Backpack TV is a new website very much in the mould of Khan Academy and O2 Learn, amongst others. Like these sites it contains videos produced by teachers of lectures about particular topic areas. You can search by topic, subject etc. Videos range from 5 to 20 minutes in length. Videos are self-hosted rather than pulled in via YouTube, which some schools will find useful. Videos seem pitched at the KS4/KS5 range.
The site is clean, and free of advertising, although there’s mention on the home page of a “Backpack premium” in the future that’s ad-free, so I’m assuming this basic version of the site will end up with adverts in some way. Not a problem, as long as they’re not intrusive.
The site is currently in Beta, and as such only a few subjects are on stream right now – Maths, Science, US History, and English. I would assume more subjects will follow before it’s launched properly.
Like all these kind of sites, the videos are a mixed bag. They may not always be exactly what you want and there’s not a lot of supporting information apart from a descriptive paragraph for each video. There’s no text transcript, captioning/subtitles for accessibility, keyword tagging and no supporting materials such as worksheets. Maybe these will come later.
There’s nothing groundbreaking here, but if you are looking for resources to help your students revise particular topics you might want to add this to your list of sites to point them towards.
Take a look at : http://www.backpack.tv/Read More
Cloud Cuckoo World is an new interactive website designed to support the delivery of languages at Key Stage 2 both at school and at home.
Developed by sister teachers, Sara and Louise Mason, their dual language stories cover the QCDA suggested topics for primary school children and aim to provide an accessible introduction to languages for children from 4 years upwards. The site has French language resources at launch, with more languages promised including Spanish, German and Welsh.
The website incorporates simple storytelling in an online interactive environment to help to foster an early enthusiasm for foreign language with each story focused around one particular character. The stories are all illustrated with eyecatching artwork by artist Sophie Green who has produced artworks for sites such as StoryNory.
The website is HTML-based rather than Flash, so will work just as well on iPads and other tablet devices. The site is simple to navigate and the pages aren’t too “busy”
Each story contains audio of the main text read out in english, with the foreign language words being read out in a different voice. Once played these words can be read out again by clicking on the loudspeaker icon next to each word, or the whole paragraph can be read out again.
Each story comes with a glossary page containing the entire word list, and also suggested activities to do in the classroom.
As well as the stories, there are also Cloud Cuckoo Places which outline lists of vocabulary specific to a certain area – such as around the house, at school, at the zoo or at the cafe. You can click on the hotspots on the image, or view a glossary of words.
I really liked it! It’s a great-looking site that will provide a very handy additional resource for teachers.
The site requires a subscription to access all the resources, but it’s not very expensive. A multi-user account costs £50 for the year and a single user costs £10 a year. Some resources are free – so you can take a look and see what you think of the site.
Take a look at www.cloudcuckooworld.com. Let me know what you think in the comments!Read More
The 9 11 London Project is a new UK educational charity that has been set up to mark the tenth anniversary of 9/11 and to ensure that the legacy of those events is one that builds hope from tragedy. Its purpose is to ensure that this and future generations have the opportunity to be taught about the events and to understand the causes and consequences of 9/11, in the US, UK and across the world.
The website contains educational resources for History, PSHE/Citizenship, RE, English/Drama and Art/Design. There’s also an image and film bank and interactive timeline of the events of the 20th century leading up to 9/11. A section of the site offers guidance on teaching controversial issues such as this.
Check out the resources at : http://www.911educationprogramme.co.uk
In addition, the 9/11 London Project website is currently running a competition offering students the chance to win a trip to New York this September (8-12th), which will include a visit to the 9/11 Memorial. The winner in each category and the two runners-up will all win a trip to New York for the 11th anniversary. In addition each of the two category winners will receive £1000, plus an additional £1000 for the two winners’ schools.
All students have to do is say how they think 9/11 changed the world. The website wants them to use their imagination and send in an original, creative and thoughtful piece of work as either a 5 minute film or a 1200 word essay.
You can get more information here.
The Scholastic website contains, amongst other things, a section with interactive activities that you can use on your whiteboard.
The activities cover a range of topic areas from languages to maths to science and they’re quite a mixed bag in terms of the type of activity.
As I’ve said before a full-screen feature would be good – just to make these easier to use on an IWB, some of these are quite small and so would be fiddly to use.
Thanks to Liam M for sharing the link via Twitter.Read More
The Faculties is a free educational resource for secondary schools and aimed particularly at A-level students and teachers. The website provides short films of university lecturers speaking on topics drawn from the A-level curriculum in Maths, English, Biology, Psychology, Chemistry and History. There are currently over 300 podcasts on the site, with more to follow.
In bringing the expertise of research scholars into the classroom, the aim of the site is to encourage deeper learning, stretch and inspire students and help them make a successful transition to university. In addition to the podcasts, there is information that helps students compare University departments across the country and choose the best one for them.
The site aims to differ from sites such as YouTubeEdu and iTunes U in that these sites contain recordings of lectures delivered to undergraduate students. Whereas on The Faculties, the recordings are specially designed for the A-level classroom. All the topics have been provided by the major exam boards and by teachers and so consequently, they are more directly relevant to the A-level curriculum.
It’s an interesting idea, and would definitely be worth exploring for potential revision resources.
Videos are hosted directly on the site, and not pulled in from YouTube which should avoid filtering issues in some schools. Videos can be downloaded, but only on request. Videos can still be embedded into VLE’s etc, and linked to directly.
It would be useful to be able to download a transcript of each video, and also have subtitles for hearing impaired students.
Take a look for yourself at http://www.thefaculties.orgRead More
The new Bee-Bot App from TTS Group has been developed based on thier much-loved, Bee-Bot floor robot. The app makes use of Bee-Bot’s keypad functionality and enables children to improve their skills in directional language and programming through sequences of forwards, backwards, left and right 90 degree turns. The app is for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch and is totally free.
The app has been developed with 12 levels encouraging progression. Each level is timed and the faster it is completed the more stars you get! The levels are set in a cute little garden scenario and will appeal from age 4 upwards. I’d recommend it for KS1
It’s a fun little game, and mimics the process of giving simple instructions to move the bee-bot around the floor and turns it into a fun puzzle game. Only changes I’d suggest would be a way to see/review the set of instructions before you set the bee-bot off on its journey.
It’s an excellent free app, and I highly recommend it! Download it from iTunes here.Read More
Links from the Video:
- Inanimate Alice Trailer
- Inanimate Alice Flipchart and other files on Promethean Planet
- Presentation as a downloadable slideshare file
Thanks to Emily at Promethean for filming the presentation, and thanks to Selda for letting me use the Promethean stand to give the presentation.Read More
Here’s a copy of my Inanimate Alice presentation from the BETT show on Friday as part of TeachMeet Takeover. Thanks to all those who came to watch, and thanks to Promethean for letting me have some time on their stand.
English and MFL teachers should definitely check out the Inanimate Alice resource – it’s free so go take a look!
The presentation was videoed too, you can see it on YouTube here.
The virtual keyboard is a fun on-screen music keyboard that lets you play music on your computer. You can either tap the keys on your Interactive Whiteboard, use the mouse, or just press the keys on your computer keyboard (using the A to @ keys, and the row above).
You can choose from several different musical instrument sounds from piano to organ to guitar and even steel drums.
It’s fun, and even better, it’s free.
Thanks to Tim Rylands for the link.Read More