Daily Tips

Daily Tech Tidbits #12

I am continuing to share on this blog more great tips and updates as we all continue on this journey!

GooseChase EDU

I came across this from the wonderful Cult Of Pedagogy blog in January, and when I considered new and interesting tools for the current closure – this came back into my mind, particularly as many teachers are setting scavenger hunt style activities already. GooseChase EDU allows teams of students or individuals to work on completing activities set by teachers. Then they photograph evidence via the free app and collect points. Teachers review the evidence and give bonus points (or return as incomplete).

Okay, so you can still use Seesaw or Flipgrid or Google Classroom to have students upload evidence of work, but this is different, gamified, with leaderboards and an option of choice. You can set questions, challenges or use the pre set ideas like ‘have someone take a photo of someone else taking a photo of you’. You can set locations (using GPS!) or just set an answer that needs to be typed in correctly. A definite option during closure.

Flipgrid Continues to be Awesome

Some companies have gone all out to support teachers during this closure, but none more than Flipgrid, who already offer a fantastic fee educational tool and promise it to be free forever. They also keep responding to teacher requests and have introduced another fantastic upgrade: Screen Recording – from Flipgrid! We can also do 10 minute recordings too – which is fantastic for teachers – not so much for a class full of 10 minute student videos!


Another great tool to be creative, and this one is LOVED by kids. There is so much opportunity to extend in this great app, with various level of coding but a very simple to use interface for beginners.

This is designed for students to create great 3D virtual scenes, that can be added to to have animations play from the characters added in. Adding in the feature that anyone can then enter the world created using Virtual Reality, and students fall in love with the idea. Projects for: historical scenes, curating a VR museum, retelling a story, creating mazes and much more.

And Finally

Check this out for a hack to present your own writing during a video conference:

Daily Tips

Daily Tech Tidbits #11

I am continuing to share on this blog more great tips and updates as we all continue on this journey!

Google Meet Multiscreen Grid / Gallery View

A big debate at the moment in our school of whether to switch to Zoom, or stick with Meet. This feature created by someone who isn’t Google, just might have swayed us to stay with Meet. The free chrome web extension here: THIS LINK means when you next sign into Meet, you will see a new icon in the top right hand corner:

Screenshot 2020-03-27 at 17.04.49.png

When you click on this button you will get a grid view of all your Meet participants. I am not fully sure of how many images it can handle, but this looks promising:

The only small issue is if another participant on the Meet needs to present the screen, you need to make sure you turn off the grid view if you want to see their screen full size. But it does not interfere with you presenting your screen. With thanks to my colleague @MoriartyAngela for testing this out!


Amongst the many free edtech tools being offered, Formative is a very powerful and well respected tool that allows for some pretty impressive assessment. Having said that – many of its features are replicated in other formats, albeit across different platforms. This brings it all together, and has a piece de résistance – the ability to convert any worksheet into an online one, with automatic feedback. This may be your best option for assessing students in the coming months. Here is the page on the home learning slide for more information and tutorial video

World Book Online and Audible

As some of you are already aware, Audible has announced it will provide free audiobooks for children and teens while schools are suspended.
Here is the link: https://stories.audible.com/start-listen

Also available now is World Book Online bit.ly/2QsQs1E

And Finally…

Daily Tips

Daily Tech Tidbits #9

I am continuing to share on this blog more great tips and updates as we continue on this journey!

Google Meet

Google are always updating their education apps (frustratingly for us teachers doing tutorials!) but this one is great:

No pesky kids kicking you out anymore! A great new addition. Puts it back into contention with Zoom as the go to video conferencing tool. As with all Google updates – it may take a few days to be available. Keep an eye out for when it changes!


For something a bit more professional, Whereby have a very good reputation and one big selling point that may turn you to using them – is that you do not need to download any app to use it – or require any log in. The other big advantage of this is that there is a feature where you can lock your room, meaning new people joining have to ‘knock’ to get in.

This will work brilliantly for teacher conferences – especially as it is free for 4 or less people in the virtual room. Also, if you do pay the extra – you can use it fro up to 50 attendees and one cool tool is that you can play Youtube videos to all the people in the room without loss of audio.


Epic have been great with schools so far, but since the outbreak of COVID-19, they reevaluated and realised that they can’t share books through the school set up, at home, due to publishing. So current access is not available through school codes. HOWEVER, Epic have offered 3 MONTHS free access to parents.

The unfortunate downside is a bit of work for the teachers as you will have to invite them using individual emails. At our school we are providing teachers with a list of emails from our management system, but that is as far as we can go. Once parents receive the email they do not even have to enter any card details – they will be provided with 3 months free to access at any time.


I’ve spoken before about this great tool – but they are offering free Pro access if you get in touch. Wordwall gives you a link to share fun mini activities to help with retrieval practice. Best of all, when you complete a set of flashcards, Wordwall automatically creates various different games with the same learning information, giving you up to ten different activities with the click of a button, including matching activities, crosswords, anagrams and more.

There is a maximum of 5 activities in a free account, but you can create more if you upgrade to Pro.

Daily Tips

Daily Tech Tidbits #3

Each day, whilst the school is closed, I have been sending daily tips and advice to our staff to support with their online learning provision. Sometimes it is in response to common questions, and sometimes it is just great tips and tools. I’ve decided to share them in light of the ongoing global impact of Covid-19.

Try not to ‘Stream’ in Google Classroom for tasks

Having seen a number of google classroom environments recently, it has come to my attention that many teachers are simply adding activities into the stream page of their class. I urge you to stop doing that and use the Classwork section instead. From here you can set assignments, which allow you to, amongst other things, set due dates, schedule in the future, and most importantly, select a topic. For example, this allows you to group similar tasks together, in Primary, you can set topics for Reading, Writing, etc. This allows an easy way for students to find previous work, without having to scroll through post after post after post. Assignments appear in the main class stream just like comments, but can be named clearly, searched for, and also be ‘re-used’ in other classes, perhaps if you have a similar piece of work for another class. Also when assigning work in this way, you can provide templates, students can create work within that assignment that you can view at any time, and you can even give each child their own copy of the slide/doc that you are working with. Children Y4 and up (and some Y3s) are proficient enough to use this way of working.


Also Google Classroom has been updated in the last two days (it does this a lot) so some things have slightly moved around from previous gifs.Finally, for loads more tips and tricks and to become a classroom expert – watch this video that Angela has found for us.

Cosmic Yoga, Go Noodle etc. As we promote a bit of free time on Friday, it’s a time to remind you about the brain break videos that we love in school, but may not be known at home. Why not set a mindfulness task, or a fun dance routine brain break. Perfect for the young ones and an active way of using screen time.

Teaching in Videos
As we settle in to our new roles as distance educators, a reminder that teaching is possible through video, and there are some inspiring teaches across HK sharing their videos across Twitter, like this art teacher, and that videos to home can be much more than simple motivations and ‘well done’s. In Flipgrid, or almost any video recording app, you can download your videos, then upload them to google drive and turn them into a pack of slides with step by step instructions for a lesson. To promote shared practice (note: not best practice!) – here is a link to how I present my Maths work. Each child in the class gets a copy to fill in their answers. In Seesaw, you could just link to the presentation with a videos teaching the kids new things. If you need more info and support for this, let us know.

Google Meet etc..
The tech teachers have been discussing this topic recently, a big concern for many is the idea that if you run a google meet, you MUST NOT record it as well without permission. Google Meet and others should be used for discussions, Q&A, but instructional videos, stick to screen casting and other tools previously mentioned.
If you are holding live chats through google meet or Zoom, maybe remind the kids that they should always be wearing appropriate clothes and be in a responsible place. Maybe this will make them chuckle: (shared to me from fellow teacher Ross Parker)–>

Daily Tips

Daily Tech Tidbits #2

Each day, whilst the school is closed, I have been sending daily tips and advice to our staff to support with their online learning provision. Sometimes it is in response to common questions, and sometimes it is just great tips and tools. I’ve decided to share them in light of the ongoing global impact of Covid-19.

Flipgrid Feedback
First of all, there are two ways to give video feedback when watching the video from a teacher’s viewpoint, you can reply (under the video) or private. The reply one is the one I usually use, because the kids see it more obviously when they go to Flipgrid. Weirdly, the only way to see private feedback is to use this link https://my.flipgrid.com/ which is like an overview of all the videos they have posted. However, there is also an ’email feedback’ button and it is brilliant. You can both do private video and text and the email gets sent to the Gmail account instantly. So it is up to you to decide whether to get them to check emails, or to check that link above. Failing that, just hit them with a simple reply. 

Seesaw Notifications

Just a reminder – from some feedback from parents – every time a comment is added to a post that is tagged with a child, the parent will get an email. They also get an email when you post a video, a document or a link. Equally, with specialists doing a great job of posting their activities too, and some teachers approving posts from before the holiday, we saw some parents receiving over 15 email notifications in one day. It is still very positive to be having constant communication, but do be mindful of this, particularly adding comments to posts tagged to all students. Don’t forget you can use the messaging function now to communicate to parents directly should you wish.

Google Meet for ‘Registering’ We are constantly reviewing best practice in what is unprecedented times for many, looking at how similar schools are managing the situation. We know that many schools are ‘registering’ kids by asking them to sign in to a 5 minute google meet (or similar) in the morning, announcing messages and then letting them get on with the day. Many schools are requiring this at the start of each lesson, before setting a task on or offline. Remember that if you would like to use Google Meet, it is easy to run a session and it is easy to see who attended. Whilst we encourage the tool for any teacher, it is primarily most effective in the Secondary environment.

Thanks, as always send me any questions you may have,