BETT show brings together the latest technology in Education. Below are a list of technology software, tools and ideas that were exhibited in 2017 aimed at supporting and facilitating Visual Learning. Though some ideas are geared towards the National Curriculum, the idea behind the technology or tool is intended to invite innovative thinking about how similar ideas can be created to serve teaching of Islamic studies and Quranic sciences to children.
Just2easy suite is a collection of online educational tools designed to engage, motivate, and inspire pupils to meet and exceed many elements of the National Curriculum. Aimed at children from Foundation Stage through to Key Stage 3. It enables creating, sharing and safe blogging at school and at home. The video below is an example of the ‘infants’ tools’. Other features for children include:
- Voting tool
- Movie making
- Safe blogging
- Website publishing tool
- Infants tools: write, paint, turtle directions, animations, branching, charting, pictogram
Most of the tools listed above as well as others on the website can be used to creatively supplement a lesson on Islamic Studies. For example, illustrated writing can be used to write stories about various Islamic themes: patience, kindness, generosity etc. The story can be drawn and turned into animations. The possibilities are endless!
This creative software tests, teaches and retests, then tracks pupil’s progress. Though this tool is focused on teaching English, Maths, Verbal and non-verbal reasoning. The idea of having learning material on a website and the process of testing, teaching and re-testing can be applied to teaching older children Arabic or dense Islamic content, for example on issues of Fiqh, Usoul al-fiqh, Usoul al-Hadeeth or comparative religion.
This absolutely free tool for teachers can be used to instantly engage your students. It allows you to prepare a multimedia lesson in 5 minutes. Simply, pick a topic, explore content teachers already uploaded about it, such as slides, handouts, etc. drag the content you like and put it in the order you would like it to appear. You can also drag videos from youtube or any other site, as well as pictures from google. When you save your lesson, other teachers looking for content around your topic will be able to see your lesson and can use it in their teaching. There are lots of material on Islamic studies on this site. If you share quality material, they could be also used by Religious Education teachers in mainstream schools. Finally when you have finished you can play your content. You will need a digital screen or an interactive whiteboard.
This tool is excellent for creating exciting movies. Again, it can be used to creatively supplement Islamic studies lessons or Arabic and bring out the best in visual learners. In fact, depending on what characters you allow your students to use to make their movie, this tool can be geared towards kinesthetic learners. For example if characters are drawn or made using play dough, it will definitely excite the kinesthetic learners in your class. The tool allows adding voice over, sound effects or sound files, hence tapping into auditory learning as well.
Lipa learning is a visual app-based gaming curriculum for young children. It covers topics such as: healthy life style, social emotional balance, hygiene and safety, environmental awareness etc. Though I am not an advocate of app-based games for young children, it is the ideas behind those apps and their learning goals that I find interesting. If Islamic studies for young children or Arabic language can be broken down and simplified to suit, yet not patronise learners, the idea may be an alternative for young children who are already frequent users of app games.
Wand-education is a content creation platform that enables teachers to develop interactive lessons in minutes. Teachers can:
- Create activities; such as crosswords and different types of quizzes
- Insert videos, images, text, historical periods, games etc.
- Deliver lessons on a screen or board and even share with students smart phones
- Monitor progress and receive action driven data to improve your teaching focus on areas of weakness
7) Gebo Kano
Gebo Kano is a sticker story book creator tool. It is great for teaching language vocabulary and creative writing for young children, it allows insertion of colourful quality stickers and other visual manipulations. Teacher can use it to drill vocabulary and grammar already covered in class. This tool is only in English, but the idea behind it is fantastic for teaching Arabic.
Kahoot is a popular free game-based student response system. Teachers can create their quiz, pupils can then access the quiz from any device, at home or school. The quiz can be used as a starter to get pupils thinking about a subject you want to teach. It can also be used as a plenary to review learning at the end of the lesson, or as a learning assessment to see how much content your students were able to grasp. It can also be used as homework. Quizzes you create can be saved and used by other teachers.
DrOmnibus is an educational app deigned ofr children aged 3-6 and focuses on children with special educational needs. It contains 5000 educational tasks. Similar apps with simplified Islamic content can be of great benefit for children with special needs, whether at home or special Madrassahs.
Explain Everything is an interactive whiteboard software that is designed so you can access it from your tablet in addition to an interactive whiteboard. It contains many built in tools that make it more interactive and dynamic.
11) Purple Mash
Purple mash is a collection of over 40 games, tools and resources for children all in one software. Features include:
- Offers differentiated content and resources for pupils aged 2-11
- You can use it on desktops, laptops and iPads
- Home access for teachers, parents and pupils
- Updated without the need for further subscription
- Work can be saved
- Support for teachers, including lesson plans, curriculum links and video links
- Safe and promotes e-safety
12) Dictionary Pen
Instantly translates from/ into English for the following languages (Arabic soon): Chinese, French, German, Italian, Spanish & Russian.
- Look up/translate words in dictionary in six different languages
- Listen to single words being pronounced by natural speaking TTS
- Highlight/store text in internal memory (2+ GB storage/thousands of pages)
- Connect to Windows/MAC/Linux and upload text files (no software required)
- Scan directly to text cursor on a Windows/MAC/Linux computer (no software required)
- Record and play back voice memos
- Free upgrades
We would love to hear your feedback! If you were to apply any of those tools or software to your teaching, which one would it be? If you are already using any of these or use different ones, please share your experience with us below.