Tag Archives: Technologies

Using ICT to develop creativity and innovation in the classroom

Malcolm Wilson, ICT Curriculum Development Officer within the Curriculum Support team of Service and School Improvement, Falkirk Council Education Services presented hands-on practical sessions for all probationer teachers in Falkirk primary schools, on using ICT to develop creativity and innovation the classroom.

There was a guided exploration of the wide variety of open-ended software installed on all PCs across all Falkirk primary schools, which can be used to support learning and teaching across the curriculum at all stages – and a reminder that resources to support every piece of software (providing examples as well as guides and tutorials) could be found online here: ICT for Teaching & Learning in Falkirk Primary Schools

There were practical activities related to how the free audio-editing tool Audacity might be used to support learning and teaching across a range of curricular areas. Recording voice, moving sections of recorded sound to different parts just like a word-processor, adding special effects (robotic and raising the pitch just being some) to create interest for pupil-read texts, adding a music soundtrack and varying the volumes of spoken word and music. More can be found here: https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/fa/ICTFalkirkPrimaries/2013/03/25/school-radio-podcasting-pupils/

There were practical activities making use of one of the spreadsheet/graphing programs on all Falkirk primary school networked PCs, RM Starting Graph to show how such tools can enhance engagement with information handling both in mathematics and across the curriculum, so that the learning can be focussed on the questions being asked rather than on recording the information. More information about spreadsheets/graphing software for primary schools can be found here: https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/fa/ICTFalkirkPrimaries/2011/03/30/spreadsheets/

The session provided a guided exploration of the tools and resources available for use with Smartboard interactive whiteboards (which are in almost all Falkirk primary school classrooms) to support teachers and learners across a wide range of classroom activity, including a host of pre-created Smart Notebook resources created and shared by teachers in Falkirk schools, as well as pointing out access to the worldwide network of educators who have shared resources in Smart Exchange: https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/fa/ICTFalkirkPrimaries/2011/08/18/smart-exchange/

The session provided hands-on guided opportunity to explore the software 2DIY from 2Simple which provides the means for teachers and primary pupils to create their own interactive resources, activities, games, puzzles, quizzes. More information about this software can be found here: https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/fa/ICTFalkirkPrimaries/2010/11/11/game-making-in-the-primary-classroom-with-2diy-from-2simple/

Guided hands-on practical activities were provided in the use of collaborative tools within Microsoft office 365 through Glow, using Word online to create and share a document in either a user’s online store space OneDrive (or from a class space), jointly edit at the same time as other users, add encouraging comments to the work of another (and all which can be done on a mobile device), use Outlook to share with others in the room, and to see possibilities for using the Lync video-conferencing tool – all within the Glow environment. More information about Office 365 can be found here: https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/fa/ICTFalkirkPrimaries/2012/07/10/microsoft-office-365-for-education/

Practical activities were provided in making use of the programming robots (whether the robot or the software versions) making use of Roamerworld software (including the pre-created scenarios such as subway and storks which provide a learning context for the logical thinking, collaboration, maths of shape, position and movement and much more). More information about these programming tools can be found here: https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/fa/ICTFalkirkPrimaries/2011/04/20/beebot-to-logo/

To help with classroom engagement some free tools were also used in the session which can be used in the classroom, including timerr and random-name-selectors. More can be found here: https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/fa/ICTFalkirkPrimaries/2010/08/19/countdown-timer-from-classtools/

Encouragement was given to make use of Twitter both for sharing classroom activity and as a professional to develop a professional learning network to share ideas and benefit from the collective knowledge and skills of colleagues worldwide. More information about setting up and using a class twitter account can be found here: https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/fa/ICTFalkirkPrimaries/2013/03/05/twitter-for-schools-and-classes/. More information about using twitter to develop a professional learning network can be found here: https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/fa/ICTFalkirkPrimaries/2011/08/16/personal-learning-network/

Pupils as Digital Leaders at Carron Primary School

Malcolm Wilson, ICT Curriculum Development Officer within the Curriculum Support team of Service and School Improvement, Falkirk Council Education Services, supported the first session with the new Digital Leaders group of pupils in Carron Primary School.

The pupils had selected to be a part of this group and will be led by teacher John Bell. This first session let the pupils say what they felt their contribution could be in taking the group forward in supporting the use of technologies in Carron Primary School. Pupils gave a variety of ideas which encompassed being the ones in the school who: know how to navigate the school computers, are willing to try to find a solution to an issue, are not being afraid to try things out and are eager to learn more (both together and on their own). Different pupils said what they saw as their areas of knowledge, interest and expertise ranging from programming in Scratch to creating things for a website.

Pupils used their wireless laptops to then work together on creating games using the software 2DIY from 2Simple which is installed on all Falkirk Council primary school networked computers.

More information about Digital Leaders can be found here: https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/fa/ICTFalkirkPrimaries/2014/04/23/pupils-as-digital-leaders/

Interactive tools for supporting teaching Modern Languages in the Primary School

Malcolm Wilson, ICT Curriculum Development Officer in the Curriculum Support Team of Falkirk Council Education Services, led a guided hands on exploration session with primary class teachers on interactive tools for supporting teaching Modern Languages in the Primary School.

Most of the resources explored can be used in many contexts and this session looked at how they can be adapted to supporting teaching modern languages in the primary school.


Audacity – free downloadable software which lets you record and edit audio – pupils can record their spoken voice, reading words, phrases or sentences. And they can take words and re-order them to create listening activities for each other  (e.g. cutting individual words or phrases and pasting them out of sequence in the audio for other pupils to correctly re-sequence the words). Any audio files created in Audacity can also be turned into mp3 files so that they can be shared online, such as on a school website or class blog: http://glo.li/gJxmOi

Little Bird Tales – free online tool which lets pupils create stories combining voice, text and images. The teacher creates an account and provides pupils with a login code for that class – work of pupils can be seen by teacher but only made public if & when pupil feels it’s ready and teacher chooses to make it public. Other safety features include having the PC microphone enabled, but not webcam, so only audio is recorded. Pupils can upload images, or can use Little Bird Tales art editor online tool to draw own images on screen to illustrate a story or sequence of vocabulary or phrases. Pupils can create pages, building up sequence of pages, all of which can be saved at any time for future editing – and can be embedded online elsewhere – and the teacher can make content visible to the public on the Little Bird Tales website. http://glo.li/rsrAzz for description, guide and video of use.

Photostory 3 – free downloadable software which lets pupils sequence a series of photographs (adding panning and other effects as desired) to engage with texs and demonstrate their understanding of the text. Pupils can create videos to illustrate vocabulary, phrases, poems or songs.  https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/fa/ICTFalkirkPrimaries/2011/03/09/photostory-3/

Hello Mylo – free online tool incorporating games-based learning with badges to recognise progress. French, German, Spanish and Chinese available. The learner has choice of games, vocabulary tools and challenges – each provides visual, textual as well as audio feedback, with nugget-sized tasks providing scores on achievement. It can be used without any need to register but registered schools can set tasks for pupils (in groups or as a class) and get feedback on the progress of their pupils. Collaborative work can be seen only by the class, until the teacher chooses to publish it after reviewing it with the learners (if desired to be made public). http://glo.li/RqNj0r

Create word-cloud images for wall display, blog, or website. Pupils could create a word cloud of vocabulary on specific topics. Or they could connect foreign word and English word in Wordle by adding a tilde (~) between the words, or omit the connection and use as lesson starter for pupils to connect each word and translation with a pen on an interactive whiteboard http://glo.li/f2Ifx9

Interactive Whiteboard activities – using resources created with Smart Notebook inbuilt Lesson Activity Toolkit interactive tools, and browsing, downloading and adapting resources created by other eductors worldwide from the Smart Exchange website. http://glo.li/rQ3eRl

Comic Creation Tools – pupils sequence stories in chosen language, or annotate conversations with images and speech bubbles for visual story-telling. Free online Comic-creation tools and resources here: http://glo.li/eEkUjo

Google Translate – Use Google Translate to translate any text by copying and pasting words/phrases, paragraphs or a whole document or website. Use the speech feature to hear the text spoken with the accent of the chosen language. Translate class blog or school website. http://translate.google.com/

Lingro – Highlight words on any website in chosen language, Listen to the words spoken, Translate, then play flashcard games with all words chosen – all within the Lingro toolbar along the top of any website you choose. http://glo.li/hNnhFk

Song Videos with Lyrics – Online videos with printed lyrics to follow http://chansons-fr.com/ – may provide inspiration for pupils to create own videos http://glo.li/gTmdzS (for resources about using Flipcam-type video cameras). Lyrics-gap Songs on video with choice of level of missing words for pupils to select from words while listening http://www.lyricsgaps.com/

Classtools: Online class gaming tools already created for French or German. Easily add own arcade-type games with own questions/answers http://www.classtools.net

Quiz-creation tools – create self-correcting quizzes, provide feedback on what has been learned by pupils, pupils creating quizzes motivates & helps embed learning. One of many tools described is Zondle which lets the teacher detrmine the content to be learned by pupils, and the pupil chooses the game which then draws in the teacher-chosen content and presents it in the pupil-chosen game format.  http://glo.li/g73CnR

Further Online Links

Teaching Ideas – a series of crowd-sourced ideas shared by teachers http://www.teachingideas.co.uk/foreignlanguages/contents.htm

Cybrary Man links to resources by category http://cybraryman.com/foreign.html

Education Scotland MLPS resources – vocabulary and phrases for several languages with support materials to support teaching modern languages in the primary school.

Exciting CPD from new partnership!

Yvonne McBlain from Falkirk Curriculum Support Team met with Ray McFadyen, Education Officer from the Museum of Scottish Railways on 12th November. Ray shared the new museum education support pack (click to view) which he has just completed, and described the themed artefact handling boxes he has created (click to view).  Yvonne and Ray talked about the range of steam and diesel-driven machinery and artefacts which could stimulate ideas for teachers of technology. Consequently, they will collaborate to create and organise a CPD Manager course offering secondary DET teachers the opportunity to visit the museum collection after hours. A visit to the museum and railway station next to Bo’ness harbour offers a whole range of creative teaching possibilities (click to explore how a visit could look). Yvonne and Ray will work with Sharon Wallace, Primary Curriculum Support Officer to plan and deliver an innovative series of CPD sessions which will include a site visit. These sessions will allow teachers to explore how the museum collection and location could be used to progress literacy skills across learning, in an active, engaging and creative way – within and outwith the classroom! Keep your eye on CPD Manager – we hope to upload these descriptors soon.

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Active Learning in Health and Wellbeing using Smart Notebook software on a Smart Board interactive whiteboard

Malcolm Wilson, ICT Curriculum Development Officer in Falkirk Council Education Services Curriculum Support team, organised and supported a hands-on continuing professional development session presented by Anne Forrest of Steljes for staff from primary schools in Falkirk on the use of Smart Notebook software with the Smart Board interactive whiteboard to support active learning in Health and Wellbeing.

Anne Forrest guided participants through hands-on use of a host of interactive techniques using Smart Notebook software with the Smart Board which a teacher could use to support learning and teaching in the classroom in health and wellbeing. These included different ways of using tools like the magic pen tool (to zoom in, magnify, spotlight, and fade out annotations), object animations to provide feedback, rub and reveal, move pictures to reveal, hyperlinked objects on images, pulling items to self-correct, matching images within tables, page activity recording. The variety of different gallery items from images to engaging interactive tools such as timers were illustrated in health and wellbeing activity contexts, as well as how to adapt the host of lesson activity toolkit pre-created game-type interactives to any topic. Hands-on use of the resources on the Smartboard by participants illustrated how the activities can be used to help engage pupils in their learning.

There are also many free pre-created templates and question sets ready to be downloaded and adapted by teachers from Smart Exchange to suit the needs of their own pupils. Click here for the online Smart Exchange site where these can be downloaded.

Anne Forrest made her resources available to all participants, which can be accessed by clicking here (note that a Glow username and password is required to access these resources).

Feedback from participants included:

“Excellent with clear explanations and practical examples.” HK – Bonnybridge Primary School

“Excellent presenter.” MS – Kinnaird Primary School

Powtoon, School YouTube Channel, Twitter for Schools, Maths Interactives and History On This Day – a support session for ICT Co-ordinators in Falkirk Primary Schools

Powtoon, School YouTube Channel, Twitter for Schools, Maths Interactives & History On This Day – some of the tools presented by Malcolm Wilson (ICT Curriculum Development Office in the Curriculum Support Team of Falkirk Council Education Services) at the support sessions for ICT Co-ordinators in Falkirk Primary Schools (and to which secondary ICT Co-ordinators are also invited) – an opportunity to be guided through a hands-on exploration and use of a variety of online tools to support learning and teaching in Falkirk primary schools.

* The YouTube Channels for Falkirk Council Education Services and schools provides a resource to share videos created for Education Services in Falkirk Council as well as a link to each of the YouTube channels of Falkirk Council educational establishments. Having a school YouTube Channel provides a means to upload school-created videos and more easily share or embed elsewhere such as class blogs or school websites. Playlists in a YouTube Channel also let you bring together videos, of relevance to your own school, created by others from elsewhere on YouTube in topic/curricular headings. Falkirk school YouTube channels are created centrally for each school on request so that the technical setup of settings, etc, is not a burden on schools, yet the control for the each school channel is with the school.

* Powtoon provides a free online tool to create short animated promotional videos for schools or event in schools. These can be embedded on school websites and blogs. These animated videos can be used to promote a school event, activity or explain a topic. A description and examples can be found here: http://glo.li/WY4Ek2.

Interactive Teaching Programs for Numeracy and Mathematics are free online resources designed for whole-class teaching via interactive whiteboard. Each tool is versatile in letting teachers use it in any way to best suit the needs of their learners. For each tool there is an extensive helpguide available as a pdf for viewing either on-screen or printing out. These tools are designed to support the teaching and learning process with a teacher guiding a pupil, group or class of pupils, through their learning, and a pace appropriate to them. They are flexible tools so can be used at many stages in primary school. There is a host of tools included covering: Area, Calculating angles, Coordinates, Counting on and back, Data handling, Decimal number line, Difference, Division Grid, Fixing points, Fractions, Grouping, Isometric grid, Line graph, Measuring cylinder, Measuring scales, Moving digits, Multiplication facts, Multiplication grid, Number dials, Number facts, Number facts, Number grid, Number line, Number spinners, Ordering numbers, Place value, Polygon, Remainders after division, Ruler, Symmetry, Tell the time, Thermometer, and Twenty cards. They are available online here: http://glo.li/UR9HOS

* #OnThisDay in History – resources for connecting historical events, related to specific anniversary dates, to pupils today, can provide a means to connect events of past with work in class on specific days across curriculum – helps make connections with the past whether for a curricular area, a historical topic era, or lesson starter on any specific day. These free online tools provide short descriptions of events which happened on each day in the calendar (for any year). They can be searched on specific days, and any year. So if studying a historical period such as World War 2, the Romans, etc then events in sequnce day by day in any particular year can be shown. If teachers like to help pupils relate to historical events sometimes the starting link can be to look at events which happened on the day (in any any year) of their birth, or the year of their birth. If looking for links to music events, or studying art techniques through artists in history, then there are specific sites here which group these related anniversaries of events (including first performances, display, births and deaths).   The information which suits the occasion for the teacher and learners on any specific occasion can be used on a class blog or school website as a “hook” to connect events yesterday and today http://glo.li/Whu37F

* Twitter for schools – most Falkirk schools have school  Twitter accounts to help share activities going on in the school and increase engagement by the wider community. A list of these Falkirk educational establishments with links to their Twitter feeds (as well as resources supporting the use of Twitter by schools) can be found here: http://glo.li/12iKXTz. Once the Twitter feed of posts is embedded on school websites, posting information via Twitter on a mobile device makes it quicker to add news items onto the website as the information being shared by the school is instantly shared on the website without the need to log into the editing panel of the school website. Using Twitter also means that parents and others in the school community can choose to follow the latest information from the school, and share this with others to help more widely spread the good work of the school. Support can be provided to schools looking at setting up and using a school Twitter account or getting it added to a school website.

Feedback from participants at the support sessions included:

“Great, practical ideas as ever!” JC – St Bernadette’s Primary School

“Lots of useful resources.” AW – Head of Muir Primary School

“Lots of great ideas today – very worthwhile.” GM – St Joseph’s Primary School

“Now a convert to Twitter!” CM – Bo’ness Academy

“Yet another very useful session – many thanks.” LB – Moray Primary School

“Helpful and informative insight into ICT developments.” SD – Grangemouth High School

“Lots of great ideas.” FB – Kinnaird Primary School

“Great information – thanks!” FK – Bantaskin Primary School

“Thank you – very informative as always!” CH – Comely Park Primary School

“Very practical and helpful as ever.” RO – Easter Carmuirs Primary School

The Tireless work towards Wireless


Stuart Lennie, ICT Curriculum Development Officer in Falkirk Council Education Services Curriculum Support team, has been working with ICT Corporate Services to implement Wireless Technology into Education Services establishments. The installations follow many months of work to research and evaluate the best solution, with small scale pilots being undertaken in both Primary and Secondary schools.

The chosen solution, using Cisco Wireless Access points, provides fast and reliable Internet connectivity throughout the school. This means that Council ICT mobile devices, such as laptops, can be used at the point of learning, rather than the pupils moving around the school to access ICT. At the moment the solution is being deployed across all Secondary establishments, but by the new session work will have begun to progress installations in Primary schools too.

One added benefit of the solution is the additional provision of guest access for personal devices- which could be a laptop, tablet, phone, or media player. This access, often referred to as BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) or BYOT (Bring Your Own Technology) allows staff and pupils to connect to the wireless network using their existing username and password, providing them with filtered and secure Internet access in the school building.

Currently a small scale pilot is underway in Denny High school to allow pupils in two Senior Phase classes to receive this access on their personal devices. This work will allow for the development of policies and guidance documentation, as well as starting to build good practice in safe mobile device use in schools.

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Stuart Lennie, ICT Curriculum Development Officer in Falkirk Council Education Services Curriculum Support team, has just launched the official Falkirk Council Education Services YouTube Channel.

The channel, available HERE, will be used to provide CPD opportunities, support, and guidance for education establishments across Falkirk Council. Within the page are links to the other official YouTube channels for Falkirk schools.

The channel also works on the YouTube app for Smartphones and Tablets, giving you access to content whenever you need it.

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Make sure you subscribe to the channel to get all of our latest updates!

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Putting it on Record

Stuart Lennie, ICT Curriculum Development Officer in the Curriculum Support Team of Falkirk Council Education Services, is supporting the introduction of YouTube access for pupils in Falkirk Council classrooms.

YouTube is an online video streaming website that can provide useful knowledge and education content for all stages in schools and nurseries. In addition, users can create content and upload it to the site in order to store it or share knowledge or learning with others.

YouTube has been open to staff in Falkirk Council for many years and has proven to be a vital tool in terms of classroom practice and staff development. It is regularly the top visited site in education establishments and staff now integrate the content into their lesson plans and activities.

Currently, all pupils are blocked from access to the YouTube site, plus any embedded YouTube content in other websites, in Falkirk schools. This decision was taken based on two main factors:

  • The limited bandwidth available to our schools and the demands upon it.
  • The proportion of content deemed unsuitable by staff.

Recent developments in bandwidth improvements and safety filters put us in a position where these two factors no longer apply.

To facilitate such change, a Technologies in the Classroom group has been formed, made up of classroom practitioners from all stages of education in Falkirk Council. This group will have the mandate to call upon advice from appropriate groups of additional individuals including pupils, parents, and partners.

The immediate tasks for this group will be to:

  • Create support materials for staff and pupils
  • Develop methods to educate staff, pupils, and parents on the safe filtering features in Social Media sites and to ensure acceptable use in line with the Acceptable Use Policy and schools’ positive behaviour policies
  • Pilot pupil access with schools
  • Work to gather and analyse evidence of how YouTube is enhancing learning through previously unavailable delivery methods such as Flipped Learning models which enables pupils to bring to the classroom project work and studies undertaken outwith the school.

Here is an example of one of the support videos for teachers, hosted on YouTube:

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In addition, education establishments will be set up with individual YouTube channels to act as an official public repository of content for their establishment.