I recently asked a question on Twitter for people to tell me what technology they regularly use in their classroom. Expected responses ranged from Interactive Whiteboards through to standard projectors, sound, 1-1 iPads or nothing!
The purpose of this blog is to show how simple, inexpensive changes to the little technology we have can make a massive difference to learning and teaching in the classroom. I’ve used a variety of technology in classrooms, ranging from netbooks to wireless tablets, ‘Who wants to be a millionaire’ handsets and QR codes and pupils mobiles.
Taking the logic that most classrooms have a projector and sound, there are a number of ways that easy changes can make effective changes which will massively increase the effectiveness of teaching and learning in your classes.
This blog will talk about :
- Extended Screen settings (Windows & PPT)
- PowerPoint Clickers
- QR Codes
Extended Screen Settings
If you have ever wanted to have your PowerPoint screen on for pupils to see, and you needed to change slides or review other work (ie emails) there is a simple way of doing it – if you have Windows 7 or above. This has massively improved my professionalism in front of the pupils in my presentations.
Connect your projector to your laptop,press the windows key and P together, then click the Extend Desktop view.
Next go into PowerPoint and have a presentation loaded. Go to Slideshow, then on the ‘Show presentation on’ select Monitor 2 or equivalent from the drop down menu, and click the ‘Use Presenter view’. When you launch (pressing F5 or however else) the magic appears! This can all be viewed on youtube here @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s36F72Rr_wA
There are a range of these on the market from all over the place – some are inexpensive, some are ineffective, some are pricey and some are excellent. Imagine you can teach from anywhere in the classroom, change Powerpoint slides and highlight to pupils key bits of information. A multimedia presenter will do all of this, normally with a low-level laser pointer (but that said it should still be used with caution in a classroom). On ebay you can search for ‘PowerPoint presenters’ or ‘multimedia presenters’. There are two main types, radio (RF) ones, and infrared ones. Infrared generally require ‘line of sight’ when the power drops, so RF ones are generally better, but remember you get what you pay for. One I use with an ultra-good range is http://www.pcworldbusiness.co.uk/catalogue/item/P100167P which costs about £30.
Visualisers are like digital versions of OHP’s – but they will put anything beneath them on the screen, normally so you can annotate on them, record what you are doing with sound and then upload to your VLE. They are also incredibly expensive.
An alternative I’ve worked with is using a standard webcam, but got one with a stand (similar to the one below). I got it from ebay and it cost me about £5. It means that using free webcam software (Yawcam etc.) you can have the same effect at a fraction of the cost. My favourite use is to put a pupils work on the screen and have pupils peer assess it – from exam questions through to posters etc. Like the other things in this blog, it will help transform you teaching and lead to greater learning.
Cheap digital camera’s are great – you can give them to the pupils to take photographs during lessons and photographs of work, photographs on trips etc. They can also photograph freeze frames and analyse them later. You can even video on most digital cameras. The magic comes when pupils then use them a week later uploading the pictures to powerpoint etc. If it’s a trip they can then do a narrative and virtual tour of the place they went to – showing embedded learning.
Recently I’ve been using QR codes as a way of getting information to pupils differently. I’ve taken short information and embedded them into QR codes for pupils to scan (I use http://goqr.me) to get information. Likewise pupils have created their own QR codes for revision material in highly effective ways.
As ever, please feel free to post a comment, follow me on Twitter (@sheltont101) or read over some of the other articles in my blog. If you do have anything you can share to help others please do so! I know I rarely get it right, but I’m working on it. Next blog post will be on easy differentiation. I don’t blog often – I try and make it quality and useful!