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3 ways to use tech to support your teaching

  • by: Anna from Pobble
  • On: 7, Oct 2021
28 min read

The Pobble team is privileged to visit so many classrooms around the world. We regularly meet wonderful teachers who are doing great things to inspire and support their students. We’ve reached out to a few of these teachers and asked them to share ideas around how they use technology to support their teaching:

Terrific Twitter

I remember the day I joined Twitter in 2009, an afternoon in a university study area spent perfecting a particular personal attribute — avoiding what really needed to be done. It took me a relatively lengthy five years to start to realise the potential of Twitter. When applying for teaching jobs abroad, I was looking for that special something to set me apart from the rest. I decided to dedicate time to Twitter and see what it could do for me and what I could do for my audience. Over the past few years, I have found the network invaluable to my job as a middle leader and classroom teacher in an international setting. Whether it’s finding an explanation in layman’s terms for real meaning to a new education philosophy that has been kindly dropped from a great height; an invaluable resource idea to helping me challenge; or support the learners in my class or a ‘drop the mic’ quote for a lesson observation plan or staff meeting. When Simon Blower from Pobble asked me to write a short piece about how I use technology to support teach writing I had no idea where to start. I spent days flicking through Twitter for what it was that makes the difference in my classroom and, as I come to realise more and more through my teaching career, the answers are often right in front of your face. In education, we spend an incredible amount of time searching and reinventing. Twitter is open, honest and organic. There are a forever increasing number of photographs, videos, snippets, blogs and links at our fingertips to swipe through in the 15 minutes you might have on your commute to work or the seconds you might indulge yourself in with a cuppa during break time. Tweeters such as Simon, share so many fabulous ideas every day and I am so grateful to be part of it. Thank you all for sharing and having such a positive impact on my practice.

Jimmy Hodgeson is a teacher at the British School of Amsterdam. You can follow Jimmy on Twitter @mrhodg.

Go green — screen

Long have we surpassed the days of tirelessly writing page upon page of words under strict supervision. Now, Peter, if you want to write an adventure story about climbing Mount Everest… I suggest you do just that. Of course, we’ve found more convenient ways to send 6-year-old Peter up a mountain to inspire him to write. We can virtually send him. The incorporation of a green screen into any classroom inspires endless possibilities. You don’t have to be tech-savvy to work with green screens- even let the children take initiative. If you have a tablet with a green screen app such as DoInk and some emerald green backing paper you’re well on your way to becoming the next Steven Spielberg. Using a green screen can be as simple as taking a picture of children in different countries to complement their writing on ‘Around the World’, or creating small videos where they can use their writing to perform: Turn instruction writing into children producing and acting out their own scripts for a cooking show or persuasive writing to make a speech for the next presidential elections. With the knowledge that their work will be shown to their peers, parents or in assembly children strive to write the best sentences they can- emphasising editing and up-levelling work. LitFilmFest has mastered the merging of traditional literacy skills and digital literacy skills. They have infinite green screen resources linked to curriculum topics, that allow you to follow lesson plans that ultimately lead to final film production. Last year, my year 5 class researched, wrote, directed and performed their very own News show. Children were gripped from the beginning, knowing that their writing would be read out on screen. From a teachers perspective, seeing the enthusiasm the green screen brings to the classroom and how it motivates even the most reluctant writers, it’s definitely a technology that should be tried by all.

Chelsea Hughes is a teacher at Newton International School DRing, Doha. You can follow Chelsea on Twitter @MissHughesQatar.

Writing confidence with ‘Clips’

A great tool to build writing confidence is Clips. Clips is a free movie maker by Apple which is packed full of simple to use features that give stunning results; title posters, filters, stickers and labels to name a few. The best feature, however, is live subtitling. This enables the pupils to record whilst speaking, with their speech will be translated into text on the screen. This is amazing for a number of reasons, such as creating an atmosphere without audio, only words. But my favourite use is that children can take images, form sentences verbally, and see their ideas appear under the image. This can be replayed as they write to help them remember. A visual and audio reminder, helping pupils to see what their ideas look like matched to an image is a great way to build confidence. This is an excellent activity using the fantastic Pobble 365 images and activities or combining Pobble 365 images with Alan Peat Exciting Sentences.

Paul Tullock, is an Apple Professional Learning Specialist and Elearning and computing lead at Richardson Dees Primary School. You can follow Paul on Twitter @MrTullock.

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