I have taken quite a break from blogging, and probably won’t go back to doing it weekly, but I look forward to sharing as often as I can.
Today, I have completed a resource that I have been working on for quite some time – The BIG STEAM Escape room. It is 30 pages of active STEAM fun that should engage and challenge your learners, and can be reused up to 6 times with the same class. I will be publishing it to TPT next week as it has taken a lot of time to produce, but am also posting it here for free, and it will remain free on here even after I have published it to TPT. I would really welcome feedback as it has not been proof-read by anyone other than myself, so if you have a few minutes, I would be really grateful!
I will be using it with my P5/4 class this year, and have purchased combination padlocks (however, it works as a resource without buying anything – you can use the answer cards or even an iPad to the same effect – I just like the idea of the children physically cracking a code!)
The resource should be self-explanatory, so I won’t go into detail here – though, it is too big to put into one file, so it is saved below in sections.
I hope you have an excellent start to your term. If you do use it, I’d love to hear how your class gets on – please tweet me @mrfeistsclass with photos, comments or stories from the session.
Lots of great things on the @impactwales twitter account, often in nice ‘sketch’ format. Here are some ways to have your pupils work on retrieval practice.
I’ve been reading a few things about inferential comprehension. Many of the articles I’ve read lead to similar conclusion, it’s a knowledge thing, rather than a practice/skill thing. This article sums up many of the ideas.
Feedback is one of the most cost effective ways to ensure pupil progress. There are lots of ways to do this, and there are some articles which suggest marking of books is the least time effective way of delivering feedback. There is an article from TES about effective feedback here and there are ideas for providing feedback here.
A really interesting article about school’s use of social media and parental engagement which may be connected to it. Our school has improved it’s use of twitter over the past 12 months and all staff are engaged with it. I think our children could have more of a ‘say’ in it’s use and maybe that is something that our Community Council could discuss.
Our parents have engaged with it. The numbers, likes, replies etc are there for all to see, and it’s grown over the year. I’m no entirely sure what Local Authorities/Government agencies/Governments are after when they use the term ‘Parental engagement’.
Is it that we’d like parents to ‘support’ their child by making sure they do any homework we set each night (and maybe not letting their child go to dance, football, scouts etc)?
Is it that we’d like parents to raise money for the school (although I’m of the opinion that school should be funded well from our taxation systems, not from the hard work of volunteers)?
If parental engagement with school is so vital, what should our outside agencies do through a mixture of support and ‘punishment’ to ensure it happens? (Parents were fined at one point for taking a term time holiday- was that an effective punishment?)
Here are some things I thought worth putting to one side via pocket this week.
I’m reading lots of things about how we learn and the best ways to get children to learn, this blog post is all about Rosenshine’s principle of instruction.
I’ve also been reading a lot about tier 2 vocabulary and think it’s definitely an area I’d like to develop within my class (and I’ve set about it in the last couple of weeks in a basic way) Here are ways to teach tier 2 vocabulary.
Estimation in maths. I keep meaning to do it but… Well there are lots of online resources to give children practice in it, and linked to a bit of number talks these make a great start to a maths lesson. Here’s one I noticed this week.
Good tips on mixed ability maths teaching here from Third Space Learning. You’ll need an e-mail address to get them, but I reckon they’re worth a read.
I had an amusing experience at a recent digital-themed meeting. A colleague from another establishment sat down beside me before we started and said “You watch, there’s going to be at least one geek here who opens up their MacBook, takes notes on their iPad with their apple pencil, sets a reminder on their Apple watch and just talks about the importance of code. You wait. I didn’t wait – I took out my MacBook, opened up Good Notes on the iPad Pro with my apple pencil at the ready (and for good measure set a reminder on the apple watch). Sure enough, my role in the meeting was also to talk about what progression in ‘coding’ looks like in Early years and primary. I just loved that the colleagued just sighed and had a good chuckle about it.
Sure, I’m a geek and proud – and following on from that, today, I’m looking at another Apple product – Keynote – and why I use it over PowerPoint each and every time. I am not, however, saying it is better than PowerPoint. PowerPoint is a phenomenal and powerful tool, and many of the things that I describe below can be done using PowerPoint – however, as Glasgow is undergoing a digital transformation where learners will be working with iPads on a 1-1 basis I feel that its an important tool to really get to grips with. Hopefully, by the end of this blog post, you will have found new, creative ways to use Keynote (and perhaps PowerPoint) not just to create presentations, but as a tool for learning across the curriculum.
I will be focussing on the iPad (app version) of Keynote. The Mac version has additional features and a slightly different layout, but it is less likely that your learners will have macs instead of iPads…
Here is a breakdown of what I aim to cover in this post:
An overview of Keynote
Presenting from Keynote in the classroom
Creating a ‘links only’ presentation
Photo editing and making creative montages using ‘Instant Alpha’
1. An Overview of Keynote
What is Keynote?
Simply stated, like Microsoft PowerPoint, Keynote is presentation software. Apple says this about Keynote: “With its powerful tools and dazzling effects, Keynote makes it easy to create stunning and memorable presentations. You can even use Apple Pencil on your iPad to create diagrams or illustrations that bring your slides to life. And with real-time collaboration, your team can work together, whether they’re on Mac, iPad or iPhone, or using a PC. (view source)”
Instead of using picture guides, there are lots of great YouTube videos available on using Keynote. Here is a series of videos that are very clear and just focus on ‘getting started’. Please note that the content is not created by me, but is publicly available on YouTube. If you like the videos, please support the creator, WCPS, by giving their videos a ‘like’, sharing their content and/or subscribing to their channel.
Creating a Keynote Presentation
One edit from the above video: to delete a slide or select options, tap on the slide icon (instead of hold) so that it highlights in blue and then tap again – this is easier than first holding.
You will notice that it still feels very much like a ‘PowerPoint’ at this stage, and it is fantastic to use. Keynote and PowerPoint are also interchangeable – you can open your previously made PowerPoints in Keynote, and you can save Keynote presentations as PowerPoints if you wanted to use it on a school computer.
Modifying Content in Keynote
2. Presenting from Keynote in the classroom
Linking to the projector
There are different ways that you can link to a projector in class. The easiest is if you are lucky enough to have ‘Apple TV’ set up in your classroom and Wi-Fi – however, this is unlikely so I will skip over this.
Alternatively, you can purchase an iPad (lightning) to VGA adapter which will allow you to plug your device into the wire that normally connects your laptop to the projector. Apple’s own lightning to VGA adapter is very good, but unnecessarily expensive. There are much cheaper versions available on Amazon or similar. *Please note that I am not affiliated with any products I mention, and am only doing so to note examples, but am not recommending any of these products as better than any others.* A search on amazon for lightning to VGA brings up some good results – make sure that you do select one that has a lightning (not thunderbolt) connector and is compatible with VGA (it may also have an additional HDMI or other post – that is okay).
I do have my own adapter, but the school have also purchased some as they are well used not only for presentations, but for modelling how to do different things on the iPad that we are teaching the children (e.g. using Garageband, Book creator, Pages etc.)
With the iPad connected to the projector with a wire, it takes away from the ‘portability’ of the iPad. Fortunately, Keynote has presenter mode through which you can not only control the Keynote from your phone/another iPad, but you can read your presenter notes on your second device while the students only see the presentation.
Using presenter mode is easy once you’ve done it once. The very first time that you connect the devices, you need to be using WiFi or cellular, but thereafter you don’t need to be connected to WiFi or cellular (I don’t know if this is true for two iPads though – I use my phone and my own iPad for this – my iPad is not connected to WiFi when I use it and does not have cellular.)
To use presenter mode, open the presentation on the iPad that you wish to display your presentation and also open Keynote on the device that you want to control the presentation from. I normally use my iPhone for this.
If you have previously paired your two devices, then follow these steps to remotely control your presentation.
If you can’t find the iPad that you wish to control (it won’t say ‘play’ if this is the case) click on ‘devices’ as below and then choose ‘add a device’. To add a device for the first time, you should make sure that they are both connected to the same WiFi or cellular connection – thereafter they do not need to be connected (at least, I’ve not had them connected after this point).
Once you’ve used presenter mode, I can guarantee you won’t want to present in any other way, especially if you use all of the extra features like presenter notes and the laser-pen simulator / drawing tools!
3. Creating a ‘Links Only’ presentation.
I did this as a workshop in Strathclyde University for student teachers as it is a fab tool. For older children, they could create interactive textbooks and study guides. In the past I’ve used it to create ‘branching narrative’ style interactive stories. There are lots of ways to use ‘links only’ and create links to external sources and also internal slides.
Here are some of the tweets prior to and from our #MPTechTeam trip to Strathclyde University:
Two of our #MPTechTeam wanted to share their ‘practice’ interactive branching narrative stories, created in Keynote, in preparation for their visit to Strathclyde Uni to work with student teachers! pic.twitter.com/NDUpYgZjPX
4. Photo Editing and Making Creative Montages using ‘Instant Alpha’
For years, I’ve been using photoshop for this very thing, but it is available on our iPads for free and is surprisingly powerful!
Truthfully, until ‘Everyone Can Create: Photo‘ came out, and I read through the chapter on using Keynote for photography – making scrapbooks and montages etc, I hadn’t even realised that this was a feature or just how amazing it was.
Instead of trying to describe the process, in the below tweet is a video of a simple creative montage in action on Keynote – whilst watching, just think about the ways that children could use it creatively for art & design, or advertising a product, or for bringing stories to life in literacy etc.
*Images used in this video are stock images purchased through Adobe Stock*
Nearly finished putting together this evening’s blog, but here’s a wee video that I’m using for part 4 about ‘instant alpha’ in Keynote. Just think about all of the amazing uses that it can have. Other great ideas in the ‘Everyone Can Create: Photo’ publication on Apple Books! pic.twitter.com/AtXitsLebm
Hopefully this has been a helpful insight into using Keynote and why I now use it for everything!
Sorry this blog is late, I had hoped to finish it before performing in Edinburgh today, however, that wasn’t to be! A great day though, with an audience in the tens of thousands our boys did phenomenally well – you can see what we were up to on the choir twitter feed or facebook page.
As always, please get in touch via twitter with feedback / suggestions etc
Over the last two weeks, I have been mainly focusing on the ‘Everyone Can Create: Music” publication, available for free on the apple book store – looking at how we can use digital tools (with a heavy focus on GarageBand for iPad) to achieve music experiences and outcomes. Whilst this week I am moving away from music, I would like to stick to the “Everyone Can Create” series, as one of the other publications in the series as I am currently reading each book, and they are fantastic.
This week we are looking at the most versatile tool available to us – the camera. Of course, “Everyone Can Create: Photos” is the publication that I will mostly be referencing today, however, a physical camera (potentially combined with a computer program) or any device with camera function will enable you to achieve much of what we will look at today.
The Camera – ways to meet EXA outcomes.
I think the value of the camera is often understated in education. Yet, it is a tool that can be used for so many different aspects of learning before we even begin to look at some of the amazing creative ideas outlined in ‘Everyone Can Create: Photos”. With iPads/tablets/phones/class cameras, children can photograph / document aspects of their learning that they are proud of for saving digitally and sharing electronically home. Children can capture aspects of peer performance that they like and use this for feedback. They can capture and edit images creatively, creating montages of their learning, or IDL posters. They can use them to capture images that will enable them to promote enterprise projects. Really, the possibilities are endless.
However, all of this is mostly about ‘capturing’. Photography itself is also an expressive art, and, considering this children can also create using cameras. Take the below EXA outcomes for art and design. All of these can be met through photography as well as by ‘drawing’ or ‘sketching’.
Let’s look at some of these to se how we can use the camera.
“…comparing and combining them (photos in this case) for specific tasks.” For this one, children could capture images on a theme, combine them in a collage-maker app, or in Keynote/Pages for a different task – e.g. poster / story etc.
“…line, shape, form, tone, colour…” edit images creatively in mark-up or the inbuilt editor, playing with saturation, hue, white balance, lighting.
“…to convey ideas, thoughts and feelings…” capturing ‘mood’ in photography, looking at composition, colour choice or more.
That’s just a very quick snapshot of some of the ways we could use cameras. It’s versatile, reliable, relevant and simple to use from nursery age right through to further and higher education.
Everyone Can Create: Photos
I do love this publication, and will be using it with my school camera club (see below for tweets from them) over the coming months.
The guide aims to teach us how to do the following, using a combination of the camera, photos, keynote and pages apps. Even if your school doesn’t have iPads though, I’d strongly recommend you check out this fantastic publication as it does have so many great ideas that could be taken and used on different software available in your school.
A personalised picture
A portrait from the past
A story in a single photo
A moment in motion (using the iPad to create slow shutter speed images)
A personalised collage (using Keynote and the mask tool)
A photo documentary (and thinking about photo journalism)
A portfolio of your favourite photos
As I say, I really rate this publication and will be using it with my school camera club and also in classes.
Mark-up with younger learners
Something I love to do with younger learners is not only capture images, but to edit and personalise them. The iPads have a fab built-in app called ‘mark up’, where children can add drawings to their pictures. This covers digital outcomes in addition to some of the above EXA ones, so well worth doing with your learners (and they love it!)
For the below demo, I will use a stock photo from Adobe Stock.
Take a photo using the ‘camera’ app, or open a previously saved photo from the ‘photos’ app.
Select the blue ‘edit’ icon in the top right hand corner
There are lots of different options now that can change the lighting etc – it’s great for older children to experiment with these and get a feel for what they do. For our younger learners using ‘Mark-Up’ though, select the ‘three dots’. Please note, I have additional applications in this option that may not be installed on your iPad so won’t appear by default.
Children can then add their own annotations/drawings to edit their image creatively. A cheap stylus is a bonus if you have one (or an apple pencil if you can!) but children can also just draw with their fingers!
Click ‘done’ when finished to save the image.
There are, of course, lots of apps out there that work in a similar way to mark up, or that can be used for more advanced photo editing, but I love the sheer simplicity of mark up for our youngest learners, and have used it with P1+ in the past.
Other free apps I like to use are:
Keynote and Photoshop Mix (for creatively mixing images together)
PicCollage for children to select their favourite images and creatively put them together for display/sharing
Notes and pages for annotating images
Greenscreen apps (such as DoInk – although this is not free) for using the images as a background for a news report etc
This year I have started a photography club in my school, mainly because a P7 wants to be a photographer when she’s older and I thought that this would be a great way to help her develop her skills – however, I’m finding that it is so beneficial and is developing such good creativity that I think it will be one I keep running for years to come! It is open to children in P7 only, and runs after school. The reason I mention it is that we will be starting to use the ‘Everyone Can Create: Photos” resource, mentioned earlier; but have been using the ‘camera’ creatively (funnily enough!)
#MPCameraClub were set two challenges today:
1) take a photo of something obscure and show it to the group to see if anyone can work out what it is.
2) take pictures on the theme of ‘my world upside-down.
Lots of fun!! pic.twitter.com/QL5fmIGT3J
One of the most powerful apps in education is Book Creator. It is a paid app, however, at £4.99 it is truly worth it. From sharing learning, to creating books and comics, to making videos and supporting children with ASN/EAL; book creator truly is the tool for the job.
Here is a quick PowerPoint presentation about how to create, read and share books in Book Creator:
Read to Me
Since November 2016 the ‘Read to Me’ tool has been one of the most powerful features (in my opinion) of this fantastic app. When it was launched, I had a new EAL learner with an ASD who was struggling to settle into the class. Her language barrier was a huge issue, and her ASD caused great anxiety in the mornings and after break/lunch. She didn’t want to have to try and speak to anyone as she became very anxious that she wouldn’t understand or be able to respond.
Until the launch of ‘read to me’ on book creator, she had a system where she would come in and read one of her bilingual books or try to use worksheets with pictures to learn new words. Whilst this worked to an extent, she did find it tricky as she couldn’t ‘hear’/pronounce some of the words. With the launch of ‘Read to Me’ in book creator, though, I knew that we were on to a winner. She built her own dictionary on book creator by drawing (with the pen tool) a picture of the word that she was learning, and typed the word that she chose from her worksheets, class work or dictionary. E.g. if she had the word ‘tree’ she would draw a tree, type the word tree and then move on. This would have been the same as what she had already been doing on paper, however, she couldn’t easily pronounce the words previously without myself or a member of support staff sitting with her and reading the words, and this was something that made her feel uncomfortable as she didn’t like that the children could hear her learning new words. With the ‘Read to Me’ function, she was able to put on headphones and listen to all of her words each morning and after break/lunch.
This then became her routine – come into class before the line, get her designated iPad, put on her headphones, listen to the previous words and add new ones.
She soon started writing small sentences that she wanted to use in class, like, ‘please may I go to the toilet?’ I remember the class getting so excited the first time she put up her hand and asked a question, and she was so proud.
I know this is a very specific example of a child with many needs, but, there are so many times in learning environments that book creator can be a hugely powerful tool. I wish that I had the ‘read to me’ function in the year that I taught a non-verbal child, as I imagine it would have transformed the way that he could communicate with me and the other children.
One of my colleagues is currently using book creator with her class and said that the children are very good at using the ‘read to me’ function to check their learning. She noted comments such as “no, that doesn’t make sense” when they hear it being read back to them.
Design and layout
Creativity is a huge aspect of learning, and applications that are fairly static and don’t allow much creativity really don’t engage our learners as much as those that do. Book creator allows children to design every page as they want; from the background colour, to the positioning and size of text boxes, to adding their own drawings, or inserting media it really is powerful, and children want to create their own books using it – I’m yet to find a child that hasn’t engaged with it.
The design and layout options are really simple to use and navigate between, and are noted in the Presentation at the top of this post.
Children can save their work to their iPad’s book store, as a PDF for printing, or even as a video file that could be put onto the school twitter feed, saved to their Glow OneDrive or even emailed home.
Let me know!
Book Creator genuinely does excite me, and I’m looking forward to sharing its potential with my colleagues in a CPD training this week. If you already use Book Creator, or will be starting to use it, please send me a tweet and let me know how you use it with your learners, as I love being inspired by the Twitter community!
It’s rare that I actually get excited about an iOS update. Sure, performance is introduced, and new features are added – but it’s rare that those new features excite me. iOS12 is the exception to that rule. As an educator, it is a gift. Of course, there is still so much more that can come – there always will be, but my lord this is a step in the right direction. And not just for educators; for parents who want a little more control of their children’s use of tech and want to be able to monitor it more effectively, iOS12 really goes a long way in a very positive direction.
This post is a little different; but as a teacher in Glasgow, where children are receiving iPads on a 1-1 basis as part of our digital transformation, it is something that I really want to look at. For parents of children with iPads, I think aspects of this blog will also be really helpful.
Let’s look at some of the features that have been introduced and can have a really positive impact in the classroom:
This is mostly beneficial for parents, but for schools would be a great thing to share with parents and implement, especially if we are encouraging children to use devices at home.
This is a huge move in the battle to cut down on ‘screen time’ for our younger users – but to fully appreciate this, we need to think about what ‘screen time’ actually is. Screen time can be both a positive and negative experience. Negative screen time, is time where children are not interacting or engaging with cognitive benefits – for example, playing games that have no depth of learning behind them. There are many games that can be beneficial – ones that encourage problem solving and critical thinking for example, but in excess even these can be addictive. For younger children especially, excessive individual screen time should be discouraged, but time with parents using a screen for play, learning or reading (in my opinion) can be just as positive an experience as reading a book or playing a board game as it is the collaborative aspect in these scenarios that is the beneficial experience.
The ‘screen time’ controls that come as part of the iOS update monitor usage in this way, and can even be programmed to limit it. Let’s look more closely at them:
‘Screen time’ can be found in the settings menu on your iOS 12 enabled device. Once activated, it automatically tracks usage and categorises it into ‘types’ of screen time – e.g. productivity, creativity, games, social media etc. In the image below, I had only just enabled screen time for the purpose of this blog, so it is showing my screen time in seconds and uncategorised, but you will find many examples of more active screen time online. Frankly, I have mine turned off as I know that I spend far too much time on Twitter and don’t want to see just how much!
Below the daily usage bar, there are four controls that can be activated. In setting up screen time, you are asked if this is your device or your child’s. If you select that it’s your child’s you will be automatically taken through each of these controls by default.
Downtime is just what you would imagine. You get to choose times that the user is away from the screen. The only things that the user will be able to use during this time are apps that you have set as being ‘always allowed’ e.g. the phone (in case of emergency for example) or the alarm/clock. All other apps would be disabled during this time.
App limits even during enabled screen time, you can set a limit to apps. If there’s a category of apps, for example games or social media, that you feel your child uses far to much, you can limit it to a set amount of time per day. For example, I might feel that as I use twitter and facebook too much, I need to set a limit of one hour per day on social media. If there are apps within the category that you don’t feel should be included in the limit, or you’d like to add other apps, simply click ‘edit apps’ after choosing and adding the category. Here you can select and deselect the apps that you want/don’t want to include in the time limit. This is such a powerful way of restricting access to apps that you want to limit.
Always allowed as noted previously, there are some apps that you may wish to always allow. For example, you might always want to allow your child to make a phone call if they need to, or to access the camera or clock. You can select/deselect these apps within this menu.
Content and Privacy Restrictions previously called ‘restrictions’ this section allows you to determine which apps and settings the user can change and edit. Maybe you don’t want them having the ability to purchase apps – you can block that on here. You can add content restrictions, e.g. no films aged 15 or 18, no explicit books. As with all web filters, it is not perfect and there may be occasions where your child will come across inappropriate material. This will always be the case so we do need to teach children to be good digital citizens, and how to deal with that if it does occur (by reporting it). Again though, this full tool is a very powerful way to restrict and monitor screen time, and make the iPad a versatile tool for learning and entertainment, but not one that ‘takes over’ a child’s life.
Additional features you do also have the option to add a screen time passcode to secure all of these settings so that your child can’t change them. The passcode can also be used to extend time if, say, for a reward one day you want to allow your child an extra 15 minutes on their games. You can also share all of these features across all devices (associated with the apple ID) to save having to input the same data on each of your child(ren)’s devices. You can also set it up for your family if your children have different apple IDs.
All in all, this change is very powerful and truly excellent. I think it will help a lot of families control the ‘addiction’ that some people report their children as having.
Augmented reality has been with us for some time now, and can be experienced well through a whole host of applications such as Goggle Expeditions and Quiver. I was actually using AR with P4 this week to let them look at aspects of Ancient Rome in more detail:
#MossparkP4 used ‘Google Expeditions’ for the first time today to explore aspects of culture in Ancient Rome. Using AR, they were able to visualise and study some of the things they’ve been learning about in detail! pic.twitter.com/ZTki6dyx12
AR is continually getting better and better. iOS 12 promises to integrate AR into many new apps and really build its profile. It truly can be used well in education too. Twinkl have recently released a free coding app for teaching basic coding skills. The app is different to the many others as it uses AR for the game place – the game comes to life in front of you! I have only just started using it and look forward to trying it out with the Tech Team to see what they think of it.
I think that this application excited me more than any other part of the iOS12 update when I first saw it. I had seen adverts for AR measuring apps on TV but hadn’t got round to purchasing one – fortunately, I now no longer need to as we have an AR measure app built in to our iOS12 devices!
Here’s a very quick clip of how it works:
Just updated my iPhone to IOS 12 – it has an AR measure app! I’ll be testing out the new IOS this week, and new release apps such as the new @twinklresources free AR coding app and blogging about the educational potential next Sunday, so do check it out at 8pm next week! pic.twitter.com/4j9rCmySgZ
In an educational context, measure is often something that can be tricky to teach, but this app can be very useful. I would encourage a diversity of tools for teaching measure though and am not suggesting to ditch traditional measuring tools, such as rulers, as using and reading these is a skill. The way I would see this tool being used would be for comparisons and gathering data quickly. I also think it would be great to ‘test how good the app is’ by asking children to use the app to measure a surface, and then using a ruler to measure it and compare the results.
Voice memos have been around for a long time on iPhones, but until this update were clunky and you couldn’t really do anything with them. That has all changed now. Firstly, voice memos are no longer restricted to iPhones – you can access and create them on iPads and macs. Secondly, it is so much easier to use and share your memos – even directly into apps such as notes. Here’s a quick demonstration:
Whilst I used the app ‘notes’ in this tutorial, it works with loads of apps, including book creator! Simply share your audio to book creator instead of notes, then, in book creator click on the + symbol within the book that you want to add the media, and select ‘shared’. Choose the audio file that you want and then select whether you want it to appear as a button (clickable) or soundtrack (plays in the background).
I hope that this has been helpful and has given you an insight into some of the features within iOS12. Please do also share with parents as I think it is vital that we equip parents with the tools to better protect their children online and monitor/limit non-beneficial screen time.
‘LifeSkills created with Barclays’ is a free employability programme for 11-24 year olds and we’re thrilled that, to date, we’ve had 5 million young people participate in the programme. Now we’re excited to announce two new initiatives that celebrate the achievements of young people, schools and colleges in their bids to boost career prospects.
What is LifeSkills?
Back in 2013, LifeSkills was launched to support educators address the growing skills gap amongst their students and face the youth employability challenge head on. Developed with educators across all four nations, LifeSkills strives to support educators develop young people’s employability skills through free, curriculum linked education content.
Through lesson plans, interactive challenges, videos and quick-fire activities, as well as student work placements opportunities and sending Barclays volunteers into the classroom, we want to help to bring career education to life.
What does LifeSkills deliver? LifeSkills covers a range of different themes that all support young people get the skills they need to move forward from education into the 21st century workplace, including building resilience, learning to be a problem solving pro, becoming an expert communicator and mastering money management.
LifeSkills and the Career Education Standard
To make teachers’ lives as easy as possible, we ensure our content is aligned with the Career Education Standard’s goal of improving ‘young people’s ability to make informed decisions about future pathways’. In particular, throughout the resources we look at how we can fulfil the following criteria highlighted within the standard:
• engage young people in meaningful discussion about their skills development
• develop their understanding of the responsibilities and duties placed on employers and employees
• facilitate young people’s learning and their ability to engage with a rapidly developing landscape of work/career and learning opportunities
Greg Leighton, an employability support officer in Glasgow and member of the LifeSkills Educator Advisory Council is passionate about the programme, stating ‘It’s no longer just about qualifications. Young people now, more than ever, need softer skills like confidence and communication, alongside relevant experience, to meet the demands of a changing world of work. LifeSkills resources are comprehensive, easy to use and essential in helping young people to realise and fulfil their true potential.’
But it doesn’t end there. Now we’re taking the programme to the next level.
LifeSkills Champions Launched in October, LifeSkills Champions offers young people the chance to gain valuable recognition for boosting their own and their peers’ employability skills through LifeSkills. If you work in education, you can nominate anyone aged 14-19 to become a LifeSkills Champion.
Once nominated, young people are tasked with delivering a series of LifeSkills sessions to their peers. From CV writing to interview preparation, networking best practice and more, the sessions cover core skills and competencies that are essential to employers. What’s more, they’ll be supported along the way with a toolkit, packed full of tips and videos from LifeSkills Ambassadors. When their designated activities have been completed and approved, they’ll receive a ‘LifeSkills created with Barclays’ digital badge to help demonstrate to prospective employers that they’ve got the skills to take on new challenges, act as a leader and motivate others.
The LifeSkills Award
Going hand in hand with LifeSkills Champions is the LifeSkills Award. This recognises schools and colleges which are going above and beyond to support their students to gain the skills they need for better futures using LifeSkills. We know there are so many schools and colleges out there doing amazing work to set their students up for success by embedding LifeSkills across their whole institution, and we want to make sure they’re getting the recognition they deserve. Successful applicants will receive certification that demonstrates their institution’s commitment to championing young people’s employability locally and nationally, as well as to regulators and parents.
You can find out more about these two initiatives, alongside a wealth of free employability skills resources, at barclayslifeskills.com/teachers.