I was lucky enough to attend another excellent Teachmeet in Swansea on Wednesday , this one at Prentrehafod School. It’s funny seeing different schools and hosts focus on different elements of the Teachmeet. For example, tonight the audience were in rows, rather than around tables (which I still prefer), but the time limit was strictly enforced (something I think more should do!).
I did my six minutes on reasons to use Hwb. In case you’re new to the blog and aren’t aware, Hwb is the National Digital Learning Platform was Wales, and I’m currently seconded to their ‘Digital Leader’ team supporting schools in adopting and using the tools. It was interesting picking up the point in Gareth Morgan’s blog post that many schools are still unaware of what Hwb can offer, and this is something we’re working hard to address. My private reflection is that many school’s aren’t used to a national platform developing as fast as Hwb has, especially in the last twelve months or so, and having decided that it wasn’t for them two years ago haven’t realised the wide variety of things it offers now.
(if you have any ideas on how we can help solve this, please do leave them in the comments!!!)
So I galloped through this Prezi (which may not make much sense without commentary). But for anyone curious, my top ten reasons to have a look at Hwb are:
- Automatic management of user accounts via link to the schools MIS (electronic registers)
- Around 90,000 bilingual teaching resources, mapped to the Welsh Curriculum, including materials for the new English, Welsh and Maths GCSEs – hwb.wales.gov.uk/resources (Nb – These are open to the world, you can use these even if you don’t have a Hwb username and password)
- Once you have logged in, all teachers and learners from schools in Wales have access to the online version of Encyclopedia Britannica, with three reading levels and a huge bank of images and videos
- Staff members can join the Hwb Community, where they can share and access other teaching materials, including websites, their own materials and playlists (see point X), and Hwb Networks (online PLCs, they work in a similar way to Facebook groups)
- Student interactive materials to help preparation for PISA. Stacks of interactive materials for Scientific Literacy, Maths and Reading. We’ll shortly be adding the option to assign these activities to students and get their scores back too!
- E-Safety Zone, including information for parents, sample templates and materials, the Digital Literacy Resources with lesson materials for every year group from reception to Yr 13. Schools can also use the 360 Degree Safe Cymru tool to benchmark their e-safety policies and practices
- Playlists. Users can pull together content from across the web, add quizzes, and have students access them all from one link.
- Office 365 – Every teacher and every learner gets and email account and OneDrive, including online file storage and the option to work in Word, Excel, Powerpoint and OneNote through any webbrowser
- J2E – The full Just 2 Easy suite of tools, including JIT for younger learners, J2E Digital Paper, J2Code (including tools and lesson plans) and J2Launch to help manage files from across devices (including ipads)
- Hwb+ – Every school gets it’s own Learning Platform built on the LP+4 platform from Learning Possibilities
If you’re a teacher (or a student) at a school in Wales and you’re not yet using Hwb, please feel free to contact me via the comments if you’d like some help getting started.