APPs and links between KS2 and KS3: first achievable steps

I am not an expert with IT and would never suggest that I was, but I do love my ipad and the fun you can have with all sorts of APPs to use in language learning! So yesterday was exciting CPD opportunity for myself as well as others because yesterday Joe Dale visited us here in Warrington for a twilight linked to our DfE project Language Learning for everyone

We had 55 teachers in the room ,six high schools were represented plus we had primary WSTA SCITT students too.
There were teachers from St Helens,Halton,Knowsley,Warrington.Wigan ,St Helens and Cheshire who ranged from novices and beginners with ipads to more experienced ipad and APP users.It was fast and furious but there was plenty of food for thought and ideas, plus I think every teacher went away with next steps to try out in the world of APPs!

Words such as AfL ,understanding of prior learning, shared learning,continuity,transition activities again spring to mind!

I have had an ipad for a year now and love it.I enjoy looking at the ways we can use the APPs often recommended on Twitter to create learning opportunities for the language learning primary school children we work with.
We have had great success with Yakit , Pic Collage and Sock Puppets plus colleagues have tried out Tellagami and Zondle. We also love a programme from (Autorap) to record children and create raps of their simple recordings.

This Christmas we are using Twinkle Twinkle Little Star with both Yakit for Kids with younger children and Autorap with the older children  Most of my colleagues have to work with one Ipad in class their own and a VGA cable to connect to the main system and share via the screen in their classrooms. 

One of the main intentions of the CPD twilight was to bring primary and secondary teachers together at the same training event to meet and to consider links through technology between KS2 and KS3. 
So now I am putting on my KS3 hat and looking at the possible links between the APPs Joe shared with us and how we can create purposeful learning opportunities between Y6 and and KS3. Thanks to Joe for the answers to my questions during CPD about possible ways to do this.......

Google Drive 
Setting up a shared folder on Google Drive between KS2 and KS3 language teaching colleagues seems to me the first step! 
Teachers can see what children are doing and share good practice plus shared activities can be accessed from these folders.These can be across all 4 skills and look at grammar too! Words such as AfL,quality assurance, support,creativity, continuity , transition activities spring to mind!

 Yakit for Kids 
Joe showed us how to create the characters and then add voice recordings with this APP.I asked Joe if one person could create the characters and then if this was shared in Google Drive could another person add the voice recordings and I was delighted to hear the answer was yes!  Well there is potential here for a Year 6 challenge . 

  • One Yakit for Kids clip with characters  (it takes about 5 minutes maximum to source and make) 
  • Shared on Google Drive by a KS3 teacher,downloaded by the KS2 Y6 teacher for the Y6 children to add the voice recordings .
  • What do they think the characters are saying? 
  • I can see this being a termly challenge based on a theme or focus that is pertinent to Y7 term 1- revisiting personal information, talking about objects and describing them etc.
  • There is limited time of 15 seconds but then Joe showed us a clever technique to stitch Yakit clips together so children who can or want to  say more can stitch together the identical clips but with continued question and answer dialogues! Words such as AfL ,understanding of prior learning, shared learning,continuity ,transition activities again spring to mind!

Ever since I found out about QRs I have really liked them. I can see links between drama, music and QRs and performance ! In a primary language learning context I have suggested using QRs on display to share good language work with parents and carers or sending QRs home to parents to see the work they have done. 
A teacher  in the audience did ask the question yesterday about what happens if parents don't have the correct equipment to read the QR and Joe does know a way to do this but maybe you need to ask him this....
And yesterday I realised once again what an easy way this would be to:

  •  set up question and answer treasure hunts for Y6 children 
  • created by either language assistants in high school or older pupils.
  • Simply create a set of recordings (either visual and spoken or just spoken), 
  • load on Google Drive in a "treasure hunt" folder and share with Y6 teachers.
  • Can the Y6 children piece the  QRs together so that they make sense and flow as one piece of information text or dialogue.......  Words such as AfL ,understanding of prior learning, shared learning,continuity ,transition activities again spring to mind! 

Book Creator
I have tried out Book Creator as a class activity with one class at KS2. I would say that the children are more adept than myself at using this and enjoyed showing me how to add, insert , put in sound clips.
Joe showed us how to add sound clips though that become transparent icons on the pictures and again it occurred to me that this could be a Y7 - Y6 activity:

  • Simply take photos of objects in a Y7 classroom and school.
  • Ask your Y7 to record a description of some of the items in the pictures
  • Conceal the sound files and then pop in to a book creator  template.
  • Share via Google Drive with Y6 teachers and the children in Y6 can have a virtual tour of the high school in the target language.
  • All the class needs to do is hover over each object and listen to what has been recorded. 
  • It works the other way round too - allowing Y7 language teachers to meet the class of Y6 at a specific school in a specific year via a photograph.
  • Simply take a photo of the class and ask each child to introduce themselves in the target language (personal information,likes,dislikes etc) Words such as AfL ,understanding of prior learning, shared learning,continuity ,transition activities again spring to mind!

Book Creator can allow the children to share writing,to annotate work and to add pictures of events that have taken place or performances the class have taken part in- not necessarily one book per child,but one "special 2 book per class over the course of KS2 or throughout Y6 would enable KS3 teachers to look and see and be able to refer to prior learning activities and events with their new Y7 intake.

Using Book Creator KS3 colleagues could set up activities based on nouns, adjectives and verbs by simply sharing on Google Drive via the Book Creator APP.Accessed and used by the classes in Y6 as one off revisiting and practising activities and the results recorded in Book Creator and shared back to KS3 teachers via Google Drive.  Words such as AfL ,understanding of prior learning, shared learning,continuity ,transition activities again spring to mind!

As with all CPD events, a health warning needs to be applied here.

  • Small  and achievable steps are best .One simple trial project with a small and willing group of schools or with one link primary school.
  • Careful and clearly planned activities and expectations
  • Carefully selected APPs that all staff and children understand and can use
  • Realistic time limits 
  • Activities that can be achieved with one ipad in the room or with a class of children with access to ipads
But what a way to build transition links ... AfL, shared learning, quality assurance and support, continuity and creativity.