Category: Northern Alliance

Stay Organised with Wakelet

I would like to share with you, my fellow educators, a tool I have discovered recently. riverbank primary school logoIt is called Wakelet. Before, I used Pocket and it was good, but it had its limitations.  

Wakelet is a website and an app. It allows you to curate websites, tweets, pictures,  blog entries, newspaper articles, links, videos, songs, and other items in your Google Drive.  

You classify everything into collections. 

Regarding privacy, you can make these collections private, you can share them with certain people or you can make them public. You can choose the degree of privacy for each collection. Wakelet has a variety of uses: 

For example, Wakelet is a great timesaver, and will put your memory at rest. We can stop relying on remembering everything.  With Wakelet’s collections, you will not lose a thing.  

 Curation is a specially useful feature of Wakelet. As a teacher you read useful articles, websites, watch videos, do CPD etc. You will discover that curating  those items to refer back to and/or share with others is something easy and quick to organise and to find afterwards. You’ll stop saying : ” where did I read that?”. 

 I have a Wakelet colleague in South Africa who I met at the Microsoft Educator centre and again at Twitter.  I never thought before of the enormous possibilities that Wakelet offers to our profession. We share our Wakelet collections in such an easy way. We share ideas, projects, learning, digital literacy tips and good advice. Collaborating  with others is one of the perks of Wakelet. Colleagues can contribute to your collections and you can contribute to theirs. They can add to your list. 

In upper primary and in secondary it can be an exciting tool to to use with the learners. As a teacher, you curate information for the learners to use and master in an online or blended our in the class environment, while the learners can do the same as they organize research projects from a wide variety of digital resources and express themselves by using all the features of Wakelet. to reflect on and connect to previous learning experiences. Wakelet fosters communication. You create a hub for your learners, where they can be confidently  interacting with their classmates about the topic you or they have chosen. Online resources, pieces of work, videos, podcasts, photographs can all be great samples of the work that is being done in the classroom.  

Wakelet’s latest creation is called spaces, it helps you to be top notch organised. Several collections are part of a space and you again can choose its privacy. 

Come and ride the #WakeletWave with us. Once you start, you won’t be able to stop using it. Wakelet is a great tool to keep you prepared. As a Wakelet community Leader, let me know if I can support you with any queries you may have. You can find me in Twitter @pilararqued and Wakelet at https://wakelet.com/@MrsArqued

Blog Header - Rachel

Creating engaging, interactive lessons in Home Economics using Google Slides and Pear Deck

Using Pear Deck, a Google Slides Add-On, in Home Economics makes the lessons engaging, fun, interactive and accessible for all. My best lockdown find!

As we return to teach in a classroom at a social distance from our students, I can set the deck to work either at a student or instructor pace. Using the asynchronous setting Pear Deck allows students to work at their own pace unhindered by others. Nothing holds them back; the high flyers move on to extension activities whilst those who can struggle with their reading or have EAL can use the immersive reader feature. Everyone has a go at the tasks as although their responses can be displayed on my whiteboard they are anonymous so suddenly the quiet student who has never raised their hands contributes to the lesson. At any time the lesson can become synchronous. Left as asynchronous work can be completed when they leave class such as in Study or for homework. At all times during the lesson, I am able to see exactly what each student is working on, stop them and draw their attention to points raised without calling out any particular student and potential embarrassing them. Pear Deck has been my best find of lockdown and is compatible with many other EdTEch tools. Not all features are free but for approximately £10 a month it’s worth the upgrade.
Rachel Richards, PT for Faculty of Design, Technology and Home Economics
Kingussie High School
Highland

Click here to open the Google Slides presentation

Home Economics Google Slide
Northern Alliance language webinars

Northern Alliance, Language Learning Webinars

The Northern Alliance Sharepoint site offers an ongoing series of webinars to support practitioners both during the school closures and beyond.

Having previously delivered an Education Scotland/Northern Alliance joint ‘Languages using digital tools’ event at the Scottish Learning Festival in 2019, we felt that a webinar on this topic was more relevant than ever.  To enable a more in-depth look at the diverse range of digital tools available to support language learning we created a series of 4 webinars. We were also keen to look at where digital tools were being used successful in a languages classroom and to share stories and approaches from across the Northern Alliance.  These webinars were made available through the Northern Alliance CLPL sharepoint on Glow to Northern Alliance authorities and were also available to other Regional Improvement Collaboratives.

The sessions were,

Primary – using digital tools in Glow to Enhance and Capture Language Learning 

This session focused on,

  • Office 365 Web Apps​
  • Immersive Reader​
  • PowerPoint Record​
  • Forms​ – Creating self-marking quizzes
  • OneNote​ – Capturing learning, including pupil voice
  • Help and Support

Secondary – using digital tools in Glow to Enhance and Capture Language Learning

We were delighted to have input from Liegha and Fraser from the Language Dept at Meldrum Academy in Aberdeenshire. Liegha and Fraser shared the many ways they are using digital tools to engage learners and how these tools are embedded throughout their department.

  • Glow ​
  • Teams​
  • Office 365 Web Apps​
  • Immersive Reader​
  • OneNote​
  • Forms​
  • Meldrum Academy – Journey so far​
  • Help and Support

Primary and BGE languages – using G Suite to Enhance and Capture Language Learning 

We were delighted to have input from Gwen McCrossan, Languages Development Officer, Argyll and Bute. Gwen demonstrated how to create virtual classrooms to engage learners in a blended learning environment and how Google Sites can be used to exemplify learning.

This session also focused on,

  • How to access GSuite
  • Google Docs
  • Google Forms
  • Google Sites
  • Google Slides
  • Screen Record Tools
  • Help and Support

Primary and BGE languages – using mobile devices to Enhance and Capture Language Learning

This session focused on,

  • What is Rich Media?​
  • Why use Rich Media?​
  • Apps for creating Rich Media​
  • Sharing and saving content​
  • Help and support

    The Language Webinars were recorded and can be accessed via the Glow Site below.

    There are also links to resources mentioned in the webinars including language virtual classrooms and mobile app information.

https://glowscotland.sharepoint.com/sites/AberdeenshireCouncil/northernalliance/mfldevgroup

Susan Sey, Digital Skills Development Officer, Education Scotland

and

Sylvia Georgin, Languages Development Officer, Aberdeenshire Council and

Languages Workstream Lead, Northern Alliance

post school destination blog post header

Post School Destinations, UCAS – Virtual Showcase

DGS Virtual University and College Showcase. On Wednesday 10th June, 15 Universities, Colleges and Organisations from across Scotland delivered virtual presentations with q&a’s to young people and families across Argyll & Bute. This was done in 1/2 hour slots throughout the day via 6 digital platforms; MicrosoftTeams, Adobe Connect, Zoom, Blackboard, WebEx and Youtube. Pupils were added to a Google Classroom via their Glow accounts where they could access the links as well as other valuable information regarding UCAS. For families or recent school leavers who didn’t have access to Glow, we made the links available on our school website. We used our school and Skills Development Scotland social media platforms to promote the event. For a number of sessions, we had over 90 participants which was a fantastic level of engagement from the young people of Argyll & Bute. We had double figures engagement for every session, averaging 50-60 participants. A number of institutions recognised that we were the first school in Scotland to enquire about a Virtual Showcase to school pupils, something that many of the Universities and Colleges had never done before. The day ran extremely smoothly, with every session being successfully delivered via their technologies and chosen platforms. A number also agreed to record their sessions and allow us to post in our Google classroom for regular access. Institutions who could not deliver on the day, have contacted us and sent over recordings which we again can publish. Overall, it was a fantastic experience the see the extremely high level of engagement from young people in an authority that covers a large geographical area connect with so many Universities, Colleges and Organisations that wouldn’t be able to deliver in the current climate face to face. Through technology, we were able to deliver our originally planned physical showcase in the school building and deliver it on a larger scale with increased levels of engagement from young people and institutions.
Colin Deans
Principle Teacher, Guidance
Dunoon Grammar

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

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Parent and Community Engagement during ‘Lockdown’

I have always viewed Dalintober PS & ELC as a ‘community’ school, in its truest sense.   Our commitment to ensuring that we actively communicate with parents and partners and include them in our curriculum and social planning and implementation is essential to our schools’ & ELC ethos.   This has grown to include the second school that I recently became Head Teacher of – Glenbarr PS.

We have always had very solid foundations and relationships with our parents and communities, but I can truly say that the ‘lockdown’ period has only strengthened these connections.   Engagement and discussion has been a constant feature of our overall strategy during lockdown.

We had intended to investigate Google Classrooms as part of our 3 year School Improvement Plan – but ‘lockdown’ certainly expedited this!   The commitment and energy of staff, pupils and parents in taking forward our new digital learning systems has been, quite simply, outstanding.   We have worked together to find ways to offer devices and support, including phone consultations – and with the help of partner agencies in the Children & Families Team and the Kintyre Community Resilience Group.

We have very successful school Facebook Pages, including a closed ELC Parent/Carer & Staff Group, and these have continued to be the main vehicle in recognising and celebrating achievements, sharing good news stories and information.   Parents are incredibly supportive of our social media pages and there are lovely interactions on a daily basis.   We have ensured that we have a ‘virtual’ final term, keeping many of the events and activities that would normally occur at this point in the school year – this has included ‘Virtual’ Assemblies, ‘Virtual’ School Photo Day, ‘Virtual’ Sports Day, ‘Virtual’ School Trips  and Music Festival Week and on-going transition activities.  Posting and sharing photos, as we normally would, has helped us maintain a positive and feel-good link with the community and parents at this unprecedented time.

We have also continued to work alongside local partners and businesses – this has included Shopper-Aide, the Great Lockdown Quarantine Quiz, Roots of Empathy, and Glen Scotia & Springbank Distilleries and may others – including upcoming interviews with ‘noted Campbeltonians’ such as best-selling author, Denzil Meyrick and musician/composer, Lorne MacDougall.

I very much believe in being open, honest and approachable to parents and the school communities.   There is nothing more powerful than human connection and maintaining that connection ‘virtually’ has been one of the most enjoyable aspects of my working week – both prior to, and during lockdown.

Our school buildings may be closed; but our schools’ & ELC ethos continue to thrive.

We thank everyone involved in helping us achieve and sustain this.

 

Caroline Armour

Head Teacher

Dalintober PS & ELC and Glenbarr PS

young girl holding drawing of elephant
adult and you children eating
twitter screenshot
twitter screenshot
twitter screenshot

 

Seesaw blog post header

Seesaw as a digital remote learning tool: Digital Tracking of Pupil Engagement and top tips for increasing engagement 

 

After receiving CLPL funding from the Education Scotland STEM Nation grant this year, training was offered across the Islay cluster in digital skills.  One of the key developments implemented in Port Ellen and Bowmore primary was to train staff in the use of Seesaw as a digital PLP tool to replace cumbersome and timeconsuming learning logs. Under a joint headship both schools decided to invest in the paid for Seesaw for school’s version of the App.  This version allowed us to have continuity of progression throughout a child’s time in school and also to track the Es and Os across subjects with its skills tracking tool.  It was great to be able to include video, audio and photos into a body of evidence for achievement across a level, as well as comments and feedback from teachers and students on their learning and next steps.  And parents had access to their children’s learning through the family app and could leave comments as well.   

Then Coronavirus happened and schools were going to close.  We quickly handed out home learning codes to pupils and parents and got them to download the class app at home, enabling them to continue their learning remotely.  Ipads were provided for families without technology.  Suddenly Seesaw was not just a PLP, but a home learning tool, one that could be used by children from ELC to P7 to learn remotely.   

 

Teachers from P1 up plan and provide a weekly grid of learning activities for pupils to work with that have a good balance across literacy, numeracy, health and wellbeing, STEAM and other curricular areas; the emphasis is on spending as much learning time offline as on a device, by taking advantage of our fantastic environment here on Islay.  We have seen some examples of truly outstanding pupil learning happening at home and share it on our Twitter feeds.  We even had a retweet from NASA for one of our rocket building STEAM activities! 

 

Pupil engagement is something we have worked hard to maintain in the move to remote learning.  One of the key benefits of Seesaw is the ability to track engagement across the school; school admins can access a spreadsheet each week that shows how often children have posted and which activities have been completed, so we can quickly identify children whose engagement suddenly falls off and intervene.  Staff have regular Google Meet discussions where they share their personal success stories with engagement; we quickly realised that regular video messages from teachers and audio feedback helped engagement- one parent said it was like having the teacher in their home.   This is particularly successful with early years.  Staff have also developed their digital skills to improve engagement, with some creating virtual Classrooms using Google slides and personalised Bitmojis.  Here children can click on items in the class to link them to a video message from their teacher, a learning activity, video or document online.  We have also used physical means to engage; early years sent sunflower seeds through the post for their children to plant.  Finally, we share successful learning stories that aim to inspire other learners through shared Seesaw posts to all the students and parents, Seesaw blogs and Twitter. 

 

 When there arissues with engagement, we have implemented a variety of measures to help.  We send encouraging messages to parents and pupils, have made phone calls home and have provided Ipads and dongles where needed so access is not a barrier.  For some parents physical materials in the form of textbooks and worksheets have provided extra support that makes them less anxious.  One of our key aims once schools are back is to find a way to provide more extensive training for parents so they are more confident in what will be a model of blended learning.   All of the school community are glad that we chose to implement Seesaw in schools before the crisis, a versatile tool that has helped us continue to engage children and support them and their families at this time. 

 

Interactive virtual class 

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1uisENFphlYhyKGamrhIgGwML7siqRjPBBOhv9uFZyos/edit?usp=sharing 

 

Screenshot of engagement spreadsheet. 

 

 

PORT ELLEN TWEETS 

Link to tweet about our use of emotionworks. 

https://twitter.com/portellenps/status/1265642824894160897?s=20  

Link to video about making bread 

https://app.seesaw.me/pages/shared_item?item_id=item.09f3cac7-edbe-4d77-836b-5bd087100dd9&share_token=GaseIiBmRKC4jIP4r4sbrg&mode=share 

link to giant bubbles tweet with vid 

https://twitter.com/portellenps/status/1253683989375856640?s=20  

Link to weather forecast in Gaelic, retweeted by Sean Batty 

https://twitter.com/SeanBattySTV/status/1245393179190362118?s=20 

Creepy crawly maths tweet 

https://twitter.com/portellenps/status/1254869348121968640?s=20 

SEESAW POSTS

Early Years Port Ellen  https://app.seesaw.me/pages/shared_item?item_id=item.b4db51f6-b272-4a88-bcb2-69b3df1ee286&share_token=bAIge6d0RtiLUIa2Rc67KQ&mode=share 

Early years Bowmore https://app.seesaw.me/pages/shared_item?item_id=item.628ef661-43d6-4ddd-be57-f379fe71325d&share_token=mBn8pKlaS0m33qek10iAYQ&mode=share 

 

BOWMORE TWEETS 

Teddy bears picnic 

https://twitter.com/BowmorePrimary/status/1265949410602766337?s=20 

Sharing music talent  

https://twitter.com/BowmorePrimary/status/1261316232634150912?s=20 

Evaluating parachute video clip 

https://twitter.com/BowmorePrimary/status/1261271607827447809?s=20 

Gaelic 1-3 birdwatching 

https://twitter.com/BowmorePrimary/status/1259770971306823682?s=20 

Japanese art 

https://twitter.com/BowmorePrimary/status/1258711972390080512?s=20 

chrome books and online learning in science blog post header

Summary of Online learning in Millburn Academy Science Faculty

 

Based on 217 responses June 2020

We have been using Chromebooks and G suite for a couple of years so obviously have a significant headstart over many other establishments.  The reason for sharing is that this data shows digital learning can work at senior phase levels with approx 80% engagement for asynchronous, remote learning.  Like all schools we anticipate higher engagement if we can move to ‘blended approach’.

Martyn.crawshaw@highlandschools.net

 

Tick any of the following you have completed as part of SCIENCE assignments

 

 

Which was the most easy or difficult to do?

 

 

What feedback have you had from science assignments? (tick up to two)

 

Examples of responses to
“Please complete the sentence “Online learning is quite good because..
● i can do it at my own pace and i don’t have to be around people
● You can complete it in your own time and spend more time on the areas that you find most difficult
● We can tackle the easy subjects first and give ourselves time to wrap our heads around the new information
● It lets us continue on with education during these difficult time
● We can still learn without being in school, albeit a little less efficiently
● It’s teaching me to be independent
● i have improved on my IT skills
● If I’m struggling I could find a video or website to help
● You get to take the time that you need to complete a task and not just moving in to the next task when the first
person has finished like school
● You learn to manage your own time
● We are able to go at our own pace and that we aren’t rushing for the bell
● Online learning is quite good because it is really easy to go back and find work I have Done and videos and
websites for revision
Examples of responses to
“Please complete the sentence “The main problem with online learning is …
● It’s given me nothing but bad vibes this entire time.
● its hard to stay focused
● it can sometimes be difficult to get help quickly
● When you’re struggling with the task and you don’t want to ask for help.
● The main problem with online learning is not being face to face with my teacher.
● sometimes the instructions arent clear enough for me at least
● The main problem with online learning is the internet side of it. [textbooks can’t stop working]
● Stuck sitting in my room all day, hard when it’s so sunny outside
● i don’t know how to use everything on the computer and i get distracted sometimes
● managing to balance our subjects and planning out when we are going to do each subjects work.
● The main problem with online learning is being bothered to get up and do the work
● Not being able to do experiments to see how it works for myself.
● Deciding when to do everything were as in school we have a set timetable
● The main problem with online learning is when teachers don’t make their instructions as to what we
are suppose clear enough.
● We can get a bit lazy at hoMe

 

swapping musical instrument for computers blog post header

Moray Council Instrumental Instruction Service 

“Swapping Musical Instruments for Computers” 

Here in Moray the small but ‘mighty’ team of instructors have been working hard to ensure our young musicians continue to have access to quality learning and teaching opportunities and instructor support during lockdown. By using Microsoft Teams instructors have been sharing challenges for their pupils to engage with in place of traditional face-to-face instruction. 

 

Learning a musical instrument is a very practical thing: from listening carefully to a young musicians sound and offering them tips and tricks to ensure they always produce their best tone, to supporting them physically by adjusting bow holds or correcting technique etc. Remote learning will never replace in-person, face-to-face music lessons, but it can bring a whole new dimension to learning and teaching musical instruments – one which enhances our service and provides learners with lots of new opportunities to develop , improve and share their experiences. 

Like many others, we faced a very steep learning curve and in the early days took our time to figure it all out. Instructors were not used to using computers as part of their daily routine and had been due to have some in-service training on GLOW in May. Having been pipped to the post and had remote working thrust upon them confidence has steadily grown and, by working collegiately, there has been lots of new learning. On our return to school buildings we’ll take with us new skills such as video editing, multi-track sound recording, knowledge and experience of various digital learning platforms and a vast library of emojis and gifs… all new skills which will benefit our young learners. 

‘Over the Rainbow’, a Music Education Partnership Group (MEPG) initiative to encourage as many of Scotland’s young musicians to perform on Thursday evenings during the clap for carers, gave us the perfect opportunity to engage our pupils online. Instructors digitally editedannotated and shared sheet music; recorded, edited and uploaded tutorial videos; and encouraged pupils to make their own sound and video recordings to share with their team. On the 30 April lots of Moray’s young musicians took to their doorsteps, not only bringing music to their quiet communities but boosting their confidence, building their resilience, and giving them opportunities to share their learning with others. 

With the future in mind we look forward to developing our digital skills and enhancing our service even further by (hopefully) offering pupils video lessons; adding digital learning platforms to our learning and teaching toolkit allowing us to support our pupils between lessons by sharing tutorials etc; and empowering instructors to take ownership of digital learning and teaching in their ASGs. 

 

Facebook: @MorayMusicCentre 

Instructor Over the Rainbow video. 

 

 

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The Future’s Bright, the Future’s Blended.

As we move into this next stage of teaching during lock down and coming out of lock down it’s really important that we make the correct decision. In the Scottish Government’s reopening Schools guide as well as Local Government guidelines we have seen the term blended learning being talked about. What does this mean? We know that blended learning means that it uses a number of different pedagogical approaches including distance learning and prudential learning but what else does it incorporate?

Blended learning is a generic term given to a number of different approaches involved in synchronous and asynchronous teaching using online tools as well as being present in a classroom. This can have a number of different names and approaches:

Rotational learning, flexible learning and flipped learning or the flipped classroom. 

Rotational / blended learning is a: “…model (that) allows students to rotate through stations on a fixed timetable, where at least one of the stations is an online learning station. This model is most commonly in  primary schools because teachers are already familiar with rotating in centres and stations.

The ‘Flex blended learning’  is included in types of Blended Learning and its model is one in which… “a course or curriculum area  in which online learning is the backbone of pupil learning, even if it directs pupils to offline activities at times. Pupils  move on an individually customized, fluid timetable among learning modalities. One teacher is on-site, and students learn mostly in their school classroom, except for any homework assignments. The teacher or other adults provide face-to-face support on a flexible and adaptive as-needed basis through activities such as small-group instruction, group projects, and individual tutoring.”

Flipped Learning:

A flipped classroom is a type of blended learning where students are introduced to content at home and practice working through it at school.

 

It is important to understand the stages of Flipped learning and that activities that are accrued out at home are clearly and concisely linked to activities in the classroom. 

We we think of Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy might would immediately think of the  the standard triangle with the remembering at the bottom and creativity at the top,

 

Flipped Learning turns Bloom’s Taxonomy on it’s head:

We need to think of our learners carrying out those low order thinking skills outside of the classroom in their work at home so that when we are in the classroom we can work on their high order thinking skills. 

 

When we talk about “home work” we are talking about those activities that our learners can do it independently with if necessary and possible support from parents and carers. What format might these contain:

We could add to those activities at home , simple worksheets, Kahoots, quizlets etc. 

In our flipped classroom it is important to think of the activities that we are going to do:

  • The link between home and the classroom. 
  • Our central Repository – Where will they be? Drive, Classroom, Teams, Onedrive Etc.
  • Classroom management: How will I manage the class at home and in the class: Will they be working collaboratively at home? Will  I have differentiated groups or tasks? Will they work in pairs in the classroom? 
  • Content: How will I create content for my classes? When it comes to video, will I create my own video material or will I look for appropriate ones online? How can I create activities that are attractive and engage my learners?

These are just some of the areas that need to be considered when carrying out flipped learning.

So does it work? What are the benefits? Pupils can be learning at their own pace and with peers. Missed class or were ill. The class has online video material, so you can see what has taken place. Having done work prior to coming to class, learners prepared to contribute. It is a format which enriches Group work & projects. As teachers we can target those learners  who need help knowing that other learners can work in a more independent manner. A teacher instead of standing centre and at the front we are guiding our learners from the side “coaching” them. This format  benefits differentiation and work in small groups. 

As we all know our learners do not come in a “standard format” where one size fits all. As teachers and educators we all know that often certain approaches work well with certain learners. The situation we find ourselves in now as a profession requires us to think of the 4 “Cs”:

  1. critical thinking,
  2. communication,
  3. collaboration, 
  4. Creativity.
  5. Flipped Learning Apps  –  A few Examples 

Further reading

Video – What is Flipped Learning

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Movie Makers at Banchory Primary

Like everyone with recent events we were thrust into a new way of delivering learning.  Normally at this time of the year Primary 7 are asked to prepare a short speech on a project of their choice.  The pupils are then asked to present these to their class, the selected pupils then present to the whole school before going forward to the cluster final in which they deliver their speeches to a judging panel.

The pupils were asked to continue with the project using the skills which had been taught previously in school, the pupils use iMovie, Do Ink Green Screen, GarageBand and clips to create their speeches.

This is one example of a Student Speech that was submitted. This student created a script, got into character, filmed himself in front of a green screen and then edited the video. I am sure you will agree the content is excellent and the theme for the video has made the video extra special.