The magic of technology

quotepixelI used to love Arthur C. Clarke novels when I was at school so this quote comes from an author who had an important impact on me and my imagination. Never underestimate the power of one. I am , and have been for a long time, the author of my own classroom. With technology I get to do magic each and every day. It’s a different way of teaching but if that means I am lighting imagination, I shall be more than happy. Quotepixel is a great site to get visual quotes for your classroom.

Cross curriculum apps

cross curriculum appsI subscribe to the SimpleK12 teacher learning community site. Some of the resources are paid but if you subscribe to the site you get notification of the free resources as well. This time it was 20 apps for cross curriculum work. I knew a lot of the apps but others of them I did not know. They were Android and iPad apps so that is even handier. You can follow the link here if you are interested and it’s a site worth keeping in touch with. Some good apps for maths, science and EALD/ESL but other worthwhile apps too.

Like , share , follow

There are no small ideas. In 2014 we have to value both individual achievement and collaborative endeavour. TeFL makes that quite clear but so does our social networking world. We have to encourage individuals to develop their strengths but we also have to enable them so they remain plugged into the flow of collaborative knowledge. This little video demonstrates clearly that the simple, modest ideas can be of great benefit if they are harnessed and allowed to become part of the greater whole. We are all one but we are connected! This paradox is how we are both strengthening and renewing ourselves for this century.

Genes in Space – help cure cancer

2014 is unbelievable. Genes in Space is living proof we can collaborate as a planet, pool our resources and skills, work cross curriculum and find a cure for cancer. If the whole planet could do that it would be amazing and if we did that by being ourselves with our own skills and capacity to learn it would be even better. Cancer Research UK has collaborated with gamers and the gaming industry to get all the data from their cancer research into a playable form so that players can help search through the data!!! A scientist or group of scientists would take too long and so a cure would be too far away. In all this data could be the genetic flaws which create cancer. More than 200,000 people have classified almost two million cancer images. Human eyes are good and better at detecting anomalies. Read the BBC Play to Cure article. Watch the video. Download the app!! We do not need cancer.

Push, push and push again!

pushMemes are so successful because people get hold of a picture with a caption or a great quote and they push it out into social media. Those potted thoughts are then transferred sometimes at the speed of light. We are connecting as a planet so we are finding our common ground, our common ideas and our accepted ways of connecting. By pushing ideas, processes and connections we are creating a basis for a global connection which will pool all our thinking and doing resources. Some ideas are pushed and become instantly popular. It is what we wanted or just what we needed. If you want something to get traction you have to keep seeding it electronically so the idea or process will take hold and become “the thing”. Advertisers know this but it is now a way of life. It is how we improve knowledge, gain knowledge, get and promote thinking and ideas. I can put things on here that I have learnt. Other people can learn them, add to them or enhance them. I can put my thinking on here. When I am stuck I always get help. When I am clear about the success of something I can share it and other people can grow that idea. We can connect , share and develop ideas as we go along and that is how it is. We currently don’t have the time to sit and think for hours so the planet is moving forward through electronic leverage through push technology. It’s a great way to participate in dynamic learning.

Get your Gmail settings out

GmailIf you have a Gmail or Google ID you might want to read the post at Ed’s Blogue on the privacy settings so that you are not automatically running a Google + account. Ed is very helpful when it comes to being alert to what is going on behind the scenes on devices and often writes posts which tell you how to fix the problem. His post shows you clearly how to alter your settings so you don’t automatically have a Google + account. Integrating the sorts of sites Google integrates is a massive task, so if you are on Gmail, Blogger, YouTube, TweetDeck and you have a Google ID you will be aware that Google tries to simplify going from one online community to the other. It can be helpful Chrome will preserve all your bookmarks and settings so you can log in on any computer and Chrome will run YOUR browser. Having one ID for a number of sites can be handy and then big companies like Google try to both advance their products by helping you join their version of whatever it is and also help you move between their products. In doing that you might get something you didn’t want. I don’t want a Google + account but my YouTube stuff is being pushed by my Google + account and some people have “found” me on the Net in a nice way because my Google + account exists. I never visit it and I never go there and I need to think if it is a problem for me or not. I can only say what I have said before. When you belong to a site, make a habit of checking the settings on a reasonably regular basis.

Podcasting tutorials

I told you there was a Fairy God_Webber. It is the reason I blog. I can  come here and write what I am thinking or why I am stuck, or what I am learning, or trying to learn. I explain what the issues are and what I need and bingo…the Fairy God_Webber goes to work and brings me what I need. The internet is about sharing ideas and connecting with others so you need a platform for that. For me the main platforms are Twitter and my blogs. I have been blogging about podcasting and what I want to do and my journey there. I have mustered resources and ideas and have been collecting software which might be suitable. All of this is blogged so I can keep my train of thought, share ideas and then collect resources. Innov8 2 Educ8 came to my help on my Twitter feed and shared some good podcasts and then some good resources. One of the resources was a link to Pat Flynn and on his blog there were links to YouTube videos he has made to help others become more proficient at podcasting. As it turns out he is very easy to listen to, explains things well and gives very clear feedback about what he is trying to teach you. A natural teacher. The personable manner along with very practical help means you are quickly in control of what you are trying to learn. From this first video I have learned a lot about microphones so I need to go and get one .I am in a better position  now to make a sensible purchase. I wrote earlier I was really going to focus on sound this year and that post is where I gathered some good information on microphones as well. I feel so much more confident . I have some good visual and written materials to get me going and I have some good software as well. Pat Flynn’s website gives some excellent information about podcasting and how to get started.

Be the boss of your Podcasts

I’ll tell you now, bossjock studio is a paid app and not one of the cheapies. Excellent value for what it does, though. There is no try before you buy. I’ve downloaded the app onto my iPad and fully intend to explore it. If you watch Professor RedShoes demo you’ll not only find out a lot about the app, you will see and understand how it works. This man knows a lot about podcasting and making radio shows. He is also an educator and you will find out about him as you watch the video. He understands how something like this app has educational value. I downloaded it on the recommendation of @joedale who is also an educator who works closely with teachers around the world and who has a sound working knowledge of iPads in the classroom. . I haven’t made anything with it yet because I am thinking about where I’ll store the sound files first and then I have to think what exactly I am going to make a podcast about. It runs straight from the iPad so I need a place to muster my files. On a computer I would just create a folder. bossjock studio running on the iPad is forcing me to rethink how I do things, so I am grateful for the video clip featured here as I can see better how it all bolts together. The tiled approach suits me fine and I can see that would work really well in a classroom. I am thinking of using DropBox as my file mustering spot since I already use it across all my devices and that would be so easy. There are other options and part of using tablets means you have to rejig your approach. You have to learn. The bossjock studio site has a lot of helpful information. What I like about the tiles/carts is that you can organise the podcast elements one tile at a time. Once you become confident I can see you would do as you please. As a beginner I know I am going to have to storyboard what I am doing and then organise the tiles accordingly. To get me going I’ll be using a graphic organiser and I may even make one which replicates the interface. The app comes with a lot of support videos and so you are not just left to work it out. There are also demos on YouTube. Given you can make podcasts just with a tablet it means you have the freedom to create and broadcast anywhere when you want to . It certainly frees you up to express yourself, take advantage of any environment and it also means students can create radio and podcast programmes without accessing expensive equipment. It opens up a whole new set of learning and creative opportunities in education.

What podcasts do you listen to?

podcastAs I explained earlier, I plan to work on sound this year because I have focussed heavily on visual elements and  sound has been by way of enhancement. This year I plan to improve  using sound , creating sound and focussing on sound in assignments and tasks which is why I am asking you about podcasts. It is unclear to me how popular they are with others but I got my email  in from Rantings of an Amateur Chef and there he was writing a post about a podcast he’d listened to. Maybe it’s a cooking thing. When I am cooking that is  one of the times I am listening to a podcast or two. The Ranting Chef is a great blog if you like cooking. He writes well and comes up with some great recipes and then this post on a podcast which reminded me to write about it myself. I think podcasts would be highly suited to classroom activity. It would make a change from visuals and assignment pages. It would also force students to make better choices in terms of how they compose and formulate information . They can integrate other sounds and make it a bit more like a radio show, or they can keep it simpler and just talk. They will soon learn they need to be animated and articulate. For oral development and thinking skills podcasts are ideal because they can be of any length. One of the regular podcasters I listen to every week actually did a survey on his Facebook page to see if people wanted 5 minute podcasts or the longer ones of 20 minutes. I prefer the longer ones because I fit one in on my way to work and one on the way home and then other short podcasts for variety. Yes, podcasts are a valuable addition to my drive time. I learn so much and good podcasts are able to keep my attention. By now I know which ones I like. So, for me, cooking and driving times are when I listen to podcasts. I use a lot of podcasts and so am thinking they are something worth exploring in an educational way . I know my senior students use the podcasts I recommend to help them with their learning. They like to download them onto their phones or iPod Touches. Junior students don’t seem to like them so much , perhaps because their attention span is shorter. Another reason to work on podcasts , I think. It might help develop better listening and attention skills. Obviously, these are my thoughts as I think them. I am working on a plan. In the meantime I am curious to know what podcasts you listen to and where.