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.
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.
The latest release of Schoolshape now available for all users includes the following much-requested features:
1. Long resources. Our new 3D paging system lets you create resources with up to 100 activities and have them displayed well on screens of all sizes.
2. Video calling and broadcasting. Teachers using the video language lab can now make video calls to students, and can broadcast their classes via live web video.
This latest release is the last major milestone before we reach our goal of covering all features offered by all traditional language labs by the end of 2011.
Schoolshape's new resource library features a 3D interface which makes finding appropriate resources literally two clicks away. Resources can be searched and filtered by subject, level, topic, skill, grammar point, publisher and more. The library is automatically filtered by subject, level and age appropriateness for your students - visit the 'My Settings' page to check that these are correct. Resources can be organized by level based on almost any criteria scheme, including national curriculumn descriptors, the European Common Framework, IB, GCSE, A-level, Common Entrance attainment targets and more.
Several publishers working with Schoolshape now have their own sections of the library. To browse these, click 'By Publisher' in the library. Some resources are offered by publishers for free, while others, marked with a currency symbol, can be purchased through Schoolshape's invoicing system.
Other improvements include
Students can now access the resources library, allowing them to take more responsibility for their learning by selecting their own learning resources. Currently, self-selected resources are not saved to students' portfolios or sent to the teacher - we expect this to come later this year. The feature can be turned off from the 'Subscription' screen.
You can now insert Youtube videos and other flash animations and games directly into Schoolshape resources. See how to insert YouTube videos for full instructions.
Other improvements include:
Randomization of multiple choice questions - students will now find it harder to look over shoulders of others to find answers to multiple choice questions as ordering and layout is now randomized for each student!
Increase in font size for easier reading
Retrieve password via email for teachers to retrieve passwords without contacting their school administrator
Speed improvements make Schoolshape load faster, especially for students