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Entries in Gmail (4)


Robots, Games, iOS and Literacy: Cross-Curricular Educational Technology for 7 Year Olds

Me with Year 2and Bee Bot Maps Over the past 6 weeks we have been working closely with both Year 2 and Year 3 in ICT. The idea, you can read in more detail here, is to integrate very closely ICT into as much of the focus topics as possible. In Year 2 this is maths and "All About Me". The children have learned how to use iMovie and Dropbox (This is fast becoming one of the most integral of all Apps in school) and creating a substantial movie. The Movie, should include as many of these elements as possible:

1. Images (Their own photos imported from their dropbox folder)

2. Text (With 'Super Sentences' not just "I am at the beach")

3. Audio (Try to adlib here. If you want to express yourself beyond the script then speak clearly, slowly and with a smile on your face!)

4. Music and a theme (To choose a suitable theme that suits you)

5. Video (Optional - To add a simple goodbye message)

6. Finish and export to Photo Gallery in HD 720p

7. Lastly, to put it into the correct folder in their class dropbox area.


Click to see planning in Dropbox

Click to see planing in Dropbox

This criteria wa set out at the beginning with the teachers and would only really work with them alongside me and our Learning Assistants guiding the children to build their master pieces.

The biggest challenge here is the size of the year group. With nearly 90 children we had to call up the parents for photos of them very early in the term. This would give them at least 2 weeks to get the photos to us. A little tip here if you need to collect this amount of photos from a large base of people - set a filter in Gmail!

This is what we sent to parents.

Last year some of you may have sent in hard copies of photos or CD/ DVDs. So that these don’t get mislaid please use the following instructions:

  1. Due to the equipment we’re using we can only accept digital copies via email.
  2. Please do not send any hard copies or links to an online gallery. If you need to digitize please take a photo of a hard copy and send that digital copy.
  3. Send as an attachment only.
  4. Email with this subject: Your child’s class teacher + your child’s name + VIP

As an example: Miss Gibbs Mimi Chang VIP

 This will help us separate the emails and attachments at speed.

The part in bold is your filter. Set this up so that it's looking for attachments and the term VIP and all should be good. You can then auto send to a folder or set other parameters in if you use this site. I found that if you try to do this type of thing manually then you end up with all sorts of mishaps.

 Once we had all the images I made the children a dropbox folder each and put all the photos in them. The children then saved them to their iPad galleries and wad then able to import them to their iMovie projects. Once the children were able to import the photos the key parts (as you can see in the planning above) are:

1. Text (title and creidts)

2. Audio. Rehearsing. Sound levels.

3. Editing the images (resizing on the timeline)

4. Text (the sentences from their plans)

5. Video ending - upper ability/ EAL only.

6. Export.

This was then finalised for the show piece for parents and the "VIP" day. They are then transferred to our Vimeo Gallery for those parents who couldn't attend.



Gmail, Google Docs(Drive) and Google Sites Video Help for Students

There are now several Video help pages, and more to be added, for Gmail and the suite of apps we use in school. The children from year 2 (soon to be year 3) will have their portfolios for sharing and displaying work they have done via ICT.

All Video help is available here:

Gmail first time log in (only really apporopriate for our school although you could use it if you downloand and edit yourselves).

Google Docs, soon to be Google Drive.

Google Sites- online portfolios for children with personal pages too.

There will be a series for Google calendar as we will be arranging home work and other events the children need to subsribe to in Year 5 and 6. 


Tips on Making Google Mail, Sites for Primary School Children, their Parents and Class Teachers

The downloads here are the spoken ideas and what I would probably changeif I was to set up the Gmail accounts again. If you're a teacher and wish to set up Gmail accounts for your class then the advice I talk about here could come in handy.


1. Gmail and Google sites part 1 - setting up, templates, owners and invites

2. Gmail and Google sites part 1 - settings, web links

3. Gmail for Parents and Teachers - ownership

4. Gmail for Students - settings, chat, contacts, policing

5. Gmail for the Teacher - settings, homework, interaction


PB Works (formerly PBwiki) Upgrade

PBwiki was a great tool when it first appeared several years ago. The site though was overtaken (in my opinion) by the simple features of Gmail and the Google sites accompanying it. Why? Well, from a school's perspective we needed some kind of security and the way the Gmail can be governed and modified to suit the children's and Teacher's needs far out weighed that of PBworks. It was super easy to use and that is what appeals to teachers.

Now PBworks has had an upgrade and I like the functionality of it. From top level primary school I can immediately see the potential for homework discussions where projects need the input of several collaborators. The problem with chat in Google docs is that if one person doesn't have Gtalk or can't use it for some reason then then typing has to do or use an alternative - Skype? But for the same issues the person may not be able to install, say, on a school laptop. So, if school pays into this then the below snippet from Tech Crunch might supply a ready answer. I like the sound of it all - but how much does this cost?

Collaboration Platform PBWorks Gets A Real-Time Makeover


The startup has steadily added innovative, real-time features to its platform, most recently integrating Twitter-like microblogging.

Today, PBworks is entering the stream by adding real-time functionality and voice collaboration within the application. PBWorks is adding four new features to its suite:

Instant Messaging

The startup is adding IM functionality to the application, which looks and operates just like Gchat. The platform allows PBWorks users in their organization to send them instant messages from within the product. Users can also request for co-workers to look at the workspace page they’re working on using the “send a link” function built into the IM system.

Live Notifications

Similar to notifications in a Facebook stream, PBWorks is adding Live Notifications alerts, which lets users know the different activity within their organization in real-time. Users can select which notifications they want to receive, based on their preferences (known as “starring” or “following” particular pages), and the system will stream relevant notifications to whatever page a user is viewing. The notifications provide a link to whatever the employee is working on.

Live Editing

PBWorks is now upgrading its collaboration features by adding a the ability for users to share a PBworks editing session. So whenever a user is editing a workspace page, other users viewing that page see the edits appear in real-time as well as participate in edits.

Voice Collaboration

Conference calls are a daily part of any business’s day-to-day operations and PBWorks is now allowing this to take place within its application. Users can initiate an instant conference call by dialing several participants at the same time. Each conference call is recorded and stored for later review, which is an extremely useful feature. Voice Collaboration can even be triggered via PBWorks using an iPhone.

PBworks, which had an overhaul of its user interface and features last year, offers businesses with a project management application and a customized wiki workspace, with mobile support, document management, access controls and more. The incorporation of real-time functionality as a natural extension of PBWorks makes the platform a whole lot more attractive, as more and more enterprise-focused startups are adding real-time features to applications. So if a user is editing a page and realizes that he or she needs the input of other team members, the user can request fellow employees to join the appropriate page using IM Collaboration, start a Live Editing session, and use Voice Collaboration to initiate an instant conference call.