Saturday, 16 April 2011

Toodledo Vs Teux Deux

Toodledo and Teux Deux are both productivity apps for the iPhone and websites - to do lists. Which one is the best?

Good points

  • Easy to add tasks
  • Add tags to tasks
  • Have due dates
  • Easy to create repeating tasks
  • Easy to link Toodledo account with Google Calendar
  • Tasks can be added on the iPhone without an internet connection - it syncs later
Bad points
  • Not the best looking interface
  • When a task is not completed it is marked as overdue and I quickly get frustrated at myself when I fall behind with things.
Teux Deux
Good points
  • Looks great
  • Tasks that are not completed are added to today's list
Bad points
  • You can't set repeating tasks
  • I can't seem to add tasks without an internet connection
After trying both, Toodledo wins. Whilst Teux Deux looks great, the lack of ability to add repeating tasks ruins it for me. Repeating tasks on my to do list keeps me organised.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Interactive Resources

Earlier this year we purchased a community licence for Interactive Resources which is made by Primary Games Ltd. This website offers maths resources which including games for the children to play on their own, class games, editable worksheets and class teaching tools, all in a really simple to use child- (and teacher-) friendly format.

We decided to go for a community licence (£250 for the year) which, at only £100 more than the alternative, seems like a bargain. This licence means that the site can be used freely in school and the children can use it at home too!

Resources can be added to a folder for each teacher - a great way to store all of the resources you like to use with the children, and a great way for the children to find the resource you want them to use!

This fabulous resource has really helped me in my move to Year Three. Through this site I have resources that are easy to find, age-appropriate and exciting for the children. I can use tools like the Class Clock which I find easier to use than the ITP on the Standards Site. 

I have also used the site for homework activities, and also encouraged the children to use the site at home to support what we do in class.

I'm intrigued by which has just been released by Primary Games. This site allows a school or individual to buy credits which can be used to make their own interactive resources.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

21st Century ICT Learning

I recently attended an East Cheshire ICT course called 'Developing an ICT curriculum for the 21st Century' superbly led by @jokprice. This was a course I had been eager to attend for a while so that I could find out how to develop our curriculum further.

The QCA scheme – and the Cheshire scheme of work that is based on it – is increasingly outdated and is not reflecting how ICT is used in everyday life and throughout the curriculum. This course would revamp how ICT is taught in the authority.

Here is a short summary of what I learned:

The National Curriculum programme of study can be usefully divided into 3 main themes. Each of these themes is sub-divided into strands to ensure that the full programme of study is covered. In the new curriculum elements of each strand need to be covered at least once a year and revisited later in the year.  This will allow opportunities for children to use and apply ICT capability in a range of contexts. ICT should be taught through the topics so that it is embedded in the whole curriculum. The new curriculum proposes that ICT is taught in major and minor units, where a major unit moves the learning on and teacher input is provided. In the minor unit, learning is revisited or prior knowledge is built upon to create the consolidation and a 'spiral' effect.

The three areas of the curriculum are

Sharing Information
  • Creating text
  • Creating pictures
  • Creating multimedia, animation and video
  • Creating music and sound
Collecting and sorting information
  • Finding information (internet and CD-ROMs - although surely people don't use CD-ROMs anymore!)
  • Handling data (graphing, databases and spreadsheets)
  • Data logging (sensors)
Controlling and exploring
  • Giving instructions
  • Modelling
My immediate thoughts were that our school does loads of sharing information, and elements of finding information. When working in Year Six I introduced handling data and giving instructions but I'm not convinced that my staff know enough about these areas. Data logging is something I am aware that is missing in the school and so our Tesco vouchers this year are being invested in this area.

Our ICT curriculum will be redeveloped in the new year and I can't wait!

Friday, 1 April 2011

Monthly Review: March 2011

March seemed to last forever! I've been trying to cram so much in before the baby arrives.

ICT Course
At the beginning of the month I attended a course that introduced a new Cheshire ICT scheme. It was really interesting and very worthwhile attending. I still need to gather my thoughts about it and introduce the changes in September.

Not drinking
Not that I'm a big drinker, but I've avoided all alcohol this month in case the baby arrives and I need to drive my wife to the hospital. However, the baby still isn't here!

Leadership course
I enjoyed a course on leadership styles.

Visited Liverpool World Museum
We took our Year Threes to the museum to learn about Ancient Egypt. We watched a show about Egyptian artefacts and were given a presentation on the natural history of Ancient Egypt. The artefacts were fantastic and I loved seeing the children's enthusiasm and interest in our topic develop during the visit.

Performance Management
It was good to be given some training on performance management. One of the outcomes from the training is that we are reviewing the job descriptions of all staff in the school.

It was good to see Teachmeet style training being promoted to senior leaders at an event at Cranage Hall.

Parents' evenings
We are very lucky to have supportive parents in school and it was, as always, a pleasure to meet with them this month.

Using 2DIY
My class and I have fallen in love with this amazing programme from 2Simple during March. We have made a few different games, and I love how it gives a real opportunity to make ICT really cross-curricular. I need to share some examples of the children's work...