Monthly Archive for March, 2012

What will you do now? Make “Choose Your Own Adventure” stories

Looking for a way to stimulate extended writing with reluctant writers in your classroom? Looking for a way to engage pupils with reading the stories of their peers?

The idea behind Choose Your Own Adventure Stories is very simple: pupils start writing a story, then present options to their readers after the first sentence or paragraph. So when a reader makes a choice they then start to determine how the story proceeds. And each new choices presents a further step in the story, and further choices – and so the adventure really does become the reader’s own.

For the pupil writing the story the narrative can start out in quite a basic form. But each small step determining options at every turn can mean more and more complex decision-making processes as the story grows. So the involvement of the pupil in planning the writing grows as the pupil is drawn into the process themselves.

ActiveLit is a version of Text Adventures   being developed specifically aimed at use in education establishments. The premise is the same with both tools (which are free) that users create a story (which can have images and video as well as text) with options for readers to choose the direction in which they wish to go at chosen points in the story. Text Adventures Quest tool is available either as downloadable software or as an online tool. Users can create a variety of game formats for their interactive stories. ActiveLit will be a school-friendly version of Text Adventures in that teachers can create areas only open to their class for their story creations. And teachers can choose which game elements can be used for specific situations appropriate to particular age groups they may be teaching.

Click here to view a video explaining how the full open text adventures site works:

inklewriter - this free online tool lets your pupils write branching stories with their choices of direction for their readers at any point they select in the story. Inklewriter comes with a built-in tutorial which guides the pupils through creating their own branching story in an interactive way. In addition there is an on-screen step-by-step guide. Inklewriter keeps track of which paths pupils have finished, and which still need to be written. There’s no set-up, no programming, no drawing diagrams required. Pupils just start writing and they can see where it takes them – with the facility to go back at any time and make changes. Once written, the stories can be shared with an audience by sharing the direct online link to your story – perhaps on a class blog or school website, or simply by sharing by email between a small group of pupils. There is a section for teachers which describes how the tool might be used to provide a platform for creative writing by pupils and to encourage logical thinking, as well as suggestions for class registrations, and there are examples online on the inklewriter site to help provide the inspiration to get started.

 The-best-places-to-read-write-choose-your-own-adventure-stories/ by Larry Ferlazzo is a comprehensive collection of links to examples of Create Your Own Adventure stories created using a multitude of tools and by all ages and stages.

Larry’s site also provides links to a host of freely available tools, resources, guides and teaching material for teachers looking to have their pupils create their own Make Your Own Adventure stories. There is something here for all ages and stages. And the variety of available tools means that there will be some which are already familiar to teachers and their pupils, so that the time can be more productively used on the creativity of the story, rather than on the mechanics of learning how an unfamiliar tool works.

So if you’ve used Powerpoint before, then here you’ll find links to examples of Make your own adventure stories using Powerpoint, along with teacher lesson plans and guides to how to do this. Or if you have used wikis, or blogs, or websites, or any one of a host of online tools – here you will find examples and guides to their use in the context of Make Your Own Adventure stories.

Choose Your Own Adventure story writing incorporates aspects of games-based learning, with which many pupils will be familiar, in that the reader or “player” in the story determines the course of action of their story or game.

Of course there is nothing to stop it being done on paper – though technology means that for those who want the extra features (such as being able to add audio narration or sound effects, along with animated images) will also gain from the facility for wider sharing, and consequent feedback from wider audience – all adding to the reasons why teachers have found pupils enthusiastically producing more complex and more extended writing.

So what will you do now?

Will you….

Teaching and Learning or Learning and Teaching? Turning Learning and Teaching Around – Resources to Support using Flipped Classroom Ideas

So what is Flipped Learning? The background to the Flipped Classroom

Teachers who have heard of the term “Flipped Classroom” may well be wondering what it’s all about. And for those who’d like to find out more, or perhaps try out the idea in their own classroom, the resources below may be helpful. Although there is not a single definition of what it means, teachers who have adopted the flipped classroom model in some way in their school generally agree upon certain features:

  • the teacher shares video explanations of the material to be learned by pupils in advance of teaching time (these videos may be teacher-created, or links to videos already available elsewhere, or videos created by pupils).
  • pupils review that material (as often as required)
  • pupils prepare questions to ask (this may be done in an online shared class space)
  • in teaching time the pupils may group themselves acording to how well they feel they have grasped the material – whether feeling fully ready to apply in problem-solving situations, perhaps needing practice, or maybe needing questions answered before proceeding.
  • the teacher then challenges the pupils who feel they have fully grasped the information to apply their undertsanding to higher order thinking activities; guides those who need consolidation (perhaps with support materials to work on in class); and helps those who need the concepts explained in different ways.

It’s not a one-size-fits-all model; and does not need to be the only way of working in a class or school. Many teachers have found increased understanding and engagement by their pupils - so the following provides resources to support teachers thinking about this for their own setting.

The video below (Flipping the Classroom Simply Speaking)  provides a useful overview of the concept behind the Flipped Classroom.

The video below by Ben Rouse provides a description of how he has put the flipped classroom into practice in his school, including why, the steps involved in introducing it, the process and the benefits experienced by learners.

The presentation by Ben Rouse on his interpretation of Flipped Learning in his classroom. This accompanies the video above and provides links to resources mentioned in the video.

The Digital Sandbox Flipped Classroom Defined is a comprehensive post by Mike King which not only provides helpful presentations explaining the theory behind the flipped classroom concept, and examples of it in practice, it also includes links to digital tools which would support teachers in moving to using the flipped classroom concept in their own practice.  

Lessons Turned Upside Down is an article by Darren Evans in the Times Educational Supplement which provides the background to the concept behind the Flipped Classroom – where pupils are directed to online resources by the teacher in advance of coming to class, and the activity where pupils put their learning into practice is then undertaken in class time with support from the teacher.

What the Flip? is an article by Steve Wheeler which challenges educators to think through what they are doing when considering a flipped classroom model.

ESchool News Flipped learning: A response to common criticisms by Alan November and Brian Mull provides helpful definitions of successful Flipped Learning along with links to research and examples of Flipped Learning in educational settings. The ESchool News also has a collated list of various posts on the topic of Flipped Learning here.

Jeff Dunn on the Edudemic Blog (Connecting Education and Technology) provides a visual infographic which provides an overview of why some educators hav emoved to using Flipped Classroom techniques and the differences it has made to learning and teaching for them and their learners.

The Flipped Classroom Model is a post by Jackie Gerstein which concentrates, not on the video element which many might see incorrectly as the main focus on learning, on what a teacher can do differently in the classroom to achieve the deeper understanding through managed activities which brings about higher order thinking and learning by pupils.

Lisa Nielson on the Tech & Learning blog sets out concerns which have been raised about implementation of Flipped Learning models (and which schools thinking about introudcing the Flipped Classroom techniques would want to consider) and provides comments from others on how these concerns have been addressed in schools.

Where is it used already?

Edudemic Blog post on schools using the flipped classroom model provides links to schools using Flipped Classroom techniques in their classrooms and descriptions of their experiences. 

Education Next  post by Bill Tucker provides examples of how the Flipped Classroom model is used in classrooms. In addition to describing how it is used the article also has many comments from other educators where concerns are expressed and how these concerns have been addressed.

What impact do teachers who have tried flipping their class say this has had?

What do teachers who’ve flipped their classrooms have to report? This is an infographic poster describing the collated responses from a survey of several hundred teachers who have put the flipped classroom techniques into practice, and the impact on thei teaching and the learning of their pupils.

Flipped Learning Network – this link to research and case studies provides information to support teachers looking at considering flipped classroom approaches to learning and teaching.

Tools to support teachers making use of flipped learning model

Tools which will help teachers put methods from the Flipped Classroom concept into practice may include the following:

Shared Online Space for Classroom Interaction

Classroom blogs can provide online spaces for a class which can be either private to just the class or public for wider access. Other education-specific collaborative tools would include wikis, Edmodo, Schoology and Glow. These are spaces where the videos or links to teaching resources can be shared with pupils, where the pupils can ask questions of each other and of the teacher in a safe environment, and where individual or class group work can be shared and commented on by class peers or by the teacher as appropriate to each situation.

5 Course Management Tools is a collection of online sharing spaces/course management tools, specifically aimed at use in educational establishments, collated and described by David Andrade.

Sophia is an online space with the combined tools in one place for teachers to create tutorials, with videos and presentations, and quizzes to help learners to engage with learning. This post, using Sophia, by Aaron Mullally provides an example of the tool in action, but is also a flip class tutorial to show educators ”how flipping the classroom will create a paradigm shift in teaching practices.”

Video Screen capture tools

Teachers Use Technology to Flip their Classroom is a post on the TechSmith blog which provides step-by-step handouts for teachers considering trying out the flipped classroom – stressing that it does not need to be a wholesale shift but can be tried out. This post provides helpful advice and guides to resources which will support teachers. 

For links to a host of Screencasting tools collected by Jerry Blumengarten on his Cybraryman site click here. Screencasting tools capture as a video whatever the computer user does on their device – the user highlights what they want to demonstrate and hits play, records what they want, stops, then shares the created video.

For teachers who want to create their own videos then click here for a post about resources for using Flip Cameras (or similar devices). Click here fore resources on using Windows Live Movie Maker to create videos. For teachers who wish to use animation tools to have engaging video content without needing to themselves appear on screen click here for a variety of video animation tools.

6 Tips for creating better videos for use in Flipped Classrooms - by Hans Mundahl. Makes several suggestions for teachers creating vidoes so as to make them more effective.

Audio Recording Tools

For creating audio recordings (whether to be used as podcasts or to accompany content online) click here for tools to help create audio recordings.

Other Technology Resources

The Electric Educator has a post by John Sowash which is based on practical classroom experience using Flipped Classroom techniques, and provides advice and links to resources which teachers have used to support flipping their own classroom.

Tools for Flipping the Classroom – a Livebinder by Brett Clark which groups resources to support teachers looking to use flipped classroom techniques. Here you will find various categories from introduction to tools to use, and by clicking on each heading in turn there are several links collated together under each heading.

You’re Not Alone – sites where teacher share ideas and resources on the Flipped Classroom

The Flipped Classroom Network is for teachers to share resources, ideas, tips and examples of practice in using the Flipped Classroom.

Twitter Teachers who use the Flipped Classroom is a feed hosted by John Sowash of Tweeting Teachers who use the Flipped Classroom model in their classrooms. You can also find comments, links and tips on Flipped Classrooms by going to Twitter and searching for the hashtag #FlipClass

Flipped Classroom page on Jerry Blumengarten’s Cybraryman site has a host of links to resources to support teachers looking to incorporate flipped learning models in their teaching.

Flipped-Learning.com is a site by Jon Bergmann supporting teachers adopting flipped classroom techniques. Flipping the Elementary Classroom is a post by Jon specifically looking at practical ways of using ideas from the flipped classroom model in a primary classroom.

Asking a better question? Online Resources to Support Higher Order Questions for Higher Order Learning – Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy

We are all asked questions. Factual recall of information is something we all do. List, name, describe, identify……. But with a more interesting question can be demonstrated a deeper understanding of the facts, a greater engagement with the task, a demonstration that the learning can be applied in a different context, and the opportunity can be provided for creativity to flourish.

Asking the right question, or setting a more imaginative task, at the right time can help learners of all ages engage with their learning. But what does it look like in practice in a classroom? What resources are available to help a teacher apply higher order thinking skills in their classroom?

Introduction to Bloom’s Taxonomy – for teachers

Jennifer Calvin has made available a succinct summary document which sets out short descriptions for each level of Bloom’s revised taxonomy, along with verbs which best fit each, and model questions which exemplify each level, as well as strategies for teaching in each level. This is useful for teachers and parents.

David Anderson and Lee Pace (Thought Weavers) have created an introduction to Bloom’s Taxonomy in the classroom.

For Scottish Teachers the Scottish Qualifications Agency has produced a guide for teachers showing how higher order skills fit into the Skills for Learning, Skills for Life and Skills for Work framework in support of Curriculum for Excellence.

For a different way of getting to grips with Bloom’s Taxonomy in “real life” there are video clips from television or film and applied to each level of the taxonomy – take with a pinch of salt but may help understanding for some! From the television show Seinfeld:

Larry Ferlazzo’s Best Resources For Helping Teachers Use Bloom’s Taxonomy In The Classroom has more such videos on his blog, in adition to a wealth of other resources on understanding and applying Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy in the classroom.

Using Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy to Improve Teaching provides the background to Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy, many examples of question types for each level, and many examples of activities which could provide learning situations for pupils at each level.

The video below demonstrates the use of the above resource:

The video below describes the history and application of Bloom’s original taxonomy alongside the revised taxonomy updated to include web 2.0 tools (and the video explains the differences here to in what is meant by web 2.0 in this context):

Introduction to Bloom’s Taxonomy – for parents

Stacia Garland has produced a guide aimed at parents to help them to understand critical thinking skills for kids to help their children to use critical thinking skills.

Introduction to Bloom’s Taxonomy – for pupils

 Blooming Questions is an illustrated storybook for viewing online all about questions to help introduce the idea of Blooms Taxonomy to children.

Gabriel Guzman has produced a video explaining Bloom’s Taxonomy for learners

 

Digital Tools for Bloom’s revised Taxonomy in the Classroom

Andrew Churches has created Quicksheets to Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy. These are presented in visual poster form for wall display, and include a definition of each stage, along with key verbs, and suggested actvities using digital tools which exemplify each level. Andrew has also (on his EdOrigami wiki) provided a comprehensive collection of resources to support teachers in looking to apply Bloom’s Taxonomy in the classroom using digital technologies, where the emphasis is on the learning these tools support, rather than on the technology itself. Click here for the Guide by Andrew Churches to Bloom’s Revised Degital Taxonomy - “It’s not about the tools, it’s using the tools to facilitate learning.” Andrew’s guide is a comprehensive document providing a background to Bloom’s, later revision and application with today’s tools available to learners. “This taxonomy is not about the tools and technologies, these are just the medium, instead it is about using these tools to achieve, recall, understanding, application, analysis, evaluation and creativity.”

Joshua Coupal has created a Prezi presentation of Bloom’s Revised Digital Taxonomy by Andrew Churches which provides a different way to present the information.

Tools for Teaching Bloom’s by Cory Plough and Shannon Miller is a presentation setting out online tools which can be used by pupils at the various levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy. In addition to describing the tools there are also examples of these tools in use by pupils.

Ollie Bray’s presentation on Using Technology to Support Higher Order Skills sets Higher Order Thinking in the context of Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence and to the use of online tools to support this in learning and teaching.

Kelly Tenkely has produced a Livebinder of resources about the Digital Bloom’s Taxonomy. In addition to links to sites which explain and elaborate on Bloom’s Revised Digital Taxonomy for Higher Order Thinking in the classroom, there are also pages of further links for each level – with suggested activities and online tools or resources which can be used in schools. This includes her graphic visual “Bloom’s Taxonomy: Bloomin’ Peacock.”

Visual Blooms of Web 2.0 Tools presents in a visual way how a variety of online tools can be used to support each level of Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy. While the graphics show where particular tools may be used, it also points out that it is the way each tool is used which is important, not simply the use of the tool. Appropriately used the tools can support the levels indicated.

Colleen Young’s Livebinder on Bloom’s resources brings together a host of resources created by others on the topic of Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy. Just click in turn on each tab along the top of the Livebinder for a series of resources to help in understanding and applying Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy in the classroom.

Maths Taxonomy - is an example of the taxonomy of thinking skills applied to maths teaching, with examples of questions/activities and suggested digital tools.

Jackie Gerstein’s “Bloom’s Taxonomy for 21st Century Learning – Resources for using Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy for 21st Century Learning” is a curated collection of tools to support the use of Bloom’s Revised Digital Taxonomy in the classroom, which is updated as new resources are identified so is worth a revist.

WebToolsMashup by Phillipa Cleaves brings together Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy with Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences and WebTools for Student Centred Learning Activities. Online tools are described within levels.

The video below provides examples of online tools aligned to Bloom’s Revised Digital Taxonomy:

Using Twitter as a Higher Order Thinking Tool is a presentation by Maggie Verster on using Twitter micro-blogging tool in the classroom to support learners in developing higher order thinking in the learning process. 

Transforming Past Lessons For the 21st Century Digital Classroom – an article by Michael Gorman which describes the application of web tools in the learning process. He explains the links to the original Bloom’s hierarchy to the revised, and to how freely available web tools can be used appropriately to support learning strategies at any point.

Prompt Tools for Putting Bloom’s Into Practice in the Classroom

Respondo might help stimulate thinking in providing prompts for ways for pupils to demonstrate their creativity in learning they have undertaken, within the realm of literacy. Simply make choices on the Respondo tool and watch as a possible learning situations are displayed. And if the result itself doesn’t quite fit the needs of a particular situation then it can be used to help stimulate alternatives.

The Differentiator is a planning tool where a teacher can select classroom learning activities for pupils by choosing from various categories from Bloom’s. An explanatory video with the tool demonstrates how the teacher can make use of the tool to select an activity to end up with a learning intention which shows the thinking skill, the resources, content, product and size of groups in which pupils will be working.

Learning Events Generator is a random learning activity generator by John Davitt. This is one of a suite which can be used in a classroom setting to generate idea prompts which the teacher or pupils themsleves can use to generate an activity which will enthuse them to show creativity in demonstrating learning and understanding (see also, for example, the 200 Ways to Show What You Know – where you can type the learning topic before generating multiple activities). And if one task does not create a spark then simply click, and click again. And one generated activity may just need a slight tweak, to be adapted to any siutation. John Davitt’s site also has learning event generators for specific curricular areas - though specific to a curricular area, they may still prompt ideas for other areas.

Writing Prompts from Luke Neff comprise tasks used with pupils to generate writing, but more importantly to generate thinking more deeply about the issues described in each task. They all appear as images with the associated task aimed at use with pupils in schools. If tasks are not quite what you are looking for to use with your class with a particular focus then these may act as inspiration to create your own for your own situation – and if you do you can submit yours here too.

David Didau @LearningSpy has produced a visual poster showing how to encourage pupils to use deeper questions.

It’s Not About the Tools, It’s About the Learning

The above resources will support the use of higher order activities in the classroom – a recurring theme in all of the above is to be aware that the tool itself does not have a level – any tool can be used at the most basic level or at the highest level. So just because a pupil is using a particular tool (which may have been illustrated above at the highest level of Bloom’s Taxonomy) does not in itself mean they are using it at that level. So, it’s not about the tool, it’s about the learning!

What would happen if…..? ICT tools to develop inquiry and investigation skills in science in the primary classroom

ICT tools to develop skills of scientific inquiry and investigation

One of the main purposes of learning in the sciences is to develop skills of scientific inquiry and investigation using practical techniques.

From “Sciences: Principle and Practice” from Education Scotland “In the sciences, effective learning and teaching depends upon the skilful use of varied approaches, including active learning and planned, purposeful play; development of problem solving skills and analytical thinking skills; development of scientific practical investigation and inquiry; use of relevant contexts, familiar to young people’s experiences; appropriate and effective use of technology, real materials and living things; building on the principles of Assessment is for Learning; collaborative learning and independent thinking; and emphasis on children explaining their understanding of concepts, informed discussion and communication.”

ICT tools can be used to support the development of inquiry and investigative science skills in pupils in primary school, namely: to support pupils to Research, Record, Report, Present, Demonstrate, Identify, and Classify. ICT can support teachers to help pupils to ask questions or hypothesise, plan and design procedures and experiments, select appropriate samples, equipment and other resources, carry out experiments, use practical analytical techniques, observe, collect, measure and record evidence, taking account of safety and controlling risk and hazards, present, analyse and interpret data to draw conclusions, review and evaluate results to identify limitations and improvements, present and report on findings.

How Science Works – the Inquiry and Investigation Process Explained

“How Science Works” is an interactive flowchart which presents, in a visual way, the processes involved in inquiry and investigation in science. As each part of the flowchart is clicked, explanations and illustrated examples appear. Terms used in the process are linked to clearly explained definitions. In addition to explaining the inquiry and investigation process there are examples of this process used in scientists in history. There are resources for teachers, matched to age and stage of pupils.

Planning Tools

Some mind-mapping tools provide templates in mind-mapping form for planning and reporting to help pupils organise their thinking and plan actions, before, during and after science activities. Some of these tools are set up as mind-mapping tools with templates in that format. However many users will already have word-processing tools (either software or online) such as Word templates or tools readily available for creating mind-mapping planning or reporting formats.

Popplet is an online tool which can be used as a mind-mapping planning or reporting tool for primary science activity. This can combine text, images, video and links.

Primary Wall is an online sticky notes collaborative planning tool where pupils can add their thoughts and plan together on screen.

Exploratree from Futurelab comprises a series of interactive online writing templates designed for pupils to plan their work. These are grouped in categories from mapping out ideas at the early stages of a task, all the way through to evaluating different perspectives. Each template presents a series of questions or a guide to help structure thinking. And each template can be completed online just by clicking in the appropriate boxes and immediately printed, or by logging in they can be saved for later editing.

Smart Exchange is the online bank of Smart Notebook resources designed for use with the Smart board interactive whiteboard. This searchable bank of resources is grouped in categories or can be searched on specific topics in science. Each downloadable resource comprises material which can be used in the classroom, and each can be adapted for a specific situation. These are designed to be used interactively with pupils.

For further mind-mapping tools have a look at the mind-mapping section of webtools4u2use. This includes a list of resources as well as ideas for use in the classroom.

Jerry Blumengarten on his Cybraryman Website has a page devoted to mind-mapping tools.

 

Research Skills Tools

One method of teaching information skills for investigating sources of information from databases, encyclopedias and the internet is that known as “the Big Six.” This process sets out the steps as follows:
1. Define the task – what needs to be done?
2. Information Seeking Strategies – what resources can I use?
3. Location and Access – where can I find these resources?
4. Use of information – what can I use from these resources?
5. Synthesis – what can I make to finish the job?
6. Evaluation – how will I know I did my job well?

Do I just Google that? Internet search engines are powerful tools but many pupils use only a fraction of the power of them, and then can also have difficulty finding the information specific to the task. There are many resources now available to help in developing pupil skills in searching more effectively using online search engines. Click here for more about how to help pupils make more effective use of online search tools.

The Kentucky Virtual Library has an online poster-style How to Do Research site for guiding younger pupils through the steps to finding the information they need on any topic, whether in print form, multimedia or online. Presented in a vidual comic/game style it explains in child-friendly language the process to find the information being sought.

Spreadsheets

Spreadsheets - fun or fear?Use graphing tools or spreadsheets to record results of experiments, display in graphical form, and interpret, handle or manipulate the information presented. Spreadsheets help with a series of calculations that need to be repeated often. Once they are set up they can be used to explore the effect of changing one number on the others. The data can also be displayed very easily as a graph or chart. Several spreadsheet tools come with in-built curricular examples (others are available free online). Recording results of investigations in a spreadsheet presents pupils with the opportunity to try “What if…..?” changes on their information, to attempt to predict what they would expect to happen, prior to testing their hypothesis in an experiment. Click here fore more about a range of spreadsheet and graphing tools for use for science in the primary school.

Databases

Databases can be used to record results of experiments, display in graphical form, and interpret, handle or manipulate the information presented. Databases provide a means to ask questions of the data. This could be to find all items in the database with certain characteristics (e.g. all pupils in a class with brown eyes). And in addition these questions can be more complex to include additional parts ot the question (e.g. all minibeasts which have 6 legs and which also live near water). Several database tools come with in-built curricular examples. Click here fore more information on databases which can help support primary science. Specifically for classifying and grouping in primary science a branching database cna be particularly useful to help have pupils actively involved ion classifying objects in primary science. Click here for more about 2Question branching database in the Infant Video Toolkit from 2Simple - which also has a range of video lessons for use with children which illustrate how branching databases can be used in the classroom. Click here for Nature Detectives resources - these include tools to help pupils in classifying animals, minibeasts, plants, trees and more. Click here for ready-made databases and support materials from Hertfordshire to use in the primary classroom for science

 Data Logging

Data logging, or data monitoring, is where pupils can record information (such as temperature, light levels, sound levels, speed of movment, etc) and then look at the information collected to make predictions, or look at patterns of activity and try to draw conclusions about why patterns happened as they did.

Simulations

There are several on-screen simulations available for various aspects of science. These differ from visual presentation tools (where images can be selected and manipulated by the pupil) in that a simulation will follow predetermined reactions depending on the actions chosen by the pupil. So rather than simply moving on screen objects will display likely reactions to the efect of actions made by the pupil upon them. Simulations are therefore useful for situations where, for example, the nature of an experiment means it may be unsafe for pupils to undertake the real experiment, the equipment may not be available, or the scale may be beyond the means of the school (e.g. the water cycle). Simulations can also be useful as a means of demonstrating via a projector on an interactive whiteboard a possible likely outcome of an experiment (such as with electrical circuits) for pupils to then try to replicate in smaller groups or individually. Simulations in that kind of context, used as a precusor (and later as a reporting and presentation tool by the pupils) can be useful to provide the means to work with limited amount of equipment in a class situation (where a large class demonstration is a pre-cursor to individual or small-group working with the limited available equipment) – though it would be stressed that where possible and safe to do so it should not replace the hands-on working with the real equipment by pupils (albeit possibly in small groups). It is always useful to remind pupils of the usefulness of simulations, but also of the limitations – they are only as good as the information added to it when created. They act as useful discussion prompts and provide a tool to try out “What do you think would happen if…..” questions, which in turn then can be used in further discussions to lead to clarification of understanding of quite complex scenarios.

The Science Museum in London has online simulation games on a variety of science and technology topics.

HP teacher Exchange has a post on STEM which provides links to science simulation tools online.

See also the resources at the end of this post.

Visual presentation tools

Tools like “My World 3″, and interactive whiteboard software such as Smart Notebook, provide teachers and pupils a means to present in a visual and interactive way with images the materials involved in their science activies, to manipulate these images on screen to indicate what they plan to do, and to present their findings at the conclusion of their activity. These visual presentation tools come with a bank of images and templates from which appropriate images can be selected by the pupil. Smart Notebook software comes with SMART Notebook Gallery Essentials for Educators which includes a wide array of pre-created content (all able to be adapted for any classroom situation) for all areas of science in schools.

Smart Exchange is the online bank of Smart Notebook resources designed for use with the Smart board interactive whiteboard. This searchable bank of resources is grouped in categories or can be searched on specific topics or aspects of the curriculum. Each downloadable resource comprises material which can be used in the classroom, and each can be adapted for a specific situation. These are visual presentation tools designed to be used interactively with pupils.

When it comes to creating a visual presentation, comic-creation tools provide the means for pupils to present a report on their science activity in a visually engaging way. Click here for more about a range of comic-creation tools. These can be printed or added to websites or blogs for sharing with others.

For a wide range of presentation tools then have a look at the presentation tools section of webtools4u2use. This also includes examples of how presentation tools can be used in the classroom, as well as rubrics for helping pupils to evaluate their presentations.

 

Visualiser (Document Camera)

Visualisers (also known as document cameras) provide the means when connected through a PC to a projector to display a small-scale science activity to a whole class so that all can more readily see detail. This can be used by a teacher to demonstrate techniques or for pupils to show what they plan to do, or what they did, and for all in the class to be able to see with ease. Whatever is shown on screen can also be recorded as video or as snapshots for later use in reporting. Click here fore more information about the use of visualisers in the primary classroom.

Digital Video

Digital video cameras (such as Flipcam-type cameras) can be used by pupils to record, report and present activity in science learning and teaching activities. The cameras can record what is proposed, the development of any activity which is planned, and for later reviewing that record to objectively report on what happened (whether expected or otherwise). Pupils can also use digital video to try to demonstrate their understanding of issues in science – that could be using video cameras, still images, animations, online content or a mixture. In using the medium of video there is often a greater engagement of perhaps quite complex science topics by pupils in that they find deeper understanding of issues when they are trying to convey their understanding of these issues to others through video. And the consequent wider audience viewing a video embedded in a blog or website can provide an added sense of audience for the pupils which also increases motivation and engagement.

Click here for information on using Windows Live Movie Maker for creating videos from still images and video from cameras or other sources. Click here for alternative free online video-editing tools.

Planet SciCast from NESTA provides films on science which have been created by pupils to try to explain a variety of science topics.

Animation-creation tools can be used to help pupils explain their understanding of any concept or to present the processes they undertook in science activities in the classroom. Click here for more information about a range of animation-creation tools.

 

Resources to Support Science in Education

School Science from the Association for Science Education, the UK’s largest subject teaching association aimed at all who teach science at all ages. Resources and links are grouped in age and stage, as well as in science topics. In addition there is an extensive teacher section which contains lesson notes, details of events, activities, competitions, equipment information, links to resources, CPD

Hunkin’s Experiments website shows a range of science experiments presented in a visual cartoon-style format. These can be useful as visual prompts for pupils to undertake activities, and can also serve as examples of one way of presenting information about science activities undertaken by pupils using comic-creation tools.

Steve Spangler Science Videos is a series of science experiments using everyday objects and materials, demonstrated on video. The end of these then invites learners to contribute their thoughts on why specific outcomes in the experiment happened. 

ScienceBob is a site by Bob Pflugfelder which combines videos, experiment guides, Question & Answers, reseacrh help, all on science for pupils. The guides and videos aim to make science accessible to pupils (and non-specialist teachers!) without the need for specialist equipment. 

ICT Magic has a section for science resources online

Primary Games Science is exactly what it says! A UK site with free online games matched to the science curriculum for primary schools.

Science Learning – the Science Learning Hub, designed to support the effective teaching of science in New Zealand schools, provides resources for teachers for school years 5-10.  It aims to provide a link between science research organisations and science teachers,  to promote student interest and engagement in science,  to provide contemporary, contextualised resources for teachers, and to demonstrate the relevance of science research to our everyday lives. There are resources based around contexts, each exploring a major theme or idea and providing a gateway to related multimedia files, classroom resources and the stories of the science and technology industry sector in action. There are also resources based around science and technology stories in the media.There are also articles aimed specifically at teachers exploring the nature of science and addressing various domains and ways of thinking about what science is. The site also has interactive thinking tools: designed to help promote class discussions and to explore the impacts science and technology might have on society, both now and in the future.

Science Kids from New Zealand brings together a vast range of science and technology resources aimed at pupils in primary schools (and teachers) grouped in categories : experiments, games, facts, quizzes, projects, lessons, images, videos and topics. Each category is presented in engaging ways and has a great deal of interactive content.

NSDL Resources comprise a vast collection of resources and links collated by the National Science Digital Library to support science teaching at all stages. In addition there are links to resource maps for science across the curriculum so that no matter where the starting point for learning occurs there are provided links to map to resources in science. 

Kinetic City is a games-based educational science resource where pupils work together to perform science activities, and then download their data to the Super Crew to help repair their world! They gain points as they progress on their mission. This is aimed at 9-12 year olds and combines technology with hands-on collaboration.  There are activiy guides for hands-on demonstrations and experiments, writing and language arts, Internet research, interactive science games, art projects, physical activities. There are also animated episodes of science charatcers and the facility for pupils to record the results of their activities and track their progress, and test their knowledge and skill in interactive games.

ZoomSci is a seies of step by step science lessons and activities grouped in categories, with accompanying videos.

David Andrade in his Educational technology Guy blog has created a blog post on resources to support the teaching of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM).

Karen Bolotin has created a livebinder called Sensational Science Sites - just click on the tabs along the top to open up the categories of links to further resources in these catergories: Virtual and Lab Sites, Inventions/Machines, Space/Solar System, Ecology, Science Fair Project, Animal.

Science Display Resources from Schools Links is a series of free downloadable classroom display materials for science combining images with explanatory posters, and vocabulary associated with each area.

The Exploratorium, the museum of science, art and human perception based in San Francisco has a host of online resources to support learning and teaching in science grouped in topics: Evidence, Accidental Scientist: Music, Accidental Scientist: Gardening, Accidental Scientist: Cooking, Origins, Ice Stories, and more.

Deakin University School of Education in Australia has created resources to support teachers teach science in the primary school using a minimum of specialist equipment. This comprises detailed illustrated lesson plans for teachers on each aspect of science for all stages of of the primary school. These are presented in categories for ease of finding the required resource. In addition to the step-by-step guidance for teachers in each lesson there are also notes on research which will aid non-specialist teachers in their own understanding, not only of the concepts presented but also of common misconceptions by pupils (with explanations for teachers).

Web 2.0 Science Tools is an extensive collection of resources collected and described by Laura Turner – each making use of the interactive nature of online tools to support learning and teaching in science at all levels.

The British Science Association Learning Zone brings together resources to help teaching science at all stages, along with science competitions and events for schools, and science award schemes fo schools.

Sciences in the Simpsons is a collection of short clips from The Simpsons cartoon series where each clip is showing a principle of science. The description beside each clip explains the scientific principle, and how it does (or often does not!) apply in real life. These have been collected for science teachers as a fun way to introduce lessons or discussions about science pupils will see.

Selenia Science from the University of the West of England is a series of cartoon comics, each presenting the character in a situation where a scientific principle will help get her out of a problem. There is a teacher section on the site which explains the scientific thinking behind each cartoon. These can serve to then engage pupils in investigating the activities portrayed in the cartoons.

Wonderville is from Canada’s Science Alberta Foundation. It combines games, activities, videos, comics and features on real-life science and technology in work. It is aimed at use with pupils but has sections for teachers (where the activities are presented through age, stage and topic) and parents.

Hertfordshire Science for Primary school has ICT resources for download for all stages matched to learning intentions.

Science Resources for Schools in Scotland

Glow Science for Scottish schools. Glow Science has been developed to help teachers with their planning and implementation of Curriculum for Excellence. The Curriculum view lists Glow Science films and Learning Materials by relevance to the Curriculum for Excellence: Planet Earth, Forces, Electricity and Waves, Biological Systems, Materials, and Topical Science. You can search for films by entering keywords in search box on the top right corner of any page.

Education Scotland Science resources provide a guide to principles and practice in teaching science for teachers, along with details of experiences and outcomes for the sciences, case studies, and supporting materials.

STEM Central brings together Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathemtaics resources aimed at Scottish schools. Here you will find videos about concepts and careers, lesson plans for teachers, news and interactive activities for pupils.

Science 3-18 comprises resources to support teachers in Scotland teaching science at all stages from age 3-18 to support teaching in the sciences as part of Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence.

Tech Tools to Support Teaching Handwriting – and why it’s still important in this digital age

In this age of mobile devices, keyboards, touchpads, and voice-controlled devices, some teachers may wonder if handwriting is no longer the required skill as before. And others may be looking for resources to help them teach this skill and support their pupils in as effective a way as possible using the tools which are now available to schools. Either way, read on and help is at hand online.

So Why Still Teach Handwriting?

Larry Ferlazzo put together an article entitled Resources For Learning About Handwriting & Learning. Here he has collected together links to research, studies and articles about why, even in this digital age, handwriting still has an important place to aid learning.

How Handwriting Trains the brain is an article (shared by Craig McDonald) by Gwendolyn Bounds about research on the impact learning handwriting has on cognitive ability. It explains how reseacrh has shown that even in this digital age the learning of handwriting by children, or the characters of a new language by adults, can be shown to have an impact on overall learning.

Downloadable Handwriting Animations

Download the interactive Powerpoint presentations from the literacy section of Comminucations4All website where you can choose any letter and the magic pencil will show you how to form that letter in handwriting on screen. These resources can also be found at the TES teacher resource site. These have a Sassoon font, and cursive and non-cursive versions.

Online Animated Handwriting Resources

Sky Writer from ICT Games is an online handwriting demonstration tool where pupils click on the chosen letter and the aeroplane traces the formation of that letter in clouds. This is a non-cursive font.

Animated Letters provides free on-screen animations of each letter in print form (upper and lower case) with audio narration and sound effects aimed at younger children. The animations are free. though are linked to commercial resources.

Handwriting for Kids site by Linda Readman has animated on-screen alphabets in lower and upper case. In addition there is a wide range of practice sheets which can be adapted by the teacher by filling in the empty boxes with text of your own choice, and selecting images to suit your purposes.

The Handwriting for Kids handwriting animations use an image format called an animated gif. And if you (or your pupils) find that the animations online don’t form the letters in the font style preferred by you or your school then this can inspire to make your own animated gifs. Www.abcya.com/animate.htm ABCYa Animation lets users create an animated gif animation, frame by frame, drawing and editing as you go, from 2-40 frame animations. Each frame is hand-drawn using a selection of tools, though you can also duplicate indvidual slides for re-use elsewhere in the animation, and you can also choose to display the contents of a previous slide in the slide being worked on so that it makes it easier to make smooth animated movements. The completed animation is saved as an animated gif, which means it behaves like saving a photograph to your PC and will appear animated when displayed on a website or blog.

Interactive Whiteboard Handwriting Resources

Where pupils are being taught a particular handwriting style, which the teacher wishes to support with animated resources to show pupils the desired way to form each letter, interactive whiteboard software (such as Smart Notebook software) comes complete with writing templates as well as a selection of background lined paper. And of course interactive whiteboards have pen tools to mimic the use of a pen. In addition the interactive whiteboard software has a recording tool so that a teacher can record a demonstration of single letters or words and phrases. These can then be played and viewed as often as required by pupils. And since the recorded video is saved in a format which can downloaded it can also be shared on a class website or blog and viewed by pupils elsewhere. View the video below for a demonstration of creating a recording using a Smart board:

Visualiser for Projecting Handwriting Demonstrations

A visualiser (also known as a document camera) can be used to project the demonstration of the formation of letters to a whole class, where the writing is being done with a normal writing implement on paper on the desk. This can be with a teacher demonstrating or by pupils sharing their progress. Visualisers also have a recording function so such demonstrations can be recorded for subsequent use or to celebrate pupil progress.

Print or Display Handwriting Resources for Download

Of course there are also traditional printable sheets for practising handwriting – a search for these in a search engine (along with the name of the font style desired) will reveal a wide range of these for downloading. Some specific sites to look at would include:

Primary Resources – handwriting - including Powerpoint presentations, lesson plans and advice sheets, lined paper printables and resources designed for use with an interactive whiteboard.

The SEN Teacher Handwriting Resources let the teacher choose the font style, the size, the text (from provided examples or input your own by typing), and whether the text displays with or without lines, as solid text or dotted, joined or not.

Handwriting for Kids by Linda Readman has a host of worksheet templates, each of which can be tailored by the teacher before printing (or perhaps showing on screen for use with an interactive whiteboard). Teachers can add their own text and can select from a wide range of images. This site also has blank writing guide sheet templates, and has on-screen animations.

Amazing Handwriting Worksheets lets you choose from a variety of types to show print, hollow or cursive. You can add your own text and the tool will produce on-screen or print sheets which you can choose to have the guidelines, to have the starting points for the pen indicated or not, and to show direction of travel of pen or not. 

Handwriting Apps for the Mobile Device

With the greater prevalence of mobile devices used by learners there are apps which help them practise handwriting in engaging ways. Each device has an online search facility which can be used to find handwriting tools. An example is Better Letters.

Do I just Google that? Tools for Teaching Search Skills in the Primary Classroom

Nowadays many pupils, when given a research task, immediately might think to themselves, “I’ll just Google that.” Internet search engines (of which Google is only one of many) are powerful tools but many pupils use only a fraction of the power of them, and then can also have difficulty finding the information specific to the task. There are many resources now available to help in developing pupil skills in searching more effectively using online search engines. And, of course, when they do find information how do pupils know it is appropriate for the task? Or how do they evaluate what is suitable, and how do they present it and show where the information was found.

Tools to Help Teach Research Skills

The Big 6

One method of teaching information skills for investigating sources of information from databases, encyclopedias and the Internet is that known as “the Big Six.” This process sets out the steps as follows:

1. Define the task – what needs to be done?

2. Information Seeking Strategies – what resources can I use?

3. Location and Access – where can I find these resources?

4. Use of information – what can I use from these resources?

5. Synthesis – what can I make to finish the job?

6. Evaluation – how will I know I did my job well?

The Kentucky Virtual Library How to Do Research

The Kentucky Virtual Library has an online poster-style How to Do Research site for guiding younger pupils through the steps to finding the information they need on any topic, whether in print form, multimedia or online. Presented in a visual comic/game style it explains in child-friendly language the process to find the information being sought. And each page of advice is presented as a set of easy to digest straightforward steps, breaking down each task (whether finding the information, recording it, evaluating it, or presenting it) in cartoon-style visual interactive style making it attractive to primary users.

Finding Duclinea

Finding Dulcinea – How to Search the Internet - aimed at older pupils, this provides a host of helpful tips and links to a variety of resources about searching and using information from the Internet. It includes sections on What Is the Internet, Web Site Credibility, How Search Engines Work, Choosing a Search Engine, Online Databases, Social Bookmarking Tools, How to Cite a Source.

Ergo – Teaching Research Skills

Ergo – Teaching Research Skills from the State Library of Victoria, Australia, is a guide for pupils to finding the information they need for a school assignment. The guide provides helpful explanations, hints, tips and further resources for each of the steps: Define the task, Locate information, Select resources, Organise notes, Present the ideas, Evaluate your work.

Common Sense Media Digital Curriculum

Common Sense Media Digital Curriculum has a section on teaching online research for various age groups. Each section has lesson plans with ideas and resources for teaching different aspects of research online with pupils. Teachers can select resources according to age group or stage (all stages in primary school are included, and resources are age-appropriate), resources to support the research topics which best suit the needs of pupils.

All About Explorers

All About Explorers has been designed as an interactive Internet search task to guide pupils through making more discerning use of information presented online. The task includes a range of spoof material to help show primary pupils how to evaluate what they read online, and how to be selective about the information they find. The tasks are presented to pupils as an interactive Webquest. There is a section for teachers which includes a series of lessons and explanations of what the pupils are learning about better online searching as they complete each webquest.

Save the Tree Octopus - an example of a spoof website which could be used to show pupils that, even though the site looks very well put together and with a host of features to make it look authoritative, websites can provide completely fictitious information.

Ten Tips for Teaching How to Research and Filter Information

Ten Tips for Teaching Students How to Research and Filter Information - a post by Kathleen Morris which details advice for ten steps for showing primary school pupils how to find and use information: Search, Delve, Source, Validity, Purpose, Background, Teach, Justify, Path, Cite. 

Google Tools for Better Searching

Google has produced a series of posters for educators to help support pupils use the Internet search engine more effectively.

Google A Day is a daily-changing search challenge which could be used by a class to make better use of a search engine. Each day a new challenge is presented (and you can go back to previous challenges if you wish). Each challenge is presneted as a question which pupils are challenged to answer by using the search engine. If not sure how to get started pupils can click on the hint to get a bit of help to guide how to make a better search to find the answer. And the answer itself is provided. In addition there are links to tips and techniques for better Internet searching.

Google for Educators is a collection of resources collated by David Andrade on his Educational Technology Guy blog. This brings together a series of resources providing tips, ideas and guides to how the vast array of Google tools can be used in schools, including how to find what you’re wanting using  the search engine.

Interesting Ways to Use Google Search in the Classroom is a collection of ideas collected by Tom Barrett shared by many teachers – like others in the “Interesting ideas” series it grows as more teachers contribute ideas. So if you have a way you have used Google Search in your classroom then you too can add yours there too.

Google Guide is an online interactive tutorial and reference for experienced users, novices, and everyone in between. Nancy Blachman developed Google Guide to provide more information about Google’s capabilities, features, and services. There are hints and ideas, a printable sheet of tips,  and interactive exercises teachers can use with pupils to guide them them through making use of different techniques for more effective searching for information.

Entire Guide to Google Search Features for teachers and Students by Mohamed Kharbach details steps, tips and tools to make better use of the Google search engine, from the basics to advanced searching to using a variety of features of the search engine in many different contexts.

Google Search Education Evangelism is a site with lessons to download for free, including Powerpoint presentations and guides for printing about making the best of Google search tools. These are arranged in categories and for different audiences, whether teachers self-study or for use with pupils.

Google Search Education has lesson plans and video tutorials in categories of various search skills in using Google. Within each category there are then tutorials presneted to suit different skill levels.

10 Google Search Tips by Catlin Tucker provides 10 Questions & 10 Answers to Help You or your pupils Search Smarter!

12 Ways to use Google Search by Degree of Difficulty is a series of lessons by Jeff Dunn providing graded techniques for being better at using the search facility with Google – for each step there are three levels of difficulty so you just choose which best suits your need for your class.

PhD in Googling! An Animated presentation on tips to using Google search engine. Thanks to David Andrade for sharing this. PhD in Googling presents a series of graphically interesting screens with nugget-sized tips on each page, and with animated text appearing, explaining the tip.

Get More Out of Google is a poster with advice and practical tips for making more eficient use of Google search engine.

Quick, Quick, See! QR Codes – what are they? And how can they be used in and out of the classroom?

So you’ve heard someone talking about QR codes? Or you’ve spotted these strangely-patterned black and white squares appearing in advertising material? Or you know what they are but just want to see how you can best make use of them?

Well here are resources which will help to explain what QR codes are, what they look like, how you can create them, as well as how others are using them both within and outwith the classroom.

Many mobile devices have cameras, and these, in tandem with a QR code reader on the device combine to quickly link to any of the following: text, website, image, video, audio, text message, telephone number and more. QR stands for Quick Response – it’s with the action of snapping the image of the QR code on the device that the link opens on that device, without the need to type any long website addresses.

See it working

The 23-second video below shows how a user can use a mobile device to scan a QR code to quickly access information (in this video it’s a telephone number, but it could be a website or blog address, video, text, email address, audio or image):

And for a slightly longer video explanation have a look at this video – in this case used in a library:

Learning In Hand QR Codes is a video by Tony Vincent where he explains, and shows, what a QR is, how they can be accessed, how you can make one, and where they may be used. In addition to the video there is a full transcript of the text of the video (including links to resources mentioned in the video).

How do they fit in the timeline of other online developments?

Jeff Utect (The Thinking Stick) has provided a useful reminder of where the introduction of QR codes fit into the timeline of online developments in the past few years – which serves to illustrate also how other online developments, which we now take for granted, can also take time for people to understand how to use.

QR Codes in the Classroom

 The Daring Librarian (Gwyneth Jones) has created an introduction to QR codes used in education. This also includes examples and a guide to creating similar uses in other schools. The examples here centre on engaging pupils with resources in the school library, though are aopplicable throughout the school. In addition this post has helpful hints and tips for teachers thinking about using QR codes.

David Muir has created a Prezi presentation (including video showing example of use of QR code) which introduces the use of QR codes in education.

Allanah King has resources about QR codes in the classroom. These include videos illustrating how they are used in the school, as well as resources showing how different QR code tools can provide different results.

The QR treasure Hunt Creator from Classtools.net is a great tool to illustrate how QR codes can be used in education – and one where an internet connection is not required (once the code is created online, the device which scans the code does not require an internet connection since the code translates only into text) . This tool is aimed at class teachers and presents an easy to use QR code creator in 4 steps. In addition there is a demonstration QR Treasure Hunt included so you can start using it right away. That can serve as inspiration to then create your own fiollowing the very staightforward steps on the site. In addition this site has links to a host of posts by other educators who have shared how they have used QR codes in schools. And there is a guide to creating your own QR-code Treasure hunt.

Click here for an example of a QR Safari created around the environs of Balmullo Primary school in Fife.

Vicki Davis has produced QR Code Classroom Implementation Guide which serves as an introduction to thinking about using QR codes in the classroom.

Julie Greller has collected a variety of ways QR codes are used in and out of classrooms to support learning and teaching.

The Physical Educator Skills Posters - a series of physical education posters showing images of skills, with explanations, as well as associated QR codes which pupils or teachers can use to download and use to access the videos and instructions on a mobile device where the activities are taking place. 

Andrew Miller has compiled descriptions of 12 Ideas for Teaching with QR Codes. Each presents one way of using QR codes in schools along with a description of how it was achieved and the benefits of doing so.

Jerry Blumengarten on his Cybraryman website has collated a comprehensive collection of resources to support educators in using QR codes. This collection of resources includes explanatory material, examples of uses by many educators, tools to use to create QR codes, ways of assessing their use.

Chris Smith on his ShamblesGuru website has collated a very wide range of resources to support teachers looking at using QR codes in education – including the many ways others are using QR codes in schools, tools which can be used to make QR codes, and resources to help support getting started using them or looking for different ways to enhance the learning experience.

Inside the Classroom Outside the Box Ways to use QR Codes in the Elementary Classroom and Using Google Docs to Create Them is a blog post by Jill Thompson on ways of using QR codes in a primary classroom (and how to make them).

50 QR Code Resources for the Classroom is a collection by Charlie Osborne of resources to support the use of QR codes in the classroom  - luinks to articles, how-to guides, hints and tips and more.

The “Interesting Ways” series of presentations by Tom Barrett includes an easy to digest presentation of many ideas for using QR codes to support learning, shared by many educators. And as more are shared, so the range of ideas increases – so visit again! And if you come up with another idea not shown there then you can add your idea there too.

Teacher’s Guide to the Use of QR Codes in the Classroom by Med Kharbach is a comprehensive guide to explaining what QR codes are, tools to use to create them, how to use them and with many links to further resources.

Twitter QR Code Bingo makes use of Google Docs online with Twitter and QR codes to create an integrated “getting to know you” activity for a professional development session for teachers (though could be adapted for class use). The Google Document provides the collation of the activities/clues and generates the QR codes and responses automatically to Twitter. The resources are described but also the templates are here to download and adapt.

QR Code Creator Tools

Unitag QR Code Creator is one of may QR code creators – but what makes this one different is that it provides the option to change the colour, graphics and central image of the generated QR code. There are commercial upgrades from which to choose but the basic creator is free to use. It also provides helpful advice when generating codes (especially important if using different colours and images as part of the code, as this can make the code unreadabale in certain phones).

Alternative creators which are free to use include Google’s URL shortener and QR code creator: http://goo.gl (paste the website address then click “details” to get the QR code) – this also provides analytics about the use of the code by users later.  Statistics of use can also be found using Glow’s URL shortener and QR Code Creator: www.glo.li

IdeasFactory QR Code Resources is a collated list with descriptions of a variety of QR code creators (as well as other resources to support their use).




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