Welcome to our chalkface

    Chalkface

    February 2nd, 2010

    Chalkface is a new space on the Pontydysgu website.  It is an area where we are planning to collect together all those posts that deal with stuff to do with classroom practice.

    Posts on Chalkface

    Having fun at the Taccle2 Conference

    October 18th, 2014 by Angela Rees

    This week we are in Brussels for the final meeting and conference of the Taccle2 project. More info and ideas to come but for now, here’s a sneak peek of what went on!

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    Taccle2 website survey

    May 15th, 2014 by Angela Rees

    We all love the Taccle2 website, but we would really like to know what you think about it.

    We want to know if you find it easy to use, if the content is interesting enough and if it well structured.

    That is why we would like you to answer 5 very simple on-line questions (the questionnaire is available in several languages) :https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/L98VVSW

    This will take less than 5 minutes of your time and it will help us a lot to know if we need to improve the website or if you like it just as it is.

    Thank you very much for your input.

     

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    YN GALW AR BAWB SY’N GWEITHIO YM MYD ADDYSG!

    May 15th, 2014 by Angela Rees
    Rydym yn chwilio am bobl sy’n gweithio ym myd addysg i roi adborth ar y wefan www.taccle2.eu Buaswn yn hynod o ddiolchgar petaech chi’n cymeryd ychydig amser i’w hastudio cyn gadael eich barn ar yr holiadur https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/L98VVSW.
    Mae dolen Gymraeg ar y wefan ond mae croeso i chi edrych ar y tudalennau Saesneg hefyd a’u cynnwys yn eich adborth yn gyffredinol. Yr unig beth rydyn ni’n gofyn yw eich bod yn llenwi’r holiadur CYMRAEG. Dewiswch ‘CYM’ ar y dudalen gyntaf.
    Rydym wedi gweithio’n galed i sicrhau bod gan y Gymraeg yr un statws a’r ieithoedd eraill yn y prosiect. Yn naturiol, felly, buaswn yn hynod o falch petawn ni yn gallu ‘dal ein tir’ gyda’r cyfanswm terfynol sy’n ymateb i’r holidaur Cymraeg o’i gymharu a’r ieithoedd eraill.
     
    Mae croeso i chi basio’r wahoddiad yma ymlaen at unrhyw un arall fydd yn hapus i’w lenwi hefyd!
    Miloedd o ddiolch,
    Angela Rees a Nic Daniels

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    Storytelling with cartoons

    February 13th, 2014 by Angela Rees

    Always on the lookout for practical ways to use technology in the classroom, Pontydysgu were scoping out new ideas at Bett 2014.

    We liked the new Lego storytelling kit. One set gives you a tray of Lego bits, there are minifigs, cats, frogs, brooms, Christmas trees and more.  You also get a book of lesson plans and ides and the accompanying software. There’s also a spinner to help choose a genre or character for storytelling inspiration.  The idea is that children work in groups to tell a story, each group has a kit with enough lego bits to recreate the same scene 5 times only each one is slightly different as their stories progress.  They then take photos of their scenes and upload them to a computer where they can drag and drop the photos into a comic strip style template, add backgrounds and captions and print their story.

    The software is nice and simple to use, the lego kit has been carefully selected for optimum storyline coverage and it has the lego brand – guaranteed to spark some interest in even the most reluctant of storytellers.

    Now, here at Pontydysgu we like a good idea, but what we like even more is a free idea.  So in the tradition of those catwalk-fashion at highstreet-prices magazine articles I bring you “BETT on a budget”

     

    To create your own comic strip you will need;

    A collection of small-world-play or dolls house characters and accessories.

    A camera/ webcam/ cameraphone with the ability to transfer your photos to a computer.

    Internet access.

    An app or web based tool for comic strip creation using photographs.

    Here are some I’ve been trying out this week;

    Web based

    Toondoo – Free- You need to create account but it is easy to do. Upload photos, edit, cut shapes out and save, then go to  cartoon creator, choose comic strip layout and you can put your own images into a cartoon, choose layout template, drag and drop backgrounds and cliparts, callouts and thought bubbles to create a story.

    Downloads

    Lego Storystarter software – for creating comics, and other styles Newspaper, old manuscript £107.99 inc VAT (the whole kit based on a class of 30 is £779.99 in VAT)

    Comic Life – Cost £11.99 for a single user license or £1,049 for a site license.

    Apps for iOS/Android

    Comic touch – Free – From the creators of comic life this App cartoonises one photo at a time with no comic strip mode so you would have to print them and reassemble into a comic strip or download the pictures after editing and then use a different tool to put your story together.

     

     

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    Collaborative, world wide and the best tools

    December 18th, 2013 by Graham Attwell

    A couple of years everyone was predicting that virtual reality would be the next big thing in educational technology. Of course it didn’t happen and everyone moved on to the next big thing. But in the meantime the technology has developed. More importantly, teachers and students have themselves worked out how to use the technology for teaching and learning. This video shows how augmented reality app  Aurasma is being used in a primary school in the UK. Incidentally., after watching this, I think we should leave explaining technology to children. They do it so much better!

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    Dysgu Ponty

    December 8th, 2013 by Jenny Hughes

    The Pontydysgu website is always full of news about the big projects we are involved in, like FP7 Learning Layers or Taccle2.  This is pretty inevitable as they take up the majority of our time and budget.  However, there are lots of other, smaller Pontydysgu projects running in the background that we rarely post anything about.  This is a bit of an oversight because although we often use these projects as test beds for trying out new ideas or as vehicles for piloting specific bits of technology that we then roll together in a much bigger package, they are also successful in their own right.

    All of them are running in Pontypridd, (known locally as “Ponty”) which is where the Wales half of Pontydysgu is based. Some are part funded through the LLL Partnerships programme; some are funded in-house. We thought we might write a series of posts on what these projects are all about….

    First up is Dysgu Ponty, which translates to Learning Ponty.  We chose this name because apart from the play on Pontydysgu (meaning approximately Bridge to Learning), we wanted to convey the idea that the whole community of Ponty was learning and that the town called Ponty was a learning resource.

    The project is based on a very simple concept – let’s cover the town with QR codes linked to a learning resource.   The codes are being printed on decals (for shop windows), enamel (for the exteriors of building) and on varnished wooden plaques for hanging around trees in the park.  Codes come in three colours – red for Welsh, green for the English translation and black for careers.

    So far we have 200 and our target is at least another hundred.  The town has a population of 30,000 but this covers all of the outlying villages as well.  It also has a great sense of community, which means that the level of support has been brilliant. The whole community is involved – schools, the Town Council, shops, businesses, the local newspaper

    The link from each QR code goes to a website page on which there is a question that relates to the location.  The level is approximately 8 -12 yrs olds. Following the title question is some simple information using a range of multi media.   The location of the codes will be on Google Maps and we are currently sorting them out into a ‘Maths trail’, ‘Language trail’, ‘History trail’ etc so that children can choose whether to follow a subject trail or focus on the codes in one part of the town.

    The purpose of the project is really to provide a bridge between formal and informal learning and to improve home school links.

    We are currently working of a way of  ‘rewarding’ children for completing a number of questions – not sure Mozilla badges quite fits.  Also thinking about how we can get kids to be able to upload pictures as well as comments. May rethink the platform.

    Meanwhile here are some examples of the sorts of things we are talking about

    Location:  on the bandstand in the park

    • Links to… Question:  Have you ever heard brass band music?
    • Additional ‘information’ – mp3 of Colliery Brass Band with one line of text explaining that most all the pits had their own band

    Location: Outside Costa Coffee

    • Links to… Question: Do you know where coffee comes from?
    • Additional information: You Tube video of coffee being harvested and processed

    Location: Outside travel agent underneath exchange rates

    • Links to… Question:  How much is it worth?
    • Additional info:  Text and image – If you had £37.50 to take on holiday, how many Euros would you get?  Which travel agent in town has the best exchange rate today?

    Location:  On the river bank adjacent to the confluence

    • Links to…mQuestion:  What rivers are these and where is their source?
    • Additional info:  The place where two rivers merge is called a ‘confluence’.  Use Google Earth to trace the two rivers back as far as you can, find out their names and where the river enters the sea.

     Location:  On the war memorial

    • Links to… Question:  How many died?
    • Additional info: Look at the names on the Great War memorial and then the names on the Worls War 2 memorial.  In which war were the greatest number of people from Pontypridd killed? How many times more people?  Why do you think this was?

     Location: Market Street

    • Links to…Question:  What has changed?
    • Additional Info: Picture of the street taken 100 years ago from same spot. Text – List all the things that are different between Market Street in 1910 and the same street today.
    You get the idea!
    [We also have black codes for older students linked to careers information as part of the EU New Jobs project.  The codes take them to links asking "So you want to be a baker?" or "So you want to be a printer?" with videos explaining what the job involves, what qualifications or skills you need etc. Some are purpose made and some from You Tube or Vimeo.  More on this is another post.]
    Next time – Learning about Art in Ponty

     

     

     

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    Student Voice

    August 23rd, 2013 by Graham Attwell

    “What do we mean by student voice” asks Catherine Cronin in the blog which accompanies this presentation.  She says “the term tends to signify a set of values and behaviours which includes Sound (the act of speaking), Participation (student presence and involvement), and Power or Agency (see Cook-Sather, 2006). Making space for student voices confronts the power dynamics within schools, classrooms, and the relationships between teachers and students. Without addressing the notion of power in these relationships, student voice initiatives may be simply window dressing. When we truly value and create spaces for student voices, students feel respected and engaged, teachers listen, and students and teachers learn from one another.”


    MOOC Directory

    August 14th, 2013 by Graham Attwell

    Interested in signing up for a free Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). With new courses and course providers appearing daily it can be hard to find out what is on offer. Here is a short list of directories of MOOCs to make that choice easy:

    MOOC List – http://www.mooc-list.com/

    Techno Duet – http://www.technoduet.com/a-comprehensive-list-of-mooc-massive-open-online-courses-providers/

    MOOC.ca – http://www.mooc.ca/courses.htm

    MOOC News and Reviews – http://moocnewsandreviews.com/mooc-around-the-world-our-global-list-open-online-classes-part-3/

     

    Connectivist MOOCs – http://www.connectivistmoocs.org/

     

    Class Central – http://www.class-central.com

     


    3 ways to broadcast for free (almost)

    June 11th, 2013 by Angela Rees

    We are involved in a great project radioactive101 setting up Internet Radio stations to address employability, inclusion and active citizenship in an original and exciting way.

    This week I have been researching some of the free options which are great for use in schools or small community groups who want to do radio.

    You will need to pay for a server if you plan to run a high quality professional radio show with uninterrupted service and guaranteed bandwidth.

    There are others but we use internet-radio.com which offers both subscription and pay as you go packages for low fees.

     

    If you’re looking for a lower-specification free option there are some notes and links here.

    As free servers go Caster.fm is a very good option.  The password protected broadcast option makes it ideal for schools or those wanting a sandbox for practice purposes.  It works well with Nicecast for Mac or Edcast on Windows although Windows users will need to download the Lame encoder.  The tutorials on site explain how to do this.  Caster is a Beta site so there are still bugs and the server has down time which although minimal, may occasionally interfere with your programming.

    • Maximum bit rate – 128kbps
    • Streaming server – Ice Cast 2
    • Other required/recommeded Software – Nicecast (Mac) or Edcast and Lame encoder (Windows)
    • Podcasting – Once you get 100 votes it records podcasts and puts them on website where they can be downloaded
    • Website – caster provides your show with a website where listeners can access broadcasts and downloads as well as your news updates, they can also put in requests.
    • Sharing – easy social network integration
    • Features – embeddable player to put on your other websites.
      option for private or password protected broadcasts
    • Maximum listeners – 300
    • Mobile devices – not yet

    myradiostream.com is another similar free server. In this case the bandwidth is shared between users so if you get more listeners you get more bandwidth and vice versa.

    • Streaming server – Shoutcast
    • Maximum Bitrate – 64kbps
    • Other required/recommended software – Nicecast (Mac) or Winamp and the Shoutcast DSP v2 plugin (Windows)
    • Podcasting – no options but you can still archive your broadcasts using Nicecast etc and turn them into Podcasts yourself.
    • Website – MyRadioStream provides you with a website to direct your listeners to rather than giving a direct link to server, from there they can choose to use their own media player.
    • Sharing – no integrated buttons but code snippets are provided for websites.
    • Features – 1500GB monthly allowance
    • Maximum listeners – unlimited
    • Mobile Devices – on paid for options

    Spreaker provides web based broadcasting without having to download any extra software, you just sign up for a free account and then click on broadcast.  That’s it, you are on the air!

    • Bit rate – 128kbps
    • Podcasting – Broadcasts are automatically recorded and displayed on your profile, the free option gives you 10 hours of audio storage.
    • Website – you get a profile page, listeners have to sign up for an account to hear your broadcast.
    • Sharing – easy social network integration.
    • Features – Simple to use.  Paid versions let you use external tools such as Nicecast.
    • Maximum listeners – no limit
    • Mobile devices – Apps are available for iOS and Android devices so you can broadcast straight from your phone.

    *Note for teachers – With Caster.fm and myradiostream.com you may need to spend around half an hour setting up an account and dealing with the software, with Spreaker you can be on air in under 10 minutes but the small print says you can’t use it for children under 13 due to the social networking aspects.

    All details correct so far as I know but I will update and add more options as and when I find them.

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    Taccle2 on track

    May 20th, 2013 by Jenny Hughes

    We are really excited about the Taccle 2 project – 5 hard copy handbooks and a website bursting with practical ideas on how to use web 2.0 apps and other e-learning tools in your classroom.

    The project has reached its half way mark and we are so far on target. The E-learning handbook for Primary Teachers has just come back from the layout artist and is in its final proof reading stage. (There is a temporary version available if you want to take a look)

    The E-learning handbook for STEM teachers is waiting for the layout artist to make it look pretty and the E-learning for Humanities is in its draft version. This will be available on the site within the next week.

    The next book, E-learning for Creative and Performing Arts has just been started – we are still at the stage of collecting ideas but they are coming in thick and fast. The final book, E-learnig for Core Skills 14-19 is at the planning stage. All books will be ready for printing by April 2014.

    Meanwhile, check out Taccle2 website It has 280 posts at the moment and our rough estimate is that there are well over a thousand ideas that can be navigated by subject, age, software, language, format and more. Even better, judging from the number of visitors who return and the number of contributions and comments, there is a growing community around the Taccle2 site which will expand rapidly once the Taccle2 training starts next month.

    Please come and join us and spread the word – tried and tested ideas for using technology in the classroom, created by teachers for teachers. No theory, no research just inspiration!

    PS you can also follow us on Twitter #taccle or on the Taccle2  Diigo group or on Scoop.it – so no excuses!!

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