Following the controversy earlier this year, many teachers are understandably reluctant to use the Sparklebox website. Fortunately there are alternative sites which provide the same or similar content - free downloadable posters, worksheets, labels for foundation stage and key stage one classrooms. Twinkl is an attractively designed site which offers free materials to download or ready printed resources at a small cost. The primaryschoolteaching.co.uk site appears to offer many of the resources from Sparklebox without having to access the site itself.
I worked with PGCE and Yr 2 B.Ed students this week, looking at how ICT can be used to personalise learning using a word processor. The students produced sets of on-screen worksheets which met specific literacy objectives, but differentiated according to children's ICT skills and understandings. The Zip files below contain some examples of the sets of E-Worksheets (mainly in Word format, some Textease files) that were created - the files are labelled with the intended age-range (e.g. Y2 or Y4) and a brief activity title.
Some interesting conversations today about the research-base, implications and shape of a technology-led curriculum. Scotland's Curriculum for Excellence is a good example of a curriculum where ICT skills and understandings are embedded and technological literacy is valued alongside other literacies. For a more school-based and classroom focused example of embedded technologies, take a look at this US example of technology-led learning: www.apple.com/education/profiles/escondido/
Ever wanted to turn an A4 sized image into a huge poster? Blockposters.com lets you do just that! Take an image file - perhaps a PowerPoint slide saved as a JPEG - and upload it to the site. Then decide how big you want your poster to be in terms of A4 sheets - perhaps six sheets wide? Finally export your poster as a PDF file for printing. It comes out of the printer in cropped sheets that can be easily trimmed and glued together. The gallery on the website shows some striking examples of huge posters.
Struggling with spreadsheets? Fooled by formulas? Grappling with graphs? This step-by-step Spreadsheet Support web resource takes you through the process of creating spreadsheet files for classroom use and for other professional purposes.
I would be really grateful to receive your comments and suggestions about the posts in this blog. Just click the Comments link next to a post that you want to comment on ...
Many of you will be thinking about planning for ICT in school over the next few months. At the centre of good planning - whether it be a couple of lessons or activities or a sequence over half a term - is an understanding of progression: how children can 'get better' at doing ICT; what their next steps should be. There are several sources of support for progression in primary ICT (including an excellent book by Bennett, Hamill and Pickford), but the best online materials are those produced by the E-Learning Team in Somerset. Their Primary Progressions Documents cover all the strands of ICT and E-Safety.
The 'Snowman Makes a Friend' is one of several new stop motion videos @ www.youtube.com/user/tonypickford. Look out for the drooping scarf - a clever bit of animation!
Safe is a new 'programme of activities to develop primary school children’s skills, self-confidence and E-safety awareness'. There is simple free joining process, which gives access to some useful downloadable resources.
A couple more useful lists of Web 2.0 tools with educational potential are Box of Tricks A-Z list of Free Internet Tools and the searchable list of digital tools on the Enquiring Minds website.
Tony Pickford is a tutor and writer on primary education.