Friday, 28 September 2012

Google A Day Teaches Key Word Searches

I'm finding that children need more practise at identifying key words for searching on the internet more effectively.

Google a Day is fabulous for really helping with this.  Every day Google put a new problem to solve up on their site and give hints to help solve the problem if you are completely stuck.

I decided to select appropriate examples of google problems for children to use and stored the hints in QR codes, then challenged children to solve the problem without using the QR Code hints.
The answer was also stored in a QR Code.

I modeled a couple of examples,  scaffolding how to identify key words and then let children continue on their own.

All children rose to the challenge and every single child completed the problems identifying key words and they were excited to scan the answers. 

Try one for yourself courtesy of

The ancient Romans didn’t know me, but the Mayans did. What numeral am I?

Here's how to prepare in advance.  

1. Go to and copy the question and hints including answer to a Word document.
2. Leave the question, however select the first hint and cut.
3. Go to
4. Click on data type plain text
5. Paste your hint text into the content text box.
6. Select a colour
7. Right mouse click and copy QR Code image to the Word document.
8. Repeat for all QR Codes required.

The results were astounding and children were asking for more!  They all went away buzzing and talking about how much fun they had.  Fun and learning together - brilliant!!!

Sunday, 16 September 2012

LiveBinders - Managing Resources

I was listening to Clare Amos's top 10 tips for BYOD which is from a secondary school perspective, but nevertheless parts are still very relevant for primary school.

I was curious about the mention of Livebinders which is an online binder used to organise information.  Clare recommended in her talk, students use Livebinders to gather links, information, research assignments etc.

I investigated further and Livebinders is a great tool for in the classroom both for students and teachers. 

This is a great example of using Livebinders for instructional writing using a recipe .

I discovered this Livebinder which is a 'digital toolbox' for teachers which is invaluable

I'm planning to introduce Livebinders this week with a year 6 class as well as at our staff meeting.  Teachers could use Livebinders  to organise websites for their class as an alternative to using favourites, social bookmarking sites like Delicious or wikispaces.

Do you use Livebinders or an equivalent?  If so, please share by commenting below.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

QR Voice

To use QR Voice you need access to the internet and a device with a QR Reader app such as an iphone or iPad to read the QR code.

QR Codes offer many opportunities to support learning. This week I tried out with year 2 (6-7 yr olds) and Year 5 (9-10 yr olds).

QR Voice generates a QR Code which, when scanned, speaks up to 100 characters that you have entered.

We used this in two different ways.

Firstly, some classes had had a writing focus on similes, so we stored their similes in the QR Code and when scanned the children could hear their similes. The children were motivated and engaged and were not only keen to write more of their own similes, but were motivated to scan everyone else's QR codes.  What a great way to hear everyone's writing!

The second way that we used QR Voice was to extend thinking. With the younger age group we used QR Voice to store 'who am I' clues. The children chose an animal and came up with four clues to guess their chosen animal. Each clue was stored in a separate QR Code. We added another QR Code at the end to include the answer.

Here are the steps to creating a QR Voice generated QR Code. 

1. In MS Word type the sentence you want to add to your QR Code. To check how many characters you have entered, use MS Word's, word count feature.   Click on the Words option at the bottom of your screen as shown in the graphic below.

The resultant dialog box displays, showing the character count and this does include spaces!

2. Once you have the correct amount of characters (up to 100), then copy this text. (Highlight text,  Ctrl C to copy).

 3. Go to and paste this text (Ctrl V) into the space as shown below.

 4. Click on Generate QR Voice button to generate the code.

5.  Click on the generated QR Code to open in a separate window and copy this code into the Word document ready to print.

6.  Remember you will need to use a smart phone or iPad with a QR Code reader app downloaded to scan this code.  I used the QR Reader app which is free to use.

Try to scan this one direct from the computer screen.