| Today plasq announced the official release of Comic Life 3 for Chromebook! The app is now available in the form of a compatible Android app.|
Comic Life 3 for Chromebook has all the favourite features you have come to love from the other versions. To find out more, please check out the dedicated Comic Life 3 for Chromebook site.
Comic Life 3 is available from the Google Play store and requires a relatively recent Chromebook to function. (If you’ve installed Android apps on your Chromebook you’re ready for Comic Life).
Comic Life 3 on Chromebooks is US$2.49 and can be purchased and downloaded from the Google Play Store here.
All of us at ATSS are fans and long time advocates of Book Creator – it’s so easy to use and yet so powerful for myriad projects across the curriculum.
Here, the guys at Book Creator asked Kurt Klynen to make a book full of ideas for Literacy across the curriculum. It’s well worth a look.
It’s great to see that the excellent DocsPlus Chromebook app has been updated to incorporate the DocReader and customisable ‘Exam Mode’ settings introduced earlier in the Windows and Mac versions of the software. These exciting additions will facilitate the use of the app in exams for those students who qualify for additional access arrangements.
If you are already using the app, then it will automatically be updated. If you don’t yet have the app and would like a free copy, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
DocsPlus for Chromebook trial success
The ASN team at Cathkin High School, a mainstream secondary school in South Lanarkshire, supports students with a wide range of needs. including learners with dyslexia, ADHD and autism. The team has been trialling the DocsPlus Chromebook app.
Lorna Jensen, Principal Teacher of ASN, describes the difference that DocsPlus has made to the students’ literacy output in a short space of time:
“There’s no doubt that DocsPlus had a massive impact on the pupils during our trial. It improved their self-esteem, confidence and motivation with writing tasks. Certainly in the English department we found that their level of writing improved significantly. The letters the pupils wrote were comfortably at level three – before this, these pupils would have been producing work at an early level two, so there was definitely a tangible improvement in the quality of their written work.”
There were some lovely comments from the students too:
“The spellchecker really helped. It helped me believe in myself, and gave me confidence with my writing.” You can learn more about the trial here.
We were lucky enough to catch the Vocabulary Ninja to have a chat about his new book, his app and vocabulary in general. It is hard not to get passionate about vocabulary after reading this, we are sure you will enjoy it as much as we did.
Can you tell us about how you became the vocabulary ninja? Was there a long and gruelling training regime? Let us know about your journey.
Vocabulary Ninja stated quite simply out of a reflection on how one particular year had went, the results the Y6 pupils achieved and how things could be improved. Within this period of refection, I decided that vocabulary would become a driving force of everything that happened within the classroom and around the school.
I decided to introduce a word to my class everyday, and because I was doing it anyway, I thought that I would share it. So, I created a blog and Twitter account and shared the word of the day every day for people to use. That’s it. I’m really proud to see where Vocabulary Ninja has developed in the 2 and a half years it has been running. One of the best things about it, is the people you get to engage with as a result! It’s amazing! Who knows what will happen in the next 2 and a half years.
As someone who is a true advocate for the power of words, what is your favourite word?
Well that is a tough question. In terms of how I have seen a word used in such a skilled way by a pupil, it would have to be translucent. A pupil used it to describe the wings of a dragon, it was a real lightbulb moment for me personally and the pupil, as to the impact this word had on the writing, and the deeper meanings it portrayed. She pupil built a vivid image of this dragon using words such as emaciated and frail. Perfect!
Is your book only relevant to the teaching of English and Literacy, or will the content be useful and transferable across the curriculum?
It’s a great question. The book is stacked with ideas to support reading and writing, via vocabulary. However, there are over 50 topic word banks based upon the national curriculum, etymology sections that swirl their way through history, geography and science, and most importantly a range of content to your mentality towards teaching vocabulary.This mentality has the same applications across the curriculum, not only thinking about vocabulary, but in everything that you do as a teacher. You’ll see what I mean!
Your book recommends some fantastic ideas, strategies and games for improving vocabulary in your classroom. Which of these is your favourite and why?
I think simple things are the best. My favourite is the word of the day, the original and the best. The beauty of the word of the day is that it has so many applications. The main aim of the word of the day is to widen and deepen a pupils vocabulary. By discussing the associated SPaG, word classes and definitions with pupils, then giving then the opportunity to apply. Then revisit, use orally through the day and week. Slowing helping pupils seethe word in action. It’s a mindset – it’s free. Words are there all around us, as teachers we must make them a priority in our classrooms. If someone was to implement one idea from the book, it would be this.Further to this. The free Vocab Lab App has been a revelation! Nearly 100K downloads and the feedback that I receive is wonderful! If you haven’t downloaded it for your personal or school iPads yet, then you are missing out!
What do you see as the main barriers to children developing a wide ranging vocabulary? How do we, as educators, best work against this?
Honestly, and I touch on this in the book. You, teachers. And a child’s home life too, but yes teachers can be a big barrier. So, ok, this is a barrier, but let’s not look at it as a negative, but rather an opportunity for change. By making vocabulary a priority of our own and thinking about it as a valuable ally, rather than the enemy, then we can begin to win the war of words!
You have also developed a Vocabulary Ninja app. Can you tell us a little about how this came about and what the app does?
I love the apps that I have created so far. The Vocab Lab is amazing really and is due for an expansion upgrade very soon! The Vocab Lab has 100 very common words that pupils often use within their writing, mostly because the have no alternative. As a year 6 teacher, the App for me, was a way to impact on more children at once and to promote independence. The App gives 6 alternative for each word – children (and adults) love using it.Plus – it’s free! I also have a Word of the Day App too, again totally free. This has both Words of the Day, appear in the App every day! Super handy! The App’s are designed to make teachers lives a little easier, reduce workload and improve outcomes for pupils and schools.
Finally, there are so many competing agendas in a school. Why do you think vocabulary is so important and what can it do for our learners?
I honestly don’t think there is enough time in the school day for vocabulary to become a competing agenda item, and rightly so. But it must form part of teachers daily routine, part of your mentality and your schools ethos towards learning.Words impact and unlock the curriculum. Quite simply, if pupils understand more words, then they will be able to access more of the learning opportunities put before them in science, english, maths, PE, in conversations and so on.
There won’t be a test, it isn’t measurable, but its impact will be profound.
Website – www.vocabularyninja.co.uk
Twitter – @VocabularyNinja
National Digital Learning Week is back! This year the event will take place Monday 13 until Friday 17 May.
For this year’s even all Early Learning and Childcare Centres and Schools across Scotland are invited to take part in 5 Curriculum focused challenges in: STEM, Social Studies, Expressive Arts, Numeracy and Literacy.
Here’ a 2 minute video that tells you everything you need to know about the event.
Visit the Glow Blog today and get started. https://bit.ly/2PfR0Go
A few children in my class need a bit of extra support in literacy. On a course at the NLC literacy base I was shown the idea of scribing sentences and then cutting them up. The result could be given to pupils to sort out on a wee board with slots and then optionally copied into a jotter.
Given my poor handwriting (unless I really slow down), difficulty in keeping resources organised and liking for digital I had a go at making a virtual version.
The first iteration just presents a field, typing a sentence and hitting return produces mixed up words to drag around. I’ve been using that for a couple of months.
I’ve then improved things a little by making a system to create links to that page that will have a particular sentence already created. Example
I’ve been sending these links out via Airdrop either directly on a few together in a note. I though I might make the page creation a little easier and also add a QR code creator: Mix Up Maker – Make a Cutup sentence or story..
I can then add the QR Codes to my pupils programs. These pupils have daily task sheets put in their jotter.
The gifs above are made with LICEcap which does a great job of creating short gif ‘screencasts’.
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:
- Dictation (Speech-to-Text) Technology: What it is and How it works – blogpost by Jamie Martin
- Speech Recognition in the Classroom. What do Teachers need to know? – excellent blogpost with links to reserach, videos of speech to text in action, and more information about benefits and impact
If you’re needing to offer your students simple, free text to speech to support their reading of web pages or PDFs – or any other digital text for that matter – ClaroRead is a really good tool. It’s unobtrusive, and, once it’s set up for your student, it doesn’t require much attention.
You can download the extension from the Chrome Web Store and once installed a click on the icon
this will open the discreet Control Panel.
If you tick the settings like this your student can simply highlight text to hear it read aloud.
Experiment with the settings to suit your user- switching on Click and play will change the control panel accordingly.
Using ClaroRead to support writing.
Students can also hear what they’re writing as they type.
The prediction option in this free version is poor and not recommended.
The Scottish Education Awards celebrate the commitment and success of Scottish education. We have a specific award for the Gaelic sector for which we invite nominations that recognise impact and achievements in both Gaelic Learner and Medium Education. The award is open to secondary, primary, early learning and child care centres, and special schools.
Nominations for the 2019 Scottish Education Awards are now open. Details are here.
Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, Glasgow Central on Wednesday 5th June 2019.
Nominations close at 6pm on Thursday 14th February, 2019.