Tag Archives: Project-based learning

Stop-motion animation with Stikbot iPad app in the classroom⤴

from @ ICT for Learning & Teaching in Falkirk Schools

Stop-motion animation creation by pupils in a classroom is an engaging way for learners to demonstrate their learning.

Whether that’s showing the steps in the processes involved in a numerical calculation (from something as simple as showing the story of 5 for young learners, or how to do long division to more complex mathematical equations); or to illustrate a short text (whether poem or story); or to illustrate a phenomenon in science or an experiment (such as showing the water cycle or life cycle of a butterfly).

Learners spending time breaking down what they are learning into stop-motion animation frames gives time for reflection and to help both deepen understanding as they work with others, conversing and collaborating to seek to show the essence of their learning in moving images.

The Sway below gives a step by step guide to using the free Stikbot stop-motion animation iPad app (also available for iPhone and Google Android phones or tablets), including illustrations of how it can be used in the classroom.

 

 

 

Musical Creativity with Chrome Music Lab⤴

from @ ICT for Learning & Teaching in Falkirk Schools

Chrome Music Lab is a free online music creation webtool from Google. It is described as “a website that makes learning music more accessible through fun, hands-on experiments” and can be used on any web-connected device through most Internet browsers, so it will work on desktop computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone (just note that it does not work on Internet Explorer).

You don’t need to sign up for any account, you can just start creating right away, and exploring different features of music, and linking to other areas of the curriculum. These can be used in open-ended ways but direct links can be made to link to the science and mathematics of sound/music through practical activities looking at sound waves, vibrations, oscillations, or to artists like Kandinsky and relationship to shape.

There’s different tools: Song Maker, Rhythm, Spectrogram, Chords, Sound Waves, Arpeggios, Kandinsky, Melody Maker, Voice Spinner, Harmonics, Piano Roll, Oscillators, and Strings. Open any of these tools from the launchpad and simply click on the “About” link on each one to find out the straightforward guide to using each tool. Or just play about and have fun with each one – and then have a look at the “About” link to see what you’ve just been learning!

Each tool is visually very user-friendly and younger users could simply explore by trial and error and still gain a lot from experimenting. For those who wish to explore further they will find each tool has a wide range of permutations to be adaptable for different ages, stages and learning outcome desired.

Have a look at the quick introductory video to Chrome Music Lab here to get an idea of what it looks like

To see what it’s all about, and for examples of how it’s being used in classrooms, then have a browse through the collated Chrome Music Lab Twitter Moments below:

 

Why Wikis – the wonderful world of wikis in the classroom⤴

from @ ICT for Teaching & Learning in Falkirk Primary Schools

wikiwordle2What’s a Wiki?

Probably the best know Wiki is Wikipedia, ranked in the top ten of all websites, attracting hundreds of millions of visitors a month to the reference articles by tens of thousands of contributors. And, in a nutshell, that’s an illustration of what sets a wiki apart from other websites, blogs and online spaces – a wiki provides the facility for creation and editing of an online space by multiple users, with a transparent trail of edits for all who visit, making changes (and who made them) visible to all, and providing the facility to set alerts to changes made on the wiki so that anyone can be notified of changes as soon as they are made.

Why Use a Wiki in the Classroom?

Anywhere you might wish to have a collaborative online space for an educational purpose then a wiki can provide the means to support this. Whether it is for an online space to share resources with learners, or somewhere the learners themselves can jointly pool their research findings, links to articles elsewhere online, or with attached documents, presentations, videos, images and more. Not only can the wiki content be modified, but so can the look, feel and structure be manipulated to meet the needs of the group of users. So it might be a piece of creative collaborative writing, or it might be a place to bring together several pieces of writing on the same topic by each pupil in a class.

You can decide with a wiki who is going to be able to see the wiki – perhaps just the individual pupil and teaching staff, or a group of pupils and their teacher, or a whole class or school. Or you can make the wiki public for all to view. And equally you can decide who you wish to be able to modify the wiki – just one person, a small group, a class, the whole school or the entire world!

Here’s just some ideas for using a wiki in the classroom:

  • Outdoor learning or class trip observations, individually or jointly with others.
  • Science experiment planning, the process and record of observations – you can add video, pictures and audio descriptions.
  • Historical project – bringing together different pages perhaps by different learners on their chosen area of a local study, or a combined research topic on a historical theme.
  • Creative writing – individuals can use the revision feature of the tool to demonstrate to their teacher and others how their writing has developed. Other learners can be invited to add comments to encourage and offer suggestions.
  • A teacher can collate all resources on a single topic into one online space, bringing together documents in different formats, video, audio, images and links to related resources elsewhere.
  • Set tasks for learners, and the wiki can also be the space for them to submit their work – the wiki can be set to only be viewable by those in the class, or each pupil can have a space private to them and their teacher, with only the teacher’s main wiki space able to be seen by only the whole class.

TeacherGuideWikisThe Teacher’s Guide on the Use of Wikis in Education can be found on the Educational Technology and Mobile Learning blog – this provides many examples of the uses of wikis in a classroom setting and more advice on how wikis can be used in education.

Cybrary Man wikisCybraryman’s Wikis page – a comprehensive page of links by Jerry Blumengarten to hosts of educational wikis, guides to making use of wikis in a classroom setting, advice, examples and much more – worth a visit to be inspired to use a wiki in your classroom.

 What wiki-creation tools are there for classroom use?

wikispacesWikispaces provides a wiki platform for all users, and a specific wiki platform for  educational use, called Wikispaces Classroom. It is described on their site as “A social writing platform for education. We make it incredibly easy to create a classroom workspace where you and your students can communicate and work on writing projects alone or in teams.

GlowWikisGlow Wikis are available to all Glow users in Scotland, and Glow wikis are provided by Wikispaces, giving Glow users all of the functionality of a Wikispaces wiki (including Wikispaces Classroom which gives the option for additional classroom-specific tools) using their Glow username and password. Glow Wiki Help provides step by step guidance to getting started and how to develop a wiki in a classroom setting.

PBWorksPBWorks Education Wikis – free wiki platform for use in education (with premium version available for additional features). Lets you create student accounts without an email address, provides automated notifications of chnages to your wiki, easy to edit, gives you the option to grant access to those within or outwith your school, and of course to share pages, documents and any other content on your wiki – and it all works via mobile devices too.

 

Minecraft in the Classroom⤴

from @ ICT for Teaching & Learning in Falkirk Primary Schools

MinecraftcollageThere are many teachers who are using the enthusiasm of their learners for Minecraft to make use of this in creative ways in the classroom to engage learners across the curriculum.

Teachers can find the hook of games-based learning can bring otherwise reluctant learners to the table and let them shine. For some learners this can be one of their main interests outside of school, and a platform such as Minecraft, with a huge following, provides a motivational pull when that can be used to support learning in the curriculum.

Many teachers around the world have sought to make use of this enthusiasm by the learners for Minecraft – and many have shared their experiences for the benefit of others. This post seeks to bring together some of the resources shared by others to support teachers looking to use Minecraft to support the curriculum in their classes.

Minecraft in Education Advocates in Scotland

HotMilkyDrinkDerek Robertson (@DerekRobertson) is one of Scotland’s pioneers and advocates in the use of games-based learning and wrote about the benefits to learning  and teaching using games-based learning, including Minecraft, on Education Scotland’s blog (click here to read this).

http://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/glowblogs/LearningExperiences/2013/06/02/educators-learn-more-about-learning-in-minecraft/

Derek Robertson also has his own blog where he wrote more about the use of Minecraft for a local project (click here to read this).

http://hotmilkydrink.typepad.com/my_weblog/2014/11/minecraft-on-the-waterfront.html

ImmersiveMindsScotland’s Stephen Reid (@ImmersiveMind) is a Minecraft teacher, running a Minecraft server dedicated to teachers and parents all over the world and running lessons with children and Minecraft in curriculum learning. Find details here http://www.immersiveminds.com/ahpminecraftserver/. Stephen wrote about using Minecraft for classroom projects, such as this one here: http://www.immersiveminds.com/minecraft-lesson-idea-flags/

MinecraftEdu – an education-specific version of Minecraft

There is a version of the Minecraft software which is specifically designed for use in educational contexts and there is a MinecraftEdu wiki on setting up and using Minecraft in Education version of the software which can be found at: http://services.minecraftedu.com/wiki/Getting_started#How_to_purchase

Andrew Miller (@betamiller) has written about the use of Minecraft in education: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/minecraft-in-classroom-andrew-miller

Article about use of MinecraftEdu in the classroom: http://www.edge-online.com/features/minecraft-in-the-classroom/

Setting up Minecraft in School

The following link provides guides to setting up a Minecraft club in school: http://www.gamingedus.org/ – with good advice here: http://www.gamingedus.org/2014/11/seven-tips-to-setting-up-a-minecraft-club-at-your-school/

The following link is to a guide to setting up and using Minecraft specifically in Primary School: http://primaryminecraft.com/starting/

There is an Australian site which is for a child and parent to set up a free online Minecraft account hosted by JoKaydia in Australia – it is not for schools but they have a contact to ask about a subscription for use by schools for a class: http://massively.jokaydia.com/about/

Set up off a network

Many teachers around the world report  technical hurdles in using Minecraft in school. The issues are not generally about the software (which can usually be purchased in the same way as other software), nor the installation (in many schools, as with most software installations onto a network device, that would most often have to be done by an ICT Engineer or support technician) but around the fact that if using a school networked PC it requires a dedicated server to be set up. That would require quite a bit more time for an ICT Engineer and may cause some anxiety for network engineers around security of the main school network and bandwidth demands, and solutions which have been found to work in schools situations in one part of the world don’t necessarily sit comfortably with the other priorities and concerns of network engineers to meet needs of all users of an education network.

One solution is to avoid the school network altogether and to use a PS3 or Xbox 360 with Minecraft in offline mode. This can present the least expensive route for some schools to get going, and to avoid issues with being on the network:

1. Obtain a PS3 or Xbox360 – someone may have one at home which they will happily donate to the school after they  have upgraded to a new model.

2. The device needs to connect to the Internet at the beginning at setup in order to download updates, set up the account and download the software, all before it comes into school (where, in many schools, you would not be able to connect to the network/Internet). So this would be easiest done by someone on a home wireless network – connect to the web, go to xbox live – create a profile – download updates – go to the store – purchase and download Minecraft and texture packs such as city (if using Minecraft rather than MinecraftEdu then educators have recommended to ensure that then when setup set to use offline, creative mode and peaceful!).

3. Back in the classroom it would then be connected directly to the projector or to a TV with DVI connection.

The Minecraft experience at Shieldhill Primary School

ShieldhillPSMinecraftChiara Sportelli wrote about the experience of first using Minecraft with pupils at Falkirk’s Shieldhill Primary School: “Using Minecraft the pupils are really engaged with their work. It has allowed them the experience of being ‘experts’ as some know more about it than some of their peers who are unfamiliar with the game. For some children working on Minecraft has allowed them to demonstrate equal or in some cases more advanced knowledge than their peers for the first time. One activity involves children completing a comprehension task where they create and build a camp based on a written description. They were all really keen to work on the project as homework (they actually asked for homework!). My idea was that they are a group of adventurers who have discovered a new land, they have had to build their camp and plant crops for survival. The write a journal entry each week detailing their progress and any obstacles they have encountered. They also created a 2D Minecraft version of themselves and character profile as part of the adventuring group, on paper. We then started a decision based continuation of their original story as settlers in a new land and planned for them to create a story path within the game and treasure hunt linked to moral dilemmas.”

So how have you used Minecraft with your pupils?

Do comment if you’ve used Minecraft in the classroom and would like to share your experience

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wikipedia in the classroom – do you know all it can do?⤴

from @ ICT for Teaching & Learning in Falkirk Primary Schools

Wikipedia ranks in the top 10 of all websites and may well be used by learners of all ages who search for information and find a Wikipedia entry one of the first suggested results from a web search on many, many topics. For all that it’s now a well-known encyclopedia, it could be likely that many users will only be aware of a fraction of the resources available via Wikipedia.

Wikipedia has a set of policies and guidelines summed up in its five pillars which all contributors must follow: Wikipedia is an encyclopedia; Wikipedia has a neutral point of view; Wikipedia is free content; Wikipedians should interact in a respectful and civil manner; and Wikipedia does not have firm rules. This requirement for anti-bias, verifiability, and reliable sourcing as well as the worldwide community of contributors can be seen to set Wikipedia apart from print-based published encyclopedia.

From the Wikipedia page about Wikipedia itself can be found the following: “Since its creation in 2001, Wikipedia has grown rapidly into one of the largest reference websites, attracting 470 million unique visitors monthly as of February 2012. There are more than 76,000 active contributors working on more than 31,000,000 articles in 285 languages. There are 4,644,653 articles in English. Every day, hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the world collectively make tens of thousands of edits and create thousands of new articles to augment the knowledge held by the Wikipedia encyclopedia. People of all ages, cultures and backgrounds can add or edit article prose, references, images and other media here. What is contributed is more important than the expertise or qualifications of the contributor. What will remain depends upon whether the content is free of copyright restrictions and contentious material about living people, and whether it fits within Wikipedia’s policies, including being verifiable against a published reliable source, thereby excluding editors’ opinions and beliefs and unreviewed research. Contributions cannot damage Wikipedia because the software allows easy reversal of mistakes and many experienced editors are watching to help ensure that edits are cumulative improvements.”

Wikipedia is a live collaboration differing from paper-based reference sources in important ways. Unlike printed encyclopedias, Wikipedia is continually created and updated, with articles on historic events appearing within minutes, rather than months or years. There is a Wikipedia page aimed specifically at providing advice for parents/carers or teachers of children and young people, about their use of Wikipedia: ”Wikipedia’s goal is to offer “the sum of all human knowledge” in a format which is legal to copy, modify and redistribute (copyleft, as we call it) to all, at no cost. With this aim in mind, we have grown to become one of the largest collections of information ever assembled, and enjoy a high profile as one of the most popular websites on the internet. We hope you will find huge educational value within this project; and amongst our millions of articles, you will certainly find many relevant to almost all areas of study. No encyclopedia should be the end of the line in any research, however, and we hope you’ll find our articles useful road maps for further exploration across a whole range of subjects. Wikipedia is freely editable by anyone and everyone, but this does not mean that anyone can write anything. Both inaccuracy and sheer vandalism are therefore problems that the project faces on a daily basis. However, a number of safeguards are in effect. These include insisting that editors cite reliable sources, as well as Recent Changes Patrolling for vandalism, and New Page Patrolling for recently created articles with inappropriate content.”

Did you know you can see the history of contributions or editing of a wikipedia entry? This lets you see what was changed, who added, edited or changed it as well as a summary of what the reasons for the change were. Look for the “view history” tab along the top of a Wikipedia page. On that page you can also find out more about contributors to a page. So if your learners are looking at digital literacy in the context of study or research on any topic this is a useful tool to provide sources of information, authors/contributors and to give an indication of how reliable and up to date the information provided on the Wikipedia entry is.

Did you know there is a Wikipedia for schools? This is a selection of articles from Wikipedia to support the school curriculum (specifically aimed at schools in the UK though can be accessed worldwide) and aimed at use by pupils. 6000 articles, 26 million words and 50,000 images which have been checked for use by schools, and are also categorised by school subject. You can even download Wikipedia for Schools from www.sos-schools.org/wikipedia-for-schools. You can also get a copy on USB memory stick.

Did you know there is a section on Wikipedia “Guidance for Young Editors – this gives advice aimed at young people creating or editing content. While this may not be seen as something which many young people will be looking to do, there are many who have particular interests where this would be useful to provide guidance aimed at them. For all younger users the guidance also provides a useful starting point, written in more accessible language aimed specifically at younger readers, about how Wikipedia as a joint collaborative research tool works.

Did you know there is a Wikipedia WikiProject Schools site? This provides space, templates and guidance specifically for schools to provide information about their school.

Did you know there is a Wikipedia:Student Assignments section? Occasionally teachers may have learning situations where it would be appropriate to have learners collaborate together on a joint project as an assignment using Wikipedia as the tool – it may be for specific areas local to the school or on specific topics where Wikipedia does not have a wealth of information. In that case the extensive guidance for teachers is essential reading for the teacher.

Did you know there is a Wikipedia List of Historical Anniversaries? For any day of the year, in any year, for any month, you will find an entry listing events on that day, births, deaths, holidays or observances. And of course, as with any entry in Wikipedia, there are links to the Wikipedia pages providing more information on any of these entries, whether individuals, groups or events. So in a classroom situation if you are going to be teaching about a particular topic it’s likely you will find something relating to that context on the particular day on which you are teaching that topic. And that can provide a form of engagement for learners to the topic about which they will be learning.

Did you know that, although you will often find using a search engine of your choice will bring up a Wikipedia page in one of the top returns, Wikipedia also has its own search box – just enter what you’re looking for into the Wikipedia Search box on any page and it will search only Wikipedia. Wikipedia also has a very useful Wikipedia Help page - this provides guidance about how to better target your searching to find exactly what you are looking for; it provides answers to commonly asked questions about Wikipedia itself; it provides links to guidance about how to go about editing Wikipedia pages; and how to report an issue with any Wikipedia page.

Did you know there is a Wikipedia Community Portal where you can see what’s needing to be done, whether adding an image to accompany an article, whether checking spelling, whether adding links to related material. This page provides a list of the elements needing attention, and may provide a useful way into using Wikipedia as a contributor for learners of all ages, rather than as simply consumers.

Did you know there is a Scots Language version of Wikipedia? This comprises many tens of thousands of articles written in Scots, which provides a rich source of material for all Scottish schools looking at the Scots language.

Did you know there is a Simple English Wikipedia? This has the “stated aim of providing an encyclopedia for people with different needs, such as students, children, adults with learning difficulties and people who are trying to learn English” and contains over 100,000 content pages. Not only do the articles use a simplified English, the tabs and menus also use simplified terms, making this ideal for use in the classroom with younger learners.

This article only scratches the surface of all that Wikipedia offers for schools – explore and see how it can help in your classroom

Gaining Ground with Geocaching⤴

from @ ICT for Teaching & Learning in Falkirk Primary Schools

Geocaching is a way to use mobile devices to engage learners with a geographical area – creating or finding hidden “caches” which can be found by solving clues to locate them.

OpenCaching is a free source of geocaches which can be downloaded to a mobile device (there are free apps for mobile devices). This site explains exactly what geocaching is all about, how it works, how learners can create geocaches or search for existing geocaches shared by others. The site details the etiquette of setting geocache challenges as well as providing guidelines for users who find geocaches, and links to the free downloadable apps for mobile devices.

Geocaching.com is a US site which provides a host of background information about geocaching, how to get started and how to create or find geocaches. There is a Geocaching 101 which provides answers to a series of frequently asked questions.

Ollie Bray has written about the use of geocaching by primary schools. This post sets out how geocaching can support various aspects of the curriculum, and also provides links to further resources for using geocaching in an educational setting.

Jen Deyenberg, in her Trails Optional blog, has written extensively about the use of geocaching in the primary classroom in particular. There are several blogposts in the geocaching category on this blog each either giving examples of how geocaching has been used to support specific curricular areas, or how to go about setting up geocaches. The helpful gudies as well as illustrations of what actually happened in the classroom makes these useful for primary teachers looking for inspiration.

Simulations to engage pupils in their learning⤴

from @ ICT for Teaching & Learning in Falkirk Primary Schools

15 Simulations to Gamify Your Class – this post by Jacqui Murray lists and describes a variety of online tools which let learners interact with a situation and make choices, which lead to different options depending on their choices. These include historical situations, life choices, enterprise activities and science and technology scenarios where the learner has to understand the situations, make choices based on their knowledge, then to see what happens based on their choice. Jacqui Murray has also helpfully added further suggestions and tips for teachers using these simulation tools in a classroom context.

29 Games Kids Can Play to Try Engineering - a post by Richard Byrne describing and linking to several online game simulations with an engineering focus on the Try Engineering website. This website also includes 114 lesson plans on a host of engineering themes, including those associated with the simulation games.

More Online Learning Simulations- a post by Larry Ferlazzo listing and describing a range of online learning simulations with a focus on finance or economy at different stages, as well as providing a link to a further post by him of additional simulations sites.