Mocks

Mocks.

That is the word most students in Junior and Leaving Certificate will hear upon returning to school yesterday. The preparation exam, the trial exam, the practice exams – all phrases used to describe the upcoming mocks.

It is a time for students to prepare and practice the study and work they have been doing over the past two or three years (depending on their exams). What students need to realise is these set of exams are equally as important as the JC and LC. They will offer students a chance to practice and time themselves doing the questions and subjects they either love or dread.

However, this is also a time of great anxiety for students. Yesterday, the@IrishTimes released an interesting article on how some of the best behaved students are actually covering their anxiety. To combat this, here a are a few tips for students in the run up to the mocks and the time of doing the mocks.

  1. Know your timetable.
  2. Get a good night’s sleep!
  3. Make sure you have breakfast. If breakfast is something that is skipped (my students or teachers) try smoothies. You can customise them and pack them full of vitamins which will boost your immune system, espically vital with the flu and weather at this time of year!
  4. Make a checklist for each subject. For example, Junior Certificate CSPE – Students are advised to bring some colouring pencils if they plan on tackling the poster questions.
  5. Keep hydrated – bring a bottle of water!
  6. Make sure you have enough pens!
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Apps

Recently, trying to think of how to incorporate web2.0 technology into the lives of students without feeling like it’s always to do with homework or a specific task.

With exams looming on the horizon – I noticed a few apps which were Starbucks pick of the week which could helps students during these next few weeks!

Starbucks pick of the week is free for that week (then usually they go back to their full normal retail price). Due to the app only being free for the week it was a great incentive for students to download the apps that week as opposed to taking their time to downloaded which usually ended up in students not downloading the apps and trying them,

Some of the apps  which the students and myself tasked ourselves to try are outlined as below.


Streaks

It helps you turn the little goals in life into good daily habits. It is a great way for example to get into the habit of practicing a new language for ten minutes each day. I would highly recommend Streaks for anyone who is trying to encourage students to get into the habit of doing ten extra ten minutes of a particular subject which they need work that little bit harder at. 

http://streaksapp.com/

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Pause

Pause has fast become an app that has I been able to use in both in the classroom and outside the classroom. It is a simple, yet very powerful app. It allows you to take a moment to pause, collect your thoughts and start afresh. Furthermore, when teaching meditation this app is a great app for students to download and use at home. Some students have said they feel they are more focused as they are able to take five or ten minutes out in the evening time and meditate. One other great feature about this app if you are pitching it to students is they are following the instructions and light while meditating which will help them to focus if they feel they will not be able to meditate at home. 

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More highlights from CESI

CESI Main Notes

  1. net

Fun activity to do if in the computer room to raise awareness how easy it is for professional hackers to gain students personal information if they become targets.

 

  1. Neil Butler https://twitter.com/mrNeilButler?lang=en

Ignoring his twitter page he has somehow incorporated grand theft auto in the classroom for Pythagoras theorem. He drives out a course and then gets the students to use the course and apply them to the theorems.

  1. TechWeek2016 (Trying to get some resources packs)

Tech Week is Ireland’s nationwide festival of technology aimed at students, parents and the public. Tech Week provides hands-on opportunities to learn about how computing and related technology are shaping every area of life .Education, health, environment, social interaction, leisure, citizenship … the list never ends and the pace of change never stops.
April 24-30 2016

  1. Scratch Cat Selfie

It’s part of a scratch pack – didn’t manage to get one but emailing and tweeting to see if I can get my hands on one for the school.

  1. Digital Time Plan

Allowing people to create their own timetables and plans online. Free app – easy to download on ios, android and online at their web store. It could be used to encourage students to take control of their own study planning if it’s an app online which can be downloaded onto their phones.

  1. @teamacademic

New online notes session that is about to launch in the next few weeks. Only a teaster/taster was given at the techmeet.

  1. net

Resources for the classroom for all subjects.

  1. Tech Team

Using minecraft in the classroom. Looked at how minecraft is an app which can be used in class on moblies. Not possible unless students have accounts.

A few Web 2.0 Tools for the Classroom

 

A few new Web 2.0 tools which I have come across  which could be of great use in the classroom.

  1. Highlighter App

This simple app can be downloaded from the Chrome Store or the Apple store depending on which device you are using. There is many variations to this app but each have the simple understanding that when you are online or using a device you like to highlight key points or ideas which catch your attention as you are reading. Price depends on what you are looking for; however in general it seems to be free to download and use.

 

2. Second Life

I came across Second Life by chance. However, so far I have been very impressed by it’s concept and ideas. It allows people to create a free 3D virtual world.

When teaching history, it’s important to try and use visuals in the classroom. For example, when teaching the Romans, minecraft has a huge selection of visuals which can be used when teaching about the Roman villa or domus.

However, allowing students to create their own Roman Villa or Domus – or even Roman town would bring topics alive for students. Additionally, this will allow students to bring history alive and into the twenty-first century through this Web 2.0 tool.

3. Answer Garden

Answer Garden is a web 2.0 tool which I have yet to use – yet I have heard very positive things about it from those I know who have used it in a classroom setting.

Answer Garden allows for a teacher or student to a put a question in and press the submit button. The most frequent answers are shown. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Web 2.0 Technology – Google classroom

Image result for 1916 rising

Recently I had a class do projects in preparation for 1916 celebrations. There was no set way for the students to do the project expect to stick to a theme.

viemo Image result for vine

 

Some students choose to use Vimeo and Vine to create short video to present their projects. These were excellent and well made however trying to download and have these videos on file and share them to the school website proved a nightmare.

The videos are too large to be sent over email, they could not be uploaded to edmodo (it is possible but time consuming thus it was abandoned after 12 minutes), difficult to download onto a USB due to configuration. We finally ended up using Google drive and sharing the videos integrating them into a Prezi PowerPoint and sharing it as a URL.

reflection

On reflection questioning the amount of time that was spent on trying to share these videos – how could we have had a central place to share videos and information with students easily while still keeping child protection laws in place and protecting yourself as a teacher.

Answer – Google Classroom

Google classroom is ideal if you are trying to integrate a whole school onto one servicer. Google classroom pulls together a lot of things which you do across several platforms – for example emailing, uploading resources, keeping in contact with students and parents, setting reminders, PowerPoint’s, word documents, media etc. etc. The possibilities are endless with Google classroom.

Students can have their accounts which they can log onto. It is quite helpful as it saves everything automatically.

 

 

It is also a mobile app thus each student can log on at their leisure or even check in while on their journeys to and from school. It is delivered through the Chrome browser, which means it can be accessed on most devices. Furthermore, it gives teachers a chance to see who has logged on and who has not and give direct feedback to the students.

Another aim of Google classroom is to create paperless teaching. The cost of printing is astounding in schools and many students lose or forget their work. Noting that students lose their copies and notes can prove difficult in subjects was they are expected to maintain and build on their notes for three years such as History. If students lose their copies – they can lose up to two years of notes at once which are near difficult to replace. Additionally, Google classroom can be organised into folders making it easy for teacher to keep track of each class. This does free up class time as you are no longer spending time handing out sheets and explaining assignments in detail while writing it up on the board. Instead with Google classroom you can do all of this by the click of a button.

One other feature that does make Google classroom ideal in a school setting is you can adapt notes to suit each student needs. For example, you can change the colour and font for students who have dyslexia or learn better through colours. You can also add in colour photos which bring the subjects alive or interactive videos.

Google classroom also encourages eLearning in the classroom which does further their skills and ability to adapt to our fast paced world.

However, there are always drawbacks which have to be addressed. Though Google classroom is changing the way in which we think about teaching – it still comes down to the simple fact that not every student can afford the upkeep of these devices. Even more so if a student device breaks, they no longer have access to their classwork or extra material. This leaves them at a disadvantage to other in their class.

One other huge disadvantage is the lack of an automated activity feed. If students do not refresh they will miss out on deadlines and notes that the teacher posts. This can be frustrating for students as they may be logged in yet not receive the assigned work.

The other thing is Google classroom is creating a virtual environment and classroom for students and the teacher. However, this can create problems as it does make an impersonal classroom as students may not feel they are connecting with the material or teacher. Sometimes teachers learn about students from the side notes and little doddles that they do in the margins of their copies. Also, it is difficult to distinguish who did the homework if it is online. Why I say this is when you correcting homework that is done into a copy, you can check the handwriting and spelling for copying. If the homework is submitted online you don’t know if a student has copied and pasted the answers from each other or if a parent has done it for them.

Overall, Google classroom is ideal for streamlining classrooms in order to share resources. However, there is cheaper and easier to use alternatives currently. Maybe in a few years Google classroom will become a mainstream idea.

Glogster

Glogster  is a new Web 2.0 technology that allows students and teachers to make multimedia posters.

Glogster is an excellent Web 2.0 Technology ties into the NCCA Key Skills as well.

  1. Glogster encourages students to think critically and creatively as they have to create a multimedia poster but use relevant information.
  2. They have to process information to make the multimedia poster.
  3. When making a multimedia poster they have to communicate with their teacher and fellow classmates when making a multimedia poster.
  4. If the teacher uses Glogster in class, students will have to think what they want to do, how they want to create the poster and how much information they want to put on the poster and can they achieve their plan in the limited amount of time they will have.

An example of some Glogster Posters!

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Additionally, it’s great for students as there is already made templates and examples for students full of media which can help them get ideas.

It’s also free and easy for students to use as well as being safe.

For more information on Glogster try looking at Glogster Twitter Page: http://ncca.ie/en/Curriculum_and_Assessment/Post-Primary_Education/Senior_Cycle/Key_Skills/Key_Skills_Framework.html