Embedded image permalinkExciting  time ahead at school! This week we are organising the arrival of some living eggs.We ran this project last year and the kids took so much from the experience, the picture to the left is when our chicks were just a few hours old. They got to see this whole process, coming up and visiting the chicks during the day to see their progress. As usual we tried to add a little ICT to the mix by setting up a live stream via a webcam. This worked really well, with the classes checking the feed every morning during registration.

This year I want to add a bit more tech to the equation, and get the pupils using the experience more in the classroom. Applying the technology and making sure it is all up and running allows for the classes to make the most of the birds, and hopefully allow for some great learning to take place. Below I have listed a few ways that a school could use ICT to make the most of having living eggs, and some possible lesson ideas.

  • Set up a webcam with a live feed on your network. This can stream live on your school website for all to view. This could be used by pupils or parents at home. It could also come in useful for the member of staff who is in charge of the project, allowing them to have a look and check up throughout the day
  • Allow the pupils some time to work with the digital cameras. Pupils get the most from photography when they have an interesting subject to use. Allow them some time with the birds to try and get some interesting shots, then come back to the computer suite to do some quick photo editing.
  • Internet Research. Often it can be a couple of weeks before the eggs start to hatch, so keep the pupils interested and give them the opportunity to find out how the whole process works. Older pupils could research before taking younger pupils to see the chicks while explaining the process.
  • Google Sketchup. Anyone that follows my blog will know I’m a big fan of Sketchup, and using it with all ages. The idea of using it with this project came from a pupil last year who did it in her own time. She emailed me a file which showed a dream environment for the chickens to grow up in, all mapped out on Sketchup. The level of detail was superb, and the research beforehand to find out the ideal conditions was great. So I stole her work and got the rest of the class to do it!
  • Blog about it. Pupils could start a ‘Chick Watch’ blog, keeping other informed of developments and changes, the literacy coordinator loved this! Pupils can also learn to embed images to their work, and for the toppies they could embed the live feed or a video. On a similar note some pupils could create podcasts to broadcast on your website. These could be live updates or information on how they develop.
  • Literacy tasks. There are a whole heap of literacy based activities that could be done on the computers too. For example (big breath) letters of thanks to the farmers, descriptions, stories, newspaper reports, information booklets, instructions for care, day by day diary and invitations to parents.

 

Wow, as I was writing that I came up with a few more ideas that I originally thought! I can honestly say that having something like living eggs in your school can be a great inspiration and discussion generator. I can do nothing but encourage it! Please have a share or comment, and if your school is planning on getting some living eggs please keep up updated! I would love to link with another school doing a similar project.

outside

This week I got to go on a fantastic trip with my school. We took 9 pupils on a sailing ship for 3 days.

We went out on the Humber Estuary, and into the north sea. The children loved it. They spent their days as crew of the boat leaving myself and another teacher to supervise. Due to the small space on the boat the sleeping arrangements felt more like camping than being at sea, so on an evening we had great fun playing games and having family style meals.

But then my ICT teacher brain kicked in. Before we set of I grabbed the case of iPods and iPads and stashed them away on the back of the coach. I could resist the chance of some 1st class outdoor technology learning. So I though I would share how we used them on our trip to give you some ideas for yours.

  1. Google Maps – We followed our route from the school to the Dock, then when out at sea we were able to see where were in relation to the coast. 
  2. Geotagging – On one of the evenings we took the dingy to shore and tagged our location in an email back to the school.
  3. Journals – On an evening pupils wrote a quick paragraph of their day and then sent it back to their school email. This was then picked up on our return and used in their English lessons
  4. Video Diary – Pupils spent some time telling anecdotes of their day using the front facing cameras on the iPods. rather than a full diary entry we were sharing what interesting things happened to them.
  5. Evening Games – We spent the evening playing games with the pupils. Some classics like ‘Pass the Squeeze’ and ‘I’m having a Party’, but then we moved on and started using the iPads. We used Brushes to play Pictionary, as well as asking them to draw a scene from the day.
  6. Sailing lesson – As part of the trip pupils we asked to learn about the boat and how it worked. They aided their lessons by using the internet to research and share what they were looking at.

All of this was brilliant for me to see as their ICT teacher but it took some setting up. Obviously we made sure we had enough chargers and docking stations with us, and checked with the captain that we were able to use his electricity storage for this. We also brought with us some of the Mi-Fi boxes to provide the pupils with internet access. Remember – fail to prepare, and prepare to fail!

Have you used technology outside of school? Could you think of another way my group could have used them on the boat?

 

 

photo 1

So yesterday I visited bMobLe for the 1st time…and loved it! A fantastic assembly of geeks! I recently moved to Bradford to teach so it was great for me to meet and chat with fellow geeks in the area. One of the main things I took from the event was the amount of technology and learning taking place. The previous LA I worked under was so far off what goes on in Bradford it’s unbelievable! I can’t wait to get my teeth stuck in and get to work!

It was also great seeing my digital leaders in action. They were there to present on the work they have started, and what they like to do as part of the project. I have never seen anyone so calm when about to present in front of a crowd. They really didn’t care about how many people were there, and at one point even went around trying to drum up more interest in their work.

photo 4

What really made me chuckle though was talking to them afterwards about how they got on. I obviously asked how they thought it went, were they nervous, what they enjoyed best? That last question gave me a brilliant answer, what did they enjoy best……….the free pens and the stress balls. Forget the successful presentation, massive round of applause and real interest in their work, where are the pens at?! Another highlight was seeing them attack some Ipads, I have never been so worried/wanted Ipad protection to work so badly!

imagesThe teachmeet at the end of the day was the thing I will take most from though. The amount of ideas, hints, and inspiration I got in just a few hours was fantastic. As this was my 1st go at a teachmeet (a TM virgin as Dughall put it) I did bottle it and fail to present, but I  PROMISE I will contribute next time. Now I know the level and depth of items presented I am going to have to work very hard to find something to impress and astound.

As good as the meet was, the bits in between were just as good for 2 reasons. 1, The food was delicious. 2, I got to meet some of my favourite twitter peoples and had some wonderful discussions about our routes into teaching, how we use social media, and e-safety.

 

At the end of the day I was tired, full of curry, and ready for a good sleep. However all I could think about where what I wanted to put into action straight away, and how much I had got out of the day. On the day the organisation was fantastic and our pupils were looked after really well, and I have to thank the Bradford boys for that, well done! I look forward to the next one!

 

ICT Facts Logo

I love it when the ICT facts and figures gets released. It means a day of discussion with my ICT class. I think today I will be discussing the number of people who are able to get online, and how they make the most of it. Getting the children to understand the difference between a developed and non-developed country will hopefully get them to appreciate the lessons we have.

All of the facts got me thinking about the worlds prospects in ICT, and where we will be in say 5, or 10 years time. We have all seen the future technology videos produced by Microsoft, and they are an amazing tool to use with children. Some of the technology is amazing. what makes it amazing is the fact that given 5 years most of it will be in development. But it also got me thinking about where we used to be. I had a look through some of my old video links and found a ‘Did you know’ on YouTube from 2009. Some of the figures were astonishing  but all I could think what that they must have paled into insignificance by now. That as a world we have developed our ICT so much in 4 years, and increased online activity in all areas. Amazing. What I love most about the video though is the reference to ‘Myspace’. Taking it old school!

 

 

wild

Build your Wild Self is a wonderful app for children lower down in the school. It 1st allows them to create an avatar of themselves with hundreds of different options for them to choose from. You can then go through the different steps to give your avatar animal features. I did this with a year 1 class when they were looking at the animal kingdom. They loved it and wanted to create them over and over. The styling of the site is good, and it runs very smoothly when creating your creature. It is however very difficult to print or export the images.

WinterHouse

LOVE LOVE LOVE this! The Winter house is brilliant interactive story book. It leads the children through a mystery story, where they have to click to investigate multiple items. Brilliant for Talk for Writing, visually stunning and engages all children. Showed it to my class once, then they were desperate to get back on it. So to feed their appetite we booked the ICT suite for an afternoon. they sat going through the puzzle, working collaboratively, and sharing idea. The independent learning was wonderful to see. Try it with your class and see how they get on. One problem with the site is the inability to continue from where you left off, you have to start again each time.

10 reasons to start using Prezi in your classroom instead of PowerPoint.

Amazing tool, bring you learning to life for your pupils. Its a completely new way for pupils to think about the work in lessons. It helps them see in a non-linear way, allowing them to see the whole picture. Don’t get me wrong, PowerPoint can be a wonderful tool when used correctly, but more often than not you get the boring slide by slide journey through a topic. Using Prezi can change the way you look at presenting your ideas. Simple and easy to use, it’s almost more difficult not to make it interactive for your audience! Another bonus of Prezi is the sense of community on the site. Don’t go out to try and re-invent the wheel. Have a look what other users have created and see if you can make it your own!

Sometime last year Prezi was bought out by Google, so now you have all the ease of a Google product. Instantly add YouTube clips, videos or soundbites to your Prezi.

I like to think using it got me a new role in my school, have a look at the Prezentation I created about implementing a new VLE system. How have you used Prezi? Have you used it in the classroom? How do your pupils use it?

 

So for the past few years I have been a big advocate for getting pupils to blog about their work, school life, and anything in between. However for some strange reason I have never created my own. I share my work and ideas with people of twitter and on the TES, but sometimes you just need a bit more room to move. Hopefully this is the right place for me.

Right now it feel like I’m sat at my desk talking to myself, please comment, share, and discuss anything I write!

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