Tag-Archive for ◊ manga high ◊

Top 5 Posts of 2012
Friday, December 28th, 2012 | Author:

Before writing a review of 2012, which will take a bit of thought, I thought I would share the top 5 posts on this blog throughout the whole of 2012. What this top 5 does show is that all of these posts are over a year old (the BETT one is 4 days from its first birthday). This appears to be because it takes a while to build an audience. The Bett Show post is 6/7th on Google’s search page for “Bett Show Tips” and search for Digital Leaders and my tag is 4th on the results page. Another thing that the most popular posts show is that the ‘how-to/guide’ type posts seem to get more hits than the reflection-type posts. Maybe teachers are looking for people to show them how to implement these tools in their classroom.

But hey, I’m just glad that anyone finds these posts useful!

Top 5 for 2012…

1. Bett for Beginners

This will be re-produced and updated in the coming days, but for now, the 2012 BETT guide is the most popular blog post on the site. This post gives a few tips and hints to getting the most out of the annual BETT show.


2. How to Get Started with Google Apps for Education

Another post getting an update and a revamp is the guide to setting up Google Apps for Education. This has been popular since it was written and this year alone has had just under 5,000 views. I have started re-writing it to take recent changes into account and that should be due in early 2013.


3. Come and have a #ukedchat

This post is getting quite old now, but it gives a very brief overview of ukedchat, the weekly twitter discussion forum. There have probably been many more posts about it which are better and more up-to-date, but this still had 3,000 hits this year!


4. Primary Digital Leaders

Written in December 2010, this post laid out the plans for Digital Leaders in my school. This all started after a discussion with Chris Mayoh and Dawn Hallybone at a Microsoft event in November 2010. We had just seen Daniel Stucke talk about his digital leaders and we planned a few ways forward for our own schools too.


5. Manga High – an overview

With 2,500 hits this year, this post gives an insight into Manga High which used to an expensive online resource but for the past 18months or so has been free. My children love using it and it really challenges them to think quickly.

Manga High – A bit of an overview
Sunday, October 09th, 2011 | Author:

I wrote a few months ago about Manga High now that it was free and I thought I’d follow it up now that we have been using it for a bit. The last blog post was written just after the free launch and I have to say, prior to this I had never really looked at the site because of the cost. I remember seeing it at Bett a few times and thinking it was a lot of money to pay for online games and it didn’t look good enough for me to warrant exploring further. But now that we have dabbled a bit, I am quite impressed.

So, where to start? I probably should start with how easy it is to make classes and users, but I won’t, I’ll come back to that in a minute. We gave all of our children a log-in to the site in May of this year and we told them to go and play around. We have probably used the site for 1 lesson in two different maths groups. Many of the children are yet to see it or use it in school but have used it from home instead. This is an entirely free choice and we haven’t (yet) set it as homework. You can print out log-in cards for the children if you need to.

The main gist of the site is that the children log-in and can play a variety of maths games from KS2 (well, level 2) upwards. It is great for extending children as it includes year 7/8/9 objectives too. The children can play the maths games using a free-choice or the teacher can set challenges. The challenges can be assigned to a particular class or even one pupil. So I have just set some multiplication games for one maths group and they need to reach the silver badge to complete the challenge, but the more-able group might need to reach the gold level instead. The levels relate to points and sometimes the children can choose a harder game which is worth more points over an easier one which is worth less.

So from May-July we gave the children this free-choice and many went and explored. For each game, and for the whole school, there is a leaderboard. Now I have some doubts about this, as it could mean the less-able children never getting their name in lights, but I haven’t noticed that yet, all I have noticed is children playing more and more until they get on that board too. One of my favourite pastimes is to spend 10 minutes playing a game and setting a high score for the children to beat. They love the idea of beating the teacher! You also get challenges with other schools from time-to-time and the winner is the school with the most points over a few days. Not critical but it is a bit of fun.

Setting challenges is easy and you simply search by level or year group and you assign them to a class. It would be nice to choose from more games and not all of them seem to appear in the search options, but maybe that’s just me.

So for like-ability from the children, Manga High scores highly from the children. From the ICT coordinator in me it scores even higher.  Firstly it provides a school-based URL so that my children visit that URL and not just www.mangahigh.com, this helps because then it knows Bob Smith is MY Bob Smith and it doesn’t need a bunch of numbers after the log-in because there are 200 other Bob Smiths. Simple, but again not many providers give you this choice!

I discussed creating usernames and passwords before but Manga High sets the bar extremely high. Let’s start with the initial creation, it is all done simply using CSV files. It even gives you a demo one to edit. When you upload it asks you which column is the firstname, which is lastname and which is the class. **My tip? Also add a password column to provide children with a generic password, they can change this later, but it’s better than dolphin456 or whatever the site defaults to. When it comes to username creation, only 2Simple’s Purple Mash comes close for ease of use. I had 200 accounts created in seconds. However, last term we created them as year groups but this term we wanted to make them into maths sets instead. So, do I delete everyone and start again? Nope, it has it covered.

I started this term with a CSV of all the maths groups across the KS2 year groups (well I started with word docs from the staff, I had to make the CSVs myself but y’know). I had all of the children, I had the data and I used the same upload tool to create the accounts. Now, some children have left the school and others have joined but the tool manages this and shows a lovely graphical representation to show which accounts it thinks are new or not needed anymore. Better yet, it can link accounts so last year I had some Daniels e.g. Daniel Smith but this time I’d shortened it to Dan Smith and the system guessed they were linked, but then I had a Tom Smith in Y3 and a Bob Smith in last year’s y6 that it also guessed were linked, I told the tool it was wrong and the link was broken. Hard to explain, but amazing when you see it working. What it really means is that I didn’t get a new account for Dan because he had a Daniel account last year.

I’m sure it sounds baffling, but what it means is that usernames can be created or updated in seconds. When maths groups change later in the year, I’ll re-upload and it’ll shift everyone around for me and all of their achievements will have been saved. Which keeps them happy!!

My criticisms?

  • The leaderboards don’t refresh automatically, sometimes it can take a few hours (or days) before it changes. This is a shame as I’d love to be able to refresh the screen and make it a competitive maths lesson!
  • On a wireless system it can sometimes take a while to load the games due to their high quality
  • Err…the kids like the ‘shooty’ game a bit too much?
So give it a go and see if you can get on that top 10 schools leaderboard!
Manga High goes free
Wednesday, May 04th, 2011 | Author:

This is a bit of an odd post, I’ve been asked to write it but then I am still only doing it because I think it could be a good resource.

Manga High (www.mangahigh.com) is now free. I’m not sure what the catch is, but I have just registered 200 children with their own usernames and passwords in about 5 minutes.

The site provides maths games for KS2 and above. You can assign challenges to the children e.g. complete times table to a bronze level, but this would be best if you set the children up in maths groups or by ability. I have currently set children up in year groups but once we have played around, I may change it about a bit. I may also just leave it as something for children to play with rather than use in lessons.

You can also challenge other schools and win prizes/badges etc for the more games you complete. But the best bit? There isn’t another username to remember. You decide them.

So, if you have a VLE/Google Apps or whatever, simply create a CSV file (like this: http://www.undertenminutes.com/?p=221 ) and have one column for first name, last name, username, password and class. Our usernames for Manga High will be the same as they are for Google Apps. Simple. I would suggest uploading all users at once though, it got a bit confused when I tried uploading them as different year groups…

The next step is to pass it to the Digital Leaders and let them review it. I’ll share their thoughts soon.