Monthly Archives: June 2015

iTunes U – what do schools need to know?⤴

from @ teachitgeek

iTunes U 3.0 was released as an update to the existing app – and it is packed with features that iPad teachers have been crying out for. Those of you using iTunes U will be familiar with the interface and features available in the last version – so this post will focus on what you need to know about the new features and how they effect your use.

Briefly the new features include:

  • Students can hand in homework to specific assignments

  • Students and instructors can mark up PDFs within iTunes U

  • Instructors can grade and track student progress in an integrated grade book

  • Instructors can have private, one-on-one discussions with students

  • Instructors can include multiple attachments per assignment

Dan Edwards has put together a great post which you can find here. I was lucky to be able to chat with him and some fellow ADEs at the launch and they have put together some useful thoughts around this. (shout out to  Mat Pullen, Gav Smart and Tom Riley as well). If you are not already doing so, I suggest you give them a follow on social media as well as Fraser Speirs; whose thoughts on the update can be found here.

This update to iTunesU seems to mark a shift away from a content delivery platform to a feature packed teaching and learning platform. This puts it on a par with apps like Showbie; the goto paperless classroom for many iPad educators and the newcomer Google Classroom; which is available for any teacher or pupil with a Google Apps for Education account. Showbie has had PDF and document annotation for a while now and both apps offer cross platform support if you have a variety of devices in use in your school or have implemented a BYOD policy. The downside with this you have to select products and services which are supported across each platform/device.

Submit assignments

One of the main disadvantages of the previous version of iTunes U was the inability to deal with the submission side of workflow. While it was a great teacher-to-student content delivery tool it lacked that ability for pupils (and teachers if they were simply enrolled in a course) to submit work. This made it very one sided and required the use of a third party option. Now, pupils can choose to submit work via the app or by using ‘open in’ option found across iOS. One of the additional options here is the ability to select a file from a cloud storage solution such as Google Drive or Dropbox. This is great for schools using Google Apps for Education. Unfortunately for staff/pupils in Scotland using Glow, OneDrive for business is not supported.

Files can be submitted as attachments and students have the opportunity to enter a comment to their teacher and start a 1to1 conversation. This is not unique to iTunes U as Showbie and Google Classroom have these features for some time – but the integration into iTunesU makes it an even more compelling option to use in schools.

One-to-one conversations

One of the advantages of services such as Showbie, is the ability to have a conversation with a pupil in the same way you would have if you were in class. This is a big factor in making education an anytime anywhere experience. This does however, start the conversation over whether teachers should be required to answer questions at evenings and weekends. Teachers are some of the most overworked individuals out there and adding to this could be met with a level of negativity. That being said, with it being increasingly difficult to increase motivation and engagement in pupils; if they are actively taking part in a task, should teachers not continue to encourage that? I leave it up to you.

Annotate PDFs

This is a great stand out feature. Annotate over PDFs that students have submitted and give instant feedback. The power of this feature is not one to be overlooked. There are a number of downsides – no option to add audio feedback and the images are ‘flattened’ after you have finished annotating them. This means that the pupil has to edit and resubmit their original file. Always retaining a copy of the original file is a good practice to instil in pupils.

Gradebook

Teachers can track and monitor the progress of individual pupils within a course/assignment. This information can be exported as a .csv file and upload to an MIS system. SEEMiS is the choice for all authorities across Scotland and can be used where appropriate. At the moment only numerical grades are supported so teachers can make decisions as to when/where this information is used. National and Higher assessments may not be appropriate here, but it may lend itself well to BGE courses.

 

Final thoughtsScreen Shot 2015-06-30 at 14.32.18

Those are some of the standout features for me in terms of the new update. It is certainly encouraging to see the shift to a learning and teaching platform and for schools that have embraced the 1:1 iPad route, the use of iTunes U is def a no brainer. For schools that have a shared deployment or mixed with other devices, using a service that works across a range of devices and platforms may be a better choice at the moment.

 


iTunes U – what do schools need to know?⤴

from @ teachitgeek

iTunes U 3.0 was released as an update to the existing app – and it is packed with features that iPad teachers have been crying out for. Those of you using iTunes U will be familiar with the interface and features available in the last version – so this post will focus on what you need to know about the new features and how they effect your use.

Briefly the new features include:

  • Students can hand in homework to specific assignments

  • Students and instructors can mark up PDFs within iTunes U

  • Instructors can grade and track student progress in an integrated grade book

  • Instructors can have private, one-on-one discussions with students

  • Instructors can include multiple attachments per assignment

Dan Edwards has put together a great post which you can find here. I was lucky to be able to chat with him and some fellow ADEs at the launch and they have put together some useful thoughts around this. (shout out to  Mat Pullen, Gav Smart and Tom Riley as well). If you are not already doing so, I suggest you give them a follow on social media as well as Fraser Speirs; whose thoughts on the update can be found here.

This update to iTunesU seems to mark a shift away from a content delivery platform to a feature packed teaching and learning platform. This puts it on a par with apps like Showbie; the goto paperless classroom for many iPad educators and the newcomer Google Classroom; which is available for any teacher or pupil with a Google Apps for Education account. Showbie has had PDF and document annotation for a while now and both apps offer cross platform support if you have a variety of devices in use in your school or have implemented a BYOD policy. The downside with this you have to select products and services which are supported across each platform/device.

Submit assignments

One of the main disadvantages of the previous version of iTunes U was the inability to deal with the submission side of workflow. While it was a great teacher-to-student content delivery tool it lacked that ability for pupils (and teachers if they were simply enrolled in a course) to submit work. This made it very one sided and required the use of a third party option. Now, pupils can choose to submit work via the app or by using ‘open in’ option found across iOS. One of the additional options here is the ability to select a file from a cloud storage solution such as Google Drive or Dropbox. This is great for schools using Google Apps for Education. Unfortunately for staff/pupils in Scotland using Glow, OneDrive for business is not supported.

Files can be submitted as attachments and students have the opportunity to enter a comment to their teacher and start a 1to1 conversation. This is not unique to iTunes U as Showbie and Google Classroom have these features for some time – but the integration into iTunesU makes it an even more compelling option to use in schools.

One-to-one conversations

One of the advantages of services such as Showbie, is the ability to have a conversation with a pupil in the same way you would have if you were in class. This is a big factor in making education an anytime anywhere experience. This does however, start the conversation over whether teachers should be required to answer questions at evenings and weekends. Teachers are some of the most overworked individuals out there and adding to this could be met with a level of negativity. That being said, with it being increasingly difficult to increase motivation and engagement in pupils; if they are actively taking part in a task, should teachers not continue to encourage that? I leave it up to you.

Annotate PDFs

This is a great stand out feature. Annotate over PDFs that students have submitted and give instant feedback. The power of this feature is not one to be overlooked. There are a number of downsides – no option to add audio feedback and the images are ‘flattened’ after you have finished annotating them. This means that the pupil has to edit and resubmit their original file. Always retaining a copy of the original file is a good practice to instil in pupils.

Gradebook

Teachers can track and monitor the progress of individual pupils within a course/assignment. This information can be exported as a .csv file and upload to an MIS system. SEEMiS is the choice for all authorities across Scotland and can be used where appropriate. At the moment only numerical grades are supported so teachers can make decisions as to when/where this information is used. National and Higher assessments may not be appropriate here, but it may lend itself well to BGE courses.

 

Final thoughtsScreen Shot 2015-06-30 at 14.32.18

Those are some of the standout features for me in terms of the new update. It is certainly encouraging to see the shift to a learning and teaching platform and for schools that have embraced the 1:1 iPad route, the use of iTunes U is def a no brainer. For schools that have a shared deployment or mixed with other devices, using a service that works across a range of devices and platforms may be a better choice at the moment.

 


iTunes U – what do schools need to know?⤴

from @ teachitgeek

iTunes U 3.0 was released as an update to the existing app – and it is packed with features that iPad teachers have been crying out for. Those of you using iTunes U will be familiar with the interface and features available in the last version – so this post will focus on what you need to know about the new features and how they effect your use.

Briefly the new features include:

  • Students can hand in homework to specific assignments

  • Students and instructors can mark up PDFs within iTunes U

  • Instructors can grade and track student progress in an integrated grade book

  • Instructors can have private, one-on-one discussions with students

  • Instructors can include multiple attachments per assignment

Dan Edwards has put together a great post which you can find here. I was lucky to be able to chat with him and some fellow ADEs at the launch and they have put together some useful thoughts around this. (shout out to  Mat Pullen, Gav Smart and Tom Riley as well). If you are not already doing so, I suggest you give them a follow on social media as well as Fraser Speirs; whose thoughts on the update can be found here.

This update to iTunesU seems to mark a shift away from a content delivery platform to a feature packed teaching and learning platform. This puts it on a par with apps like Showbie; the goto paperless classroom for many iPad educators and the newcomer Google Classroom; which is available for any teacher or pupil with a Google Apps for Education account. Showbie has had PDF and document annotation for a while now and both apps offer cross platform support if you have a variety of devices in use in your school or have implemented a BYOD policy. The downside with this you have to select products and services which are supported across each platform/device.

Submit assignments

One of the main disadvantages of the previous version of iTunes U was the inability to deal with the submission side of workflow. While it was a great teacher-to-student content delivery tool it lacked that ability for pupils (and teachers if they were simply enrolled in a course) to submit work. This made it very one sided and required the use of a third party option. Now, pupils can choose to submit work via the app or by using ‘open in’ option found across iOS. One of the additional options here is the ability to select a file from a cloud storage solution such as Google Drive or Dropbox. This is great for schools using Google Apps for Education. Unfortunately for staff/pupils in Scotland using Glow, OneDrive for business is not supported.

Files can be submitted as attachments and students have the opportunity to enter a comment to their teacher and start a 1to1 conversation. This is not unique to iTunes U as Showbie and Google Classroom have these features for some time – but the integration into iTunesU makes it an even more compelling option to use in schools.

One-to-one conversations

One of the advantages of services such as Showbie, is the ability to have a conversation with a pupil in the same way you would have if you were in class. This is a big factor in making education an anytime anywhere experience. This does however, start the conversation over whether teachers should be required to answer questions at evenings and weekends. Teachers are some of the most overworked individuals out there and adding to this could be met with a level of negativity. That being said, with it being increasingly difficult to increase motivation and engagement in pupils; if they are actively taking part in a task, should teachers not continue to encourage that? I leave it up to you.

Annotate PDFs

This is a great stand out feature. Annotate over PDFs that students have submitted and give instant feedback. The power of this feature is not one to be overlooked. There are a number of downsides – no option to add audio feedback and the images are ‘flattened’ after you have finished annotating them. This means that the pupil has to edit and resubmit their original file. Always retaining a copy of the original file is a good practice to instil in pupils.

Gradebook

Teachers can track and monitor the progress of individual pupils within a course/assignment. This information can be exported as a .csv file and upload to an MIS system. SEEMiS is the choice for all authorities across Scotland and can be used where appropriate. At the moment only numerical grades are supported so teachers can make decisions as to when/where this information is used. National and Higher assessments may not be appropriate here, but it may lend itself well to BGE courses.

 

Final thoughtsScreen Shot 2015-06-30 at 14.32.18

Those are some of the standout features for me in terms of the new update. It is certainly encouraging to see the shift to a learning and teaching platform and for schools that have embraced the 1:1 iPad route, the use of iTunes U is def a no brainer. For schools that have a shared deployment or mixed with other devices, using a service that works across a range of devices and platforms may be a better choice at the moment.

 


Where’s the place for place?⤴

from @ Odblog

I read a blog post tonight about learning place over processes in the earlier years of secondary geography. The fact that I'm reading it on the first day of the school holidays probably tells me that I haven't switched off yet but it set me thinking. I took the atlas skills unit out of our S1 course a while ago. I used to love atlas and map work personally (and still do) but, from feedback at my previous school, the way it was delivered in a block had been one of the reasons why students weren't continuing in geography. We rewrote the unit and tried to balance individual time with interactive work, but blocking it together all added up to an emboldening of a cultural view of the subject as being just about maps. 

In developing our fourth level course for S3 at my current school, I tried to link all of the topics we cover with the national course units. Therefore, we start with coasts and all of the processes that the author of the blog post had said should really come after place knowledge has been established. We have interspersed place knowledge in other parts of our lower school courses, so I don't think we have ignored it at all. In fact, from feedback, learning about a place such as Dubai or Tokyo or an empty land often remains one of the most enjoyable parts of students learning because it is the backdrop for all sorts of geographical themes but all within the context of an  alluring place. When we separate this out to teach about 'coasts' or 'glaciation', even when case studies are included, there is much more of a turn off from the students. Indeed, they find the processes repetitive and coasts is most definitely the least popular of all of the topics we cover in S3. Conversely, the over- emphasis on the exam that CfE was supposed to tackle but hasn't is precisely the reason that some of the same students by the end of S5 have it as a 'banker'. It's one of the topics where rote learning wins every time. 

I suppose what I'm trying to say is that, from experience, the best learning and the most satisfying episodes of our students time in geography seems to be when we DON'T try to create big blocks of content, including how we teach about place, that separate rather than link learning and that, as a subject, we lose relevance if we make the content more important than the context. This is something I think I and other teachers can be guilty of, particularly in relation to physical topics. I'll state clearly that this is not a criticism of the blog I read as the author was at pains to explain how he links place content to the current, just a reflection on how and why I see myself going in the opposite direction. 

Where’s the place for place?⤴

from @ Odblog

I read a blog post tonight about learning place over processes in the earlier years of secondary geography. The fact that I'm reading it on the first day of the school holidays probably tells me that I haven't switched off yet but it set me thinking. I took the atlas skills unit out of our S1 course a while ago. I used to love atlas and map work personally (and still do) but, from feedback at my previous school, the way it was delivered in a block had been one of the reasons why students weren't continuing in geography. We rewrote the unit and tried to balance individual time with interactive work, but blocking it together all added up to an emboldening of a cultural view of the subject as being just about maps. 

In developing our fourth level course for S3 at my current school, I tried to link all of the topics we cover with the national course units. Therefore, we start with coasts and all of the processes that the author of the blog post had said should really come after place knowledge has been established. We have interspersed place knowledge in other parts of our lower school courses, so I don't think we have ignored it at all. In fact, from feedback, learning about a place such as Dubai or Tokyo or an empty land often remains one of the most enjoyable parts of students learning because it is the backdrop for all sorts of geographical themes but all within the context of an  alluring place. When we separate this out to teach about 'coasts' or 'glaciation', even when case studies are included, there is much more of a turn off from the students. Indeed, they find the processes repetitive and coasts is most definitely the least popular of all of the topics we cover in S3. Conversely, the over- emphasis on the exam that CfE was supposed to tackle but hasn't is precisely the reason that some of the same students by the end of S5 have it as a 'banker'. It's one of the topics where rote learning wins every time. 

I suppose what I'm trying to say is that, from experience, the best learning and the most satisfying episodes of our students time in geography seems to be when we DON'T try to create big blocks of content, including how we teach about place, that separate rather than link learning and that, as a subject, we lose relevance if we make the content more important than the context. This is something I think I and other teachers can be guilty of, particularly in relation to physical topics. I'll state clearly that this is not a criticism of the blog I read as the author was at pains to explain how he links place content to the current, just a reflection on how and why I see myself going in the opposite direction. 

Cairn Primary School Primary 2/3 Glow Pages⤴

from @ Glow Gallery

Diane Owens from Cairn Primary School in Maybole explains how she began using Glow with her Primary 2/3 class.

Diane had used the previous version of Glow and was given some basic training on the new Office 365 version of Glow by another member of staff in her school.

cairnps

After this Diane began setting up a class site for her P2/3 class.  Diane found she needed a bit of help to begin with, but once she got started it was quite straightforward.

Diane decided to set up a site where her class could access messages from the teacher at home and also find their homework.  As the class were P2/3 and operating at First Level, Diane found that the photographs feature of Glow was very useful.

cairnpsp2photos

Diane posted photographs which related to the pupils’ homework to help them complete it at home.

As well as this Diane found that the pupils really enjoyed seeing photographs which related to work in the classroom and particularly enjoyed being able to share this with their parents and other family members at home.

Diane also created a list of useful weblinks for the pupils, which included sites such as:

Homework Shop

Think U Know

Woodlands Maths and Literacy

National Geographic kids’ site

Diane found that one of the most popular aspects for the pupils was the ease of communication with the teacher when the pupils were at home or out of school.  They regularly commented that this was their favourite thing about using Glow.

 

newsfeedp2

Diane reports that she was pleasantly surprised and pleased by how confident the young learners in her class were in using Glow.  Diane has 2 Pcs and a laptop in her classroom and the class have 2 sessions in the school’s ICT suite per week, one for curricular work and one for ICT skills.

 

cairnsari

 

 

 

 

And the Winners of the Mini Game Jam 2015 are …⤴

from @ Amanda Wilson

Finally time for the final. 13 teams from 17 schools across Glasgow (& 1 team from Fife) gathered at Glasgow Clyde College on the 17th June 2015 to participate in the jam final. After a brief introduction the children moved into the design room – a room we set up so that the children could focus on getting their ideas down on paper before moving to the computer room. The children had been told beforehand what the theme was going to be for the jam – Glasgow City of Science. So that they could do some research and get ideas for their games. This meant that when they got into their teams they could share what they had brought with them and together come up with their game ideas. The children spent around 30 minutes planning their games before we moved into the computing room.

20150617_102807

 

 

 

The bonus of being in the college was we had use of a large lab which meant all teams got to be in the same room. It meant they weren’t split across rooms and it was easy for the helpers to then see everyone during the day. The room was buzzing with excited children working hard on their games and discussing their plans. Some teams were heard having discussions about the use of imported images with one of them telling their team members they felt that it was wrong to be using other pictures and that they should be creating their own for their games. This is something I do try and encourage children when using Scratch be creative don’t just simply use the standard images or download pictures – make your own, put your stamp on your game.

20150617_133548 20150617_114434 20150617_105732 20150617_110334 20150617_134841 20150617_133908

After the lunch break the race was on for teams to get their games finished and working. Sometimes this was the frustrating part for teams they’d get one thing working and break something else however persistence pays off for those who keep on trying. In the end the team of judges had to work hard to decide who was going to win. The games were judged on how relevant to the theme they were, complexity and functionality. We still looked at how teams worked as well overall. Both the teams who were runner up and winning had great dynamics within their teams and that showed all day.

The winning team was a team of 3 from Rosshall Academy and Sandwood Primary their game is about Clyde collecting science items (though he has to avoid the Bunsen burners) and can be played here.

The runners up game was created by a team of 4 from Alexandra Parade Primary and Sunnyside Primary. Their game is about a mouse in a lab and you have to navigate the mouse through the lab to get the cheese and can be played here.

Well done to everyone who participated on the day though they all put in a great amount of effort and made it hard to make that final choice.

With thanks to Chihiro Yamada, Sean Ward, Alex Malcolm, Stephen McArthur , Connor Johnston, IGDA Scotland, Class teachers and Pupil support assistants who accompanied their children, David Moffat, Susan Grant, Caledonian Club, The NoPills Project and John Lawson.

Extra special thanks to Kate Farrell for all your support, Computing at School Scotland for all the help, School of Computing at Glasgow Clyde College in particular Morag Roberston, Kevin MacLean and Iain Shand for all the help and support with the final.

Most importantly thanks to all the head teachers who have supported me by wanting their schools to take part in the Mini Game Jams. The children were amazing and you should be extremely proud of them all.

 


Make the little things count, because they do⤴

from @ School Leadership - A Scottish Perspective

Last night I attended a party for a member of staff who is leaving after working with us for four years. We have three busy working days left of our current school session and we are all very tired. If we are being honest, probably heading out for the evening is the last thing most of us want to do at this time of year, but we did. We all felt it was important to say thank you to a valued member of staff and to mark their contribution to the developmeant of the school, as well as a friend and a colleague. As a leader I feel it is vital that we see such events as key in our responsibilities to individual staff and to creating, developing and sustaining a culture and ethos that will allow schools to thrive and develop.

We all spend a lot of time thinking about learning and teaching, planning in order to improve these, and developing the structures, systems and programmes that keep them developing for the benefit for our learners. I have always believed that all this formal activity, crucial though it is, is useless if we don't take the time to develop the right culture and ethos amongst all staff, because it is this which will ultimately decide whether we succeed or fail. All school leader effectiveness stands or falls based on the commitment and actions of the staff they lead. I have argued before the importance of relationships to everything we do. We are in a people business and one which depends on relationships at all levels. If you truly recognise this, then it is beholden on you to look to shape this in every action and interaction that happens within the school. 

A number of people have asked me how we develop a culture which promotes trust, collaboration and a collective desire to get better? Firstly you need to recognise that this takes time. A school culture and ethos grows and develops over time. You start with being clear about individual and collective values that underpin all your actions. Identifying these is pretty easy to be honest, the difficulty lies in making them real in everything you do. I have advised headteachers before that to build trust you first need to say it, 'you can trust me and I want to support you become the best you can be. I want you to have high standards and be creative and innovative. I want you to collaborate, to reflect and become adaptive expert professionals, and my role is to create the conditions for you to do that, to benefit of all our learners and all of you.' You then have to act on this and deliver, repeating continually, and keep delivering till everyone believes you are not just talking the talk, but you truly want everyone to walk the walk.

Those are the big strategic actions and decisions, but it is the little daily, weekly, monthly and yearly actions and interactions that make these come alive and real for staff. So attending leaving-dos and recognising the contribution of staff as they move on, is an obvious such action. But there are hundreds of others all of which have individual and collective impacts, and which make that culture and ethos. Some of these include greeting staff and asking how they are. Simple and seemingly obvious, but I have seen and experienced leaders who get even this wrong. You know the ones, they say the words but their eyes or actions say they are thinking something else, or looking for someone else. You can tell when someone is genuine in a simple interaction like this, and the ones who don't even hear your reply. As a leader, such a basic interaction can tell you how a member of staff is feeling, indicate any issues they may be facing and if they are 'their usual self.' You should consider staff as you do your learners, holistically. It is important for leaders to try and understand everything that is going on in their lives, within reason, so that you are better able to support them when they need it. This also helps you to cut them some slack and adjust your expectations when necessary. As a leader, you need that emotional intelligence to recognise when staff are struggling, for whatever reason, so that you, or others, can support and allow them to still deliver for the learners they work with. So, really listen to what is said, and what is not, in daily interactions and respond appropriately.

Remembering to praise staff when they have done well and to say thank you, takes little time but has a massive impact on esteem, confidence, morale and performance. Don't use praise and thanks in a perfunctory way, but really identify the reason why you are stopping them to acknowledge their performance. 'Thank you for organising the sports day. I know it is complicated and some people might not appreciate how difficult they are to get right. But I could see you worked really hard to keep everyone informed and I appreciated the little tweaks you made to last year's event.' Is a lot better than  'thanks for organising the sports day' and shows you have recognised effort and skills the member of staff has employed to make the event a success. Praise and give thanks in public where appropriate. If you really know your staff well you will know the ones who would prefer this done privately rather than in front of others.

Try to remember birthdays, put them in your diary to help. This doesn't mean send everyone a card, though you can do that if you wish, but just saying 'Happy birthday' when you meet a member of staff can say a lot. It shows you see each member of staff as an individual and a person. You don't just see them as employees, or worse a number. You are genuinely interested and concerned for them. You need to show that you will share their successes and highlights, you will support them when they are down and understand when they fail and make mistakes, as we all do. In short, it shows you're human.

Lots of other interactions will take place over time that shape and construct the culture and ethos. Some are formal and planned for but many powerful others are ad hoc, unplanned and serendipitous. You share births, deaths, illness, disputes, celebrations, home moves, new looks, injuries, strengths and fallabilities, and they will probably share many of yours. All of these interactions shape the type of school you lead and how staff, pupils, parents and others experience and feel about the school. They will decide the levels of commitment from all staff and therefore the pace of development and your ability to implement and manage change. You ignore their importance at your peril. That is not to say you won't have times when you need to have those difficult conversations with members of staff, but if you create the right kind of culture, those conversations do become easier. 

You need to focus on all those little interactions, but in a way that is sincere and genuine. Sometimes we are so focused and concerned with the big picture and the large strategic decisions we are constantly making that it can be easy to see those little actions as unimportant. My view is, you are more likely to be successful with your big plans if you spend time enough of your time making sure the small interactions are sincere and meaningful.

Teacher burnout is preventable!?⤴

from @ Pedagoo.org

Lurking in school staff rooms and offices is a poster tacked to the wall that says, “Bang head here!” The thought has crossed my mind. In particular, when the escalating pressures of being a teacher start to manifest into physical form; headaches, burning eyes, and knotted shoulders. But despite having super human organisational skills, like […]

Cairn Primary School Glow School Site⤴

from @ Glow Gallery

Amanda Pickard at Cairn Primary, Maybole shows how she encouraged staff to use Glow to help make learning fun.

 

cairnps

Amanda used the previous version of Glow for learning and teaching and was keen for all staff to use the new version. As a result she embarked on a training programme for all staff in the school. After this was completed, Amanda felt the ideal way to get started was to create a school site on Glow, with a school landing page and pages for each class and teacher.

Amanda created the Cairn Primary School’s Glow Landing page:

cairnpslanding

She then encouraged each teacher to create their own class page with help if needed.

Amanda created her own page for her Primary 6 class:

cairnp6page

Every class page has a Newsfeed, Things to Do list, useful weblinks and photographs.

Amanda’s P6 class has additional pages created for topics studied by the class:

Scots

The Modern World

Safer Internet Day

All homework for P6 is uploaded on to the P6 Glow page.  Pupils can manage their homework for the week and have the choice to download it early depending on any commitments they may have during the week.  This has worked well for quite a number of pupils.

The weblinks section has proved useful as a resource to help pupils complete their homework with popular links including Education City, Sumdog, Cool Maths, Woodland Maths and Literacy websites. As well as this the teacher added topic specific websites such as Yad Vashem and Guardian of the Memory websites for Holocaust Memorial Day.

Another feature which proved useful for learning was the survey feature.

As well as setting up the survey on the class page, a graphical representation can be called up showing pupils the results of the survey:

cairnsurvey

This is an ideal tool for helping pupils learn about information handling and they can create their own surveys and analyse the results.

The pupils are particularly keen on the Photographs section of the class page where all photographs of learning activities and other class activities are posted.  Amanda reports that pupils love being able to show their families what they have been up to in school and this has proved to be one of the most popular areas on the page.

As well as this, the Newsfeed has allowed an ongoing conversation about learning to take place amongst teacher and pupils and other pupils. The informality of this conversation can sometimes disguise the fact that there is meaningful help being provided amongst peers with homework and of course the conversation is monitored by the class teacher.

Amanda’s plans for next session include having staff proformas on the school landing page to make them available to all teachers.  For her class she is planning to begin using OneNote which will allow her and her pupils to edit documents simultaneously, for example working together on a Word document.