Pin-ups, powerpoint and word import, presentation mode, resource designer enhancements: Schoolshape 2.8 released.

New functionality included in the latest upgrade:

Pinups: videos, texts and other media can be pinned to the left side of the screen, making it easier for students to refer back to stimulus material while completing a long exercise.  To pin any item in the resource designer, use the spanner menu in the top right corner of the item.  Students can also pin and unpin material within their own interface.

Powerpoint and Word Import: You can now import powerpoint slides and word documents into Schoolshape resources.  Click the 'Upload' button from your home page or the resource designer.

Quick links for essays, video presentations and audio recordings:  If a student wishes to make a recording or write a passage and hand it in to any teacher, they can now do so via links from their home page.

Resource Designer enhancements:

- Copy any item.  This is really useful if you have a number of multiple choice questions with the same options:  just create the first question, choose 'Copy' from the spanner menu and alter each copy as required.

- Limit the number of times audio can be played back by students: this can be controlled from the spanner menu on audio stimuli.  Very useful for exams and tests!

Presentation mode

When displaying a resource in the library, in addition to 'Student answer view', 'Resource Design View' and 'Teacher marking view', you have a fourth option: 'Presentation View'.  This is useful in conjunction with an electronic whiteboard to go through a resource step by step with your class without showing them all the answers immediately.

Other small improvements

- 'Repeat play' of audio, again accessible by the student from the spanner menu.
- Teachers can now play back student recordings even when work is not yet handed in, and students are offline.
- Add new alternative answers after-the-fact.  If you have set a piece of work with gap-fill questions, and a student has written an answer which is acceptable, but not included in the original set of correct answers, you can click on the 'cross' symbol to change to a tick.  All students who chose this answer will get one point extra.
- More tooltips across the software explaining the functions of everything.  Just hover for an explanation.
- Low latency:  by altering the settings under 'School Subscription', you can remove encryption of live audio and enable low latency calling for the whole school.
- As usual, there are also many improvements in the stability, speed and user-friendliness of the system.

 

Schoolshape China Launched

 Schoolshape has successfully set up its first representative office in China.  For more information, please see our chinese website or contact us for more information.

iPad Language Lab Student App Released

The Schoolshape Language Lab is now available in the iTunes web store.

Students can now use iPads to complete speaking, listening, reading and writing tasks set by their teachers from the Schoolshape Language Lab.

Simply search the iTunes store for ‘Schoolshape’ and download the App onto your iPad.

Try a brief ‘test’ resource with your students. Instructions for setting tasks are at
http://schoolshape.com/how-guide/how-set-task.

The following exercise is recommended for students using the system for the first time:
http://esl-resources.org/Publisher/sheet/8742

Once you have set the task, students can log into Schoolshape, complete and hand in the task.

Students can also search the Schoolshape Library and choose tasks and revision exercises for themselves.

Student-driven learning with Schoolshape

Previously, teachers using Schoolshape must select activities for students to complete and set them as tasks, which then appear in the student's todo list.  While this method is still available, students may now also browse the library and select their own activities.  When they complete and hand them in, they appear on the teacher's home screen.

You can now simply tell students to go to schoolshape.com and select their own activities.  This makes it easy to offer additional activities to gifted students and to give responsible students more control over their own learning.

If you do not want this facility available to your students, you can turn it off from the Admin->Subscription screen by clicking 'Edit'.

We have also updated the teacher's home screen to allow for student driven learning, and to make accessing many frequently used functions such as the markbook easier.

Student pairing and audio gap fill functionality arrives.

 

This completes our work on matching functionality available in other language labs, meaning that Schoolshape now offers all functionality available from hardware and local network solutions, but with the convenience of anywhere, anytime use and much more.

Student Pairing is available to audio and video language lab subscribers.  It enables you to pair students for speaking practice.  First select the relevant group on the home screen or student screen, and select 'Start Pairing' when students are online.  Then, you will be able to click on student names to immediately pair them for conversation practice.

Audio Gap Fill allows 'Repeat after me' and dialogue exercises.  They offer a better way of creating exercises that would have been solved using two cassette players in the old language labs.  When creating a new exercise, choose 'Audio Gap Fill' from the right-hand palette.  Hit the round 'record' button, record the first prompt and then click the square 'Stop' button.  You will see the wave form and a 'gap' appear for the students to record in.  Hit record again to create the second prompt.  When done, you may test the exercise from the student's point of view by selecting 'Student answer view'.  Schoolshape will play the first prompt, and then automatically start recording the student's response.  It will detect when the student has finished speaking, and play the next prompt automatically.  If background noise interferes with the automatic detection, the student can hit the stop button at any time to proceed to the next prompt.  They can also go back and re-record earlier sections if they wish.

 

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