Friday, 20 March 2015

Basic ICT Skills

Good ways to help children with their ICT skills include, making pictures with the Paint application, the mouse control activities featured in the blogs and simple lists for her to type in English. (Shopping list, vocabulary lists etc)

There are also a number of websites that are fun and will help her keyboarding and mouse skills:

Dance Mat Typing

ICT Games

Disney Junior

Sesame Street

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Electronic Grading Solutions for essays

Google Classroom has become a very powerful solution very quickly. This is a completely free solution to help you grade assignments.  Thanks to @JBrink802 for sharing.

At the beginning of the year 

These steps are done once only at the beginning of the year:

1. Google Classroom -
2. Install Goobric Web App -
3. Install Sheets extension - 

How to grade

1. Use Google Classroom to set assignment
2. Create Google Sheet
3. Launch Doctopus
4. Create or choose rubric in Goobric  (You can use voice comments too)
5. Grade assignment

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Free Vector Drawing Tools

If you want to do some vector drawing then there's a wide range of tools available:

  • Draw in Google Docs - very simple to use and available online 
  • Dia is good if you're after a download. 
  • Libreoffice has a nice drawing package included too
  • Scratch has some basic vector drawing tools and is great for interactive stories

Inkscape is also very good, but I find it too complicated for most primary students. I would also like to mention that PowerPoint 2013, because it's free functionality if you already have office. It has a complete set of vector tools which I'd say are as good as older versions of illustrator. I use it to teach my year 4 students drawing and animation and they love it.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Storify Vs Flipboard

Let me start by saying that both are great tools and enable you to collate materials quickly and efficiently.  The big plus point for Flipboard is how cross platform it is with you being able to collect data from apps and browser click-ins.  You can easily select materials as you go.  It also makes a beautiful magazine that you will enjoy reading.  However it does not always put things in the order that you would like them. It's like you are the writer of the magazine, but it is the editor that lays it out and decides the order.

On the other hand Storyboard enables you to easily compile your entries together at the end of the event and put it in the order that you would like.

So when I did my week running #AsiaED, I did both:

Flipboard version:

Storify version:

On this occassion, I prefer the Storify, because the narrative stays in place, but for Learning 2, Flipboard worked very well and I was able to do it as I went along, which was brilliant!

Thursday, 25 September 2014

When to teach what in Primary Computer Science

There are a lot of concepts in Computer Science and it is important to teach them in a sensible sequence. This post is for primary children, for Secondary the planning is well defined in the Compute IT series. (I am one of the authors)  So here are some of the tools that I use and when I use them.
UK Year group Age What I use
1 5-6 Beebots & iPad Apps
2 6-7
3 7-8 Lego WeDo / Scratch & Scratch Jnr
4 8-9
5 9-10 Scratch, html (via & Blue Griffon
6 10-11

This is really just an idea of the tools I use and I also ensure children have a good grounding in core ICT skills. In the 21st century, ideally we should cover all angles. We don't want Computing students at University who can't write an essay in Word or explain a project with appropriate slides!  Below is a much more thorough presentation taking you through most of the tools available that I gave at the 21st century learning conference.

If you are looking for a ready made curriculum, check out my Ready Made Curriculum post.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

An Internet Minute

In every minute of every day, loads of data are being generated. Just how much, you ask?
On average in a minute...
  • YouTube users upload 48 hours of new video
  • Instagram users share 3,600 new photos
  • Brands and organizations on Facebook receive 34,722 "likes"
  • Over 100,000 tweets are sent