Making Memes and Animated Gifs for Learning

memeanimatedlearningMemes and animated gifs abound in social media. You don’t have to look too long online to see these appear, often being shared and shared by many people via their social media accounts, or prominent on webpages or blogposts to draw in the reader to find out more about a story or data.

Having learners create their own memes or animated gifs can support their learning across all areas of the curriculum. The process of demonstrating understanding of a concept involves learners in reflecting on their learning, often discussing with others to test the depth of that understanding, and then finding creative ways to present the information to others. Where learners are encouraged to make these animated gifs or memes to demonstrate their understanding of concepts they are reflecting on what the key points are, they are summarising, in effect creating a visual précis of information.

So what is an animated gif?

Animated gifs are short animations lasting just a few seconds, sometimes just a sequence of related images, sometimes a short looping segment or clip of a video, sometimes a stop-motion style of inanimate objects brought to life to convey a message.

horsingaroundmemeAnd what is an image meme?

Image Memes generally may consist of a single photograph with text along the top and foot of the image, sometimes black top and bottom borders where bold white text is superimposed. The text is often in capitalised Impact font.

The text is usually very short and the text along the top can often be the draw to bring in the viewer, and then the text along the foot can spin the idea to make the reader reflect on the issue, often with humorous effect.

Where learners might make memes  and animated gifs

Animated gifs and memes present messages in a visual, attention-grabbing way, to make those who view them stop and think. The most thought-provoking memes and animated gifs distil what can be a complex concept into the main idea which can be understood in just a few seconds.

problem-shared-is-problem-halvedA Mental Health and Wellbeing project, AyeMind, (which inspired this blogpost after a presentation by Dr Trevor Lakey, Health Improvement and Inequalities manager with NHSGGC) developed by the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde along with partner organisations, has a fantastic website to be a part of providing positive mental health support for children and young people.

Part of this was about digital inclusion, and using the tools, platforms and means of communications familiar to children and young people to engage and share. Part of this project was enabling talking about mental health issues in a positive, supportive environment and giving the children and young people a voice and opportunity to make better use of the Internet, social media and mobile technologies. The memes and animated gifs on the AyeMind project website were created by children and young people as part of the project.

How to create an animated gif

There are a number of free online tools which let users create an animated gif. When using in an educational setting it would be prudent to check for suitability of advertising or galleries of user-created content which is rarely moderated.

Aye_Mind_ChooseaQuestionIdeally find a tool which just offers the tool for creation of the animated gif. Each tool which creates an animated gif may provide different options such as the limit on the number of images which can be uploaded, the option to control the speed or frame-rate of the animation, the size of the output animated gif image, and sometimes further options. Some simply provide the option for users to specify the location of an already uploaded video online, and the starting and finishing point for the clip animated gif to be created.

The Young Scot website AyeMind project page provides an excellent outline of an activity for involving children and young people in deciding on the message they wish to convey and then shows step-by-step how to use either an online tool or a mobile app to create an animated gif. There are also plenty of example of memes and animated gifs created by children and young people on the Young Scot website AyeMind project page and an outline guide providing the steps to running a session with children, young people or adults on coming up with the ideas and then moving to making the memes or animated gifs.

Online tools or mobile apps for creating an animated gif:

ABCyaABC.ya animator – aimed at being suitable for young children since it only permits drawn images or selection of pictures from an inbuilt galley of images.

GifMaker.me – animated gif creator with several options from which to choose in controlling how the animated gif will be presented, and provides the option to add music or even combine several animated gifs. As with any creation tool it provides the opportunity to explore sources of images and content found elsewhere, to use only where permission is granted and attribution given as required.

MakeAGif – provides the option to make a gif from an uploaded existing video or from an online source on YouTube, from which the specific segment can be selected. Be aware of the gallery of examples which would not all be appropriate for an educational setting.

EZGif – provides the option for animated gifs from multiple images (up to 400) or from video. There is advertising on the site but no gallery of user-created content.

Mobile device apps – many apps are available for smartphone or tablet to create animated gifs. Leslie Walker put together “Mobile GIF Guide: Make Animated GIFs on Your Phone” which lists several apps for mobile phones or tablet devices, along with descriptions of the features of each. Justin Pot gathered together “Making an animated gif is easier than you think with these  which lists online tools as well as mobile device apps, including descriptions and guidance as to how to make use of each. Elise Moreau collated a list of free animated gif creators for mobile devices at “9 Free GIF Maker Apps for iPhone and Android” describing each and providing helpful hints as to how each can be used.

Online tools or mobile device apps for creating an image meme

Any image-creation tool (or a presentation tool like PowerPoint) on computer, mobile or tablet device can usually be used for creating an image meme – wherever an image can be placed with the facility to overlay text either along the top and bottom of the image, or within a border of black along the top and bottom of the image for white text to be superimposed on these black panels. There are online tools but as with any free online tool a having unmoderated galleries of user-created content has to be a factor an educator looks at in assessing the suitability of a tool in an educational context, however the following may provide the teacher with ideas, guides as well as inspire an adaptation of an existing meme to suit the learning need. Meme creation online tools include imgFlip Meme generator, MemeMaker.Net, MemeGenerator.net, and ImageChef Meme Maker (be aware that all of these have galleries of user-generated content which would not generally be suitable in an educational context but selected memes may be shared by a teacher for showing examples).

Mobile device apps specifically for creating image memes have been collated on the AppCrawlr site “Best iOS apps for meme generator” and “Best Android apps for meme generator.” Mobile device users may well find they already have one of these apps as several have multiple purposes such as for editing images.

Feedback and more with Forms

FormsGathering feedback, taking quizzes to reinforce learning, undertaking surveys of views, signing up or registering for an activity – just some of the ways forms can be used by schools. And now there is the option to use Microsoft Forms – available as a free online tool which uses a Microsoft Office 365 account (available to all Glow users) to set up the form either by going to https://forms.office.com or, if already logged into Office 365, via the Forms tile in the office 365 navigation tiles waffle.  Office Forms can be created by either learners or educators.

Forms work nicely on any smartphones, tablets or PCs. Setting up requires the creator to be logged in to Office 365 but those completing the created form can be completed by anyone without requiring any kind of logging in (if that setting is chosen by the form creator), or they can be anonymous (if that is the setting the creator of the form wishes to use), or if they wish to restrict responses to their class and to ensure their identity they can use the login details of office 365 users too (if that’s how the creator of the form wishes the form to be completed). So the form creator gets the choice to suit the purpose and audience of their form.

Feedback is immediate, real-time, to the form creator and the results can be displayed in different ways to suit the need of the form creator.

For Sway users you can embed a form created with office Forms live in a Sway presentation information can be shared about a topic being studied and a quiz included alongside the content.

Creating your form

  1. Office365waffleEither go to https://forms.office.com and log in with your Office 365 account (for Scottish schools that will be your Glow account) or, if already logged into Office 365, choose the Forms tile in the office 365 navigation tiles waffle.
  2. Click on + New to start creating your new form (you can click on the title of any previously created form in order to edit that, and if you wish to base a new form on an existing form you can click on the … ellipsis to the right of the form title and choose copy – then you can edit the copy to create a new version.
  3. addformJust click on “Untitled form” to edit the name of your form, and click on “Enter a description” to add explanatory text as you may wish to include to explain the purpose of the form and perhaps mentioning the intended audience. Then click “+ Add question
  4. questiontypesChoose the type of question.There are five types of answer formats:
    • multiple choice questions (where you can choose to accept only one answer or multiple responses)
    • free-text (and you can choose either short or long text)
    • ratings (you can choose number or star rating)
    • quiz-questions (where you can provide immediate feedback to anyone filling in the form as to whether the respondent gave the correct answer or not (click on the tick icon to indicate which answer would be the correct answer – and just click on the speech-bubble icon to add comments to any response choice, which may give encouraging comments or suggestions for what to do next in response to the answer given, or any kind of feedback you wish to display when a particular choice is chosen)
    • date-input
  5. You can choose whether there can be multiple responses or only one answer accepted, you can require that specific questions have to be answered before a user can complete the form, and by clicking on the  …ellipsis you can choose whether a subtitle (which could provide explanatory text for each question) is displayed, and whether you wish to shuffle the order of questions so that each time someone sees the form the questions are displayed in a random order.
  6. Add as many further questions as you wish. You can re-order the questions by clicking on the upward or downward facing arrows above each question, and you can copy an existing question (and edit that copy), or delete an existing question.
  7. You can add a branching question option so that, depending on the response to one question, anyone responding can be directed to different questions to reflect that choice.

Previewing your form

mobilepreviewformTo see what the form will look like for people about to fill it in you can click on “preview” at the top navigation bar. You can see how the questions will be laid out on a computer, and you can also choose to see how it will look on a mobile device.

Sharing your form

Once the form is complete click on “Send form” – this will open a side panel with various choices. It will provide a link to share with those you wish to respond to the form. It will create a QR code for quick scanning by users using a mobile device, and it will provide html embed code if you wish to embed the form within a website page or blogpost. This screen also gives you the option to choose who will be able to fill out the form – you can choose only people within your organisation (for Scottish schools using Glow that would be Glow users only), and within that you can choose whether or not to record the names of those responding in the results, or you can choose to make the form available to anyone with the link (where no sign-in will be required for people responding to the form).

If you click on “See all settings” at the foot of this side panel you will get further choices:

Looking at the results of your form

Responsesscreen

When you wish to look at the responses to a form you have shared then simply open the form and click on the responses tab along the top of the screen. You will get an overview of the number of respondents, the average time taken to complete by respondents, and whether the form is still active or expired 9if you’d set it to have a deadline). There is also the option to download to a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet (which comes complete with auto-filter drop-downs to easily sort the information generated to suit your needs).

Example forms

FormLearningHow did you get on with your learning this week? – this form is a mock form just to show how a form might be used for a teacher to get feedback from learners in their class to better support them. This example is based on the form created by Fiona Johnson, headteacher at Kilmartin Primary School in Argyll and Bute, but this link is purely an example so anyone can try it. Similarly here is another mock form (also based on the form created by Fiona Johnson as headteacher at Kilmartin Primary School in Argyll and Bute) – “How did you get on with your learning today?” – feel free to give it a try.

Tracking SALsAM

Tracking Significant Aspects of Learning – Athole McLauchlan used Microsoft Forms with pupils at Bearsden Primary School as a way of recognising and reporting on wider achievements of learners. Click here to see a copy of the form used (this is a mock copy for readers of this blog to try out the responses and does not affect the real form used with pupils). This covered pupil voice, sporting achievements, learning for sustainability, healthy choices, STEM, reading and writing for pleasure, creativity and personal interest, and skills for life and work. One question included a “bucket list” – looking at pupil aspirations (with reference to 50 things to do before age 11). Forms can be used to generate a report on school-wide data, as well as to look at the responses on a form by any individual (a form can be anonymised or it can require login and a name to be provided depending on the purpose).

Teacher Nick Tait has shared the following video showing how he has used Microsoft Forms with a class of high school learners at Grangemouth High School. This video shows how the forms are constructed and shows the view of the responses by the teacher as creator of the forms.

https://knowledge.autodesk.com/search-result/caas/screencast/Main/Details/9a0e76c2-5aa7-4c45-9e5a-c352c2389f89.html

So what have people said about Office Forms?

StevenPayneFormsSteven Payne, an educator in Western Australia, shared the results of a mock use Microsoft Forms – showing the results, and the way in which they can be displayed, which the creator of the form can see once respondents have completed the survey.

Jim Federico commented in a tweet that Microsoft Forms being built into Office 365 for Education means no add-ins are required, and includes question types which auto-grade.

TestingWithOfficeFormsKurt Söser, an educator in Austria, has provided a step-by-step guide to his experience setting up a quiz with Microsoft Forms and using it with his learners.

VicentGadeaFormsVicent Gadea, an educator in Spain, described co-assessment using Microsoft Forms “1st time was complicated then was very powerful for us.”

Zelfstudforms

Koen Timmers, an educator in Belgium, has described in a step-by-step guide, illustrated with screenshots, how to set up a form using Office Forms, and shared what the responses look like for a form he created.

Making use of Forms in the classroom

There is a range of online form tools available, each of which can generally be used in similar ways, so it can be helpful to look at how others have used these tools when thinking about how online forms can support classroom activity.

DavidAndradeFormsChad Raid wrote about the use of forms on David Andrade’s Educational Technology Guy blog – some of which may be applicable in different educational scenarios. Obviously in any use of forms the issue of data security is paramount and guidance from school or local education  authority as to what can, and what must not, be requested via a form would clearly be essential.

What to Think About When You’re Surveying Students – a post by Marcia Quackenbush and Pamela Jakwerth Drake which provides a host of ideas for using survey tools with learners, outlining the benefits as well as considerations specific to schools to be borne in mind, and links to various resources.

 

Find the time which suits everyone with FindTime

FindTime2FindTime – a quick way to find a time which best suits everyone when you are trying to arrange a meeting with a group of people.

There will be many times teachers are trying to organise a meeting time for a group of colleagues (sometimes in their own school, and often with colleagues in other schools, and sometimes with people outwith schools altogether) , but when you send out a message some people may reply only to you, some people may explain how they could make one time if they re-arranged something else, some say that a particular date is their preferred time, and some they just can’t manage at all.

FindTime1How do you make sense of all of these replies?

FindTime is one way of neatly taking all of that into account where you simply make some suggestions for meeting, add the people to be invited (just by adding heir email address), and everyone simply clicks on times which best suit them from the link in the email (they don’t need to log into anything), which times they can’t manage, and which they could possibly do if they re-arranged something else. And FindTime also gives you the option to hold suggestions in Outlook calendars and confirm to all attendees what the outcome was once it’s been clearly identified as the best option.

Here’s a video introducing the purpose behind FindTime

Here’s an animated video which shows the purpose behind FindTime, and the simple steps involved in making it work for you:

So how do you get started with FindTime?

FindTime works with Office 365, so for Glow users the person who creates the meeting invitation simply has to use their Glow account to set up the meeting, but thereafter anyone can be invited to the meeting, with no need for others to be Glow users of for anyone to log into anything. The email invitation sent out includes links specific to each invited individual so they simply click on the link in their email to make their choices.

First time setup for the organiser

First time set up just needs the add-in for FindTime to be added to the Outlook calendar, in Glow Office 365. So do the following:

  1. Log into Glow and navigate to Office 365 (Calendar).
  2. Then open a new tab in your Internet browser and go to https://findtime.microsoft.com/.
  3. Click on the button which says “Install for free – requires office 365” – untick the box which asks if you wish sent news of updates, and then click on the button which says “I’m ready.”
  4. In the login screen which then appears add your Glow email address where it asks for your Microsoft Office (that will be your Glow username followed by @glow.sch.uk). That will take you to the normal Glow login screen so simply sign in as normal. A button will appear to show that the add-in for FindTime is now installed.

How to start a meeting invitation

  1. The organiser of the meeting is the only one who has to have a Glow Microsoft Office 365 account – everyone else just needs to have an email address, which does not need to be within Glow nor Office 365. Navigate to the Internet browser tab where you have Glow Microsoft Office 365 Calendar (note that this also works from within Microsoft Office 365 Outlook email too, so the steps below work whether email or calendar part of Office e365).
  2. Choose the drop down arrow beside “+New” and choose “Calendar event.”
  3. Click on “Add-ins” and choose “FindTime. The first time you do this only you click on the “FindTime “link now” box which appears. Thereafter you’ll see the FindTime option each time you choose that from the add-in menu.
  4. Underneath where it says “People” you’ll see a box which says “Add people” where you simply type email addresses of each of the people who are going to invite – once each name is typed you click on “Use this address” which displays under the email address” to add each email address one by one (don’t user the + sign beside the box as this will only add from your address book).
  5. Now select the meeting options in the FindTime panel (it’s suggested to specify the meeting duration, then select as or as many days/times options as suit you). Then click “Next” – here you can click on the cog for “Meeting settings” to specify whether you wish to have notifications, to hold possible dates in diaries, or to automatically schedule the dates which suits everyone (probably you’d want to decide that for yourself so may no choose that last option).
  6. Finally click on “Insert to email” and send to those you are inviting to participate.

And once you get the invitations?

Each user simply clicks on the link in their email and makes their choices (preferred option, and yes or no for each suggested time/date) before clicking on the “Submit” button. And that’s all they have to do. The organiser can go to https://findtime.microsoft.com to review meeting details of any meeting they have organised, and edit or send out details to participants as required. They can also see the details from with their calendar entry for the selected time/date in Office 365.

 

Learners engaging with their learning with Yammer

YammerlogoYammer – so what is it and why use in school?

Yammer is an online discussion/collaboration tool which provides schools with a secure online environment where all pupils in a class can ask questions of their peers, where they can seek answers and help each other, bounce ideas around and deepen their own understanding of what they are learning in class. It is available to all users of Office 365 for Education, meaning all Glow users, pupils and staff, have access to this tool. And it can be accessed by signing in online in a browser or using a mobile device app.

Yammer provides an ideal tool through which learners can learn about the use of social media, in a protected environment, where the pupils can be guided to model behaviours for use in an online discussion tool, which will apply to any social media tool pupils may meet outwith their schooling. So if a teacher is looking to help pupils learn about safe sharing, and what not to share online, being supportive and respectful of views of others, and a place for pupils to engage in deepening their understanding through questioning and responding to others, then Yammer provides a great environment for a school.

yammeronwaffleHow do pupils and teachers get started using Yammer?

  1. Glow users simply sign into Glow then navigate to any part of Office 365, such as the tile for Office 365 (School Site) and then click on the 9-square waffle icon to navigate to the range of tools available in Office 365 – and choose the Yammer tile.
  2. The very first time a user clicks on the Yammer tile they will be invited to invite further users – don’t invite others but instead just close that window (click on the greyed-out cross at the top-right or click on the background page behind the invitation panel.
  3. You will be presented with the terms of use of Yammer – read these and then click on the button to acknowledge you agree to abide by them.
  4. You’re then in Yammer and can start browsing some of the Yammer groups open to all users. Or, if a pupil is ready to join the private class Yammer group set up by their teacher, then the first time the pupil simply searches for the class group name, clicks on the link and requests to join by clicking on the “join group” button – that sends a message to the teacher who accepts their pupils into the group.

Alternatively, rather than go to Glow first, users can search with an online search engine for Yammer or go straight to https://www.yammer.com where they can then simply log in using their Glow/Office 365 email address and password.

How do you set up a Yammer group just for pupils and teachers in a class?

  1. A class teacher can quickly set up a private class group in Yammer. Click on “+ Create a new group” and then give the group a name – include in the group name something which identifies the school as well as the class name.
  2. Choose “Private – Only approved members” and untick the box which gives the option to “List in Group Directory” – that way only pupils who know what to search for will be able to find a teacher’s Yammer class group, and only pupils who the teachers knows are members of their class will be granted access by the teacher. Setting up that way avoids the teachers having to add a list of usernames – they simply tell their class what to search for, and to click on the “join group” button when they find the group.
  3. A teacher can see the list of pupils waiting to be added to their class yammer group by going into the Yammer group and then clicking on “Members” at the right-hand side. This will show which users have requested access and are pending approval by the teacher.
  4. It would be recommended to have additional teacher colleagues added as joint administrators – beside their name on the list of members just click on the cog icon and select “Make admin” to elevate that teacher to be a joint administrator of that Yammer group.

What can you do in a Yammer discussion?

You can ask questions, respond to requests from others, add comments or create polls to garner views of others. Attachments can be added to any discussion post – so pupils can perhaps discuss or share comments about a resource. You can even use the “praise” button to acknowledge the input of other users. A Yammer group provides a place to share resources, and links to related sites elsewhere.

MIEYammer

20 Ways to use Yammer in Education – a post describing 20 different ways in which Yammer can be used by schools, whether simply sending out messages to everyone in a class, setting up groups for specific groups, using the praise button, promoting an event, holding an online debate, developing a mentor programme, using Yammer to teach online safety specifically in relation to safer use of social networking, and more.

screendiscussionYammer – the next step for social networking for schools – describes some of the ways in which Yammer can be used in schools, whether for group work, study support (where learners can support each other), content sharing and use of the praise app to acknowledge and encourage.

How are schools using Yammer?

KirknewtonPSKirknewton Primary School in West Lothian has provided an excellent description of how they are using Yammer with pupils. This blogpost gives screenshots of different aspects to how they use Yammer, as well as the rationale to the choice of tool and the purposes behind it to better support learning and teaching. This has included using Yammer to support collaborative writing. Mrs Anderson, Principal Teacher at the school said “As a teacher and parent I feel that it is very important that we educate children about the safe use of social media – using Yammer has been a fantastic way to do so, in a safe environment. Feedback from parents has been positive.” “The impact on learning and teaching is evident in the content of the group and the enthusiasm of pupils (which is evident in the online interactions).” 

https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/glowblogs/glowgallery/portfolio/kirknewton-primary-school-sharing-approaches-to-glow-yammer/

BearsdenPSBearsden Primary School in East Dunbartonshire – teacher Athole McLauchlan describes in at this link about the use of Yammer with pupils in the school https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/glowblogs/glowgallery/portfolio/using-yammer-as-a-social-media-channel-for-learners-and-learning/

Mid Calder Primary School – this link is to a post describing how Yammer is used for pupils to share ideas.

https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/wl/mcps/2016/04/19/anytime-anywhere-learning-yammer/

Studentsbeingcreativewith yammer

Students being creative with Yammer – a blogpost by Kevin Sait of Wymondham High School describing how they got pupils started using Yammer and how the use developed in different ways, including as a safe environment in which to teach safer use of social networking tools, supporting learning in second languages (where discussion took place entirely in the language being learned), and pupil-created groups to showcase work, including art and writing.

What safeguards are in place for Yammer users in Glow?

Yammer groups can be set up to be private (such as for a class of pupils so that the Yammer group can only be accessed by pupils in that class with their teachers). There are also Yammer groups open to users across Glow and educators within Glow nationally act as Moderators for Yammer users, welcoming new users, helping guide users to use appropriate language in a supportive way.

Everything in Yammer is identifiable to the individual user. There is a simple “report a concern” option for all users (either use the question mark icon on a page or anywhere you see a “Report a concern” button) which will alert the national Glow administrators to concerns raised, and who will provide the support required to resolve any issues.

There’s also a filter to ensure inappropriate language can’t accidentally be posted.

And of course the educational-focussed environment shared between learners and educators means there is a visible supportive environment. Users can set email alerts either to all posts in a specific Yammer group, or to individual posts where alerts would be sent for replies or comments just to that post.

MobileAppsYammer Mobile App

Yammer has an app for mobile devices – search on the app store for your device. Then once downloaded simply log in with your Glow/Office 365 email address (that’s where your Glow username has @glow.sch.uk added to the end, after your Glow username). For many users the use of the app will be the most convenient way to access Yammer.

What help is available?

Day One Guide for the Glow Yammer Network (accessed using Glow account – but also available as a document download from the public-access site Yammer Guide for Glow Users) – a very helpful guide of do things to do, and things to avoid, as well as guides to getting the most out of Yammer, specially in the early stages of getting used to using Yammer in a school.

Yammer Guide for Glow Users – a Glow-specific help guide to getting started with the use of Glow. This includes guidance and suggestions for managing Yammer in an educational context.

So how are you using Yammer in your school?

Do share in the comments below how Yammer is being used in your school

 

 

Share your presentations and documents online with Docs.com

DocscomDocs.com from Microsoft provides a free way to share your Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Sway and PDF documents.

These shared documents can be viewed by others just by sharing a link (whether in social media, print form or by text or email message). You can embed any shared document on a website or blog. You can choose to keep documents unlisted  so that others can only access them if they have the direct link, or make them public for anyone to view.

Upload from various sources

You can upload your files from your computer, tablet or mobile device, or from Sway, Office Mix or OneNote online accounts, or your OneDrive cloud storage.

Create collections

Documents can be grouped into collections by you – so a teacher in a classroom might group resources according to curricular area/subject, or stage or for a specific group, or for an event. So when you share the link to that collection all of the related files, resources and presentations will be displayed together.

Sign in with Glow account

You can create a new account or sign in with a Facebook, a Microsoft account or Office 365 – and importantly for schools works with Glow accounts, meaning that for Glow users it’s just one username and password to access and make use of this tool, as well as all of the other resources and tools within Glow.

Analytics and Journal

Your Docs.com account provides you with analytics to give an overview of which documents have been viewed and how frequently. And you can also add journal entries to describe documents you have shared.

Getting started

getstarteddocscomGet started with Docs.com in 3 steps – a short Powerpoint presentation, shared with Docs.com which can be viewed online, to show just how easy it is to get started with sharing a document online using Docs.com

Create links from document

You can even auto-extract links from a document and have Docs.com create separate links within a collection on your Docs.com site. Click here for a guide to doing this.

Share OneNote Notebooks

Sharing OneNote notebooks is a particularly useful feature of Docs.com. The following video by Darrell Webster shows how useful this feature is for teachers to share with others, and how to use Docs.com to share any OneNote notebook

So how are teachers using Docs.com?

PCleavesDocsComDocs.com, an educator’s wonder tool – a description by educator Pip Cleaves of how she uses her Docs.com site to share resources she has created or curated from various sources and collated in categories to support learners and other colleagues.

Build it in 3D with Tinkercad

TinkerCAD-logoWhat is Tinkercad?

Tinkercad is a free online tool for creating images which can be rotated and viewed on screen as if in 3D from different angles, and which can also be used to send to a 3D printer to create real physical objects. Tinkercad is designed to be used by any age, whether for a simple or complex object, to make a toy or a design prototype, jewellery or ornament for the home. And even if you don’t make the physical object there is a lot of design skills and satisfaction which can be gained just by using the tool to design a virtual object.

If you can imagine the object in your own mind Tinkercad provides the tool to let you create it in reality. And as it is browser-based it only needs a user to be on the Internet to be able to sign up for a free account and to start a design, and continue anywhere they can get connected online – there is no software to download.

How do you get started using Tinkercad?

Here’s a video which gives an overview of Tinkercad:

A search on YouTube for “Tinkercad tutorial” lists a vast array of videos by Tinkercad users showing how they have created a wide range of objects, so that others can be inspired to get their own creative juices starting to flow. Tinkercad also has its own YouTube channel with a range of videos showing how to use the tool for a multitude of model-making requirements so that there is no need to start from scratch – someone will have created an object from which another user can adapt to get what they are imagining.

TinkerCAD-tutorial

Tutorials in using Tinkercad – there are video tutorials showing how to get started using Tinkercad and how to use the tool to refine and customise the models being created. These tutorials are interactive in that you are guided through the steps while you are using the tool so everything is shown on screen at the point where you need the guidance.

There are many videos showing how to make basic models, as well as objects which could form the basis for objects by others and which therefore just need customising to suit the user’s needs.

How are other people using Tinkercad?

Tinkercad has its own blog which provides illustrations of how other people are using Tinkercad, and shares advice about the process users went through, and what they did with their creations.

http://blog.tinkercad.com/

How might Tinkercad be used in the classroom?

Project IgniteTinkercad Project Ignite provides ideas specifically aimed at using Tinkercad in the classroom. This provides a means for teachers to create a class without the need for pupils to sign up with an account, but instead use a teacher-created sign-in code. And of course there are hosts of projects, with supporting resources, for engaging classroom activities using Tinkercad.

https://projectignite.autodesk.com/

DensRoadNurseryDens Road Nursery in Dundee have a blogpost on the Create blog detailing how Tinkercad has been used in their early years setting.

 

What if I don’t have access to a 3D printer?

Tinkercad produces files in a format which a 3D printer can translate into a 3D physical object. But if you don’t have access to a 3D printer then you may wish to consider sites such as Shapeways which lets you upload your file and they will calculate and quote a cost so that you could decide to have it created and sent in the mail to you. http://www.shapeways.com/create

How are you using Tinkercad?

How are you using Tinkercad? Do please share in the comments below this post

Personalised Learning for Teachers about Digital Technologies for Learning

MicrosoftTeacherTrainingBadgesMicrosoft in Education is a site which provides free on-demand personalised learning for teachers in exploring the use of digital technologies to support learning and teaching – learning at a pace which suits each teacher on the topics they find most useful to them, at the time they need it.

The online hub provides a Training and Professional Development section which is divided into Quick Tip Videos,  Courses (which can be filtered by age range of learners, tools, skills to be developed, etc), and Learning Paths which provide a more in-depth look at use of digital technologies compbing different methods of delivering the information and sharing of skills as well as exemplars.

There is a wide range of free instant-access online courses. Some of these are short tool-specific how-to guides to learning the basics of getting started using specific digital technologies such as Sway, Skype, OneNote, Powerpoint, Minecraft, Office Mix or many other tools. Some are just short quick-tip videos highlighting a specific feature of a particular piece of software.

Some courses are longer and look at how digital technologies can best be used to support learning and teaching in different contexts. These combine text guides, video explanations and examples, as well as quizzes to help understanding.

MicrosoftEducatorCommunityAnd by signing up to the free Microsoft in Education Community a teacher can access a wider range of resources shared by other teachers around the globe, and when working through the range of courses on offer a teacher can gain visual recognition through digital badges of their accomplishments. Working through the online resources, with badges to record progress, can provide an extra degree of motivation when there is a tangible record of what skills have been acquired, and perhaps a spur to just complete another one (and another, and another!!).

So whether starting out, or just looking for an illustration of a particular application in a classroom setting, reading about how others are using digital technologies to support learning, an online space to discuss with colleagues worldwide what’s worked (or look for advice when you might be looking for a solution to something which has not worked in your situation), or wanting to further explore how to integrate digital technology to best support learners in your school, there is something here for every teacher.

Sign up for free now at the Microsoft Educator Community at the link below:

https://education.microsoft.com/

 

Getting Going with GoNoodle

GoNoodlemontageGoNoodle is a free online resource bank of action videos and associated activities to support and encourage learners  to get active while helping engage with information being learned in the classroom (or anywhere) or prepare for a change of activity, or even set the scene for reflective thinking!

There is a GoNoodle blog which is full of ideas to inspire teachers with learners across any age group, with specific ideas suggested for topical events in the school calendar, or to support learning in a specific curricular area.

A teacher simply signs up for a free account (there is the option for additional premium features) to access the dashboard where the teacher can set up videos for different classes – they can customise their playlist of videos to suit their classroom and needs of their learners.

There are hundreds of movement videos to get young learners dancing, running, stretching, and more. And there are many which seek to help deliver health and wellbeing messages reinforced with rhythmic actions.

Below here you’ll find a some to give a flavour of what to expect.

GoNoodle: 101 – an introductory video to GoNoodle

Engaging less confident learners with GoNoodle

Changing classroom behaviour with GoNoodle

Sway for engaging online presentations

Sway_logoMicrosoft Sway is a presentation tool which is free and works on any device. It can start with a simple word-processed document (or from other sources such as Powerpoint or PDF) where you’ve put your ideas and, with just a few clicks, you can upload the document, highlight text you wish to emphasise, which parts to make into new sections, where to add images, embedded video links and images, and add emphasis in an engaging way.

Click on this link for a quick guide and introductory tutorial showing how you can make an engaging presentation using Sway

The following video takes the brief introduction above and develops that so that you can create a presentation in Sway using the new layout set up specifically for presentations. This video shows how to use groups, grids, captions, and focus points to ensure your chosen message comes across in they way you wish with the emphasis on the content you deem to be most important.

Want to make a tutorial presentation using Sway? The video below shows how you can structure a Sway presentation to use embedded videos, images and text to explain the steps in any process for explaining to others.

How to use Sway for a school project. The following video shows how Sway can be used to create a project on any topic in an educational context.

Click here for links to video guides to using Sway from Microsoft.

Click here for a guide to using Sway specifically in Glow Office 365 – this also links to a variety of examples of the use of Sway in a school context

 

To share your Sway

To share your Sway presentation with others you simply copy the weblink URL which Sway provides for you, and share that, whether via social media or email (there are specific buttons at the share part of Sway which provides you with the appropriate link for each method of sharing. This can also be used to embed in a Glow WordPress blog – just add the short link in the body of a blogpost and it will automatically embed. Note that if you are using your Glow user account to share your Sway link the Sway presentation must have ben made public for others to see it, it cannot be embedded elsewhere online (such as a blog) unless the Sway presentation is public and can be seen by anyone on the Sway settings.

Below is an example Sway “Sway for Education: Sway in the Classroom” which provides examples of how Sway can be used, and also shows in itself what a Sway presentation can look like.

How to make your Sway presentation even better

Here’s a Sway presentation below by Nathan G Freier of his top 10 tips and tricks to make your Sways look great.

Examples of Sway in Education

Sway – The star of your 2015 Classroom – a post on the Microsoft Australian Teachers Blog. This provides a host of ideas for how Sway can be used in a classroom context, as well as examples of created Sways.

School Newsletter from Lockerbie Academy – an example of a school newsletter which can provide a different way of presenting information, news, updates and more about school life. The link can be shared with parents/carers in a short text or email and looks more engaging compared to a printed version.

Stirling High School Newsletter – this Sway (as well as the associated pdf version) was created by pupils

OneNote at Kirklandneuk Primary School – a great example of a presentation Sway (about the use of OneNote) which incorporates many Sway features including picture decks, Twitter posts integration, links, images and more.

The Sway below is a neat collaboration by pupils in different high schools working together to create a story – digital story telling “The Street of Shadows” by pupils in Largs Academy and Garnock Academy in North Ayrshire

The Sway below is the result of a project by primary 1 pupils at Westquarter Primary School in Falkirk about “Why We Do Research”

The Three Little Pigs – a neat use of Sway to share the activities of Polbeth Nursery School in West Lothian related to the tale of The Three Little Pigs – this Sway incorporates video, image decks (some of pictures of outdoor activities, and some of the artworks created by the children), and note of comments by the children.

Cloud Learning History and Place with O365 –  a Sway by teacher Athole McLauchlan showing how pupils at Bearsden Primary School used OneNote Class Notebook along with Sway in an interdisciplinary approach.

 

The “Uses of Fibre Optics” Sway below was created by Cameron Gilmour, pupil at Kirkintilloch High School in East Dunbartonshire as part of Physics coursework

The “Uses of Fibre Optics” Sway below was created by Payton Trimble, pupil at Kirkintilloch High School in East Dunbartonshire as part of Physics coursework

Connecting Classrooms via Live Video Link

Adobe_ConnectConnecting classrooms via video link has been found by many teachers to add an extra dimension, an enthusiasm and real audience, to complement learning in a classroom setting.

Whether that’s a face-to-face video call to another classroom in another part of the same local area (perhaps primary schools where pupils will work together in a similar geographical location, maybe connected by the same high school to which most pupils will attend), or to an acknowledged authority with specialist knowledge or skills who could inspire learners.

Teachers using a live video link to connect classrooms can, to some, seem something quite ordinary and commonplace, and to others is still something which generates a worry about perceived technical complexities. Not so long ago most schools would have been unable to even consider a video call simply because of lack of suitable equipment, infrastructure or bandwidth. Now, where there is good bandwidth, there are often several options available to make video-conferencing possible with relative ease.

Although the occasional use of video-conferencing may appear to be, in itself, a reason for using it as a skill to be learned, as with any digital technology it will only be of great value in the learning process if there are clear learning outcomes from the experience planned by the teacher. So a music teacher or instrumental tutor working from afar via video link with a learner elsewhere will have their focus on what is to be taught and what the pupil is to learn, rather than on the video link being seen as a one time gimmick. That applies whether the class members are asking questions of an author, or a museum collections specialist, or an engineer – it’s not the novelty of using a video-conferencing tool which has to be at the centre of planning, but what will be done in the video link conversation.

What tools can I use to video-conference?

There are a number of tools available to link via video, whether online conferencing tools, mobile device apps or installed software on desktop computers. Schools will generally often find that specific tools have been configured for their networks as video-conferencing involves access to network firewalls/ports. And this may be different in schools or for other users in another geographical location. Therefore it would always be good to check in advance of any planned activity what can work best in any particular situation.

This post concentrates on two tools for video-conferencing which are available to all Scottish schools via Glow, though there will be other web tools, desktop applications or mobile device apps which could be used.

SkypeviaGlowSkype

Skype for Business, formerly called Lync, is part of Office 365 available to all Scottish schools. Note that for Scottish schools using Skype via Glow this is available for staff accounts only (they can invite pupils to a Skype meeting but pupils cannot set up a meeting themselves). If a school wishes to use their Glow account to connect with a body outwith Scottish schools then a staff member can log in with their staff Glow account and simply add an external email address (rather than require to have a partner Glow account set up for that external body).

Skype/Lync is one of the suite of tools included in Microsoft Office 365 through Glow.

How to use the Glow Skype/Lync Video-conferencing tool:

1. Log into Glow

2. On the RM Unify tiles click on Office 365 (Calendar)

3. Navigate to the date and time on the calendar when you want to have a video-conferencing session take place – double-click on the space in the calendar for that date and time.
4. Enter a name for the video-conferencing session beside the title “Event” e.g. Event: Video-conference with all classes
5. Next to the title “Attendees” type in the Glow usernames of those with whom you will be video-conferencing (select the user from the prompt which then appears.
6. At the top of the screen click on “Skype meeting” then “Add Skype meeting”– that will enter the necessary links into the body of the calendar entry at the foot of the screen (don’t edit or amend that, though you can add a message or notes before or after the links and text)
7. Now click “SEND” at the top left of the screen – that sends an email to the participants whose Glow usernames you have entered into the Attendees box.
8. When it comes time to present the meeting (actually it can also be done at any time) participants click once on date in calendar – and click “Join”
9. Click on “Join Using Lync Web App”
10. Enter your name (or class name if it’s a class participating – it’s the name which will appear on screen for everyone else to see) then click “Join the Meeting”
11. First time you may need to click “Run” at the foot of the screen (it may remember that next time you use it). “Allow” any plugin as required
12. Click on the video camera icon to broadcast video (or leave off if you are simply watching a presenter).
13. Click on the microphone icon to control whether audio is broadcast or muted.

NB In the event that you or a previous user on that PC has used an installed desktop version of Lync you may need to force the use of the Lync Web App. Here’s the “fix” to do so (there is no simple button to do so):

1. Open a web browser window
2. Copy & paste the URL for joining the meeting that you received. Do NOT press ENTER
3. Add the following to the URL: “?SL=1” (without the quote marks)
For example, if the URL to join the Lync meeting is:
https://meet.lync.com/glowscotland-glowmail/gw09wintermerry/2FJSJ85F
Change it to:
What to do if you are broadcasting to others who do not have a webcam
If a “viewing-only” user does not have a webcam connected then ensure a headphone or microphone is plugged into the audio socket otherwise Lync may not permit a user to view a meeting
There is also a mobile device app available for users of Skype/Lync which can be used on smartphones or tablets.
Skypewitha link onlySkype with a link – no account required – this post by Jonathan Wylie details how to use Skype to video-conference with others with no Skype account):

Web version of Skype

The web version of Skype may be used via an Internet browser to access Skype https://web.skype.com. More can be found about this facility from Skype’s own blog: http://blogs.skype.com/2014/11/14/please-welcome-skype-for-web-beta/

Adobe_ConnectAdobe Connect

Adobe Connect is one of the suite of tools included to Glow users, referred to as Glow Meet within Glow.

How to set up a Glow Meet video-conferencing session using Adobe Connect through Glow:

1. You will require to have a Glow username and password to access this tool. Log into Glow at https://glow.rmunify.com. Scroll through the tiles on RM Unify until you find the tile called Glow Meet (for Hosts). Click on the tile called Glow meet (for Hosts). Note that you may see prompts to update software on your PC if updates or add-ins are required – accept these prompts.

2. You will require to have been granted host rights to be able to create a new meeting. Click here for details of how to request this if, having clicked on the Glow meet for Hosts tile, you do not see “Create New Meeting” button at the top left of the Glow broadcasting window which opens. Click on “Create New Meeting” button if you are setting up a meeting. If you are accessing a previously set up meeting then you click on the “open” button beside the name of the meeting previously created).

 

3. Enter a name for the video-conferencing session beside the title “Name*” e.g. Falkirk PS Glow Meet. Enter a short version of this in the box marked “Custom URL” – this will be the web link you share with others. This will require to be unique so be aware the system may prompt you with an alternative URL. Leave all other settings as they appear without adding or making changes. Click the “Next>” button at the foot of the page.

4. This will display the “Select Participants” screen. At the bottom left click on the “Search” button. In the search box which will then appear above the Search button enter the Glow username of others to whom you wish to assign access to this meeting. Since you can also grant access during a meeting to people who have the link this can be left to be only for those with whom you may share administration of the video-conferencing session, or presenter during the session. You can find usernames of others by going back to the RM Unify tiles webpage and finding them by searching on via the RM People Directory tile. When the sought username appears on the “Select Participants” page then click on the “Add” button at the foot of the page. Your new user will now appear on the right-hand panel “Current Participants” for the meeting you are creating. You can assign the appropriate role level of permissions to each user by clicking on the username on the right-hand panel, then clicking on the “Permissions” button. Once complete then click the “Next” button.

5. On the “Meeting Information” page which then appears, highlight the URL which is displayed (such as the example https://meet.glowscotland.org.uk/falkglowmeet/), right-click and copy your meeting URL. This will mean you will require to share the link to the Glow Meet with other users by sending it via email or adding it to a page others will be able to access.

Using Glow Meet Adobe Connect

1. Click on the link to the Glow Meet which you previously created (or which you shared by email with others, or shared on an online space elsewhere which others can access). First time you may need to allow any plugin as required or updates to software.

2. If you are the host of the meeting you will be able to accept the prompts which will pop up as guests to the meeting request access. You can assign different roles to participants by clicking on their name and choosing to enable their webcam, or microphone, or to increase their rights to be presenter (or joint host). You can change these rights again in the same way.

3. To broadcast your webcam click on “Start my webcam” and “Start sharing”

4. To be heard by others you will need to ensure you have clicked on the microphone icon along the top of the screen (you can mute it by clicking on the same icon – this will then show a diagonal line across the microphone icon. Note that other users will not automatically have this option unless you have enabled their microphone, or they are presenter or host.

5. To check audio settings (always worthwhile doing this in advance of a meeting) then click on “Meeting” on the top-left menu and then “Audio Setup wizard” and follow through the steps.

6. Click on the video camera icon to broadcast video (or leave off if you are simply watching a presenter).

7. Click on the microphone icon to control whether audio is broadcast or muted. Note that participants will not automatically have the option to switch on their microphone. All participants will be able to send text messages using the “Chat” window.

8. At the end of a meeting, to finish the meeting, and to disable future access to participants without a host opening the meeting, then click on Meeting – End Meeting

To Record a Glow meet in Adobe Connect

1. To record a Glow Meet in Adobe Connect click on “Meeting” – “Record Meeting”

2. This will display a message to all participants that the meeting is being recorded, and a red circle at the top-right of the screen, until the recording is stopped.

To View a recorded Meeting

1. Go to the Glow Meet (for Hosts) tile on the RM Unify tiled screen.

2. Click on “Meetings along the top of the screen. Note that only hosts will be able to view this.

3. Click on the link to the Meeting you created

4. Click on “Recordings” along the top of the screen

5. Click on the link to the recording of your meeting. The page which is then displayed will show a “URL for Viewing” – this will be the link you should copy and share with others, wither by email or by adding to an online space accessible by others to whom you wish to share the link.

Tips

1. Don’t try to share video which is hosted elsewhere by sharing your desktop – instead share the link to that video in the chat box so that others can watch it straight from the link.

2. Try out your PC setup before a proper arranged video-conference session by ensuring your webcam has been plugged into the PC beforehand, that it is recognised as the webcam and the microphone. Check your speakers all work – going through the “Meeting” – “Audio Setup wizard” is essential for all taking part, in advance of the pre-arranged meeting.

Further information from Education Scotland to support the use of Glow Meet Adobe Connect can be found here: https://glowhelp.wikis.glowscotland.org.uk/Glow+Broadcasting

More than just video

SD_AdobeConnect3Adobe Connect is more than just conferencing by video – you can share uploaded files (such as a Powerpoint presentation, which a presenter can then guide viewers through); there’s a chat facility to get text message feedback throughout a presentation (and that includes the facility for messaging between individuals or to the whole group); there’s a polling tool to seek responses on specific questions (and this can include multiple choice, many choice responses and free text responses); there’s a facility for quick yes/no responses; and hosts of meetings can vary rights of participants as they enter the room or at any time in the meeting so that microphone and/or webcam can be enabled; there’s a “raise hand” tool to give the opportunity for participants to attract the attention of a presenter (it presents a pop-up box to the presenter); there’s a whiteboard tool to draw or share ideas in visual form; and there’s the option to share the desktop of a presenter to demonstrate something such as how a piece of software on the host PC works.

Available on Mobile Devices

There’s mobile device apps available to provide the facility for participants using mobile devices to access Adobe Connect meetings – this may open automatically when clicking on the shared meeting room web address (URL) or simply by copying that web address and pasting in the URL box within the app.

How can I make a video link more engaging for learners?

Many teachers around the world have shared about creative ways they have used video-conferencing tools. Some will use Skype while other will use another tool. The ideas are generally always transferable to any video-link tool – the learning activity is central to the use of the tool. So, whichever tool you use, the following may provide inspiration for how you could use a video link with your class.

Skype in the Classroom – Microsoft has produced a superb site for supporting teachers looking to user their Skype tool in an educational setting. It provides training in how to make it work, ideas for how others have used it at different ages and stages, as well as across the curriculum, provides a forum for teachers sharing ideas or finding connections for their class project, and has topical links to fit in with events happening in current affairs. Microsoft also have a page of tutorials on using Skype/Lync.

Mystery Skype is described as “an educational game, invented by teachers, played by two classrooms on Skype. The aim of the game is to build cultural awareness, critical thinking skills, and geography skills by guessing the location of the other classroom through a series of yes/no questions.   It is suitable for all age groups and can be adapted for any subject area.” The post by Jonathan Wylie “Mystery Skype – a curriculum for schools” describes how it works and provides links to a host of resources to support teachers making use of Skype whethevr the age, stage or curricular area. Mystery Skype Excites Fifth Graders is a newspaper article describing the use of Mystery Skype by teacher Brad Luce.

Five Ways to use Skype in your Classroom – an article by Kathy Cassidy which describes five ways to use Skype, specifically looking at how it supports literacy, mathematics, mapping, as well as bringing in expertise across the curriculum – and just for a bit of fun!

6 Creative Ways to Use Skype in the Classroom – a post by Kristen Hicks on the Edudemic site which describes different ways in which video links can support learners in a variety of contexts. The post also includes links to additional resources which would be helpful when making use of Skype.

20 WebCam Activities for EFL ESL Students – a post by Nik Peachey which gives imaginative ideas for using video-link tools to support learners which, while aimed in this post at developing language skills in learners, can be adapted for use across the curriculum.

 




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