Showbie Update 24/9/15
Showbie 2.3 continues to improve an already brilliant app. Showbie have added the ability to create student portfolios allowing you to create a simple yet powerful collection of students best work/practice that could be shared on parents evenings. They have also allow you to copy classes across which is very useful for teachers of secondary school where similar tasks may well be getting sent.
This is on top of the 2.2 update when the Gradebook got added to the system as well. This has been a superb addition and one I now use on my class work, again it keeps all my marks and feedback in one place. Students have written feedback and verbal telling them What Went Well (WWW) and what they can do In Order To Improve (IOTI). This is helping my students and also allowing me to easily show how my feedback is helping them. Students are then able to enter change their work and use another colour of pen or add it as a note to the folder.
Students who prefer to use written work or presentations are not hindered as I simply ask them to take a photo of their work which I can then annotate and mark.
Whilst discussing Showbie with a colleague we pondered how a seating plan might help us out, after tweeting about it, Showbie had replied and asked for it to be placed in their discussion forum.
I can not stress enough what a good product Showbie is, it allows good communication with students, effective feedback & marking and their customer service is superb. Whenever I have contacted them they have replied quickly and in an effective manner, helping me out at every call.
If you have not tried it yet give it a go.
Couple of Apps that the students and teachers have enjoyed over last few week. Both are ways that students can present their work.
The first is TouchCast. This allows students to present their work in a variety of ways and link it to feeds and utilise home made green screens for a variety of different themes. The students really seemed to love it and made some interesting news stories about their investigations. TouchCast is free on the App Store and can be found below.
TouchCast: Interactive Video Studio and Editor by TouchCast
The second is Tellagami Edu. I had to pay for the version I wanted but there is a free one available with fewer options. This was particularly good for students who are not happy filming themselves. They can create avatars of themselves and get them to talk what they type so it's not even their voice. Students then managed to choose their own background as well.
Both apps students really enjoyed and to finished off the presentations with a lot of smiles and laughs.
This weeks App is Mailbox. Mailbox is a redesigned inbox that allows you to manage your emails in a quick and logical way. Emails can be swiped to trash or archive, a clever feature of the app means you can also "snooze" emails to later; either the same day, tomorrow, next week or choose a date of your liking. It's a superb way of reminding yourself of tasks that need to be done later when you are on the move. I have found it incredibly useful in controlling the flow of emails and ensuring I get all my tasks completed efficiently. Definitely worth a try at the very least and if you persevere with it, you will begin to wonder how you managed to cope with your emails before.
Currently is only works with Gmail and iCloud accounts but others are going to be added soon.
The link for iPhone & iPad is;
Mailbox by Dropbox
Just a quick mention about Google Classroom. It is something I am trying out with my Year 11 classes who do not have iPads via school. I am using it as they can access it on any device and everyone can access it.
I am currently using it for revision with the classes who have got GCSE exams coming up. The app allows you to upload assignments to classes online. It is then populated with students either be an emailed invitation or by using the class code.
Work is then uploaded either from your own device or Google Drive, you can also add web links and YouTube links as well. Details of the work set, deadlines, resources are all shared on the time line and students can access them as they please.
Announcements are also publishable as well, for example I have put up a link to Symbaloo for students to access a variety of revision aids set by staff and also a revision list as well.
The Year 11's who have accessed it so far are all very pleased with it and also enjoy the fact they can discuss things with each other online or ask me for help.
It currently doesn't have the same level of feedback as Showbie, but it is definitely another useful way of sharing information and resources with your students.
App of the week (or idea) is to use stop motion to show abstract ideas or processes. I've used it for different year groups and abilities with two examples below. You could use whiteboards, drawing, cut out shapes, plasticine or even lego figures. The students really enjoyed doing it and it has definitely helped their understanding. My year 10 group picked up reflex action better than any other group I have had before. Students learning can be extended by annotating it or doing voice overs.
In future lessons I would take this further with students sharing their work with other groups for them to critique and improve upon to help further their understanding and learning.
There are lots of free apps out there that can be used but the two I have used so far are iMotion and Stop Motion, both of which are suitable and the links are below.