WrightICT eNews

April 2015

Welcome

Welcome to the latest issue of WrightICT eNews.

Articles and further snippets via my website, Twitter and Pearltrees.

Forthcoming Events

ICT4C Event. Information security - are you legal and safe?

Wednesday 22nd April.

Venue: The Greetland Academy, School Street, Greetland, Halifax, HX4 8JB.

Time: 08.45-12.00

or

Mercure Hotel, Willerby on Tuesday 12th May.


Click here for a full programme and booking information.

BBC Schools' Digital Wildlife Award

BBC Wildlife is on the hunt for schools that are leading the way in natural-history education. Their new Schools’ Digital Wildlife Award will celebrate the most innovative teachers and the most enthusiastic classrooms around the country.

They are asking classes to submit a digital presentation from the classroom. It could be in the form of a three-minute video or a concise Prezi-style presentation that can combine words, video and pictures.

Click here for further entry information and here to see a short presentation, see below.

Quite clearly, Prezi are heavily involved in this competition, but I've not seen anything in the T&Cs that insist on its use, so if you prefer something like Slideshare or J2E, press on, though it might be wise to double-check though and not blame me!

Waterproof Camera

I saw this camera at a meeting in Wakefield and thought it was so useful I bought one. Not long ago this sort of technology was running into several hundreds of pounds and upwards. This is £99.95.

It can shoot stills, video, activated when it senses motion, or can be set to time-lapse mode. The latter excellent for recording shadow lengths over a school day... assuming the sun shines of course!

Park it in your school wildlife area and see what turns up when you're not there.

Capture images of visiting birds or, if it's safe to leave unattended outside, see what nocturnal visitors you get.

My camera has still to arrive but the video below shows some sample footage from Andy,a TTS staff member... who has no pets, so was surprised to see what visited his garden.

As some readers use J2E, please follow this link to see how videos taken with this camera can easily be used in the software. The file has been made public, so no log-in required, enabling non-J2E subscribers to view it too.

Wildlife Camera

Bluetooth Audio Connector

This handy and inexpensive (£12.99) device from TTS plugs into any music player with an aux input, and that's pretty much all of them, to turn it into a Bluetooth enabled system.

So, stop rooting round for those CDs crank up your Tablet/Phone and stream your music.

A USB charging lead is included so you don't need to worry about replacing batteries.

It's not the prettiest looking device you'll buy for school, but it's excellent value.

TTS Weather Station

Completing the trio of new, useful and inexpensive items from TTS I saw recently is their weather station. Again, the price of items such as these were prohibitive to primary schools, but this one, retailing at £79.95 brings recording real and relevant data withing the reach of most, if not all, schools.

The Weather Station logs internal and external temperature, humidity, pressure, wind speed, wind direction and rainfall.

If data handling is an area for development in your school, what better than using real data that you have collected?

Codebug

The options available to schools in the coding arena are, unsurprisingly, growing rapidly. Recently the BBC announced that they giving away 1 million min-computers to all 11 year olds. So, primary pupils miss out. However, all is not lost, but it isn't free. :)

I stumbled into Codebug recently on Kickstarter and pre-ordered an Experimenter and Wearables kit: sewing lessons required!

It won't arrive for a few weeks, but thought I'd bring it to your attention as

a) it's new

b) it's affordable

c) the software to drive it looks like Scratch and J2Code, so ought to be familiar to pupils and staff and

d) it taps into the up and coming 'internet of things' and 'wearable tech' rather nicely.

I'll keep you posted on developments: but more on the computing and less of the sewing side of things.

There's an short explanatory video here on what Codebug is.

The funding has hit their target and the product will be available for general purchase later this year. Or, you could back a classroom set now for £300 and a July delivery and take a punt....... In fact, I'll offer a no-charge half day for the first school to take that particular leap of faith with me.

How Google works

Have you ever wondered how Google works? Sure, it has a complex algorithm that looks at hundreds of variables, but in simple terms…do you know how Google works?

To help you get a better understanding of Google’s algorithm as well as to show you how some of Google’s features work, QuickSprout has created an animated infographic to help explain how the search engine pulls information from the web. This could be a useful resource to help students understand the Google process…

Algodoo

Algodoo is a downloadable physics playground where you can experiment with all sorts of structures, forces and virtual materials. It’s great fun. There is also an iPad app to explore at £3.99 but there are free downloads for Windows and Mac.

My initial impressions are that is is great fun, but probably one for the more able pupil to use independently.

ICT4C Corner


Clamping down on under age game play

During our work with schools we often hear of issues around under-age game playing by young people and the impacts this appears to have on their behaviour. A group of head teachers in Cheshire have warned parents they will report them to the authorities if they allow their children to play computer games rated for over-18s. For more information on this story visit http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-32103991

Getting to the children

Do you really knows what the children in your school are using technology for and what really worries them? Ofsted are looking for eSafety education to be based on the needs of children and relevant to them. The previous document Inspecting eSafety document that was withdrawn following the Trojan Horse affair in Birmingham was used to brief inspectors and it highlighted the need for the messages to be age appropriate. It may be worth considering undertaking a survey of your children on both their technology and how they are using it and involving your school council in its set up to help get the best possible response.

Top Teaching idea

Get your children to have a debate on issues that affect them when using technology. For example, should social networking have an age limit? Should filtering be used in schools? Get them to take sides and put forward their argument, even get them to take the opposite view.

Snippets

ClarisSketch. This Android app lets you quick annotate a photo and record audio, making instructional videos to share.

Savevideo. A site that lets you download videos from lots of sites like YouTube and Vimeo amongst others.

Tagexo is another word cloud generator but this one has a pretty impressive range of templates for your to use as word clouds. In this section's image Rang Bianca has used it add class pupils names into an Africa shape, and then challenging the students (aged 9/10) to estimate which country/ies their name is in. Other countries/continents are available.

Quozio. A nice site to make short quotation posters by simply adding the text and choosing the design.

Clip on Microphone. One of the drawbacks in film and video making on portable devices is the fact that the in-built mics aren't the best quality and you do tend to record a fair whack of background noise. This £14.99 Tie clip Mic comes with 1m cable and 3.5mm plug, Currently scoring 4.5/5 stars on Amazon.

Smore, the online software that I use to produce these newsletters is only $59 per year for educational establishments. This price isn't just for the school newsletter, but gives student accounts too. Click here for more information.

Noisli. Play ambient sounds to your class to create a mood for creative writing or roleplay. You can also write on the site and download the writing as a text file.

Soundsleeper is similar.

Classroom posters. One of the most useful resources I put to use from the Barefoot site is this set of posters of key terms for the Computer Science aspect of the PoS, The Key Concepts are in green and the Approaches in blue.

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