Tuesday, 27 May 2008

New Tools and links May 08

Here are some new tools and general links that have been buzzing around my feed reader over the last few weeks. There are probably over 30 more but I have only included a small selection here. I hope these are tools that you would find useful in the classroom.

Let me know your thoughts and perhaps you can input comments below or at the next ICT Subject Leaders event (9th of July or course book now @Redbridgepdc)


Aniboom is a great place to watch short animations, and thus would be a great springboard for animation projects. Though as with every site, check it out before you share it out! There are also two free creative tools on the site that allow you to make your own animations. There is the Shapeshifter tool which allows you to create simple animations using the geometric shapes. It seemed quite easy to use, though there were some small irritations, such as not being able to copy and paste shapes and group objects only seemed to last per frame. However there were some nice tools and effects, for example you could add music and there appeared to be folders of special effects, which I have yet to explore. I also like the bomb icon which basically made all your shapes explode gradually across the screen- instant animation there! The completed animation could quickly and easily be saved as a gif , file- thus this could then be stored on a hard drive for pasting into SMART notebook, PowerPoint or uploaded to a website.

Alongside the Shapeshifter, the site also has a web cam application (Microsmotion) that lets you capture images and add silly effects. For instance you can marvel as an arrow goes through your head or you can bounce a (virtual) football on your head.

Have a look and enjoy ( lets hope Aniboom isn't blocked in school!!)

A big 8.76 out of 10 for me on this one!

IBoard New Maths

Subject Leaders and and anyone on any of my IWB training gigs will be familiar with this one. Its those lovely IBoard sims and demo tools again, but this time they are all pegged down to the Renewed Framework.I had been showing these on a BETA site, but now the product is officially on the London Grid for Learning (apologies non London people) and will therefore work in school or @ home with your LGFL logon. I note the site is still in BETA version and though most things work as they should, there is still the occasional anomaly and some things don't work as you'd want or expect, but there is the opportunity to feedback your comments and this will allow the developer to update and improve the tools.

The write up on the LGFL site goes something like this:

The popular i-board resources on LGfL have now been upgraded to provide complete coverage for the renewed numeracy framework. They are organised into the seven new strands across each year group for Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 .

There are hundreds of interactive maths activities to strengthen pedagogy and employ whiteboards as an effective resource.

At every level, the user can:• launch the activity• check the Help button for the selected activity to find out how the activity works• send feedback on the activity (or suggestions for new ones) back to the developers at I-Board

I have been using these for quite a while now and I like them a lot, they are great for lessons that involve any sort of scales or measurements. Furthermore the images and animation is bright and easy on the eye without the patronising silly reward dances of some Maths content sites. But then these are not games, they are teaching tools in the style of ITPs.

The more I play with this site- the more I find that I like and feel could be useful to be included in a Key Stage 1 Teachers toolbox of models, images and simulations.

My current favourites so far are:

The Interactive Number Square- which includes paint brushes to highlight squares and a magic wand for making numbers disappear or reappear.

Pizza bears- share out the pizza for the bears and if there are

not enough to go round then slice it up. This is a nice open ended simulation with no right or wrong, hence allowing for lots of discussion and possibilities.

Many of you Redbridge bloggers have often asked me - how do I embed a Flickr slideshow on my blog, well currently I think Pictobrowser is the easiest tool for this and seems to give the best results. See the example below:

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