Technology can make teaching so much easier. Nick takes us through what he uses in his classroom to help both himself and his students.
Sitting here on the 23rd December I consider the first part of the academic year and the technology that I simply cannot do without.
If funds were endless I would make my classroom a technology enthusiast’s paradise but with limited money this is what has been achieved.
At home we had Apple TV and it simply wasn’t being used. We had recently upgraded our TV so with the help of our ICT Tech this was added to the classroom using the spare HDMI port that was available on the projector.
Immediately this gave me the opportunity to share Apps but I soon realized that it could become the most amazing visualizer. To be honest I am not a fan of the desktop versions and having the opportunity to move around the room whilst showing pupils work was fantastic. There are plenty of second hand Apple TVs on Facebook and eBay so I would recommend getting one in your classroom so to maximize the iPads many of us have.
Of course my iPad is invaluable, so this year I was able to secure a donation from a local church for my TA to have the benefit of having her own.
Sharing documents, information and photos has become easy for us both and this is through the use of Google Docs. However Office 365 can offer the same functions for PC and Apple users.
Apps are great but there are so many (I have loads and use it for a number of applications like a PhotoBooth, Stop Motion and Green Screen)! Two that I like that I have used this year have come from totally different different spectrums.
Most people are aware that the iPad pro offers a pencil to take notes but you can do this with a standard version using two products.
Noteshelf 2 offers you the ability to take notes using a pen (I use a Jot Pro) from https://www.adonit.net/
The quality is incredible and if you are like me and forget to take a notebook to a meeting this is brilliant. Also to make your life complete it also integrates with Evernote meaning that you can access it from any device and it is backed up!
Another app that I have started to use is Dyslexia Quest from Nessy. I wanted to find a fun application for pupils to use to give me a guide to the possibility of if they are Dyslexic.
Children have certainly found the application fun and enjoyed its flow to the end of the game. The results generated are simple and give a overview of the child but want to investigate further to test its reliability. On completion of this test the team at the school will follow this up with the child being tested using https://www.gl-assessment.co.
I love music and soon found that there were just not enough inputs in the classroom for the variety of different devices that I wanted to use. A simple way to get over this I bought into school a small mixing desk from home.
This allowed me to have the Apple TV and Computer running at the same time. Also it gave the ability to mute either without fumbling around on a screen quickly which at points can be very necessary. I also have a spare connection if I get any visitors in the classroom who want to share any audio. Gone are the days where you are taking a cable out of one computer to add it to another.
We also have a number of Amazon Tablets which until recently were only really used for the internet but we have now added TT Rock Stars. This has just made them far more functional and useful to the children.
Finally websites – I am going to focus on two that I use consistently as the music for the school. Sing up is great if like me you are not the best singer 😉 However the arrangements are wonderful and with a bit of practice are accessible to most school groups.
I had the pleasure to use Love Shone Down for our Christmas Service which made many in the church shed a tear. The structure of the website is very simplistic and how the group playlists for certain times of the year helps when you are challenged for time.
Backing tracks are good quality not a Casio keyboard of the 1980s so you are happy to use them in a performance. Children like the variety that is offered and it also challenges them to listen to new pieces thus supporting the national curriculum.
www.kentinteractivemusic.co.uk gives you a complete scheme of work for your school. In my last post I mentioned how it had been integrated as a part of the development of music in the school. However I didn’t mention that you had the option for pupil logins, this one feature alone allowed me to aid the development of the pupils studying brass at the school. As each pupil currently only gets 15 minutes the ability to give homework that focuses on other areas of music is invaluable especially in Music Theory.
I go into 2019 with the excitement of being invited to an Apple Teacher event at the Design Museum. This I will report on after the event and you never know I might meet someone who reads this 😉 Have a happy new year 🙂