Spring 2011 Hampshire IT Schools 5
If you are an infant school looking for ideas why not contact other infant teachers through the Wizkid Information and Shared Resources global groups? To get you started, Emma Goto describes some of the ways in which she uses Wizkid with Year Two children. Emma teaches at Kings Copse Primary School and was formerly a seconded teacher at EdICT.
My Year Two class love Wizkid. Most of the children can log on now without having to look at their log on cards. We have a reading roundabout session in class every day. Those who aren’t doing guided reading with me undertake a different reading-based activity. I always have a group accessing a range of reading activities in Wizkid. We also use it as a place where we pull lots of links in together. In ICT this half term we are developing our internet research skills researching animals. We have a folder in Wizkid with lots of relevant links to sites like the Marwell animal encyclopaedia, the NEN gallery and various children’s search engines like Yahoo Kids. It’s easy for children to access all these sites from Wizkid and the good thing is they can use these links to access the sites at home. I send homework out on paper and children can choose how they would like to submit it. I provide a discussion forum in Wizkid to allow children to respond in this way if they’d like to. Recently children were asked to submit different number sequences they had created along with the secret rule the sequence followed. I created a discussion forum in Wizkid. About half the class chose to respond in this way, several returning to the forum over the week to add more. I marked their work by editing their reply and adding a comment. I could also set challenges where they needed to crack the code. The homework became more of a conversation. You could see children’s ideas developing as they read the responses from the other children and from me.
January also saw our trial of the Widgit Point and Insite symbols integration come to an end. These tools serve up Widgit symbols on demand within the Wizkid desktop interfaces. Point is best suited to emerging readers and those who don’t have English as their first language. It can also provide people who find reading difficult with a useful prompt for understanding unfamiliar words. Insite on the other hand is for teachers, enabling them to create content using symbols to support text. There was a mixed response from teachers to these ground-breaking tools. After the initial fascination some found Point a distraction. It was commissioned to support children from special schools and those of infant age in mainstream. Not surprisingly these schools found the tools more useful. But this doesn’t mean they are not applicable to junior or secondary age pupils. For example, a senior teacher at a junior school in Farnborough said “This is a brilliant tool for weaker readers and SEN pupils. We use Widgit with SEN pupils all the time.” In an ideal world these tools would be provided for free but unfortunately the servers which deliver them all need funding, so the suppliers need to get a return by licensing their symbols. Any school interested in buying in the Widgit option should contact the IT Help Desk.
Our Wizkid support pages have moved.
http://intranet.hants.gov.uk/ictinschools | IT Help Desk 01962 847007 | firstname.lastname@example.org