Tuesday, 7 October 2008

DJ Spoony/ Spreadsheets in Numeracy and J2E

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Last week we worked with the London Grid for Learning and the EMAT team to launch Black History month. It was great to be joined by DJ Spoony, Sandra Agard and Dr Funke Baffour. All three guests were living examples of 'people of achievement', our theme for the morning.

Muna Brown, from the EMAT team has been working with a number of schools over the last term in readiness for the day. These schools joined us on the morning with lively performance on the lives of figures from Black History. Well done to Uphall, Woodlands Junior and Aldersbrook for their presentations.

Our guests and school performances were webcast to schools all over London via a live stream and to some schools via Video Conference. Schools from Wandsworth, Redbridge and Sutton were able to ask questions after each performance either via video link or through the live web forum.

The video from the event will soon be able on the video area of the LGFL, but in the meantime, here is a short film of DJ technology in action.

In our last edition we mentioned the OFSTED report on Maths, which made mention of the role of whiteboards. A resource for the whiteboard which is rarely used is Excel, often perhaps because teachers are put off by its functions and formulas. The Primary Strategy Website has a range of pre-made spreadsheets within the library area for immediate download. Many of these resources are similar to paper based items that we have all used in our Oral / Mental Starters, e.g. target boards.

However the advantage of these spreadsheets is that the numbers can be changed very easily at the push of an icon, saving the teacher time and providing a structure and organisation of numbers to analyse, add together, subtract, multiply, divide, compare and just generally be challenged to think about.

Most of these spreadsheet resources has an accompanying guidance sheet with probing questions which can be adapted for the lesson.

Colleagues using these resources will find they have to set the macro settings within Excel to allow them to function fully. Details of how to do this can be found here

Find the Spreadsheet resources here

I have created a short video capture of using the Number Boards

On the Blogs

Gearies Infants have been sharing their exploration of Control Toys on their ICT Blog. They have also been experimenting with the free word processing tool from Just too Easy -J2E- hosted via LGFL.

Kiran aged 7 writes in the Gearies blog that, last weekend i should my family the lgfl that has a multimedia word document on it. Mrs Barker asked if any of the children in Y2 would like to share and create stories with their families.
My brother helped me type the Pied Piper story and my dad helped me put the picture on the story i loved typing on lgfl it took a long time to do it but i still liked doing it and I'm looking forward to record it and put some sounds on my story.

This is indeed a very nice application, though last Saturday Nicholas and I met with the creator of J2E and saw it in operation.We then realised its true potential. Yes J2E allows users to word process documents and embed html code like youtube videos within that document. But the true power comes in the form of the collaboration between users. Nicholas, myself and Danny the creator of this software were able to collaborate in real time on a document together, rather like using a wiki or an online whiteboard. However the LGFL version does not currently do this collaboration and I hope a time will come soon when the this option will work as it makes the software a million times more powerful and means that groups of children can create and collaborate on a shared project.

Some of you may have tried to collaborate on a word type document in Google Docs, but this gets quite frustrating when any more than two users work together in real time. We tried this in our assessment forum 18 months ago and we found it quite annoying. J2E did not behave in this way!

MLE News
Those of you who are using the London MLE, may be interested to know that new support document have been added to the support site. These can be found @ http://www.mlesupport.lgfl.net/

I have been looking for content and tools that can be embedded and run within Fronter and here is a short list of items, if you know of any more, do let me know.

  • Maths ITPs- these can be embedded within pages and tests- this has got huge potentials as children then have a digital tool which they can use to visualise shapes, number grids, graphs etc - download the SWF version form the Primary Strategy site here

  • Flash slide show maker - this free tool (often promoted by Mina Patel) allows you to bundle a set of pictures into a Flash File which can then be imported into either a Digital Brain or Fronter page- download for free from here

  • 2Simple -2create files and 2Create a Story files- what is nice about these programmes is that you can export your finished story/ebook as an SWF file which again could be embedded in Fronter and I believe Digital Brain- what a great way to showcase work or stimulate children to produce more.

more to follow I am sure

ICT in the News

Pupils at a school in Italy are replacing all their text books with computers for a year - in what is being described as a unique experiment Read more..

School Budgets set to rise for ICT next year - an interesting article from last weeks Computing.co.uk tells us:

Primary schools have continued to invest heavily in IT this year, with a total spend of £644m in 2008-09, an increase of some £40m on the year before, according to a report by the British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA).

Primary school ICT budgets are estimated to increase by 8.4 per cent in the next year, while secondary school budgets indicate growth of 5.1 per cent. But many schools still do not have a learning platform, according to Ray Barker, director at BESA.

"One of the key findings of the BESA research is that many schools still do not have a learning platform, or are not using them properly, despite the fact that the government 2010 deadline for learning platforms in all schools is nearing," he said.

Read more here...

Bridging the Digital Divide
DCSF announce new programme allowing access to ICT for poorer families. The recent press release tells us children from jobless and low income families will receive a free computer and free broadband access under major plans to close the digital divide amongst young people. Schools minister Jim Knight stated that:

- A computer with Internet access is now as essential as a pen and paper in modern learning’ –

Pilots for the project are due to begin soon and I look forward to seeing how this might affect Redbridge children.

See the official Press Release here

See BECTA reaction here

Don't forget ICT Subject Leaders Meet on the 16th of October and...
  • yes it is all day and
  • yes supply cover is paid

Expect to see an Agenda posted here very soon.
In the meantime, please take a minute to complete our survey:

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