Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Zondle junior oneClick login released

Our zondle focus day brought up some interesting ideas. One of which raised by Primary Pete (@primarypete_) and Ceri Williams (@cerirwilliams) was the notion of a one click login to enable teachers to more easily use zondle in class. Once the teacher has logged in teaching group members just click on their zondle avatar and start playing. How easy is that!?

The following video shows how it works. Now the zondle phonics and spelling topics that you create can be played even more easily in class.

zondle in under ten minutes

Our good friend Ian Addison (primary school teacher and ICT co-ordinator) suggested that we did a very short video showing how quickly you can get started with zondle. We reckoned this was a great idea and so knocked one up for his undertenminutes.com website.

If you don’t already know about undertenminutes.com then it’s one to add to your favourites. It enables users to see how to use technology in education in a series of videos of under ten minutes.

Ian says: “This is about the same length as my attention span and perfect for showing at the end of a staff meeting.”

So, if you want to see how quickly you can get going on zondle, just check out this video and undertenminutes.com.


Monday, 8 August 2011

zondle affiliate program released

Would you like to get more recognition for the content that you put on zondle?

Would you like to publicise your school, organisation or company?

Would you like to do all of this in a way that helps learners around the world?


This is where the FREE zondle affiliate program comes in.

You send us a link to your website and your logo. We will then check out your site and, if it is deemed appropriate, we will then add you as an affiliate on zondle.

When a user finds a topic created by one of your team they will see your logo next to the topic. Rolling over the logo brings up a bigger logo which links to your website.




More than one user can be linked to your affiliate account, so you could have all your staff or teachers creating topics that would carry your logo and web link.

Apply to participate!

Extended user profile released

Would you like people to be able to know a little more about you on zondle? Maybe so that they know that you are a qualified teacher or an organisation creating topics on zondle.

This is where the new extended user profile comes in. Tell other zondlers about yourself, where you are based, link up with them via twitter and share your web address.

Then, whenever your name appears on zondle a user can just click it and see your profile straight away.

Of course, this is all optional. You don’t have to include ANY information if you don’t want to.

Click here to see my profile.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

New friend features on zondle!

Today we released a little feature to make it easier for your learners to friend one another within zondle. Zondlers have always been able to add friends, but it was always a little clunky.

We have now added a much more responsive mechanism for zondlers to accept or reject friends requests in real time in class.

When a zondler has a friend request the next time they move to a new page they will get a little message slide down from the top of the window with the friend request and an option to “accept” or “reject” the friend request.

Doing it like this means that it never interrupts game play and therefore shouldn’t distract the learners, but also means that they can accept the requests easily.

Of course, any feedback is welcome. Here is a little intro video to explain all of this.

Zondle now in Portuguese - Zondle agora em Português

The latest addition to the zondle language support is Portuguese. Again we have used Google Translate to achieve this so we expect it to not be perfect and would very much appreciate feedback or help with improving the translation.

What language would you like zondle in? Let us know and we will add it!

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A mais recente adição aos idiomas que o site zondle suporta é o Português. Novamente, nós usamos o Google Translate para fazer a tradução e assim nós não esperamos que ele seja perfeito e gostaria muito de feedback ou ajudar com a melhoria da tradução.

Que língua gostaria zondle para apoiar? Deixe-nos saber e nós vamos adicioná-lo!

Friday, 5 August 2011

"Listen to the word and spell it" zondle question type - pedagogy improved!

We had a great suggestion from tacmyers to improve the pedagogy of the “Listen to the word and spell it”. She said:

“On the spelling games- I would love to have a feature that would combine the best practices for both visual and auditory learners. For example- you have spelling questions where you can listen to the word, or spelling questions where you can type the word when it disappears. I would love to see a version where you can hear the word, then watch it disappear, then type it. I would also LOVE to see (or hear) the word spelled out either as it is being typed- or when it goes together and repeated one final time

EX she (word is said) then it disappears

I type s-h-e the computer says s--h-e /she

This would hit so many more modalities-- not to mention making high frequency words easier to learn for kindergartners. Can it be done?”


We have now adjusted the question type to accommodate this new functionality. Any feedback is, of course, welcome.

See a working example of this improvement.

Thank you tacmyers!!!

“Type the answer” spreadsheet importing now supported on zondle

As you may already know you can import spreadsheets of questions into zondle to make setting up your topics even faster.

A few days ago Voglmeier requested that we add “Type the answer” to the spreadsheets that can be imported. This question type was itself added to zondle as a result of a user asking for it!

We are pleased to say that we have now added this new functionality so you can now import “Type the answer” questions into your zondle topics.

Thank you Voglmeier for feeding back that this would be useful! It’s exactly this kind of feedback that enables us to make zondle better for you!

Thursday, 4 August 2011

New games list display released

Hello zondlers! As you may be aware we had a zondle development day recently with key members of the zondle community (@cerirwilliams, @largerama, @primarypete_, @mscoxenglish and @mscoxenglish’s daughter who is just about to join Apple as a management trainee).

We have very much taken on board the feedback from that day and one of the things mentioned was a more efficient games list so that learners could more easily find games, add them to favourites and basically have fun more quickly.

Today we released the new game list system. It works much more quickly using JavaScript, JQuery and AJAX to return a basic list of game images in a fraction of the original time. Details for the games are then loaded separately when the user rolls over the game image. In short, much more, much more quickly.



The game list is separated into more useful sections:

My favourite games
Recommended games
My games
All games

…all of which are displayed on the one screen. No more paging through the games which is another significant speed enhancement.

You can easily add games to their favourites so that you can find them again easily. Favourites appear at the top of the games list now.

Oh, and of course, just click on the game image to play.

We would love to hear how you get on with this new enhancement. Have fun!

Click here to try it out!

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Primary Pete, on zondle.com

This blog, written by Primary Pete, gives some of his views on zondle. Thank you for your kind words @primarypete_

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A week ago I was told about Zondle by @cerirwilliams after asking on Twitter for any suggestions for software that supports basic skills development, which I’m sure will become a focus for many schools with Ofsted’s agenda shifting. In my opinion, Zondle is a game changer. For background information helping to explain why, please read this post on my current strategic thinking regarding the direction that ICT needs to develop within my specific setting. To find what Zondle has to offer… read on!

In short, Zondle is a platform for learning (through answering questions) where you can play short games between questions. In my opinion it has 6 aspects which make it a game changer.

ONE: The beauty of the games element is that you can drop whatever content you want into the learning part and still give children the option of playing any of the games, so with 10 topics (sets of questions) and 10 games, that’s 100 possible combinations. This really increases the longevity of any of the topics for Primary aged children. My year 1 class are currently addicted to ‘creating pizzas’, which I really didn’t see coming. However if they get bored they have plenty plenty more to capture their interest.

TWO: Topics can be shared. This is massive. Every single one of the sets of questions that you create can be shared in the platform. So for example, my primary focus for using Zondle is to support phonics and spelling development. We use Letters and Sounds. I found a few resources to support different sounds but wanted a complete set, so I’m in the process of going through every sound in every phase to create a system I can get our school to use. And it’s shared. So any other school can jump on and access the same topics. I.E. Instantly accessible pre-created, high quality (if I do say so myself) content.

THREE: Sticking with the same example, the platform is extremely innovative. I have been able to go further than simply creating a spelling program where the word is on screen, disappears and then you spell it. That is just one of the several (and growing) possible ways of creating a set of questions. I chose to use one of the special ‘phonics’ question builders which allows you to upload a sound file and then specify the individual phonemes that make up the word. Children then hear the word and click on a range of individual sounds (which play – that is all built into the system) to create the word, giving them the opportunity to use their phonic knowledge to help them spell. A critical basic skill. Unfortunately I work in the lovely North West and have a southern accent so there is that dialect issue (for me), however the children are so used to hearing it in other programs that they get it without any problem. And even if they did…

FOUR: Zondle customer support is immense. They are planning lots of exciting things in the future, e.g. different dialects. They listen to teachers and want to build a system for teachers and are extremely helpful when it comes to getting data into the system and supporting use of the platform.

FIVE: Assessment. I haven’t had a chance to use that element yet as I have only just got individual logins today (yes, a Saturday) for our school (we used a shared class login previously). My understanding is you can review performance in each of the topics, for each of the children (in the topics where there is a ‘right or wrong’ answer). Therefore you could set topics to users (you can definitely do that) and then using the assessment element, pin pointing class support based on performance.

SIX: Did I mention Zondle was free? I believe there are additional elements that you can pay for, but keeping the main platform free is the model they are following. Therefore it makes it a great platform for teachers to use, see the impact and then buy in elements that are of particular use.

The system seems to be well used in secondary, particularly for Maths and MFL and whilst I think the possibilities there are giant, the impact Zondle could have on basic skills in Primary education is even greater. One small word of caution is the platform currently has a login button for Facebook and by nature, anyone can create content so some could be created by children that were inaccurate or inappropriate. Zondle clearly takes E-Safety seriously though, with a CEOP button on the homepage and the ability to log issues with topics. Referring back to the 4th aspect, personally I think a completely separate Primary login page would minimize possible E-Safety concerns. And the fact that Zondle will undoubtedly listen to this kind of advice is one of the six reasons that for me, it’s a game changer. <– Update*** I’m not surprised to say that the Zondle team have now implimented a ‘Junior’ login section! You can visit it here: www.zondle.com/junior