Snapshotting understanding

A couple of weeks ago I was challenged to provide inset for one of my regular schools to help them get more use out of their iPads.  To be honest I didn’t get around to really thinking about it until the day before, and then it was a bit late to get apps sorted so I reflected back on how I thought I should be using iPads more.

Recently as a company we’ve been recommending Prowise interactive screens, as much for the software as the hardware.   There’s one excellent feature of the software that seems a real game-changer to me and as it’s web-based, device agnostic and also FREE.  It got me thinking on how I could use it more.

Prowise Presenter is fairly simple to use and quite feature-rich compared to many interactive whiteboard programs I have tried in the past BUT the clincher for me is ProConnect.  This feature links your whiteboard to a large number of internet connected devices (iPad, smart phone, android tablet, chrome book, laptop, PC) via a simple code.  Once the devices have joined you as teacher there is so much you can do.  There is a free Proconnect app for iOS, Andoid and I believe Windows too.

You can ask a quick question, vote, use and create quizzes.  You can also share your screen out to their devices and they can annotate or create content on the screen you have shared and then hand it back again for you to share on your board.  For instant class engagement it is really efficient and easy to do.

That then got me thinking about other cheap or FREE options for class engagement using iPads:

Plickers is possibly the least high-tech (and so least technically demanding for schools).  Each pupil is provided with a unique laminated QR code which they can hold up one of four ways.  This enables pupils to show one of four choices (A, B, C or D).  The teacher uses an iPad (or other smart tablet/phone) with the Plickers app to very quickly sweep the room and it records each person’s response.  Quick and easy.  Ask a multi-choice question and capture instant responses.  Plickers is currently free to use.

Socrative is an app I looked at years ago and then forgot about or ignored.  I think it has developed a lot since then, and I will be using it a lot more.  Pupils need internet connected devices BUT again these can be anything (phone, iPad, chrome book, pc…).  The teacher logs into their Socrative ‘room’ and the pupils use a unique code to join.  The teacher can ask questions, set quizzes, take votes etc all with ease and instant capture to spreadsheet or PDF file.  Socrative is free, though they now have a pro level you can purchase for a small annual fee.

Kahoot! is a fairly new app to me.  It’s a teacher-lead game show where pupils race each other against the clock to answer questions.  The quicker you answer the higher your score.  There is a large bank of ready-made Kahoots to use, or you can make your own online.  Again, at present, this is free to use.

There are lots of alternatives to the ones mentioned here, but these are the ones I ended up sharing with the staff at this particular school, and I will be using these more in the future!

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Board games and Computational Thinking

Watching our children play board games collaboratively this afternoon I am struck by several things:

  • working with a partner collaberatively requires a high level of communication.  The children need to be able to have a vision of the algorithm they need to achieve their objective in the game and then they need to be able to effectively communicate this to their partner or team to persuade them that their solution and idea is the best one.
  • listening is difficult…
  • learning that other people might have a better idea than yours is something that everyone needs to be able to do!

Even playing simple board games in teams allows such levels of communication and persuasion that there seems to be greate value.

Linking back to computational thinking:

  • identifying patterns is a key to developing your strategy
  • creating an algorithm to achieve the progression you need in the game is key to winning the game
  • the aim of the game needs to be distilled through abstraction to get to win
  • to be successful you need to have an eye on the whole picture to develop a winning strategy BUT you will also need to decomose the whole aim into smaller achieveable parts to work towards a winning position…

The Kodu Kup 2013

At Bett 2013 Microsoft, and various partners including CAS and Naace, launched a new competition for KS2 and 3 students – The Kodu Kup!

Kodu Kup

The competition is free to enter and involves using Kodu (FREE software from Microsoft) to program a simple game on one of three themes. The game, plus a poster design for the game, have to be entered online by 31st May 2013. Entrants can be individuals or teams of up to three students.

Games created will need to cover at least one of these three themes: •Retro Arcade Game – Recreate an arcade game from the past with a Kodu twist! If you need some inspiration you could try taking a look at classicgamesarcade.com for some examples. •Water awareness – Create a game that tackles the environmental issue of water. This could be a local or school-based scenario or something more global. •Mars Exploration – Use the Mars Rover character in Kodu Game Lab to create a game centred around the exploration of Mars.

The creators of the ten lucky short-listed entries will be invited to attend a workshop day at the Microsoft Reading headquarters where they will also present their game to a panel of judges. The best three games will win an Xbox 360 plus Kinect for their school with the over-all winners lifting the Kodu Kup too!

To help support Oxfordshire schools we are offering a FREE two-hour introduction to Kodu for absolute Kodu beginners. Unfortunately we cannot offer this until Monday 18th March 2013, and places are strictly limited to two-per-school only. To book your FREE place please visit http://kodukupoxon.eventbrite.co.uk to sign up now.

You could run a mini competition in your class or school to choose a school entry or you could encourage your G&T programmers to create an entry in their own time which you could support them with by getting other pupils to test maybe! If you are interested then you can find out more from the Microsoft Partners in Learning site

Washing Away Cave Paintings – A technical evolution

A talk offered by the BCS – Thursday 13 October 2011

Ian Hughes
Managing Director of Feeding Edge Ltd
Epredator / Metaverse Evangelist / Consultant Futurologist / Technology Developer / TV Presenter / Speaker / Blogger

Ian will talk about the impact of social media, gaming and virtual worlds on the way that we do business. He will propose how these technologies can be used to improve customer and team interaction as well as reduce travel costs. He will also suggest that failure to recognise the social and cultural change that these technologies are bringing will have a serious impact on business.

Teenagers already understand this and the foundation of what will be possible tomorrow lies in the connected games that they are playing today with their friends. On The Cool Stuff Collective TV show, Ian shows future technology to go along with today’s gadgets and games. Knowing what is possible right now makes it really exciting to think what will be possible in the future when all of these things become connected. Stand by as we explore the future.

This talk could be of particular interest to Year 10 and above students who are studying “Games Authoring” as a key part of the Digital Applications (DiDA) course.

Ian Hughes a.k.a epredator when online, is a Metaverse Evangelist and founder of Feeding Edge Ltd – Taking a bite out of technology so you don’t have to. http://www.feedingedge.co.uk/ In 2006, whilst at IBM, he led thousands of colleagues into virtual worlds like Second Life with projects like Wimbledon. He has shown that leadership can be driven by the digital native and innovators can gather together regardless of geography or organization. Using creative expression online leads him to no longer be the programmer he grew up as. He presents an emerging technology slot on the ITV kids show The Cool Stuff Collective, two series in and a third just about to start http://www.feedingedge.co.uk/blog/tv-showreel/. Ian is the chair of the BCS Animation and Games industry Group. If you discover anything else about Ian feel free to update http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ian_Hughes_(a/k/a_epredator)

This meeting is being held on Thursday 13 October, 7.00 for 7.30 and ends around 9.00.

It will be held at the Oxford e-Research Centre, 6 Keble Road, Oxford OX1 3QG.

Sandwiches and light refreshments are available from 7.00pm.

Meetings are open to non-members and free.

Further information is available via the branch email address  (oxon.chair@bcs.org.uk) or via the web address www.oxon.bcs.org

Reflections on Learning Without Frontiers 2011 part 2

Some educational bloggers have been extreamly busy getting their thoughts and ideas down, this post brings you a few of these links.

Ewan McIntosh has been very busy, not only has he been posting his thoughts on Karen Cator (as posted HERE) but he has also been reflecting on a great sound bite “Stop sorting children by their date of manufacture” which is a post relecting on the experience of the newly formed Essa Academy who have provided hand-held devices to ALL students and staff.  He has also been reflecting on the session presented by Dr. William Rankin where he outlined Quite possibly the best virtual learning environment in the world.  Ewan has also been busy sharing ideas for handheld translation tools as details in his blog post Mobile As A Lens On The World: Word Lens instant translation as well as taking a look at iPad for Learning for All the Wrong Reasons.

More posts following LWF to come soon!

 

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