Sunday, 9 August 2009

Useful websites

Now it's the summer holidays I thought I'd share some websites that I have discovered during the last academic year which I plan to embed firmly in the Year Six curriculum next year.

Twitter: I know that this is hardly 'a discovery' as it's been hard to escape from it this year. But Twitter is a brilliant social networking website which school has used to share news about events. This year we have used the site simply as a reporting tool, but next year we plan to use it to engage with our parents more effectively. Our Friends of the school could use it to communicate, too.

Wallwisher: This website will be useful for creating class surveys, but also for sharing thoughts. Next year I want to use it for character studies in English to give the children a way of sharing their ideas. In Maths I can use it for problem solving so that the children can share solutions. It's also great for simply celebrating news events - allowing pupils to offer their own best wishes.

Vimeo: Owing to the number of digital cameras the school has purchased (many through voucher collection schemes) videos of the children's work are becoming more frequent. We have created a channel on Vimeo (which I just feel is safer than YouTube for our children) to share videos.

Wordle: Since introducing Wordle to staff it has mainly been used for display purposes. I intend to use it as a tool for analysing the main messages in a piece of work. It could also be used for examining language choices and investigating the features of a style of writing.

Flickr: We use Flickr for sharing photos from school. Our school newspaper reporters use it to find suitable pictures for their articles. We also use it for work on Photo Story and PowerPoint as it's so easy to find pictures to illustrate our work.

Voicethread: A recent discovery is Voicethread where pupils can have a conversation about a picture together. It is really clever and very easy to use. I think we could use this to explore settings and characters in English and also to use it as a basis for problem solving in maths.

Webspiration: Great for mindmapping and for planning!

Etherpad: This is an awesome collaborative writing website. Up to 8 people can work on the same piece of writing at the same time. We used this to work on radio advert writing and also for writing play scripts. I just think of all the times that I've asked pupils to work as a pair on one piece of writing and then seen only one person doing the work. Never again!

Memiary: This very simple website allows you to share five things that you have done today. Next year I plan to use this as a daily review of what we have learned.

Do you have any new websites that you plan to use with the children next year?