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Nessy Apps

I’ve had a good play with all the Nessy Apps on my android Smart Ultra 6 phone and they all run pretty smoothly. The Hairy Words apps are particularly good for High Frequency Words. Check out more information on Nessy products.

 

If you use the code ‘red dragon’ at the cart, you’ll get 10% off.

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Chimp Fu and Nessy

Just in time for summer hols, Nessy Learning Ltd have released a new app on both iTunes and Google Play– Chimp Fu! Chimp Fu press release

Chimp_Fu_app

Chimp Fu takes an aspect of the Nessy Learning System and provides a games-based graded approach to ‘chunking’ or segmenting words into syllables. The player is introduced to strategies to help break up words then can play a series of games. I’ve played it with some of my pupils and they seem to enjoy the games and progression. The neat thing about Chimp Fu is that if you have a Nessy.com account, Chimp Fu will sync to it allowing pupils to pick up progress on any device. The App costs £1.99 on iTunes but is FREE on 17th July for 24 hours, don’t miss out!! It’s £1.79 on Google Play.

|||***If you use the code ‘Red Dragon‘ for ANY Nessy product, then you will receive a 10% discount***|||

Chimp_Fu_word_chop

 

Whilst it’s aimed at KS 1 & 2 pupils, many older struggling readers may benefit from using the App.

The Nessy Learning System is now available online as NESSY READING and those of you who use Nessy Learning System will welcome this extension. Pupils can access the program from home, with the 1000s of worksheets and printable card games included in the program, it’s a steal. Even better with the 10% discount, just quote Red Dragon.

Nessy Reading is a pretty comprehensive online teaching resource and whilst nothing’s perfect, it ticks lots of boxes for engagement and motivation for those struggling with literacy and the humour running throughout is an endearing feature. There is plenty of overlearning and repetition of patterns and strategies. Don’t be put off by the KS1 & 2 focus, I’ve had plenty of KS3 pupils happily using the games and worksheets to reinforce lesson content.

You can play for free here

 

NB. I have delivered training for Nessy but receive no commission for sales, I just think it’s a good tool.

 

#Naace Award and Las Vegas

On March 7th this year, I went up to Leicester to the Naace conference as I’d been nominated and shortlisted for the Inclusion Impact Award by Drew Buddie, whom I’d met briefly at the Teachmeet at BETT last year. I didn’t think I stood a chance, but went up as I wanted to congratulate the winner and also out of courtesy to Drew. I was truly and utterly gobsmacked, as anyone who was there would have seen, when I was announced as the winner, I am still so mightily proud today. There were so many other fabulous people nominated and they are all winners in my eyes and I’m truly humbled that the panel recognised something in my work. Many thanks to Cricksoft for their sponsorship of the award.

Here is the Prezi of what I submitted after being shortlisted – Finding The Key.

In the Prezi I refer to some work I do with the Kinect device, and here is>>>> some video <<< from a Teachmeet explaining the basics of the work.

I am presenting a paper based on this work at The 15th Annual Conference on Human-Computer Interaction, in Las Vegas in July.

My great friend Tony Brooks initially invited me to submit as he thought it would be good to show my work in the States. I’m very chuffed to be attending however I need to find some funding from somewhere.

There are some top people doing similar work here in the UK e.g. Anthony Rhys, James Winchester, LittleAngelsSch and Andrew Walker, and it would be great to be able to give their work a plug too.

I’m delighted, deeply grateful and thrilled to announce that the TES have very kindly offered to sponsor my trip to the States. Huge, huge thanks to Ann Mroz and Magda Wood and all at TES.

How to install OpenNI, PrimeSense and SensorKinect to use Processing Hand Tracking ‘Apps’. Part 1.

I demoed some stuff that the fabulous Jan Ciger has put together for me with the OpenNI Open Source libraries for Kinect and some great sketches from Processing at #TMSEN12 SEN teachmeet on Sat 28th Jan.

As Processing is written in Java, then the OpenNI libraries have been used to avoid driver conflicts and also they are cross-platform. As Jan compiles uses Linux, it makes sense for me to use the format and libraries he uses.

You need to download and install several bits of software.

You will need to download :-

From this site:-

https://code.google.com/p/simple-openni/

Follow the instructions under installation.

Plug in your freestanding Kinect into a USB port (you’ll need an adapter if you haven’t got one e.g. ONE OF THESE ) and power socket.

In you start menu, you should have OpenNI and Primesense , under Primesense you should have Nite and Sensorkinect, click on Nite and you should have an uninstall, a Documentation and a Samples folder, click the samples folder, click on Sample-Point Viewer, it should open, stand in front of the Kinect and after a little while you should see your hand drawing a line or Sample-Stick Figure, you should see a little yellow you with  a skeleton inside it.

Also, in the yellow samples folder double click that, in the Bin folder, click the Release folder, and there are a few more samples in there, some work better than others, but you should get the idea.

let me know if any problems @cerirwilliams on Twitter.

Stop here for now and check all that lot works.

Next you’ll need these.

Java Development Kit version 6 is stable

Processing- http://processing.org/download/

Eclipse (it has a better editor/debugger than Processing), scroll down and get the UK Mirror. Get this one.

I’ll do a how-to on ‘Proclipsing’ next, but have a look here if you want, it’s  MAC version but it does work, but might need a couple of tweaks for Windows in the terminology.

Hope it works for you.

DSi and Games Based Learning – some more

Last week I asked my pupils  to bring in their Nintendo DS games consoles in to lessons and some of them did this week. On Tuesday, my small (3) group of pupils (all identified as having SpLD) used them to play a spelling game using the Pictochat feature. I gave 1 pupil a word to give another (ck endings in this case), the pupil wrote it down and zapped it into the Pictochat screen. The asker then copied the word and also zapped it into the screen. All the pupils could then see if the spelling was correct. The next pupil took his turn and so it went on. The pupils reviewed and acknowledged success and helped correct inaccuracies with not so much a sense of ‘that’s wrong’, more of a ‘it’s right this time’ positivity. I felt a great satisfaction from removing myself from the scene once they were up and running, the pupils’ motivation and engagement in the task was, to say the least, intense.

Obviously the same task could be done with pencil and paper, but I firmly believe the fact they were holding these little boxes increased their participation and sense of  ‘flow’ in an activity that I had previously not witnessed. As only one pupil had brought his in, the other two said they had lost theirs ‘in the house somewhere’. It will be fantastic if they find them for next week!

There was a similar pattern to lessons on Wednesday, but today was probably the most exciting development.

H, (am keeping her anonymity for the time being, hopefully the PTB will assent that I can start these pupils blogging asap but there appears to be some red-tape to pass through first….) is a year seven pupil I have taught since September. She is very timid, almost an elective mute, rarely speaking but reads quite well albeit barely audibly.

The week before last she asked were we bringing our DS’s in? I said yes but last week the whole school was on ‘theme day’ so I didn’t have any pupils. This week, the other pupil who attends with her was absent. She  had been learning spellings with the ‘or’ letter pattern and sat down and immediately got her DS out and fired it up. I noticed a picture of a hamster on her start-up screen. She wrote this with no prompting;-

H1 (Medium)

As well as the dialogue on the DS she appeared hugely more animated than usual, and as we started checking her  ‘or’ spellings  this then appeared.

H2 (Medium)

And smiled, this sense of humour had never revealed itself before, the spelling dialogue continued. Here are some more images of the screen towards the end of the lesson.

H3 (Medium)

I used the opportunity to correct some High Frequency spellings which she then altered, each time noticing what the mistake was.

H4 (Medium)

This final screen I think illustrates the power that this little box could have on her learning.

H5 (Medium)

I couldn’t help being genuinely flabbergasted by the amount of interaction, intensity and motivated engagement she showed in the activity. This was the first time I had used the DS with this pupil. The multi-modality of the communication, both her increased speaking, and the dialogue via the DS was quite extraordinary in comparison with previous lessons.

To witness a pupil using the entertainment technology they use everyday to enhance their learning, was possibly never more powerfully apparent to me than today.

games based learning for spld and dyslexics- post ukief10

I’ve written nothing since my new job as a teacher of SpLD, dyslexic pupils and pupils with literacy difficulties, but here’s an update on some ideas that I’ve posted before on but with a fresher slant, and especially after #itmeet and #ukief10. Some fabulous mini-presentations from @janwebb21, @dawnhallybone, @deputymitchell, @mrstucke, @jdeyenberg et al at the #itmeet evening session and it was great to put faces and bodies to lots of tweeps. I’ll reflect on the Tuesday a bit later.

I try and turn everything into a game where I can and have found the following have engaged the pupils in their learning-

  • Phonics- letters recognition for the very young, feely bag, a few letters in the bag ( the ones they don’t know only), score points for correct sound and name
  • Spelling solutions- after dictating a test passage pupils score each others dictations proof reading from the original text, helps scanning, reading carefully and throws up the specific spelling anomalies for each pupil
  • Mnemonics- they do work-get kids to make funny ones and score on laughter rating.
  • As I have Android I use Talking Tom Cat (like Talking Carl) to speak back, kids love it on early trials and the fact you can record video is a bonus (I wish Talking Carl would work on an htc wildfire  devs ;-)).
  • Wordshark– still so excellent for quick find spelling pattern reinforcement.
  • Nessy– shedfuls of rich content-serve it digital or print but save ink and use it on whiteboard- great.
  • The ipod Pocket Phonics leads the pack for me in apps because of the British accent (come on you app developers, get a UK British accent on your literacy games, you’d sell tons more!!!)
  • I’ve yet to try the Pictochat thing on the Nintendo DS in the current job (but did before) however I think the pupils will enjoy spelling and story telling using that feature (rather than paper, just because they like it!)
  • Swap cards-reading, speaking and listening card games- very useful and the pupils love them
  • Story telling with USB Smartmic to record.
  • Xtranormal- have used this today to create a spelling dialogue here, very first trial, huge potential for engagement and scriptwriting, and both a year 7 and a year 9 said it was ‘very cool’.
  • Thanks to @chickensaltash for the heads up on these next tools…
  • Blabberize– great fun for speaking and listening activities.
  • Fuzzwich– an animation tool for dialogue added to pictures.
  • Dvolver– direct your own movies.

but also general things you can do in mainstream classrooms to aid the SpLD/Dyslexic pupil

  • Change background clour on whiteboard-
  • Word 2007/10 (-> Page Layout>Page Colour> select colour)
  • PDF doc (-> Adobe Reader>Edit>Preferences>Accessibility>Check Replace Document Colours box>Choose Page Background) to pale yellow, blue, whatever colour suits (even if there is no discernible difference, why not have a pastel background.
  • Photocopy texts onto pastel coloured paper.
  • Word banks- can be on wallcharts, put in a file, on a Wallwisher, Dabbleboard, etc.
  • Spelling journal, carry it around with them.
  • Coloured overlays, you can buy a set of 10 A4 sheets from Crossbow and cut them up into 5cm by 2/3cm rulers. Get a mini-set of all colours, lay them out over a page and ask the pupils if any colour make a difference reading-wise, the extensive research in this area doesn’t matter one way or the other in my opinion, if a pupil feels one is good/better than reading black off white then give them their own mini reading ruler.

Just a few things I have found useful which I hope some of you find useful, and to quote  a widely read book , ‘The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing and the main thing is learning.’ Steven Covey- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (thanks Dan again). And keep learning dangerous and naughty- thanks @daviderogers.

And its all horses for courses, what works for one might or might not work for another, let the pupil lead the learning, light the fire rather than fill the vessel.

Thoughts on ipod, Clicker and Ds in the classroom

In contrast to the previous posts, I’ve been pondering about how I’ve been using the Ipod and the Nintendo DS (mine is an iXL< good for my failing eyesight) in the classroom. The Clicker bit I’ve added since i started this .

I work with a small class of MLD pupils.

My first pop was during the Winter Olympics and I used Super Mario at The Winter Olympics and Winter Sports 2009, both on DS. Both had instantaneous internal combustion with the pupils. I just provided 1 rule, that they  had to write the time/distance/points etc. down they had taken at the end of their turn.  Outcome was really positive, lots of self-evaluation on turn-taking, ordinal numbers, using minutes, seconds and 100ths of seconds,  arguments and resolutions, plaudits and accolades at playing a good game, data handling, sorting, table-building etcetera. Have since used the DS’s in a SEAL lesson getting the pupils to draw emoticons/smiley faces in Pictochat and sending them to the others to guess which emotions were being shown.

They used Word Magic on the Ipod and 2 non-readers were shouting the letters or sounds missing from the words at me within minutes of switching the game on.

For our Romans project the pupils used Rotten Romans on DS,  the good readers could be really involved with this and used the 2 readers in the class to read the historical info, then relay the instructions to the others, then all pupils could play the games – check out their claymation and commentary about gladiators that they made following this, I’ll add it soon… their Movie Maker editing skills are progressing slowly but surely.

I’ve used the Ipods as research tools using google,  google earth, and maps, and  already pupils are indicating the notion that the web is more than about homepages of Ben10, Transformers, Spongebob, Dr Who etc etc. I bought a tube-shaped battery operated speaker from ebay for a tenner so more pupils can hear the audio easily.

The World Cup app from Duchy software looks to be a great entry point into finding data about teams, players and fixtures. I’ve already used it in conjunction with the Panini sticker albums to locate countries,  flags, which teams are from rainforest areas (cc IPC project, other world geography etc.  I got 7 free sticker books from a big supermarket chain for the kids, could cost me and arm and a leg…..)

Clicker 5 by Crick software isn’t handheld but I think it is a brilliant tool on many counts. There are lots of tutorials online to do most anything. One thing useful is to create a grid that has nothing in it and save as Reading Grid or whatever , I get the pupils to copy and paste research info they have located that they might not be able to read much of and get them to paste into the blank doc and they know how to make it speak, here’s a Jing of them and I showing how. You can do anything with Clicker, but the tailorability (if there’s such a word) to your students can be quick and effective e.g. a wordbank specific to their level and task. We did a writing task on Transformers Robots as a report writing exercise.  The pupils made a wordbank of words they might use often, ( e.g. characters-Optimus Prime, Megatron, places- Cybertron etc, which would take them ages to write with a pencil,  and then they found pictures which they added into cells to make word identification easier. For little words, they either spelt out or used the built-in wordbank.  with mine and the NNEB’s  scaffolding, they made such a good job of the format, they all succeeded hugely in creating a report about  something that was led by them, and which looked great. A report about rainforest birds came after, all of the struggling writers were using reference books and the internet for info with previously uncharted skill as if they were fluent readers and writers , I’m sure as a result of the ICT-based first activity.

Am looking forward to developing the potential of these learning tools further…

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