Teaching them to walk away

Almost all secondary school students will carry a Smart phone with them when they return to school next week. Teachers today are being forced into learning more and more about the power of Smart technology in the classroom or risk being left behind by their digital students. But lets not forget we need to educate our students on how to use this technology effectively and safely.

Please read this article by Donal O’Mahony and pass it onto your colleagues when they return to school on Monday.


School in the UK rolls out touchscreens for SEN pupils

I wanted to share with you an article that was published in the Computer Weekly Magazine this morning. As an advocate of touch screen and interactive technologies this is definitely a step in the right direction for schools. This school has already witnessed the impact that these devices can have on teaching and learning.

A school in the UK, which caters for pupils with special educational needs (SEN), has rolled out touchscreen devices for its 120 students.

The school has implemented a range of Dell technology, including multi-touchscreens, laptops and servers. The technology enables children to learn in a far more engaging and independent manner than otherwise possible.

Multi-touchscreens teach pupils the idea of cause and effect and about their impact on the world, said head teacher Rob Thompson. Children with sensory and learning disabilities  tend to “switch off” when learning, but the touchscreen technology allows teachers to engage the children, he said.

“If have a child’s understanding is low, we want them to understand cause and effect, which they can easily do with a touchscreen. But if the technology doesn’t work that’s the worst message we can give them and makes it incredibly difficult. It is very easy for kids to disengage and not make the link,” Thompson said.


Wordle – Creating your own WORD CLOUD

Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. The images you create with Wordle are yours to use however you like. You can print them out, or save them to the Wordle gallery to share with your friends. This can be an exciting tool to use in the classroom. It’s perfect for character descriptions, poet attributes, drama or novel themes in English. For history students you could use Wordle to discuss key concepts like republicanism and civil war or to help you remember key dates and names surrounding an important event or case study. In Irish, try creating a cloud to show all the words associated with eacnamaíocht na hÉireann or key themes in poetry.

Try one here

What does it mean to “move to the cloud”?

A move to the cloud can involve transferring or replacing some or all of your office-based software, storage, or infrastructure systems with web-based services. For instance, if you use onsite or online servers and services for file sharing and storage, email communication, web conferencing, your organisation could choose to transfer some or all of your IT infrastructure to the cloud or replace it with cloud-based services in order to improve data organisation and collaboration.

The advantages for your school are:

  • Latest software versions
  • Reduced costs on software, hardware and licensing
  • Improved accessibility – you have access anytime, anywhere
  • Internet filtering
  • Data is backed up and secure
  • Collaborate and share information easily
  • IT helpdesk
  • Managed Desktops – improved productivity

iPad Apps in Education

The Computer Society of Ireland have a link to a wide range of useful educational Apps. Check out the list here.

For English lessons try iBook Author. Now anyone can create stunning iBooks textbooks, cookbooks, history books, picture books, and more for iPad. All you need is an idea and a Mac. Start with one of the Apple-designed templates that feature a wide variety of page layouts. Add your own text and images with drag-and-drop ease. Use Multi-Touch widgets to include interactive photo galleries, movies, Keynote presentations, 3D objects, and more. Preview your book on your iPad at any time. Then submit your finished work to the iBookstore with a few simple steps. And before you know it, you’re a published author. If you dont have a Mac try Book Creator. The simple way to create your own beautiful iBooks, right on the iPad. Read them in iBooks, send them to your friends, or submit them to the iBookstore.

For maths lessons try MathBoard. Some of  MathBoard features include:

  • Random problem generation (up to 250 questions per quiz)
  • Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, Division, Squares, Cubes and Square Roots
  • Includes One Step Equation style problems e.g. (6+x=12; x-8=2; 5x=25)
  • Number ranges are configurable from -9999 to 9999, including the ability to require certain numbers to be in each problem
  • Intelligent “wrong” answer generation makes guessing more difficult. Includes the ability to omit negative answers
  • A quiz can be timed, and timing can be set as a countdown timer or elapsed time
  • A quiz can be saved making it simple to replay a similar quiz or the same quiz at a later date
  • Wrong answers are reviewable with both the incorrect and correct answer visible (and equation displayed). You can even generate a quiz from just the wrong answers

And finally try Globe if you are a geography teacher. Globe for iPad is a Geography app which shows the countries of the world  on a 3D globe – you can manipulate the globe with the normal iPad  gestures — drag your finger or use a rotate gesture to rotate the globe;  pinch to zoom in and out. Search for a country and the globe will rotate to show that country.