Better resource management

You can now drag and drop resources in your library to sort them into different categories.  Drag a resource over a category like &;Grammar&;, which then reveals individual categories such as &;ER Verbs&; into which you can drop your resources.  We also know many of you want to create your own categories for filing your resources, and this is coming very soon! 

And one more thing...

Sometimes new students join your class, and you&;d like to be able to set past work for them to catch up.  Anywhere a blank appears in the markbook, you can now click on it to set work for that student, filling it in.

Schoolshape downtime announcement

On 23 Oct 2012 Schoolshape was unavailable between 7:30pm and 11pm.  This was due to an outage at the Amazon hosting service which also affected many other Internet services such as Foursquare, Reddit and AirBnB.  Please see the NY Times story below:

We apologize for any inconvenience caused to our customers.  We are now looking into ways to reduce our reliance on a single service provider.


Flexible tasks and faster synchronization

New in Schoolshape 2.10:

Setting work for students is now much more flexible.  You can set:
- work for a small number of students, without having to create a new group
- the same task for multiple groups
- several pieces of work at once

You can also add or remove students from a task after it has already been started.

To set work for individual students without having to create groups:
First, create a resource or select one from the library, and click &;Set Work&;
Then, click on the students&; names.  Click OK to finish.

To set more than one piece of work at once:
Ctrl-click (on MacOS computers, Cmd-click) the relevant resources in the library, and then click &;Set work&;

To add a student to an ongoing task:
First, click on the task from your home screen or the task list
Then click &;Edit Task&;, then &;Students&;
Click on any student to add them to (or remove them from) the task, and click &;OK&; to finish.

Other updates include reducing the delay between teachers and students while supervising and controlling screens, improving the teacher&;s home screen display and the ability to convert pictures into picture labeling exercises.

Interactive help, teacher instruction areas, intelligent word and HTML import

Schoolshape 2.9 released:

Interactive Help

The first of a series of interactive guides to the software has been released, which shows teachers how to use Schoolshape to find educational resources, set them for homework and assess the results.  To start the guide, use the &;Help&; button on your home screen.

Teacher Instruction Areas

When you are creating resources, you can now include instructions to the teacher, which are not shown to students.  If you are creating resources for your own use, the teacher instruction areas are also useful for making notes for yourself.  To add a teacher instruction area, when creating a resource, drag the &;Teacher Instruction Area&; button anywhere onto the canvas.

Intelligent Word & HTML import

You can now import word files into Schoolshape, including multiple choice and gap fill questions.  As long as gap fill answers are labelled &;A&;, &;B&;, &;C&;, etc, and the gaps in the gap fills are inserted using underscores ( __ ), Schoolshape will automatically find these and convert them into automatically marked interactive exercises!  Of course, once imported, you can continue to edit and improve the resources by adding speaking exercises for example.

Powerpoint import has been further improved - once you have imported all slides from the powerpoint document, you can delete individual slides, convert them into exercises and edit the text within the slides.  These functions are available from the &;Spanner&; drop-down menu on each imported slide.

Latency Improvement Option

If you do a lot of pair speaking work and you find there is a slight lag when your school internet is busy, there is now a low latency option to help matters.  Go to Admin -> Subscription, click &;Edit&;, then switch the media streaming option from &;Encrypt Streaming Media&; to &;Minimize streaming media latency&;.  This should solve any &;lag&; issues.  Please be aware that changing this option makes it theoretically possible for a third party to listen in on student conversations, and that we cannot take any responsibility for the consequences.  To put things in perspective, the same applies when you make a normal telephone call.

Schoolshape Symposium at The Bolles School, Jacksonville, Florida

The Bolles School Florida is internationally recognized for excellence in academics, arts, athletics*, and activities.

Their World Languages Department, recently opened its doors to delegates from other institutions.

This was a practical, hands-on session for language teachers, hosted by Moya Marks, upper school principal and Chair of World Languages at The Bolles School. The seminar and workshop were led by Dom Armstrong, technical advisor for the Schoolshape Online Language Lab, which has been successfully used at Bolles for the last two years.

“The Schoolshape program has been a phenomenal teaching tool for us at Bolles,” said Moya Marks, “With the recent implementation of improved bandwidth throughout the school, we will integrate even more use of the program in the classroom. We were pleased to host this workshop and lead the way in facilitating Schoolshape’s use among Jacksonville schools.”

Delegates set online speaking, listening, reading and writing tasks for their students to complete on iPads or other online devices. They also practised adapting existing resources for setting in online format with automatic correction and grading, performance tracking, and, above all, plenty of speaking practice in the foreign language.

In addition to the meeting at The Bolles School, Language specialists from around the world were invited to participate in two stages of an online workshop.

In Stage 1 they acted as students with iPads or other online devices, handing in tasks set for them by the delegates at Bolles.

In Stage 2 they created, adapted and set online tasks for their own students to complete.

In the week prior to the event, teachers in 50 schools and universities signed up for the online workshop..

Schoolshape is mainly used at The Bolles School as a full online language laboratory. Teachers can supervise their students by listening in to individuals, wherever they be, exchanging messages, pairing them up for oral work, and giving demonstrations by controlling the screens of individuals or groups.

Schoolshape is also used as a means of preparing and differentiating tasks and courses in advance. Work is set for students to complete and hand in on their online devices. Students are never in doubt about what to do next. Teachers are confident that the work they have set is appropriate for the needs of each individual or group. Most corrections and grades are done automatically and results placed in their electronic gradebook. Teachers therefore have the time they need and the data they require to pinpoint weaknesses, identify progress, and give appropriate feedback.

Here are some examples of tasks handed in to language teachers at The Bolles School meeting.

Submitted to Duval County Public Schools by Hurstpierpoint School, a Spanish listening and speaking exercise about School, and a writing exercise on the Spanish Subjunctive

Submitted to Bolles from Cardiff School of Education, a speaking and writing exercise about a French tourist office, from Anadolu University, an English grammar exercise on the use of apostrophes, from Groton School a listening speaking and reading exercise on Mandarin pronunciation.

Submitted to North Florida University from St Mary’s Grammar, a Spanish listening and speaking exercise entitled Madrid 2020

To the Episcopal School of Jacksonville from Highcliffe School, a Spanish listening and speaking exercise on the 2012 London Olympics

To St. Johns Day School from the Bridge Academy and the Open University a listening writing and speaking exercise based on an Asterix video clip.

*Example of this school’s achievements in the 2012 London Olympics can be seen at:

Article on Bolles website at

Many thanks to the following teachers who kindly submitted work as part of the online workshop

Submitted to The Bolles School

Collette Ballew Honesdale High School

Althea Greenidge Raines Foundation School
Seray Tanyer Anadolu University
Frankie Stevens Cardiff School of Education
Juliet Park Yewlands Academy
Kristine Simpson Forest Area Middle/ High School
Leigh Arrathoon Rochester College
Kim Rhodes Deep Run High School
Kristine Simpson Forest Area Middle/High School
Theresa Delphonse Morgan Fitzgerald Middle School
Yao Cheng  Reading Chinese School
Laura Amy Duncraig Senior High School
Maggie Sproule George Watson's College
Vivien Zhang City of London School for Girls
James Rolle Groton School
Roger Crandall Indiana University
Xiaojing Kou Indiana University
Shun Ji Macfarlane The Marco Polo Academy
Alysse Rasmussen Valencia College
Deb Blaz  Angola High School

Submitted to West Nassau High School
Paul Almeida Werneth School
Georgia Jarrell Meridian High School
Patti Marinelli University of South Carolina

Submitted to University of North Florida
Richard Detwiler Jenkintown Middle/High School
Catriona Donoghue St Mary's Grammar

Submitted to Episcopal School of Jacksonville
Edward Stanko Patrick Henry High School

Submitted to St. Johns Country Day School
Susanne Winchester  Open University
Anu Jain  The Bridge Academy

Submitted to Duval County Public Schools
Margarita Payeras-Cifre Hurstpierpoint College
Julia Royall Mason Preparatory School

Submitted to Fletcher High School
Carmen Montas P.S.19q
Gina Pitches Hockerill Anglo-European College
Lucy Marsh Robert May’s School

Submitted to Episcopal School of Jacksonville
Marianne Walton Highcliffe School