Author Archives: AlwaysComputing

About AlwaysComputing

ICT Co-Ordinator and E-Learning enthusiast.
Always looking for new and innovative ways to enhance learning in primary schools. For (almost!) daily updates follow me on twitter @alwayscomputing

I hope to share good practice, great resources, and a few things to brighten your day!

My top Apps of 2013

December 10th, 2013 | Posted by AlwaysComputing in 2DIY | ICT Resources | Ipads for Learning - (0 Comments)

apps2013

Over the year I have used a variety of apps in my teaching of primary school children. They might not be the newest, or the most fancy all singing ones. This list is my must have apps, the ones I wouldn’t be without. For me it is about how they work in the classroom, not just how good they look. So these are the ones that are tried and tested, and I would recommend to any teacher.

2DIY

Create your own interactive resources, activities, games, puzzles, quizzes. With this software teachers and primary school children can create cross-curricular, personalised resources and use them on whiteboards, websites and even on Learning Platforms. There are plenty of opportunities for meaningful learning as children plan, design, create, publish and play. Loads of fun, and easy to use with all ages. I highly recommend this one!

 

abcABCJoinedUp

abc Joined Up makes learning cursive writing an enjoyable and fun experience. It helps children write cursive letters and words correctly and provides positive and supportive feedback by celebrating success. Beginner Level teaches children to recognise letters by their sounds and to write individual cursive letters correctly on the screen with their fingers. Intermediate Level shows children how to recognise letters and blends by their sounds and to join letters together correctly on the screen with their fingers. Expert Level teaches children to sequence the sounds they can hear in a word and then join the letter together and write the word correctly on the screen using a finger or a stylus.

Epic Citadel

Enter Epic Citadel, the dynamic fantasy setting of the award-winning Infinity Blade. From the circus bazaar to the sweeping cathedral in the center of town, Epic Citadel dazzles with a visual parade of special effects, as only imagined by Epic Games and powered by the critically acclaimed Unreal Engine 3. Are you ready to explore the realm of the Epic Citadel and all the beautiful secrets it holds? Really great for creative writing and imaginative thinking. The amount of discussion and imaginative thinking from one app is amazing!

Twinkl Phonics Suite

Whether you are a teacher who wants to use this App to enhance children’s learning alongside your letters and sounds sessions, or a parent who wants to support your child’s learning of phonics at home, this App has something for everyone!
– The sounds and names of each letter of the alphabet
– Letter formation
– Blending sounds in CVC words
– The graphemes taught in phases 2-3 (including digraphs and trigraphs)
– Initial and final blends
– Alternative spellings for phonemes
– High frequency and tricky words for each phase.

Read my full review of the app here. 

Penulitumate

The most natural digital handwriting experience on iPad, Penultimate gives you the convenience and feel of writing on paper with the added power and availability of Evernote. Take notes in class or a meeting, journal your thoughts, or outline your next big idea — in the office, on the go, or at home on the sofa. This is the app I constantly use to scribble down the ramblings inside my head! Easy to jot down ideas, but the kids can also use it as well! I have used it with my digital leaders when doing brain storming sessions.

 

Daisy the Dino

Learn the basics of computer programming with Daisy the Dinosaur! This free, fun app has an easy drag and drop interface that kids of all ages can use to animate Daisy to dance across the screen. Kids will intuitively grasp the basics of objects, sequencing, loops and events by solving this app’s challenges. After playing Daisy, kids can choose to download a kit to program their own computer game.

 

Meteor Maths

Math meets an arcade game in Meteor Math, and you’ll want to play all day! “Crash” meteors together to solve addition, subtraction, multiplication and division equations. Improve your math skills as you progress through increasingly harder problems. Suitable for kids of all ages… and even adults who want a fun challenge! I often use this as a quick starter activity and works really well.

 

Barefoot Atlas 

Barefoot World Atlas is a magical interactive 3D globe that invites children to explore the regions and countries of the world, discovering hundreds of fascinating features and immersing themselves in the rich wonders of our planet. This is a multi-language, universal app for the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. The rich and beautifully detailed graphics take full advantage of the amazing new high-definition retina screen. 
Geographer and BBC TV presenter Nick Crane is your guide, as you fly at will around a beautiful 3D globe created by artist David Dean. Explore the world’s continents, great oceans and changing environments. Meet different people around the planet and find out about their way of life. Encounter amazing wildlife, discover landmarks, natural features and famous buildings. LOVE LOVE LOVE IT! So immersive for the pupils and endless lessons from one little app!

 

So that’s my list, make of it what you will! Please leave some comments below of apps you have used with success in the classroom. 

A Very ICT Christmas!

December 8th, 2013 | Posted by AlwaysComputing in 2DIY | Google Sketchup | Lesson Ideas - (0 Comments)

The last few weeks of the half term are always a bit hectic in the build up to Christmas. Often pupils are busy preparing for their Christmas performances, or with year 6…SATs still! If you’re all APP’s out, or want to get a break from the making nativity props why not have a quick Xmas ICT session. Below are 5 quick lessons and activities that can be adapted to different year groups, and should bring some festive cheer into your ICT suite, even for the biggest techno-scrooge!

1. Make the kids do your Christmas Shopping!

Give your pupils a list of items you need to buy online and time limit to find them in. Pupils should use some web research skills to try and find the cheapest price. They can then choose how they want to present it, I tend to go for a bit of Excel so I can get another bit of database evidence for them! You could push you top pupils by giving them a list of people to buy for with a budget. Thinking about what they like and whether their choices are appropriate. Always a fun little lesson,, and you’re bound to hear a shout of ‘I found it cheaper!’ at some point!

Capture2. Build your very own tree (sort of)

Those who follow my blog will know I try to do as much as I can with Google Sketchup, I love it! So if I have even the smallest of opportunities I try to shoe horn it in! Last week with my year 4 pupils we had a go at building some Xmas trees, complete with a star on top and multi-coloured baubles. To challenge those with a higher level of ability why not try adding a helix (spiral) of tinsel around the outside. Very trick to do, but will keep the kids enthralled. If you have some pupils who find it to difficult get them to try drawing one in 2D on the program.

3. Save Christmas Game

If you don’t have 2DIY in your school stop what you are doing and go get it! One of the styles of game you can make is a ‘Collecting Game’. The idea behind the game is simple. You have a main character who moves around the board collecting points, but make sure you avoid the bad guys! Basically every game ever! With my year 2 class we had some fun making a game where a child was saving Christmas for Santa. The background was a wonderful snow scene, and the main character had to go around collecting all the presents Santa had lost….but watch out! There are some Grinch like characters roaming around doing their best to spoil the day! The conversation and sharing that come out of a lesson like this is fantastic. Pupils love having a go at each others games, and often engage in some great critical discussions without even knowing it!

4. Animations 

This half term I have been looking at a variety of animations with the pupils and it’s something they love. Why not spend the morning making a lovely Christmas video. Pupils could make their characters out of plasticine, or the cheats way are these awesome Christmas cones from the guys over at Twinkl. In a morning you should be able to throw something together, then on the last day of term why not have a Christmas Movie show with popcorn and everything!

5. Blogging fun

Blogging with the kids is something I have recently tried to do more and more, and I’m really trying to get the pupils to blog of their own accord. Over the holidays I like to set a blogging challenge for the pupils as an extra bit of homework. The school I work at is full of different cultures and our children spend their winter holidays in a wide variety of different ways. I try to get the pupils to share what they, and their families do for the holiday season. Those who excel at blogging have had a go at adding pictures and video clips to share with their friends. For those pupils who struggle it’s also a great space for them to just sit and have a go at some writing. They all know it comes to me before it gets published so let them have a go!

 

Hope you all enjoy your Christmas build up as well as your holidays! Hope some of these ideas have saved you a bit of time, and have some fun!

 xmas

App Review – Twinkl Phonics Suite

December 6th, 2013 | Posted by AlwaysComputing in ICT Resources | Ipads for Learning | Lesson Ideas - (0 Comments)

twinkl phonics

This week I wanted to share with you a wonderful new app from the guys over at Twinkl. A must have for foundation stage teachers…


What is it? 

iPad Screenshot 1

Twinkl Phonics Suite is a one-stop-shop for all your British phonics needs. The phonics suite breaks down the learning into 5 phases, each with their own wide range of activities to engage younger learners. Made up of a wide variety of activities the app walks children through the world of letters and sounds. It makes learning fun and easy, and often pupils don’t really know it’s work.  It provides teachers with assessment tools built into the app to track the progress of letters and sounds for each child. These are really clear, and show the teacher w

here the strengths and weaknesses are for each child. Brilliant!

What’s great about it? 

iPad Screenshot 3

LOADS! The number of activities available means you can get hundreds of lessons from one app. The visuals and narration of the app are fantastic and clear throughout, and make the sessions visually stimulating. All of the activities run really smoothly, and have their own built in settings. This means each activity can be personalised to the child, or made harder as they progress. In phase 1 of the app pupils can expect to see challenges like matching sounds and letter recognition. as the pupil prgresses through the app to phase 5 the tasks become a little trickier with games that encourage cognitive reasoning sentence building. I really love the DfES guidance along with some video examples of sessions that could incorporate the app.

Why get it? 

iPad Screenshot 4I would recommend this as a MUST have for all NQT’s or new staff to the foundation stage. The assessment and recording tools mean that a teacher can work, track and progress pupils learning along side your letters and sounds lessons. At the moment these assessment tools only go up to phase 2, but tools for phase 3-5 are in the making. To further help with your tracking and progress you can easily email screenshots of children’s work from the ipad, all it needs is a teachers password, and the app will email work straight to your account. Great for printing in pupil profiles.

I would also see this as being a great app for EAL children of all ages. The quality of the activities mean they would be stimulating to all ages. Tasks like the ‘full circle’ in phase 4 are quite trick concepts to learn, and would be a great activity for older children. New to English children can all access the app in the same way, as well as tracking

Overall

I really rate this app highly and would recommend it to any primary school teachers. The depth of the app means you could spend hours playing and exploring, and still find something new to use with your pupils. Go and get it! 

3 Great ways to bring Gamification into your Classroom

December 1st, 2013 | Posted by AlwaysComputing in ICT Resources - (0 Comments)

gamification copyThis week at work I have been starting to plan and prepare a new unit of work on Gaming. Then on Saturday I watched a TV program about the history of gaming, and the leaps in technology we have had. It left me thinking of nothing but games, and how I could bring the world of gaming into my classroom.

I don’t just mean bring computer games into the classroom, the wonderful @TimRylands has been doing this with the likes of Myst. The definition of Gamification is the use of game design and mechanics to enhance non-game contexts. I want to bring this ethos and mindset of a computer game into the way I teach, and the way the pupils learn. As children growing up we learnt so much from the world of video games. We learnt timing, organisation skills, morality, and more importantly, right from wrong. The biggest thing I would like to see though is the sense of achievement in the pupils. As a gamer I like nothing more than getting some obscure, challenging achievement point in my latest Xbox exploits, and I want children to feel the same in my room. So I started thinking of how. How could I change my teaching style to accommodate this, and what resources will I need. After a bit of thinking and tinkering I have come up with 3 points below.

Achievement Points 

One of my 1st steps was to think about how I could use gaming to assess the pupils progress and track their work. Badges are popping up everywhere in games, with players collecting achievements as they progress through games. A great online resources for this is Class Badges. The site provides both you, and your pupils, an account you can create your own badges to pass out to pupils. Pupils can login to see how many they have, and what they need to do to get the next achievement badge. To make this resource as effective as possible I wanted to make sure the badges went beyond the small and trivial. I decided to go through level descriptors and fit them to the badges. This means that when the pupils receive one they get a fun badge to collect, but I get a quick and easy way of knowing where they are and how they are progressing through the levels. Something that I really concentrated on was the descriptions. I wanted my pupils to know what they needed to do to get to the next level, and understand what they needed to show me in order to get it. I am hoping this will really promote pupil engagement, and see a good increase in motivation.

Add a little competition

leaderboardI personally don’t feel we offer enough competition in schools any more. In my experience small tournaments or challenges work fantastically at incentivizing pupils and getting the most out of their work. Everyone wants to see their name at the top of a leaderboard! Challenge classes or pupils everyday when they are in your classroom. These can be simple little tasks like making sure they bring their homework, or seeing who can get onto the extension activity. I plan to award my classes Experience Points based on their behaviour and work level in my room. How well do they listen to instruction? How many skills can they show me in their work? All of these things could add up to points on a leaderboard. Which class will be top at the end of the term or year? To give the EXP points more gravitas I want to keep them up to date at all times, maybe a job for my digital leaders. I also want to publish them online, either as part of a gaming blog, or on school website. Has anyone tried working with something similar?

Think about the language

One of the smaller changes I want to make is the language I use in the classroom, and how I use it in things like displays. The world of gaming has it’s very own language and this is something I want to embrace and adopt in my ICT lessons. When trying a new program with a group I will have a class of Noobs. Instead of pupils I will have players. I want to have Zones in my room or on my network. Could I bring in Hardcore or Legend levels of work for my more able, or help out the lower ability with beginner or intermediate level work. Our pupils are already using this language on a daily basis, and have a full understanding of what it means and how to use it and apply it in their computer games, why not do it in the classroom?

What do you think about Gaming in the classroom? Have you used something similar or are you already running a gamified classroom? I would love to hear from you! I hope to report back in a few months with how it all went, and hopefully some more tips and tricks as I go!

 

game over

Mozilla Web Tools……..Where have you been all my life?!

November 28th, 2013 | Posted by AlwaysComputing in ICT Resources | Lesson Ideas - (0 Comments)

I was recently on a course looking at how you can bring programming into the ICT curriculum in a practical way. As part of the course we looked at some great hands on tools, as well as some fantastic web-based programming resources. A handful of these were the Mozilla based coding tools. It’s like someone delved into the mind of an ICT teacher and pulled out exactly what they needed! Can you tell I nerded out over these a little?!

x ray gogglesThe 1st is the X-Ray Goggles. To start with you need to install it as a bookmark on your web browser, the instructions are easy enough and on the webpage when you 1st load it up. Once installed you can visit ANY website and start to play with the coding behind it. Simply click on any element to start changing and altering both text, links, and images. This is a great intro to the world of HTML with pupils, and shows them the structures and scaffolding behind their favourite websites. The thing I like most about this tool is the fact that you can publish your changes as a URL, allowing you to send and share your work with others. Tip: Discuss the idea of copyright and keeping work appropriate when online. who knows what they could write left by themselves!

In a nutshell: It works great as a quick and easy way to see the coding behind a website, however it can be fairly limited, for example it doesn’t allow you to see the style sheet of the overall page. 

 

The second web tool developed by Mozilla is Thimble. Thimble is a web-based code editor designed to give complete novices a space to quick build, share and practice their skills. While there are other similar products out there Thimble is designed with the newcomer in mind. It really focuses on the teaching of basic HTML, rather than the more advanced side of things. For the more adventurous I would suggest something like Codecademy. Thimble runs as a side-by-side code editor and output, allowing you to instantly see your creations in real-time, providing you with instant feedback and tips if you do something slightly wrong.

As well as giving you the freedom to create and develop anything you like Thimble also offers a selection of ‘Remixes’. These are projects created by others and offered out for people to edit and play with. I tend to use these 1st with my pupils to give them some ideas and inspiration on what they build in HTML, before moving on to creating their own.

In a nutshell: Really simple and easy to use web editor, that offers some great instant feedback. However, for some security reasons it doesn’t support Java so be away before you get started. 

For those, like me, who are a little daunted by the world of programming and coding these tools can prove as a great starting point. Give them a go, and share what you think!

Arounder – Travelling the World

November 20th, 2013 | Posted by AlwaysComputing in ICT Resources - (0 Comments)

arounderLove love love this website. In a lot of lessons pupils spend time investigating or researching countries around the world, and this mainly happens on Google Earth. With younger children the issue can be that the scope of the maps are too large. Pupils can be easily distracted or get lost. Arounder works as a collection of interactive panoramas places on a map. Pupils can load up a country or a city and work their way through the most interesting and visually stimulating places available. You’re not even limited to this planet, you can even visit Mars!  There are thousands of images available, get you kids to have a play and explore! Enjoy.

Stop.Motion.Animation. Getting it right.

November 14th, 2013 | Posted by AlwaysComputing in Fun Stuff | Helpful Guide | ICT Resources - (0 Comments)

This week Digital Leaders had a fantastic day at the National Media Museum in Bradford. For those who haven’t been, it’s FANTASTIC!  Floors full of historical technology and media, packed with a wide variety of interactive and engaging activities. We spent the morning walking through the museum looking at the history of the internet, and working or way through to playing on some vintage arcade games. Great Stuff. The museum has some great blue screen set up with allowed the children to go sky diving and even visit Coronation Street. They also had a go at news reporting for the BBC. The best thing about the museum was the sense of real world applications. They were able to see how technology has influenced the world of media, and the part they could play in the future.

We can do things that we never could before. Stop-motion lets you build tiny little worlds, and computers make that world even more believable. Nick Park, Aardman Animations.

For the afternoon though we had booked a session with their resident animation expert, Jack Lockhart, looking at the method of making a stop motion animation video.they loved the session and worked hard to produce and edit a short video file in the time given. Of course myself and my support staff HAD to have a go as well, (see video below if I can get it working!). The session was designed to show the DL’s how they could teach Stop Motion Animation to a younger year group. they took on all the information and had some great discussion on what  they could do at their ICT club. As we walked out my head was full of hints and tips from the day that I thought would be great to share with other people wanting to give animation a try, so here goes:

  •  Think about your set up. When we got back to school I instantly thought of different animation projects i could do with classes, but I needed to think about the logistics of it all. Where would the tripods go? what would keep them secure? Will my webcams be of good enough? Do I need to purchase any animation software? all of these things need to be considered before you can start to projects. The big thing I had to think about was a space where the set up could be left. If a group gets half way through a scene in a lesson I want them to be able to come back to it.
  • Get the right software. There are so many choices when it comes to animation software, you need to pick the one that suites your needs. If it’s for working with KS1 think about a simple program like 2animate. For the more advanced pupils something like iMovie or Zu3D might be more appropriate. Something I look for my KS2 pupils is the ability to ‘Onion Screen’ their work. This means being able to see the previous frame over the current one, a big advantage if something is knocked or moved. It also allows them to see how big the movements are between frames.
  • Planning. You really have to over prepare and make sure you have everything ready. This means things like the characters you will be using and the props you need to make. What are you going to use as a background? What are your character made of? Something like Plasticine is great because it remains solid, but it also easy to manipulate.
  • Set aside a whole heap of time! The process of capturing the frames, putting it all in order, adding sound and effects, and putting the whole thing together as one is a LONG process. Don’t expect to have a quality video done in a day! Try working with small groups at a time, taking it in turns to do small parts of the projects. Younger pupils can get bored with the process very quickly, so it’s best to split it up.
  • Think about the output. How are you going to present you work. This really needs to be considered in the editing stage. You should think about what file type you are using and the quality of the frames. The bigger the screen it will be played on, the higher the image quality needs to be. You could also think about putting it on your school website, so you could think about how you could store and stream the video online.

Hopefully these tips should give you a bit of a start, and help you avoid some of the pitfalls. Enjoy!

 

 

 Friday I attended a course with the lovely @bakingmadmummy as we attempt to lead a project within our school, and become the leaders we were born to be! Great start to the course, with initial ideas shared and some great networking with other teachers and schools.

The idea of the course is to lead a project in your school based on one of the items in the School Improvement Plan. Through the process of developing the project you should encounter and overcome any problems that crop up, similar to the world of school leadership.

The development point we chose to look at is actually the 1st point on our SIP, to improve the level and quality of communication with parents. At the moment we struggle to get in touch with parents on a regular basis, and to give them a platform where they can be heard. Our project hopes to solve many of the issues we face by creating a new branch to the school website, one dedicated to the needs of the parents. So I thought I would share we are at and our plans. I don’t think we can be the only school who needs to improve on this area, so hopefully it should give you some ideas.

  • We started off by broaching the idea with our SLT. Thinking about what they thought about our current provision for parents, and where they would like to see it going. Getting them on side is always a great starting point! We had a good sit down and looked at what we currently provide for the parents. We found that it really wasn’t up to scratch, and didn’t give the parents access to the information they need or space to interact.
  • Our next step was to talk to the parents. They are the ones who will be using the website on a daily basis. They are the ones who will need to access the information as well as interact with it. Get their input! We started off with a simple meeting with the school PTA, asking them the simple question of what features they would like to see on the site. Great starting block, and our next meeting with them will be before the launch event. We want to get their feedback on the finished article to see if any changes or tweaks need to be made.
  • Initial Planning was next on our to-do list. This involved outlines of what we want the website to do, how we will be separating the tasks, and creating an action plan to make sure we stay on track. With my time keeping this was a must! In order to get a clear vision of the site we started to create a map. This map came in the form of a flow chart, showing which pages will link to which, and any cross links. Having this to refer to has been great and one of the best things we have done in the planning process.

That brings us up to where we are working currently. So what next, what the heck are we gonna do!?

  1. To start of with I personally need a bit more training. Our website is currently built using SharePoint 2010, so to make sure the website has all the functionality it needs I need to be able to use it!
  2. Design meetings. Me and the @bakingmadmummy need to have a good sit down with a box of wax crayons and come up with some stylings for the site. What do we want the links to look like? What should the layout be? I’m expecting a notebook full of scribbles and annotations!
  3. Surveys and feedback. In order to track our progress and impact we need to analyse every move we make. Starting off with a quick survey of the parents, and tracking how the current parents site is used. To do this I’m going to use some simple analytics software, maybe even Google Analytics. This should give us a starting block to measure the impact we have on the school and parents.

Ok so hopefully that should give some other people a quick starting point if they are in the same boat as us. What do you guys think a parents website should do? What do you think, as schools, we should provide for the parents. Is there a point that we give parents access to too much, with too much interaction? Hit that comment button!

2DIY – Collecting Games

November 1st, 2013 | Posted by AlwaysComputing in 2DIY | Lesson Ideas | PurpleMash - (0 Comments)

Before the holidays I had an extra sessions with my year 1 class and had to come up with the lesson on the spot. My go-to for this kind of lesson has to be 2DIY. So many activities in just one program (on a side note I think that any of the 2simple programs are a MUST for any primary school). This half term year 1 have been following the topic of Superheroes so with that as inspiration I got the pupils making a collecting game.

The collecting game will be instantly recognizable to any classic gaming nerd, and it has 3 elements for the pupils to build. A background for setting, a hero character and falling items. It nice and easy to play; Items fall, hero catches them. Easy.

for my class this meant a background of a burning building, the falling items were people leaping out of the building, and the hero character was the super hero they had been working on all half term. The loved creating the characters, and everything is so easy to do they can help each other with ideas. For the more advanced pupils they can add things like an instruction page to share with others.

The best bit of the lesson though is the last 15 minutes. This is when I get them to swap machines and have a go on another computer, trying out a different game. They love sharing their work and evaluating each others work. You always get some great discussion when they share ways to improve their games.  Loads of fun, give it a go!

Digital Leaders hitting the airwaves!

October 26th, 2013 | Posted by AlwaysComputing in Fun Stuff | ICT Resources - (0 Comments)

This week we had a major development at work. We started to host our very own radio station! Unity FM hit the airwaves. We had our own jingles done by the amazing people down at BCB radio, news from around the school and great celeb interviews!

The digital leaders spent the day split into 2 teams with their iPods create .wav files for us to use in the show, before editing them using audacity. One with myself conducting interviews, while the other was with the amazing Mr Simmons finding all the latest news and views! We had interviews with new members of staff, as well as a quick interview with Bradford City midfielder Raffaele Da Vita. They all shone in their roles and loved hunting down great stories for us to present.

In the build up they all spent some time coming up with suitably nerdy DJ names, and thinking of future features they could run on the show. After a few practice runs (with the head teacher sneakily listening to) they kids were ready to present and show their talents. All that said their were a few hiccups. We had a bit of feedback from one of the speakers in the studio, and some of the recording quality on the iPods wasn’t up to scratch. However that just gave us goals to reach on our next broadcast. Our next step is to take our broadcast worldwide. This week we chose to only present to the other classrooms in the school, keeping the stream on our local server.

To keep in with my blog, and my usual geeky self, I starting thinking of different ways a teacher could use a radio station in their lessons. Below are a couple of ways you could use it: 

  • An engaging and exciting extra-curricular activity for learners – Different groups of pupils and teachers around the school could start to create podcasts of the work they are doing. Trust me when I say pupils love the sound of their own voices.
  • A way of communicating across the school with staff and pupils – Get your radio station broadcasting to parents. We all know our pupils tell parents nothing so this could be a great way to share news and events.
  • An opportunity to develop scheduling and organisational skill – Preparing for a live broadcast is HARD WORK! To produce our 1st half hr show our pupils spent a whole day sorting out sound files and running orders. However, it allowed me to see those pupils who shine under pressure and are capable of thinking on their feet.
  • Develop Speaking and listening skills – Any english teachers out there they will hopefully be thinking of about 50 different speaking and listening activities they could do with a radio station. The kids were beaming after the show, as well as all the other pupils who contributed in sound recordings. Utilise this!
  • Writing and presenting for an audience – Pupils need to think about who is going to be listening to their show, and what type of music, information and news their audience will be interested in. This is something that is hammered into the pupils when creating a piece of writing in Literacy lessons, this gives them that real world outlet.

 

To take this a little bit further I also wanted to add a few little hints and tips for those who are planning to do something like this in their schools. Hope they help!

  • Practice, practice, practice! Take the time to go through the show again and again with your pupils. They need to know exactly who says what and when to sound professional.
  • Get as much pre-recording done as possible – Doing the bulk of the work beforehand allows for the show to run much smoother. You could even add some of the jingles to the start of songs to avoid any confusion on the sound board.
  • Get a decent sound recorder – For our 1st show we use iPods to record interviews. The mic quality was terrible, and this was only amplified when broadcasted. Next time we are definitely going to use a proper mic.
  • Prepare you sound boards – Set out any jingles, songs or sound clips you are wanting to play well before the show starts. You could also put them in order to help you as you go through the show.
  • Check your licensing – You don’t want to get shut down before you’ve even started! There are strict rules on what you can an cannot do when presenting to the public. Some of these licenses can be quite  pricey as an initial cost so this needs to be included in any start-up costs.

 

Hope that helps some of you get started and good luck! In future I will be sharing a link to our live streams via my twitter feed (@theicteacher) so keep your eyes peeled to see how it goes! If you have a radio station, or are planning one, please get in touch and share your experiences.

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