MOOC week 2: Art in The Environment 

The second week of this MOOC was last week. So I’m starting to catch up. The next focus is art. 

More specifically Art in The Environment. Now this week I can find a real hook. Although the Andy Goldworthy concept of making art from found objects in nature wasn’t entirely appealing as it’s one I’ve seen before there were many other things. That got me thinking. 

My biggest challenge is to do something on our residential with year 4 this week. I’m going to focus on Me as the pencil. The limitations are that I want to do something with one iPad and 48 children. 

Here’s my plan.  I’ve got two ideas. 

Hitting the Dunes 

Our Dutch location is a challenge as it’s flat, flat, flat. However on our trip we are visiting a dune. So I think we can use a time lapse to create a artistic event. If we base the iPad at the top of the high dune we can be an image filmed from there. 

I had this in mind. 

Maybe it will work.  

I’d like to do this as a collaborative challenge thats on a large scale. It’s unusual to do something really large. I want the children to explore the process of working together.

To structure the activity we will discuss animals that work together. I’m a beekeeper so bees might be a good stimulus. We can start in smaller groups then come together into a bigger formation.

After we’ve captured the activity I’ll bring it back to school to see if we can create something in an urban context.  

Virtual Sculptures

My second idea would add to a project we are doing in a few weeks time. We’ve been designing a city with a tool called Kideville. The buildings in the city are being designed by Year 4. They’ll be 3D printed in a couple of weeks time. I’d like to explore using the green screen to place the mini models in a real setting. 

This way we can examine the suitability of the 3D designs in real settings in nature and the city. It should create an opportunity for reflection that’s more valid than ways we’ve tried before. 


DLab Erasmus MOOC 2017

I’ve recently joined a MOOC from DLab Erasmus. I signed up a few months ago and anticipated looking forward to the MOOC after really enjoying one last year. 

Time rolled on and the MOOC start date arrived two weeks ago. As is often the case a commitment made in January doesn’t always seem as appealing come May. Last year I participated in March -April and found it stimulating and thought provoking. This year it’s been a different story. 

Unfortunately it’s trips season which means I’m off site and off grid a lot this month. The mooc has a technology in the outdoors theme so I’d thought it would be ideal. It hasn’t been yet. But I’m working on it. 

It also means that I’m not in class as much as normal but I’m working on that too. Though I can’t put much into practice this half term I’m already inspired. 

Assignment: reflect and share 

So week 1 assignment involves the theme of   Creating Trails. We’ve had five sets of stimulus to develop ideas. What a great range. DLab Erasmus is a collaborative project involving schools and teachers in different countries. 

Mapping Nature

The school that explored bird migration caught my imagination. Norwegian children visiting Rune Aae to look at birds up close and personal. 

Immediately I was inspired. I’ve done citizen science myself but hasn’t thought of ways to do it with my teaching. I’d really like to do some data capture using this type of reality. In our location I could see us exploring a number of possibilities with frogs and frog spawn perhaps or with the local parakeet populations. 

Though we don’t have the expertise to trap the birds the prolific numbers could be an opportunity. I was inspired because of the value of the reality of this project. 

Hacking Nature

We do so much work with image now I’d like a way to give pupils a sense of power over reality. Hacking Nature has given me lots of ideas. What I think I’ll do is explore statues in nature. I’ve previously done a ‘make an advert’ with the app Spark Video in Year 2. We used lego figures as the stars. (I’ll find an example if I can) the interesting part was the ‘voiceover’ element. The children’s imaginations were explosive. I’d like to explore ways to add themselves to a scene or landscape in a literary way e.g as a book character. We can do that using green screen. ‘Bring your character to life’ style.


Newscast gave me a different angle on a familiar theme. Broadcasting to an audience in another school is often tricky but using etwinning could be the answer to my prayers. We often tried to do this before but failed when seeking an audience. I have a colleague doing an emailing experiment. Using a different medium to convey ideas shared in this way will be helpful.  
Outdoor Games

Now this topic could be an opportunity. This week on our trip I’m going to explore ways to illustrate a game in our play area on the trip. Or it could be a tool for spare time activities. I’ll see what’s feasible though it could be a small scale. 

Spare time activities

This idea was actually more familiar. We’ve been using a project in Year 6 for three or four years that we’ve called digital CV. The students create their own CV to present their whole range of skills and attributes beyond school. They have complete flexibility for the outcome. Some use iMovie as the basis, others use keynote. The Include writing and art, cooking, music, languages. For art, time lapse is a popular choice and the capture images as they draw for example. 

Although the DLab project has been a slow start I’ve got plenty of ideas. The next challenge is exploring them. We shall see. 

All MOOC’ed out!

I’ve recently blogged about a MOOC that I’m doing at the moment. I’d intended to write each week but there’s been a hiccup. 

Now it’s the end of the course and in spite of the break I still want to share my final thoughts. 

There were seven weeks in total including two weeks of introduction and five with assignments. 

The course, called Teaching with Tablets, has been very rich in the impact that it’s had for me. 

The different elements are listed in this image. 


The way this course was structured has been really useful. It had a number of parts:

  • The outline was on Blackboard 
  • A discussion forum on Google+ was the sharing platform for all contributions
  • We used Twitter ever week to catch up in a discussion
  • Email was used to share the weekly assignments too.

These  locations were useful as exemplars of learning mechanisms before we even began to interact. 

Two hundred and fifty four people joined the course. We had around eight people leading it too. This meant that the community was supported and nurtured as we got to know each other. Another live demo of how to encourage those who are learning. 

Within the course everyone shared their work public ally to the other participants. So we could all benefit from a wealth of ideas. 

This video was shared too and explains what the concept of a MOOC is as well. 

What is a MOOC?

During the course I’ve been really inspired. Firstly coming up with ideas for each assignment but then seeing other people’s spin on each one.
its been amazing. I’ve explored a number of great new ideas and it has influenced my practice.

I’ll be looking out for another MOOC to join soon.

Have you ever done any online learning?
What was your experience like?

MOOC week 2 Teaching with Tablets

This week our MOOC assignment was about visable learning or assessment. (Here’s last week’s post.)

I’m impressed that it made me think differently about capturing learning. 

When we are learning it’s easy to see visual learning as a test or check up but it may be evidence by a snapshot of what is going on there and then without the formality of tests and with the honesty of individual reflection. 

A question as simple as:

What have you learned?

can have a powerful outcome when every child is able to make their statement I impeded by others. 

For me this is where technology makes things possible. Whenever we survey our learners a number of things come into play. 

Opinions, ‘The right answer’, being seen to respond correctly, avoiding mistakes, security, shyness, confidence, comprehension. 

All of these things can influence the student responses. 

But tech solutions give us a chance to reflect privately and discreetly. This is essential. And it is powerful. 

I tried three different new tools for capturing learning in the moment this week. 

First up was  Answer Garden. A handy Word Cloud’ type tool where every one contributes one word on any given topic. 

It can also be a record of how you feel during the lesson. Is everyone comfortable?

Or the means for a debate: What’s the answer to World peace?

Simple clean and straightforward. 

Next up was Tricider. This one has levels of greater complexity. There’s no need to sign in which is great. Starting with a question, you can add ‘ideas’, ‘arguments’ and votes. 

To illustrate it simply here’s a picture of one that’s very straightforward. The content could be reflective, or to plan, or to discuss or to share ideas. 

It was a great tool. With further use, so that pupils can learn how to explore their ideas, it could be amazing. 

Next up 

Number three was an app I’d heard of but hadn’t really explored. 

It’s called Socrative

This was also very straightforward. One big bonus is you can use it without any prep. There’s a code for the student to join your room and then they provides every types of automatic check ups. They have open questions to suit a normal classroom. What have you learned? Being the most obvious. 

The outcome when you close the quiz is sent straight to you by email in a table. 

Here’s a snap of one of the reports. It’s not very pretty and I’ve hidden student names. But as you can see the students have though about what they learned. In future weeks I’ll encourage them to be more specific. 


They also all worked in their own time. And continued working on scratch as soon as they’d submitted their views. It took about six mins to do it and I think this will be less next time. 

As a teacher I can then see whose particularly stuck. It also summarises  a teacher  question which can be tailored to the moment. 
Have you tried something new in your class this week? 

How do you capture learning effectively?

Are there other ways where you make learning visible?

Testing a Thinglink 

As part of the MOOC that I joined last week. I made an app smash project. 

So there’s lots of references already. A MOOC is a Massive On-line Open Course. And it’s free which is a bonus. 

An App Smash involved bringing content from one or more  apps into another. So for example create a stop motion animation then bring it into iMovie to edit it or add headings and other details. 

The app smash I did was using three apps if never used before. I created an animated video with Plotagon which was quite entertaining. It’s an app where you can create characters and then write a script for them. I shared the video via my You Tube channel. 

It was good fun. 

The Main App that I brought everything into was Thing Link which I was very impressed with. It was simple to make, easy to edit and very easy to share. I used Edmodo to give it to the students who were ten. 

The Thing link had web page links and text and I linked it to a Titan Pad to record the student voice simultaneously in one place. 

I also brought in a photo montage with Haiku deck but didn’t find it as easy to share. 

And I added a link to a web page of resources for the lesson.

All in all it was a worthwhile experience where I learned a great deal about the new apps. 

When I used it it created engagement and helped us to share our ideas.