Erik Johansson is incredibly talented in visual art. His videos and web page show how a real master blends real life and virtual reality. Watching his creative process you understand that nothing is too much or too difficult to achieve his artistic ends. You also realise he is prepared to put 123 layers into his Adobe Photoshop creations to achieve what he wants. The blending of real and imagined is seamless. The detail is infinitesimal and he is incredibly painstaking in the way he goes about creating his images. Technology can shift the boundaries and imagination can reach out and use its limitlessness to show itself. What can be imagined now was restricted before but that same imagination has to be very disciplined and precise in its thinking to achieve its goals with technology. Near enough is not good enough and precision is everything.
Last night I was working on an assignment for the Year 10s and worked out duplicating a page would save me a whole lot of time. It’s been a long time since I have needed to merge Word documents so I had forgotten how to do it. You cannot duplicate pages in Word like you duplicate slides in Powerpoint. Luckily , the Microsoft Support instructions work like a charm and I saved myself time and energy. It means you keep formatting, backgrounds, customisations when a cut and paste isn’t the answer. It’s as easy as creating a new page and using the insert function and object, where you insert from a doc file you have. I then just had to delete the bits I did not want.
Tux Paint is a very versatile app for creating your own images. There are computer and HD versions too. It has been designed with younger children in mind but if you want to get in touch with your inner child , or you want an easy, straight forward app to able to explore creating your own images , then Tux Paint is worth a look. Graphically it is very smooth and slick. It has a clean, well designed interface which gets you going quickly. You feel like exploring and experimenting. It doesn’t have the subtlety in brushes of other paint apps but it’s a good place to start and it produces very clear images which would show well on an IWB. The sounds which come with it make you laugh but you can turn the sound off if you don’t like it. Those who use it , love it. With the new, upsurge in colouring books for adults, Tux Paint is a good electronic version of that because it is very calming to create the images. As you can see , the free version comes with some unobtrusive advertising.
I installed the MyPaint Beta for Windows from the MyPaint site and it went smoothly. It looks clean, it functions well, the brushes installed. You have to remember to download the brushes and then install them from within the programme under the brushes tab at the top. It doesn’t look as flash as the Linux version but it has a very convenient and clear layout. Installing the Wacom tablet was not as straightforward as usual. I had to search for drivers which would work because the first file I found on the Wacom site did nothing. There is a forum where you can download the pen drivers from LucieG45’s post and that version worked for me. I then downloaded the Bamboo Dock which is a very handy utility for the Wacom tablet. Now I am all set and ready to go on Windows 10 as well.
I downloaded Fotowall from the packages manager on Linux Mint 17.2. As you can see from the video it runs on Ubuntu as well and it is a great graphics programme which automatically loads Gimp if you wish to customise selected images further. My version of Fotowall is not doing the web searches for images and I shall investigate that. It’s not a problem as such because I would probably use this for my own images. I love the feature of turning text into image and the fact you can write text on the overall image as well. It really is a great piece of software for those who like to make impressive images but have limited artistic talent. Technology is really helping lift us up visually. We need artists and graphic designers to point us in the right direction but tools like Fotowall are graphics enablers. You can use it to print posters, design desktop wallpapers, image montages. It’s quite versatile.
Now you can see what someone with some real skill and talent can do with MyPaint. It’s an open source programme available on Windows and Linux. Installing a graphics tablet on Windows is as easy as going to the site and downloading the appropriate software for the tablet. Installing my Wacom tablet on Linux proved to be a case of third time lucky. I always try to see if a device will work on an operating system first or not. Unless you have clear instructions with a device to install particular software , these days the device will often work by itself and then you can install brand specific drivers and improvements as you go along. I tried plugging in my Wacom graphics tablet on Linux 17.2 but the pen and tablet were not going to co ordinate. So I tried the wacom.py Python script I found and it came up with a couple of errors . It might work for you, though. Lastly , I found the Ubuntu Forums site where there were some very specific instructions about half way down the page under section 1. I copied and pasted each line of code into Terminal and pressed enter. What I liked about the Ubuntu Forum site was that it explained what each part of the code was doing. I really enjoyed doing that and the information provided on the site was helpful. I then shut he computer down and rebooted.
Brushes on MyPaint are fun
Once I got my Wacom graphics tablet the right way round I was in business. I downloaded some more brushes from the MyPaint site and now I just love MyPaint even more and feel as though I can actually grow with this paint programme. The MyPaint site has a gallery of the sorts of things people have done with it and YouTube has some tutorials for it.
Charlie Henson is like me. He doesn’t really know how to get the best out of paint apps and tools but he can see that MyPaint on Linux is in a league of its own. Like me, he found he could do things easily and could feel a sense of achievement. His video takes you on a good tour of MyPaint so that you can see what it does and find the online support easily. It is a programme which enables you to be artistic because it is intuitive. I downloaded it from the package manager on Linux Mint last night and was able to do things with it even though I was just using my mouse. I love the symmetry function.
This is my first effort.
I was amazed how much I could actually do. I have since watched people with some real skills using it. It’s a very comprehensive, but easy to use programme. I downloaded the extra data package from the package manager as well.
On my Wacom tablet
Today I spent time setting up my Wacom tablet on Linux so I could try that. I’ll explain what I did tomorrow. It isn’t as straight forward to set up a tablet on Linux as it is on Windows and Mac. It wasn’t that hard, though. Once I got my tablet round the right way (!) it functions really well and was very responsive. I can write almost normally on it and better than on Windows or my Mac. I could even do a little drawing. More proof that Linux Mint 17.2 is visually stunning.
Linux Mint 17.2 Rafaela is visually stunning. The iso installed with a lot of code running first which is not usual but then Rafaela was all up and running in 20 minutes. My hp box is attached to my LED TV and the image quality is superb. I have 4 GB RAM and Rafaela is running extremely smoothly with a couple of glitches which will sort themselves out in a day or so. Never takes long for Linux to be fully functioning in a high end way. I have discovered mtpaint a simple image manipulation programme because Gimp wasn’t saving jpeg files . That will no doubt change when Rafaela puts through its updates. I have installed Chrome using code from itWorld. Chrome had all my bookmarks and so I could get up and running really quickly. I shall be downloading Vivaldi as a browser because it runs really well on Linux. So, on first meeting Rafaela, I am more than happy and think my interface looks really cool and the computer is going like a dream.
How are the year 10 blogs going? Really well! They are mostly doing better on traffic than the year 11s. These students, now they understand what they are doing, have set sail in the blogosphere and know how to make themselves known , how to tag and how to do something different. They did not understand blogging so I have had to go about it differently from the way I do it with my year 11s and 12s. I have found it better to actually create the blog posts in class and then offer things for them to do at home if they want to. Those who are now comfortable can see the benefit of building their blogs and take up the options but it also allows everyone a chance to work on different aspects of blogging and that has been building the knowledge base which then expands the growth and productivity!.
What have we done specifically?
1. Made sure we have a good title for our blog post. 2. Made sure we have a visual aspect to our blog posts. 3.Used our blogs to document our learning . 4. Visited each other’s blogs 5. Learned to tag and categorise properly.
These students are in a league of their own when it comes to tagging and some have taken it to a whole new level. They make tagging original, interesting and it has a visual impact the way some of them do it. Now they feel at home on their blogs, their personalities are coming out and they are confident in how they manage their blog posts.
How did I do it?
I used term 1 to set the blogs up and work on the technical aspects of blogging.
I used term 2 to grow the blogs by working on posts in class and offering ideas for out of class.
I am using term three build up links between them and other student bloggers at school to grow the connectivity.
I am impressed with how quickly and effectively students can get new ones up and running on a blog. They have been very positive and efficient. Blogging in year 10 is different, but it is certainly well worth it.
I have been through a lot of coding changes in a week and it seems longer than that. Halfway though my Udemy course Coding for Entrepreneurs I could not get the files to sync to Django. I fixed the errors I had made and then thought about it. I had learnt a lot. I had gone a long way. At that point I could find and fix errors in code but could not resolve the problem.Should I go on anyway or change tack? I decided to change tack and go right back to basics and work on Python scripts and scripting and , in the meantime, try to take on board some more information related to the Udemy course so that I might be able to fix it. It could be a problem with different versions of software packages. It could be that I have left a step out. I have shifted all my coding files and work from my Windows computer to my Linux Mint one. It is not that you cannot code on Windows. Linux supports it better and I follow it better on Linux. I have tried different scripts out, even repaired two of them so they would work and have had a chance to just play with some python scripts. The pythonforbeginners site has been very helpful. I can execute my python scripts easily . The pythonforbeginners site also puts the code up with colours so that you can distinguish commands from other parts of the script. I feel now that I am more self sufficient and am understanding what I should and could be doing. Once I feel totally confident, I shall go back and tackle the Udemy course which has given me some real insight as to what I can achieve when I get there! The hangman script I have linked to at he top of the page could be used to teach coding in a classroom. The code is decipherable and easy to follow. It is not hard to learn and set out. The script gives you the code for one word to play hangman and then you would change that to another word. Students would be working in pairs so they could play the came together.
EdTech Mixed Plate has a number of videos on YouTube where practising teachers join together to discuss ICT in the classroom. This is what we can do now as teachers. We can join together online and discuss things which are important in a classroom and how we develop and pioneer technology input – or anything else for that matter.The videos are professional development for the teachers participating but they are also professional development for anyone watching. The episode I am using today is on Minecraft in the classroom because Minecraft is gaining traction in classroom use. EdTech Mixed Plate discusses a range of topics and it is interesting to see how the teachers have become involved in edtech and mostly the co ordinator for edtech in their school. Worth a look because I am pretty sure this is the future and now such a gift to us in terms of professional development. Technology is offering us all sorts of possibilities . We are waiting for bandwidth so we can implement these opportunities more effectively.
Windows 10 has issues. Last weekend I got the blue screen of pending catastrophic doom, my computer shut down and rebooted with Windows updates and magically I had no start menu, no notifications, no real taskbar functionality and a lot of hidden things I have been having to rediscover in other ways. Good job I know my keyboard, am happy to right click or whatever to find out. Windows key X, Windows key E and Windows key R are my new BFFs.There is nothing I have not been able to do. I am even finding things that I would not be able to know on Windows if I just had access to the start menu. Change can bring insight. Probably my fault for blogging about the putrid start menu colours and the tacky Bing news. Microsoft has spoken. Love it or do without. The dysfunctional start menu was a problem for some with Windows 8 and #Windows10Fail on Twitter will give insight into the situation now. People are rolling back or just becoming a tad unsettled. Why not? Windows 10 was so cool when it came onto our computers so it is nice and frustrating to find out it has become so lumpy so soon…at all, in fact. I have had to go into the C drive to get programmes or run them from Windows R if it can find them. Often not. It’s amazing what Windows 10 now can’t find that I can. I have to use the image preview to access my paint programme which I love and suits me. That is just plain weird.There are lots of things I like about Windows 10 and ,discovering so much because the start menu is crippled, is the up side of such a ridiculous occurrence. This afternoon my computer gave me another sudden blue screen of pending catastrophic doom and Windows put through some more updates. I thought it was bringing my start menu back. No. No, it wasn’t. So with a bit of help from the aptly named site Computer Hope I made myself a start menu toolbar which suits me very well, thank you. Now I don’t have to keep running the .exe file to get the snipping tool. Half way down the page I have linked on Computer Hope are instructions to Create a Windows Start Menu Toolbar. Worked like a charm and has lightened my load.
I wouldn’t even have considered trying the computational thinking approach to my Year 10 topic of Talking about Sport unless I was fairly certain it would succeed or , at least, sustain a level of competence in myself and my class which was credible. These are Year 10s going into Year 11. Calculated risk and intelligent trials are worth the effort and will improve performance and outcomes. Flying blind with no sight of the ground is not an option. As you can see from the last post I restructured the topic to ensure it met with the computational thinking elements. I am refreshing my own coding skills so I was more than acutely aware that every tiny bit matters and that it is not a sin to be working in the dark. I was also aware that when you take yourself up to higher level learning you have to copy. You have to look to who can do it and learn from them by leaning on them and their knowledge. Soon, your brain patterns the information and you can start doing things for yourself. The end part of my Sport topic was an assessment of a dialogue where one student was wildly enthusiastic about sport and the other one was very reluctant and negative. We built it up from vocabulary, to expressions, to specific sentence patterns for positives and negatives. We reinforced it all with online training. We listened to French people talking about sport and listened for what we could recognise. We did small exercises to practice one thing and put them on our blogs. We did tiny orals to get used to saying things. They then had to emulate a dialogue we could hear and see online. They changed it a bit and we listened to the original dialogue and then they had to do their version and record it. We then came to their having to do an authentic dialogue of their own. I had marked a dialogue of theirs at the beginning of term. They weren’t bad but they were a bit awkward and I could hear the students were not comfortable at this level of French even though they could understand it. I am now really glad I decided to go about the Talking about Sport dialogue in a computational thinking way. It has made a considerable difference. I was marking the sport dialogues yesterday. They had all handed them in. They sounded confident and competent. They sounded like they were relaxed and having fun. The dialogues were far more natural and their pronunciation was so much better. Working though a topic or lesson from a small thing to a bigger thing is not foreign to me because I have been using gaming principles for a couple of years now. The computational thinking approach has refined that further and is a logical next step to that methodology.
I have completed the Computational Thinking Course for Educators which was run by Google. I have done it over several weeks but it could have been completed quickly. I looked at all the different things to do with coding and applications, I have participated in the online comments and feedback and now I have finished the projects. None of this was arduous but what it did was made me think about things differently, shed some new light as to how I could approach teaching and students. My project was to use computational thinking to teach a topic of French. I have just done that and it has worked well. . You can have a copy of it to look at if you like:Year 10 French, so that you can see how I have set a topic up in terms of computational thinking. It was an interesting project.Now that I have done that I have decided it’s a good way to allow teachers to develop in terms of performance standards – give them a tertiary challenge!
Windows snipping tool is located in the start menu on Windows under accessories. It comes up with a small box where you select new. It whites out the screen and you can drag the mouse to make an image of whatever you want on the desktop. You can then save it to the desktop and manage it in a paint program according to your needs. So easy.
Any serious coder will laugh but that’s okay. They would also realise it has taken me plenty of effort and dedication to get to this first useful step in coding. I have been sitting here absorbing all my coding lessons and finally the cogs are starting to work, the penny has dropped and I can actually see my way clear to doing some things by myself without just copying or following instructions. That, though, is a basic lesson in coding. Don’t hurry. Don’t try to skip over things, lean heavily on those who know, do as you are told and follow instructions! Don’t expect to know what you are doing until the light comes on.Then…you get to the moment where you can do something by yourself. Something practical and useful. You can actually transfer knowledge and apply it. I have understood 95% of what I have been learning. I have had to go back over things and I have had to come back to very disciplined thinking. Now, apart from doing the things I copy, I can now think for myself and apply some knowledge. We really need to look at computer literacy in a hard headed way to sort out what it means to be computer literate, especially if we plan to teach coding. So, I can now quickly make myself a desktop text file with text in it.
How did I do this?
1. Press Windows x
2. Select Command Prompt from the menu which pops up.
3.Mine comes up with C:\Users\CathyW>…yours will come up with your user name
4. At the > type cd Desktop and press enter
5. It will now say C:\Users \CathyW\Desktop>
6. At the > type echo Whatever you want to write as text here >reminder.txt and press enter
7. You can call it happy.txt, cathy.txt…whatever you want.
You will now have a file on your desktop with what you wrote. For me it is a reminder.txt and could have been any other type of text file like a doc. It means I can write myself a quick note, get some ideas down quickly, create a file to work on later. I don’t have to wait for software or sites to load. Easy!
There is so much magic with technology . We have to keep the conversations going. We have to keep sharing. We are connected. Gradually , we are working out positive behaviours and practices around the internet, mobile technology and device use. We are now working out the social side of it so our practices do not impinge on others and infringe upon their space and sensibilities. It is becoming obvious now who the team player are NOT. The little video looks at some of the things we have come to agree upon but might want to discuss. There is always a personal preference allowed in our thinking because it no longer has to be one size fits all and it no longer has to be we are all doing this now , in this way, with this. The conversations have to continue so we arrive at consensus and a happy way of finding the magical things in technology use. It is easy for me to say , “Put your phone away , please” because we teach responsible use. The Year 9s were starting to champ at the bit because they know they will have laptops next year and they want them now. To help combat this frustration I have lifted my game with the iPads and my laptop use so we are using great sites, great images, great tools. I walked into class with the Discover Quebec app for them to download. They loved it. It’s an intelligent app which had 3D renditions, videos, maps, images, interviews. A whole information rich and visually impressive app which treats users intelligently and runs in French and English. I pulled out my really nice presentation on adjectives and one of the students remarked about how nicely the colours all went together and how the the whole board was filled with a balance of colour. They loved the red Ferrari on my wishlist in French. So then one of the students, as she prepared her presentation, was using an app to make a background for the slides with different coloured fingerprints.Her own fingerprints and her own choice of colours. Custom made backgrounds for learning their French. We have set up a mega online vocab challenge for next week of one boy against the other 3 best students one at a time. Everyone warmed to that kind of risk taking. In the next class I had my spreadsheet out which automatically calculates the percentages for the students. I remarked how daft Excel was for calculating at the bottom of the percentages 576% or something equally nonsensical. It should have something which stops it from doing ridiculous things. One student felt my frustration and offered to change it to an average for me because by now they know how number challeged I am . My percentages spreadsheet is orginally thanks to my brother in law but by now I can actually do the function stuff myself. So the student was trying to do the average and it all hashtagged and went stupid. A couple of students offered suggestions and I showed him how to format cells. We were doing this in French. It was not prescribed “content”, the exams and assessments will never show we were doing this. The bell went and we decided to finish it off on Monday. That was all learning based on sharing but we would not have been learning had we stuck to the plan, the device, the ascribed roles of teacher and student. We were having fun because we can and we were working out the boundaries with social niceties and consideration.
I am following through on my Coding for Entrepreneurs Udemy Course. It’s an opportunity to try out online learning and a chance to get myself back to coding. Python is what I chose and this course has been teaching me how to set up a virtual test environment and create a Django project page. I have no idea what this will do other than get me somewhere I have never been. I have learnt again that to code you have to be totally exact and very precise. I have learnt that this type of online learning is demanding but ultimately very satisfying. I could follow and do most of it but I have gone slowly and taken my time. I had a couple of stumbling blocks and that is coding. If things do not appear to go according to plan you have to use your brain and thought processes to logically work out the solution.Throwing your hands up in the air and having a meltdown just does not cut it with coding. It forces you to think all the time in a very all-consuming way. Some of it will become habit again but then there will always be the times where my brain is up again the computer trying to figure out solutions. It is constant problem solving. I am more than happy with all the Command Line stuff I have been doing and it is exciting to see it all take shape. I am looking forward to seeing what I can now do with Django. I still have quite a bit of this course to go so it will absorb me for a while. At the moment I am very much a supported learner . It will be interesting to discover at which point I can become independent.
I think I have fixed the black sections problem on my screenshots. I may be in Windows 10 but the above Windows 7 site has helped to solve two problems for me. If I use Shift PrtScr I get an image of both my monitors which is sometimes handy but usually I just want one screen. Now I know I can use Alt PrtScr and just get the active desktop I am using. I didn’t know that. The forum site gives some good information about screenshots. I usually save mine straight to the desktop because it is easy to find them there.Taking one screen at a time means I am not getting the black sections on each of the screens in the screen shot, so now I have narrowed that down to being a dual screen issue with Windows 10. Festina lente.
It is all going well. The system boots quickly and it shuts down quickly. This version of Windows appears to be operating more smoothly than other versions and I really like it. My latest trick is Windows key then x because bottom left it brings up a menu with things like System, Command Prompt, Control Panel and Networking Centre. Makes it easy to access those critical areas of a computer. I found my pictures which I had not filed into folders. They are in the Public Pictures so you can go to the C drive\Users\Public and you will find the public folders there or you can go to the web and Windows search, type in Public Pictures , then click on My Stuff (seriously!) and it will come up in the search. Windows 10 has been very easy to adapt to.
All good , really. I have had to reload nothing which was not the case with Windows 8. Windows 10 is smooth and has a good interface. I can use the panoramic themes across my two monitors and that is just lovely. The screenshot is putting black sections onto my image which do not exist in real life. On each screen the taskbar is at the bottom and the picture fills the screen. You use the SPAN option in the setting to get the picture to go across both screens. The start menu is good. Hate the colours and wish Windows would use something less putrid. I love having my app tiles back with the different images and it is there my missing photos are to be found. I still have not found them on the actual computer but they are being displayed as Photos from a Collection in one of the tiles. The start menu has also brought MineCraft and my favourite Flipboard app. I had to sign in with my Microsoft account to download the app. It is good to see it there. The start menu has also been suggesting things in a gentle way and offering some good options. Bottom left on the taskbar is the search web and Windows box which is the same as Apple Spotlight but brings Bing news when you click on it. I do not want random, tasteless images and tacky news. If that is to be compulsory it needs to be more sedate and mindful this is my life, my home and my headspace. If I want random lowbrow news I’ll go and find it. Actually, I won’t. The search works well though and I can find everything I need on my computer and the web options are there if I need them. if you want to change the default browser then use the Windows image bottom left, click on the settings to the left towards the bottom of the start menu when it is open and type default in the search box. Then select default app settings. Click on change default by app, go up to the web browser option and then click on that to change it. I have changed mine to Chrome because I am set up there. Microsoft Edge , though , is nothing like Explorer and quite nice to use which I could never say about Explorer. The Edge handles well and does not slow everything down and then mess it all up before you actually get it going. It just goes and is very efficient. Windows 10 is nice. It is clearly an upgrade and it is making my computing life better so far. Early days, but it is nowhere near as clunky as Windows 8. It is smooth and easy.
I got sick of the screen which kept telling me that Windows 10 was working on it. Until today I was too busy to do anything other than try to get the upgrade going. It doesn’t seem to be installing consistently onto computers. Daughter got the notice like I did to upgrade, clicked on it and had it installed in no time. 3 days later and I was still watching the white dots go round. So, I thought about it. I went to the Windows Updates area after I’d watched the white dots of death for 20 minutes. My upgrade was sitting there waiting for me to click on the install. If your installation isn’t automatic I can now suggest you go to the Windows Update on your computer. Just type Windows Update in the run menu (Win R on Windows 8). An hour later and I am now happily on Windows 10 and have a chance to explore it. I like the interface and the fact it acknowledges dual monitors. All I have noticed so far is that it has lost all my loose photos which I hadn’t filed into my folders in my photos library. No real problem. I have back ups. I have the message already I had better be very tidy minded on Windows 10. Currently it wants Edge to be the default browser and I use Chrome. There was no obvious way to change that but I’ll find it as I shall probably find the photos I had not filed. The taskbar on the auxiliary monitor has settled down at the bottom of the screen now as it should and it’s really handy to have the taskbar on both screens. The picture shows a black section on the bottom of the left screen, that has all been sorted. There is no black at the top of the main monitor either. All good, so I’ll get back to work!
I really need to get a life. I watched this screen for 2 hours this morning when the notice came the upgrade was ready. I have watched it for 2 hours tonight. It says they are working on it. Good. I am working on it , too. Living.
We need to take action. It’s important we pool our planetary thinking to come up with a solution for inattentional blindness aka digital deadwalking. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons made this video to try to do something. It is not going to work unless we all pay attention and use all the thinking we have at our disposal to stop people walking around , with phones and iPods plugged into their ears , from being killed. The number of pedestrian plugged in , distracted people being killed is increasing world wide. This is not very clever of us. We have some cool gadgets but they should not be putting our lives at risk. We do not seem to go through the obvious risk assessment teaching and learning that we probably would do with industrial machinery. Technology is being accepted as safe and yet , clearly, it is not so there has to be education around that for safety and well being as there is for using industrial machines. As simple as the water and electricity don’t mix idea. Plugged in pedestrians and traffic don’t mix.
“While the research is in its infancy, Queensland University of Technology’s Amy Williamson said 30 per cent of those polled so far admitted to having a near-miss with a vehicle and 15 per cent blamed their phone distraction.” abc.net.au
My own concern is that perhaps this behaviour is turning into a learned habit, even without the device. This year at school I have had a number of Year 8s just walk straight into me or nearly miss my face when they open a door. They do not realise I am there. There is nothing intentional about their behaviour . They are usually embarrassed about what they did and are polite and apologetic , so it tends to suggest they are doing what is natural to them and not taking in the people and things around them. It may have nothing to do with being habitually plugged in but I am wondering if that is causing this behaviour? In class they are happy, engaged, alert people so they are all then cued into competent, productive behaviour.
It is time to stop thinking about it because we have been noticing pedestrian , plugged in deaths around traffic and transport since 2009. We really need to face this head on and find some solutions. Giving them their own lane to walk in is not changing the behaviour into something safer.
So ,this is the 2015 Spring Summer Collection for Issey Miyake’s European shows. It demonstrates how the technologically conceived 3D material is used to create clothing and shows to full effect the difference between flat earth clothing and technology inspired 21st century clothing. It actually explores the space between the body and item of clothing. Conceptually it is different and presents a new perspective on what clothes can mean. As the show unfolds it becomes less the artistic expression of this 3D material and more a functional use for the clothing but with nothing lost in form and style. As the show progresses the clothes soften and have more movement. I can sit at home and be dazzled by a Paris collection but I am just as much dazzled by the technological thought which has gone behind creating this fashion show. Art, music, science, language, design, technology, maths, culture…it embodies all our thought disciplines.
You have to be able to think in a technological way to create a 3D fabric and then understand how that will then translate into haute couture clothing. The fashion designer, Issey Miyake, shows in the video the thought process and then the functional requirements of creating such a material. All the while the images focus on form and movement. They also portray very clearly how technology aids graphic design in a fundamental way to take it to a higher level. The marriage of technology and graphic design is extraordinary and you can literally see how different this 3D material is from normal material. This material was created for his summer collection this year and tomorrow we’ll see just how much technology can inspire and take us to a whole new level of creativity and imagination.
Issey Miyake studied graphic design but he has since gone on to be one of the world’s top fashion designers whose collections are shown and viewed in so many prestigious events. This animation by Euphrates shows what happens when you put design, art and technology together and that is something Issey Mikaye does exquisitely. More to come! Total genius on creating a brand!
People get devices and enjoy using them and then it all falls apart when they have to update or when they realise they could be doing other things with the device – like downloading apps. It’s not intuitive. It’s learned behaviour which you can either work out yourself or you can’t. Assuming people know how to connect their device to a computer and use iTunes as an alternative can be a big ask. Do they know where to put the cable? Do they know how to download iTunes? The video I have chosen to show how to update an iOS is of value since it does show some of the problems you might encounter. You do need to be connected to wifi. You to know what to do when the screen comes up with “Hello” when you had an iPad that was working fine until then. Settings, though , is critical. Everyone needs to know how to find and navigate the settings. You have to tap Settings then General , then Software Update to get started. The man who did the video about the app store might have thought he was funny writing on screen you need a finger/stylus , iPad and wifi to get started. It is that basic when someone doesn’t know what they are doing and is on totally unfamiliar ground. They need to be moved through a process one tiny step at a time with nothing taken for granted. No one should feel a failure because they cannot navigate a device. No one was made to feel a failure because they could not operate a TV or fridge. We need to make it that easy for everyone.
I had a phone call today from a senior friend who didn’t know about having an Apple ID so you could use the app store. I am posting this so if you, too, know people who don’t know how to get themselves started on their iPad or their iPhone you can quickly get them the information. Here is the link to the Apple ID site where you create the ID. The video is short, sweet and to the point. There are longer videos on YouTube about the app store, but most people just want to get going.
It’s taken a while to get my Year 9s up and running with Edmettle this year. They were attached to Twiducate which was also created by Brian Aspinall. Twiducate is the old version. Edmettle is designed to fit in with the values of the Canadian curriculum, but as it happens, it fits in nicely with ours too. With Edmettle you also have an opportunity to involve parents. I am not up to that yet because it has taken me half a year to get the students to accept Edmettle and just use it as we did Twiducate. It’s not annoying. It is a sign they really value the place where they give me online feedback and practise their French sometimes. They, are right to approach a new site with caution and prudence. I respect their judgement in that. Yesterday , though , we got back to Edmettle and they were all happy with it and typed away as they normally do, so today I can move that forward. As a teacher I value it because I can ask them questions about the work we have done, I can ask them for input for something I am trying to decide, we can discuss ideas and trouble shoot and we can practice our French when we want to . I also have the opportunity with Edmettle, as do the students, of endorsing values like initiative, grit, organisation etc. As a teacher I have found that to be a nice thing. With a site like Edmettle each student has a voice. Each student is heard and each student can be noticed. I have a direct line of contact with all the students in my class. It is safe, it stands alone and it really makes them think of how they will say something because there is a character limit. Same for me. It trains you up for social media and it forces you to be discerning as you write. I knew they had adopted the site yesterday when more of them had put up an avatar. I can go back to this today and work on their bios and how we shall assess the next task. These students love group assessments. I created a rubric which , twice now, they have fine tuned and discussed so that we now have the perfect group assessment sheet for iPads. They own their group assessment now because they were part of developing it and their ideas were all helpful and valid. When you have access to everyone’s ideas, you have access to a broad range of ideas. Guarantees you can achieve well and Edmettle is a great tool for faciliting collaboration. I , too, needed time to get away from Twiducate because it had been so useful for creating a feedback loop for input as as well as practice for me. Time to move on!
I have just been playing with Trello. For me, I have decided it’s a good place to organise my information as I learn Python coding. It’s a bit like Storify and Pinterest rolled into one. You can create different boards and add to them. You can label them, prioritise them in different ways and even collaborate with others on boards if they belong to Trello. You invite them. My Trello is set to Private but there are other options and you choose whether to share or not. It keeps a running list of what you have done which would be helpful if you are busy and trying to keep track of what you are doing. You can archive sections of boards and decide later if you want to delete them. If you check the settings and sidebar you can see there are so many handy options for collaboration and working on aggregating materials and resources. I could be writing my own comments as well.It’s free to join and use but there is a paid business version if you wish to pursue it. You can also run it in different languages.
It was good having my to-do list open on the iPad next to me as I kept track of what I needed to do. With One Note I can tick off what I have done and tomorrow I can delete those and add what has come up. It meant my first day felt like it was productive and organised because it was productive and organised! What is left will be completed in the next couple of days. Since I had my list to keep me focussed, I actually had fun and learnt along the way. Having it on the iPad meant I didn’t need to swap screens or shift anything around. I discovered how to message a whole class on the LMS and while I was doing that (with help from AP to navigate the less than intuitive interface for whole class messaging), I discovered we now have a mobile option for the LMS and I look forward to trying that on my phone on Thursday. Being able to access the LMS on a phone has its advantages when you either don’t have your laptop or you don’t want to have your laptop. When I arrive at school on Thursday I get there at lunchtime and need to use my phone to quickly work out what is on the LMS. I am hoping the mobile option makes that even quicker. We have also become pretty efficient at school at getting information around via email. It sustains a positive, personal contact as well as a sound information distribution network. The term is up and running and technology is providing solid support. I’d be lost without OwnCloud and DropBox. I have dropped files into both of them today to try and move past USB sticks. I have USB back up at present just incase there is no wifi access, but being able to use cloud services does streamline everything considerably.
I haven’t seriously coded in a long time. Time to get back to it and I have chosen to work with Python. It will work across all the devices and computers I have no matter what OS they run. Even though I have a body of transferable knowledge, I have to treat myself as a beginner because if I have learnt one thing from coding , I have learned it is one tiny step at a time. Coding is very disciplined, precise thinking and you have to be absolutely accurate. The challenge comes in using your problem solving skills to work out how you are going to get something to work. Okay, so I want to learn Python, where am I actually going to put the script and how am I actually going to run it? I have got the C Language app for my iPad. That runs Python. I have to pay 3.70 to get it to run unlimited scripts. It might be worth it because it has such a nice interface and there are some resources there I know I’ll be able to use eventually. I already have Text Wrangler on my MacBook. I’ll need to download Python and then work with the information I find to use it on that if I want to. Linux will easily have what I want so I am leaving that until last. I took the biggest challenge first – Windows 7. I found an excellent site : Learn Python the Hard Way It suits my needs and covers all the operating systems. The instructions for Windows worked out but I had to update PowerShell to version 3 because I am on Windows 7. Nothing worked until I did that. I have written and run my first script in the PowerShell and so I can work through the rest of the site bit by bit. It is not really learning Python the hard way but Zed. A. Shaw is very clear about how you have to behave if you want to code. It’s not guessing, hmphing, skipping over bits, trying to race ahead. It is disciplined and exact. He could not have put out a better message . I have also signed up for a free Udemy course – Coding for Entrepreneurs Basic by Justin Mitchel. I am not an entrepreneur and have no aspirations in that direction . I want to learn what the course has on offer and then I can decide how I will put that to work. Justin Mitchel explains everything well and the course is set out very clearly. It is supposed to take 4 hours. I downloaded the course app to my iPad too! So, before I even got to learn anything in Python I had to set up my devices and find the software I needed and ensure I had the right versions. For me it is good to have a multimedia approach like the Udemy course and then my website where I can go to learn the next bit. Ready to code!
So, what does your to-do list look like for the beginning of Term? We have started semester two but are about to go back for Term 3. I know, it sounds a bit messy. We might need to streamline our school year a bit so that the breaks are more logical and fit with what needed to change. I have 10 things on my list which I am pretty sure I can organise in a straight forward way but there will be other things I’ll find out about when I get back to school. To be able to do this electronically makes it so much more straight forward and so much less time consuming. Some of the things are about converting what I have to suit my needs this year. Some of the things are verifying I have the key documents in place to consult or share. Some of it is creating new materials and learning tasks. It’s a good mix of quick and easy and then those things which will require thought and time. I have used One Note because I’ll put the file in DropBox and then pick it up on my iPad with the One Note app. I also have my to-do list backed up on my blog now!!
Joe Belfiore gives you a straightforward look at the new Windows 10 which will be released on July 29th. The video will help familiarise you with what is there, how it works and some of the features of Windows 10. The official Microsoft site is here. I put myself on the list for the free Windows 10 update. I had Windows 7 on this computer originally , then upgraded it to Windows 8 and then had to downgrade it back to 7 because Windows 8 StoreIcon nonsense kept using up my system resources and Windows 8 used to fail to boot. It all started well and I loved it , then it became too unreliable. It was odd it had settled in and then destabilised. I used to like Windows 8 and had no particular need for the start menu. I could do everything I did on Windows 7 and I used to love watching the metro screen change and move around. It was different and interesting. PCadvisor UK is regularly updating what is going on with Windows 10. If you want some tips for Windows 10, then go over to the post on InfoWorld. I am looking forward to the Windows 10 download. This will be the first time I have ever had a download of an OS like this on Windows. My MacBook does it well but, since it is a work computer, I can only download an operating system when I am permitted. That does not worry me. I am not the one who has to maintain and care for 100s of laptops. It was interesting to do a system upgrade like that and it will be interesting to compare the Windows 10 one against it. I suspect the organisation of my changeover has been going on for a couple of weeks now in the background and my hope is that it will be smooth for that reason – the prior preparation and planning stuff.
I had forgotten how to change the Taskbar settings for the date in Windows 7. Luckily, the How-to Geek site has a beginner geek section. Embarrassing, but mission accomplished. The date is now showing as I want it to and I am all set and ready for the Windows 10 update coming at the end of the month.
I am not complaining. Someone gave me a bookseat because they didn’t want it. My first thought was – oh, I can put my iPad on that. I did. It works brilliantly. It’s a stable surface where I can sit my iPad and it is better than having it flat on a surface. It also balances nicely on the arm of a big chair. All good, really. I had no idea there was such a thing as a bookseat. They are material full of polystyrene beads so they are beanbags for books and iPads. I find it very comfortable to work with and my iPad loves it.
This infographic was published on the Business Insider Australia site via movehub. If you go to the Business Insider link you will see which second languages are important and established in each area of the world. The information is astounding and is showing just how much we are moving, how populations are bringing their culture and languages to different nations and how critical it is to be multilingual/plurilingual in our global society. Business is conducted in various languages and there are political implications for this . Politicians ought to be multilingual/plurilingual too so that they can establish good relationships with their citizens, neighbours and international counterparts. Will the language maps stay like this or shall we keep shifting languages around the planet? If that becomes the case, then speaking more than one language will be essential to success and capacity to live, work and study anywhere. The Business Insider site also has a video on the comparative sizes of countries. I was interested to discover that Australia can fit inside Brazil. In a classroom it is important to understand these sorts of things because our students come from everywhere and what we consider big in Australia might be considered enormous somewhere else. We’ll get in a car in Adelaide and drive to Melbourne. In other countries that is unthinkable.We need to look at how the world is changing and build that into our approach and understanding of our students.
MVRDV’s Seoul Skygarden is planned to be a reality in 2017. Currently it is a computer simulation. The Dutch architectural firm is going to retransform disused , raised highways in Seoul into green spaces which will also become retail and socialising areas. It is a challenging concept but so imaginative. The highways had fallen into disuse because they were no longer safe to use. Imagine the original financial investment in those highways. This is a bold way to reclaim them and to get city dwellers back in contact with nature and natural surroundings. Seoul is not the only city rethinking its spaces in an ecological way. That retransformation of cities is taking place globally with some stunning effects. Even Adelaide is dabbling with green wall buildings and it’s great! It means we bring nature back to the concrete and metal. The Dutch Team won the competition by drawing on a large team of experts and a totally collaborative approach to the project and its requirements. The team was local and international. Our students will be world changers if we want them to be. Skills and talents can come together through technology to reimagine our world . I wonder who had the original thought to transform those roads? I wonder how the Dutch company gathered its team together? I wonder, if we were to break the skills and knowledge needed to complete a project like this, what subject areas would be listed? My guess is all of them and my other guess is no single subject would be more important than another . The Seoul Sky Garden is living proof we need everybody’s skills and talents in our world and that technology allows us to really dream big. Simulations are how we are showcasing our bold imaginings to the rest of the world. It’s just fantastic when you think about it.
I just discovered MathMagic for Captivate on my MacBook. Why? I am a French teacher. I have found a video so that someone who actually knows what they are talking about can explain this to you. I have no need for an equation editor but you may well need one. The images you create in Captivate are extremely clear and so would replicate well on an interactive board or in a video lesson. Captivate is an Adobe product which obviously the school has kindly loaded on my MacBook. The least I can do is share this with you because it seems to be the very thing if you like creating equations. From my non Maths point of view , it is actually interesting to me to see all the maths symbols so well organised and aggregated. My way of tackling it would be to find out what each of those symbols meant and what I could do with them. Probably not a lot. Have fun. You’re welcome.
You just never know. That message was brought home to me again about 10 minutes ago. I was supposed to go to a website to give feedback. The website was a non event. Not a single link went to said feedback portal. Luckily, there was a QR code to the feedback site. I got my phone and bingo! I was on the right page, I could give the feedback and my job was done. Using my phone obviously wasn’t my first option but I have learned you need to have access to more than one device and electronic instructions need more than one way to get you there. We are living in a multiple option world!! Often, when you are seriously engaging with the online world you do need more than one device. My year 8s last year, some of whom are my year 9s this year, were really good at using their phones and iPads together to create a really efficient study platform for themselves. My year 10s, too , sometimes ask if they can borrow an iPad and when I ask why, it is so they can do one thing on their iPad and another thing on their MacBook. They are really organised, efficient , digital workers. I find when I participate in things like Twitter chats I need to have my computer and my phone. My phone whistles all the incoming notifications which I then know to check on the TweetDeck feed. It means I can be answering questions, retweeting, responding to answers and replies without having to do extra. My phone becomes my personal assistant. At work, I can run my emails on my iPad and do other things on my MacBook. When you use more than one device, the mobile device becomes a very powerful personal assistant which can keep you fully informed but also allow you to access other things while you are doing your main work on a computer.It means the cognitive flow is not interrupted and the thinking processes are smoothed over for you when you are working intensely. Right now my phone will let me know if anything comes up on Twitter because my email is open on my second desktop screen. We have the devices and hardware, we need to put them to work. They are not just ornaments.
I discovered all this because I could not upgrade my iPod and dock on Tuesday. I now have a little tech hub in my sewing room. I have a TV and was using my iPod for the music, apps and streaming radio as I sew. There were no iPods to buy and I was told docks would not be being replaced.
“Why don’t you just use your phone?” “Because it’s my phone. I don’t want it tied up like that.” “We stream everything through wifi these days. Just use an iPad mini. It’s runs your television as well, you know.” ” I wanted an iPod and a dock. I am now going to have to rethink this. I don’t want my wifi on all the time.”
Not to mention if the wifi goes down , you have had it. If you have wifi speakers, that’s it. Nothing like a brick wall to force you to rethink your life once you get over the hissy fit. I had an old mobile computer trolley out in the garage. I had a Samsung tablet. I had a Netbook. I had to be able to do something. I cleaned up the trolley and got in into position. I connected an older Telefunken speaker off my sound system which was rarely used to my Samsung tablet. Good sound! No problems with wifi. I set up the Netbook and then found it couldn’t access the wifi. I used a wifi adapter and it now has a perfect signal. Bit silly, but never mind , it works. I moved my TV from the shelf to the trolley and the phone from the table to the trolley. I then went out to get a surge guard power board with USB charging to complete my little hub. That was not easy either!! What is the matter with shops? I ended up getting a great Belkin one which is a tribute to functional design. It is solid, has classic lines and looks really cool. I have since shifted my Netbook to the keyboard shelf on the trolley so it shuts away when not in use. It is all so tidy! All so functional. I can listen to music, watch videos, DVDs , television, I can stream radio, keep up with Twitter or Facebook. I can look up patterns and sewing things online. I am fully functional! I blogged before how I created a little recording studio which packs into a drawer. I have proven you don’t need a big space to be able to operate in a big way. Work and study spaces no longer need to be whole offices, whole desks, a certain type of desk or venue. We can now connect and work anywhere.
If the only thing you do is watch this video, you have done well. It speaks for itself and is beautiful. When my daughter was at art school, one of the first assignments they had, was to build an installation which focussed on one colour. Hers happened to be green. As part of her audience experience she wanted to make a green cake. She went outside and got some fuchsia leaves and asked me if I could make green chocolate leaves to go on her cake like the ones she had chosen. I washed the leaves , dried them and painted them with green chocolate. When her cake was made we peeled off the real leaves and had the chocolate ones for her to decorate the cake. She then took a photo of it on some little camera around at the time which printed up a small photo of the cake she had baked. It was not only a good mother and daughter moment, it was a good teaching a learning moment. I learned that if you focussed on one thing and explored it from all angles it was a deeply satisfying and inspirational way to learn. From then on I applied that in my classroom. With technology you can focus on one thing from all sorts of angles. You can teach content in multimodal ways and bring about a deeper understanding and a much better sense of what the learning is about. Looking at teaching through an artist’s lens means you have the opportunity to truly engage someone’s mind and creativity by immersing them through studied focus which then builds on itself.
Scientist Rana el Kaliouby has been working on technology which can read your facial expressions and then know how you feel. The TED talk here explains her rationale behind it and then how it has been developed. Towards the end you can see for yourself how detailed and accurate it is. They have been researching and refining it for quite some time and soon it will be in place in the real world. They have been working on cognitive intelligence for technology. They are adding another layer to that by investigating and exploring emotional intelligence with regard to technology. Rana el Kaliouby was driven to work on this because she was separated from her family for some time and she really was only interacting with devices. She also wanted her family to better understand how she felt as she was only communicating with them through technology. I can see ,like her, that emotionally smart software might have a place in a classroom so that it could make better recommendations for students who are not engaging with what you have offered as a teacher. I can hear it now. “See? FooGoo is telling me I am bored with it. You need to show me something else. “ I can also see that the software might bypass the teacher and recommend something of its own which will engage the student. Fun and games to come. The gender differences with interaction were interesting and worth pursuing for what that really means.Do I need a device which reads my mood? I don’t think so, but I’ll have to wait and see what transpires by way of development. Technology is plastic and circuit boards. I don’t have a need to engage emotionally with it nor for it to know how I feel. I don’t talk to my pot plants either. Rana el Kaliouby says she expects this to be real in 5 years. It means we need some idea of what it will do, what it is capable of and , inevitably, how it can be misused, so that we, as teachers, are ready for it.
You can always look at what is trending on Twitter from within but sometimes you want something more specific and related to a location. When you are wanting to do that then Trends24 is the site to go to. I searched for what was trending in Adelaide.
There is always going to be a limit as to how many apps and websites you can use in your classes because taking charge of them takes time and energy. It pays, though, to take a look at what is available because it might just be the thing you need for a particular class, a particular student or for a colleague who is looking for something suitable. It may also take a team effort to set some of these apps up at the beginning of the year so that you can benefit from them during the year.That is one thing which needs to be addressed in our workloads. Setting learning materials up online is exacting and time consuming initially. The Educational Technology and Mobile Learning site has just come up with eight really good apps for mobile learning and game based learning. Some, you could use as an adult to increase your own learning. These game based apps are how we are moving learning out of the four walls of our classrooms. Not all students are endorsing that at present but it is going to be how we capitalise on class time, get the edge and move ourselves forward in a world where we are all connected. We are moving from web 2 to web 3 so it is only a matter of time before we muster specific groups for learning specific things and our students need to be familiar with this approach. I like the look of Zondle and plan to explore that a bit more.
Teaching and Learning in South Australia Facebook page put up a link to The NMC Horizon Report: 2014 K-12 Edition. New Media Consortium in collaboration with the Consortium for School Networking has been putting out a report about digital impacts in education since 2002. It is the most comprehensive report in this area I have ever seen. It covers everything, it is extremely well articulated and thought out, it gives you information, food for thought, a detailed picture and plenty of reputable outside links to further reading and information. It looks at where we have been and where we are headed and, as ongoing reporting on technology in education, it is invaluable. The image , left , is an interesting one for thought and discussion. The other image which is very compelling in this report is the comprehensive list of technologies and digital strategies now available to us in schools. Any educational institution now could use this information for an audit, an overview, discussion, strategic planning and training.
I lied to myself. I was thinking – I don’t think I like this personalised learning notion. I don’t want to be a tutor. I don’t want to do just one on one, or one little group on one, or one in some virtual space or other. Me and my black hat. The last two weeks of this term have actually been the first two weeks of the second semester and I have been really enlightened as to what PLE can mean in my classroom. Under the video I have put on this post , there is a comment about someone believing it is a PTE too, where the T stands for teacher. That’s me and now I am nearing my second week of being in a PLE and PTE, I can say it’s a great way to go, really. My experience has been serendipitous and accidental. Technology is central to its success. Having watched the video, my current credo for PLE will come from it:
They are organic
I have learned that with technology you have a growth mindset in teaching and no longer view it as a set content to get through. It is genuinely a learning continuum which can be enhanced, adapted and grown and all the while you are moving everyone forward, including yourself. It is central to lifelong learning, central to knowledge acquisition and predicated on everything you know about competencies, indicators , performance criteria, collaboration and teaching for effective learning. Everything you know comes into play and so it is a naturally active approach which can endure.
I have international students in my class. At the change of the semester, if they were leaving at the end of term, they were allowed to change into another class for the two week experience before they went home. One of my international students lost her friend to another class but on Monday last week she brought in a Japanese friend for the two weeks . This student had done no French. Before, the two international students often brought a third friend to class, who had no lessons at that time but who did know French. That student would sit in a two hour lesson and be there with us , do whatever we were doing and contribute to the class 100%. I was wondering what I would do with a Japanese student in a senior French class who had no French. Well, we have done well. She has been happy in the class. I got her onto duolingo to learn French in our lessons and she loves it. She has gone through a lot of levels and could show me. When we did little French oral exercises, she had to do them in English but this week, we did a dialogue and she could participate in that. Her friend simplified what she had to say, helped her practise and they performed their dialogue as convincingly as the others. She could also sit and listen to my explanations in French of vocabulary today which I needed to do before we had to write our imaginative piece using the conditional tense. She is surprised with what she has learnt. I am delighted. She has the beginnings of a fourth language under her belt, a sense of achievement, a way of moving forward and we have had a chance to share with her what we learned about the Japanese influence in France and get her opinion. That is all authentic learning in a much better way than I could have planned or even imagined. Now I have a framework for the PLE model, I can share more of what I have done with you.