I haven’t blogged for ages but here are a couple of reviews of a few resources.
The Flitlits is a series of narrated (if needed) iPad story apps created by Eiry Rees Thomas with support from the Welsh Government. They’re all available in the iTunes store. The characters inhabit the island of Fussbut, Seldom See, an imaginary land that time forgot. The apps are aimed at KS2/Grades 2-5 but the stories could be told and discussed with younger pupils too. The quirky stories are written in rhyming couplets and have a retro-storytelling feel to them. It is at the word-level/vocabulary-level that is perhaps where the best use of the stories could be exploited for educational purposes, I can certainly see me dipping into the stories for this purpose.
The three apps are
There is an extensive educational guide for curriculum ideas and possibilities for teachers to peruse. Welsh Language educators in particular could use the rhyming aspect of the stories to create resources for rhyming skills along the lines of the PAT (Phonological Awareness Training) resources, also perhaps to Tric A Chlic Welsh phonics programme. It’s perhaps pertinent to mention there is a dearth of resources in Welsh for any teachers with pupils displaying dyslexic tendencies. I hear though Pearson will be publishing some materials soon developed by walesdyslexia/dyslecsiacymru, they can’t come quick enough.
Chromecast is a dongle-sized device that plugs into the HDMI port on your TV, once set up, you can then stream your pc, tablet or phone screen to the TV, a bit like Apple TV. You can easily cast the screen from your Android phone or tablet, so e.g. docs in Google Drive could be displayed, photos from Gallery, doing away with the need for a visualiser/docu-cam etc., here’s a list of cast-friendly Android Apps. There are a growing number of Ipad apps that can cast, for example Youtube and other media can be streamed. Here are some ideas for classroom use, here’s another good article. Both point out that as an open platform, security is an issue. I’m sure some edu-safety boffins will find a solution, but the device does seem to have enormous educational potential.
Those of you who are familiar with the Nessy Learning Program (and don’t know yet), will be pleased to learn that Nessy is now accessible online as Nessy Reading. Site licences for schools are available, as are single subscriptions for parents. All the features of Nessy are still there; 100s of worksheets, animations, mnemonics, games, strategies etc, with the ability to track pupil progress, which is invaluable as a homework monitoring device for me. The initial assessment sets targets in reading and spelling then the pupil is guided by arrows pointing which activity to attempt next. The coup-de-grace for me is that unless the pupil scores at least 8/10, the level isn’t completed and must be done again, this doesn’t happen in the CD version.
Whilst Nessy was developed at the Bristol Dyslexia Centre, any pupils struggling with literacy may well benefit from having a go at using the Nessy program.
*Use the code RED DRAGON for ANY Nessy product (including schools) will receive 10% discount.
Teach Your Monster To Read