Well the first half term is now over and the initial shock of being in a new year group and in a new school has now subsided. As I now sip a beer in the bar in Riga in Eastern Europe. It gives me time to reflect on the last eight weeks. There have been some lows, but the term definitely ended on a high and I am now busy planning the next term and I look forward to my time teaching till christmas with eagerness.
I wanted to use glogster in my ICT lessons, but I was disappointed to find this website was blocked. So I eagerly looked around for a site that could handle a range of media and dispaly information in a fun and interesting way. This led me to biteslide which fulfilled my requirements. I liked the fact that biteslide has free registration for one class project. It has strong moderation and it promotes collaboration across the class. The comments features allowed me to easily mark each individuals work and allowed for peer assessment at the end of the project. I also like the export features that allow me to print the slides off or embed them into a blog. I also found some limitations with this site. Firstly it's a shame that biteslide doesn't allow you to change the links and transitions between each slide and the number of features to customise each slide is very limited. Secondly the restrictions on youtube in my school meant that pupil's had a lot of problems embedding videos into their slides. I will definitely be using biteslide again as I think it has good opportunities for peer assessment, collaboration and is a good introduction to creating multimedia presentations. Although the limited features meant that it didn't provide enough scope to allow my higher ability children to be really creative.
I used padlet during the beginning of my topic to get the children to assess their knowledge and generate questions. I found this a very powerful techniques as the children soon became familiar with the site and it created more freedom in their thinking than doing the same activities using post its or on paper. The fact that they could see each others questions sparked their interest and generated follow up questions. Some children also used this as a chance to carry out some quick web research and post some answers. I have a few behavioural issues in my class and I was very glad that I had enabled post moderation before using the site as some silly posts were deleted, but this act made the children quickly realise that this would not be tolerated and they moved on. I now need to plan more opportunities to use this tool again int the future.