Google's latest offering helps teach children to be safe, confident explorers of the online world. I used it with a class of Y5 children today and the consensus was overwhelmingly positive. The children play in four areas, tackling hackers, phishers, oversharers and bullies.
Interland is split into the following four worlds:
This game teaches children to be respectful and kind online and to report cyber-bullies.
Here the focus is on sharing information online only with people you trust.
Tower of Treasure
Tower of Treasure is all about making strong passwords...
The fourth game teaches children to steer clear of phishers and other fake stuff online.
There's also teacher resources available and a YouTube collaboration in the form of the so-called #BeInternetAwesome challenge - have a look at the videos below to find out more.
Having seen Glenn Malcolm demonstrate the amazingly powerful Sonic Pi at last month's FOBIT conference at Tanglin Trust School, Singapore, I am keen to try out the software with our Year 6 students. Now the software is ready to go on the school network, I am thinking about developing a sequence of lessons where children developing their 'soundscapes' in Sonic Pi, and then mix these creations into a completed soundtrack in Soundtrap. Perhaps these could end up in a class Soundcloud area. Further updates about this project no doubt in due course!
As far as Google Docs goes, it's been said that it does 90% of what most people need from a word processor. That's certainly true, especially in the primary school, where complicated mail merging is not exactly commonplace. At least not in my school...
There are a number of Google Docs Add-ons that can help you get even more from the program. In no particular order, have a look at these add-ons for your pupils:
You've created a bullet-pointed list. At the touch of a button you can transform this into a mind map. Useful when you're perhaps writing out character traits - the first bullet point would be the character, followed underneath by their traits. Instantly created rather than messing around for hours with shapes and arrows....
Often you want the children to just write and not spend the first half of the session choosing fonts and colours. However when you do need an additional range of fonts, and you're after something a bit different from 'Lobster', this add-on provides ample choice to refresh your students' writing/typing!
Enables you to add voice feedback easily to your groups. Integrates well with Google Classroom. You'll need to experiment first with this one, maybe with a small group...
So there are millions of images available when you Insert>Image and then use the 'Google Search' tab. And that's half the problem sometimes. Keep things like the 1990s and offer a selection of clipart images. Sometimes less is more. Unless you need something really specific that is...
A useful highlighting tool - provide a story opener for example, and then get your children to select particular features you are looking for - all examples of direct speech could be one possibility. Assign a colour to this feature and then at the click of a button all the highlighted text can be saved as a new document. Also great for peer assessment.
You have a group collaborating on a document. This add-on allows you to see each person's contribution as a percentage of the total. Now there's no excuse and nowhere to hide! It also gives other useful stats including a word count. I know that's available anyway in Docs but still...
To access any of these once installed look at your toolbar as follows: