Tools

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Draw Draw diagrams and collaborate
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Drawing tools offer opportunity for higher order(ta) visualisation(ta) and collaboration(ta), as well as stimulus for whole class(ta) dialogue(ta) and questioning(ta). Use a web browser to draw(tool) a picture, flowchart or diagram based on a library of clip-art ‘stencils’. For example, you could use the flowchart templates to create a topic map and then share it with the rest of the class. More than a presentation tool, this also allows more than one student to work on the same diagram. A chat(tool) window facilities this collaboration(tool). Drawings can be exported to a file to use elsewhere or embedded in a blog page.
Chat Talk with your students in an online chatroom
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Chat rooms afford opportunity for collaboration(ta), group work(ta), and group talk(ta). They can offer opportunities for dialogic teaching(ta) through the use of group based effective questioning(ta). Many chat tools also integrate with other Tools. You can set up a chat(tool)room at “chatzy.com”. Then publish the link to the room, and perhaps a meeting time, to allow an out of class discussion(ta). You could use this tool to have an out-of-class discussion (perhaps someone is unwell). Can an online chat make dialogue more effective? Can it make group discussions more inclusive?
Collaborative Make a questionnaire
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Google Drive can be used as a collaborative(tool) document editor for group work(ta) and collaboration(ta) in class and homework(ta) settings. Google Drive - or similar tools - can also be used to deliver polls(tool) and questionnaires(ta) to pupils in and out of class. If you need to collaborate(tool) or 'co-create' some text, a spreadsheet or a presentation, people with a Google account can edit the same document at the same time. One day, probably yesterday, doing so will be as passé as keeping all your work in the cloud(tool)! However, Google Drive also allows you, or students to make a questionnaire for circulation.

To make an online questionnaire(tool), go to GOOGLE DRIVE (previously Google Docs at drive.google.com) and create a form (instead of creating a document as one might normally). You will find a choice of question types to use, such as multiple choice and free-response answers. Look and you'll find a very useful button for copying a question so that you can edit the copy. When you have finished, the link to the question form is circulated to students, their answers are collated into a spreadsheet that will appear on your Google Drive. A comparable survey(tool) tool called SURVEYMONKEY (www.surveymonkey.com) is much used for customer feedback. Either of these versatile devices may be used by students to research, poll opinion and more.

Chat Video conference and message using text
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Chat tools provide opportunity for real time collaboration(ta) and dialogue(ta). HALL (hall.com) provides real-time collaboration(tool) one-on-one messaging(tool) and video conferencing(tool) for project teams. This can happen over the web, via their desktop PC or their mobile devices. It is intended as a business tool to provide an always-open window between people who work together remotely. Equally you may know of a learning situation where the need to collaborate is indeed similar.
Animation Tell a story using timeline animation
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Many animation tools can be used to build narrative(ta), and visualisations(ta) of work. These artefacts can act as stimuli for dialogue(ta), dialogic teaching(ta), questioning(ta), and shared reasoning(ta). KERPOOF (http://www.kerpoof.com) allows primary age pupils to make artwork(tool) and timeline(tool) animation(tool). The well-featured animation tool can be used to animate a story.
Questionnaire Ask a question and measure the response
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Poll(tool) tools can be used for quick assessment(ta) or questioning(ta) in and outside of the classroom. They can also be used to allow pupils to give feedback. Using online polls can be useful for assessment outside of class. Within the classroom it can sometimes be useful to allow voting if you have access to ICT to support online methods for: 1) capturing data; 2) many quick questions; 3) private feedback if it's a sensitive topic, or some pupils are reluctant to respond normally; 4) the ability to return to questions, either at a later date, or as discussion points to discuss the answers given. If you need to ask a question(tool) to get feedback “kwiqpoll.com” lets you write a poll question and circulate it as a link to a class. It is so quick to use, there's plenty of opportunity to do so.
Mindmap Plan and make a mindmap
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Mind mapping tools can engage pupils in higher order(ta) reasoning(ta) around the visualisation(ta) of a problem, topic, or subject. Computerised tools often support embedding multimedia into these maps, providing a richer document and potential to engage pupils in creating videos, images, and text around a particular issue and organising these. Teachers could think about what sort of information pupils should include on their maps - keywords, key people, concepts, times, artefacts, etc., and whether or not the maps are used to display their knowledge of a domain (concept mapping) or to build new ideas and evaluation (brain storming). MINDMEISTER (mindmeister.com) is an incredibly easy mind-mapping(tool) tool. It lets you put ideas in boxes and link them together - as one does in concept mapping(tool). A box can contain a picture or a document or a link to a web site. MINDMEISTER might be used to make a ‘poster’ summarising a course. Furthermore, several people can work on the same mindmap at the same time.
Questionnaire Get feedback from the class during a lesson
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Poll(tool) tools can be used for quick assessment(ta) or questioning(ta) in and outside of the classroom. They can also be used to allow pupils to give feedback. Using online polls can be useful for assessment outside of class. Within the classroom it can sometimes be useful to allow voting if you have access to ICT to support online methods for: 1) capturing data; 2) many quick questions; 3) private feedback if it's a sensitive topic, or some pupils are reluctant to respond normally; 4) the ability to return to questions, either at a later date, or as discussion points to discuss the answers given. POLL EVERYWHERE (polleverywhere.com) replaces physical voting hardware with voting via a web page or SMS texting. It was designed to gather live responses to a TV show but it may work also to gain feedback in teaching situations.
Spreadsheets Numbers, graphs and maths
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Spreadsheets can be used to engage pupils in the scientific method(ta) and mathematical thinking(ta), both as a tool to record results, and - through the use of functions and graphing techniques - a higher order(ta) reasoning(ta) device to problem solve and explore the best visualisation(ta) and analysis techniques. Some online tools (including Google Drive) support many of the functions of desktop spreadsheet applications such as Excel, and can thus be used for collaborative(ta) document editing. A spreadsheet(tool) may have found itself in school by accident, but in no time at all, its calculating(tool) and graph(tool) drawing abilities found it a secure place. In science teaching, a spreadsheet is a ready-made results-table that quickly produces a graph. Graphs are a key tool for analysing data and a spreadsheet makes them with ease. In fact, spreadsheets can produce an astounding range of graphs. Our role as science teachers may be to encourage pupils to communicate effectively using graphs.

The ability of spreadsheets to organise, record and analyse data fulfils aspects of exploring science. If you had a table of students’ personal data, you could sort it into order of shoe size, or work out the average size of the class. You could draw a bar chart to see how the shoe sizes vary across the class. Or draw a scattergraph to see if the sizes vary with height. You might also search for those with black hair and see if they have an eye colour in common. Students can similarly use a spreadsheet to sort and search for patterns in the properties of elements in the periodic table

It may be clear already that students using a spreadsheet in these ways have to work scientifically. They would need to define what they want to find out, collect data, organise it and analyse it. A case can be put that the use of a spreadsheet belongs, and probably deserves a place in science teaching.

Chat Use an online study area to support students
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Study Hall is an attempt to combine the best of social networking(tool) and collaborative(tool) document storage and editing. It can be used for collaboration(ta) on documents, structured group work(ta) and dialogue(ta) online, and homework(ta) tasks as well as in class or continuous inquiry(ta) based projects. Study Hall (http://i1.studyhallapp.com) is aimed at education and it allows you to create a virtual study area on the web. You can upload notes(tool) and assignments and support your students via their mobile devices and social networks. The thinking behind this application is that learning is about “thought provoking discussion(ta)s with peers and teachers”. Study Hall provides a means to connect distant people and it is easy to see its role in online tutoring. But take a look to see where else it may be valuable.
Questionnaire Encourage students to chat in class
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A tool for encouraging synchronous dialogue(ta) and a means for assessment(ta). TodaysMeet.com offers an easy way to gain feedback(tool). You set up a ‘room’ and send everyone the link to it so they can type their comments or engage in ‘chat(tool)’. Todaysmeet can be used at a moment’s notice as seemingly membership is unnecessary. This tool could be used in a lesson to encourage effective dialogue using Ground Rules and in turn assessment.
Questionnaire Measure students' understanding in real-time
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Poll(tool) tools can be used for quick assessment(ta) or questioning(ta) in and outside of the classroom. They can also be used to allow pupils to give feedback. Understoodit.com is a particular sort of tool which - whether on a PC or mobile - allows students to use an app or webpage to state whether they are confused or not; it can thus be used for 'traffic lighting' understanding. If it’s hard to know whether every student in your class understands you, understoodit.com allows every class member with a PC or a mobile(tool) device to offer feedback(tool). Students use a simple app(tool) or webpage to state whether they are say if they are confused or not. The feedback appears in real-time throughout a lesson, thus the teacher can gauge their effectiveness and instantly adjust the delivery. It also appears to be used for 'taking a register'. See the short informative video at understood.it.
Video Broadcast live video from school
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Engaging pupils in creating video, and building a narrative(ta) encourages them to think about their language(ta) and explanation skills. They can be used to engage pupils, to revist their explanations, and keep them "on task" through the use of roles and drama(ta) tasks. While USTREAM (www.ustream.tv) looks like youtube - it is both different and done differently. Its edge is to allow live broadcasting(tool) over the net. For this you need little more than a web camera and microphone. Even more remarkably, this 'video streaming' service allows you to broadcast video(i) directly from a mobile device using a iphone application.

Seemingly USTREAM is used by big name broadcasters and home 'lifecasters' alike and is very noticeably supported by advertising. With millions of users, the content is diverse and like all such things, merits a preview before a class dives in. Nevertheless the prospect is that of a school or class having a TV channel to communicate. The USTREAM story is that it was was first used by soldiers to broadcast news back to their families. Short of reporting back from a war zone, your class might broadcast back from your field trip.

Questionnaire Get feedback and involve the audience
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A way to facilitate checking the students' response (known as traffic lighting) as well as peer assessment(ta)/questioning(ta) during presentation sessions, either by the teacher or students. The back-channel is a term to describe what the class might be saying or thinking during a lesson. “backchan.nl” offers a way let the audience of presentations(ta) comment or ask questions(ta)/polls(tool). They could also be voting(tool) on the importance each other's questions - which is a great opportunity if you've ever wished a question and answer session to end. The voting then allows the presenter to prioritise questions that merit answering. As well as know what is going on in the 'back channel', this tool is claimed to make better use of that Q & A time. You might use it while showing a video, or dare to use it while talking at length to the class. But here you also have a means to encourage pupils to actually ask questions, and furthermore, have them think about each other's questions.