Hi all,

Tweak of the week is this week dedicated to the use of IT applications to support us with our ‘Teaching and Learning’.

I have been experimenting with a few apps and thought I would share with you what I have found useful. Click on the links to be taken to the various app websites.

In the past I would not have regarded myself as much of a reader or writer (don’t tell the English Dept), however the more I have read and been fascinated by what I have found on Twitter, the more I have been inspired to write a T&L blog, hence ‘From the Sandpit..’ was born. I used WordPress to create the blog, its free, really easy to use and they produce several tutorial guides to help. I think it would also be a great tool to use with the kids, as knowing that someone is reading your work, other than your teacher, is a great incentive to motivate any reluctant writers. Edublogs is another common education blogging website used by teachers and students.

Prezi is a fab tool and is quickly replacing Power Point as the tool for professional presentations. Its free to sign up and this will allow you to make a ‘few’ presentations. The website has tutorials to teach you how to use it or if you go on youtube and type in ‘how to use prezi’ there is guidance on there. Get a little sneak preview of one of my ‘Teach meet’ presentations at the forthcoming SPARK event at Dubai College here. I plan to showcase some of the brilliant work many of you have shared with me following our focus on D.I.R.T. this term 🙂

Another brilliant tool, that is far easier than it looks to use, is Sparkol videoscribe, it is a way of creating engaging and animated videos for the whiteboard quickly and easily!I love it! Again there is masses of support for how to use it on the website, it looks professional and you don’t need to be a techy to produce decent results. Click here for an example that @teachertoolkit made. I have made a video for the new staff joining us in August about CPD which I will share with you shortly.. There is a cost with this app, I signed up for a free 7 day trial, its 16 pounds a month after or you can pay yearly, or for a one off sum of 398 quid, you can have it for life!

Another little tool that has caught my eye is Edmodo, lots of people have commented on it usefulness on Twitter. It is a way of assigning work and you marking and giving feedback to students, a bit like an interactive online classroom and again is absolutely free to sign up to.

This idea also supports the notion of a ‘flipped classroom’ model which many teachers are experimenting with. This means teachers post instructional videos online which students watch at home, at their own pace, communicating with peers and teachers via online discussions. Class time is reserved for collaborative exercises and demonstrating understanding.

For Primary teachers, a blog by primarypete.net explores the use of tablets in the classroom. He speaks highly of an app called Educreations which is useful for making videos for children, that can be played on Ipads or classroom computers.

Last but not least, if you have one, here is 60 useful Educational Ipad apps for teachers!

On the subject of IT many of the presentations at the forthcoming S.P.A.R.K Teach Meet event at Dubai College on June 1st have an IT focus. There are presentations on ‘lesson flipping’, ‘Infographics’, ‘Using social media in the classroom’, ‘word clouds’, ‘comic life’, ‘E Praise’, ‘QR Codes’ and ‘Top 10 teacher apps’ to name but a few….sign up here to attend this not to be missed Teach meet!

More next week 🙂