We’ve just pushed the latest update to School Jotter live. You might have noticed these are coming more frequently now – we’re aiming for smaller, more frequent, more agile releases every two weeks, rather than a big one every few months.
- A new Files Download element has been added that allows you to share files and folders to your school website.
- Pinterest has been added to the social networks list (compatible bespoke themes only.)
- Extra security has been added to blogs that have been embedded on the website.
- An issue that broke pagination of embedded blogs has been resolved.
- An issue where CSV results were exported incorrectly from Forms has been resolved.
- An issue where images could not be removed from News stories has been resolved.
We’ve recently had a lot of new schools sign up to our Spellings app, so it seems like the perfect time for a rundown of how to get started using the Spellings platform. Want to find out more? Drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll sort you out with a demo.
Users of Spellanywhere can also have all their content migrated for them – we’ll take care of this, so if you’re a Spellanywhere user you really have no excuse for not upgrading!
Anyway, for those of you who are currently using the platform, here’s a basic rundown of how it all works.
There’s two sides of the Spellings app we can deal with – the admin view and the user view. We’re going to focus on what the admin sees today, but if you’d like us to cover the students’ perspective, please do let us know. Logging in as an admin, here’s what you’ll see:
Assuming your permissions have been set properly, you’ll see this screen here. Note that I’ve already added two types of test in here, so it should be blank for you.
Now, we’re going to start with the easiest way to add spelling tests to your site – using our premade bank of them. Click on “Preset Lists” in the menu to the left and you’ll see this screen:
These are all lists we’re providing to you for free – there’s over 70 of them, categorised by numbers of syllables. They’ve been created with the curriculum in mind, so you shouldn’t have any issues using them. To see what words are in a test click on View list, to practice taking a test yourself click on Preview, and to copy it to your library so you can set it yourself, click Copy. Note that the Community Lists tab contains a near-identical interface, but is populated by custom lists submitted by other schools.
This will bring up the “New Spelling Test” dialog, which we’ll discuss below. For now, it should have appeared in the Spelling Lists tab to the left. Before you can set it as a test, you’ll need to assign it to some groups – this is done through the standard Jotter groups dialog; type the name of the group and it’ll auto-suggest one. Once that’s done, click Set As Test to give it to those groups specified before.
But what if you want to create your own tests? That’s easy too – click Create Spelling List at the top of the page to get this dialog.
I’ll go through the sections bit-by-bit (as I always seem to do!):
- Name – What the spelling test is to be called
- Description – A bit of descriptive text to tell the pupils (or staff) what it’s about
- Folder – You can create and specify folders for organisational purposes
- Mode – There are three modes you can choose from:
Audio: The audio file of the word will play (see below)
Flash Card: The word appears on a flash card that disappears once typing begins
Delayed Flash Card: As above, but the card does not disappear immediately
- Options – Choose whether it’s active and whether you’d like the question order shuffled to prevent cheating/rote memorisation
- Words – the actual words you’d like to test
Spellings has an audio option for some words – if audio for a word is available, the symbol to the left of it will change to a speaker. Not all words have sounds associated with them, but this is something we’re actively working on with common ones. Add more words through the Add Word button below, and once you’re done click Create.
Of course, testing is all well and good, but you need to be able to see results. Luckily, Spellings can offer that in a very detailed way – click on Results in the left menu to see a detailed breakdown of all who have taken the tests.
And that’s pretty much it! We’re really pleased with how Spellings has come out, and we hope you are too. Don’t have it but are interested? You can get a free 30-day trial in your App Store – try it out with your students!