The most common question I get on Twitter is “How do you create your graphics?”
The answer is: lots of practice with Pages / Keynote, both having the same tools. These tools are much more useful and intuitive than those in either Microsoft Word or Powerpoint. I’ve recorded this 20 minute video (did it quickly for a colleague, so sorry if I don’t perform particularly well!)
Kids have higher expectations these days and now that they can view my worksheets and docs electronically, full colour and design is not the issue it was when considering photocopying.
The video runs through the usual key tools I use to gloss up school worksheets etc, which are also the tools I use for the graphics.
- Image Cropping / Colourising / rotating / transparency / wrapping
- Text columns / styles / sizing / wrapping
- Table styling / sizing / settings
- Graphs styles / setting / data
Please contact me with any further questions:
One of the reasons I’m always keen on the idea of leading a school is that it’s never been easier and more fun to document the amazing life of a school and publish it to the world. I have seen a number of examples, both online and in person, of leaders running what seem to be live feeds of the day’s activities. This becomes one of the most powerful forms of feedback for the students, marketing for the school and parents absolutely love it!
It’s school life that leaders should be sticking their iPhones & iPads in to!
Many, if not all Principals these days have a smart phone and many have and iPad too. Unfortunately, due either to a reluctance to ask for help from the staff or worse, a lack of interest in classroom activity, many of these multi-talented devices simply get used for email and calls.
So, here is a list of ideas regarding how leaders can use their devices more effectively to lead and promote the good work of both staff and students.
- In-School Photo feed
“Document the Day.”
One school I visited in California had TV screens scattered throughout the school to display information and daily routines etc. But I saw something else appearing. The Principal made it his duty to take at least 10 photos a day of student activity and post them as a running slideshow on the screens. Students were spurred on by the recognition “from the top” and it looked impressive from my point of view as a visitor. It took up 30 minutes of the Principal’s day, which for the payback was cheap indeed. If you are careful you can also publicly broadcast daily activities online, giving parents immediate access and the school a great marketing opportunity.
“Principals chat principles”
If you’re lucky, your school leaders are already on Twitter, but most are not. The best professional development is often provided by peers and on Twitter there are 100s of school leaders discussing amazing projects and developments. This keeps school fresh and challenges principals to push their organisation forward. Twitter provides 100s of case studies to help in decision making and is free and on call at any time. Leaders like to network and this is simply the best example of networking ever conceived.
Here’s 6 world-class tweeting educational leaders to get you started:
Check out who they follow and also use the account @ConPrin (Connected Principals)
- Video performances
“The Principal’s view”
Quite often for student cultural performances, the leaders have the best seat in the house. Why not record the performance and post it on the schools LMS for everyone to watch. The students will appreciate it greatly and it indicates genuine interest in the creative talents of the students.
“Who needs a typist when you’ve got an iPhone”
The latest iPhone update to iOS6 improved the iPhone and iPad’s ability to receive dictation. It is only available in some countries but will save much time and reduce the need for 2 people to compose a letter. Maybe a leader can dictate to the device and hand to a typist just to clean up?
Here’s an introductory video:
- Be Humble in your leadership
Please ask the teachers and students for advice
Around the world, teachers and students are being immensely inventive with their use of their smart, mobile devices and many leaders are missing out on opportunities for fear of looking weak. Asking for help connects leaders to staff and students, immediately improves working relationships and in fact, can increase the level of respect people have for a leader. Everyone in an organisation benefits from a leader who can learn and develop new skills and understandings on a weekly basis, regardless of where they come from.
Yes, the Flipped Classroom (Video lessons watched before class time) is a fashionable topic but whilst there’s still chalk-and-talk together with standardised testing I feel I must continue to push it. And no, it’s not just chalk-and-talk in disguise. It creates a whole new learning environment for the student.
I haven’t taught a whole class for 6 months! All my teaching is now one-to-one and not surprisingly, my grades are soaring. In the classroom I only teach individual students the specific points they highlight as unclear after watching the video lesson and I monitor progress on the projects they’ve designed to prove understanding of the content. This I’ve done within a traditional exam-based school structure and have students who are not focused on grades but more on what they can best do with their time at school, especially now that the time is very much theirs not mine.
Flipping my classroom has changed my career. My job’s more fun, the students are happier and scores in the tests, I unfortunately still have to dish out, improved vastly and immediately. Although, be prepared for the students to be slow to adapt to the autonomy of running their own time, it might take 3 or 4 weeks to get fully engaged with managing their own education!
Why should all teachers flip their classroom?
Online videos should replace all whole-class teaching because:
- Not every student listens to teachers when surrounded by distractions
- Students understand at differing levels when lessons are one-offs
- Some students need the teaching at a different pace (both faster or slower) to what’s delivered in the classroom. (Solution: Pause and rewind video)
- Students generally concentrate when watching a video on their own.
- Some students miss the lesson in question and would never ask a teacher to repeat a lesson.
- Teachers moan about time pressure and this returns all lesson time to tasks and one-to-one follow-up (I’ve now got so much time, I’m not sure what to do with it!)
- Autonomy is returned to the student who can watch the lesson when it best suits their own schedule (teachers rarely allow for all the other commitments in a student’s life)
- Even whole-class ‘discussion’ (as apposed to teaching) excludes the shy, the bored, the under-prepared students.
- The iPad whiteboard allows for paused-recording-setup, meaning all the teacher’s time writing, typing, finding images, drawing diagrams, loading web pages & even thinking is removed from the final lesson and everything in the video seemingly appears on-demand. (I’ve reduced one annual course’s content delivery to under 4 hours!!!)
- With the teaching online, my students discuss amongst themselves in the online class forum, adding comments both in and outside the classroom, often solving each other’s issues without my input. My students are free to watch it at home or in class but can also use all the class time to prove understanding in a way that’s personally interesting to them. I set understanding goals but the output is all down to them.
- One-to-one explanation is superior to reading large amounts of written text and is more successful with the majority of these Generation Y and Z students. Some teacher’s have told me they’ve “Flipped” already because they ask the students to read the textbook for homework. That’s just not the same and the teacher in question still does chalk-and-talk because he’s not confident the students fully understand from the prior reading!
So here’s my workflow for those who are interested
1. YouTube account (stores the videos with controlled access)
2. Explain Everything (iPad app for recording iPad screen as Whiteboard – it’s the best of this type of app available – See bottom of page)
3. A Learning Management System (needs to announce videos to class and allow for commenting / forum – I use Facebook groups with my senior students -see my Help Docs for FB setup)
Having a google/gmail account does automatically give you a YouTube account but you have to login to YouTube specifically to activate the video storage. So first login to YouTube using a Google (Gmail) account using a browser like Safari/Chrome/Firefox.
Now open the Explain Everything app.
Have a practice with Explain Everything. There are some features that take a bit of getting used to, such as:
- the pen marks become objects when you click on another tool and must then be deleted as a whole rather than rubbed out which you can only do whilst still drawing.
- Teach using a number of slides (like PowerPoint) as each slide is stored as a separate part of the recording meaning you can return to the lesson and re-record just slide 3, for example, if it’s reported as not being very clear. Then upload the video again with all the slides stitched together.
- Get used to hitting the Pause button. If you can’t think how best to say something, need a picture or need to draw something then Pause!
- Don’t worry too much about it being perfect. The students like the little mistakes so have a bit of fun!
There’s a few more things, so have a play.
STEP 3: Uploading the lesson
When you’ve finished the last slide in a lesson hit the Camera button in the bottom right-hand corner of Explain Everything and select Youtube.
Login using your Google account.
Name your lesson using a system like “YEAR/GRADE – TERM/SEMESTER – COURSE – TOPIC”. This will make organising videos with YouTube account easier later on.
Choose “Unlisted” to keep some control over who sees your lesson. DO NOT choose “Private” as this demands the student have a Google account and you have to individually grant each account access to the lesson!
STEP 4: Publishing to students
Once uploaded, click the button to “Copy link to Clipboard” and move to your LMS course page to paste the link for your students to access. (I use Facebook with most my seniors)
STEP 5: Your new classroom
Now consider a small number of tasks the students could attempt (if they can’t think of a project) to prove they understand the video or a number of videos. Examples include: making 3 minute documentaries, animations, even their own “better” Explain Everything video! These products can then also be posted on the LMS for peer review.
It’s amazing how easy tests become when the students have been this connected and autonomous with the content. These videos are then available all year and of course very useful revision the night before the test!
Should I use the ShowMe or EduCreations app to do the same thing?
My answer is No! There are a number of apps like these that send the videos to only their website for storage. They are hoping to become the one-stop video sites for education. The issue is that Youtube is known by all and accessible by all. Believe it or not, both the apps websites use Flash (unplayable on the iPad normally) and all students need the app to see the videos on their mobile device. Youtube means you retain control of who sees it, you know everyone can see it and this will require no further technical setup or app awareness.
It keeps things more simple and you can also just keep the lesson as a MP4 file on your computer. Another option not available on the other apps.