Wednesday, 24 June 2009

A snap shot of the Molenet project

A snap shot of the Molenet project. It has been very exciting to have the opportunity to try out new technologies in the class room through the Molenet project but it has been very time consuming.
I knew I would have to feedback on my experience of the project so I kept a note of the work I was doing...

Week 1 Molenet project
At the Weekend I researched possible technologies that I could use with my students with learning difficulties.
The week begins with:

Monday Milestone 4-8 Cookery AM We already had flipcams so I used them to record the student cooking activity. I was unable to play back the videos during the session because the room only has a register computer(main function is to do the registers anything else is a bonus) and the flip cam would not fit in the angled USB point at the front or the USB slots in the back. When I did get to watch them back later that evening the quality of the films was excellent.

Monday PM Off site class Managing Money -running a shop I filmed students using the flip cam . I showed a student how to use the flip cam and got her to film the activity. The quality of her filming was not as good as mine -too far away ,not focusing on a particular activity properly. There was no immediate playback possible,although there was a computer in the room it does not support USB. A student used her own Itouch as a calculator to add money. She was able to use the I touch independently but needed support with adding money on the calculator . In particular it was difficult for her to understand that 0.2 actually means 20p.

Monday evening. Further research . Created a Sqworl picture link :My Molenet

Tuesday 3.30 -5.00 Met with Molenet project coordinator to look at my list of ideas. I took PSPs home to find out how they work. Can't work out how to use Sums on Line. It seems to have disappeared.Would like to find out about Internet features.

Wednesday Enrichment Retail/Land-based E1-E3
Filmed the students throwing stones in the sea, paddling at the beach .Used the Flip cam. Some filming done by the students. On return we watched the film on the whiteboard.They loaded immediately (the software had been sorted by computer services). Excellent quality and sound.Thoroughly enjoyed by all the students .

Wednesday evening Found out a little bit more about the PSP and decided to use in my relationship lesson the next day. Downloaded 3 films from You Tube.Used Zamzar to convert to 2 Mpg 4 for lesson on Thursday (that's all I had time to do ) and transferred them to the 2 PSPs.

Thursday SLDD team meeting. AM Showed everyone the new equipment The Flip Cams had also been used by another member of staff on Monday very successfully . . The Curriculum Team Manager was very keen to use the two PSPs as an Autism resource.

Thursday Tracks Life skills D2 Friends lesson Am
We used the PSP to "over learn" by viewing the video about friendship on the PSP as well as viewing as a whole class.We watched movie clips/songs about friendship on the PSP. I planned to use the computer to view "We all need friends" on You Tube but the computer does not have the latest Flash and the You Tube video would not support it (will have to put a request into computer services) Viewing the DVD from the library would have been the ideal but I had not had time to pick up the DVD ! We therefore had to use the two PSPs as our main way of viewing "We all need Friends". We found out that sharing a PSP does not work. The sound quality is not good enough.We had to swap to individual viewing. This highlighted the problem of sharing headphones. Someone else had the box of headphones so we had to make do with one over the ear set and one in the ear headphones.( I don't like the idea of students sharing these) The PSP batteries were running low and one ran out of power in the break. The PSP viewing went extremely well . There were more request to use the PSP than I could accommodate. The students used them in their free time and were beginning to learn to use the arrows o and x controls independently.

Thursday Life skills New room! Friends lesson Pm
"We all need friends" from the library watched on the Whiteboard. PSPs used in free time to re watch the material from the morning lesson.We also used the interactive board watched a video jug film : How to make spaghetti bolognaise.We will be making this next week.

Thursday Evening Put a PSP format film on the PSP from video jug "how to make Spaghetti Bolognaise" for Friday lesson- so that students can watch and prepare for next week but it didn't work (unrecognised format)no time to do anything else. I also spent some time surfing the net for information on using the PSP in education.

Friday.Life skills Money/cooking
Set the tripod up with the flip cam to be a classroom observer and then watched it back at the weekend. I Observed my own teaching and it was interesting to be able to observe the students.

Sunday Downloaded flip cam films sorted into lesson folders and cleared camera. Only trouble is I don't have a memory stick with enough space to put any of the films on. I spent some time taking stuff off a stick but still not enough room.(may need to format but don't yet know how to do that on a Mac.) Loaded some photos successfully without changing format. I did however have to download photos to the computer first rather than directly from camera to PSP I learnt how to use slide show and flick through without using the directional arrows. I also tried again to load the video jug film but still unrecognised format. I then tried to transfer some flip cam films but they are in the wrong format and won't transfer to a PSP. I think I will use the PSP for filming directly and instant play back rather than trying to transfer photos and films as this is time consuming!! A colleague tried the Wii with his Arts and Media group for enrichment but found they were very unenthusiastic.

Monday M4-8 Cooking Showed photos to students using the PSP passed from one person to another. (a support worker passed the camera round) She found it was best used with the slide show option rather than getting the student to click through. Watching the photos seemed a very passive process . It didn't create language and next time the camera will need to be passed around with a Learning Assistant .

Tuesday Life Skills We used the PSP to video the recycling round. Individuals watched the film back but this can only be done one at a time.Some students re watched the videos used on the previous Thursday in the relationship lesson. A colleague used the flip cams today to produce an end of year review for the students - to be taken home on a CD but she could not get the flip cam to play back on the whiteboard.We need to contact Computer services as all our whiteboards are connected to register computers and need the flip cam software installed. Met with a Learning Assistant to find out how to use the Nintendo DS,which programmes work best and how they use it in their Entry level Literacy/Numeracy class. I took delivery of Talking Photo albums. I Have saved Flip cam Beach photos onto a stick - only three films will go on to. We will share in our lesson tomorrow.

Wed Enrichment Land based/Retail Didn't share photos as other activities took longer than planned (Edexcel portfolio work!)

No technology today !

Friday Life skills am Used the digital camera to take photos of the cooking session.

Friday PM Got some lesson cover and attended a Molenet meeting . There were representatives from JSIC and Lexdis as well as the local schools involved with the project. We watched a film about how a local special school was using the DS for cooking. We heard about the problems of mobile technology with classes of 30 A good idea of using the flip cam with students on extreme reading (i.e. taking photos of students reading in all sorts of places) We heard about the successful use of a class mate reader We watched a demonstration of samsung tablet and mobile projector I shared talking book and ideas for digital frame which I saw for the first time today. I also showed my PSP ideas .

Half term I developed skills with digital photo frame. I got it to work with the Tuff Cam but haven't been able to repeat this. I discovered that the Camera and PSP does work well with the digital picture frame but the Flip cam only via memory stick. PSP - I explored Sums on Line on the PSP and improved skills with video and camera function I showed staff who were also working at half term the new equipment on two occasions as well as sharing a sent list via email of equipment with quantity and its location
and so the story continues...

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Using the PSP in the classroom.

I have 2 PSPs to work with under the Molenet project. The PSPs have camera add ons.
Here are 5 ways I have used the PSP in the classroom with my students with learning difficulties.
  1. Staff took photos and videos of the students in their cooking lesson. The PSP was then linked to the Digital picture frame for instant playback. The digital picture frame was placed on the kitchen worktop and students could watch informally as they finished their work or stopped for a short break.The PSP links directly via USB lead and automatically plays to the digital picture frame.(unllike the Flipcam.) Photos taken on the day were also added to individual photo albums and the talking photo album
  2. PSPs and digital camera used on the Human Clock project to record pictures of digital time.Pictures from PSP and camera were uploaded to the computers and put into a powerpoint.
  3. Short films from You Tube converted to MPEG4 using Zamzar and transferred via USB lead from the computer to the PSP. . (see blog on how to use Zamzar but don't convert to AVI -use Mpeg 4 ) You Tube films used as part of a lesson on friendship see blog.Students used the PSPs individually with headphones, taking turns at this activity.Students often chose to rewatch the films in their break.
  4. Number Hunt. Using a number grid 1- 100 groups spent 15 minutes around the college site taking photographs of as many numbers between 1 and 100 as they could find. The numbers were crossed off the grid as they were photographed. On return to the classroom.the photos were watched back immediately on the digital picture frame.
  5. Sums on line has been purchased for the PSPs so we used this alongside the Nintendo DS in a numeracy lesson.

The Sums on Line website has a detailed list of the activities available. We used the Tally activities.

Sums on Line requires the student to be able to use a small thumb controlled mouse

Here is a link to a PDF for a HOW TO guide to the PSP

gs to watch out for.
PSPs don't work in bright sunlight .You just can't see the screen.
Don't for
get to charge up regulalry Delet the photos from the PSP as soon as possible to allow the PSP to be available for insatnt playback of the relevant photographs.
I'm not sure 2 PSPs work- you need enough for one each .
photo from flickr

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Cooking Fairy Cakes

On Friday I was cooking with my students with learning disabilities E1/M7. It was birthday time again and so we made fairy cakes (again!)
This time I used the
fairy cake recipe and instructions from xxxxx. It is 13 A4 pages long and so it could be considered a little wasteful as I printed out one set of instructions for each student.I could probably have got away with half as the students worked with a partner. The instructions were very clear with simple pictures.It worked very well because I have students who can read in the group and they followed the instructions with minimum support.The non readers were able to use the pictures to gather equipment, ingredients and follow the method from the pictures with some support.At the start of the lesson we went through the instructions carefully reading through, identifying the equipment and ingredients. This helped and I was very pleased with how well the session worked. I weighed out the ingredients before the lesson started.
Photo from
From sa'xic on flickr

Intensive Interaction

Reaching Ricky from Teachers TV is a 15 minute film exploring the use of Intensive Interaction with 11 year old Ricky a severely autistic boy.The film looks at moving Ricky from his inner world of self stimulation where functional communication is the norm to a shared stimulation and emotional engagement with others.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Pre entry learners and the Foundation Learning Tier

Wordle: Untitled

If you are unfamiliar with the Foundation Learning Tier it would be a good idea to start with a general introduction from the Qualification and Curriculum Authority :
What is the Foundation Learning Tier

The LSC guide: Frequently asked questions

An introductory guide from
ASDAN : The Foundation Learning Tier

Pre entry and entry 1 learners will be included in the Foundation Learning Tier at Entry 1 following the Personal and Social development pathway.

The types of units to be included can be found here :
progression pathway catalogue

The Foundation Learning Tier starts at Entry 1.Within Entry 1 there is a continuum that embraces all pre entry learners. This allows many learners the opportunity for accredited learning for the first time.

The levels start with Encounter and move through 10 stages including Experience and Consolidation finishing with Application

This is called
the 10-stage achievement continuum Details can be downloaded from the QCA website

ASDAN is offering workshops on the new qualification

Actors. A gallery of photographs

A interesting gallery of photos featuring actors with a learning disability can be found at The Guardian website

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Point -Symbols on demand.

The Eden project website site has a good example of Point a new product from Widgit.(read the explanation here)The product is is a new piece of augmentative software that website owners can use to assist learning disabled visitors to their website. When the visitor hovers their mouse over a word, a list of symbols that illustrate the possible meanings of the word appears. You can also view another example of Point in action at Ability Net.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Interesting reads on the blog

In the right hand side panel of my blog you will find a list of blogs linked to learning disability and teaching.
Teaching Learners With Multiple Needs has an interesting blog entry about the essential equipment to have in a classroom for learners with severe or multiple needs.
What should I get for my new room?

Big Tree Blog (from the Rix centre in London)
has some interesting information about the Oily Cart company .They are working in collaboration with this innovative drama group on drama performances in Manchester during July.
Oily Cart shows in Manchester in July

Tuna and Pasta Bake

Recipes from my Monday Milestone 4-8 cooking class. Download from my file sharing space at
My 4 shared

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Pasta Salad

I have two versions of Pasta Salad. This is because I have started to use a Mac lap top and I'm having some teething problems with the compatibility of images with my computer at work. The picture prompt lists were used with my milestone 4-8 cookery group.The accompanying text including recipe, method and link to original recipe is for the use of staff supporting the students.
Pasta Salad Word file
Pasta Salad PDF version