Take Advantage of Everything School Videos Have to Offer

As schools become more accustomed to the latest technologies, we’re seeing an increase in the use of school videos.

While recording a video was once a costly expense that most schools simply could not afford, thanks to smartphones and the popularity of video editing software it’s never been easier (or cheap!) to record a bespoke video for your school.

Some schools use video to promote their curriculum, giving prospective parents a glimpse at how their children will learn, in addition to the various extra-curricular activities students can participate with, such as sports, drama and music.

It’s a quick and easy way to draw interest in your school and keep attendance at a high, as most people use the Internet to research about local schools in the area and video offers a handy way for communicating large amounts of information in a condensed form.

They help your school stand out from the crowd and give the impression your school is a modern institution that understands the importance of staying abreast of the latest technologies.

School videos are also ideal for keeping parents of current students up to date with all the latest news and events, from sports days to school trips and everything in between.

School videos are a great and inexpensive way to promote your school and keep parents up to date with everything that’s going on, but it’s essential to ensure your school’s website is capable of publishing videos.

iClassCMS offers a simple solution for publishing school videos and a handy platform that keeps all your school videos in the one place so you can quickly access them whenever you need to.

For more information, please get in touch with us using the contact form.

Why Your School Should Blog

Blogging is one of the easiest ways to spread word about your school, but it also comes with numerous benefits for both teachers and students.

The iClassCMS platform comes with an easy-to-use blogging feature that simplifies the whole process, ensuring anybody in the school can write, edit and publish their own blogs (if given permission).

Apart from its value as a marketing tool for your school, blogging is a great way to create and store the school’s unique content.

It acts a handy online hub for everything you’ve ever published, from newsletters to information about upcoming school trips and everything in between.

For students, blogging is a great way to improve literacy and encourages children and young adults to perfect their typing ability, an invaluable skill they’ll likely need when they’re getting ready for job interviews later in life.

It also ensures students and teachers are familiar with information technology and the many different ways technology is changing our world.

Blogging is also great for encouraging creativity and curiosity in students, and they may find themselves discovering new interests due to visual element of blogs.

There’s many obvious and hidden benefits for student and teacher blogging, all of which your school can enjoy with the iClassCMS platform.

EdTech Trends Update

The EdTech industry is one of constant innovation, so it should come as no surprise to anybody interested in this area of technology that this year’s biggest EdTech trends are constantly evolving.

In today’s EdTech Trends Update, we look at the two areas of technology Irish schools are most interested to explore and how these new forms of technology will benefit students and teachers alike.

Mobile Learning

Mobile Learning, aka education via smartphones and tablets, is becoming increasingly common in Ireland and there are countless educational apps available to download today.

Schools are starting to realise the potential of Mobile Learning and a number of schools across the country are introducing Mobile Learning into a range of subjects to great success.

Among the benefits Mobile Learning offers are greater student engagement, higher lesson retention rates and the variety of learning options available for students to engage in.

Mobile Learning is guaranteed to become a bigger part of students’ lives and as more schools invest in this technology we should expect it grow in popularity and usage.

Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality

Affordable Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) for schools is still a while away but some Irish schools are slowly but surely giving their students the opportunity to try out these incredible technologies.

Augmented Reality is a fusion of computer generated images on reality while Virtual Reality features completely fabricated virtual worlds, which can be used to transport students to distant worlds and other eras.

Both forms of technology provide teachers with an innovative method for teaching students, allowing them to experience their lessons rather than just read about it the topic in a book.

A large number of tech companies around the world are developing more efficient and cost-effective AR and VR offerings, so this exciting technology is likely to find a permanent home in Irish schools in the coming years.

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Time Saving Technology Hacks

Technology Hacks

Technology can be very easy to use. It can also be difficult. For those who did not grow up with technology, it can be a really challenging and frustrating experience.

For those who do not fully understand technology, it is a grueling and tortuous experience. In the world we live in today, technology is not going anywhere, and in certain job fields, technology is now commonplace.

In the education sector today it would be considered abnormal for a classroom to not have some type of technology. Whether that technology be a computer, an iPad, or even just a projector. Many classrooms do not solely have a blackboard in the middle of the room. The ways of learning are constantly upgrading, so the methods of teaching should be as well.

“There can be infinite uses of the computer and of new age technology, but if teachers themselves are not able to bring it into the classroom and make it work, then it fails.”

– Nancy Kassebaum

Again, technology can be very easy, or it can be difficult. But there is good news. TED Talk speaker David Pogue has created a list of ten tech hacks that will save you some time. It will also provide you with some simple tips to use to help in the classroom. 

Watch the full video here

By Taylor

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Analytics for Education

Education Analytics

Education Analytics

In recent years, the idea of big data analysis and analytics has taken the tech and business worlds by storm. Every action that we take online leaves a digital trail. There’s an increasing emphasis on software that can analyze this large volume of data. Because this analysis is so vast, it can reveal fascinating trends and patterns in consumer behavior.

Learning analytics is the synthesis of user (learner) created data to discover correlations and predict on future outcomes.

George Siemens presents a holistic model for learning analytics that incorporates not only student class performance data, but also elements from all areas of a student’s online life. Predictions based on analytics would lead to adaptation, personalization, and intervention in learning.

This process helps educators and administrators as well. Recorded student interactions in the VLE (virtual learning environment) can be used to help create more dynamic curriculum design. There is potential for the learning experience to be optimized for each student. The impact of any updates or changes can be easily tracked.

Education AnalyticsWhy Learn Analytics?

Learning analytics is scalable – teachers can implement the basic principles as a way for individual students to reflect on their growth and success. An example of this would be to create a table with all class assignments. For each assignment, students can record where they completed it as well as their level of understanding. This also would include the grade they received on the assignment. Learners will be able to identify their optimal environment to complete assignments and predict how well they will do on an assignment based on various factors.

Learning analytics and educational data mining are powerful tools for improving learner performance, but they come with some ethical debates. Can students’ privacy be preserved? Additionally, would a prediction of success or failure during a course help or hinder students learning?

Let us know what you think in the comments below!

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Tech Tuesday: Flipgrid

Flipgrid
It’s a new way to introduce yourself, to present ideas, and ultimately, a new way to learn.

Say hello to Flipgrid.

Flipgrid is an education technology application for teachers and students. Teachers start the video discussion. Students respond. It is a fun way for students to interact with their classmates.
This educational tool is an important up-and-coming technology application in the education world. One of the main reasons relates to communication. Flipgrid boasts many positive qualities, especially for communication skills.
Flipgrid
Most students today prefer talking through their phones instead of talking face-to-face. With Flipgrid, students are still able to communicate without talking face-to-face. Through the video format, communication does still occur. This provides a unique opportunity to improve public speaking skills. The inclusion of video provides teachers an opportunity to give feedback to every student’s response.
Not only does it create a more fun classroom environment, it will help to increase classroom engagement among students, as well.
You can learn more about integrating Flipgrid into your classroom by clicking here.

By Taylor

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Don’t Be Invisible: Hacks to Boost your School’s SEO

Boost School SEO

Boost School SEO

In the era of 21st century learning, it’s important for schools to maintain a strong online presence. Having a strong SEO (search engine optimization) can help your school appear first in an online search. The first step is to create a top of the line website to engage students and parents, but it doesn’t stop there. Optimizing your site’s appearance in search engines will ensure that prospective families can find you. Here are 4 easy things you can do to make sure your school gets seen online!

  1. Content

    1. Make sure content includes keywords
    2. If you’re working in html, put page titles in heading 1 format that includes keywords
  1. Caption action

    1. Do you have videos on your site? Provide a transcript, as this will increase the number of keywords that the website contains. This can also be done with images. Make sure you post a caption with each picture. Search engines can’t interpret visual content (yet!) but they can certainly read text.

 

Boost School SEO

  1. Promote low-engagement content

    1. If a page or article is not getting as many clicks, post on soc
      ial media about it. This is a free way to harness your community to drive traffic to your site, improving its SEO.
  1. Make it mobile.

    1. Make sure your website is responsive to different screen sizes and can be accessible by smartphone.

With the implementation of these strategies, your school’s search engine ranking will improve! Still sound overwhelming? iClass provides a fully integrated website and mobile app solution with SEO included. 

 

Tech Tuesday: Coding in the Classroom

Coding in the Classroom

Coding in the Classroom

Why learn to code?

The number of schools implementing coding programs into their teaching process may seem unusual to some. The decision to teach with coding programs is part of the STEAM education trend. We communicate through reading and writing. Similarly, the process of coding uses a language to communicate with computers. A section of written code tells the computer how a program should operate and respond. It can also be used to create customizable visuals and web designs.

The ability to code has become very influential in the computer science industry and could prove helpful to students wishing to enter this field. Coding presents far more opportunities than a career working with computers and software. Teaching students about code is important. Coding can be beneficial in understanding different languages and ways of communicating. As students work towards coding solutions, they will practice critical thinking among other key skills.

The Positives of Coding

A 2018 survey by Stackoverflow found that about 87% of developers agreed that they have taught themselves a new language, framework, or tool without taking a formal course. These developers like many others are self-taught and practice the ability to learn on their own.

Learning code can help students work more independently. They will be more equipped to solve problems on their own because many coding solutions are found through self education. In addition, when students works through problems on their own, they will be better able to handle future challenges in both their life and career. Teaching students the basics of coding at a young age can establish the framework necessary for adding to key skills they will learn throughout their education.

Coding in the Classroom

The Technology

There are various EdTech companies that have developed kid friendly coding programs to help teachers incorporate code into the classroom. The products vary from games, to robotics, to basic coding programs. If you are concerned about finding the right product for your school, there are plenty of product available tdo meet the needs of students among varying ages and interests.

Below are a few creative coding products that could be right for your school:

Bloxels

A product using coding concepts that allows students to build a game terrain by editing the layout in varying depths of details. Bloxels uses colored blocks to represent different types of elements found in a simple game layout. At the most basic level the students can design navigation through the game. At each increasing level of complexity, the student can edit a character’s physical appearance. Although the product is based around video games, it supports the core fundamentals of coding in which you create a layout, design and style for every element.

Ozobot

It’s a small robot that allows students to code the robot’s actions. The product is an interactive way for students to understand the capabilities of coding as they watch their code come to life. Students can learn to code the bot online with their coding program. They can also use preset color codes drawn on paper. The bot responds rapidly to color codes drawn into a track on a piece of paper. Students can use the code to control the direction, speed and maneuvers of the bot as it follows the drawn out commands. Through Ozobot, students are able to learn varying methods for constructing a code, while also understanding its core concepts. 

Tynker

A company creating code based programs and games for students at varying levels of their education. The programs range from Beginner to Intermediate to Advanced. To start, young students play games and learn the basic methodology by solving coding problems and sequencing events. At the intermediate level, students develop more complex code and explore games with greater challenges. Finally, the advanced level begins coding by using Javascript and Python to create games. Students working at the advanced level also begin to apply their knowledge by coding real world solutions and web pages.

By Megan

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Introducing STEAM: A New Learning Approach

Adult art artist

Introducing STEAM Title ImageWhat is STEAM?

Introducing STEAM! STEAM is derived from STEM, which is essentially a more specific curriculum of education in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. In order to understand STEAM, we first need to understand a little bit about STEM.

STEM was introduced in the early 2000s because it was noticed there was a decline in proficiency of the subjects in the STEM field. With the introduction of this new field, many more teachers are now being prepared and trained to teach these specific fields. STEM includes learning about the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in completely scientific concepts.

This is where STEAM and STEM differ. STEAM, like STEM, teaches science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. However, STEAM differs in that STEAM includes the arts as well. Included in the teaching of the arts is drama, dance, music, media and visual arts, among others. While this curriculum also includes science, technology, engineering and mathematics, the teaching of STEAM is different in that it looks at the subjects in a more creative and inquiring type of way.

Introducing STEAM

Why is STEAM Important?

The humanities give us the context of our world. They teach us how to think critically. They are purposely unstructured, while the sciences are purposely structured. They teach us to persuade, they give us our language, which we use to convert our emotions to thought and action. And they need to be on equal footing with the sciences”.

– Eric Berridge

One of the main reasons why introducing STEAM is important relates to the fact that there is much emphasis on preparing students for the STEM field. While this is not bad, it also means that schools are pushing the scientific fields, and shifting the humanities to the side, which does not serve students well. As Eric Berridge said, the humanities (arts) need to be equal to the sciences. By pushing the STEM curriculum, we are unintentionally sending these students a message that the sciences are the best career path after school.

Teaching the arts allows for students to think in a more creative way, because of the fact that teaching with a STEAM curriculum allows for questions. It allows for students to think more freely and because the curriculum is not specifically scientific, there can be many different answers, and it opens the classroom for a more varied, in-depth discussion.

 

The takeaway: STEM is important, but only teaching a STEM curriculum is hindering the chances of students fully learning what they’re truly passionate about. By teaching STEAM, not only is the STEM curriculum included, but the inclusion of the (A)rts provides a less structured way to discuss topics, and it may just inspire students to participate more.

 

Teaching tip:

Makerspaces are one cool way to introduce STEAM curriculum in your classroom. Learn more about how to start a makerspace easily here.

By Taylor

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Creating Awesome Teacher Blog Posts

Mobile app design and development

Unsure of how to utilize your blog as a teacher? Here are some tips to create posts that engage your students, communicate your message, and inspire your class.

 

 

Create a clear and simple title

It is helpful to use a post title that accurately reflects the content being included in each individual blog post. This will allow students to navigate the class blog page easily and efficiently.

 

Keep longer posts well organized

Any extensive content should be well organized with clear subtitles and topic headers. The information should be delivered in paragraph, bullets and topic summaries. It can prove helpful to use text that is bold, underlined, Italicized and in different Font sizes to distinguish the most crucial information and headers.

 

Use hyperlinks to websites discussed

A post that discusses or reference specific websites should include a hyperlink that students can use to access the website in one click. This will ensure that students are able to access the website being discussed in a convenient and simple manner.

 

Helpful media to convey information

The use of media in a blog post can prove to be entertaining for students and convey the same information in a more memorable way. Media can vary from images to pdf documents and video files. Media used in the classroom can be relayed to students in this manner to make videos and graphics easily available for students. This can also allow students to continue their learning outside of the classroom if there is additional content that could not be discussed within the allotted class time.

 

Using informal language

Blog posts are a quick and simple manner for teachers to get information to students quickly and efficiently. Due to the speed and frequency of blog posts, teachers may find it helpful to use informal language (but still proper grammar!) to communicate well with their students. 

 

iClass CMS provides an intuitive and affordable content management solution for schools. Teachers, administrators, parents, and even students, can post blogs. One click moderation ensures that all tasks can be carried out in one minute or less.