Monday, 31 October 2011

"Sheppard Software" - an ICT resource online and free to use!

I have chosen to write about "Sheppards Software". It was a colleague of mine that had used this website with her class and I thought that I would try it too. It was enormous! On this website you can find fun things to do in English. Here the pupils can learn new words and have fun at the same time. They can learn about other subjects than English. Here you can find activities for all ages.
You just need a computer connected to Internet and this link below to get started.

When you introduce this to your class or if you want to use it with all of your pupils, it is good to have a projector.

You can find hundreds of educational games, activities, quizzes, articles and more. The website is divided into different categories, for example animals, world, language arts, health, science, math and pre-school. If you go down the page you can find even more subjects, as history, brain, nutrition and seasons.
There are games, quizzes and other activities for all ages and if you scroll down you can see which category is recommended for each age.

At the bottom of the page there is a link "free for teachers". If you go to that page you get information on how to download things from this website and you can use them in your school or for pupils to use at home. The best of all is that it is free and you can download as many "games" as you want. There are more than one thousand schools worldwide that have taken advantage of this already.

"Pre-school" is good for newbeginners because in the other categories you need to have studied English for a while and you also have to be a good reader. In "Pre-school" and "Kid´s corner you can find things to listen to and learn.

It is a very extensive website, as a teacher you really have to take your time and try the activities. But if you have younger pupils you can let them try the "Pre-school" activities themseves and tell each other about them.
They can find many things to do on their own like games, jigsaw puzzles, memory games and things to paint.

When you get to know this website you can choose activities to use in your ordinary teaching. There are a lot of things about animals. One thing that is good here is that you can include a lot of other subjects when you are working.

As on many websites there are a lot of commercials but it is because of them the website can be "free".
It is an extensive website, so take your time. Good luck!

Anna-Maria Svensson

Teacher on demand – The ICT-resource for you!?

Teacher on demand is a web site started in 2008 as a school project in Falköping`s municipality together with the University of Skövde. It is an on-line program and it is free to use.
On this web site teachers show their self-produced films with short lessons or sequences in different subjects. It is also possible for students to publishing their works on “Teacher on demand” to share it with other students.
The main purpose with “Teacher on demand” is giving students more opportunities to achieve their goals, making it easier for teachers to reach out to students and their parents, as well as giving parents more opportunities to help their children.
The web site is easy to use. There is an instructional film which guides you through and shows you the possibilities with the site.

What you need to make it work
If you want to look at a film on Teacher on demand, you need a computer connected to the internet. It is also possible for you to download the films on your IPhone or IPod.
If you want to create a film, there is a free download of the software Camstudio, which allows you to record all screen and audio activity on your computer. The film can also be made in Moviemaker. If you run into trouble, there is a support on “Teacher on demand” which is available for you.

How the resource can be used by teachers
As a teacher you can create an account, make a video record of your lesson and transfer your video file to “Teacher on demand”. This gives your students the opportunity to see your lesson, or a sequence of it, repeatedly. This ensures the possibility of your students viewing your lesson even if they are not present.
Another possibility is using other teacher`s films on your lesson as a teaching aid. It saves time not producing your own materiel. So far there are in the English subject mostly films about grammar, but there are also informative films about eg the seasons, the alphabet and about London.
You can also use the films for your own inspiration.
If your students are working with a project in English you can download their work in the category “students’ production” to make it available for other students.

How the resource can be used by the students
If a student has difficulties in a topic the films are available for him or her to watch as many times as needed. Furthermore, you often find films in the same topic made by different teachers. If a student finds a teacher`s film who describes a topic in a way that makes him or her understand it better, the student can subscribe to those films and download them via ITunes to their IPod or IPhone.
I believe “Teacher on demand” facilitates the students learning as it will help them achieve their goals. In addition, skilled students can be inspired to reach higher grades by watching different films on different levels or be challenged to produce their own film. In that way, they may make a bigger effort to achieve. Their teacher only needs to log in and publish the film in the category “student production”.

Other considerations when using this resource
Before you start using “Teacher on demand” you should take a look at the instructional film which guides you through the web site.
If you cooperate with a school or a teacher in another country you can link films to them. In turn, they have the possibility to publish their films on “Teacher on demand”.
Hopefully there will be more English films available in the future. So far, the most films are as mentioned about grammar.
One problem that may prevent teachers from producing films is the access to or the knowledge of ICT tools. If you do have the equipment, do not hesitate to ask the students for help with the technical parts as they often have high computer skills.

Jeanette Karlsson

Friday, 28 October 2011


Am I right ?


I’ve chosen a website called E-twinning and the address is: This organization is a part of the Comenius program. They have around 150000 active members in many countries.
The goal is to find other schools in Europe to collaborate with. There are many ways to start a project and the only thing that stops you is the amount of time you want to spend on this project.  The website is full of ideas and you can choose if you want to start from scratch or if you want some help from a kit. There are many kits for example: culture in a box, digital Fairytales and digital journeys.
Also you can choose to either start a project yourself (based on a kit or based on your own  ideas) or you can join another project. You can also choose to work with only one school or many, with a lot of subjects or only one.
I have chosen to start a project based on a kit with only one other school. This is my first time creating a project with E-twinning and I taught it was a good idea with only one school. I send an invitation to a school in France who accepted. I and my college decide together which next step to take. The first one is to write a letter to each other with a presentation. The next one will be to present your hometown and your country in general. We are aiming at using more ICT along the project as power-point and photo-story etc.
If your project is accepted by E-twinning, the school is awarded the European Quality Label. If you want to you can further apply for the E-twinning prizes. 
As many other sites or tools, E-twinning has advantages and disadvantages. The most important is that it gives a more natural input for the pupils. There are reel persons who read the letters, it isn’t only the teacher who does it to grade. You learn more about other countries and ICT in general.
The negative is that it isn’t the easiest page to get to know and it takes a lot of time which you might not have as a teacher. But with a lot of free help and guidance from Anders Brännström at E-twinning you can do it!
My advice is to start out small: join another project or start one yourself by taking a kit and inviting only one school. It’s a good idea to choose a country where the French, Spanish or English isn’t there mother tongue. In that case your pupils have the same knowledge of the target language and you can develop together.

Anneli Ritzén

Photo Story – an ICT-resource for everyone!?

I have used Photo Story a couple of times myself and I am astonished every time I see the result.
In a very easy way you can create stories that really look professional.

Photo Story is a free software but you need to download it. You can find a link to it on the PIM pages right here. I chose to get it from PIM because I hope it is a safe web page.
It is easy to download and to get started with.
You use this software when you want to show your pictures or make a story out of your pictures.

When you start to make your Photo Story you will be guided through the whole work by instructions. The instructions are very easy to follow. The students have no trouble following them, even the students that are not so used to work with a computer manage to do it, especially if they work in groups.

The first thing to do is to import pictures from a file. You can use photos, pictures that you have scanned or pictures you have got from multimediabyrån or fotofinnaren where the pictures are free to use.
When you have the pictures you need you can choose if you want something written on the pictures. You can also edit your pictures, for example cut and rotate them.
There are also some special effects you can use on your pictures, for example, colour pencils that makes the picture look like a painting. The students will love this function, I do. It’s amazing to see a photo turn into a nice drawing in grey-scale. That function can make your photos turn into a picture book.

The next part to do with your project is to record a narrator. In this part of the work you can also decide how the pictures will tune in or tune out.
Here I think it’s important to discuss with the student how they do this. If you have too many different ways of tuning in and out the pictures it will destroy the story.
Every time you do any changes you are able to preview it, that gives you an opportunity to experiment to get the best result.

The next thing to add to your project is music in the background. You can find very useful and suitable music on multimediabyrån (linked above) that is free to use. When the students are choosing music there can be an interesting discussion about the choice of music, what kind of music fits to the story, will the story change if you choose different kind of music?
The last thing to do with your story is to save it to a media file, and the Photo Story is ready to be presented.

How can I as a teacher use this ICT-resource?
I can make stories from photos for the students to watch.
If I want to tell the parents how we work in school it is a nice way to tell it by a Photo Story that the students have created together.
I can also make very short stories for the younger children, stories with text and a story teller so they can read and listen at the same time.
Watching a Photo Story made by students give you an opportunity to assess the students' pronunciation. Some students feel more comfortable if they are alone when they record their voice.
To use Photo Story is also a way to work thematically with many subjects involved, as the new syllabus advice us to do. This way you work with for example English, Art and Swedish (different ways to make an presentation).

The student can use Photo Story in many ways.
They can present a project as a Photo Story, for example present a work about their favourite sports, a country or an animal.
They can write a story together or use a story that they know and illustrate it by taking photos or painting pictures to scan. Older students can make Photo Stories to be used by younger students.

How the students work with Photo Story can be different, they can work alone or they can work in pair, groups or the entire class can do a Photo Story together.

What do you need to make this work? When you have downloaded the software you don’t need to be connected to internet unless you don’t want to get pictures or music. You need a headset with a microphone. If you want to use your own photos you need a camera and if you want to use your paintings you need a scanner.

I really recommend you to use Photo Story and give your students a chance to be proud of their work.

Annelie Jakobsson

Thursday, 27 October 2011

How to make a post on the course blog

This is how to make a post on the course blog:

1. You need to make sure that you've logged on to Blogger as the person who has the permission to make posts (i.e. using the ID you used when you accepted the invitation to become an author).

2. Then when you access the blog, you'll see a link (in small, light-blue letters) at the top of the page called 'New Post'. Click on that link and you'll see a text box that looks like this:

I'm in the 'Compose' function right now, but if you wanted to do fancy things with html, you'd click on the 'Edit HTML' tab instead. 'Compose' works fine for most of the things you might want to do.

3. You can either write directly into the text box, or copy and paste your text from, say, a Word document.

The tools in the bar at the top of the text box are fairly standard - you use them to change the formatting of your text after it's in the text box.

4. Blogger saves your draft text automatically at fairly short intervals (the Save Now button goes dark when everything's been saved). When you're ready, though, you could click on the Preview button for a last check on what it looks like … and then you click Publish Post when you're ready.

5. If you notice something you want to change even after you've posted your Blog Post, you've always got the 'Edit Posts' option at the top of the page, or, if you click on the little pen at the bottom of your post in the blog, you come straight back to this Edit page.

Don't forget to add your name to your Blog Post!

Photo Story - get your creativity flowing

Photo Story is an amazingly simple program that you easily can use in your classroom. Simply by using pictures/photos and add text/speech and some background music you can make really good looking stories! It´s easy and fun and the result is very professional!

I´ve used Photo Story with my pupils and only by showing them how the program works for like 15-20 minutes they can manage to start using it themselves. So, it´s no long time for preparation needed. If you use a projector to the computer you can show the whole class at the same time. That´s good and it works!

So, what equipment do you need?

Not much, just some ordinary things like a computer, access to internet and a headset with microphone. If you want to create even more a scanner and a digital camera could be useful. You also need the program "Photo Story 3" before you can start. The program is free and you download it very quickly from: or just google the name "Photo Story 3" and you find it.

When you introduced the program to the pupils and they have learnt how it works you can use it in many ways. Whatever the pupils have regarded to do with Photo Story, I prefer that they start to do a plan on paper before their work on the computers begin. My experience is that the results getting better and more thoughtful, especially when the pupils working in pair or in a group. When they have their "paper plan" ready the work at the computers goes faster, which is preferable because many classrooms not have more than one or two computers at 20-25 pupils!

Examples for the pupils

Example 1: Presentations of themselves

By using the digital camera they can put together photos of themselves, their family, their house, their pets, their leisure activities and their friends. Then they combine these with text and speech and the presentation is ready. Or do a twist on the presentation and put the pupils together in pair and let them make a presentation of each other. Or do both and after watching the result they can discuss similarities and differences...

Maybe your school has a website and each class some own space. If that´s the case you can put the presentations here. God for new coming pupils and parents. Or show the presentations on a meeting for your pupils´parents. That is usually appreciated!

Example 2: Create a story

Let the pupils work together in groups, 3-4 in each group, and make a story from pictures. Decide the guidlines for the story; should it be a ghost story or perhaps a modern version of some well known story? The opportunities are unlimited! When all the groups have finished their job you can have a cosy storytelling time when you watch all the stories. Invite other classes as well to make it more solemn!

Example 3: Presentation of subject

The pupils can use Photo Story whenever they have a subject they will present. It could be about volcanoes, muchrooms, Vincent van Gogh, London or whatever. Get pictures and add text and speech and voilá; you have made a neat presentation that is much more fun for the other pupils to look and listen at!

But note the copyright and only use pictures and music that you are allowed to use! On these links you can find material you are free to use: and Elsewhere you must always ask the source about permission to use their pictures or music. Send an e-mail and ask - sometimes it´s ok!

This is just some examples and I think you can find out more examples how to use Photo Story with the pupils. What exercise you choose, your pupils need to use their English in writing, reading, listening and speaking. The exercises is also easy to adapt to the pupils´knowledge.

The teacher

As a teacher you can also use Photo Story to make short presentations available to the pupils, like mini-lessons on the computer. It can for example be about body parts or prepositions (in English of course :)). Let the mini-lessons be available on the computer and the pupils can lok at it whenever they want or need to. Some pupils need to watch the same presentation several times and some just one time. It´s good to have the choice.

When the pupils are more and more convenient with the Photo Story they can use it more freely. Let them be creative and they will love it! Let them work in groups and they will communicate and develop their ideas and out will come amazing stuff that look very professional. Stories they can be proud of!

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Using the website Learn English Kids of British Council as an ICT-resource

Learn English Kids is the British council website for children who wants to learn English. It's free and the children can use it at home or in school. When children are at home they can work together with friends or parents and choose the exercise they like to work with. Perhaps children have a homework or need to practise in Learn English Kids to be better on listening in English. At home they can help each other. You can become a member as a kid, a parent or a teacher. That's gives you some benefits e.g. download learning resources, answer questions and enter competitions. To use Learn English Kids at home you need a computer with internet connection. In school you also need a projector and an interactive whiteboard for best result.

The link is:

Learn English Kids is divided in five sections.
In the games section you can play different games and practise your spelling and vocabulary in a fun way.
In the listen and watch section you can listen to stories, songs and watch videos of English children who are talking about their lives and news. You can also practise your pronunciation when you listen to and say tongue twisters.
In the read and write section you practise your reading and writing skills. Every week English kids give you a new word to work with, in the exercise "Word of the week".
In the make section you practise your English as you create and make stories and things.
In the explore section you can get tips from children how to learn English, you get links (to explore the web) for English learning and you can answer questions in polls.

How the resource can be used by teachers: Teachers can find exercises that ties in what they are working with in their text-and workbook. They can search for a special topic, level and age and get exercises in that topic from different sections and worksheets. You can e.g. show the short story "What will I be when I grow up?" in full screen on the whiteboard and look as many times as you want. After you have seen the story with flash player plug in, in web browser, pupils can do the worksheets. The teacher also gets a number of questions about jobs (below the exercise) to ask the pupils. Teachers can positively recommend this website to pupils and their parents to use at home. When teacher use Learn English Kids the pupils get an opportunity to meet English kids who are talking and they gain insight into their lives. It's so easy to invite English children into the classroom!

Why is Learn English Kids good for learning English?

It's free
It's easy to use in the class when you have a projector, interactive whiteboard and an enough new computer.
It contains exercises which are fun, nice-looking and adapted to practise the skills in English to reach the goals for the syllabus in English.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Storybird as an ITC resource - Magnus Nilsson

If you are searching the Internet you can find a variety of digital resources that are web based and user-friendly. Using many of these resources does not require great technical skills, but just some basic computer skills.

The resource that I have chosen to study is called Storybird and can be found on the web address:
Then what is Storybird and how does it work? Storybird is a webpage in which you can create your own stories using beautiful and funny illustrations by different artists. You can do this all by yourself or together with someone else. When you have finished writing your story, you can share it with others by publishing it online. If you don’t want anyone to read your story you can just print it and keep it to yourself.

Storybird can also be used as a virtual library where you can read all kinds of wonderful stories. You can also comment the stories and create your own reading list if you want to.
This service is free and the only thing you need, to be able to use it, is a registered account on the Storybird webpage. You don`t need to download any software to be able to use Storybird.

So, how can you use this resource as a teacher and as a student? If you register as a teacher at Storybird you can create a class and add all your students to it. When all students are added to your class the fun starts. Now you can have your students practicing their reading and writing skills by giving them different types of assignments. The teacher can give a description of the assignment, set a due date and make comments on assignments that are completed. When the students log in, they immediately can see the assignment and start working on it.

By using Storybird the teacher can let the students practice many different skills. The possibilities are endless but here are some examples:

  • You can use Storybird as a reading tool and let the students read stories on different themes. Students can read each other`s stories in the class library. When the students have finished reading a story they can comment on it or maybe add it to their reading list. They can also discuss the story with each other or answer questions made by the teacher to develop their reading comprehension.
  • You can also use Storybird as a writing tool. Students can easily create their own stories and books based on illustrations that they have chosen. Of course you can write more than stories. You can do anything from writing simple sentences to writing letters and poetry .The students can work individually or collaborate with a friend by taking turns to write. Students can also comment on each other`s stories.
  • A teacher can make his own book and then use it to give examples of different structures in the language. The teacher can for example show the students how to use adverbs when they are writing. The students can then practice this skill by writing their own stories.

There are many advantages with Storybird. It is really easy to use for the students. You choose a theme, drag and drop the pictures you like to use and then start writing your story. Anyone can do it.
Using Storybird is a good way of getting students to work collaboratively. They could work in pairs or they could create a story together as a class. You could even collaborate with schools from another city or another country.

The illustrations in Storybird are amazing and can be very helpful for students with poor imagination. The finished books really look professional and it can be very inspiring for students to know that people from all over the world can read their books on the web. This gives their writing a purpose and a meaning.
Another advantage with Storybird is that it`s a good way of getting the parents involved in the work that students do. By logging in on Storybird parents can read their children`s stories and other stories in the class library.

So what are you waiting for? Take a look at this webpage, create your own account and start writing. I know I will!!

/Magnus Nilsson