Some notes, part of a ragged collection on lockdown learning.

Writing more poetry this week using Long Trip by Langston Hughes as a model. We worked on the poem everyday writing on Thursday & Friday. I play music for 5 minute writing blocks. This seems to work. Last week’s poem Our Magic Box Biggies is on the biggies blog, and this week’s will be up there soon.

Teams for iPad got an update promising hands up, but none of our iPads show this yet despite having the update.

It would be handy to copy the text of a conversation (or export it) in teams. Copying one message at a time is not much fun. I need to try the notes facility and see if it works for the pupils.

A we seem to be going back next session to a mix of home and school I think I’ll be starting to try out OneNote again. Last time wasn’t fun but if it works it will really help with organisation.

The plan to Flip our teems meeting a bit was a partial success. Quite a few of the class didn’t read the message so just turned up. So we had to go over things anyhow. I think I’ll keep going, despite the extra prep. The videos are pretty quick & dirty, just recording of voice over keynote slides. (I use screenflow for this as opposed to the built in recording ’cause I prefer it).

Presentations continue to lag on teams, despite a 800kb deck today. I could even see this on my iPad beside the computer! I don’t really think it is a bandwidth problem. Quite a few pupils went silent, leaving the meeting and rejoining helped with that.

I made a real effort to spend some time in Minecraft with the pupils this week, didn’t really happen as every time I found time someone could not log in leading to conversations in teams. Quitting the app and swiping away and trying again seems an iPad solution.

Some notes, part of a ragged collection on lockdown learning.

So far I’ve been following a pretty standard pattern for our class team meetings. 1 hour a day 5 or six items running from a prepared PowerPoint.

I think most of the pupils enjoy it or at least the ones that have turned up come back.

I try to give as much time to them to talk as I can, but it is difficult getting contributions when we don’t know who is going to talk. I do a fair bit of round the class and some shout out when you have an answer!

My main problem is the slides failing to show up on the pupils screens. I don’t think I’ve managed a meeting where everybody has seen the slides in a timely fashion. My screen is white/black is a common cry.

We had a meeting this morning where less than half the class turned up, so only 12 in the meeting. I gave up trying to use the slides as there were too many problems. This was with a 1.9mb powerpoint so I am not sure where the problem lies? I have generally a very basic approach to slide decks. No transitions, very few images, lean & mean.

I’d really like to know how to get the slides to work a wee bit better. I even tried turning my video off to see if that would help, but it didn’t make much difference. As I’ve no idea about the pupils connection it is difficult to even guess.

I had though earlier that flipped learning might be the way to go, and do link or embed some videos on our blog. I got the impression that they were not much watched. I am now thinking that it might be better to make my own videos and ask the class watch them just before the meet. This will of course mean more prep.
So my classes timetable for tomorrow looks like:

  • 12:45 – 1:45 Minecraft
  • 1:45 – 2:00 time to watch a couple of wee videos uploaded to Teams.
  • 2:00 – 3:00 Team meeting

In other news:

I thought hands up in Teams had reached the iPad, but it seems not.

I am beginning. To see a drop off in participation, or in the sending me ‘work’ via Teams, e-Portfolios or email. I don’t think the May holiday helped, although I had a few pupils posting and even opened Minecraft up for a while on Monday. Maybe changing things up a bit in the meetings will help.

Some notes, part of a ragged collection on lockdown learning.

Teaching via blogs, teams and meets it a bit like throwing mud at the wall and seeing what sticks. I am not getting the same bunch turning up everyday. This makes planning a series of lessons difficult. Or continuing something.

My team meetings consist of some of the following:
– A bit of chat, perhaps “round the room” sharing news although if that happens every day most folk dry up after 2 or 3
– A few maths questions, pupIls note down answers and then we review and discuss.
– “Number talks”
– Tables bingo
– Every week we take a poem: read it on the first day; discuss words the next; Poetic techniques the next and do a bit of writing the next two. 10 minutes a day.
– A general knowledge quiz
– Discussions of some of the tasks on the weekly blog post.

I try to keep it moving along, light and happy.

We tried 5 minutes drawing with soft music one day this week, it seemed to go down well. I’ve done the same with writing. On paper then pasted into the chat. Again using poetry keeping it short.

Of course this is interrupted by pupils dropping out, trying to get back in! Mics not working, audio dropping etc.

I also run a Minecraft Education Server for an hour or so everyday. I mostly step back. Stick on the text to speech and try and get some prep done. Not particularly successfully. Every so often I wander about amazed at what is being done. It is a pretty open ended task, a Virtual Banton. It seems to develop in fits and starts. It drops away then an idea picks up. Fascinating to watch. I’ve never had more than 7 pupils in at once.

Today I was completely surprised, two of the class wanted to ‘give’ me the school uniform. It seems in Minecraft there are ways to pass on these thing. Some instructions in chat followed, but they were to complicated for me. One pupil then decided to make a video. And drop it in teams. 2 minutes later job done. I’ve got my uniform on.

Text of a pupil  blog post today, “I know I’m like two weeks late with this work but here it is.”

screenshot Farrago, Loopback, Teams

Notes to self as I try and teach myself to teach remotely. 

 

Powerpoint note, how annoying is Design Ideas. To turn it off you need to turn off all MS services in the privacy tab of the prefs. And relaunch app. And it didn’t seem to work for me. Back to Keynote – Export for me.

Teams

I am putting Announcements in 2 channels, then the next day removing them from the main channel and taking away the right to reply.

Got loopback working today. Dropping the Pass-Thru might have done the trick. This means I can mix in audio, Farrago in the meet today, with my mic.

screenshot Farrago, Loopback, Teams
Click for Big!

The Hands Up option turned up in Teams meeting for most of my class today. Good news was it seems to be in iOS as well as PC & mac.

Had a few more slides with photos today. These proved to be ‘laggy’ for some of the class. The children found that opening the chat and closing it seems to force a screen refresh and of the the slide shows up.

Tried having 5 minutes silent drawing in the meeting. I had my phone camera on my paper and some music in the background (loopback). It seemed to go down well.

Replied to Athole on Twitter (Twitter)

“@johnjohnston Why do you do a daily Teams meeting? Are they all class Teams? Do you do 1:1s too? I do a daily video message , 2 whole class video meets and two 1:1s a week. As well as all the video feedback. I’m just curious and comparing.”

Hi Athole,
Good question. I am not sure. It is the pattern I’ve fallen into. I put a weekly post of learning ideas up on our blog. The pupils respond on their e-Portfolios, occasional e-mails and in our Class Team.

I put the audio of the weekly post up.

I’ve a class of 24 p4-7, so 8 to 11 year olds.

We only have one team, we had not used Teams much before this. Just an an example of a chat app really. We used e-Portfolios a fair bit (WordPress, Glow Blogs).

I am trying to get some interaction with the class, give them some fun and encourage them to keep engaged. I’ve heard from some parents that it is motivating.

I’ve only had a maximum of 15 pupils in a meeting. I think some get bored and drop out. The environment for them all is different both physically and digitally.

During the meeting I work through a few different areas, usually look at a poem, have a quiz, do some ‘number talks’. Based on a powerpoint. It takes a lot of prep.

Our teams lacks pupil video. Which might be a good thing.

No 1-2-1s I’d not thought of that, nor heard of anyone doing them here?

I’ve not seen any local or national guidance here, so just trying things out and seeing how they go.

I’d be keen to talk about this more and obviously need to think more too.

Replied to Andrew Bailey on Twitter (Twitter)

“@johnjohnston @IanStuart66 @breadalbanebus How do you do this John? For the uninitiated.”

Markdown is a simple way to create html. I’ve found it useful it Teams. You can type it into a post editor and it is rendered as you go. Unfortunately from my pov posts in teams breaks if you paste in Markdown. But in the praise box you can paste in markdown and it renders on the published post.

For example **bold** *italics* [twitter](https://twitter.com)

is rendered:
bold italics twitter

I’ve got a wee script on my mac that will grab links to all my open tabs and make markdown from it so I can open all the pupils posts, copy all the links and paste into a praise thing.

Daring Fireball: Markdown

Notes to self as I try and teach myself to teach remotely. See More lockdown learning for some sort of background.

Experimenting with Farrago & loopback to merge different audio devices into Team meeting, not successful so far, mic seems to lose volume & extra background noise. Seems like a good idea, can bring in other audio to meeting.

An online lesson that goes a bit wrong really effects my mood. Given the circumstances this is going to happen quite often. A lot of my eggs in one hour.

North Lanarkshire have decided that all Teams should follow a naming pattern, NLC School Name Class Name. This really spoils the readability of posts when I want to mention the class.

You can turn on text to speech in Minecraft, then you can listen to the chat while working. The music is quite relaxing too.
Children are bonkers.

Notes to self as I try and teach myself to teach remotely. See More lockdown learning for some sort of background.

I remember when Apple Keynote came out I really liked it. For me the interface was simpler than PowerPoint and the files took less space. Now I am making a daily PowerPoint for our class meeting I’ve notice the file size situation is reversed. Exporting a keynote to PowerPoint is resulting in a smaller file.
I am still using Keynote as I am quicker and happier with the simpler UI.

For our meetings I am making, for me, quite long, 20 – 40 slide presentation. I get the impression that leaving out transitions and keeping them simple speeds things up. Pupils sometime get a blank screen, some of them have found that opening the chat and closing it sorts that out. I guess forces a screen refresh.

I try to keep the meeting moving along, were are doing an hour a day, covering a few different things each day. Given primary, age 8-11, I can’t expect a lecture to work. Getting the pupils to respond with voice as much as possible. Sometimes in turn, sometimes fire-at-will.

I am only getting around half my class of 24 turning up most days and imaging this would be more difficult with a class of 30.