students did and they could see his comments.

I actually think that I would like my feedback to remain in their notebooks for now. There are a couple of reasons for this, firstly that I think the notebooks will be more ordered (as they will be chronological) than folders on their iPads. I don't want to have to get into how to keep work organised as I want to teach my lessons. I am not sure that I want to check their online folders for organisation, and I am not sure that they'll refer back to them anyway. When the inspectors come in they will want to see exercise books and folders, and I am not sure I can produce electronic resources for every lesson anyway. So even if students take electronic notes, they will likely be answering questions on worksheets. The exercise book also allows me a quick flick back to reference previous targets I have written and their contexts. ISI are due this year, and I suppose in another 5 years when they come back we will have moved on and so will they.

In the past two days I have started to write a list of videos that I would like to make. I wrote a script then I had a quick go with explain everything today, I wasn't happy, but we have to start somewhere. I think that I want to make my own graphics to include, so I need to think about how I will construct them.

I am very keen to look at online testing. Nearpod will allow this, but also socrative and googleforms. I have access for key stage 3 to activate and I hope that this will allow testing and recording of the responses. I had a look at quizlet today and I can really see how useful this would be for MFL. I think that I will borrow a textbook and use the glossary in the back to help populate quizlet for GCSE as this should help some of the girls who struggle with key words. I wish it would allow images.

I know I don't want to just produce resources that may or may not be looked at as part of revision. My GCSE Science and BBC bitesize are already there. Often students look in the revision guide and still need to come to me or have another look at the experiment. This year I found myself saying to students "you don't need to understand why an electric current is produced when a magnet moves relative to a coil, you just need to know that it happens, describe how to make it bigger and why the current would change direction". They wouldn't get that feedback from a video. However, being able to have that kind of conversation because the students have more time to answer questions that draw out their knowledge is appealing to me. I hope that technology will help with this.

I foresee a busy, but creative summer ahead.


  1. I (at @DaK_74's Twitter Coaching suggestion) had a go at giving feedback using Explain Everything at the end of term.

    It worked brilliantly - I took photos of the student's work, recorded my comments on the clip, uploaded it to my YouTube account and then created a QR code that got stuck in the student's book. I also did a clip for those that didn't hand their book in using pictures from BBC bitesize. Each student's video took about 10 minutes I guess, which isn't much longer than I would spend marking the books for a sizeable piece of work (it was a research task). The students then used their iPads (with head phones) to scan the QR code and then watch their own video and correct their work.

    Because it was the first time I'd used it I got the kids to complete some feedback (on Socrative, go me!) about the experience - it was overwhelmingly positive. They appreciated the fact that they had put a lot of effort into their research and that they had a video clip of me talking about the good bits and where to improve it, and that they had time (I gave them 15 mins) to make the corrections. Some commented that it actually encouraged them to make the corrections, rather than just skim the work.

    The time-consuming bit was uploading the videos - in future I'm going to try it for shorter pieces (hence shorter clips) to see if it works as effectively but with less lag time.

    1. Wow, thanks for the idea. I can see this would be really worth it for a longer summary task.