Author Archives: Malcolm Wilson

Want to use video meet with your class in Microsoft Teams?⤴

from @ Digital Learning & Teaching in Falkirk Schools

👨 🎤 💻 Want to present to your class in a live video meet?

Microsoft Teams in Glow provides the facility for you as the teacher to present live to your class via video meet. This can be useful if you want your pupils to have the familiarity of seeing you and hearing your voice, and to hear each other.

Don’t feel under pressure to use this video meet facility right away. And take on board safeguarding and employer requirements in use of such a tool, as well as being mindful of your professional teaching association advice.

Situations will vary as to what digital resources or facilities learners have access, and when, especially if sharing the same device in a home. And Internet connection available can be highly variable from one location to another, and one home to another. If you are sharing a message or teaching point then an alternative to live video meetings could be to share a recorded video.

If having a live video meeting is for you, then click on this link for specific step-by-step guidance from the Microsoft Support site to setting up a video meet in Teams for your class (note that this link is not specific to Glow so you’d need to be signed in first to Glow and then have opened Microsoft Teams – click here for more Glow-specific advice about Microsoft Teams on the Glow Connect site).

 

If you wish to have only your voice in the video meet then you might instead opt to have the camera pointing at an object (piece of work, paper on which you’ll demonstrate a teaching point, or maybe a piece of writing you’ll discussing together, or for perhaps a class toy/character/mascot figure.

Here’s how to invite everyone in a class Team to a scheduled video meet in Microsoft Teams in Glow, or to invite individuals: video meet in Microsoft Teams can be set up in 3 different ways and here’s a link to a very quick video showing how (just note that the third way is only available for staff-to-staff video meetings as chat is disabled for pupils nationally in Glow)

It’s worth being aware that for safeguarding reasons within Glow nationally currently video meetings permit only the teacher to broadcast video and to have only audio from pupil (which can also be switched on and off by the teacher), there is no access to anyone without a Glow account, and recordings are disabled.

Click here for a step-by-step how-to guide on the Microsoft Support site for scheduling a meeting which shows the specific step to add everyone in a team/channel

To avoid pupils entering the class video meet before you, then there’s an additional way that you can set up the video meet in your Outlook calendar in Glow, choose to add it as an online meeting, selecting Microsoft Teams option, and then saving and opening the diary entry again before then adjusting meeting options underneath the “Join Meeting” link which is created to make all participants attendees and only you as presenter. Then copy the link for that meeting and only post it in your Team just at the time you are going to have the meeting. Once you have completed the meeting, and all pupils have left the video meet, you can then delete the meeting from the calendar to ensure pupils cannot then return later.

Using the Teams mobile app to have a video meet

Safeguarding

Note that for safeguarding reasons within Glow nationally currently video meetings permit only the teacher to broadcast video and to have only audio from pupil (which can also be switched on and off by the teacher), the chat function between pupils is disabled, there is no access to anyone without a Glow account, and recordings are disabled. These technical settings are in place to provide support to you and your learners but safeguarding is also about actions and behaviours which need to be in effect.

Click on this link for a helpful infographic visual poster from LGfL Digi Safe outlining safeguarding principles when considering using video meet

Meeting Etiquette

Managing a video meeting involves more than getting technical settings right – it’s about setting expectations around behaviours to make for the most positive experience for everyone. As you might do in a classroom you may build expectations together with your class, such as when someone is talking then others might be encouraged to mute their microphone, or using the meeting conversation box to add questions or comments. There is no single way to manage a classroom, just as there is no single way to manage a video meeting. The following are suggestions by others who have found what was helpful in their situation, so you can adapt to suit what works best for your class.

 

So how long should a video meet last?

There’s no hard and fast rules about length of time to be on video. But there are a few considerations to be borne in mind. Live video meetings consume bandwidth so keeping live meetings shorter will be better for everyone taking part. If sharing a PowerPoint presentation (or other digital resource) then uploading first into the video meeting room rather than sharing your desktop will cause less bandwidth strain. Encouraging participants to mute their microphone (and camera if this is a meeting of staff colleagues, since in Glow the camera is not available to enable for pupils) when they are not speaking will help the experience be more productive for everyone.

This visual, based on research, may be helpful in thinking about what would suit your circumstances and those of your learners:

What about slow internet issues?

Video meets eat bandwidth! And not everyone will have superfast broadband Internet connections. So if a video meet is something which is being undertaken then it is essential to consider how to minimise connection difficulties for all participants.

10 Tips to support students with slow Internet – a really helpful post by Matt Miller on his fabulous “Ditch that Textbook” site with lots of practical ideas for making the use of video meets friendlier for everyone, whether slow Internet connection or super fast, including easy to follow visual how-to guides.

Accessibility

 

 

Looking for more help?

 Click on this link for the Microsoft Teams for Education support page “Creating, attending, and running meetings while using Teams for distance learning” – this gives detailed help for a teacher for setting up a meeting, guides to how to manage a meeting, and tips and advice for working with your class of learners. The page also lets you toggle to see the advice for a learner in a class, showing what they will see, how it will work from their perspective and some general guidance about being a part of an online class in a video meet in Microsoft Teams. Note that for safeguarding reasons within Glow nationally currently video meetings permit only the teacher to broadcast video and to have only audio from pupil (which can also be switched on and off by the teacher), there is no access to anyone without a Glow account, and recordings are disabled.

Click on this link for a downloadable, ready to print if you choose, Teams for Education Quick Guide from Microsoft Support which has a section specifically on using setting up and managing a video meet with your class. Note that this is not specific to Glow so currently video meetings permit only the teacher to broadcast video and to have only audio from pupil (which can also be switched on and off by the teacher), there is no access to anyone without a Glow account, and recordings are disabled.

Click on this link which links to some quick tips from educator Alice Keeler about using video meet in Microsoft Teams


Microsoft Teams Education: How to manage video meetings like a pro
– very helpful guide by Matt Miller with lots of tips presented in visual step-by-step posters.

 

Primary Class Starting with Microsoft Teams? Now what?⤴

from @ Digital Learning & Teaching in Falkirk Schools

So you have just started using Microsoft Teams with your primary school class – now what?

Microsoft Teams can be described as an all-in-one Swiss-Army-Knife online digital tool – with facility for classroom conversations, shared space for collaborative Word documents, PowerPoint presentations, Excel spreadsheets, assignments tool for easily setting tasks for individuals, groups or the whole class (and providing feedback) and OneNote Class Notebook multi-purpose digital ring-binder, all made more accessible to all learners with Immersive Reader Learning Tools.

That might make it sound overwhelming for your class, so…

Start small – make connections

Don’t try and do everything at once! Microsoft Teams provides many features which can be used with your class but you don’t need to use them all right away. The Posts/Conversation area of a class Team is the first part users will see when they log into Teams, whether via browser, desktop app on computer/laptop, or mobile device smartphone/tablet. So this is the place suggested to start.

In the Posts tab you can share text, images or video.

So you can share information with your class either as:

🆒 Text (and where pupils can use Immersive Reader in the browser to read it aloud (pupils just click on the 3 dots to the right of the message and choose “Immersive Reader”);

🔗Add a link to a web resource you wish the pupils to use;

🎴 Share a picture of a visual diagram of the tasks (as you might do in your classroom) – just click on the paperclip icon to upload a picture;

🎞 You might create a short video with your voice (so it’s familiar to your pupils) and the camera pointing at a piece of paper on which you are writing, or a book, picture or object such as classroom toy.

Set up channels in your class Team

When you first create a Team for your class you will automatically get a channel called the general channel. By default everyone in your class will be able to post there. And at the beginning that might be okay as everyone starts to use it.

However often you might find that you want to provide another channel within the Team for general chit-chat for the pupils and you as the teacher change the settings so that the main general channel can only have content added by you. So once you’ve set up additional channels then go into the Team settings and switch off the facility for pupils to be able to post there so that only you can post in the general channel.

You can set up channels for different areas of learning, perhaps by curricular area or for a specific topic or a group. This can help keep conversations related to each area in their respective spaces and not all jumbled together.

It’s suggested to create a channel for your class to have friendly chat so that the general channel does not get cluttered there (telling them that’s what it’s for but that you can still see it). And then restricting them from posting in the general channel. As a member of staff in a class in Microsoft Teams you are a Team Owner

Here’s how you can add an additional channel for class chat where pupils can post.

  1. Go to the list (or tiles) showing all of your teams in Microsoft Teams
  2. Click on the 3 dots (ellipsis) … to the right of the team name
  3. Click “Manage channels”
  4. Click “Add a new channel” (and name it something like Class Chat or Blether Station) and click done.

Primary teacher Roddy Graham shared his ideas for how he’d structured his class in Microsoft Teams so that there were a number of specific channels set up for specific purposes. Choosing the channels to have for your class depends on you and your class so getting the balance between too few and too many is something which only you and your experience with your class can determine. As Roddy Graham explained “Too few mean people aren’t sure whether to post something or not, or it can get too clogged up with random things. With children using these, it may take time to work successfully but here’s some channels I’m setting up for my pupils to use and why.” Here’s Roddy Graham’s channels for his class, along with the explanations for the purpose of each:

📖 The Library – a place to talk about books being read at home and share any related learning they do.
🏀 The Gym Hall – a place to share any physical activity they do, including home fitness or games.
❓ Ask the Teacher – a place to ask non-learning related questions, possibly things that are worrying them and they need a bit of reassurance.
📸 #NoFilter – a place to share photos of how they are spending their days so their classmates can view
📺 Taskmaster – inspired by the TV show so a place to share a fun challenge/daily task for class to tackle
🔤 Literacy and Maths Tool Boxes – a place to share support resources for tasks set – websites, videos, documents
👦👧 The Playground – a place where the class can chat about anything they like, just as they would in their school playground. The teacher can keep track of everything pupils type (and they are told this)

You may add additional channels as works for your class, perhaps for curricular areas, perhaps having one for pupils to offer support or share knowledge to other pupils (as teacher Carol Diamond called her channel “Tiny Teacher Talk – where they can ask each other how to do things/for hints/tips or share their knowledge about something which is their strength), or maybe a Weekly Reflections or Time Capsule Thoughts channel where pupils might share about their experiences during distance learning over the previous week,; or maybe a Fun Foto Friday, Talent Show or anything else which fits in with building the culture of your classroom community.

 

Here’s how you can restrict who can post to the General channel like this:

  1. Click on the 3 dots (ellipsis) … next to General channel
  2. Select “Manage channel” from the menu
  3. Click on “Only owners can post messages” – now only you (or other colleagues if you’ve added them as owners) will be able to post on your General channel of the team.

Once you have your channels set up you can create an announcement in the General channel of your Microsoft Teams class and add a table. Into the table add links to each of the channels (to get the link just click on the three dots beside each channel name and copy the link provided. Then go back to the text in your table, highlight the text and click on the link icon to paste the link you copied.

 

Making use of Emojis

Whether it’s naming your channels in your class in Microsoft Teams, or when sharing information or activities in posts/conversations/announcements in your class in Microsoft Teams, or in names of sections and pages in your OneNote Class Notebook attached to your Microsoft Teams class then the addition of the visual cue of an appropriate emoji makes the text  easier to identify in a list and also makes it more classroom friendly.

Click here for a blogpost about the use of emojis to support education – this contains lots of information about how these can support learning, as well as lots of examples of where they have been used. And if you’re wondering how you’d find just the emoji you need then that blogpost also contains a link to Emojipedia where you can type the word you want and a suggested emoji will be shown ready for you to copy and paste where needed.

Manage the settings of your class team

Once you’ve created your class space in Microsoft Teams it would be a good idea to manage the settings so that you can make choices about what you want your pupils to be able to do in your Team.

The choices are yours as you know your class best. Your level of familiarity with the tools available might make you decide to restrict what can be done by pupils at the outset and then enable features as you and your class become familiar with them. Or you might take the opposite view and leave everything enabled and only restrict an individual feature until you’ve had a conversation with the class about it, and responsible use. So you might want to disable the facility for pupils to share stickers, memes and animated gifs (you can switch them off and on at any time), you can make sure that pupils can’t add or delete channels, and you can ensure that pupils can only edit or delete their own posts in the posts/conversations. Teams manage members settings allows a teacher at any time to mute pupils, individually or collectively, to stop postings being able to be made temporarily for any reason.

Click on this link for a quick video by Mike Tholfsen showing how to manage the settings for your class

Facility to mute activity in posts at weekends or holidays

Microsoft Teams has the facility for teachers to mute either a whole class or individual pupils from commenting in the conversation/posts channels in a Team. This can be useful at weekends or holiday times, or out of school hours, and is entirely at the discretion of the teacher for their class Team. Here’s a how-to guide:

Click here for a guide to how to mute pupil comments in a class in Teams

Share your class expectations

Just as you would with a class in a face-to-face classroom setting, share the expected behaviours you would all wish for your class.

Click here for a lovely infographic poster by Lucy Lock which sets out clear but positive messages for sharing with learners when using Microsoft Teams as a shared online classroom space

If you have older children, and you are looking for your class to co-create their own set of positive online expectations, then you might find helpful this School of Education Netiquette Guidelines from Chicago’s Loyola University as the starting point for a discussion to make the positive expectations explained within them re-interpreted in child-friendly language, making them specific to your class use of Microsoft Teams, and perhaps with associated visuals created by your pupils.

Everyday Etiquette for Microsoft Teams – a detailed guide, by Matt Wade and Chris Webb, to setting expectations around managing the use of Microsoft Teams with users. This is not aimed at primary school use of Microsoft Teams (and some of the features such as private chat and video camera use in video meets don’t apply to the configuration in Glow) but may be helpful as prompts for a teacher to perhaps have pupils come up with their own class-friendly versions, dependent on their age and experience and how it’s wanted to be in their class.

Check-ins

So you may wish to have a way of having a check-in with your pupils, to find out how they are, to show they have connected in your online class in Microsoft Teams. You can make use of a Microsoft Forms check-in form which pupils can complete when they come into your class in Microsoft Teams – and as well as asking how they are (with responses which might be by clicking beside an appropriate choice of emoji face) you can perhaps incorporate a bit of fun, and involvement so that pupils look forward to completing it each time, by having a different light-hearted question each time. The less predictable and funnier the questions the more likely your pupils might be to look forward to completing it. And because it would be a form within Microsoft Teams it means it already keeps a note of who responded (without pupils having to type their name) for the teacher to be able to access in Microsoft Forms. Click here for a ready-made template in Microsoft Forms (on the Microsoft Education Support site) ready for you to click on “Duplicate” button and adapt your your own needs.

 

Building engagement

Teachers in their classrooms have always found ways to engage their learners, to ensure every voice is heard, to coax the reluctant participant, to check understanding, to provide opportunities for collaboration, to create the environment for every learner to demonstrate their understanding, to move learners forward and build on previous experiences.

An online environment doesn’t change these principles, but instead requires adapting different approaches using available digital tools.

Consider encouraging the positive use of praise stickers (a teacher can control through manage settings options whether these are enabled or disabled for pupils in their Microsoft Teams class) – they can be used from the posts/conversations by clicking on the Sticker icon below where you’d type a message. These can be handy to provide a more visual way of providing positive feedback without having to type – click here for a guide to how to use these, whether on mobile or desktop/laptop

Making use of Memes or animated gifs can provide another means of keeping the fun in learning when done from a distance. These can have text added – simply click on the gif icon under where you’d type a message in conversations/posts and use the search box to find what you are looking for , and add text if needed. Click here for a guide on the Microsoft Teams support site showing how to make use of gifs in conversations/posts in Microsoft Teams. If you wish to find out more about the use of animated gifs or memes to support learning then click on this post “Making memes and animated gifs for learning.”

 

20 Ways to Facilitate Online Class Participation – a post by Halden Ingwersen with 20 suggested tips which apply to any online digital platform and can be adapted for different age groups has been used as a starting point for the approach below. Some things may not apply for specific tools or age groups, but the general advice in Halden Ingwersen’s post remains consistent for when using Microsoft Teams with your primary class:

  • Be clear in what you expect from your class online;
  • Become familiar with Microsoft Teams as your class digital learning platform (you don’t need to know about every feature, but make the most of what you use and try to experience from the learner viewpoint);
  • Provide online spaces within Microsoft Teams for group work (that might be use of channels in Microsoft Teams where focus on specific pieces of work with groups of learners take place, or it might be a collaborative PowerPoint presentation or Word document in Teams files, or a multimedia page in the collaboration spade within the OneNote Class Notebook integrated in your Microsoft Teams class, or at its simplest it might just be using the posts/conversations ensuring the starting point for each conversation group is followed by replies to their group’s task rather than a new conversation);
  • Share your plan with your class, which might be co-created with your learners or an outline you present of new learning which is going to be covered;
  • Make sure it’s easy for learners to find their tasks – aim to be consistent as to where learners can expect to find your plan for what’s expected, and provide links or clear steps to find something new.
  • Provide feedback in conversations/posts – in Microsoft Teams conversations within posts respond with encouragement as you would if you were face to face in the classroom, helping build the reassurance of your learners that you are listening to what they are saying – in the text-based nature of the posts/conversations there is no opportunity for a nod or a smile, but you can encourage through the use of thumbs-up to quickly acknowledge responses
  • Ask questions of different types to suit your purpose – the conversations/posts part of Microsoft Teams lets you ask very short real-time polling multiple-choice questions right within the conversation – click here for how to add a poll in posts in Microsoft Teams. These short-poll type questions give everyone the results right away and are visible to all in the class Team. Alternatively you can have a whole range of different question types (whether survey or for assessment for learning) using Microsoft Forms – these Forms, whether surveys or assessments, can be shared as a link within conversations/posts (but only you as the teacher sees the results) or shared using the assignment feature of Microsoft Forms.

Accessibility and Inclusion

Microsoft Teams has built into it the accessibility tool Immersive Reader Learning Tools. To access in conversations/posts a pupil simply clicks on the three dots … (ellipsis) to the right of any message in the conversations/posts in Microsoft Teams then selects “Immersive Reader.” This will let the user then hear the text played as spoken audio while the individual words are simultaneously highlighted in turn as they are spoken aloud. The pupil can change the background colour to help make it more easily distinguishable to suit the pupil (which only that individual will see, no settings here affect other users) and change the size of text, font, and spacing out of letters on the page. You can even break words into syllables and highlight in different colours nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs (all automatically). And you can switch on picture dictionary which will let a user click on any unfamiliar word and show a Boardmaker image (where available) and hear that word spoken aloud. For pupils where English is not their first language they can also use the inbuilt translate feature to translate individual words or the whole text of any message in conversations/posts in Microsoft Teams.

Connectivity woes or technical hiccups!

Every online platform hiccups from time to time: you might get error messages, things don’t update, you can’t upload files, you can’t share what you need to share – and you can probably add to that list!

Click on this link on the Connected Falkirk site for advice at times of network pinch for solutions specifically when using Microsoft Teams, or OneNote Class Notebook

Want to present to your class?

Teams provides the facility for you as the teacher to present to your class. Don’t feel under pressure to use this video meet facility right away. And take on board safeguarding and employer requirements in use of such a tool, as well as being mindful of your professional teaching association advice. If this is for you, and you want your pupils to have the familiarity of seeing you and hearing your voice then click on this link for specific step-by-step guidance to setting up a video meet in Teams for your class. If you wish to have only your voice in the video meet then you might instead opt to have the camera pointing at an object (piece of work, paper on which you’ll demonstrate a teaching point, or maybe a piece of writing you’ll discussing together, or perhaps a class toy/character figure!

Click on this link for a page on the Connected Falkirk site specifically about using video meet in Microsoft Teams in Glow

Collaborative documents

The files area within a Microsoft Teams class lets pupils within that class work collaboratively (whether real-time or asynchronously). As you would with a face-to-face class the teacher sets the expectations and roles of different groups within a class so that each pupil knows who will work on which document and with whom. No setting changes or permissions need to be made. Everything saves automatically. Pupils can create collaborative real-time PowerPoint presentations, or Word documents, or Excel spreadsheets. They can be uploaded from a device or just click “new” to start one right away in the Files folder/tab in your Microsoft Teams tab. Click on this link for a how-to guide about using Office 365 to create a collaborative Word document in Glow – this is the same process in Microsoft Teams just by clicking on the Files tab in your Microsoft Teams class, with the benefit that the permissions are already set to let anyone in the class collaborate with no need to specify usernames. Click on this link for a guide to creating a collaborative PowerPoint Online and click on this link for guide to creating a collaborative Excel Online spreadsheet. This is the same process in Microsoft Teams just by clicking on the Files tab in your Microsoft Teams class, with the benefit that the permissions are already set to let anyone in the class collaborate with no need to specify usernames

Assignments

Microsoft Teams includes the option to assign pupils activities, whether tasks for completion by specific dates or to assess understanding of individuals. This can be used to share assessments or quizzes, or share documents to a whole class in such a way that each pupil receives a copy ready for them to edit and submit on completion back to the teacher for feedback, without the rest of the class seeing it. Click here for a guide to making use of the assignments feature of Microsoft Teams.

OneNote Class Notebook

OneNote Class Notebook is built into Microsoft Teams. OneNote Class Notebook is like a digital ring-binder with cardboard colour dividers, and within each section you can have as many pages as you like. Each page is a freeform page which can be any size you wish, and become like your classroom whiteboard, where you can add a very wide range of content (including images, audio, video, documents, presentations, embedded Sway presentations, embedded Forms, and you can freehand draw or write just as you would on your classroom whiteboard. It all saves automatically and is accessible on any device so you can move from working on your smartphone on the OneNote app to working in the browser on a laptop (and other devices).

A OneNote Note Class Notebook already comes with the permissions for your pupils to access and collaborate on anything in the collaboration space, so you’ve no setting or permissions to worry about if you wish a group of pupils to work on something together, just create the page and tell them who’s working on it. In addition to these collaboration spaces a OneNote Class Notebook also has a section which the pupils can see, but on which only the teacher can add or edit content – handy for sharing what you might have shared on your classroom whiteboard. This is called the library space. There is also a teacher-only section which can be enabled (so you can create content ahead of time and move into the library when you wish pupils to make use of it. And the OneNote Class Notebook within Microsoft Teams also has individual sections for each pupil – which only you as teacher can see and that individual pupil (other pupils can’t see anyone else’s sections).

And if that wasn’t enough, OneNote Class Notebook built into a Microsoft Teams class also has Immersive Reader Learning Tools built in providing accessibility options for all learners.

Click on this link for more about OneNote Class Notebook inside Microsoft Teams on this site

Microsoft Forms for assessment or surveys

Gathering feedback, taking quizzes to reinforce learning, or undertaking surveys of views are all the kinds of classroom activities which are ideally suited to the use of Microsoft Forms. Microsoft Forms are built right into Microsoft Teams, either in short-form quick polls with few questions added right inside posts/conversations in Microsoft Teams, or assessments or surveys as simple or as complex as you like created in Microsoft Forms and a link shared in conversations/posts in Microsoft Teams, or assigned to the class using the Assignments feature of Microsoft Teams. Whichever way Forms are assigned to the pupils the teacher then can see the results in one place, and can even be set up to be self-marking or to provide automated feedback depending on answers provided by pupils (using the branching feature of Microsoft Forms. Click here to find out more about Microsoft Forms

 

And…Action! Creating a Teaching Video⤴

from @ Digital Learning & Teaching in Falkirk Schools

Looking to create a teaching video?

If you wish to create a teaching video to share with your class then where do you start?

There are a number of different ways to create a teaching video.

You don’t need lots of fancy filming equipment, specialist lighting, highly scripted text, remote microphones or

a studio set! You can just use what you have available – and be yourself. If you want to be on camera, that’s fine, but if you just want your voice over the activity you are filming then that’s perfectly fine too.

You just need something to record the video (eg phone/tablet) – & your skills and experience as a teacher (and maybe something to edit what you create).

  • Your choice partly depends on what you are aiming to share what are you trying to achieve, how much information are you trying to share and in what way will you share the video with your intended audience?
  • Your choice partly depends on what you want the video to look like – do you want to be on camera, do you wish to include your voice, do you want it to be a video of a PowerPoint presentation (with or without narrated voice), or do you want to make use of animated characters instead of your own image?
  • Your choice also depends on what device and software/apps you have available to make the teaching videos, whether laptop/desktop, tablet/smartphone and software/apps you can access.

What makes an effective video?

There’s no hard and fast rule about what makes an effective teaching video. Every teacher is different and every class is different so find what works for you and your class. The age of your learners, the way you choose to share a video, whether you wish to have interactivity between shorter videos, and what you are trying to convey in the video, are all considerations to bear in mind. Being clear about what you are trying to share is the biggest consideration!  Consider, instead of a long video, chunking a lot of content into perhaps a series of shorter videos each with a specific focus. And try out what you are creating on different devices to see how your learners might view the video. Is it bright enough lighting so that what you are showing is clearly seen, can the sound be clearly heard? You don’t need to make a masterpiece the first time round (or indeed at any time!) so give it a go and make changes in light of your experiences and feedback from your learners.

Camera-Ready Educators: Video As a Learning Staple – a blogpost by Paul Teske and Sarah Brown Wessling which gives food for thought for teachers looking to create a teaching video: “…teachers know it’s not the screen alone that engages students. It’s how teachers use video as part of deliberate instructional design that creates the opportunity for learning and growth. Teachers use video in various ways for various purposes, each thoughtfully constructed.” That blogpost succinctly summarises and provides points for reflection for teachers using video whether it’s for teaching new content, differentiation, scaffolding and support, or for conveying information about such things as class announcements and routines.

The experiences of others can help you make your own judgement about what will work and then you have the feedback from your own class of learners.

This blogpost by Daisy Christodoulou provides a quick read to points to consider and links to research about designing video lessons

Video of teaching activity with your voice-over

If you are showing something you are writing – whether that’s simple phonics, handwriting formations, numeracy processes or anything else which involves writing – then you can point your phone/tablet camera at the paper or wipe-clean whiteboard, press record on the phone/tablet camera and start talking. Having your phone/tablet affixed to a tripod, a home-made stand or propped up so it won’t move is probably wise!

Keeping your video short is beneficial both for your own sake in not having to redo or edit a long video in which you wish to make a change, but also it’s helpful for sharing online somewhere to have smaller videos as they upload more quickly. If you are sharing on Twitter there is also a restriction on the length which will upload, but if sharing on your classroom digital platform you can add accompanying explanatory text, and perhaps have a sequence of short videos (each labelled with identifying text) so that pupils can more easily watch the parts as often as necessary for what they are doing.

Here’s example of videos shared by teachers where the camera is pointed at the writing area, and with the teacher voice added as narration, or using a class toy or puppet to provide the on-screen persona:

Blair Minchin has shared many imaginative teaching videos at @Mr_Minchn and @LittleLessons20

Taking video with your mobile device

The likelihood is that the device you have to hand for taking videos is your smartphone or mobile tablet, a device such as an iPad. And that’s perfectly fine for taking video to share with your learners.

If you want to find out about some of the inbuilt camera features as part of the camera app on an iPad then click on this link for a blogpost about time-lapse, slo-mo, burst-mode, and more on a smartphone or tablet 

10 Tips for Recording Better Video with Your Smartphone – a helpful blogpost by Maggie Tillman and Elyse Betters with tips for making better video with your smartphone.

Screen Recording on iPad

Whatever app you are running on an iPad then you can create a teaching video where you record whatever is on the iPad screen, where you can if you wish, add your voice-over to explain what your learners are seeing.

This infographic visual by Tony Vincent succinctly shows the steps to screen record and narrate on your iPad

Do you want to appear on camera beside your screen recording on an iPad? Then here’s how you can use split screen to record yourself on the iPad camera while recording activity on the iPad

Screen recording on a Windows desktop PC/laptop

If you have the latest version of PowerPoint then you have the facility to capture a video recording of whatever is on your PC/laptop – whether that’s the PowerPoint presentation or indeed anything on the PC which you wish to show to include in the video.

There are a number of other tools for Screen Recording, whether downloadable software or online. Click on this link for some more options including Screencast-o-matic and Smart Recorder

Turn your PowerPoint into a Video

PowerPoint has the option to create a video from your presentation. Just open the PowerPoint presentation and go to File > Export > Save as Video. This will incorporate all that you’ve included in timings, narration, animations, media, and transitions.

Greenscreen

If you wish to include yourself (or something else) in a video where the background is of something else, the subject of your video, then using the greenscreen facility available with some tools can let you, for instance, appear talking in front of a video of whatever you are teaching about.

Click on this link for a blogpost with a guide to using DoInk green screen iPad app to create videos using a greenscreen. This blogpost also includes lots of examples.

Click on this link for a guide to using the iMovie iPad app to achieve the greenscreen effect

The online tool unscreen.com provides the means to remove the background automatically from a video so that you can combine with another image or video and quickly create a greenscreen effect, without the need for any other equipment.

Stop-motion sequence of still images

Stop-motion animation videos can be useful to illustrate a teaching point where you have a series of still images. This can be useful where live action of a sequence of events is difficult to capture on video, or may take too long, or where you only have access to still images. You can create a sequence of still images using presentation software like PowerPoint (and export as a video to create the illusion of animation/movement) or drop them into video editing software/app such as iMovie on an iPad. Or you can use stop-motion software/app such as the iPad app Stikbot.

Stikbot iPad app

Click on this link for a blogpost about making a stop-motion animation using the Stikbot iPad app

Create an animation from presentation software

There is a host of tools which can be used to create animations:

Virtual Classroom

This video by Sarah Clark shows how she used Flipgrid to create and share a video in which she appears within part of the virtual classroom image

Editing your teaching video

There’s a host of video editing tools available. Chance are the device you have available has likely got something already there ready for you to use.

For Windows laptops/PCs then built into Windows 10 devices you will find Video editor (which replaced Windows Movie Maker, with which many teacher may already be familiar, from previous versions of Windows).

For iPads then available for free on iOS devices you will find iMovie and Apple Clips.

Creating and editing a film in the classroom with an iPad can be done with the iMovie app. Click on this link for a post about using iMovie on your iPad in the classroom (including examples) for help on getting started as well as tips on using some of the neat features such as adding video-in-video or picture in picture and more.

Apple Clips is a neat free video-creation app for iPad or iPhone. It lets you quickly combine text, music, graphics, recorded voice, images, and animations to create videos with ease. So if you are trying to find a way to explain a topic or a teaching point then you might find Apple Clips a handy way to create a visually engaging video. The inclusion of inbuilt graphics such as arrows, finger pointers and many more adaptable images make this really easy to highlight parts of photographs or video clips with explanatory text or spoken voice.

Sharing your video

You have many choices when deciding how to share you video. What platforms you have available to you for your school may determine the choice you make.

The following are just some of the ways you might share your video creations:

  • Using a school YouTube account – this option will let you share the link to the video in different places as well as provide an option to embed elsewhere such as a website or Sway. Depending on who you want to be able to access the video you can choose to have the video “unlisted” – that means only those who have the link can access it. It won’t be searchable and won’t appear on the list of videos on the YouTube channel.
  • Upload to your Microsoft OneDrive (available to all Glow users) and at the share option choose either to make it “share with anyone” (which means anyone with the link will be able to access and will not require to log into anything – and you can optionally choose to set a password and decide to block download) or you can choose “only my organisation” (which for Glow users means in order to access the link the viewer would require to log into Glow) – ensuring the share link is set to view-only, not edit.
  • Upload to Microsoft Sway (add a media card in a Sway and choose the video option and you can upload the video) – at the share option in your Sway you can choose to have it available to be viewed by anyone with the link, or only the organisation (Glow) and optionally add password if you wish. Having your video added to a Sway means you then also have the option to add text about the video and to add pictures related to it.
  • Upload to files in Microsoft Teams for your class or group – sometimes uploading larger files can be faster if you go to Files in your class in Microsoft Teams and then at the top right choose “Open in Sharepoint” then navigate to the folder “Class materials” which is read-only so that your class can view but not inadvertently remove the file.

Online Courses for Creating Teaching Videos

Click on this link for a free online course on the Microsoft Educator Centre – this free online course provides step by step guidance for how to create a teaching video and also has tips and advice about what to consider when you are making and sharing these with your class.

Build an interactive virtual classroom in Microsoft Teams⤴

from @ ICT for Learning & Teaching in Falkirk Schools

 

You’ve no doubt seen lots of teachers sharing their interactive virtual classroom images – a visually-friendly way to connect with your learners via an online platform where they can click on elements in the picture to view details of learning activities, or view videos, or read books chosen for the class, or click on a link to online resources to support their learning.

Click on this link to see the image above as an interactive virtual classroom shared as a PowerPoint show

Click on this link to see the image above as an interactive virtual classroom shared as a PDF

You can set up an interactive virtual classroom image in several online platforms and using a variety of digital tools. This blogpost is specifically looking at how to do so if your school uses Microsoft Teams.

What you need to set this up in Microsoft Teams

You will need the following to set up your interactive virtual classroom image:

  1. PowerPoint in which the interactive virtual classroom image will be built
  2. Images which you are free to use (this post will show where to access these) to create the background and items in the classroom.
  3. Your Bitmoji character (though if you don’t want t use a cartoon-style Bitmoji character you can alternatively use the inbuilt stock character images in PowerPoint online, or a cartoon-style image you have created with another digital tool).
  4. The links to the resources you will be adding as interactive links to the image (whether that’s videos or online resources, whether somewhere in the class files in Microsoft Teams or shared somewhere external to the class Team).
  5. Microsoft Teams for your class – where you will share the pdf with clickable links (you can also choose to use PowerPoint online from your OneDrive if you prefer to share it as a PowerPoint show).

How to set up you virtual classroom image in PowerPoint

View this super detailed step-by-step video by Brian White showing how to create the virtual classroom slide in PowerPoint online – this includes how to use the Bitmoji plugin in the Chrome browser, how to search within PowerPoint online for transparent backgrounds, how to add items for the class scene, how to add a video from YouTube as an embedded video, and how to create the link from a shared PowerPoint link which makes it a play-only view for pupils to interact with it – by adding &amp=&action=embedview to the end of the weblink from your shared PowerPoint link.

This how-to video by Patricia Foley guides you through how to create a virtual classroom using PowerPoint

This video on the Mrs M Shares YouTube channel gives a step by step guide to creating your virtual classroom in PowerPoint, with lots of advice about adding items to your classroom scene.

This video (on the Mrs M Shares YouTube channel) shows how to add interactive elements to your PowerPoint image for your virtual classroom

Interactive elements will be the links you attach to the individual items so when clicked on by your learners they will automatically be taken to what you have added. This might include websites, online resources, YouTube videos, or login to platforms your class uses.

Here’s a Bitmoji Virtual Classroom Tutorial Step by Step using PowerPoint video on Mrs Sekhon YouTube channel

How to remove the background from an image

There are different ways you can remove the background from any image so that when you place it on your background image it does not show anything from the background of the image you wish to place on the classroom background.

Using PowerPoint to remove background from an image

View the video below to see how you can use PowerPoint to remove the background from any image you have, whether from a download or from your own images

This how-to guide from Microsoft shows how to remove the background from any image – this also includes a guide to how you can choose which elements of an image to keep and which parts to remove. This guide includes a video but also illustrated text step-by-step guide.

 

Using RemoveBG to remove the background from an image

You can also use the free online tool RemoveBG to remove the background from any image (this also works from mobile devices)

Need more help?

There is a very helpful guide to “How to create Bitmoji classroom” on Shana Ramin’s “Hello Teacher Lady” site

How to share your Interactive Virtual Classroom in Microsoft Teams

You can choose whether to share your interactive virtual classroom as a simple image (which will have no interactivity) or PDF (which will retain any interactive links you added) or PowerPoint

To create an image from PowerPoint click on File > Save as > choose location on your device > from dropdown “Save as type” choose “PNG Portable Network Graphics” format

To create a PDF from PowerPoint click on File > Save as > choose location on your device > click on “Options” and specify single slide you wish to use

When uploading to Microsoft Teams you can choose to share in the Posts/Conversations by clicking on the paperclip attachments icon – you will then be asked where you wish to share the uploaded item so choose to save in the “Class Materials” folder as this is read-only for your learners.

You can alternatively choose to upload the PowerPoint into your OneDrive and when choosing the share link ensure the permissions are set to “anyone with the link” (and ensure edit rights are disabled). To ensure the PowerPoint link opens as a play-only view for your learners to interact with it you can add &amp=&action=embedview to the end of the weblink from your shared PowerPoint link from OneDrive before you share it in the Microsoft Teams Posts/Conversations (this method also permits sharing outwith Microsoft Teams, such as on website or social media).

This video by Patti Duncan shows how you can save your interactive virtual classroom created in PowerPoint as a PowerPoint show and upload to Microsoft Teams so that anyone viewing it in your class will go straight to “present” mode and not have the option to do anything other than view the PowerPoint and click on the links you’ve added.

Want to find out how others are using interactive virtual classrooms in Microsoft Teams?

There is a Facebook group (called Bitmoji Classrooms for Teams) just for teachers sharing about their use of interactive Bitmoji virtual classrooms in Microsoft Teams.

 

Here’s some educators sharing about their virtual classrooms created using PowerPoint

Want to add even more interactivity?

You can also upload the image from your PowerPoint slide to ThingLink to add hotspots which, when clicked by your learners, give you the option to add the links as popout windows so that the learners don’t leave your virtual classroom space. ThingLink also gives the option to have text read aloud using Immersive Reader, and also to let you add audio recordings of your voice if you choose.

Creating Visual Learning Materials with ThingLink – a free online course on the Microsoft Educator Centre guiding you through learning how to use ThingLink to bring images, video and 360-degree virtual tours to life with added popup links, voice and text notes, and more. ThingLink creations can be shared via Microsoft Teams anywhere a link can be added.

Click on this link to see more from primary teacher Amanda Pickard about how she combined a virtual classroom image with Thinglink to add interactivity in Microsoft Teams for her primary 1 class

Apple Clips for Creating Videos for Sharing Learning⤴

from @ ICT for Learning & Teaching in Falkirk Schools

Apple Clips is a neat free video-creation app for iPad or iPhone. It lets you quickly combine text, music, graphics, recorded voice, images, and animations to create videos with ease. So if you are trying to find a way to explain a topic or a teaching point then you might find Apple Clips a handy way to create a visually engaging video. The inclusion of inbuilt graphics such as arrows, finger pointers and many more adaptable images make this really easy to highlight parts of photographs or video clips with explanatory text or spoken voice.

Likewise if learners in your classroom are trying to demonstrate their understanding of a topic being studied then this app can provide a great means for learners to illustrate their understanding of concepts.

The video below by Kristen Brooks uses Apple Clips app itself to provide a quick how-to guide, as well as an illustration of the app in use, to getting started creating a video using Apple Clips

 

Apple Education have a free downloadable guide called Everyone Can Create showing how to make use of Apple Clips app to support creativity in learning and teaching

Mark Anderson (@ICTevangelist) has created a how-to guide for using Apple Clips in the classroom

Alan Ellis shared a tutorial to getting started with using Apple Clips

Dictation Tools for Unlocking Creativity⤴

from @ ICT for Learning & Teaching in Falkirk Schools

We can usually speak far more quickly than we can type, so being able to get ideas on screen can be time-consuming. And we can also lose the flow of what we are thinking if the mechanics of typing get in the way. So being able to speak naturally as the text then appears on screen can both allow for ideas to be captured in text form, and this can then more easily be edited later.

Click on the Sway below to see how to enable and use the dictation tools on Apple, Android, Windows or Chromebooks. So whether it’s  PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone your device will most likely have the facility to have speech to text. As long as there is a microphone and the device supports speech to text you should be able to then use the dictation feature to say your thoughts aloud and have them appear as text which you can then later edit.

 

When using dictation tools you need to say what punctuation you wish to appear in the text – whether comma, full stop/period, question/exclamation mark, or new line/enter.

Speaking close to the microphone, and as clearly and distinctly as possible, will aid the dictation tool to be as accurate to what you wish as possible.

If you wish to find out more about the benefits of using Dictation or Speech to Text Technology in a classroom environment then the following links be of interest:

 

Real-time multi-user collaboration in Microsoft Excel Online⤴

from @ ICT for Learning & Teaching in Falkirk Schools

Do your learners create graphs in your classroom? Perhaps after they undertake a survey, such as a traffic survey, favourite food, eye colour, or something related to an area of study in the curriculum? There’s a whole range of digital tools available to help create graphs and charts (have a look at this blogpost “Fun or fear? Spreadsheets for Problem Solving in the Primary Classroom – fun over fear!” for a host of ideas and links to digital tools for using spreadsheets in the classroom).

Microsoft Excel is one of the most well-known and widely used digital tools for creating spreadsheets, which can easily be used to create graphs and charts. Microsoft Excel Online is available to all Glow users in Scottish schools as part of Microsoft Office 365. Excel Online is available anytime, anywhere with online access so can be accessed at home or at school (it can also tie neatly into the desktop version and mobile apps for smartphones and tablets, so that information created on one device in one location, is accessible for editing and updating on another device elsewhere).

Excel Online can be used to create spreadsheets from the beginning (or you can upload an existing Excel spreadsheet from your computer to make it available to edit online thereafter). You can keep it private to you in your own OneDrive (the online cloud storage with massive capacity available to every Glow user in Scottish schools). Or you can, at any time, choose to make a Excel Online spreadsheet visible to other users of your choice – and you can choose whether to allow them to just be able to read it without being able to make changes, or you can give other users the access rights to be able to jointly edit the spreadsheet with you. If your class is using Microsoft Teams then a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet can be created in the shared files so that all members of the class can automatically collaborate without the need to find and add specific usernames.

Here’s how to create a table and bar chart for a class traffic survey in Microsoft Excel Online

Have a look at the Sway presentation here for a step-by-step guide for learners to create an Excel spreadsheet in Excel Online in their OneDrive in Microsoft office 365 via Glow and to share this with other Glow users to be able to jointly edit the same spreadsheet. This has steps outline for creating a table, into which the results of a class traffic survey can be entered. From this there are steps shown to guide as to how to create a bar chart, to sort the information in the table, to share with other users and for them to add comments so that questions can be asked about the information.

 

Want to know more about using Microsoft Excel Online?

Microsoft Excel – there is a wide range of resources online using Microsoft Excel as the tool to put spreadsheets in a context suitable for use by pupils in a primary classroom.  Some links have been provided below.  Some of these provide tutorials in the use of Excel while others provide the ready-made files along with classroom teaching notes. Excel Online is available for free to schools using Microsoft Office 365 (all schools in Scotland using Glow can access Microsoft Excel Online as part of Office 365. It’s available in OneDrive or as part of Microsoft Teams for classes so you can either create spreadsheets individually or collectively so that multiple learners can collaborate on the same Excel Online spreadsheet at the same time on different devices from anywhere).

Click here for a brief outline of Microsoft Excel Online – this includes how-to guides to the main features of using Excel Online

Click here for some guides to undertaking basic tasks in Microsoft Excel Online

https://support.office.com/en-us/article/basic-tasks-in-excel-online-0dcac23b-8430-4289-87a5-f2c97bdb49e1

Tips for Microsoft Excel Online: https://support.office.com/en-us/article/see-tips-for-excel-online-109ca6ce-7760-4f7c-a90d-5e7e5d1f8009

More links to specific features and how-to guides for using Microsoft Excel Online: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/office365/servicedescriptions/office-online-service-description/excel-online

The Beginner’s Guide to Microsoft Excel Online – a handy guide by Matthew Guay describing with screenshot illustrations how to undertake a variety of tasks in Microsoft Excel Online, from starting a new spreadsheet file, looking at options in the menu ribbons, applying functions, adding charts and tables, using the survey tool, sharing and collaborating with others, using comments and more.

Pivot Tables in Microsoft Excel Online– while pivot tables are not a function of spreadsheets which beginners may likely use, it may be handy to know that Microsoft Excel Online has this feature and that this link provides a guide to how to use them in the online version of Microsoft Excel

Users of Glow can access Microsoft Excel Online from within Glow by clicking on the OneDrive tile on the Glow Launchpad (from where Excel Online can be accessed from the 9-square waffle), or via Microsoft Teams Files tab (for Excel Online spreadsheets shared with the rest of the class Team) or directly from the Microsoft Excel Online login https://office.live.com/start/Excel.aspx entering the Glow email address – which is usually something along the lines of the form gw17surnameforename@glow.sch.org which will then take you to the usual Glow login page.

Co-edit a Microsoft Excel Online spreadsheet – here a link to show the steps to collaborating on a Microsoft Excel Online spreadsheet with multiple users.

How to add a chart in Microsoft Excel Online

Excel Online within Office 365 tutorial – shared by Edinburgh University, with descriptions which apply also to Glow users

 

Time-lapse, slow-mo, burst-mode and more – using tablet or smartphone cameras in the classroom⤴

from @ ICT for Learning & Teaching in Falkirk Schools

Smartphones and tablets such as iPads have inbuilt cameras with a host of features beyond simply taking a photograph. Whether it’s time-lapse, slo-mo, burst-mode, video, panorama, zoom or a range of filters, quality choice or proportions.

How might these be used in the classroom to support learning and teaching?

Perhaps trying to show development of work over time in time-lapse mode for a creation process in writing, an experiment in science; or perhaps using slow-motion to more closely let a learner study techniques in physical education or music instrumental technique; or using burst-mode to capture a precise moment when observing minibeasts or animals.

Browse through the Sway presentations below to see how to use these tools on an iPad, as well as for some examples of their use in a learning environment.

Time-Lapse

Click here for a Sway showing how to use the time-lapse mode on an iPad camera, along with some examples of use, where this lets you record activity over an extended period of time but are able to view it played back with the images showing in rapid succession.

Slo-mo

Click here for a Tweet showing an example of the use of the slow-motion mode

Burst-mode

When you want to get the best shot of a fast-moving activity you might try to use the ordinary camera mode but, as often as not, you’ll probably find that by the time you’ve got the camera ready and clicked to take the picture you’re either too early or miss the critical moment. So here’s where the burst mode comes into play – it lets you take a series of single images from which you can then select the one which captures the moment you wish to illustrate a specific moment in time.

Click here for a Sway showing how to use the iPad camera burst-mode rapid multi-shot photo mode to capture an action image

Panorama mode

Click here for an example of use of panorama mode in iPad camera (and with pupils moving to appear multiple times in the same photograph as the camera pans round slowly!!)

How do I share photographs and videos created on my iPad?

In a classroom setting where you may be using iPads shared between multiple users, or where a teacher wants to bring images created by others together for using in other applications jointly by a class, there are different options for sharing what’s stored on an iPad. One way might be for learners to use the iPad AirDrop feature to share with another iPad – perhaps the teacher’s device for collating all created resources. Click on this link to a Sway showing how to use AirDrop. Or perhaps uploading to cloud storage online using OneDrive (provided to all users of Glow in Scottish schools). Click on this link to a Sway showing how to upload to OneDrive via a browser on an iPad.

 

MERGE Cube – bringing the virtual into the palm of the hand⤴

from @ ICT for Learning & Teaching in Falkirk Schools

MERGE cube – lets the teacher or learner move a 3D object as if it’s right there in their hand! A 3D viewer app (for Apple or Android devices) which can let you move the object round and over, letting you interact with it, all while viewed through a tablet device or projected onto a classroom screen. Whether it’s an inanimate historical object, which viewed in 3D lets you turn it round, look underneath, zoom in closer to examine details, or a simulation or game which lets you interact with the scene, changing what happens as you make choices.

You can use the MERGE cube with a wide range of resources created by others elsewhere (as can be found on MERGE Miniverse or shared in Co Spaces), or a teacher or their learners can create their own virtual 3D objects or environments using Paint 3D or TinkerCAD (once you’ve created a 3D object or scene in TinkerCAD simply use the save-as option to save as a stl format file, then upload this to your Miniverse account, from where you’ll be able to then share the code to view in the MERGE object viewer app, or Open your Tinkercad design, click “Send To”, then choose “Object Viewer for MERGE Cube”), or even use the Qlone app to scan a real object to convert it into a virtual object, all stored in Co Spaces online so that a user can access the shared virtual creation simply by entering the code and downloading to the app.

So how do I get started?

  1. First you need a MERGE cube. Once a teacher has registered a free MERGE account, verified the email address and entered one activation code (which is included with the MERGE cube), you will be able to log into  multiple different devices with that email, and without the need for additional activation codes. You can create your own additional MERGE cubes from paper or card just by downloading a template (click here for a printable pdf of each of the faces of a MERGE cube by Jaime Donally which you’ll be able to print and stick onto a cardboard cube – you can also use this to try out a MERGE cube before purchase) which you can print out, cut out and fold into a MERGE cube – click for a printable net by Clint Carlson of the MERGE Cube faces  (you can also enlarge these templates to any size of cube – click on this video to view Gabe Haydu showing how to make an enormous MERGE cube from cardboard):

2. Then you need the app MERGE Object Viewer app on a tablet device to view MERGE cube 3D creations – the MERGE cube is compatible with a wide range of devices (click here for information about devices).

3. View the 3D creations included in the MERGE Object Viewer app – or sign up for a Miniverse account or CoSpaces account where you can find 3D objects/environments created by others – then all you need to do is take a note of the shared code for the object you wish to view, type it into the MERGE Object Viewer, wait for it to download and then start interacting with the 3D creation. Click on this link for some additional Object Codes ready to try on your MERGE Object Viewer app

More help for getting going?

Click here for  MERGE cube getting started guide on the Miniverse website

https://miniverse.io/cube-start

This getting started guide takes you through the same steps as above with additional videos as well as further information which may be helpful.

So how can a MERGE cube be used in the classroom?

There’s a host of places to have a look at how others are using a MERGE cube in a classroom setting. Click on the links below to browse to find something which might spark the imagination of your learners and fit in with what you’re planning to teach:

  1. Miniverse.io – browse through the range of Miniverse MERGE cube experiences https://miniverse.io/cube
  2. MERGE Educators Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/mergeeducators/
  3. MERGE Educators Activity Plans https://mergevr.com/edu-resources
  4. MERGE VR on Twitter https://twitter.com/mergevr
  5. Guide to the MERGE Cube in the Classroom – presentation by Mary Howard
  6. #ARVRinEDU – a hashtag in Twitter where anyone can share examples of the use of VR or AR in education, including the use of MERGE cube.

 

 

Developing Literacy with GarageBand⤴

from @ ICT for Learning & Teaching in Falkirk Schools

Supporting the development of literacy in the classroom with GarageBand iPad app

GarageBand is an iPad app which has a host of uses for recording audio, which can include music in a host of different ways. But here’s how GarageBand can be used specifically to support the development of literacy in the classroom.

The how-to guide below provides the steps for learners recording themselves speaking using the GarageBand app on an iPad. A teacher can vary the steps depending on the purpose of the activity – so learners may start off needing to write a short story, or a poem or a conversation between characters, a report, or whatever is undertaken in the class.

It may be that learners have to retain key information, and the process of working sufficiently with a piece of text in order to prepare for recording it, then going through the recording process, then manipulating that recording (refining or editing or adding backing tracks), then sharing and listening to that recording, may help the learner engage more fully with the text, absorb it and make it their own, so they may be better able to recall that information if required to support their learning.

The outcome is that this chosen piece of writing is to be made into an audio recording to be shared with others. Whether that’s simply played back in class or shared with a wider audience online as determined by the learners and their teacher.

Knowing that their work will have a wider audience than their teacher changes the dynamic for the learner.

The resulting recording can have unwanted silences or other sounds edited out as described below, before the audio recording is shared with others.

Or as exercise in listening one group of pupils might record the words of a well-known piece of text being studied in class, but with the words in the incorrect order for another group of learners to use GarageBand to move the recordings of the words around until they are in the correct sequence.

So how do you use GarageBand to record and edit the spoken word? Follow the steps below, and then adapt the activity to suit the learning needs.

Recording learners speaking using the GarageBand iPad app

1. Click on + at top right in GarageBand Recents screen to begin a new recording


2. Choose Tracks tab along the top


3. Slide from the screen left to right until you see Audio Recorder choice

4. Now click click on + at top right 

5. On the next screen click to the right of Section A where it says 8 bars to change to automatic by changing the slider to show on position for automatic

6. Switch off metronome icon so it does not show blue

7. Click on the input settings icon to the left beside the word “IN” and slide the button to the right beside the word “Automatic” to switch this on


8. Switch the view to show the tracks by clicking on the icon to the top left next to the down arrow


9. Then click record red button, wait for the audible clicking and on-screen countdown before speaking.

10. Once you have finished speaking, press the white square stop button to halt recording.

11. Press the white triangle play button to play back what you recorded.

 

12. Double-clicking on the blue audio track will reveal a range of choices for editing that recording, whether cut, copy, delete, loop, split, rename or (from the settings option) adjusting the speed or even reversing the recording.

 

13. To edit out unwanted silence or noises between speaking then when you double click the track, slide the timeline arrow above the track to before the unwanted sound, choose split from the menu when double-clicked on the track, and pull downwards on the scissors icon which will appear. Repeat this to split after the unwanted part of the recording, then double click this unwanted section and cut it or delete it.

14. Using this process you can cut and paste sections, phrases or individual words or sounds and move elements around.

15. Click and hold any track and choose to redo if wanted

16. Once you’re happy with your recording then click on the downwards pointing arrow at the top left and choose “My Songs” to save this recording and return to the list of any other recordings

 

17. To name this recording simply hold your finger on the recording icon for the recording you’ve just made and choose rename from the menu, give it a new name and click done.

18. To share this recording elsewhere or with others then hold your finger on the recording icon for the recording you’ve just made and click on the sideways arrow until you see share as an option and click on that.

 

19. Choose “Song” so that this will convert the GarageBand file into an audio recording which can be played back by others without the need for the GarageBand app.

20. Select the level of quality you wish than click “share” so that you can then choose how you wish to share it, whether by airdrop to another iPad or saved somewhere else of your choosing.

21. You can even save it to this iPad just into iPad Notes so you can keep it beside typed text without having to have an internet connection to share elsewhere – you can still share this note and the recording later elsewhere.

Do you want to add background music to the audio recording of spoken text?

GarageBand has a host of inbuilt musical instruments available from which to choose to create a musical backing track to your audio recording of the spoken text. You don’t have to add this but it can add another dimension to the recording, especially if the recording is to be shared elsewhere. Also, as the musical background track is being added, the learner once more listens to the text to which the background track is added each time adjustments are made.

You don’t need to be able to play the chosen instrument, or know much about music, since GarageBand includes options for using neat auto-creation wizards. For this guide the steps will show how to add a guitar backing track.

How to add a guitar backing track to audio recording of spoken text

  1. Open the audio recording of spoken text you previously created in GarageBand
  2. Ensure you are viewing in track mode (click on the track icon to the top left next to the downwards pointing arrow).
  3. Click on the + symbol to the bottom left to add another track.

4. Slide from left to right until the guitar choice appears on screen

5. Click on “smart guitar” at the bottom left

6. Now click on the icon which looks like a volume control dial at the top right

7. Click on the “Autoplay” dial so that the choice dot aligns with number 4 (you can make a different choice as you wish).

8. Try out creating music simply by clicking in turn on each chord to hear how it might sound. When you are ready to record the music simply click on the red record button, wait for the countdown, and then start playing your choice of chord buttons – note that you will hear the previously recorded audio recording of spoken text played back so that you will be able to match your guitar chords playing with this recording, and click on the white square stop icon to finish recording.

9. You can click on this guitar track to choose from the menus as to whether to delete and try again, or split and cut elements. You can adjust the relative volume of this track by sliding from the left and adjusting the volume control there.

10. Once ready to save and share this recording click on the downwards facing arrow at the top left

Looking to learn how to use more features of GarageBand iPad app?

Click on the link below for a free online manual on the Apple support site which guides you through every aspect of using the GarageBand app on an iPad

https://help.apple.com/garageband/ipad/2.3/ 

 

The video below “Beginner’s Guide to GarageBand for iPad” on the excellent Technology for Teachers and Students YouTube channel provides an introduction to using GarageBand on an iPad, including a host of tips and suggestions for using different features of the app.

 

Apple Teacher classroom-specific guide to using GarageBand

Click on the link below to sign up for the free Apple Teacher programme. This comprises standalone modules, one of which covers the use of GarageBand in a classroom setting

https://www.apple.com/uk/education/apple-teacher/