Using GIFs in the classroom

A few years back, I put together an eBook - 15+ ideas for the emoji keyboard in class. The eBook shared some useful and inspiring ideas for how to utilise the emoji keyboard.

I have since blogged about using Bitmoji in class. This is another great tool that allows teachers to turn themselves into a cartoon and then create images such as these to share with your pupils:

I have just seen a blog from Mr Hill who shares some more ideas for Bitmoji, you can read it here.
More recently, there has been a new tool that seems to have dominated every social media platform and that is GIFs. To define a GIF:
An animated GIF is an image encoded in graphics interchange format (GIF), which contains a number of images or frames in a single file and is described by its own graphic control extension. The frames are presented in a specific order in order to convey animation. An animated GIF can loop endlessly or stop after a few sequences.
GIFs seem to be everywhere and for the past few months, I have be…

Figment AR to Inspire Writing

Today I worked with one of our Year 3 classes and I eventually had the chance to try out a new app I've been desperate to use - Figment AR.

I first heard of this app after reading a blog post from the brilliant @ICTEvangelist. You can read his blog post here:
Figment AR For Story Telling And Re-Living Field Trips In IOS

The feature in the app which I was immediately drawn to was the portals feature. This allows you to place a portal within your world. This portal allows you to travel to any 360° image. There are a couple of pictures included but you can also add your own. Straight away I knew this would be something that would inspire some amazing writing in my class and today I finally got the chance to have a go with our brilliant Year 3 pupils. But as I always discuss on my CPD and INSET the big hook was what they were going to do with their writing which was to bring it to life and create their own movie!

As their topic is linked to space, we decided to use a 360° image of spa…

Seeing AI - An App That Narrates the World!

One of my favourite new discoveries at BETT was the app Seeing AI. My good friend, Julian Woods (@Ideas_Factory) shared this with me and I am really impressed by how accuarate and quick it is.

The app is described as a free app that narrates the world around you. Designed for the blind and low vision community, this ongoing research project harnesses the power of AI to open up the visual world and describe nearby people, text and objects.

An app which has is considered a talking camera for the blind, it has the potential to support pupils in lots of ways in the classroom.

This short little video gives a quick demonstration to how the app works. The app is free and just click the app icon above to download it.

Another Song to Develop Comprehension in Class

I have blogged about the power of music in the classroom and have previously shared a number of songs which can be used in the classroom, especially for reading comprehension. You can read them here. 

The song currently at Number 1 in the charts - These Days by Rudimental feat. Macklemore, Jess Glyne and Dan Caplen - is another great song which can be used in class. Here is a link to the music video:

Here are the lyrics with some suggested questions:
I know you moved onto someone new
Hope life is beautiful
You were the light for me to find my truth
I just wanna say, thank you

Who is the rapper speaking about?Are the couple still together? How do you know? No - moved onto someone new.How does he feel towards his old girlfriend? He still likes her - wishes her wellIs this always the case when people split up? Open to discussionDo you think he regrets breaking up with her? No, the relationship helped him grow.Why is he thanking her? He recognises that she helped him on his journey to reach hi…

Enhancing Learning in Geography Through Technology Lesson 3

Over the past half term, I have been working in Year 2 and supporting both classes with their Geography topic.

I have blogged what we have done previously and you can read what we have covered so far:

Enhancing Learning in Geography Through Technology Lesson 1

Enhancing Learning in Geography Through Technology Lesson 2

The next step was to focus in on our local area of Manchester and Urmston where our school is.

We listed some of the famous landmarks and interesting places to visit. We also discussed other reasons why people should visit or even live here.

The children were then challenged to create their own eBooks about why people should live in Urmston, Manchester.

The students worked in pairs using the app Book Creator to create their eBooks. Book Creator has always been one of my favourite apps to use in class. As a creative tool, it is up there as one of the best apps/tools for the classroom and is a must for any primary and secondary school. The app allows pupils to create eBooks…

Teach Rex - Bringing Your Dinosaur Topic To Life!

This week, we were very lucky to have the team from Teach Rex visit our school. The brought their good friend Jam to see our pupils and led workshops to help us learn about the Tyrannosaurus Rex. Needless to say, our pupils were captivated! To have an actual dinosaur roam our school was amazing!

See the moment Jam appeared to our KS1 pupils here:

To say the pupils enjoyed the experience was an understatement! They didn't stop talking about it all day. For me, Primary School should be about creating incredible experiences that ignite a love for learning and provide memories that last a lifetime. 

We had such a good day when @teach_rex came to visit this week! This short video gives you a glimpse of what we were doing and the excitement and wonder on our pupil’s faces! If you head over to Facebook, you could win a FREE visit from the team! A post shared by Lee Parkinson (@ict_mrp) on Feb 25, 2018 at 2:41am PST

What I liked most about the visit from Teach Rex was the fact is was led …

My Thoughts on the Idea of Arming Teachers

With the recent tragedy in Florida, where so many young innocent lives were taken in another school shooting, Trump has sparked controversy by suggesting that teachers should be armed with guns.

Here are my thoughts on this idea and what I feel would be the universal response to this suggestion:

The response to this video has been incredible and it seems that most teachers are certainly on the same page.