Create fake conversations with the SMS Generator from Classtools.net
Jun16

Create fake conversations with the SMS Generator from Classtools.net

SMS Generator from the Class Tools website is a fun little tool that lets teachers or students create fake SMS conversations. This would be a great way for the students to recreate great moments in history, or discussions between fictional characters that they are studying. It’s very simple to use, and generated conversations can then be saved and embedded into other websites. You can access SMS Generator here: www.classtools.net/SMS/  ...

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Record and share lessons with PixiClip online whiteboard
May23

Record and share lessons with PixiClip online whiteboard

Pixiclip is an online whiteboard that lets you record your annotations as you make them, along with your voice and even webcam footage. If you’ve used iPad apps like Explain Everything then you’ll get the idea of how this works. The number of tools are limited, but enough to do basic drawings to illustrate simple concepts. You can also upload images in advance then add them to the canvas while you talk.   Drawing with the mouse is tricky – but this would work very well on an interactive whiteboard where you can write with a pen properly  – but you might need to position the microphone so you can be heard! Recordings can be shared via social media or embedded into a blog or a learning platform via an embed code. So here’s one I made earlier. It’s free to sign up for an account and very simple to do so. Teachers could use this to record short videos to explain different concepts that children can play back after the lesson for revision purposes. It could also be used for flipped classroom. Children could also use this to demonstrate what they have learned. Take a look for yourself at http://www.pixiclip.com...

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Free BYOD Class Polling in PowerPoint with Participoll
May09

Free BYOD Class Polling in PowerPoint with Participoll

ParticiPoll is a free audience polling plugin for PowerPoint that allows polls to be run quickly and with no need for additional clickers to be used. Students can vote via any internet-enabled device. Signing up with ParticiPoll is free for basic features. Once logged in, download the free plugin for PowerPoint. The makers claim that the plugin doesn’t need admin rights, and so should be easy for teachers to install themselves. Set up was quick and painless on my own laptop when I tested this out. Once the free plugin has been installed, you will see this new toolbar within PowerPoint. This toolbar lets you start and stop polling sessions. The Insert Poll button will insert a polling widget onto the current slide. You can also insert a QR code that will direct users to the correct poll page. The poll is quite simple – the questions and responses themselves are still typed onto the PowerPoint slide. There’s no setting up of lots of questions, and correct answers etc. This would work best for quick polls where you want to ask for student opinions, or to get a feel for overall class confidence on a topic area. This is not a proper assessment tool where you can see who answered what. When the presentation is live, the audience members can take part in the poll by pointing any internet-enabled device to your own custom participoll webpage, which will look like (yourname).participoll.com Users will then see coloured boxes which will allow them to submit their response. The basic ParticiPoll is free to use, this gives you access to unlimited live polls and votes. A pro version for £2.99 a month (or £29.99 a year) allows you to view any audience comments and to access past poll data. I found the ParticiPoll plugin very quick and easy to use. This system would be very useful for BYOD classrooms where children have a mix of devices. Take a look for yourself at www.participoll.com Update : The folks at ParticiPoll are offering a free month of Pro access to readers of the Whiteboard Blog. Just sign up for Monthly Pro using the code whiteboardblog to get a free month.  ...

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Create Jeopardy-style quizzes using FlipQuiz
May02

Create Jeopardy-style quizzes using FlipQuiz

FlipQuiz is a free site that allows you to create Jeopardy-style quizzes to use on your interactive whiteboard without the need for any technical skills. FlipQuiz was created to provide educators with a quick way to create gameshow-style boards for test reviews in the classroom. With FlipQuiz, questions are displayed on-screen and boards are saved for later use. Sign up is free for the basic FlipQuiz, and you can quickly start creating your own boards. All you need is an idea of the questions you want to enter, and the correct answers. FlipQuiz will store your boards and also let you see the boards created by other users. There is also a Pro version which has just been released. This lets you keep track of team scores and upload images to use within your quizzes. The cost of Pro is $7 a month. FlipQuiz would be great for lesson starters as a way of checking prior knowledge, or as part of a revision activity. You can check out FlipQuiz here : flipquiz.me/  ...

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Open Badges – a new currency to recognise skills and talents
Mar21

Open Badges – a new currency to recognise skills and talents

Open Badges are a global standard to recognise skills & achievements across the web. They have the potential to change the way schools and organisations see qualifications; moving from abstract measures of knowledge towards a tool to connect talent with opportunities for employment, work experience and further education. A digital badge is an online representation of a skill you’ve earned. They allow you to verify your skills, interests and achievements through credible organizations. And because the system is based on an open standard, you can combine multiple badges from different issuers to tell the complete story of your achievements — both online and off. Display your badges wherever you want them on the web, and share them for employment, education or lifelong learning. It’s an interesting idea, and some schools are already starting to use Digital Badges with their Digital Leaders – students who promote and support the use of technology in the classroom. There are also some interesting open badge projects being started up, such as Badge The UK and a Certificate in Safe Social Networking (Safe). Thanks to Doug Belshaw for sending me some useful links about Badges. You can find more information about Open Badges at OpenBadges.org and Digitalme. Do also take a look at Doug’s blog. If you’ve been using Digital Badges in your schools, let me know what you think in the comments below....

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10 Online Alternatives to PowerPoint for Creating Great Presentations
Feb26

10 Online Alternatives to PowerPoint for Creating Great Presentations

In many schools, Microsoft PowerPoint is still the go-to software when creating presentations. But it does have its limitations, and there’s also the problem of “death by PowerPoint”. Sometimes it’s good to try alternative tools that allow for a slightly different approach. PowerPoint Alternatives There are lots of online alternatives which let you create great looking presentations on any device. Storing them in the cloud means you can work on them wherever you are as well as easily share with others and embed into other websites. They may not have the flashy animations of PowerPoint, but that’s not a bad thing! Here are a few to check out: 1. Slid.es Slides allows allow anyone with a web browser create and share beautiful presentations. It uses HTML 5 and so should work on all devices. You can arrange main slides horizontally, with additional slides running vertically. It’s free to use, with additional paid-for features if you like it. 2. Emaze Emaze is a another simple to use presentation creation tool. Again it uses HTML5 and so should work well on any browser – including tablets and chromebooks. It’s free, and well worth a look. 3. Prezi Prezi lets you create engaging presentations that pan and zoom from page to page. Prezi is good for creating non-linear presentations. You can view the presentations that you have created online, and also download them in a Flash player format to play offline. There’s also a Prezi app for iPad. It looks great, but I do know some teachers who feel seasick when they see a Prezi presentation! 4. Google Drive Presentations If you use Google Drive (Google Docs/Apps) then you should already be aware that it has a pretty useful presentation tool. You can create a presentation from scratch or upload and convert an existing PowerPoint. The strength of the Google presentation tool is that many users can collaborate on a single presentation, such as these crowd-sourced examples from Ideas to Inspire. 5. Zoho Show Zoho Show allows you to create presentations from scratch or upload existing ones created in PowerPoint. Zoho Show also allows you to export your slide shows into a variety of formats, including HTML, PowerPoint and .pdf. Zoho Show forms part of a much bigger suite of online applications that you might also find interesting. 6. Moovly Moovly is a free online tool that lets you create interesting presentations and animations. You can incorporate both the hand-drawn style of apps such as VideoScribe and the hand-moved objects style that you’ll have seen in videos such as CommonCraft. The site is free to register with and use, with more advanced...

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Student Assessment in the BYOD classroom with AnswerPad
Jan15

Student Assessment in the BYOD classroom with AnswerPad

AnswerPad is a free assessment tool that allows teachers to score and grade paper quizzes online. Unlike other tools, such as Socrative, the questions need to be presented to the students separately. This would usually be done via a paper-based quiz as normal so the students could work at their own pace, but you could display questions on the IWB and work through at class-pace. AnswerPad lets you set up an electronic answer sheet for your paper test, using any of the eight different question types. Teachers would log into the website, add the question type and style (True/false, multiple choice etc), then choose the correct answer. The students can then work through the quiz on paper but submit their answers electronically. This would be done in several ways; the TapIt iPad app is a free companion app that allows the students to access the test pages that the teacher has set up. Alternatively they would access the quiz on a laptop or other computer via the student site. Using the app, students can also use a scratch pad to show their working. With a built-in, robust reporting system for item analysis, the Answer Pad offers reports by skill, by class, and by student. Teachers can view the scratch pad showing the student work. There are several different ways that the app can collect a snapshot of student understanding in the classroom. For example, the Draw feature allows students to draw their answer or annotate on a customizable template such as an axis or graph paper. In addition, teachers can upload their own custom graphics. Via the teacher login, a teacher can create classes, manage students and create logins. Quizzes can be created and each question can be allocated a standard. These are US-focussed, but there is the option to add your own, or leave it blank. Student and class scores can then be examined and reports produced. In some ways the teacher has more control than something like Socrative. The ability to create classes and have students login does mean there’s less chance of students pretending to be other people like you get in Socrative. But you do lose the immediacy of being able to run a quick quiz with a new group of students without all the initial set up. The benefits of this over something like Socrative would be if you already have a lot of quiz papers written, and do not want to transfer them over to another system. You can still give them out as normal, but collect in the answers electronically. I do like the Socrative way of doing things though where there...

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Allow Students to Create Their Own Apps With AppFurnace
Dec04

Allow Students to Create Their Own Apps With AppFurnace

AppFurnace is a new online tool which enables pupils to design, build and edit their own mobile device apps then transfer them for use on a smartphone or tablet device. The finished apps are compatible with both iOS and Android devices. Launched by Kudlian, AppFurnace is aimed at schools looking for ways to support the new computing curriculum in creative ways. Designed to be a cross-curricular tool, AppFurnace apps can be created for a number of purposes, such as school tours, persuasive writing in Literacy or pupils can create an app about a school trip, importing images and sound to make it more interactive. AppFurnace will help pupils develop their basic computing skills, but for more able or older students, they will be able to delve deeper and write computer code using Javascript to enhance the functionality of their app. There’s a detailed guide of the widgets and other types of code available within the software with examples to study. Apps can be created using a wide variety of drag and drop widgets or for older or more advanced students, the use of JavaScript allows more complex apps to be written. Before students export their Apps to their device to run using the free AppFurnace Player, a moderation tool allows you to be confident that the content is suitable. AppFurnace runs in a browser on both PC and Mac. I had it running fine in Chrome but it doesn’t seem to like Firefox. AppFurnace will be available on a subscription basis for primary and secondary schools, with licenses starting at £99 per year. The software will be on display at the BETT Show in January if you want to take a look. For more information and to request a trial, visit the App Furnace website here....

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Create Engaging Presentations with Moovly
Nov19

Create Engaging Presentations with Moovly

Moovly is a free online tool that lets you create interesting presentations and animations. You can incorporate both the hand-drawn style of apps such as VideoScribe and the hand-moved objects style that you’ll have seen in videos such as CommonCraft. Moovly lets you add voice, sound and music and synchronize everything using the simple timeline interface. Animations such as “hand drawn”, “drag on” and “drag off” can be added via the timeline. Some of the clips from the library also have their own animations attached to them, such as globes which spin or chickens which feed. Videos can be published via YouTube or Facebook, or can be downloaded for offline use as Flash or Movie files. Free videos are watermarked with a Moovly Logo. There doesn’t seem to be a way to embed them directly from the Moovly website. Downloading may well be the best option for schools – but you might have a class YouTube account which could be used for sharing presentations. Moovly is another interesting tool to have in the box when looking at creative ways to present children’s work. They could use it to tell stories, explain findings of practical work, present work they have researched and much more. The timeline feature may make it a little complicated for very young users, but older children should pick it up quite quickly and have a lot of fun with it. The site is free to register with and use, with more advanced features and options being available for an annual fee. You can check out Moovly at : www.moovly.com...

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6 Creative Tools for Displaying Learning Objectives
Nov08

6 Creative Tools for Displaying Learning Objectives

It’s commonly accepted that you should start every lesson by displaying the learning objectives. But they don’t have to always be displayed in the same, boring way. Here’s a couple of creative tools that you might want to use to display the learning objectives in a more exciting and engaging way. 1. Star Wars Crawl Creator The Star Wars Crawl Creator lets you turn any piece of text into the scrolling text seen at the opening of the Star Wars movies. Simply enter your text, then hit preview to see your text, complete with the famous theme tune. The site provides an embed code and a direct link so you can access your crawl in the future, or embed it into a blog or other website. 2. Red Kid Sign Generators Red Kid is a fun website that lets you generate your own signs with short snappy messages. This would be a fun way to display keywords, learning objectives or to help introduce a story. Other generators are available on the site including banners, avatars and road signs. For similar tools, also take a look at www.signgenerator.org Or you could even have Einstein introduce the objectives! 3. Jigsaw Planet Create a JPG file of your lesson objectives (Easiest way would be to take a screenshot from Word/PowerPoint) and upload to Jigsaw Planet. This will create a Jigsaw of your objectives. Put them together on the interactive whiteboard to reveal them. 4. Voki Create your learning objective using a Voki and have the avatar speak it out to the class. There’s lots of other uses for Vokis, especially for languages. You can also embed them into a class blog or learning portal. 5. Blabberize Using Blabberize you can upload an image of a person or character, then make their mouth move in time to a message you record. Use this to have the lesson objectives introduced by someone famous, a fictional/historical character or even a superhero!  A little bit like this perhaps? 6. VideoScribe Videoscribe is an IOS app that lets you or your students create presentations that look as though they are being hand-drawn right in front of you. You’ve probably seen this style of animation recently, (like this from Sir Ken Robinson) they’ve become quite popular. The app is not free, but is only £2.99, which isn’t too extortionate. Get it on iTunes here. For some other ideas take a look at this Google Presentation which gives some other great ideas for ways to make the objectives more interesting. If you have any other ideas, add them to the comments below. Update : 18 Nov : One other tool...

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Create online quizzes for any device with Kahoot!
Oct28

Create online quizzes for any device with Kahoot!

Kahoot is a new quiz and survey creation tool that will work on any device. It allows teachers to set up and run multiple choice quizzes which their students can then answer via any device that has a web browser. In many ways it’s a lot like one of my favourite tools, Socrative. The teacher creates a quiz using the web interface. Questions are multiple-choice style, and it’s pretty straightforward to get these set up, enter the options and select the correct answer. An image can be added to each question too – simply drag one from your computer onto the question page. Once published, the teacher starts the quiz, and displays the start screen to the class. This gives the students the instructions on what to do next to access the quiz. Using their tablet, laptop or phone, students open a web browser and go to Kahoot.it. They then enter the game pin number displayed. Once there, they enter their name that will then be used in the quiz. The teacher can then start the quiz when all the students have logged in. Kahoot is different to other quizzes such as Socrative in that the questions themselves do not appear on the student device. The question would be displayed by the teacher on their machine, and the students only see the 4 possible answers on their own screen. The four answers are colour coded and have a symbol. The students will see these 4 colour buttons and symbol on their device and have to select the correct one. A time limit can be set for each question if you wish, and students can get more points by answering quickly. After each question, the number of students answering each option is displayed on the teachers screen, along with the correct answer. If the teacher wants to, it can also show a leaderboard of scores. Kahoot also allows for discussions, and surveys, using the same interface. It would be a good way of conducting a quick poll during a lecture or presentation perhaps. For schools involved in Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) or who are implementing 1:1 iPad programmes, then Kahoot is well worth adding to the list of websites to use. Kahoot is still in beta, so do keep that in mind when using it, some features may still be added or tweaked. But as an alternative to Socrative it’s pretty neat. At the moment you can’t set up quizzes to run independently of the teacher’s computer like you can with a Socrative quiz. It’s free to sign up with Kahoot, and you can get a quiz running very...

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Manage Class Seating and Behaviour with Class Charts
Jul10

Manage Class Seating and Behaviour with Class Charts

Class Charts is a free website that lets teachers manage their classroom seating charts online and add additional information about their students. Seating charts are an essential tool of any good teacher . They allow them to organise students into appropriate learning groups as well as help to minimise behaviour issues. With Class Charts you can also choose to include and display key data such as SEN or reading age which can be used to position pupils in the classroom, whatever your classroom setup. The seating plans you create in Class Charts can also be used collaboratively with colleagues to track and analyse student behaviour over time. The software lets you track both positive and negative points for good/bad behaviour as well as generate behaviour reports. You can access Class Charts on any computer via your web browser, and since it doesn’t use Flash it also works very well on iPads too. It does look like quite an interesting tool. And since it’s free to use it’s definitely worth taking a look and having a play to see if it is suitable for you! Find out more at www.classcharts.com...

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