I have blogged before about converting slide presentations to movies. My previous post is here but deals more with PowerPoint. I am just in the process of assessing the presentations my year 9s have made using slides which they have converted to a movie. Most used Powerpoint and I spent 15 minutes showing them how to do that. I then spent 15 minutes in another lesson looking at iMovie. When it came to Keynote it was a couple of minutes. You export it to Quicktime and save it to the desktop and the transitions and animations are done in the inspector on the far right of the toolbar. The video I have included with this post shows you how effective it can be to make a Keynote movie and also puts out a good message about not pirating! There is plenty of public domain and free material you can use and then it comes down to imagination. With my year 9s I got them to use their own photos and then enhance that with free images. They thoroughly enjoyed it and the work has been very impressive. They are presenting their creations via their laptops on the whiteboard.
I am design challenged to say the least. Graphics is not my strong point so I am always looking for help in this visual world. Designrfix is a good website to get some good ideas and you will make even more of them if you have graphics skills. I downloaded a couple of mock ups to work on for my classroom delivery. I have used the iPad one to present an er verb in French. Yes, I could type it all up on a slide – I have. Yes, I could write it all up. I do. I just thought the iPad template would be a bit different and help the students with their learning. Variety is the key I think. Looking at content from all different angles. What I really like about the downloads is they explain clearly the copyright terms of their use. This one requires a direct link to premiumpixels. It is so much easier when people tell you what they need or want in terms of copyright.
13/5/2013 P.S. I used this today with my year 8s. The image was crystal clear on my whiteboard and the year 8s really paid attention to it and understood what I wanted them to understand. Worked like a charm.
Mrs BMW deserves more than a blogpost. She is worthy of quite a few accolades. She has put together a paper.li which is full of new fashioned goodness for Australian teachers. It means we have a vibrant place to go for current and up to date information for our classrooms and our professional standards. There are plenty of good links to be found on Teaching the Aussie way which will both encourage and lead classroom delivery strategies and stimulate discussions in schools around Australia.
Original image : sr trends
For the second time in a year my MacBook has lost access to my pocket drive. The first one disappeared off the desktop and from the Disk Utility about 6 months after I got it last year. All my precious back ups. Gone. I couldn’t retrieve anything, I couldn’t get the drive to be recognised anywhere. The technicians couldn’t find anything to help. The shop tried and ended up giving me a new pocket drive . I got a different brand thinking that was the problem. So about a year down the track my MacBook made my pocket drive vanish again. Not on the desktop , not in Finder but there it was in Disk Utility – with the partition greyed out. No repairing , restoring, verifying, terminal fancy steps – nothing – would allow me to fix or get access to the drive. It had changed permissions for some files. How do I know? I put my pocket drive on Linux Mint which could read it. Oh thank heavens! I could back up about three-quarters of the files. The MacBook backups for Time Machine could not be backed up and some other files could not be accessed so I could copy them. Disk Utility in Linux would not reformat the drive. What now? I connected it to Windows 8, opened the Disk Manager and deleted the partition my MacBook wouldn’t read. I then reconnected it to my MacBook and reformatted it with two partitions in the hope it would not lose both of them! I now have a backed up MacBook and have saved some critical files and it all appears to be working fine. It’s got something to do with permissions and when the MacBook changes those then the pocket drive can become inaccessible. I now have to have back up of back up. Cloud is not an option because I keep getting internet outages either to do with the NBN roll out or the transport infrastructure changes.
This pocket drive wasn’t recognised by my MacBook when I first bought it. I have to use a hub to get my MacBook to see it. It is not a problem on any other computer OS. It connects directly to the USB slot. That might help those of you who are trying to get your MacBook to see the pocket drive. If it’s new you also have to remember to use Disk Utility to format it to Mac. That is very quick and easy.
I am hoping my pocket drive will now be reliable on the Mac. Fingers crossed.
I got this link via a paper.li link on my Twitter feed. I have used Minecraft in class but only with individual students who could show me they knew what they are doing and only if they told me exactly what they intended to do. Nothing grand. I have had older students take me on virtual tours of their home in Minecraft but they have done it all in French and the younger students have built homes and labelled them in French. The video is right. These students find Minecraft very relevant and then they are right in the moment with their learning. Joel Levin has started Minecraft EDU and so now we are starting to get classroom resources relevant to Minecraft thanks to his skill and enthusiasm. It’s an interesting change in classroom delivery and probably indicates how 21st century education and teachers will look. Now we have teachers who are expert game players. We have teachers who can really see the educational possibility for games. It would apply to other expert software as well. These teachers can now market themselves and their skills because they are way ahead of the pack and are totally different in their approach. Within that group will be the educational influencers because they will not only be experts in the educational use of the software , they will be able to translate that into viable classroom practice. Joel Levin can do what he does because he can build his classroom materials block by block in Minecraft. He can set up the scenarios and then use those in class. So considerable patience is one of the new requisites of classroom teaching. To use complex software well you have to know it, you have to explore it bit by bit and you have to understand exactly how it all connects. You can’t just look, understand and then deliver content. We will then have teachers who cannot deliver complex content like this. Will that create a learning divide or will it create students who have totally different approaches and skills sets? Will that matter? In the video they discuss how the graphics are blocks and so not realistic as such. That seems to be the appeal to the students who love Minecraft. They love creating things one block at a time and then turning that into something quite creative. The students who have shown me what they can do are very enthusiastic but can also articulate well the purposes and outcomes of what they are doing. They really like showing me and explaining. This is the new learning . Students are partners in education but the teacher still has to decide and work upon the educational outcomes. Interesting times.
Preparing a speech is so much easier with technology. Six Minutes has some really good speech preparation outlines and tips. Inc. has 8 steps to making a great speech and all of the steps are worth following , well explained and justified. If it’s a long speech you may need a timer. I like one to run on top of anything I am doing because most speeches I give are supported by slides and videos. Windows 8 has a wide choice of speech timers. I chose 3 – Strawberry Timer with in built to do list, Moss Timer and Speech Timer. They all take up the full screen and so you cannot run slides. They are very handy for practising the speech or sections of it to see how long it lasts. My favourite timer is Windows Desktop timer. It is neat, simple and sits on top of any screen. There is also a very handy timer for Mac, Apimac, which includes other functionalities and offers a pro version with extra options. I just use the basic version and even that is very helpful. It’s not as neat as the Desktop Timer, though! Depends what you want in a timer, I guess. I know PowerPoint has a built in speech view but I find that a bit disconcerting since there are two slides on the screen and the timer. It messes with my head when I am giving a speech and it means the slides are smaller than if you have a single slide at a time. It’s the timer which is critical . What comes next should be a given since you have been through all this wonderful speech preparation! Again, it’s probably a matter of what suits you as a speaker . I need to see one slide clearly and the time.
We probably do still need to ask ourselves the questions Paul Hamilton is posing. His video is high on the visual literacy elements because as he is hand writing and drawing we can take in the information easily. Moving text works. Visual focus works. In that sense he has taught us already how to look at presentation methodology. I can remember my Latin teacher berating me in front of the class for daring to use a biro for my bookwork. I had to be very careful as I tried to get her to agree to let me show her the brand new self filling fountain pen my parents had just given me for my birthday. It really was cutting edge but the writing did not look like the usual fountain pen writing. Once I showed her she actually was good enough to say sorry and be pleased to know about this new pen of mine. In many ways we are at that stage again. Teachers and students need to work together to find the best classroom technology because there is so much to know, so many choices in terms of devices, operating systems, technique, applications, software and approach. We do need to keep coming back to the question of whether we have the right tool for the job or the best tool…and sometimes the acceptable tool for a given situation. I had to use a pencil for rough work in a rough book and a fountain pen for neat work in my neat book. I had to draw a margin with a sharp red pencil. It was that simple.Those were the requirements at that time in that place. The video gives us a good set of questions that we need to come back to from time to time in a school year. What exactly do we want technology to achieve and how do we want to use it and what do we want our students to be able to take with them as they leave school? Our new ACARA ICT national standards in education in Australia has mapped a lot of that for us in terms of the general capabilities until year 10. What about the senior years for all students and what about beyond the curriculum capabilities?
Image: Dr. Simon Park via adelaidenow If that image doesn’t get you cleaning and purifying your screens, I don’t know what will. Clean your devices! They are disgusting and heaven knows what shared devices and screens would culture. Screen cleaning needs to be as routine as teeth cleaning . It just does. I have blogged about cleaning your devices before because glass and fingers brew some interesting results. Dr. Simon Park got his students to do this as a bacterial art project and found most of the bacteria were harmless but there were some serious ones which grew. It’s a cross curriculum exercise which highlights a lifestyle change we need to make! You can read about the art project here and view the gallery of images here. Then get out your cleaners and clean those screens!
Shoo Rayner is a children’s author, illustrator and drawing teacher. He interacts in the virtual world as a teacher and mentor with remarkable ease. He is confident, competent and has a good sense of humour. He has put a number of drawing tutorials online and his website fills in the background details of those videos and how they came about. He demonstrates clearly how , as a teacher, you can make the move online and become successful. There is nothing laboured about what he does. He has that artist’s sense of frame and flow and knows just how to connect with others because he is a teacher. None of this comes easily. It is a result of who he is and then some serious application of his skills. I couldn’t resist putting his cartoon koala on my blog because, apart from koalas, it just so happens we have a Keswick here. It’s a suburb right next to the city of Adelaide from where our interstate trains leave and our army barracks are.
This photo of a Japanese bridge by ionushi is just one of the amazing photos you can find on the everystockphoto. When you are searching it comes up with a bar of photos across the top which you can scroll through. I tried a number of searches and plenty of photos came up for each search. The site states clearly who took the photo and what the attributions are so you can manage copyright easily. I was looking for a desktop background and ended up spending a good 20 minutes on the site just looking at all the wonderful pictures. They are all good quality which is a must in presentations and for desktop backgrounds too.
The world top stories are being logged and mapped at mapreport. They are categorised under the headings of Disaster, Politics, Crime , Business, Sports, War and Army. They are then further categorised by region and country. You can get a run down of the last 24 hours, week etc and you can also see what is on the agenda for planned events. It is extremely comprehensive.
Give up my desktop? I don’t think so. There is talk of desktops going because sales have gone down. Well, yes, the market has been entranced with the new smart phones and different sorts of tablets. All these come at a price. As do laptops and some of the prices on those have been pretty impressive so I dare say people have thought to renew and update their laptops to something shinier and invest in the newer smartphones and tablets. My desktop is my work horse. It works without complaint. I renewed it the year before last and upgraded it this year. It’s brilliant. I can see the keyboard clearly, the HD monitor is nice and big , it manages everything quickly and well, even video rendering and I am comfortable at my desktop. In my classroom my MacBook sits on my desk connected to the whiteboard and that is convenient. It’s portable, it doesn’t disturb the line of vision to my class and it goes where I go. The MacBook Pro has a better screen than the white MacBook so I don’t get eyestrain as much. I’d still prefer a larger screen, though, and it is not so easy to keep good posture with my laptop. I have two other laptops. One runs Windows 7 and has a TV tuner which is very handy. The other runs Linux Mint 14. Sometimes I am happy to sit in a comfy chair and use a laptop, but it’s far better for me to be at my desktop. Younger people might like to be on the floor or their bed with their laptop. Some put them on their laps or on a soft surface neither of which is a good idea. There has been considerable discussion about desktops vs laptops but , in truth, you need both and a tablet! They all have their uses but a desktop is more affordable and parts can be replaced more easily. The size of the monitor is also a real advantage if you are working at a computer for a while or if you have vision issues. This article on CNET discusses the issue but the comments underneath are really what make it worth reading. The truth is , a desktop is of very real value in the real world for some people and jobs. People like to build desktops. Gamers like to have really exciting desktop layouts and peripherals. For the last five years I have had small cases for my desktop. I could and have carried them around easily. I have one older small case desktop hooked up to my HDTV and with a wifi keyboard it’s a really good way to compute. With a laptop hooked up I’d have extra keyboards and screens on the laptop which would be annoying in my book. As it stands, it is a neat, tidy arrangement which serves a purpose. This article discusses some of the essential uses of a desktop. England.edu looks at the advantages and disadvantages of laptops and desktops in a very comprehensive way. For me, I don’t have to make a choice. I see the merits of both but my desktop is the computer which is the best for me to use. The set up I have takes up little space and I can work so comfortably and have good sound on the speakers I have connected and access files on the external drives I connect. Some would be happy just with a tablet. The thing is, we have choices now and we can choose what suits us and our lifestyles. A desktop is one of those choices so I’d hate the world to go silly and forget there are people who need and want desktops.
This is quite a clever trick if you have Powerpoint 2007. Wish I hadn’t upgraded to 2010 so I could try it. You can’t do this is Powerpoint 2010, although it offers a lot of nice animation effects and transitions. You should never overdo the animations – not unless you are making one of those really classy and clever one slide Powerpoint animations. Choosing a good transition or two and maybe animating one or two things is probably enough. This animation effect in 2007 is clever, though, and I ended up really liking the music which went with it. 4enjoying has done a good job of sharing knowledge on the Net and has even thought to include the written instructions with the upload so people can follow. You Tube is full of helpful videos and if you are looking to learn something on a computer. It was the reason I was there. I was looking for some quality animation tutorials. Powerpoint is more than bullet points and even though the bullet points can be appropriate at times , it is worthwhile learning how to create other effects with Powerpoint to get the power out of it.
Double Take is a really good image stitching programme which you can try for as long as you like for free. The paid version has no watermark at the bottom which is obviously better. It is a well thought out programme and it works really easily. The site is French and the programme is French but I doubt you’ll have too much trouble using it. I use it regularly to make desktop backgrounds on various themes for French. At the moment it’s New Caledonia. Having this sort of desktop background helps students to take notice of other learning even though I don’t expressly teach it necessarily. Students will often ask about the images I have or try to work out the French language images to see what they say. With Double Take I can shift the images to where I want and that is a real advantage over other stitching programmes. The site is very helpful but you might need to get some help with the French. Some of it , though, is obvious and you will still get useful information from some of the resources there.
* You can click on the flag top right on the site and get the English version*
Never give up and never think you have it wrong. Technology adds another layer of complexity to a lesson which has to be navigated, especially with new laptop users. Friday’s lesson was baffling since I had not thought the things which did hold up the lesson were the sorts of things that would. I live and learn. I also talk to my students. We clarified if I want them to write on their laptops I need to say type and not write. To them writing is with a pen. We also clarified that if they cannot get Net access they can use their laptops to use the software available and then do the Net catch up later. We also realised there wasn’t particularly a reason for them not understanding my question about the best images. It was the time of day, the weather, the end of the week. Nothing in particular. This is why it is so essential to get that feedback loop going with a class. It smoothes the way. So, Tuesday after lunch we had another version of my Friday lesson. I never give up on an idea. If it doesn’t work with one class, it will probably work with another. If the idea needs refinement and adjustment for implementation, then that is a good thing. It means I have had some connected conversations with students and colleagues so I can make an idea work. We looked at 15 minutes of a video on Paris and I’ll let them watch the next bit next lesson. After lunch more than 15 minutes will encourage them to drift off. The video was in simple French and taking them on a tour of Paris. It was very well made. We then did our feed back on Twiducate. We are building up our knowledge base so we can make a good iMovie on Paris next term. I only asked 3 questions:
Est-ce que tu aimes Paris?
Oui, j’aime Paris.
What is better – looking at still pictures or a video?
A video is better because it can be more eye catching and your attention will always be on it.
What do you think Paris is like (based on this video)?
I think Paris would be busy and fast moving and there is probably always something to do or to see.
1. Oui, j’aime la ville de Paris.
2. I think that a mixture of both would give the best visual aspects of a presentation, but I prefer pictures because you at least have a bit of time to really take in the picture to see exactly what’s going on in the depiction of the picture, whereas videos, you only see the main things and that for me can mean I’m missing out on some things.
3. I think that Paris is like any other major city but has just a better look about it.
1) Oui, j’aime Paris.
2) I think videos are better because they can get more things in the screen and the person holding the camera can move around but if you take a photo you cant see as much
3) I think Paris is very busy and crowded but it is a colourful and exciting.
I had not used the word image. I had asked for comparisons and just a simple opinion. Most students thought videos were better by far and could explain why. Those who preferred still images or thought still images had a role to play could articulate well why they thought that.
Our lesson went on with our look at the perfect tense and some practice sentences which related to the presentation they are working on and to the Paris presentation and then we did 10 minutes in iMovie so they could see some of the key features.
That technology lesson worked really well because we had cleared up the communication breakdown and then clarified what tools were appropriate for which tasks. Clarity is everything!
Evernote is a great tool for learning and managing your learning. It can be used for other things and it runs across all platforms and devices. I show it to my students and a lot of them are happy to adopt it because the information stored on Evernote can be accessed from anywhere. It is very comprehensive and functional in its approach. Students will often use their mobile phones with Evernote information and have them propped up against their laptops so they can use that information to create assignments. They prefer that to accessing the information on their laptop. It’s a good use of their mobiles. The Evernote tutorial site has so many ideas, tips and tricks but it currently has a free slide presentation you can download and show in class or share with students in another way. Just click on it and it will download. It covers a lot of good ways of using Evernote so that you and your students can get started. .
I have to thank @alianani15 for putting up the link to this wonderful presentation on Twitter. Online communities work! This didactic slide presentation is a classy piece of work indeed and gives you all the tips for making a first class presentation. More than that it literally shows you how to do it. The future of information sharing looks bright.
Top right of the screen when you log into Facebook is your name. Next to that is a little padlock and then a little cog. Those are your settings. The one with the padlock controls what you broadcast ,who can search for you and who can contact you. Go through each one and make a decision. If you restrict it you will presumably not be logging into sites with your Facebook account and you will want to tell people yourself that they can come onto your Facebook. The second lot of settings is quite considerable and takes time to go through. You may have apps on your Facebook account which are accessing your information. You can change that. You don’t want your friends to be broadcasting your information…or do you? That is your decision. How to lockdown your Facebook account on Facecrooks goes through these settings one by one very clearly and then you can make some sensible choices. Do you really want your phone number on Facebook? Have you used location maps on your phone to say where you live? Is that what you want? Make a habit of going through the settings and deciding what you want to broadcast and how you want that information used and passed on. Practise safe settings for all the accounts you subscribe to online.
Simple enough scenario. At one point in my year 9 lesson I had shown 3 little videos and one really image rich slide presentation on Paris. I was setting up the iMovie project for next term. Once we had seen them all I wrote some questions on the board and asked them to go onto Twiducate to record their responses. It then became a very curious lesson, the likes of which you can live for as a teacher because it is startling how students behave sometimes. This is a class of 32 bright and very capable students. There is a really good mix of talents and interests and they pick up on things quickly. They are also very genuine in their willingness to learn. What happened though was baffling and has given me plenty to think about. Our first issue was the wifi was being flaky for reasons best know to itself. Happens sometimes but not often. I got myself back on the Net and showed the class how I had done that and about half of them got back on the Net too. I then said if they couldn’t get on the Net to just write up their responses and then put them in Twiducate later. Some of them got out their books and a pen and started writing. One complained loudly they had no pen and paper. Okay, here you are. Not that hard to find a piece of paper and a pen. But why? They have MacBook Pros. They have hundreds of dollars worth of software. Not one had thought to go onto Word or some other text software to write up their responses so they could cut and paste later. So I said , “Why don’t you open up Word? You can cut and paste later.” They looked at me like I had gone mad. They were supposed to be writing in Twiducate. They were supposed to be on the Net. After 5 minutes of implementation block we rose above it and settled into the responses. Then came the questions. “What do you mean by question 2?” I found it odd they just didn’t use the words in the question or the words they didn’t understand. So I looked at question 2. “Which did you think were the best images?” Was it something I said? Was it the way I said it? Was it images? I should have asked. I was baffled. Okay, we have just looked at 3 little videos and a slide presentation. They have been full of images. Which ones did you think were the best to look at? I was asked that question several times. On Monday I have to ask them what it was about the question that stumped them. You couldn’t plan or foresee a moment like that. Teaching can provide some unique experiences and with the addition of technology they become even more unique. In the responses I can see at the moment they think high definition, colourful images are the best…and so we make progress.
I’ve got my poster. John Dewey was a philosopher, psychologist and educational reformer. He was ahead of his time and it is probably only now we are beginning to understand what he meant because we can actually make the choice on the poster I have chosen. We can choose to use methods which served the last millennium well or we can look to this new millennium and understand it needs a different set of tools and techniques. We can work in partnership with our students. We are not the sole author of our classroom and we need to be flexible enough to test out what is new to see what educational benefit there is. The world is changing rapidly. We cannot keep up with it but we don’t have to. We are teachers. We have classes of 30 students who will work with us quite willingly to explore the possibilities. We are still in charge and the leader of the group and we still need to make sound decisions and judgements with regard to materials and tools but we can work with our classes to see what is best practice and what options there are. I had my year 9s doing dialogues on the iPads. One of my students was typing up what the pair needed and the other was helping her by checking and looking up words…but she also had this beautiful graphic design going in one of the paint apps. Should I have said she shouldn’t? It was so creative. She learned how to get an image from the iPad to my laptop after the lesson was finished because it really was a lovely image. If you want a poster to make you think , go to Poster-Street. E-posters seem to be very popular at the moment. They are popping up on Facebook all the time. It tends to suggest it is currently our favoured way of communicating important beliefs. Is it a case of the medium is the message? Use it to your advantage in your classroom.
I don’t have a problem with Windows 8 at all and I have been using it non stop for quite a while now. The more I use it , the more I like it. I keep forgetting to look at apps because it’s on my desktop and I am well trained to associate apps with tablets. Can’t think why. PC Pro recommends some good apps. I have downloaded and tried Fresh Paint. It seems very basic to me and yet it has some really good features like being able to include your own images and web cam shots. I’d like to see it with a few more paint features and then it would seem less kiddie to me. I am no artist, as you can see, so in the hands of someone more competent you could probably get some good textures and effects going. It is the sort of app which has high appeal to students on a tablet but I had no issues with it on my desktop. Good way to engage students in creating more original designs from their own materials.
On a Macbook , Powerpoint gives you the option of saving the slide presentation as a movie. It can then be further enhanced in a video programme if you wish and form a part of a teaching movie. Moving components and information seem to be absorbed better than static information and the visual aspect helps to improve absorption and retention. You can add your special effects, and then music. It increases your options. Students can also use it as a way of presenting their work and they do like doing it this way.
Before you save it as a movie make sure you work out your timings. Slide effects and information need to be displayed for long enough for an audience to be able to take in the information . You remove the mouse click check and add your timings. The more you do , the better you will get. In Windows you got to save as and then use the file type drop down menu to select windows media file. In Keynote, the Apple equivalent of Powerpoint , there is also an option to save the presentation as a movie. You use the export option and then you can import it into iMovie.
Dave Crenshaw makes his point very clearly with his 5 minute exercise. It is worth the time. Do it. Get your students to do it. All you need is pen, paper and the video. This 5 minutes is powerful teaching and completely busts the myth of being able to multitask – listen to music and do your homework, text and do your home work, message in class and listen to the teacher, talk and work, go on Facebook and type up the assignment and the worst and most dangerous belief which people stupidly cling to – drive and use your mobile. The difference between a success and a failure is a successful person knows how to use five minutes wisely. This 5 minute exercise will arm you with such a conviction that multitasking is not only a waste of time but a genuine handicap, as a teacher, you will feel so much stronger when you say – Put the phone away, you don’t need it right now. Dave Crenshaw relabels it task switching and that is a much better expression because it more clearly identifies the actual behaviour and hence the pitfalls.
We are being profiled on the internet, you know that. The more you enable Location, the more you forget to check your settings, the more information you are offering. We are profiled in the real world too but to a lesser extent. You are the one who has to take control of your profiling as much as you can and as much as you want to. I’ll let you go over to the post You are what you like at makeuseof so you can read the details yourself. . I subscribe to their email so I get a great deal of useful information and this is something they have explained very well. I then did the one click personality test. Please do not forget to log out after you have your assessment. Mine is pretty accurate given my Facebook isn’t the whole of me and just what I choose to share on Facebook. Some will laugh at the shy and reserved since they are not qualities I am noted for and yet, they are a part of me. Don’t think there will be any disputes over the emotional given I am Pisces.
Image – tagxedo
Why do I blog? Let me give you my five best reasons:
1. I can focus in detail on learning something or I can explore something in detail.
2. I can share some good classroom practice and ideas and receive good information back in return.
3. I can share knowledge and information and contribute to a global pool.
4. I can think with my fingers which helps me to better process information. As a teacher I have a head full of information. It is nice to be able to get it out there on the blog and have a look at it.
5. The 5th reason only became apparent to me recently. I can have a transferable bank of knowledge and information which I can update and re-use. I packed up an old blog and sent the xml file to a new site and set it up and sorted through it. It was like moving house. I had a chance to see things in a new way, put familiar things in a new setting and get on with a different way of looking at that subject matter. None of the work or input had been lost. So a blog can be a living archive of what you are doing and when the time comes all of that can be transported to a new, more appropriate home on the net.
NB: Tasmania was on my original tag cloud but has been masked by the border around the edge of the image.
My image via befunky
I wrote earlier about the coolness of iPads since I had decided to use them to fill in the gap while we were waiting for the laptop rollout. Students reviewed the experience and basically their comments were like these:
How do iPads help you learn French :
1. They help my French by giving me access to the internet so I can look up stuff. The translators are useful if you need to find out how to say something. It was also really fun and something different compared with just writing in our books then speaking to the class. It was also good to hear ourselves to pick up on mistakes we had made.
2. The iPads are exciting and you focus more on the French because you want to use the iPads. I found I finished work quicker and it was right. I learn better when I can touch, feel, play with things so I enjoy using the iPads because I learn faster and understand .
3. They are fun to use which makes us more enthusiastic to learn. I love all the different things you could do on the apps.
4. The recording on the iPads help us with our pronunciation because we practise the conversaton over and over again. It was different. Everyone’s conversations were different and creative so it was more interesting and easier to pay attention.
The translators are something I have to teach them not to use since there are better and more reliable apps for learners on the iPad, but all in all students have summed up well the value of iPads in class.
Scoop.it has so many good special interest sites for technology. Ana Cristina Pratas curates the Digital Delights for Learners site where you can get so much information on things to use in your classroom. That is all I have to say. Have a look!
Perfect real world example of how challenging, satisfying and unique cross curriculum learning can be. These Belgian chocolate scented stamps were made by combining art, maths, science, technology and humanities. The video explains well the challenges which needed to be addressed. The back of the stamps have chocolate oil in the adhesive and the front of the stamps have 44% chocolate so that the aroma would be right. If you can read French, there is more information here on Influencia.
Couldn’t resist and this French advert has made me revise my position on the paperless world. I now need scientists to get to work and solve this problem so we can dispense with paper – entirely. The ad is very clever and has honed in superbly on the paperless world brigade. The ad has been doing the rounds of social media and I have put it here because it is a gem and I don’t want you to miss it!
In spite of offering embed – you can either click on the vimeo link in the middle of the screen or this hyperlink to the video:
Doesn’t matter whether you call it back up or syncing. What matters is you do it NOW. Keep all your devices backed up. Doesn’t matter whether you choose to sync and back up to a computer or to the cloud or external drive or flash drive, make sure your critical information is backed up. Make sure you have a current back up of your computer. Make sure you back up your email contacts, your phone contacts and important files. We don’t always do it because we get busy. Build it into your routines as you do with any other important task. Put it in your calendar and do it.
Sometimes you want to add slides from a Powerpoint presentation into your new one. Slide presentations need to be changed, updated, reformatted and just used for other purposes. Slide presentations are a bank of resources to be utilised. To add slides form one presentation to the other is the same on Windows and Mac but Windows will bring the slides to be selected up on the right. The images I am using are for the Mac because that is what we use at school.
1. Open the presentation
2. Click on New Slide top left in toolbar.
3. Select insert slides from other presentation.
4. Browse and choose the presentation you want to use. Click to open
5. Select slide(s) you want to insert
6. Click insert and continue with steps 4-6 until you have selected all the slides you wish.
Don’t forget to save it as your new presentation!
I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised the familiar Slide to unlock is patented. Shaking your phone until it reboots is patented. Track pad gestures are patented. Flicking your pen is patented. What? Seriously , it is. So is writing a letter of the alphabet in one gesture. Bring back the hammer and chisel. The Wii system which relies on a lot of gestures hasn’t patented any of them. I’ll let you decide what you think of all this gesture patenting. I ‘ll just link you to the site where I found all this fascinating information.
Can I get up now?
Step One is here. My home group lesson this week was very satisfying for all but two students who achieved nothing in the time and probably were playing games. Next lesson they will be sitting where I can see their screens. They are year 11s. Working in an atmosphere of trust is essential. Independent learning is one of the personal and social capabilities of the national curriculum. I had asked them to bring pictures to represent themselves and then think of a few words which would sum them up. They went about their business in a very serious way. I thought there might be a lot of chatter and discussion, but no, they wanted to work on their profiles quietly and became very absorbed. After 20 minutes I went to look at each screen and suggest ideas. I came back to my desk inspired. One boy has created a true artistic metaphor of himself and it was very painstaking. We had talked about visual metaphor and whether he enjoyed art . It was so original and imaginative. It may not work as a common or garden digital profile for job applications or electronic introductions, but it is something which would make the internet sit up and take notice, I am sure. So now I have to think of how we can safely launch artistic efforts. The other profiles were very positive, well thought out and unique. They all had a unique brand. A number of students used the comic templates I suggested but others used Comic Life which is loaded on their laptops and that was very effective. One or two had Photoshop skills and were using that. This simple profile is going well and they know by next term we’ll be ready to work on a slide presentation. They really seemed to enjoy it. Next week will be a feedback session to get ideas for improving the profiles. I have already had to promise that none will go on the whiteboard which was an interesting request from the social media generation.
Image : Wikipedia
“Take the first step in faith. You don’t
have to see the whole staircase.
Just take the first step.”
- Martin Luther King Jr.
I lead a life of privilege. I am in a profession which allows me to witness magical moments in the lives of others. This week provided moments like that for me again and it is a privilege to be a part of it. Wednesday night I helped with the laptop roll out for 2013. I set up two classes of laptops with students and their parents. For me, it is the best evening of the year when I see the joy and excitement of those first moments when the students and their parents see the Lion screen for the first time on their laptop. The logistics of it this year were excellent and the technical support first class. It was such a great night. It creates a buzz in the school and teachers were talking about what they would be doing for their first year 9 laptop lesson this year. A lot of thought had been going in and numerous professional discussions because there was a need to get it just right for the students. I had planned to do timelines as I had posted earlier. I could not have planned a better lesson but I did not anticipate the reverence with which my lively year 9s would approach their first laptop lesson. I became more and more touched the further we got into the double lesson. Normally I work hard to keep them on task. They have diverse personalities, great brains and big personalities. They are very spirited. Friday they walked in hugging their laptops and placed them carefully on the desks and did not open them until I said. I first had to get them to bookmark the sites useful for French. We then looked at the Mac Dashboard and how that could be used for French. We went into the settings and leaned how to change the language. To these students, who have been immersed in technology all their lives, this was a serious and wondrous business and they wanted to get it perfect. Not right. Perfect. They had taken it so seriously some of them had forgotten their workbooks. They knew I was ready to abandon paper and pens. They have heard me banging on all year about carbon emissions, deforestation, save the planet and let’s get on with the laptops. What we had done was set up some assignments in their exercise books so we could easily transfer them onto their laptops as soon as they got them. Most had realised we would need a couple of lessons of transition but half a dozen had left all books in their lockers because they knew how glad I was they had laptops. First time I have ever let students out of class to run and get books. And they did run. They were back in a jiffy. I also had 2 students who hadn’t been able to be there on Wednesday night and would have to wait until lunch time to get their laptop via the technicians. They were so fidgety and restless and could not concentrate at all. I made them write everything we were doing to help settle them. One was counting the hours and minutes and kept telling me. The other one was just immobilised and I had to keep the focus for them. It was very moving to see how much they cared about technology. So then we got on to the timeline exercise and I said they could use a doc or an Excel spreadsheet and showed them some of the other options but we all decided on doc or spreadsheet so they could learn how to load it up onto our LMS. Bring on the bedazzled teacher. They typed away and wanted to know how to make their French accents, how to get the margins right, how to crop their pictures. I wasn’t prepared for the first class, professional approach and attention to detail. Most typed up their sentences and then suddenly there was all this creative and artistic endeavour and their final sheets were extraordinarily well presented. I then had to stop and introduce the Powerpoint to Movie assignment ,which we had also been preparing during the term.I have 32 students – some had finished, some needed a bit more time. As they learned to load up their files onto the LMS they wanted me to show them on the whiteboard that their work had arrived on the LMS for me to mark. This meant a lot to them. I have never seen students with books and pens this keen to get everything right and so prepared to take risks to learn something even bigger and better. The wonder never wears off . My year 11s and 12s in the next lesson were just as keen to get their technical skills right and use them to further their French. It’s the possibility of connecting, engaging and sharing which drives them. A laptops drives powerful, independent learning for them and the teacher can show them how to put it all together.
This is a well thought out and well presented overview of the ICT competence for the Australian National Curriculum by Sylvia Guidara.
I want my year 9s to make a time line in French for their daily routine . I have been looking around at what is available because this will be the first exercise they do on their new laptops. There are some great timeline sites but they all seem to rely on joining up and sharing the timeline. We seem to share everything these days and we seem to have to sign up to every site we want to use. Well, not every site. Just seems like that. Dipity was my favourite. It is very visual and you could get some real power out of timeline creation in a classroom. Our timelines is an efficient text based timeline maker but requires entering years and would suit other activities but not this one. teAchnology had a simple fuss free timeline generator which I have featured left. It could only take 8 items and couldn’t reproduce the French accents. Pity. That was the most useful generator for my purposes. I did also download the Timeline Maker for Office 2007+. It’s free and took 5 minutes to install. This is a PowerPoint timeline maker and it’s very impressive. It comes with a free welcome PowerPoint tutorial which was perfect. I can use that at home but not at school. At school we have Macbooks and there doesn’t seem to be a Mac version yet. On Windows it will run on Vista and above. For me , timelines take the fatigue out of learning and practising sentence structures. The students can be focussing on creating something interesting as they use their newly learnt – in this case daily routine – language. I’ll get them to map one out in the teAchnology one and then expand it into Powerpoint and we can use the Smart Art. Some might like to use Excel.
Image : My image via befunky.com
I used four French lessons so my year 9s could create a conversation on the iPads. Some used podcasts, some Puppet Pals, some Story Maker, some tried to video it. They had been waiting for their laptops to arrive and it was one way of keeping them going. In the past I have found the iPads to be good in terms of developing oral skills and confidence in students. I was amazed with their enthusiasm, their artistic input , their willingness to work and get it right. When we put their iPads on the board to see their work there was a marked difference with those students who had had a chance to use them before and those who hadn’t in terms of their accent and achievement. We did a review because it it not always about how I interpret the value of something. These are the questions and what became typical responses for the class of 32 students half way through Term 1.
1.How do the iPads help you learn French?
The iPads are exciting and fun to use and you focus more on the French because you want to use the iPads. I found we finished work more quickly and it was better. I was more enthusiastic about learning. The recording helped us practise our pronunciation because we practised the conversation over and over. The were so many good apps to help spell, pronounce and write in French and to translate and understand it.
2.What can you do better next time?
We could practise more before we make our final version.We could find things faster on the iPad.
3. What blocks were there to iPad learning in this classroom?
Sometimes the apps were hard to find. The classroom was noisy and it was hard to record things in the classroom.
4. What was really good about the iPad conversation?
I learn better when I can touch /feel / play with things so I enjoy using the iPads because I learn faster and understand. I really liked all the different things I could do with the apps. It was good to see how different everyone’s conversations were. It was more creative and interesting and fun to watch.
I really like the Metro start menu on Windows 8. Don’t like the colour but I do like the functionality and kinesthetic approach. I can change the sizes of the blocks and move them around to suit myself and my needs. If it’s left alone it is quite entertaining because there is a good , constant moving effect which goes on. I made this image using the free Photofunia app from the Windows 8 shop. Apps are easy to find and install by using the search option in the charms bar which you get when you hover top right of screen. Photofunia is not a name which does the app justice because there are some really good effects and plenty of choices. This particular effect is from an original which is copyright to Milo Baumgartner.
This week I am part of the laptop roll out for our Year 9 students. I am really looking forward to it. One of the things all the instructors teach as part of setting up the laptop is for students not to put their own address and phone number onto the laptop. We have a bona fide work around to keep them safe. It is a good message for them and their parents in terms of online safety and parents seem to appreciate it. So one of my pet peeves at the moment is sites which want my phone number as part of the registration. Needless to say, they don’t get it. Then this afternoon is the second time I was going to download a programme online only to find out they want my address and my phone number. Why? I accept if I am ordering by post I need to furnish an address and a phone number where I can be contacted should there be a supply or delivery problem. Not when I am downloading. Sorry. So now I haven’t made those purchases and have gone elsewhere. Why wouldn’t I be practising what I teach and why the sudden urge for companies to want my personal details? No, no and no. My other pet peeve with these online downloads is you have to check very carefully whether you are renting or buying and what the licensing agreement is. You might be thinking you are purchasing software you can use. You then discover the licence needs to be renewed after a year or you are limited to one computer and that might only be ONE computer. You load it onto a computer and then find if you want to change to another computer (computers do wear out!) you are no longer entitled to a licensed copy of the software. Please check licensing agreements before you purchase.
My two other current pet peeves are not related to software nor privacy issues. The first is Twitter. On and on and on – the same thing is repeated and repeated and repeated. I know retweeting counts and is important but it is so mind numbing when the same thing is repeated far too many times. This is not effective communication. It’s made me think I won’t retweet and that’s a shame in a way. It is how someone can know they have tweeted something worthwhile. We need a better way.
My last pet peeve for now is pixellated pictures. Don’t use them. Don’t put up a blurry picture. Either don’t use it or get a crystal clear version. It’s worse with HD screens which are so good you can tell when male politicians are wearing foundation and pink lipstick. On lower resolution it tends not to be so annoying but devices are coming with very good screens now so we need top quality pictures. It is something I show my students as we are preparing our presentations. On a whiteboard they can see the bad impact of a pixellated picture and then make a huge effort, in my experience, to get some really good quality images.
Last week I blogged about my plan to create digital profiles with my year 11 home group and my reasons why. I mapped out a plan. Today was my first opportunity to action that plan. I had 30 minutes before the assembly. The good thing about technology is you are able to get real power out of a short space of time if you have to. I loaded up my blog post on the whiteboard because it had the links to job skills, digital profiles, e-portfolios and the comic strip templates. I talked a bit about how I could improve my own profile which was shown now I had thought about it. I gave them 2 other links:
Tagxedo so they could make a text based tag cloud to take a screen shot of.
Tag Galaxy so they could make an image based tag cloud but I show them just how interactive it was if they wanted to use it for other purposes.
We also learned about QR codes and QR code readers. Some students couldn’t read the web address from the board. My blog just happens to have a QR Code. I just happened to have my iPad with a QR code reader and I showed them how to do that. So some had loaded the post straight to their phones for future reference or took it off their phones to put onto their MacBooks.
What the students responded to immediate was the fact Tagxedo had a Facebook page which we could look at. Then they just enjoyed making visual and text tag clouds of themselves. They were very absorbed and one boy had to remind us we needed to be off to the assembly!
I haven’t seen a paper.li advertised in a while on Twitter . They are a really effective way to gather links around a particular topic. The ICT in Education casts a wide net so the information you get is designed to ensure you have a good comprehension of trends and implications of changes in ICT. The current context is there. It also provides some good links to educational information around ICT. It is important to understand, for instance, that Instagram attracted over a 100 million users in just over two and a half years on the market. In a short while it became a massive social media success. The capacity for our world to change rapidly and for software and applications to come and go is quite remarkable. ICT in education is as much about going with the flow and changing tools rapidly as it is about skills , creativity and sound knowledge. Deciding what is important for education, then , in terms of ICT can be as exciting as it is challenging. paper’lis like ICT in Education are well placed to help you notice what is hot and what is not.
At the end of March last year I blogged about my Professional Network and was surprised with how complex it was now since I had branched out into being a connected teacher. I am lucky to have so much valuable input both inline, online and offline!! I had been thinking about how this had changed so I looked at that presentation again. As I reviewed my online professional network I became aware of how much that had changed in a year. My blogs constantly force me to think about what I am doing professionally. To keep blogging, though, I have to have input and that often comes from my online connections, either because I want to share or because I want to follow something up. My Facebook feed now has a number of pages which keep me on the ball professionally. This is also the role Tweet Deck fills. TweetDeck runs my Twitter feed but as TweetDeck you can customise it to run one or more hashtags so you can get up to date information, participate in discussions or simply look for trends and ideas. The TweetDeck timeline also has random input from people other than those I follow. Initially I did not like that change but now feel that it sometimes offers a new look at things from other perspectives and does so out of the blue, so there is a fun aspect to it. Pinterest has also become very quickly one of the corner stones of my online professional development. I can share and gather resources, I can look up theory and practice. It is a rich resource. SlideShare is a community I have long valued since it has improved my presentation skills, allows me to connect with other tertiary educated people, has a wealth of knowledge to access and provides some good challenges and encouragement. I ought to be able to include LinkedIn but I am finding it difficult to get traction. One of the reasons is you need to have email addresses to connect so if I don’t know them I cannot send out the emails and I am not paying for Inboxing on a site which has, as yet, to prove its worth in my life. Other communities I belong to are easier to connect with and develop in a strong way. In this last year I have also made good use of my iPad apps. There are a number which bring me good information or help me to think things out. The iPad has a solid place in my professional life. It makes it very easy to engage with what I want to engage with or it brings me material to consider which I might not otherwise see. This is often courtesy of TeacherCast or FlipBoard. It is quite remarkable how quickly online communities and resources have contributed to my knowledge and development .If it can change this much in a year I am certainly looking forward to the next level of learning.
The Personal and Social Capability for Year 8 is here. This is the slide presentation for year 10. I have changed nothing with regard to the ACARA document. I have packaged it this way so I can work on the capabilities one at a time without distraction. As I was making these slide presentations I became aware that our school is already doing much to address these capabilities . I would imagine most schools are. We are not dealing with anything new. What we are ensuring is that we have covered these capabilities in a logical and sequential way. I was also thinking that part of this capability is the awareness and management of oneself as a virtual being. That, too, now needs to be addressed and our school has made inroads into that as well. I am sharing these under the creative commons licence since you might find it easier to work with the capabilities separated out into the year levels.
We are rolling out the Australian National Curriculum. Part of that are the general capabilities, one of which is ICT but the teacher learning community I am in is looking at the Personal and Social Capability. We have to look at the document and come back with our thoughts next meeting. I looked at the document and was finding it hard to focus on the year levels which apply to me – namely year 8 and year 10. I decided to separate out the requirements for each level into slide presentations. I have not altered anything with regard to the ACARA document. This way I can focus on each requirement without being distracted and have the opportunity to add additional information as I need to in an easy way. I have loaded them here and on Slideshare since others may find them useful.
I am running Linux Mint 14 on a Compaq circa 2006 with 1.5 Gb ram. Very impressive. Graphically so cool and slick and the best yet in terms of the Linux Mint selections which are all good, in my opinion. They load and go. Full stop end of story. I have the glass effect and was pleased with the choices of themes. As you know, I want my computer to look nice before I use it. It manages flash better than other Linux versions but is still not as good as Windows. To give it the benefit of the doubt, it might need a bit more ram. I shall probably load it on my new laptop now because I really do like it. The transitions are smooth as I move around the laptop and I am constantly pleased with how it looks. Graphics are crystal clear even on this older laptop so I’d love to see it on something like my desktop which is graphics dedicated. My only hiccough is getting it to recognise my external speakers. Since this is a first ever with any OS I just have to think it through. Linux Mint 14 comes preloaded with everything you could want. I haven’t found myself yet going off to look for software or anything else for that matter. If you have never tried Linux, then I think this is the one for you!
N.B. I have since fixed the speaker issue easily by clicking on the sound icon, going to the the sound settings and turning the volume right up and then testing the speakers. They work fine now!
If you are looking for high resolution, good quality, stunning wallpapers then take a look at the selection at GeoGlance. There is also an app for that! I’ll say no more. Just go and have a look.
I have seen a number of articles now like this one on Life Inc where digital profiles are being discussed. Social media profiles are being used increasingly as part of a résumé or job application. Good social media profiles are an asset. A sound capacity to represent yourself in digital form is an asset. By the end of this term or , at the very latest, the beginning of next term, I want my year 11 home group to be able to have a simple digital profile like the one I have created left. They need to be able to represent themselves simply in electronic format. That to me is step one of creating your online profile . It would be an easy year 8 goal. In year 9 or step 2 I’d be looking at an electronic brochure format. In year 10 or step 3 I’d be looking at a slide format. That will be the next step with my home group. Once we have a simple digital profile we’ll flesh it out into a slide presentation. Step 4 is to create a movie to represent ourselves electronically. It is then important to look at how to create one with more text or to change formats for different purposes. To create the one I have just made I used the comic strip templates. Thank you to @gwynethjones and @donnayoungorg on Twitter. These would have hundreds of uses in a classroom but they suit a digital profile well because they put in much needed boundaries for this exercise and then there are a range of formats. They come as pdfs. As such you can create a good text based one, too, which would address job skills. With my home group I’ll be addressing those skills in their slide presentation. I think they will manage it more effectively that way. With the pdf, though, you can add comment bubbles and keep visible text to a minimum and so present something uncluttered. The job skills subject guide has a wealth of information and help with regard to creating digital profiles and résumés. I am doing it because I think students need to know how to do this . It also means I have a chance to show them that working on positive social media profiles will be an asset.
This video really tipped me on my head. It is a completely different way of approaching teaching and looking at how learners learn. The belief that deep learning goes on inside a learner as they process information visually is worth exploring and would certainly lend strength to the use of technology in a classroom when considered carefully. Matthew Peterson has done the exploring , the testing and gaining of feedback. As a learner he was challenged. As a person who was swamped by text based learning he makes his point well. We cannot continue to tip word and print based activities onto students in our classrooms and learning groups if that is not the way they learn. The other thing which struck me was that he was talking about visual learners. When my home group was exploring what learning styles they had, all of them identified themselves as visual learners except two. The two identified themselves as kinesthetic learners. I was one of those. It was a really interesting exercise for us to be doing together as a group. Matthew Peterson’s talk, then, really had pertinence for me and what I was thinking about. Do we know how our students are learning? Do we know which methods are succeeding better? The students we now teach are more used to GUIs. Would we then be disadvantaging text based learners if we make the swap totally to technology or only certain types of software and devices? If I look at myself I learn best with a lot of text but I also learn really well and probably better if I combine text with an activity – a learning challenge. I need to be doing. I would never endorse the abandonment of words, words, words because they can be so powerful and that is something I want to teach – the power of language. Others, far greater than I have said that much better, so I leave you with these quotes so you can think about how you will best serve your students and yourselves as learners. Matthew Peterson’s talk rings very true, but so do these literary greats:
“Words can be like X-rays if you use them properly — they’ll go through anything. You read and you’re pierced.”
Aldous Huxley, Brave New World
“Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with shades of deeper meaning.”
Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
“I turned silences and nights into words. What was unutterable, I wrote down. I made the whirling world stand still.”
Arthur Rimbaud, Complete Works
If you use the search box top right in the menu bar on Scoop.it! you are brought to web pages which display yet more links to current information and uses of IT. There is a great link for teachers who use Macbook Pros and iPads and another really good one for iPads in education. Those two search links will give you an idea of the sorts of things which will come up on a search on Scoop.it! Sites like this are invaluable resources for teachers since they hone in on the essentials and get the information out in an organised fashion. You are not trawling through pages of search engine results trying to find useful materials, information and resources for theory and practice in the classroom.