Sunday, 30 March 2014

Decent Approaches to Digital Tools - Engaging English Lessons and Digital Tools Virtual Presentation - TLAB14

This is the final post of my virtual presentation on Engaging English Lessons and Virtual Tools for TLAB 2014 that was hosted at Berkhampstead School.  If you have any questions about any of the tools or techniques please feel free to contact me on twitter.  My twitter handle is @MsFindlater

Clip 5 - Class Blogging and You Tube:



Clip 6 - Edmodo and Google Drive:



Previous Clip - Creative Writing



Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Captivating Approaches to Creative Writing - Engaging English Lessons and Digital Tools Virtual Presentation - TLAB14

The next few posts will form my full virtual presentation on Engaging English Lessons and Virtual Tools for TLAB 2014 that was hosted at Berkhampstead School.  If you have any questions about any of the tools or techniques please feel free to contact me on twitter.  My twitter handle is @MsFindlater




Previous Clip - Poetry

Next Clip - Digital Tools

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Powerful Approaches to Poetry - Engaging English Lessons and Digital Tools Virtual Presentation - TLAB14

The next few posts will form my full virtual presentation on Engaging English Lessons and Virtual Tools for TLAB 2014 that was hosted at Berkhampstead School.  If you have any questions about any of the tools or techniques please feel free to contact me on twitter.  My twitter handle is @MsFindlater.

Clip 2 - Poetry:


Previous Clip - Class Novel

Next Clip - Creative Writing

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Creative Approaches to the Class Novel - Engaging English Lessons and Digital Tools Virtual Presentation - TLAB14

The next few posts will form my full virtual presentation on Engaging English Lessons and Virtual Tools for TLAB 2014 that was hosted at Berkhampstead School.  If you have any questions about any of the tools or techniques please feel free to contact me on twitter.  My twitter handle is @MsFindlater.

Clip 2 - Class Novel:




Previous Clip - Introduction

Next Clip - Poetry

Introduction - Engaging English Lessons and Digital Tools - Virtual Presentation - TLAB14

The next few posts will form my full virtual presentation on Engaging English Lessons and Virtual Tools for TLAB 2014 that was hosted at Berkhampstead School.  If you have any questions about any of the tools or techniques please feel free to contact me on twitter.  My twitter handle is @MsFindlater.

Clip 1 - Introduction:


Next Clip - The Class Novel

TLAB14 - Engaging English Lessons and Digital Tools



I am honoured to be running a session at TLAB 14 at Berkhampstead School today.  I'm sure that I am no more an expert than any of the wonderful folk that are attending my talk today but I will try and ensure that I give them food for thoughts.  What I do know is that I am passionate about my teaching and I am always trying out new things to keep my lessons fresh and engaging for myself and my learners alike.  I hope the teacher attending my session today are able to take something away that they can try on Monday.

My presentation is below.



Like I said we are all experts in our own right and all have something to give.  I am challenging the teachers attending my session and anyone else out there who wants to to write an activity they use that they and the students enjoy or get a lot out of.  

Why don't you join in the discuss and leave a comment?  What are your favourite activities for engaging learning in your English classroom?  

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Educating With Edmodo - Assignments

This is the third post in a series on how to use Edmodo in the classroom.  Previous posts have looked at how to set up Edmodo with your class and how to use the alerts and notes tools in Edmodo.  Below is a step by step guide on how to use notes and alerts in Edmodo


How to Use Assignments in Edmodo

An assignment is a piece of work that the students will hand in on Edmodo that you plan to grade.  This assignment will be added to the classes built in grade book and you will be able to assess all the handed in assignment from one place within Edmodo.  You can mark and feedback to the individual students.  Edmodo gives you one central place for you to view all the grades and feedback for all your students.




Step 1 - On the home page you will see a line of tabs giving you options to post a note, alert,  assignment, quiz or poll.  Make sure that you have selected 'assignment'.

Step 2 - Give your assignment a title that is meaningful to the class, group or student you are aiming it at in the box that says 'Assignment title'.

Step 3 - Write a brief outline of the assignment you are setting this class, group or student and any instructions you deem necessary in the box that says 'Describe the assignment'.

Step 4 - Type the name of the class, group or student you are aiming the assignment at in the box that says 'send to...' that has now appeared under the 'Describe the assignment' box.

Step 5 -  Below the 'send to...' box you have just typed in there are a number of icons that give you options to attach things to the assignment to your class.  You can now attach a file from your computer by clicking the icon that looks like a piece of paper with writing on it.  You can attach a link to a website by clicking on the icon that looks like a link in a chain.  There is also a icon that looks like a book which gives you the option of attaching any files you have stored in your Edmodo library - you are unlikely to have any if you are just starting out with Edmodo.  You can also choose to schedule the post to be sent to your class, group or student at a later date and time if you wish by clicking on the clock icon.

Step 6 - There is a box on the top right of the assignment screen that says 'due date'.  Click on the calendar and select the date by which you want the students to hand in the assignments.  If students do not hand in assignments by the set date then a 'late' notice will be sent to them as a reminder.

Step 7 - Click send.  Your assignment will now appear to the class, group or student you have directed it to.

Step 8 - The assignment will be added to the classes grade book ready for you to review once the students hand in the work.  




Students can attach a document or there is an option to link up Google drive and attach Google Docs too.  Once the assignments are handed in you will be able to see them all in the same place for ease of marking and feedback.  If you wish you can leave your marking and feedback against the students handed in work within Edmodo.  This will then appear as an alert when the student next logs in.  All your marking and feedback for all of your classes in one place is really handy.  Each individual student will have all of their marking and feedback in one place too.  There is also the facility for the student to leave a reply to your marking and also resubmit their piece of work with amendments - great for showing a clear improvement and progress within a skill.




Next time I will be looking at how to use the quiz tool in Edmodo with your classes.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Educating With Edmodo - Notes and Alerts

This is the second post in a series on how to use Edmodo in the classroom.  Below is a step by step guide on how to use notes and alerts in Edmodo


Once you have set up your class in Edmodo and they all have access to the platform it is time to get using the tool with your classes.  They can have a little fun by filing in their profile, adding a picture of their choice and noting down their hobbies, choosing a favourite quote and highlighting how they like to learn - another easy way for you to get to know your class.  

How To Use Notes In Edmodo:
The note option is used for posting general messages or reminders to your groups.
Step 1 - On the home page you will see a line of tabs giving you options to post a note, alert,   assignment, quiz or poll.  Make sure that you have selected 'note'.

Step 2 - Type your note into the box that says 'type your note here'.

Step 3 - Type the name of the class, group or student you are aiming the note at in the box that sats 'send to...' that has now appeared under the note box.

Step 4 -  Below the 'send to...' box you have just typed in there are a number of icons that give you options to attach things to the note to your class.  You can now attach a file from your computer by clicking the icon that looks like a piece of paper with writing on it.  You can attach a link to a website by clicking on the icon that looks like a link in a chain.  There is also a icon that looks like a book which gives you the option of attaching any files you have stored in your Edmodo library - you are unlikely to have any if you are just starting out with Edmodo.  You can also choose to schedule the post to be sent to your class, group or student at a later date and time if you wish by clicking on the clock icon.

Step 5 - Click send.  Your note will now appear to the class, group or student you have directed it to.


How To Use Alerts In Edmodo:
An alert is similar to note but when posted it shows up in bold on the users timeline making it stand out more.  It also limits the amount you can write so that it is always short and to the point; making it more likely to be read by the students at first glance.
Step 1 - On the home page you will see a line of tabs giving you options to post a note, alert,   assignment, quiz or poll.  Make sure that you have selected 'alert'.

Step 2 - Type your note into the box that says 'type your note here' using no more that 140 characters.

Step 3 - Type the name of the class, group or student you are aiming the alert at in the box that sats 'send to...' that has now appeared under the alert box.

Step 4 -  Below the 'send to...' box you have just typed in there only one icon - the clock icon - this allows you to schedule the alert to be sent to your class, group or student at a later date and time if you wish.

Step 5 - Click send.  Your alert will now appear to the class, group or student you have directed it to.



Next time I will be looking at how to use the assignment tool in Edmodo with your classes.


Saturday, 1 March 2014

My Latest Guardian Piece - Five top technology tools for the English classroom

My piece on digital tools in the English classroom - or any classroom for that matter!

Very happy to be asked to do this piece, as always. Thank your for the opportunity The Guardian. 

http://www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/teacher-blog/2014/feb/19/five-top-technology-tools-english-classroom

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Whether you are a seasoned techy of terrified of Google, here are five useful tools to help students learn and teachers manage their workload.
There are many educational technology tools available to use in your English classroom – and they're increasing at a rapid rate.
Whether you're a seasoned tech classroom user or new to the idea, below are a few handy tools for you to get your teeth into. It's not an extensive list but these five are easy to use and a good introduction to what's available. If you have any other suggestions, please do share them in the comments section below.

Google Drive

Google Drive is a free online storage cloud that has Google's version of Word, Powerpoint and Excel built into it. It allows students to create documents for free on the go. They can access and edit these documents on a tablet device or computer from various locations with their Google account login. They can share the documents they are working on with other students and can even work in one document at the same time to co-create pieces of work. They can also share the document with their teachers while they work or once they've finished to get instant feedback.
Teachers can help students with the creative writing process by getting them to share their stories as they write so you can feedback live without stopping their creative flow. You can give them quick and easy targets through the chat facility or highlight specific sections and create a comment – they have to respond to these otherwise the comment alert won't disappear. You could also get students to co-create a presentation with one another on an element of the social or historical context of a text you're studying, for example. Once finished, they can share the document with you, close down their computers and come up one at a time and simply click on their presentation now housed in your drive for instant feedback.

Edmodo

Edmodo is a free social learning platform for students, teachers and parents. It looks a little bit like Facebook so it is a familiar format for students to use. But before you run for the hills, it is very different to Facebook in that it's completely controlled by the teacher and specifically designed for educational purposes – one of my classes has affectionately named it "Fakebook". It has a shared timeline as a homepage where you and your students can interact and you can allow students to interact with one another, if you wish. Both teachers and students have a library where they can store documents and share them with others if they want to. The teacher can set assignments, students hand in assignments and teachers feedback on the work all within Edmodo. Two particularly useful functions are the quizzes and polls, and there's also a built-in grade book that houses your teacher-assessed grades and quiz results for each student.
It really is a very useful all-round tool. You could consider saving essential documents – such as mark schemes, poems being studied and teachingpresentations – in the class library to give students easy access to these at any time. You could also post photos of classwork completed by groups of students or individuals so all the students can see it for best practice. You could schedule weekly spelling tests – set as multiple choice quizzes – through Edmondo which will automatically collate the results so you can easily see trends within the class's performance.

Screen casting

There a loads of tools out there that capture your computer or device screen and allow you to record your voice while you do so. Two that are often used are ScreenR which is free and Explain Everything, which is quite cheap. The idea is that you can take a picture of your computer or device screen and then set your voice against the website or pre-prepared powerpoint. If you collate these in one place, you have a bank of instructional videos.
A simple way to use this tool is to create short instructional videos to help your students study independently or revise a topic. For instance, you might create clips outlining different writing styles or perhaps your team can work together to create clips on themes you all think are important. You could get students involved and ask them to prepare a short videos explaining poems that you have been studying as a revision tool.

YouTube

One way to collate the videos created by a screencast tool is to start a YouTube channel and upload them all there. This is simply your own YouTube home page – you can style the background, upload profile information and follow other channels of interest. You can also create playlists within your channel to organise videos into topics and allow students to find them easily. If creating your own videos is not for you then you can create playlists of videos that are already out there that relate to the topics you are studying.
What about creating a channel for your department? Create a playlist for each topic on your curriculum map from myths and legends to war poetry and creative writing. All you would need to do is to drop in videos of your choice. The videos could be created by your students, staff or just found from educational sources around the web. The clips could help students get more from the topic or encourage them to read and research around the subject – a wonderful resource for years to come that you can regularly update.

Blogging

There are many blogging platforms around but the two that are most popular are Wordpress and Blogger. If you're looking for the easier of the two then Blogger from Google is the one. If you want a more sophisticated platform then Wordpress is probably a better choice. A basic blog allows you to have a rolling front page of updating posts and static pages accessed via tabs, often along the top of the page. It is a great record of the year for the students to look back over.
Get your students to create their own blogs and use them as digital portfolios for the year, posting up their best work. Getting feedback from a real audience as well as peers, parents and teachers is a great opportunity for development. How about creating a blog for your class? You could update the main page with homework tasks, recommended reading and updates from your classroom. Try creating a post with a task or question based on the topic you're studying and get the students to use the comments facility to respond. They could even extend their answers by responding to one another's comments. You could use the blog as a record of lessons by uploading presentations and photos. If a student is ever absent, this is an invaluable tool to enable them to keep up.
I hope you find some of these tools a beneficial to use as I have over the last year and a half.