Friday, 14th September 2018
Learning platforms, such as Blackboard or Moodle, are familiar to many who work in schools. Schoology is another content management system (CMS), which teachers might find helpful. The basic version is free. You can log in through your school (if an account already exists) or else sign up through their website. I’ve requested CDETB to be added to their approved schools.
There are videos (for instructors, students or system administrators) on their website explaining all the features. You have space to import and export files as well as learning objectives (based on US criteria, but you can add your own).
The courses you develop can contain assignments, discussions, files, texts, links and quizzes. Students are encouraged to give feedback, so it is quite interactive. Also, once students are enrolled, you can email them through the CMS. Rubrics and badges can be added for formative and summative assessment.
Privacy settings in the ‘group’ function allow you to control access. A calendar page helps with planning. There are plenty of public resources shared by other educators, which are listed not only by subject area and grade level, but also by resource type, including assessment, games/puzzles and lesson plans.
Could be used: as an alternative to Moodle.
What I liked about it: the interface is clean and intuitive. Students who spend time on social media will probably like it.
Watch out for: as always when uploading material from the Internet, be aware that some resources might be copyrighted.
Available from the App Store and for Android – and by logging into their website.
More info here: https://www.schoology.com/
Friday, 7th September 2018
Actionbound is an interactive scavenger hunt programme that allows you to go on an adventure with your class. Tours include guided walks and “treasure hunts” – they are called “bounds” here. Download it and agree to its terms and conditions. Actionbound will need access to your location in order to guide you using GPS.
You can find a bound, scan a QR code, check out bounds nearby or create your own. I searched for bounds in “Dublin” and got plenty of hits, each indicating whether or not they were created for single or multiple players.
Some displayed additional information, such as the approximately distance a player would have to cover and the approximate time it would take to complete the hunt. You can download a bound for offline play.
Creating a new bound is easy. Sign up, give it a title you can remember and decide on single or multiple player modus and on whether the stages of play are fixed or flexible. Add some text, your first quiz or mission now – or else request that your players have to scan a code or find a spot.
You can allocate points for each completed task. Every step is well explained. When you are finished, you can test your bound before you publish it.
There all kinds of extra gimmicks, but the basic version can be set up fairly quickly.
Could be used for: orientation week for new students; outdoor activities combining (local) history and geography lessons with physical exercise.
What I liked about it: extremely easy to use – try some hunts without logging in.
Watch out for: there are paid versions, e.g. for schools who qualify for an educational license, depending on the type of organisation you are working for. You might be able to use the free (private) version with your class.
Available from the App Store and for Android. There is also a PC version.
More info here: https://en.actionbound.com/