Technology

(UPDATED) Swivl: A Device For The Flipped Classroom

I recently purchased a device called ‘Swivl’ for school and I thought I would take the time to write a quick post about it.

‘Swivl’ is a used to film lessons or other activities for use with the flipped classroom or lesson observations.

The device sits on a tripod and has a slot for you to put your iPhone or iPod Touch into it. You can then put the microphone/sensor around your neck and the device will swivel round and follow you as you walk around the classroom. It pretty cool and staff and students were impressed with the tech.

It is a great device that is very useful if you want to film your lessons, especially if you have a teacher that walks around a lot, like me. It also has a free App that that optimises the experience.

As you will see from the video below, you should check the white balance as you can hardly see what is on the whiteboard. I should have really had a look before I started filming, leaving the classroom light on would have helped. It is also fairly pricey at about £175. I got mine from: http://www.techinvasion.co.uk/

There is another issue too. If you are walking around the camera follows you, which is fine. However, I make lots of small movements so the camera can be a little jerky. Probably something just to be mindful of when you are using it I suppose. Update: A representative of Techinvasion read this post and kindly emailed me with some guidance. He let me know that there is a ‘Sport Mode’ which is there for just this reason. 

Overall, I think it is really good. It is very easy to set up and will certainly improve the filming and sharing the lessons.

Have a look at the video and make up your own mind. Sorry about the rubbish commentary. It has been a long day. 🙂

Quick Look at Leap Motion (Motion Controller): Pt 1

I got hold of Leap Motion today and I was keen to try it out. The possibility of augmenting what is happening on the computer screen by the motion of my hands it exciting.

At lunchtime today, I set it up with some students and we gave it a go. They really liked it and I was quite impressed. All was going well until I tried to load the Leap Motion console and app store which meant connecting over the internet. The big problem was…

It does not work over a proxy. This meant of course, I can not use it at school at the moment.

According to the forums I have read, they are addressing this problem.

I have taken it home now and in the next video I will demonstrate using some of the apps that you can use.

Use Facebook in School: Facebook Guide for Educators

Facebook Guide for Educators

Facebook Guide for Educators

A couple of months ago Facebook published ‘Facebook Guide for Educators’ which I was lucky enough to contribute to. Here is a taste:

“Schools are beginning to use Facebook Groups to communicate with students. This is a very powerful tool for sharing information and collaborating with students from a safe distance. Facebook Groups do not require members to be friends with each other. Members of the Groups can exchange files, links, information, polls and videos very quickly. Anytime someone contributes to the group its member will receive a notification. If you have the Facebook smartphone app these can be pushed to your device. Facebook Pages can also be used to create a central Page for students and teachers to share information”

Matt Britland,

Head of ICT at Kingston Grammar School

This is a fantastic document for those who are thinking about using Facebook in their institution or even those who are already using it.

The document includes lots of information about how Facebook can be used, case studies, guidance on privacy settings as well as how you can introduce Facebook at your school.

You can download the guide below:

Facebook Guide for Educators

I have recently completed a trial of Facebook use in my school which you can read below:

Using Facebook Groups in School

You can also read a guide to social media in schools below:

Social Networks in School

If you would like more advice on social media or would like me to come and speak at your school, head over to Realise Learning and get in touch.

Year 9 Class Presentations: 2013-2014 Computing Curriculum (Free Resources)

This is the final set of classroom presentations for my Computing curriculum. You can find a link to my Computing curriculum booklet below:

Mr Britland’s Computing Curriculum 2013-2014

Last week I posted all of the presentation for the Year 7 projects and yesterday I posted the Year 8 presentations. These are for both students and teacher and include lots of useful resources.

This post contains the presentations for Year 9.

Feel free to download and use this curriculum. If you use this booklet, its projects or ideas and would like to make a donation for its continuing development, please use the link provided. I would like to keep giving this document away for free so any donation would be amazing. Please click to be redirected to my donation page.

1. Your Digital World

2. Graphic Design: Album Covers

3. Algorithms and Google

4. Programming: Raspberry Pi and Python

Year 8 Class Presentations: 2013-2014 Computing Curriculum (Free Resources)

As I am sure you have seen, I have just published my Computing curriculum for 2013-2014 which you can download from here:

Mr Britland’s Computing Curriculum 2013-2014

Last week I posted all of the presentation for the Year 7 projects. These are for both students and teacher and include lots of useful resources.

This post contains the presentations for Year 8.

Feel free to download and use this curriculum. If you use this booklet, its projects or ideas and would like to make a donation for its continuing development, please use the link provided. I would like to keep giving this document away for free so any donation would be amazing. Please click to be redirected to my donation page.

1. How the Internet Works

2. Graphic Design: Magazine Covers

3. Visual Programming: Kodu Projects

4. The Web: HTML5 and CSS3

Year 7 Class Presentations: 2013-2014 Computing Curriculum (Free Resources)

I have just published my Computing curriculum for 2013-2014 which you can download from here:

Mr Britland’s Computing Curriculum 2013-2014

This booklet includes 14 Computing projects, each of these projects comes with a presentation that can be used in class. The presentation is for use by the teacher and by the students and includes lots of links and videos that will help teaching and learning.

These are the presentations for my year 7 projects. I hope you find them useful.

Feel free to download and use this curriculum. If you use this booklet, its projects or ideas and would like to make a donation for its continuing development, please use the link provided. I would like to keep giving this document away for free so any donation would be amazing. Please click to be redirected to my donation page.

1. Learning Blog

2. Office Documents and the Cloud

3. Stay Safe Online

4. Visual Programming: Kodu

5. How a Computer Works/Computing History

6. My App

Mr Britland’s Open Source KS3 Computing Curriculum V3: 2014-2015: PDF Download (free booklet)

(UPDATE: 11th July 2014)

Over the last couple of months I have been working on updating my Computing curriculum ready for release this month. This is the 3rd version and I have tried to do something slightly different with it.

Several months ago Tristan Kirkpatrick, a newly qualified Computing teacher (@Tristan_ICTCS) got in touch with me and asked if I was interested in making the curriculum open source. I jumped at the chance. Tristan began building a new website to enable the curriculum to be shared. All his hard work has resulted in something really exciting.

So…how does it work?

  1. Head to www.ictcomputing.org
  2. Download the Computing curriculum / template (Google Template)
  3. Use it in anyway you like
  4. If you make any changes (remixes), send it back to us by sharing the document with ictcomputingsubmit@gmail.com. Your version of the curriculum will then be available for others to download
  5. Best of all is that it is free for everyone!

Head over to www.ictcomputing.org now!

A PDF version of the curriculum is available from the link below:

Mr Britland’s Open Source Computing Curriculum  

 


I have been working very hard over the last few months producing my new Computing curriculum and it is finally ready.

Details below:

Feel free to download and use this curriculum. If you use this booklet, its projects or ideas and would like to make a donation for its continuing development, please use the link provided. I would like to keep giving this document away for free so any donation would be amazing. Please click to be redirected to my donation page.

Thanks for your support.

Matt.

This is now version 2 – DOWNLOAD HERE

V2

I have added / amended the following:

  • Amended strand descriptors.
  • Added a new ‘How to use this Booklet’ section
  • New section on what software and websites are used, including free alternatives to paid software
  • Amended ‘Visual Programming: Kodu’ (Year 7)
  • ‘Computer Hardware/History’ project now called ‘How a computer works/computing history’ and now includes software. It is now taught in Year 7
  • Added ‘The Web: HTML5 and CSS3’ (Year 8)
  • Added ‘Networks’ (Year 8)
  • Added ‘Google and Algorithms’ (Year 9)

End products have changed for the following projects:

  • Stay Safe Online – Online guide using Snapguide
  • Visual Programming: Kodu – Screencast using Screenr
  • Your Digital World – Online presentation using slide.es

In Development

  • New creative projects
  • How to use an iPad to teach this curriculum

If you would like some help with creating your own resources or would like me to produce any educational publications, please visit www.realiselearning.co.uk.

iPad Video Tutorials – Staff Training

The videos below were created as part of our iPad trial and were used to help support and train members of staff. They are a little old now but they are still relevant.

If you need to offer staff training at your school or ideas how iPads can be used for teaching and learning head over to www.realiselearning.co.uk.

What is the future of technology in education?

This article was originally published by The Guardian on 19th June 2013

A couple of weeks ago I was asked what I thought the future of technology in education was. It is a really interesting question and one that I am required to think about all the time. By its very nature, technology changes at a fast pace and making it accessible to pupils, teachers and other stakeholders is an ongoing challenge.

So what is the future? Is it the iPad?

No, I don’t think it is. For me, the future is not about one specific device. Don’t get me wrong, I love the iPad. In fact, I have just finished a trial to see if using them really does support teaching and learning – and they have proved effective. I’ve written about the trial in more detail on my blog.

iPads and other mobile technology are the ‘now’. Although, they will play a part in the future, four years ago the iPad didn’t even exist. We don’t know what will be the current technology in another four. Perhaps it will be wearable devices such as Google Glass, although I suspect that tablets will still be used in education.

The future is about access, anywhere learning and collaboration, both locally and globally. Teaching and learning is going to be social. Schools of the future could have a traditional cohort of students, as well as online only students who live across the country or even the world. Things are already starting to move this way with the emergence of massive open online courses (MOOCs).

For me the future of technology in education is the cloud.

Technology can often be a barrier to teaching and learning. I think the cloud will go a long way to removing this barrier. Why? By removing the number of things that can go wrong.

Schools, will only need one major thing to be prepared for the future. They will not need software installed, servers or local file storage. Schools will need a fast robust internet connection. Infrastructure is paramount to the the future of technology in education.

We don’t know what the new ‘in’ device will be in the future. What we do know, is that it will need the cloud. Schools and other educational institutions will need to futureproof their infrastructure the best they can.

This should be happening now. If you want to start to use mobile technology in your school, whether it is an iPad program or a bring your own device (BYOD) program your connectivity must be fast and reliable. Student and teacher buy in, is so important. If the network is slow and things are not working properly students and teachers will not want to use the devices. Make the sure the infrastructure is there before the devices.

Teachers can use the cloud to set, collect and grade work online. Students will have instant access to grades, comments and work via a computer, smartphone or tablet. Many schools are already doing this. Plus, services such as the educational social network Edmodo offer this for free.

This is where devices come in. All devices, not matter which ones we will use in the future will need to access the cloud. Each student will have their own. Either a device specified by the school or one they have chosen to bring in themselves.

School classrooms are going to change. Thanks to the cloud and mobile devices, technology will be integrated into every part of school. In fact, it won’t just be the classrooms that will change. Games fields, gyms and school trips will all change. Whether offsite or on site the school, teachers, students and support staff will all be connected. In my ideal world, all classrooms will be paperless.

With the cloud, the world will be our classroom. E-learning will change teaching and learning. Students can learn from anywhere and teachers can teach from anywhere.

The cloud can also encourage independent learning. Teachers could adopt a flipped classroom approach more often. Students will take ownership of their own learning. Teachers can put resources for students online for students to use. These could be videos, documents, audio podcasts or interactive images. All of these resources can be accessed via a student’s computer, smartphone or tablet. As long as they have an internet connection either via Wifi, 3G or 4G they are good to go.

Rather than being ‘taught’ students can learn independently and in their own way. There is also a massive amount of resources online that students can find and use themselves, without the help of the teacher.

This of course means the role of the teacher will change.

Shared applications and documents on the cloud, such as Google Apps will allow for more social lessons. How often do students get an opportunity to collaborate productively using technology in the classroom? It isn’t always easy. However, students working on documents together using Google Apps is easy. They could be in the same room or in different countries. These are all good skills for students to have. Of course, these collaborative tools are also very useful for teachers. I for one have worked on several projects where these tools have lets me work with people across the country. Some of which I have never met.

What we must remember is that when schools adopt new technology and services, they must be evaluated. This way, as a school, you know if they are successful and what improvements are needed. Staff will also need training, you can’t expect staff to use new technology if it they are not confident users or creators. Any initiative is doomed to failure without well trained, confident staff who can see how technology can support and benefit teaching and learning.

Plenty of schools have already embraced this, but there’s still a way to go to ensure all schools are ready for the future of technology. It is time for all schools to embrace the cloud.