Ideas for ICTAC

Ever started writing something that ended up as something else? I do it all the time. This was going to be a response to a request for suggestions to how a school might develop an ICTAC strategy. Then my mind wandered to the challenges that face schools when technology develops faster than teachers can learn to use it. Then I thought, " Does that matter if the teachers are confident enough to let the students use technology to learn?" And I haven't even written anything yet!
So I've got as far as learners using the technology available. I've always been fond of the idea of publishing widely with possible reader assessment but what about closer to home? What if these young creators of knowledge contributed tothe knowledge base for learners yet to come?
So with that in mind I sort of came full circle to thinking about what simple techniques could teachers ask their students to use to create content for others. No glossy lesson plans; no one uses them without adaptation (and I'm too idle to write them anyway!)
PowerPoint is a good starting point. Children of all ages enjoy using it and often kill it with kindness so the rule is (listen for the groans) "In not more than five slides ... and, by the way, the background must be white!" This is a great activity for for recording information about a topic.
Normally they would talk about their slides to a live audience (by the way, no bullet points allowed either) but these are going to be archived for future use so they will need to script and record their commentary so that it plays as the presentation is played.
Depending on your version you need to go to Insert - Sound and then choose From File if you've already recorded it or Record Sound to record there and then. Don't forget to make sure it plays automatically rather than when clicked. Save as a PowerPoint Show.
You can use the recorder in Smart Notebook as a means of demonstrating a mathematical method or for that matter any other 'how to'. The video below was recorded using the Notebook recorder. Just locate it in the Notebook menu either in the startbar or the Start menu of your computer, click the record button and chat away while it records anything you do on the screen. Have a look at my film below. You don't need glossy production and it happens automatically as the work is being done on the board. You might even get the benefit of some additional language work if your learners decide they need to script it!

SmartBoard recorder demo


It's easy. Have a go and then let some children loose on it. I remember Ken Dyson HMI, when he had a responsibility for ICTAC, saying that whiteboards are best when used by children. Couldn't agree more!

What about making a movie out of stills, including some text, recording a voiceover commentary and having background mood music?
Download and install PhotoStory a Microsoft freebie that can be found at this website.
Take a walk through the stages to see what it does but it's well worth letting your learners have a lesson to 'play' with it and they'll soon master it. Get them to treat it in the same way they would a new game. They'd manage without instructions there!
Alternatively have a look at Movie Maker which will already be on your Windows computer and you can include movie clips and create a real mashup. I know a science teacher who gets his classes to write up their science experiments like this incorporating video, text and images.
There's some great material available to schools from British Pathe too. Use it for all manner of subject matter but note that download is only possible from a school ip.

Have a look at Animoto ( It's almost impossible to make a poor presentation from your pictures with this so focus on creating some text to go with them that allows your students to meet your outcomes for understanding or knowledge.
What about a website that just about meets all your requirements for a subject no matter what key stage in one place? If you teach history look no further than The Learning Curve from The National Archives. Amazing!

This a continuation of something I started on my blog. Although examinations still demand a written response and this is a skill to be learnt there are many more motivating ways for our learners to demonstrate their understanding nowadays.

An interesting activity would be to think about how these might be adapted to different levels in Bloom's Taxonomy. How could a teacher phrase the task/question to allow access to higher levels?
  • A video
  • A photo collage
  • A presentation (it might be an idea to limit the number of slides to encourage selection)
  • A blog
  • A podcast/sound file
  • A twitter tweet
  • Photo Story 3
  • A movie
  • An animation
  • A web page
  • A wiki
  • A mind map
  • A word cloud
  • An entry on a social networking site

To be continued.