Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from May, 2017

Trello Part 3 - Trello in the Classroom

So, here is the final installment of the Trello series. In previous posts we've looked at what Trello is, and how can you use it for managing projects. This final short clip is less of a 'how-to' and more about just showing you a few cool ideas of how you can use it in the classroom.

Trello's simplicity means that it can be adapted in many ways, and maybe if you have watched the other videos, you may already have an idea for your own class. Here are a couple of our favourites so far:

Matching games - Trello is based around boards, lists and cards... so if you ever need to do an activity whereby you have to print out cards, in order to match or organise them into categories, then this digital alternative could save you lots of time and still be as fun.

Status of the class - use Trello to see where every student is at when working on practical tasks. Open Trello on the big screen and have students move their name card to the stage/task/project they are working on.

Mappin…

Trello Part 2 - Managing Projects in Trello

Part two of the three-part Trello series follows on from a previous post which briefly introduced you to what Trello is, how to get set-up and navigate around. If you think that Trello could be useful for you - maybe to work on projects individually, with a team or with your students - this next how-to video focuses on how to use it for planning.

Working in a team can be difficult at times, especially when you are sharing out tasks, it can be difficult to map out exactly who is doing what, how far on they are with it, where the materials for completed tasks are, and what still needs to be done. Trello allows everyone in the team to see a full overview of the project, update their progress and attach materials. There is also a Trello app available so you can view and edit the project easily from your smartphone or tablet.

Trello is also great for general meetings, as everyone in the team can access the Trello meeting board and add their agenda items as a card. As each card is discussed…

Trello Part 1 - An Introduction to Trello

Following on from a recent blog post, you may already be aware that this week we are going to be focusing on Trello - a simple web tool to help plan meetings and projects. It's a tool that we haven't promoted much of, despite using it a lot for our team meetings and general planning. However, it's a great tool if you want to individually and/or as a team or a class, want to map out ideas. Have a look at this first video of a three part series which provides a short introduction to Trello - how to create an account, create boards for planning, and basically what all the buttons do!



Coming up this week:  Part 2 Managing Projects in Trello - how to use all the features in Trello, which will help you and your team plan a project or hold a meeting more effectively. 
Part 3 Using Trello in the Classroom - this video looks at alternative ideas for classroom activities using Trello. Some examples include creating fact cards, creating a quick interactive matching game, checking pro…

In Praise of Yammer!

It's hard to write about our use of Yammer because it is by definition a private professional social network for our staff from thirty-three schools and the staff that support them across out network.

This video though from Microsoft Mechanics nicely gives an overview for anyone that uses the web for their school(s) and wants to develop online collaboration. Remember it isn't a question of choosing Office 365 OR G-Suite, in truth you can mix and match the best of both.

One thing this video really shows is the integration with Office 365 Video which we also make a lot of use of (we call it dret.tv) - from time to time we share a video from that site publicly for this blog but most of the several hundred videos now in use are private to a team of staff, a school, a class or governing body.

Trello Week

Readers might be excused for thinking we're over-fixated on Microsoft & Google products on the project. The truth is that when we started we made a conscious decision to focus on a few tools we believed offered the most immediate return on effort, and to avoid introducing 101 others. Refining our list down took some serious discussion, but we got there. You'll find little discussion of OneDrive not because it is no good, but because we decided to prioritise Google Drive for now. Similarly Sway, Google Classroom, Office Mix, OneNote and a few others have had most of our attention.

Trello was one of the tools that didn't make the initial list... not because of any bias, just to keep things simple. But it offers so much - especially on a large touchscreen at the front of a class. A Trello board is built of cards that can contain a rich set of information that can be dragged into columns and order of columns. It is ideal for meetings (we often use it for planning agendas o…

Revision History Part 2

A few days ago we looked at using the Revision History in Google Slides.
In this post we explore the potential use of a Google Drive shared folder and the Revision History within Google Docs for students and teachers completing longer writing tasks, assignments or coursework.

In this scenario we look at how teachers can organise the differentiated distribution of assignments/coursework to students using Google Drive, and how students can write their assignments in Docs, within a Google Drive shared folder . This means that the teacher can see the Revision History of a document to see drafts, redrafts and edits, or be able to print older edits and redrafts for evidence purposes, and give personalised ongoing feedback to coursework or assignments.

These tools are really useful features, especially for older students who are writing longer pieces of work over an extended period of time - allowing the teacher to provide feedback, oversight and support throughout a writing task. It is also…

Star Table?

Star Classroom started life as a project to develop a better wall-mounted teacher device to standardise on for our academies (the "Star" is our Trust logo). Since then the importance of the professional development network which shares the same name has overtaken it somewhat, but still if I talk in an academy about Star Classroom people think of the physical.

We didn't develop it overnight... the design was iterated many times and involved several people - always with the goal of making a single unit that would cost as little as possible and have a potential working life of over ten years.

The joy of working with clever people of course is they see something and take it in new directions. Sol Johnson, the headteacher at Newnham Primary School was probably the first user of the Star Classroom as a mobile unit - on a wheeled stand. We use it in a quite a few places now. When he looked into the cost of a "smart table," knowing what the Star Classroom set up can d…

Revision History part 1

The auto save feature in G Suite is excellent, and something which has very quickly become 'the norm' for users of Google tools. One feature related to the auto save feature is the 'Revision History' which has many uses - for students and teachers alike.



In this video (part 1 of 2) we look at the benefits of using the revision history in Google Slides, to be able to see what has been produced over time, check contributions of group members, restore back to older versions or see progress in a task. A hugely useful feature.


Look out for part 2 later in the week - where we will look at using the Revision History in Google Docs and how it could help in coursework.

See more Spring training videos at spring.dret.cloud (no sign in required) or a much wider selection of training videos is available for DRET staff on the DRET.TV training channel (sign in required)



Freshen up your Google Drive

Did you know, your Google Drive folders and files don't have to be just plain text? -  you can add colour to your folders and even emojis to them! Colour code folders for organisation or simply to freshen them up, and add emojis to give them a different feel or engagement for students.

It's simple and easy - in this quick training video we show you how:


It's quick and easy.



Happy Sunday!


For more videos see our Spring Collection at spring.dret.cloud. A much wider selection of videos is online for DRET staff on the DRET.TV training channel.

Don't forget to follow us @star_classroom

OneNote and Google Drive in Harmony

Many of our staff use OneNote well and happily, as well as being a great place to keep everything for a topic in one place presented visually and annotated (in many ways better than with a specialist interactive board app) it is useful to share what you have had on the big screen with your class with a single link.

Most also use Google Drive as the main place they keep all their files to collaborate, share resources and work on them from anywhere.

When word reached us that Brendan Brannigan from Bringhurst Primary School had combined the two and now works on his OneNote files at home and school using Google Drive we asked to make a guide for colleagues - this video (also available on dret.tv, login required) is the result.

I must admit, after watching it I had a "why on earth hadn't I thought of this?" moment - there is absolutely nothing wrong with OneDrive which is where OneNote prefers to live, but it is one more thing to worry about.

Now all I have to do is work out…

Chromebooks Making a Real Difference at Bringhurst

Bringhurst Primary School took delivery of a new trolley of 30 Dell Chromebooks this Easter.
Already the new computers are allowing children to access their own Google Drive accounts to: store their documents; retrieve homework which they have uploaded at home; create ‘Slides’ from information researched; and much, much more!



Before the Chromebooks, the school already had two classes refurbished as “Star Classrooms” (the standard David Ross Education Trust design), with a large touchscreen on the wall and a hidden PC; making it essentially a giant iPad. However, the equipment available to pupils (30 netbooks) was on its last legs - netbook computers that were slow to boot up, keyboards with missing keys and inflexible to use.

In comparison to the old equipment, the new Chromebooks have brought consistency, easy access and simplicity of use.

Teachers can now plan knowing they can rely on the Chromebooks being fully charged (thanks to the intelligent charging system on the trolley: char…

Make meetings better with Google

The process of holding a meeting can become very long-winded, from organising the agenda to writing up the meeting minutes and distributing, and then the process after whereby everyone starts to feedback and share the outcome for the actions they were set. You can end up having multiple email chains, attachments saved in emails which you have to go back and locate, and it’s usually the host that has to keep track of everything that’s going on.

Using Google Drive and Docs for meetings can make the whole process much simpler - from creating the agenda to finishing the assigned tasks. It means that everyone that is part of the meeting can make their contributions simply at a time that suits them, without having to go through another person to add the agenda item to the document, or having to email everyone that was at the meeting with a copy of their work, which can get lost easily.
The following short video takes you through the workflow of how to make the process of holding a meeting qu…

Time Saving Tips

I work on a computer everyday, I check, send and respond to emails, I update my calendar, arrange meetings and visits and I create and share resources whilst collaborating with a team of people. They are just a few of my daily activities, and if I can find a way to make any of those jobs easier or quicker then I will. The point is, there are many ways to carry out a task when working on a computer, and there are many technologies that can help you with tasks that you may never have thought about or heard of. For example, for 10 minutes of the day you may stand at the photocopier, waiting for it to become free, and then 9 times out of 10 it is usually having a meltdown. So, if you could save those 10 minutes everyday by scanning documents using an app on your phone, then you probably would.

So, we’ve put together a list of our favourite Time Saving Tips - as a first installment of a series of tips and ideas that we will be releasing. If you are interested in saving some time, or workin…

Windows 10 Touch Keyboard

Even though we have dedicated keyboards attached to our laptops and desktop PC's, we are finding increasingly that the Windows 10 Touch Keyboard is an incredibly useful tool - even if you don't have anything that is touch-enabled.

Hard-to-find scientific and mathematical symbols, diacritical marks for language teaching, even quickly accessible emojis, are all within reach quickly and easily via the W10 touch keyboard.

To see how to make use of this really useful tool you can click on the thumbnail below to see our training video.



This training video is just one from our spring collection of training videos: see the rest at spring.dret.cloud (no sign in required) or a much wider selection of training videos is available for DRET staff on the DRET.TV training channel (sign in required)

Do you use the Touch Screen keyboard? How? Comment below and let us know! (comments moderated before publication)

Twitter? Follow us @star_classroom


Creating and Storing OneNote Notebooks

Once an unknown app in the suite of Microsoft Office, OneNote is becoming more popular in the classroom. Whether you are using it as a teaching tool to draw out concepts on the big screen, collecting lesson media and resources in one place to share with the class, or using it to share lesson planning - OneNote has become a much loved multifunctional teaching tool. I've visited many classrooms and teachers that have benefitted from making a jump to OneNote, but the same questions kept popping up - "where have I saved my OneNote?" or "what options do I select when creating new notebooks?".

So, this short video guide covers these questions and talks you through where the notebooks are actually saved. If you've started using OneNote but would like to become more organised, or simply are new to OneNote and want to make a start, then give the below video a watch. 


If you looking for ideas or reasons to use OneNote in the classroom, then check out Ten Teaching Tip…

Choose your own adventure stories with Google Forms

The birds are singing and the wind is blowing gently through the trees. You reach a clearing in the forest and are surprised to see a dilapidated looking stone house, with the front door hanging slightly off it’s hinges. Inquisitively, you peer through the crack in the front door. Something deep inside you is telling you to push the door open and go inside. What do you do?


In this latest video from our Spring collection of training videos, we explore the use of Google Forms to make 'choose your own adventure' stories. Remember those stories you used to read as a kid - the ones where you turn to the page number based on the decision you make within the story? You know the ones I mean: which path to take, fight or flight, turn back or carry on, talk to the new character or ignore them and so on - and then the story unfolds depending on which decision you make along the way. Well, step forward Google Forms for making digital choose your own adventure stories! Speaking from persona…

An introduction to Google Forms

Google Forms is a simple and free tool which allows you to easily create online forms, distribute it to others to fill out and view the responses in real-time. This customisable tool can be used in a variety of ways to automate tasks and reduce time spent handing out paper documents and collating the results manually. For example, you can use it as a quiz to check understanding of learning, build a front-end system to input data into a spreadsheet or simply to collect bookings of an event or activity. 

You can do so many things with Google Forms, so to firstly get you started and to see how it works, this short video provides an short introduction to Google Forms by creating your first form and collecting responses in a spreadsheet.


For more videos see our Spring Collection at spring.dret.cloud. A much wider selection of videos is online for DRET staff on the DRET.TV training channel.