Cool websites for education- YT Time Machine. History research tool for students and schools?

October 16, 2010 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Digital Era, Product Reviews 

One of the websites I have recently come across is YTTMwhich stands for YouTube Time Machine. The idea was thought up early in 2010 as a way of organising video into selection by years. Having seen the site on BBC’s Click I took a look and could see the relevancy for people looking back nostalgically at past years or decades.

The interface is basic and the site is currently in Alpha so it is likely to see improvements over time. It is nice and simple to use but I was instantly frustrated by the random nature in which videos are served up. Even though 1969 only had 8 videos available I could not see what all 8 were I was just served up one at random (although there is an option for category filter). If I wanted to see another one I would then click for another random selection. I suspect this has much to do with the idea behind the site of just looking back and getting a lucky dip response rather than wanting to research a key event.

Despite this limitation in functionality I did find my self intrigued and continually clicking within years until I came across this video from 1969 called ‘The Internet in 1969′. What a great resource for a student to take a look at and see what people thought was likely to happen to technology in the near future. Turns out they were pretty close but it has taken a little longer than planned!

Delving further as an Historian I headed over to 1943 to see what sort of historical videos they had on the site from World War Two.

My overall view of the site? I think it is a lot of fun and would happily recommend people to visit it casually as a social history site which is what in essence it is. The functionality allows you to filter by categories including music, sport, movies, current events, television etc which is really useful for the purpose of social history. It is fair to say it was probably not built as a student research tool and so does not quite fit the bill but would certainly give them a good insight into some aspects of life in the 20th Century.

New SharePoint 2010 features for education. SharePoint School Reward System part 3

In the first two session looking at the SharePoint School Reward System built at Twynham School we covered:

  1. The interface which allows teachers give teaching and tutor groups an AA (reward point).
  2. The interface which allows all staff to give an individual an AA (reward point).

Following on from these developments we needed to build interfaces in SharePoint 2010 which enabled teachers and students to see what was happening with the reward points. It quickly became clear that we needed to focus on three interfaces for three audiences: the student total and breakdown by subject for the student; the student totals and tutor group total for tutors; the tutor totals and year group totals for Heads of Year. The interface below can be seen by all staff within our Learning Gateway. Click to enlarge

On the right side of the page you can see the Year Group totals which are used by Senior Leaders and Heads of Year within the school to monitor the progress of year groups. A Head of Year can then click on their year group to display a breakdown of the progress by tutor group.

Tomorrow I will cover the tutor group breakdown which allows tutors to see the total AA scores for individuals students in their tutor group.

New SharePoint 2010 features for education. SharePoint School Reward System part 2

In the first part of this series on Twynham School’s new online reward system I showed the functionality within SharePoint 2010 which enabled teachers to give reward points (or as we call them AAs) to students in their classes and tutor group. When we started trialing this solution back in June 2010 it quickly became clear that we had completely missed something. What if you took a cover lesson and wanted to give someone you do not teach an AA? This was also true of non-teachers and led us to devise a second area of the system. This can be seen below on the right side of the page.

Using the ‘Award an AA to a Single Student’ section staff members can find a student using the address book or instantly place their id into the box. They then click on the next button and the are faced with options on the type and number of AAs.

The drop downs allow staff to select up to 3 AAs and allocate them to an area which they are related to. By clicking ‘next’ the AAs are instantly added to the system. From here we needed to decide how to show the total AAs for students, tutor groups and year groups to different audiences. I will cover this part of the rewards system in the next session.

New SharePoint 2010 features for education. SharePoint School Reward System.

In the last series I looked at Twynham School’s first new product for SharePoint 2010- the Online School Calendar. If you missed these posts you can find the first part here and the second part here. Our second product launch this summer was the SharePoint School Reward system which has been live at Twynham School for 5 weeks now. The idea for an online reward system was developed within out Student Council and I have written about their part in our SharePoint development in previous posts which you can see here. With every development we ask that whether you are a student or a member of staff you create a ‘mock up’ or storyboard to make sure your ideas are clear and the original ideas of the students can be seen in the image below.

From this point we then set to work building the solution in SharePoint. One of our newest SharePoint developers, Rob Brown built out the original teacher view which I will show in this post. The main criteria was to give staff instant access to the classes they teach and their tutor group to give a reward point or as we call it an AA (Academic Achievement). As well as this it quickly became clear that staff would need the ability to give any student an AA regardless of whether they teach them or not. The interface for staff can be seen below:

Using the left hand side teachers can quickly and easily award AAs to students they teach or tutees. They simply select a class from the drop down and all students are shown as you can see below (student surnames have been removed):

From here a teacher can select any student and award an AA from the drop down up to a maximum of 3 AAs. Two things which were removed from the specification were the ability to give more than 3AAs and the ability to batch select an entire group and give them all an AA. In both cases students felt these actions would devalue the curency of the AA and wanted fewer reward points given for better achievements. The final aspect you will notice on the image above is a running total of AAs you as a teacher have awarded to each student so you can see how they are doing in your subject during the year.

You can see the full gateway page with the AA system built in below to give some context:

Tomorrow I will cover the system for awarding AAs to students that you do not teach.

SharePoint 2010 as an effective Learning Gateway

October 7, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: SharePoint 

One of the topics I will be speaking a lot about this year is SharePoint 2010 and its position as an effective Learning Gateway in education. Last weekend I was fortunate to be able to present with my good friend Dave Coleman at the first SharePoint Saturday UK. The hour long presentation is captured in the PowerPoint below which I hope you find useful. Please do share it with others as the most comprehensive document on our work at Twynham School with SharePoint 2010 as a Learning Gateway.

View more presentations from mikeherrity.

New SharePoint 2010 features for education. SharePoint School Calender part 2- editing

September 22, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Best of Breed Products 

Yesterday I showed our SharePoint 2010 School Calendar which helps simplify communication of all key school dates within a large educational institution. Today I wanted to show how easy it is to edit the calendar using the out of the box SharePoint functionality. On the Learning Gateway the calendar can be seen by any administrator with a series of tabs (see below). These allow the user to enter assemblies, activities, assessment schedules, meetings and planned staff absence from school.

By selecting one of the tabs the administrator will be faced with a very simple editing box which appears in browser and can be seen below.

Details can be quickly inputted into the form and appear immediately in the calendar within the correct category. Although this is a very simple SharePoint solution its impact on a large school is enormous. This ability to access constantly changing information is also enhanced with additions to the calendar showing in red when added after the 1st September.

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