Ever Wonder? – Wonderopolis

Ed thought this website might be interesting for staff and students (he can’t help himself). I have had a quick look and it has some great things on it. If you hadn’t made the connection the site is all about wonder and encouraging kids to learn new things. There is one particular page which caught my eye called Explore Wonders and if you click on the image below you will be taken to this page. It has a huge array of videos on a wide variety of topics, some of which you can see in the picture. Each video is combined with text to encourage thinking about the concept. Some videos are instructional while others have no direct instructional value but when combined with the text cause you to think and wonder.

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Dylan Wiliam Student Free Day

Just to remind all teaching staff at PBAS about our student free day in week 2 (Wed 5th February) I thought I would post some information about the international speaker we are going to be listening to – Dylan Wiliam. I am aware that Dylan Wiliam is known to most of you but I thought providing some information about him prior to listening to him speak on the 5th of February would be useful.

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Dylan Wiliam

Dylan Wiliam’s work focuses on the power of formative assessment in improving student learning. I recently came across a post which explained his current book Embedded Formative Assessment. The book outlines 5 key formative assessment strategies to improve student learning and also provides over 50 practical techniques for classroom formative assessment. My understanding is that as part of the cost for the day this book will be provided to each person who attends. Below is an outline of the 5 key strategies thanks to the post I mentioned earlier by Kelly Goodrich. Her full article can be read here.

Embedded Formative Assessment

1. Clarifying, sharing, and understanding learning intentions and criteria for success – getting the students to really understand what their classroom experience will be and how their success will be measured.

2. Engineering effective classroom discussions, activities, and learning tasks that elicit evidence of learning – developing effective classroom instructional strategies that allow for the measurement of success.

3. Providing feedback that moves learning forward – working with students to provide them the information they need to better understand problems and solutions.

4. Activating learners as instructional resources for one another – getting students involved with each other in discussions and working groups can help improve student learning.

5. Activating learners as owners of their own learning – We wrote a recent blog on this topic: self-regulation of learning leads to student performance improvement.

The following two slides are from a presentation Dylan Wiliam gave in Austin, Texas in 2013. The two slides are an overview of the five key strategies for formative assessment. If you would like to view the whole presentation that these slides came from as well as other presentations given by Dylan Wiliam click here.

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Finally here is a short video of Dylan Wiliam discussing his book Embedded Formative Assessment.

Compress Video – Save space on your iPad


Here is a great free app called Compress. If you keep video on your iPad or iPhone and want to free up some space without deleting your videos then get this app. There are three levels of compression. The two levels offering the higher quality will compress videos at the following levels (these numbers are taken from a 3 min video compressed on my iPad). 262MB to 115mMB using the 720p quality compression and 262MB to 20MB using the 360p quality compression. The quality drop is minimal and I found it difficult to hear or see any difference between the original and compressed version (both 720p and 360p).

Before using the Compress app I had 8GB of free space on my 32GB iPad. I keep a large amount of video on my iPad including skills video and Just Dance video for PE as well as keeping video in student portfolios as part of student assessment in HPE. This means I am always on the edge of filling up my iPad, particularly towards the end of a semester. So after compressing 17 Just Dance videos (took about 15 minutes) on my iPad I suddenly had an extra 2.2GB of free space. This was using the 720p compression option, had I used the 320p option I would have saved myself 4.5GB plus of space.

Note: Video over a certain length (10 minutes from what I can gather) cannot be compressed by the app without the app trimming your video which is not practical.

My main use for this app will be compressing instructional YouTube video and video for student portfolios.

Thanks to @mrKampen who shared a blog post on his iteachPE blog explaining the Compress app.

Removing work from iPads

At the beginning of the year I thought it might be useful to remind staff how to get work off of the iPads and what options are available.

File Browser

This is the most effective in terms of being able to access student folders and the P Drive (Curriculum) on our school server. Students can create documents in Pages, Keynote, iMovie, Strip Design, Book Creator, Puppet Pals 2 and Brushes for example and transfer them directly to their student folder. Some of these apps like Book Creator and Strip Design, Pages and Keynote allow you to use File Browser straight from the app while others like iMovie, Puppet Pals and Brushes require you to save to the camera roll first and then use File Browser.

I have included a quick 3 minute video that helps explain how to use File Browser. This presentation was made using the Explain Everything app which is on our student iPads and is a great tool for students to present their work on.


AirDrop iconAirdrop_icon-3

Airdrop for iPad       Airdrop for Mac

The easiest way to transfer documents from one iPad to another. It is however limited when compared to File Browser. It is easy to activate AirDrop and then transfer video/images (from camera roll) or documents from Pages and Keynote. As time goes on more apps will likely incorporate Apples AirDrop functionality within their apps.

The great thing about Airdrop is that it does not require an Internet connection, it just requires WiFi and Bluetooth to be enabled. To read a quick explanation of how to use Airdrop click here.

Note: The year 9/10 students and their teachers can Airdrop work between MacBooks. It is not currently possible to Airdrop between iPads and Macs although would expect this to change in the future.

Connect via USB Cable

Apple have finally seen fit to allow iPads supervised by Apple Configurator (the software we use to run the iPads) to be connected and recognised by other Mac computers (unfortunately not Windows machines). There are a number of Mac machines in the school including the 4 iMacs in the primary area and 4 staff MacBooks (Justin, Allan, Nick and one not allocated yet).

Turn on the Mac computer, connect the student iPad and a USB. Transfer your video or photos by dragging and dropping from the iPad to the USB.

Note: All Lightning USB cables for the student iPads are connected to the iPad cart and cannot be removed. If you wish to use this method you will need to use the lightning USB cable that came with your teacher iPad.

Need Help?

Please ask! If you have any issues with any of the above 3 options please come and see me. I am more than happy to help with any trouble shooting. If you are in the middle of a class and want to transfer student work and I’m in my office I am always happy to come out and help – just ask. All 3 methods are fairly straight forward and will not take a great deal of time for me to help you with.


Currently unavailable. Last year the students had the ability to email work from the iPads. Unfortunately over the holidays I had to reimage (unsupervise and re-supervise) all the iPads. This meant wiping all settings and content which included email settings. As email is configured manually on each iPad I have just not got to it yet.