The latest upgrade to Schoolshape includes a few little extras which weren't quite ready for release in version 2.4.
The main item is the new drag-and-drop activity, which lets you create activities which re-order sentences, gap fills where students must pick from several alternatives and similar activities.
Create a gap fill activity, enter text and choose the parts that students must fill in as per normal. Then, click the spanner icon in the top right of the activity and select 'Drag and drop'. Clicking on 'Student answer view' in the left hand bar will let you test out what the student will see.
Other extras include:
- moving around activites and resources using the tab or enter keys;
- controlling whether marking of picture labelling and gap fill activities is case sensitive - click the spanner icon in the top right of the activity to change this; and
- further improvements to the new resource layout, which now works seamlessly with screen control and supervision.
Schoolshape 2.4 is now online. This is a major upgrade, focusing on display of resources and student work.
New Resource Display Engine
Resources and students' work now display clearly on screens of all sizes
Space on big screens is maximized
Display is appropriately adjusted for small screens
Sliding dividers and scroll bars replaced by click function
Automatic numbering of activities and stimuli
Faster display of resources
New Resource Designer
Create new resources by dragging and dropping activities and stimuli into place
New assessment interface
Easier, clearer control of manual and automatic assessment criteria
Faster input of assessment
New design for display of assessment information
Speed and design improvements to library interface to facilitate browsing and searching for materials
'Embed' function enables pasting of resources and activities into VLE or school website.
No action is required to receive the upgrade. To explore the new features, just log in at lab.schoolshape.com
The rollout of Schoolshape version 2.2 is now complete for all users. Improvements include:
- 'Merge Students' button to combine accounts of students who have been accidently entered into the system several times.
- Improvements to picture labelling exercises to make them easier to design
- Improved navigation to move between different dates and groups in the markbook
- Improved feedback page for students.
- Uploading audio files now supports wma, wav, flv and mp3 in addition to direct recording.
- Improved language detection for users outside the US
- A number of small bugs and display issues solved.
Schoolshape 2.16 is now online and serving schools across the UK and US.
- New student manager
- Clearer and simpler interface
- Arrange groups of students into hierarchies by dragging or clicking 'Move to..'
- Guards to prevent the creation of multiple accounts for each student
- Reset passwords of students en masse
- See which students are online and message or call them
- Enabled continued audio and video recording even on internet failure
- Translations of the user interface into French and Spanish as well as US and UK English and Mandarin Chinese.
- Option to enable or disable the noticeboard on a task by task basis
- School Resources - share resources between different teachers in your department
- Small screens - improved display on netbooks, tablets, TVs and other low-resolution screens.
- Marking - allow half-marks, and add up total marks as you assess work
- Foreign Accents - added convenient foreign accent insertion for German, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese.
This week Schoolshape director Peter Smith had the pleasure of conversing with the highly respected and influential online commentator, Kirsten Winkler. Kirsten is a prolific exponent of the latest Web 2 technology with a shrewd understanding of how new online initiatives facilitate the teaching and learning of foreign languages.
Although the collection of informative articles on Kirsten's blog are centred on the burgeoning personal education sector, there is no doubt that Web 2 is beginning to have a profound effect on teaching and learning in the classroom. Today's generation of schoolchildren is indeed 'internet ready'. Searching for information, connecting with others, and using web tools are skills which have become second nature to most students. Educationalists are in a unique position to capitalise on these skills already acquired by their students. The teacher can profit from web 2 by setting, marking and differentiating. By tailoring work more precisely to each student's needs, he can allow them to progress at their own pace, guiding them and encouraging them to use a medium which they accept as part of their daily lives.