Sunday, February 24, 2019

Adding zing to your Google Classroom

This past week we had our Leveling Up in Google Classroom. Two of the tips that came out of it were; adding emojis to spice up your topic headers and an easy way to organise your content.

Here is a screencast to show you how you can do these two things. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Seesaw Q & A for Parents

Thanks to a recent parent survey, our parents are loving Seesaw and how it gives them the ability to better understand their child's learning and guiding conversations at home.

Here are some FAQs about Seesaw that parents will find useful. 

How do I download photos in Seesaw?
While we are not able to allow individual downloading of photos and sharing to social media due to privacy concerns, you are able to download a .zip archive of your child's Seesaw journal, including images, videos, audio recordings, and text notes or captions. Please use a computer and a Chrome or Firefox browser only, the .zip file will not download on a mobile or tablet device. Click here for directions.

How do I manage notifications? 
You’re in control of how often you're notified about new information in Seesaw. Here are directions to adjust your notifications in your Seesaw Family account.

How do I invite other family members?
To have other family members be able to view your child's work in Seesaw, you will need the special website url given to you by your child's teacher. This may have come on a paper handout or through an email. It should look something like this: If you no longer have that information, contact your child's teacher. Up to 10 family members can connect to one child's journal. Your family member will need to create a Family Seesaw account of their own.

Why do some teachers post more than others?
Specialist teachers may not be posting as much as your child's main teacher. They have different requirements due to the number and variety of classes they teach. 

Please contact if you have any questions regarding Seesaw. 

Monday, February 18, 2019

What [UK] children are watching (and why)

From "Thought Shrapnel" by Dr. Doug Belshaw

There were only 40 children as part of this Ofcom research, and (as far as I can tell) none were in the North East of England where I live. Nevertheless, as parent to a 12 year-old boy and eight year-old girl, I found the report interesting.
Key findings:
  • While some children took part in organised after school clubs at least about one a week, not many of them did other or more spontaneous activities (e.g. physically meeting friends or cultivating hobbies) on a regular basis
  • Many children used social media and other messaging platforms (e.g. chat functions in games) to continually keep in touch with their friends while at home
  • Often children described going out to meet friends face-to-face as ‘too much effort’ and preferred to spend their free time on their own at home
  • While some children managed to fit screen time around other offline interests and passions, for many, watching videos was one of the main activities taking up their spare time
  • YouTube was the most popular platform for children to consume video content, followed by Netflix. Although still present in many children’s lives, Public Service Broadcasters Video On Demand] platforms and live TV were used more rarely and seen as less relevant to children like them
  • Many parents had attempted to enforce rules about online video watching, especially with younger children. They worried that they could not effectively monitor it, as opposed to live or on-demand TV, which was usually watched on the main TV. Some were frustrated by the amount of time children were spending on personal screens.
I've recently volunteered as an Assistant Scout Leader, and last night went with Scouts and Cubs to the ice-rink in Newcastle on the train. As I'd expect, most of the 12 year-old boys had their smartphones out and most of the girls were talking to one another. The boys were playing some games, but were mostly watching YouTube videos of other people playing games.

All kids with access to screen watch YouTube. Why?
  • The appeal of YouTube also appeared rooted in the characteristics of specific genres of content.
    • Some children who watched YouTubers and vloggers seemed to feel a sense of connection with them, especially when they believed that they had something in common
    • Many children liked “satisfying” videos which simulated sensory experiences
    • Many consumed videos that allowed them to expand on their interests; sometimes in conjunction to doing activities themselves, but sometimes only pursuing them by watching YouTube videos
    • These historically ‘offline’ experiences were part of YouTube’s attraction, potentially in contrast to the needs fulfilled by traditional TV.
Until I saw my son really level up his gameplay by watching YouTubers play the same games as him, I didn't really get it. There's lots of moral panic about YouTube's algorithms, but there's also a lot to celebrate with the fact that children have a bit more autonomy and control these days.
The appeal of YouTube for many of the children in the sample seemed to be that they were able to feed and advance their interests and hobbies through it. Due to the variety of content available on the platform, children were able to find videos that corresponded with interests they had spoken about enjoying offline; these included crafts, sports, drawing, music, make-up and science. Notably, in some cases, children were watching people on YouTube pursuing hobbies that they did not do themselves or had recently given up offline.
Really interesting stuff, and well worth digging into!
Source: Ofcom (via Benedict Evans)

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Pixar in a Box. Learn to be a film maker

Pixar in a Box is a behind-the-scenes look at how Pixar artists do their jobs. You will be able to animate bouncing balls, build a swarm of robots, and make virtual fireworks explode. The subjects you learn in school — math, science, computer science, and humanities — are used every day to create amazing movies at Pixar. This collaboration between Pixar Animation Studios and Khan Academy is sponsored by Disney.

Spaceteam: Fun smartphone-based shouting game

"Do you like pushing buttons and shouting at your friends? Do you like discharging Clip-jawed Fluxtrunions? If you answered yes, or no, then you might have what it takes to be on a Spaceteam.

Spaceteam is a cooperative party game for 2 to 8 players who shout technobabble at each other until their ship explodes. Each player needs a mobile device (phone, tablet, iPod Touch, etc)

You'll be assigned a random control panel with buttons, switches, sliders, and dials. You need to follow time-sensitive instructions. However, the instructions are being sent to your teammates, so you have to coordinate before the time runs out. Also, the ship is falling apart. And you're trying to outrun an exploding star.

Good luck. And remember to work together... as a Spaceteam!"

From iTunes description

Excellent Computing resources for the ENC

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Watch what we do online

From CommonSense Media unit on Rings of Responsibility.

Teaching digital citizenship is all about helping kids think beyond themselves and recognize the ripple effects of their actions. Personal responsibility is important, but understanding their responsibilities to others can help kids unlock new ways to learn and connect with their communities -- and even change those communities for the better.

Students will be able to:
  • Examine both in-person and online responsibilities.
  • Describe the Rings of Responsibility as a way to think about how our behavior affects ourselves and others.
  • Identify examples of online responsibilities to others.