Author Archives: Malcolm Wilson

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/

PicCollage for the Classroom⤴

from @ ICT for Learning & Teaching in Falkirk Schools

Pic⏺Collage – much more than the name might suggest, Pic⏺Collage is a free app which works on multiple platforms including iPads, Android, Windows and Amazon devices. Yes of course it can create collages of multiple images but it can do much more! And it has uses to support across the curriculum in different ways.

Grids

At its most straightforward you can create a collage of multiple images in one single image to illustrate an aspect of learning in an overview.

And Pic⏺Collage provides a range of grid templates from which to choose. Simply open the app, choose “grids”, select your images from your device, select the outline shape/proportion from the size tab, then from Grid tab choose from the range of grid types – note that you can choose from overlapping freestyle or from different numbers of images and relative sizes.

In addition, for any selected grid template, you can click on any single image at a time and adjust the relative proportions/size of each image to reflect how you want the complete collage of images to appear.

The size of the gap between each image (the background), as well as the outline of the entire collage, can be adjusted by using the slider (you can adjust it so there is no background or gap between images). Click on the third tab, background, to choose the colour or pattern which will appear between images and around the outline of the collage.

The Tweet by @MPS_Primary6 used the app to select images to illustrate mood and diplay in a grid template and overlay with text

 

Stickers

For any collage you can add stickers, from speech/thought bubbles to smiley faces to thumbs-up  and more. These stickers can be handy if you have a need to obscure elements of an image, such as to hide faces or to blank out names or other text details. Once placed on a collage a sticker can be moved, rotated or resized.

Text

You can add text to any collage, choosing from a range of typefaces/fonts. You can choose the colour of the letters as well as the colour of the text box (or choose to have no background colour or text box visible). You can choose how to align text within a text box if you choose to show the text box, and choose whether or bot to display an outline in each letter.

See the Tweet below from @MrsOrrCPS for examples of how this app has been used by learners choosing an image or background, then overlaying their self-created poetry text which the image reflects.

Web image search facility

The inbuilt web image search provides the option to easily find images, including animated gifs, to add on top of your collage.

@P7PWPS chose images and backgrounds in the app, and then used the text tool to overlay descriptive words in French

 

Doodle

The doodle option lets you choose the size of the drawn line and the colour of drawing tool. Then you simply draw freehand on top of the collage. Once drawn this drawn image can then be moved, rotated or resized as required.

Animation

Selecting “animation” gives you the option to select from various animations, including moving from side to side or moving into the centre, wiggling or spreading and more. The animation applies to all of the elements of the collage. These animated collages can be shared online via website or social media where the animations will then be seen.

Teacher’s Corner

Pic⏺Collage has a Teacher’s Corner area of their blog full of ideas about how this app can be used in the classroom to support learning. Head over to https://blog.piccollage.com/category/teachers-corner/ to check it out.

Look at the Tweets below shared by schools about the ways they have used this app:

So how have you used this app? Do share in the comments here how you have used the app in your classroom

You are getting older – combining history with numeracy in the classroom⤴

from @ ICT for Learning & Teaching in Falkirk Schools

You’re getting old! This a an online tool where you enter a date, such as a birthdate, and the site presents a whole range of calculations related to that day by comparison to the current date and time.

The calculations presented include (if it’s for a birthdate) exactly how old at that moment in time that person would be in years, months and days, then presents that as a total number of days, as well as the total number since birth for that date of candles on a birthday cake, the approximate number of times that person’s heart would have beaten, total number of breaths, number of times the moon has orbited the earth in that time, and the number of people who were alive on earth on that birthdate compared to the number today.

As a bit of fun it has some entertainment value, but for a classroom it can also help introduce the concept of comparisons of time in history, or other curricular areas related to specific pieces of information (such as science when looking at heartbeats, breaths or moon orbits).

Another calculation included is in making a comparison to the length of time elapsed from the birthdate until today compared to something in history  from that same birthdate but going backwards in time by nearly as far back. Thus as an example for a child in a class whose birthdate might have been 29 January 2010, thus comparison calculation on that date in 2019 would be “When you were born was nearer to the 9/11 terror attacks than today.” This can highlight something that to people who have that earlier event in their own lifetime perhaps reflecting the passage of time between people of different ages and their perceptions of how long ago something happened.

There are links to social subjects when it comes to comparing, for the length of time which has elapsed since the birthdate selected, how far a single location on the planet has travelled as it rotates, the distance travelled as the Earth revolves around the Sun, and more.

Then the site picks out selected historical events from the birth year, from early childhood, later years as appropriate. And it notes the dates on which that child will reach certain milestones – in a classroom context when numbers start to get large when you can no longer actually picture them in your mind, this site can be used to get children to try to guess the number of days until certain landmark dates before revealing the site’s calculations.

For birthdates of adults (you can use those of celebrities known to pupils) there are additional comparison calculations (they won’t appear for children’s ages since it relies on information comparing the ages of two other well-known people) – such as taking an adult’s age and showing it as the sum of two younger people (so that could be an older named actor being the same age as two other named child-actors.

One last comparison displayed is a pie chart showing the number of people born on the same birthdate as that selected and highlighting the number who are still living. This, like many of the other calculations, can provide the starting point for discussions for social studies subjects.

Give it a go http://you.regettingold.com and please do share in the comments below how you’ve used this tool in the classroom,