Author Archives: Malcolm Wilson

Be Internet Legends – Google and ParentZone internet safety educational resource⤴

from @ ICT for Learning & Teaching in Falkirk Schools

Primary schools are invited to sign up to receive the new free online safety resource developed by Google with ParentZone for children aged 7-11. This new “Be Internet Legends” curriculum is a free internet safety educational resource for pupils aged 7-11 years-old, created by Google along with Parent Zone, and includes lesson plans and activities, stickers and poster delivering important internet safety messages. It’s all free to order, one per teacher, from this link: https://parentzone.org.uk/be-internet-legends

Google and ParentZone are also offering free “Be Internet Legends” visits from their team to present at school assemblies across the country. If your school would like to have their team visit to deliver a “Be Internet Legends” assembly then simply indicate on the pack order at this link: https://parentzone.org.uk/be-internet-legends

There is a frequently-asked-questions page for this at this link: https://parentzone.org.uk/article/be-internet-legends-faqs

The Be Internet Legends scheme of work helps pupils learn the skills they need to be safe and confident online based around four internet safety pillars:

  • Think Before You Share: (Be Internet Sharp);
  • Check it’s for Real: (Be Internet Alert);
  • Protect Your Stuff: (Be Internet Secure);
  • Respect Each Other: (Be Internet Kind);

The fifth pillar brings everything together, providing valuable follow-up discussions to have in class or during a safeguarding discussion: When in Doubt, Discuss (Be Internet Brave)

 

Creating a Multi-user Collaborative Presentation with Microsoft PowerPoint Online⤴

from @ ICT for Learning & Teaching in Falkirk Schools

The go-to presentation-creation tool for many teachers and pupils is PowerPoint. So as your pupils are already familiar with using Microsoft PowerPoint then consider using Microsoft PowerPoint Online available to all Glow users in Scottish schools as part of Microsoft Office 365. PowerPoint Online is available anytime, anywhere with online access so can be accessed at home or at school.

You can upload an existing PowerPoint presentation from your computer or other device to your OneDrive in Office 365 in Glow (and then edit online from then onwards) or you can simply log into your OneDrive and create a new PowerPoint presentation completely online. You can choose to keep the presentation 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 PowerPoint Online presentation visible to other users of your choice – and you can choose whether to allow them to just be able to view it or show it without being able to make changes, or you can give other users the access rights to be able to jointly edit the presentation with you, either at exactly the same time as you or at different times to suit each user.

Have a look at the Sway presentation here for a step-by-step guide for learners to create a PowerPoint presentation in PowerPoint 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 presentation.

 

The link below take you to a classroom activity for pupils to use PowerPoint Online to create (jointly with other pupils on different devices at the same time) a robot character. The step-by-step guide to this activity can be adapted for other curricular-specific tasks which would benefit from a group of pupils working collaboratively on the same PowerPoint presentation, whether simultaneously or at different times:

Passing the Power of Powerpoint

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

from @ ICT for Learning & Teaching in Falkirk Schools

So are your pupils are already familiar with using Microsoft Word? Then why not consider using Microsoft Word Online available to all Glow users in Scottish schools as part of Microsoft Office 365. Word Online is available anytime, anywhere with online access so can be accessed at home or at school.

Word Online can be used to create  document from the beginning (or you can upload an existing Word document 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 Word Online document 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 document with you.

Have a look at the Sway presentation here for a step-by-step guide for learners to create a Word document in Word 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 document.

Microsoft Learning Tools with Immersive Reader⤴

from @ ICT for Learning & Teaching in Falkirk Schools

Learning Tools with Immersive Reader provide users of Microsoft Office 365 (including Word and OneNote) with a range of tools to support learners with varying needs, making reading and writing more accessible for any learner. This is available to all Glow users in Scottish schools.

Have a look at the Sway presentation here to see more about Immersive Reader and Learning Tools

 

Microsoft Teams for Education – classroom in the cloud hub on any device⤴

from @ ICT for Learning & Teaching in Falkirk Schools

Microsoft Teams for Education

What is it?

Microsoft Teams for Education brings together in one tool (accessible either online, via desktop software or mobile device app) class conversations/discussions, file storage (with online collaborative editing or tools already familiar to teachers and learners such as Word, PowerPoint and Excel), video-conferencing, OneNote Class Notebook, assignments calendar along with a host of settings controls for teachers to manage their Class Teams space the way which works best for their class or classes.

Why would I want it for my classes?

Imagine a OneNote Class Notebook for every class with no additional setup administration – everything is controlled from the Microsoft Teams for Education team settings panel. There is a social-media-like conversations section for each class (with a range of different settings which the teacher controls to best suit what will work best for them and their class). Teachers and pupils do almost everything without leaving Teams such as setting tasks/homework as assignments or through Class Notebook – perhaps completely reducing the need for much photocopying. And nothing is lost or forgotten.

School Data Sync for automatically creating classes in Microsoft teams for Education in Glow

For schools using the data management system Seemis (as all Falkirk schools do) the classes are automatically set up as Class Teams once a school has requested School Data Sync is enabled (this can be requested by a member of a Falkirk school’s leadership team by logging into Glow and then clicking on this link). And by doing this any changes are automatically updated throughout the school year as soon as changes are made by the school to Seemis records. Click on this link for more information about School Data Sync for Glow users

Microsoft Teams for Education should save time and simplify everyday classroom organisation in sharing resources with learners, assigning and providing feedback on learner tasks, which a teacher can do from various devices and in a range of additional ways from normal, whether handwriting on OneNote, or typing feedback (with the option to use inbuilt dictation tools) or through audio or video, or using customisable sticky graphics tools. And, of course, benefits for learners also include the integration of Learning Tools and Immersive Reader in OneNote Class Notebooks bringing a range of accessibility tools to all of your learners in your class to use whatever supports them best.

Click on this link to see a video where a teacher explains on the Microsoft Educator Community how they use Microsoft Teams for Education with their class – including assigning tasks for learners and providing feedback on work completed.

Click on the video below for an introduction to getting started with Microsoft Teams for Education. This is the first of a series of videos in the playlist linked from this video – the other videos cover different aspects of using Microsoft Teams for Education

Okay, okay, so how do I start to use it?

Microsoft teams for Education is part of Microsoft Office 365 for Education so you can access it from any part of Office 365 (whether you are already in Outlook email, or OneDrive, Sway or other parts of office 365): simply click on the 9-square waffle at the top left of Office 365 and choose the Teams tile. Any Class Teams which are already set up for your school, and to which you have access, will appear in the teams navigation column. And you can add additional Teams manually (such as for groups of staff or for school clubs or groups).

You can also log in directly to the Microsoft Teams portal https://teams.microsoft.com/ – simply use your full Glow email address (which will likely be something like: gw09surnameforename@glow.sch.uk).

If you decide to manually create a new Microsoft Team then you will have a choice of different types of setup – whether a class, a staff group, a professional learning community or a club or group. The features of each of these are described at this link.

If you like to have a downloadable document you can edit or simply print out to help you get started using Microsoft Teams for Education then click on this link for a downloadable guide for educators to getting started in using Microsoft Teams for Education

There is a help site specific to Glow users for Microsoft Teams for Education – this provides Glow-specific advice about settings and what’s available to learners and what’s available to teachers.

Teams

Looking for support in learning how to make use of Microsoft Teams for Education?

If you’d like an interactive way to get a feel for the main features of Microsoft Teams then there is a neat Teams Demo site at the link below. Simply add a fictitious name into the first box and then follow the prompts to see what happens when you follow the steps. This will give a good outline of the main features of Microsoft Teams (but not that this is not education specific so makes no reference to additional classroom-specific features in Microsoft Teams for Education (so, for instance, there is no mention of learner assignments or of the education-specific version of OneNote, OneNote Class Notebook which is included in Microsoft Teams for Education).

Interactive Teams Demo: http://teamsdemo.office.com/

There is also a free online course in the Microsoft Educator Community (sign in with your Glow email address to gain a certificate, points and a badge!):
https://education.microsoft.com/courses-and-resources/courses/introtomicrosoftteams

And there are guides which can be downloaded and printed if desired from here:
https://education.microsoft.com/courses-and-resources/resources/meet-microsoft-teams

Some tips for using Microsoft Teams for Education

How to add a shortcut tile on your Glow launchpad

How to create a read-only folder in the files section of Microsoft Teams for Education

To change permissions in Microsoft teams on Files tab to have a folder which is read-only for members:

    1. Log in to Glow – choose OneDrive tile – click on 9-square waffle and choose “Teams” tile
    2. Click on class team name and “General” channel below name
    3. Click on files tab – create new folder and name that “Read-only files”
    4. Click on the 3 dots (ellipsis) to the right of the folder name you create OR tick in the box to the left and choose “Open in Sharepoint” above the files
    5. Once in SharePoint tick in the radio button to the left of the “Read-only files” folder then click on the i (letter i inside a circle) icon at the top right then click on “manage access”
    6. You will see a list of users or groups – select members and change permissions from “Can edit” to “view only” by selecting “change to view only”

How to set assignments and provide feedback in Microsoft Teams for Education

Click on this link for step by step guidance to using the assignments features for setting tasks for learners, tracking completion, reviewing assignments, and providing feedback.

https://support.office.com/en-gb/article/Create-an-assignment-in-Microsoft-Teams-23c128d0-ec34-4691-9511-661fba8599be?ui=en-US&rs=en-GB&ad=GB

How to retrieve deleted files and other frequently asked questions when using Microsoft Teams

Click on this link to access a Frequently Asked Questions support page for Microsoft teams on Microsoft Office Support site

How to manage a OneNote Class Notebook created within Microsoft Teams

To manage a OneNote Class Notebook created within Microsoft Teams for Education (for instance to switch on/off collaboration space or to enable the teacher-only section) click on the three dots ellipsis … beside the team name in Microsoft Teams – click on “view team” – choose “settings” tab then “OneNote Class Notebook” and make choices as you require.

If you choose to manage aspects of a OneNote Class notebook through the management panel for OneNote you will find OneNote Class Notebooks which have been created in Microsoft Teams show up under “Co-owned notebooks”

How to manually add an additional teacher or pupil to Microsoft Team class

To manually add additional teachers (or pupils) in Microsoft teams for Education click on the 3-dots ellipsis … beside the team name – select “add members” – choose teacher tab (or student tab for pupils) and add the usernames for the members of staff or pupils you wish to add.

Developing your skills in using an iPad in the classroom with Apple Teacher⤴

from @ ICT for Teaching & Learning in Falkirk Primary Schools

If you are using iPads in a classroom setting then you may find the free online Apple Teacher professional learning programme provides you with support for making more effective use of more features of iPads for learning and teaching.

Just go to https://www.apple.com/uk/education/apple-teacher/ and sign up for the Apple Teacher programme – you can use any existing Apple ID you may have already, or you can create an Apple ID from the site to get onto the Apple Teacher programme.

Once you are signed in you then have access to all of the interactive Apple Teacher Starter Guides which aim to guide you through various features of using an iPad in an educational setting. So whether you are looking for support in using iMovie, GarageBand, Keynote, Pages and Numbers, or simply basic features of iPad settings, further productivity settings, tools and features or ways to develop creativity with an iPad, all of which which you may find helpful in the classroom, these materials support you to become more confident and productive to use an iPad to support learning and teaching.

Each module within the Apple Teacher programme includes an associated interactive assessment quiz – as you pass each quiz you earn a badge to chart your progress. When you have completed all 8 assessment quizzes your achievement is recognised with you being awarded the designation of Apple Teacher, conferring on you the right to use the official Apple Teacher logo that you can share with the world!

If you use Twitter, or other social media platforms, you can follow the hashtag #AppleTeacher to share in the uses of iPads by colleagues worldwide.

 

Fake, Fiction or Fact? How can learners be helped to work out what’s true?⤴

from @ ICT for Teaching & Learning in Falkirk Primary Schools

There are so many choices for sources of news for learners to find out about what’s going on the world today, whether printed media, online news sites or social media. But how can learners be helped to be able to work out if what they are reading has any substance in fact, how accurate the information is, or what the biases are likely to be?

How can you spot fake news?

howtospotfakenewsinfographicHow to Spot Fake News – the IFLA (the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions), with thanks to www.factcheck.org, created an infographic detailing steps we can all take when trying to work out if what we are reading, hearing or watching is verifiable. This helps teach the skills of critical thinking and media literacy. This describes with visual representation 8 steps to take to help determine the likely authenticity of shared information: to consider the source, to read beyond the headline, the check credibility of the author, to look at linking sources, to check the date to see if current, to research to see if it’s satire, to consider your own biases and the likely ones of the source sharing the information, and to consult fact-checking sites. The infographic is available to download as either an image or in pdf format for printing.

takkfakenewsliteracy

Digital Literacy and “Fake News” – Resources to Help you help your students – many links collated by librarian-turned-technology-specialist Nancy Watson @nancywtech which help teachers guide their learners through ways to spot fake news and techniques to work out the authenticity of the shared information. The links include sites aimed at different age groups, teachers, younger learners, as well as for general public use. They include fact-checking sites as well as tips and advice to determining reliability of what is shared.

nwfakenewsepidemicDigital Literacy and the “Fake News” EpidemicNancy Watson has produced a superb resource for educators sharing a host of advice, tips and resources to support teachers support their learners to better be able to be discerning about the information shared online or in the print media. This includes examples of fake news and outlines the steps anyone can take to determine it to be factually inaccurate.

nprfakeorrealFake or real? How to self-check the news and get the facts – a post by digital news intern Wynne Davis describing the issue of fake news and giving practical advice for all ages about how to help determine whether what you are reading is true or fiction. Tips include checking the domain name (especially similar-sounding names), looking at quotations in the story (and checking up on who they are and anything known about them online), searching the quote itself to see if it properly attributed or taken out of context, check the comments to get a flavour of whether others call out the facts as being untrue and cite sources to back up their claims, reverse image search (right click on an image online and choose to search Google for it to see where else it is used and the context in which it is used).

Internet Archive and Wayback Machine

internetarchiveWouldn’t it be great if, when someone says content has changed on a website, or disappeared completely, that there was a way to look back at what was there beforehand? Well, The Internet Archive saves a huge amount of online content from many sources around the web (several hundred billion webpages!). This relies on the Wayback Machine (which is part of the Internet Archive) trawling on a regular basis for changed content. So if you search for a website and it is no longer available you can pop the weblink into the Wayback Machine (which is part of The Internet Archive) and look back at previous versions just by choosing a specific date. It will only be available for dates on which a trawl was made so is not available for every date but it’s still very impressive to be able to look at a website change over time and to be able to compare and contrast with versions over time.

savepagenowCan you save a web page on Wayback machine so it’s always there for future reference? Yes you can! You can simply capture a web page as it appears now for future use as a trusted citation in the future, or just to ensure it does not disappear when the original website changes or disappears. All you do is paste the weblink when you first find it on the Save Page Now” part of the Internet Archive site.

Fact-checking sites

There are a number of sites which can be used to verify whether stories (particularly those which appear on social media and spread like wildfire) have any basis in fact or whether they are urban myths, or out and out lies or propaganda. These include Politifact, Snopes, and Factcheck.org

Do you think you read with your bias? What bias does the writer have?

biasesaffectingusallBiases which affect us all – an infographic created by Business Insider which lists and describes 20 biases which we can all have when we read, hear or share information. Whether it’s a tendency to have a reliance on the first piece of information we hear, whether we are influenced by hearing the same information shared by a group, whether the information confirms what we already believed, stereotyping, or information which implies cause and effect, or many more – this infographic provides a useful starting point for discussing with learners the range of influences on us all when we all read or hear information.

 

Are we really there? Virtual Reality in the classroom⤴

from @ ICT for Teaching & Learning in Falkirk Primary Schools

So what is Virtual Reality or VR?

img_9516Virtual Reality, or VR, provides a means to have an experience of a location or object (whether real or imaginary) through a mobile device, often viewed through a headset, in such a way that when the viewer moves around they see the virtual view moving with them. So the images are usually 360 degree images and can be in 3D so that when viewed on a mobile device within a headset with twin lenses it appears to the viewer as being  as close to being there as possible. When you move forward, tilt your head, look up – it’s as if you are doing the same in the virtual reality experience.

What are the options for the classroom?

The least expensive option for using Virtual Reality in a classroom would be Google Expeditions using Google Cardboard viewers (while they can be viewed without a twin-lens 3D viewer the viewer will lose the feeling of 3D) which are held by the hand up to the eyes. More expensive options are available with a variety of VR viewer headsets (such as Microsoft HoloLens, Gear VR or Oculus Rift headsets) and accompanying sensors (often handheld) so that the experience can involve touching or interacting with objects within a VR experience – as you approach or touch something in virtual reality it will react in a way as it in real life.

Google Expeditions with Google Cardboard Viewers

img_9526Google Expeditions are virtual reality experiences designed with a classroom guided exploration in mind. The teacher downloads the choice of virtual reality location using the Google Expeditions app and starts the expedition. Then when the pupil on the same wi-fi connection starts the app on their device they will see the teacher-directed expedition awaiting them.

In Google Expeditions the teacher application provides suggestions for questions or directions to guide learners as they explore the virtual environment. The teacher can see on their mobile device app where the learners are exploring on their screens, and can make suggestions as the learners explore.

The video below is a promotional video for Google Expeditions in the classroom giving a brief overview of what it looks like in a classroom setting where a teacher with a tablet device guides pupils each holding a Google Cardboard headset viewer.

How do I get started using Google Expeditions?

The video below is a guided tutorial to using Google Expeditions

How do I use Google Expeditions with iPads or Android tablets?

The video below shows how Google Expeditions can be viewed on iPads rather than smartphones. Many school may already have iPads or Android tablets, and the Google Expeditions apps will work on these too. However the Google Cardboard viewer is designed with the size of a smartphone in mind. If you wish to use the app on an iPad or Android tablet then when running the setup at the point where you see the two images side by side there is a small icon at the top right which lets you change the twin view to single view. Having done that the view will no longer be 3D and will no longer be held up to the eyes of the viewer but simply handheld.

How to use Google Expeditions on iPads or tablet devices in the classroom

Where can I find Virtual Reality Experiences for my classroom?

Google Expeditions provides a superb source of Virtual Reality experiences ready to be downloaded for use on devices in the classroom.

discoveryvrDiscovery VR provides a wide range of downloadable virtual reality experiences in an educational context. Each is available for specific devices and come with notes for use by the educator with their class to guide their learners in the exploration of the experience.

 

Ideas for using Virtual Reality in the classroom

edtech4beginnersvr10ideas10 Simple Ways to Use Google Cardboard in the Classroom – a post by Neil Jarrett on the EdTech4 Beginners blog describing different ways in which the virtual reality app Google Cardboard can be used in the classroom.

whiteboardblogideasforvr

Ideas for using Google Cardboard Virtual Reality in the classroom – a blogpost on the Whiteboard Blog by Danny Nicholson

What Virtual Reality experiences have you used with your class?

Please share how you have used virtual reality experiences with your class by adding a comment below

 

Microsoft Classroom – supporting teachers supporting learners⤴

from @ ICT for Teaching & Learning in Falkirk Primary Schools

msftclassroomscreensWhat is Microsoft Classroom?

In a nutshell, it’s an online environment where a teacher can assign tasks, track who’s completed tasks with ease, or provide feedback to support learners, share in seconds OneNote pages to every individual pupil’s section which can only be seen by the teacher and that individual pupil, have peer-to-peer conversations for collaborative work between learners or for teachers to provide individualised support to learners through teacher-pupil discussions. It joins up features available in Office 365 for Education – the OneNote Class Notebook, messaging, calendar, feedback, groups and email especially for classrooms. It works via a browser, or computer or mobile app for smartphone or tablet.

intromsftclassroommix

Click on this link for an interactive step-by-step guide to Microsoft Classroom, what it looks like, how it works and how a teacher might use it with their learners. This interactive guide takes you through the steps combining video, audio, screenshots as well as inviting you to click on the sections to see what happens and move to the next step to find out how Microsoft Classroom works for a teacher.

https://classroom.cloudguides.com/en-us/guides/Introducing%20Microsoft%20Classroom#

How to get set up Microsoft Classroom

Teachers and pupils in Scottish schools have access to Microsoft Classroom using their Glow login details. Just log into Glow, choose any Office 365 tile then, from any part of Office 365, just click on the 9-square waffle and choose the Classroom tile. Alternatively go to Microsoft Classroom website and use your Glow login details to log in straight from there https://classroom.microsoft.com/

The video below is to the first in a playlist created by Microsoft Education of a series of short videos showing how to get started with Microsoft Classroom and how to undertake a variety of tasks a teacher may wish to do with their class.

Microsoft has an online support section for Microsoft Classroom – Getting Started with Microsoft Classroom – click on the links which best suit what you need for step by step guides.

https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Getting-started-with-Microsoft-Classroom-dd5d064f-6c22-41e0-b721-9d359857d037

The Microsoft Educator Community has an introduction to Microsoft Classroom guiding users through the features, setup and management of Microsoft Classroom. Educators are encouraged to sign up on the Microsoft Educators Community as recognition is then given for completion of a course and assessment in the form of badge and certificate https://education.microsoft.com/GetTrained/introduction-to-microsoft-classroom

Miguel Guhlin has created a playlist of videos exploring different features of Microsoft Classroom and how different parts can be used in a classroom situation by a teacher with their class of learners. There’s videos showing the learner view, including on a tablet device, as well as examples showing how teachers might share different kinds of resources, how learners might complete tasks, and how a teacher might provide different forms of feedback.

Scott Letts has created some tutorial video guides to using Microsoft Classroom, How to set up Microsoft Classroom and Creating an assignment in Microsoft Classroom.

Mobile Device App

When setting up the app on a mobile device it will usually ask for the Office 365 for Education – that will be the full Glow email address.

How to make use of existing OneNote Class Notebooks in Microsoft Classroom

Schools which have already been using Microsoft OneNote and have existing OneNote Class Notebooks can associate Microsoft Classroom with existing Class Notebooks. To do this ensure you have the desktop version of OneNote installed on your computer, and have added the Class Notebook Add-in. Then to associate an existing Class Notebook with a Microsoft Classroom click on > Connections > Map Class Notebooks.

Is there a feature you’d like to see in Microsoft Classroom?

Microsoft Classroom has a user voice forum where users can feed back on features they’d like to see modified or added in future releases to better support the use of Microsoft Classroom by teachers and learners. Click on this link to see what others have requested and add your voice if there’s something which would make this even better for your classroom use.

https://edu.uservoice.com/forums/289447-general/category/165585-microsoft-classroom

Making Memes and Animated Gifs for Learning⤴

from @ ICT for Teaching & Learning in Falkirk Primary Schools

memeanimatedlearningMemes and animated gifs abound in social media. You don’t have to look too long online to see these appear, often being shared and shared by many people via their social media accounts, or prominent on webpages or blogposts to draw in the reader to find out more about a story or data.

Having learners create their own memes or animated gifs can support their learning across all areas of the curriculum. The process of demonstrating understanding of a concept involves learners in reflecting on their learning, often discussing with others to test the depth of that understanding, and then finding creative ways to present the information to others. Where learners are encouraged to make these animated gifs or memes to demonstrate their understanding of concepts they are reflecting on what the key points are, they are summarising, in effect creating a visual précis of information.

So what is an animated gif?

Animated gifs are short animations lasting just a few seconds, sometimes just a sequence of related images, sometimes a short looping segment or clip of a video, sometimes a stop-motion style of inanimate objects brought to life to convey a message.

horsingaroundmemeAnd what is an image meme?

Image Memes generally may consist of a single photograph with text along the top and foot of the image, sometimes black top and bottom borders where bold white text is superimposed. The text is often in capitalised Impact font.

The text is usually very short and the text along the top can often be the draw to bring in the viewer, and then the text along the foot can spin the idea to make the reader reflect on the issue, often with humorous effect.

Where learners might make memes  and animated gifs

Animated gifs and memes present messages in a visual, attention-grabbing way, to make those who view them stop and think. The most thought-provoking memes and animated gifs distil what can be a complex concept into the main idea which can be understood in just a few seconds.

problem-shared-is-problem-halvedA Mental Health and Wellbeing project, AyeMind, (which inspired this blogpost after a presentation by Dr Trevor Lakey, Health Improvement and Inequalities manager with NHSGGC) developed by the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde along with partner organisations, has a fantastic website to be a part of providing positive mental health support for children and young people.

Part of this was about digital inclusion, and using the tools, platforms and means of communications familiar to children and young people to engage and share. Part of this project was enabling talking about mental health issues in a positive, supportive environment and giving the children and young people a voice and opportunity to make better use of the Internet, social media and mobile technologies. The memes and animated gifs on the AyeMind project website were created by children and young people as part of the project.

How to create an animated gif

There are a number of free online tools which let users create an animated gif. When using in an educational setting it would be prudent to check for suitability of advertising or galleries of user-created content which is rarely moderated.

Aye_Mind_ChooseaQuestionIdeally find a tool which just offers the tool for creation of the animated gif. Each tool which creates an animated gif may provide different options such as the limit on the number of images which can be uploaded, the option to control the speed or frame-rate of the animation, the size of the output animated gif image, and sometimes further options. Some simply provide the option for users to specify the location of an already uploaded video online, and the starting and finishing point for the clip animated gif to be created.

The Young Scot website AyeMind project page provides an excellent outline of an activity for involving children and young people in deciding on the message they wish to convey and then shows step-by-step how to use either an online tool or a mobile app to create an animated gif. There are also plenty of example of memes and animated gifs created by children and young people on the Young Scot website AyeMind project page and an outline guide providing the steps to running a session with children, young people or adults on coming up with the ideas and then moving to making the memes or animated gifs.

Online tools or mobile apps for creating an animated gif:

ABCyaABC.ya animator – aimed at being suitable for young children since it only permits drawn images or selection of pictures from an inbuilt galley of images.

GifMaker.me – animated gif creator with several options from which to choose in controlling how the animated gif will be presented, and provides the option to add music or even combine several animated gifs. As with any creation tool it provides the opportunity to explore sources of images and content found elsewhere, to use only where permission is granted and attribution given as required.

MakeAGif – provides the option to make a gif from an uploaded existing video or from an online source on YouTube, from which the specific segment can be selected. Be aware of the gallery of examples which would not all be appropriate for an educational setting.

EZGif – provides the option for animated gifs from multiple images (up to 400) or from video. There is advertising on the site but no gallery of user-created content.

Mobile device apps – many apps are available for smartphone or tablet to create animated gifs. Leslie Walker put together “Mobile GIF Guide: Make Animated GIFs on Your Phone” which lists several apps for mobile phones or tablet devices, along with descriptions of the features of each. Justin Pot gathered together “Making an animated gif is easier than you think with these  which lists online tools as well as mobile device apps, including descriptions and guidance as to how to make use of each. Elise Moreau collated a list of free animated gif creators for mobile devices at “9 Free GIF Maker Apps for iPhone and Android” describing each and providing helpful hints as to how each can be used.

Online tools or mobile device apps for creating an image meme

Any image-creation tool (or a presentation tool like PowerPoint) on computer, mobile or tablet device can usually be used for creating an image meme – wherever an image can be placed with the facility to overlay text either along the top and bottom of the image, or within a border of black along the top and bottom of the image for white text to be superimposed on these black panels. There are online tools but as with any free online tool a having unmoderated galleries of user-created content has to be a factor an educator looks at in assessing the suitability of a tool in an educational context, however the following may provide the teacher with ideas, guides as well as inspire an adaptation of an existing meme to suit the learning need. Meme creation online tools include imgFlip Meme generator, MemeMaker.Net, MemeGenerator.net, and ImageChef Meme Maker (be aware that all of these have galleries of user-generated content which would not generally be suitable in an educational context but selected memes may be shared by a teacher for showing examples).

Mobile device apps specifically for creating image memes have been collated on the AppCrawlr site “Best iOS apps for meme generator” and “Best Android apps for meme generator.” Mobile device users may well find they already have one of these apps as several have multiple purposes such as for editing images.