Category Archives: Techy Stuff

Plickers – Instant Assessment Inside and Outside the Classroom

I met a teacher at my very first Dubai Teachmeet who was speaking about the use of Plickers in the classroom. At first, I loved them just for the name but as he explained how they are used I was amazed by how many different ways teachers and educators can use them to collect real time formative assessment data in a simple, low tech, low cost, child friendly way. 

These are Plicker cards. Each student is given a card with a unique visual code. The code has 4 sides, each lettered A, B, C, and D and the corners are numbered 1 to 4. The student holds the card so that the letter they choose to answer the question with is at the top of their card. The teacher uses the iOS or Android app on their smartphone to slowly scan the room. The app recognizes the cards and captures the answer that the student chose.

The results appear live and in real time on the teacher’s device, or they can be projected on a large screen for the whole class to see on the Plicker’s website if needed. They can be individually assigned to a student or you can use a class set to give you a general overview of where the class is at.

wpid-screenshot_2015-03-14-11-53-022-jpgDue to the fact that all you need is a smartphone and some paper, it’s an app that can be used anywhere from inside the classroom, inside the wildlife garden, to class trips and beyond to monitor the students’ understanding. Another aspect of Plickers that I really like is that is so inclusive and encourages every child to be engaged. As each student has a card and will be scanned, every child must consider the question and give an answer. All Plicker cards are different shapes with tiny letters in different positions so there is no possibility of copying the answer of the student next to them. Also, it’s a hell of a lot fun!  Sign up here

42 STEM iPad Apps for Kids

Ready for the some fun STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) iPad apps for primary?

Many apps, with a few exceptions, won’t tell your child how to do a particular method or xactly what is needed so will require some guidance in the first instance . They will however, give him or her practice, repetition, and reinforcement.

42 STEM iPad Apps for Kids (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math).

EU Code Week 10-18 October 2015 – Bringing ideas to life with #codeEU

The third edition of EU Code Week will take place 10-18 October 2015. Millions of children, young adults, adults, parents, teachers, entrepreneurs and policymakers will again come together in events and classrooms across Europe to learn to create with code.
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“Digital skills are essential for a true Digital Single Market and help us understand how our increasingly connected world is built. Coding is not just about computer programming, it’s also about improving problem solving, communication, collaboration and creativity which are needed for the jobs of today and the future.”Andrus Ansip, Vice-President for the Digital Single Market

The idea is to show how you can bring ideas to life with code, to make programming more visible, demystify these skills and bring motivated people together to learn. If you are a school, a kid, a coder, a young adult, a parent, teacher, a business – now is the time to start planning your Code Week event and put it on thecodeweek.eu map.

Save the date: EU Code Week 10-18 October 2015 – Bringing ideas to life with #codeEU | Digital Agenda for Europe | European Commission.

MOOCs for Sixth Formers

futurelearn-logoFutureLearn is the UK’s platform for online courses, with more than 50 partner universities and institutions such as the British Museum. Three free online programmes, aimed at helping sixth-formers bridge the gap between school and university, are launching this summer.The university-led “massive open online courses” (MOOCs) will be available on the FutureLearn website.

Sheffield University is providing two courses on applying for jobs and courses and succeeding at interviews.The first includes writing covering letters and personal statements.The second is on interviews, covering how to research organisations, what to wear and how to deal with commonly asked questions.

The third, from the University of East Anglia, includes advice from lecturers and undergraduates on the skills new students will need.This focuses on critical thinking, data analysis and how to sustain a supported argument as well as coping with the university environment.

Courses are free, open-access and can be completed at your own as they are super flexible and lend themselves towards a more relaxed style of learning!

Android Apps for STEM Creativity

A pet peeve of mine is the fact that many apps for education are Apple only or simply just work better on apple devices.  This is a good article on some android apps that promote good dialogue including my favourites Tellagami, Pic Collage and Explain Everything. In a science lesson, these apps are good for recording and annotating equipment, methods, results, decisive conclusions in a digital environment.  This in turn promotes good use of scientific language and provides a platform for concise and insightful discussion.

12 Excellent Android Apps for Unleashing Students Creativity ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning.

MOOC Fever

CE9W1oBW0AAAgEuI think I have MOOC Fever…. MOOCs are Massive Open Online Courses which are open to anyone to join and learn. Recently I have taken part in and Assessment in STEM MOOC and a Community Journalism MOOC so I was delighted to find a MOOC being delivered by the University of Northampton called “Let’s Teach Computing”. I have worked with Helen Caldwell and her team at the Uni before on a creative computing project where science, tech, and art met in a wonderful array of collaborative ideas and resources. So, knowing the fab stuff that her dept is up to I’m really excited about this course and what I can learn for my own personal development but also to see what new ideas I can adapt and introduce into primary computing initiatives over here in UAE.

I’m mostly looking forward to learning about ways to integrate tech into EYFS and KS1 curricula and also ways of improving confidence for teachers delivering the new computing curriculum.  My fave thing at the moment is Augmented Reality apps and using them to embed and integrate learning in a multimedia platform.