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




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

The following exercise is recommended for students using the system for the first time:

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.