Writing with shapes and technology

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Shape Coding is used in many schools to support language including writing.  The official source of all things Shape Coding can be found at the Moor House School and College website.  Here is a link.

However, many schools have created or adapted resources to support writing, including ourselves.   We have developed an iPad app called ‘Furze Down Shapes’.  To respect the wishes of Shape Coding’s author, we are only using the app internally.    The app allows shapes to be used to support the writing process.  It features text to speech synthesis to read words to students and a limited selection of words in word banks.

FDS ShapesWe have just started using the app with students, and staff have already provided some feedback:

  • “Best thing I’ve seen for using with our students on an iPad”
  • “It’s very useful”
  • “I like the way sentences can be rearranged”

 

However, one key feature not included is the ability to populate the app with key vocabulary, ready for students to start exploring or adding words.  We are hoping to update the app in the next year or so to include the facility for teachers to add word lists and key vocabulary for students to work with, but this is a little way off, so as a work around, we’re now trialing using traditional iPad apps Pages and Keynote to explore writing with shapes.

We have created two templates, one for Pages and one for Keynote, containing shapes.

With the template, the idea is that teachers can:

  1. Duplicate the original
  2. Copy the required number of shapes
  3. Add any key vocabulary to the shapes.
  4. Air Drop the document to students using iPads.

An important factor is ensuring student iPads have ‘speak text’ turned on to allow shape words to be read by the iPad.  To do this:

  1.  Head to ‘Settings’
  2. Choose ‘general’
  3. Choose ‘accessibility
  4. Turn on ‘speak selection’  (highlight content can also be turned on)

Now, any selected text has the ‘speak’ option!

….more to follow as we explore further!

 

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