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Monday, 30 December 2013

TouchCast - A great teacher tool!

In essence, the app TouchCast is all about making videos interactive.

I first came across this app a few months ago and was impressed by how useful it could be in the classroom. I have been meaning to share this app for some time but with so much going on I have only had chance to share it now.

I would expect some confident upper KS2 children to be able to use this app however I feel it is more suited as a really useful teaching tool to use to set tasks or create interactive tutorials for their class.

There are different interactive elements (vApps) that you can add such as pictures, youtube links, votes, questions, quizzes, maps, twitter and news feeds, polls and websites. The app also allows you to add a title as well as a whiteboard, which lets you annotate all the interactive elements. There is also the option to use greenscreen within your recording.

The only restriction is that you can only record for 5 minutes. At the minute, you are only able to record on your iPad and upload to your channel on the TouchCast website.

How can the app be used?

Well here is an example of a TouchCast I made and shared at a number of recent teachmeets sharing the work we did relating to the film - Blackfish

Now by clicking the picture, it will take you to the channel with my TouchCast. If you watch and interact you can see how, as a teacher, you can utilise this app in many different ways. 

  • You could set homework for your children with links to websites and videos that you have approved. 

  • You could use a video from the and ask the children some questions from within the app.
  • As a pre learning task you could direct children towards a particular video or website for them to read about before starting a new topic.
  • You could set up a stimulus for a discussion topic by guiding the children to different opinions on a certain topic. Showing links to arguments before and after.
  • Looking at a famous traditional tale, you could put together links of different versions of the same story for children to analyse, discuss and write about their favourite.
  • You could guide the children through a reading paper by using the annotating tool to highlight particular parts linked to different comprehension aspects - Literal, Deductive, Inference and Study Skills. Through the app you can demonstrate how to develop these skills using different media such as text, a photo or a video.
  • The same could be done for Numeracy related SATs word problems. 

If you do use TouchCast in the classroom in a different way to ones mentioned, please tweet me a link - @ICT_MrP and I will add a link on this post.

Friday, 13 December 2013

A festive treat to say thank you!

2013 has been a remarkable year. Personally, there has been a lot of change and my career has taken a new and exciting turn as I am now working as a part time consultant. I cannot thank everyone enough for all their support with this blog and through my twitter and facebook accounts.

It seems however for our profession of teaching, it has been a tough year and one that has brought a lot of unnecessary stress and negativity for many teachers. It seems a certain education secretary, who shall remain nameless, seems adamant on destroying our education system and in particular the confidence and enthusiasm of many talented and excellent teachers.

My response, the video below which shows my defiance against the negativity. The tradition of making these short Christmas dance videos started as a little treat for some of the children we teach. Since then, it has grown and is looked forward to by plenty of the children and parents we teach. Even though our careers have taken different paths, we felt that this shouldn't stop the tradition. Especially this year, I feel this may go beyond a silly dance to entertain our students. Maybe this year, it is a stand against people who are convinced on driving the fun and enjoyment out of our profession. Yes we work incredibly hard, yes we work above and beyond but at the same time we are human, we have a sense of humour and we don’t take ourselves too seriously all the time.

I just want to use to say thank you to everyone who has shown their support over the past year. Hopefully this may put a smile on your face and please like, share, tweet, post a link if you want to share the message that, in true Braveheart style -  “Yes Mr G, you may change our jobs but you will never take the spirit out of our vocation!”

Also a massive well done to my Stepson Callum, who I think you will agree, steals the show!

Please click these links to see previous efforts:

Teachers Dance 2012
Teachers Dance 2011
Teachers Dance 2010