Tech Toolbox: ThoughtBoxes and Videos

I thought it was about time I should be providing an update on my classroom activities and engagement with technology.

I love thoughtboxes, and these have been used to record seminars in AS English classes over the last couple of weeks. They’re simple and seriously easy to use and set-up. My students were taken out of the seminar in pairs, 10-15 minutes at a time, to sit with the laptop and note down the analysis coming out of discussions. The pairs means there is less of a chance that things will be missed as one pair of ears should be on the presentaton at any one time. The rotation is short, which means that they then get to join in active discussion and others get to make the notes too. It’s still a bit of a novelty to them, which increases its engaging capacity at this stage. The benefit of notes like this is that I don’t have to post pictures of the board to Moodle/ our blog as I have been doing but I can now just email/ text/ provide the link for notes and all students can then access them whenever they want. The next step will be using them on mobile devices during lessons to maintain individual notes, as well as whole-class collaborative ones.

Here’s a sample:

Act 3 Scenes 1 & 2

I tried out a flip learning style lesson accidentally. I’d planned to explore the use of video with students and managed to add to the experiment as the lesson had to be cancelled. I set the class the task of watching the video and completing the work before the following class. I had really positive feedback, although I need to improve the quality of my videoing skills apparently! Watch for yourselves– you’ll soon learn why- it’s a little amateur!

Here are some of the mind-maps and notes that students produced as part of this activity. I know they wouldn’t have been half as detailed if the content had been delivered in any other way. They all complained about the pace afterwards but that is because it’s challenging and they have to use their brains. On the whole, if they’re complaining of being tired/ that it was difficult, it’s a good sign. Unless of course, it’s the rare lesson that genuinely was too difficult. I could tell it wasn’t one of these rare occurences though- no one was missing any vital information and a student who ordinarily refuses to do any work at all, had made copious notes. It’s a YouTube miracle!

IMG_0920 IMG_0919 IMG_0917

I’m achieving small success from my new experiments but they’re successes all the same.

Next week, I’ll be letting you know how Today’s Meet, finger puppets, party hats and silence were used in C6. Watch a short preview here.

“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out” Robert Collier.

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