This week I delivered a careers talk to a group of PGCE students who are about to cross the finishing line and grab their first post as a qualified teacher. As it’s job hunting season, plus i’m about to start a new position in learning technology, I thought a post on how I’ve used the internet to job hunt might be useful.
Although I haven’t tested out all of the apps myself they are all highly recommended by my A Level students. Hopefully your students will find these useful too, especially during this stressful exam period.
Click on the picture to see a larger, clearer image.
How some of these apps are used.
Polly who is studying for her AS’s, has recommended Penultimate, Evernote Peek and Show Me. Polly uses Penultimate to create hand written notes before importing these in to Evernote Peek to create a series of flashcards that work by slowly removing the iPad Smart Cover. Alongside this Polly uses Show Me to create interactive presentations to consolidate her learning and create a reference point for revision.
Matt who is about to finish his A2s likes to use the note taking app Noteabiliy. He uses it to type, handwrite and draw notes. He’s especially likes it due to the audio record feature which he uses to record his one-to-ones so that he can re-listen to information in his own time whilst adding more detail to his notes.
Click on the picture to go to the source website
A colleague recently asked me how I created animated pictures as she wanted to create her own as a fun way of relaying instructions to students via her Moodle page. If you’re interested in creating your own gif but don’t know where to start this link takes you to a tutorial for Photoshop users whilst this link will take you to a tutorial for the free photo editing software GIMP.
Animated gifs can be used for a wide variety of educational purposes including to create an animated background for collections on the social bookmarking software XtLearn, to post questions to students, to create short revision videos and to help students learn a new language by acting as a flash card.
Click on the picture to go to the source website
XtLearn is a bookmarking system that can be used to create visually interesting links which can then be embedded into your VLE, website or shared via links on Twitter or Facebook.
I was introduced to the software a few weeks ago and could immediately see the benefits for my institution and their students. Through focus groups for another project that I am working on all of the students had highlighted a preference for visually interesting and colourful content. Traditionally the links on our Moodle pages were presented as lists in folders so weren’t very attractive to look at therefore I have been using this software to update our existing Moodle to make our pages more user friendly by adding pictures, animations and descriptions to the bookmark collections.
Below is an example collection created by XtLearn on the film ‘The Artist’. They have used the page to not only store bookmarks but they have used the learner description box to share a task with the students in which they need to use the web links to answer it.
‘The Artist was hugely successful and won many awards. But what made it such a hit? Examine the resources in this collection to see how the film builds on and pays homage to the silent movie era.‘
The Barnsley College LTU team have used the software to add a page to their Moodle site which links to all of the other websites that the college runs. As you can see the page looks really professional and visually appealing and an added bonus is that by using XtLearn it doesn’t take long to create content like this.
Barnsley College websites
Below are a few ideas that I have for how XtLearn can be used with your classes:
- Visually enhance the links already contained on your moodle pages
- A tutor could post a question in the learner description box, the students need to read the information in your links to answer it
- Students could create their own account to collect evidence for a project, sharing the collection via their class Moodle or Facebook pages, embed the collection into their blog or simply share a link to their page with you by emailing it’s URL.
- The collections can be shared between tutors and institutions in order to collaborate and reduce work load
If you’d like to try the software out for yourself the basic package is free and can be used to create all of the examples above. The website is extremely user friendly and contains a range of text and video based help guides.
As a learning technologist technology plays a large part in my life therefore it’s no surprise that I use mobile technology to support my own learning. Below are are the apps that I am currently using.
Notability - As the name suggests I use this app for note taking. This app is one of my favourites as not only can I type notes, handwrite notes, embedding photos/pictures and annotate them but the app also has an audio recording function. I often use this app in conjunction with iBooks as whilst I’m reading I can copy sections of text, paste them into Noteability and then at the end of my study session go over the notes and edit them to suit my needs.
SimpleMinds + - As i was only introduced to the Simple Minds + last week I haven’t got a lot of use out of it yet but I do plan on using it as a mobile alternative to the mind mapping software that I use on my desktop. I will use it to organise my thoughts and aid revision when I’m on the move.
Skitch - As a dyslexic learner I find taking notes and listening at the same time extremely difficult, I also prefer to learn visually so I absolutely love the Skitch app as I use it to make visual notes. This includes taking photo’s of recommended books whilst noting why they were recommended and talking pictures of board work in class and adding planning notes for essays. For a description of this app and to see how I used it during a training day see my post on apps for assessment.
Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn - are used to create peer support networks. This includes creating closed groups and using course hashtags to share links and discuss ideas.
WordPress - Throughout my studies WordPress has been a versatile tool. I’ve used it to reflect, share my thoughts and ideas, as a way of creating a learning community by using the comments function and an assessment submission tool for a number of modules.
iBooks - I have only been using iBooks for a short time but it has revolutionised the way that I read and take notes (see notability section). I used to really struggle with the stop, start nature of reading from a paper based book and using my laptop to generate notes so I find this system to be much more efficient. Another feature that I’m fond of is the definition tool as you can click on a word and it’s meaning pops up. Again in the past I used to find it quite laborious having to put down my book to look up an unfamiliar word so this is so much quicker and easier.
Pocket - As their website states ‘When you find something you want to view later, put it in Pocket’. When I come across a link to a video, article, web page that I want to read but don’t have the time I save I use the pocket bookmarking tool to save it for later. One of the features that I really about pocket is the way that it integrates with the Flipboard app.
Flipboard - I use Flipboard to create a virtual magazine out of the content from my RSS feeder, my pocket app and hash tags that I am interested including MOOC hashtags. The app allows me to access all of this content in one place and again is a lot more visually interesting than reading large chunks of text.
Diigo – Diiggo is a social bookmarking tool that I was using for a long time before I got an iPad or an iPhone. What I like about this software is how you can access your bookmarks from any device that is connected to the internet. I have downloaded the app onto my phone to enable easy access to my bookmarks so that I don’t have to go through a web browser and sign into my own line account every time I want to access my bookmarks.
Inspired by the #etmooc projects my students have just started to use with the interactive poster software thinglink.com . As I’m currently teaching a research module my students have been using the presentation tool to create posters that summarise their findings and share links to the sources that they have used – this has included embedding webpages and YouTube clips in to the posters.
The feedback from my students has been great. They all enjoyed using the software and have found it really easy to use so I will definitely be using this tool again. Due to the interactivity of the posters they are more suited to formative assessment rather than summative.
To download the user guide I made for my colleagues click here.
As an Apple addict I’m always either on my iphone or my iPad and the use of apps has transformed the way that I learn – however that’s for another post. Today I’m going to introduce you to a few of my favourite apps that can be used for assessment purposes. I’ve been meaning to start writing posts about the use of apps in education for a while but hadn’t managed to get round to it. However today I attend a fantastic training session on the use of assessment in FE which was delivered by Nine Jackson (@musicmind) and as educational apps were covered I’m feeling all inspired.
The two main reasons that SimpleMind+ is a fantastic educational app are that it is free and easy to use. Simply download the app, type in your central idea then press the plus (+) icon to create your branches. Mind maps are fantastic assessment tools; you could use them to ‘preview and review’ at the start of a topic to find out what learners already know and then again at the end to measure how much they’ve learnt, or learners can work collaboratively on them.
A fun way to check students progress on a topic is to set quizzes for them. Socrative is a wonderful – and free – app which you can create true or false, multiple choice or short answer quizzes for the students to do at their own pace or under timed conditions. At the end of the quiz the results can be exported as a spreadsheet so you can see how well each of your students have done. This feature also helps to cut down on the amount of time you’d need to spend marking.
Twitter is a social networking tool that enables users to send (tweet) short messages that are 140 characters long. By creating a hashtag for your class e.g #mmel12 you can use the Twitter app as an educational tool. This could include home work tasks which you could set by tweeting out a question such as “Find me one newspaper article that is written in a sensationalist style’. Students could then take a picture of the article, copy the web address or send you the name of the article so you can check whether they understand what a biased opinion is. Alternatively tutors could engage learners by asking them to role play e.g two solicitors arguing a case. This could be particularly useful for engaging quiet learners.
Skitch is a fantastic tool for annotating images including web pages, maps or photos. Once you have created your Skitch you can share the document in a number of ways including email, Twitter, Facebook etc.
Below is a ‘Skitch’ that I created during today’s training session. For this activity we were asked to record the things that ‘get our back up’ relating to behaviour management. We were able to record this information in any medium and as I didn’t want to keep looking up at the question (I’m a dyslexic who has a really short poor term memory) I took a picture of the ppt slide and decided to annotate it in Skitch. This made the activity more interesting for me as I was not only able to create a visually interesting image but it also took a lot of pressure off me as when I was typing I was able to use the spell check function so I didn’t have to worry about any of my colleagues seeing my appalling spelling.
This app has a lot of potential for use in the FE classroom. It would make a fantastic tool to take on field trips, for example students could take a picture of an archaeological ruin and make notes about it’s age, it’s purpose and how the environment it is in has effected it’s condition. In Biology related classes students could add information about the names of bones that they have learnt by either taking a picture or a screen shot of a skeleton and annotating it.