Printable minis

printable minisSmall Stuff is a site dedicated to producing printable versions of miniature items so people can decorate and construct tiny things and tiny doll’s house scale miniatures. There are lots of resources on the site and it’s a place to find those sorts of tiny things but it¬†is also a site to which you could contribute if you are interested.

Declutter your desktop

Rachel is a busy woman and so she likes to follow the current minimalist trend of keeping her computing and phone life uncluttered. She has made a series of clips to take you through her choices for decluttering her life in the digital world and they make sense. It is so easy to become swamped and overwhelmed with what ends up on your phone and your laptop just so you can keep going. From time to time it’s good to look at a video like Rachel’s to remind yourself of basic decluttering principles and to get some good tips.

Habitica

I have had the Habitica app on my iPad for quite a while and hadn’t got around to using it. I loaded it up today and thought, no, no, I don’t like this. I looked¬†up the online site up on my computer and it looks so much better, I can follow it better and I have some chance of deciding whether this is for me or not. Another negative , though, probably not. Do I need to gamify my life and todo lists? Maybe.habitica¬†Will it motivate me better? Don’t think so. I think it will create a layer of stress. I am willing to try, though, and find out whether this is for me or not. I really like how you can set the goals up under headings and then look at how you are achieving. That is excellent. Often you write up lists and todos and you get no reward for¬†what you are doing and then you don’t pay a lot of attention to what you are actually achieving. Habitica makes you notice. I think the gaming aspect of it would really suit younger people and the video certainly attests to that. Habitica does allow you to look at your life in a logical fashion and work towards achieving what you want to achieve. Gamifyng your life is probably a good thing if it is getting you places. I am going to try it for a month and then see what I think. There are certainly plenty of videos to help me along the way. If nothing else Habitica has made me notice that dealing with my emails is an achievement.

Customise Windows 10 Lock screen

Lock screen Windows 10So why hadn’t I worked this out before? I hated that picture of the rocks and bit of ocean. The lavender field they changed it to wasn’t so bad. I have now customised my Windows 10 lock screen to one of my own images. It’s easy.

Click on the start button bottom left.

Select settings

Select Personalisation

Select Lock screen in the left hand column

Select Picture in the drop down menu under the picture of your lock screen

Select one of Windows 10’s pictures or browse for one of your own.

Done.

 

 

Hay Day

Hay DayIt’s been a little while since I posted about¬†Hay Day. So how’s it going? Pretty well, really. I bought 3 new horses which meant I had to put in a new stable. Surprisingly, it fit in without too much trouble or over crowding. I don’t need or want different farm layouts. I need more space. I really wish the developers would consider land releases along with all the other lovely releases they have considered recently. The game has become more user friendly in that the developers canvas opinion and work with some of that. With all the new trees and crops it really is getting squishy and not at all aesthetically pleasing. The developers really need to swot up on the current decluttering lifestyle trends and work with us and the times. I have developed all the areas as far as I can . There are no choices for decorating the fishing area and the town is decorated to the hilt. I even have harps on the beach front and my fantastic New Year fireworks item which I was given for participating in one of the ¬†competitions. The graphics on that are so well done and it’s such fun. I can’t believe I am up to level 77. I still remember struggling so hard through the first 14 levels thinking I’d never make it anywhere. Persistence is really encouraged in this game. Every level brings new challenges and new ways of thinking. It is extraordinary how ,when you go to the next level, things change and you suddenly have to reformat your thinking and way of operating¬†or you won’t succeed. You can go from something as simple as having too many eggs to constantly running out. Fortunately, there are plenty of egg people in the brochure. The same cannot be said for most¬†other items. There is still a dearth of variety in the brochures and it seems hard for players to understand if there is no variety we all bottleneck and can’t move forward. When I sell things I put ¬†a variety in the shop and it vanishes quickly .¬†I help others ¬†to expand their farms¬†and fill their river boats and trucks. Then there is always the thing. That thing which becomes a nemesis in your life and the brochure. It used to be chilli popcorn. No one wanted it and no one needed it but it was always there in the brochure. Then it was the pretty red cloche hats. You could never get rid of them. Now it’s tofu hot dogs and who’s surprised about that one? It is interesting how people deal with that. Part of the game is that after a while Greg or Tom will always buy something you can’t sell so some people put in 10 chilli popcorn or 10 cloche hats or 10 tofu hot dogs. That is taking the battle back to the developers. Right now we have a surfeit of map pieces as well and who knows why that is? No one can get rid of them. Why?

Media Literacy

Don't bring me your problemsClassic classroom content override. I have now watched all the videos by¬†Miguel Carrasco. I’ll write another post about that but meanwhile there is this one which came about because Miguel Carrasco was showing us how to get ideas for content and then popped onto someone’s Facebook page and there was the quote: “Don’t bring me your problems . Bring me two solutions.” . I was listening to Miguel Carrasco talking but my mind had gone off on a tangent because of that quote. It¬†made me think of how I operated in a classroom with technology. It was standard practice for me to say to students:

“If you are having trouble, tell me what you have tried to do yourself and if you are still stuck, I’ll try and help you…or we’ll all try and help you. Have a go yourself first with your ideas. ”

When it came to research on anything I’d come into class with 20 minutes of teaching on good and helpful sites to get them started and on the right track and then we had the open invitation that if you had a good site too , you’d let me know and I’d put that into the list of resources on the LMS. Team effort on good research but as the teacher I shone the light on the path. Students also got into the habit of messaging me on the LMS to send me links at any time so I could add to those shared resources. Parents could enter that research arena because we blogged a lot of what we were doing. Based on their knowledge and experience they could come in with other information and links. It was always growing and pointing us in the right direction for good learning and reliable information.

Image: dreamstime

I  appliinformation supported the classroom tenet to myself. There were occasionally days where I had to walk in and say:

“I have tried to find some good examples of …. and I have looked here and I have looked there and the best I can do is this…”

I would go through my information and then we’d spend 10-15 minutes to see what the students could come up with that was better and then put that on the shared resources. Students had input into worthwhile content and reliable resources.

We learned from each other.

Dana Boyd has written a long and interesting article Did Media Literacy Backfire?¬†It is worth the read because it looks at how we are bombarded with information and misinformation and how we may be trying to deal with that. On any given day everything is coming at us: news, fake news, distractions, red herrings, information and misinformation. We have to stay in control of that and we have to teach others how to stay in control of that. So we need to be coming at it from a solutions point of view and not a problems one. If we see it all as a problem we’ll collapse under the weight of what is headed in our direction. We need to step back and have a plan of how we deal with this and , in my book, networking and team effort wins.

Photo Collage

photo collageThis is a great free site for making a group of images look more interesting. It helps you with the design process so that you can create images which are more individual and more aesthetic. it’s not just for collages though. There is a suite of tools which will help make your images look better and things like the built in screenshot taker. It allows you to have access to some good tools to create interesting images. I found it very easy to use when I was making my ¬†new Facebook cover. Just a reminder:

Facebook cover :  851 x 315 pixels

Facebook  profile picture : 180 x 180 pixels

PhotoCollage runs in several European languages.  You select yours with the flag drop down menu.

 

Social Media Makeover

social media makeoverIt doesn’t matter whether you are a personal trainer, like Miguel Carrasco, an entrepreneur, an organisation, teacher, student or who you are. We all need to make the most of social media. ¬†So far I have done two of these free tutorials which are offered and it was interesting to see that even Miguel Carrero takes a break from social media for a while to get a different perspective. We do live in a connected world. We are able to build up our connections if we want to. It is interesting that he recommends, that no matter what , you keep adding content. I ¬†blogged a while ago about content being king. He might call himself the smart ass trainer but ¬†he is well credentialed :

Miguel Carrasco is a 3x Elite Beachbody Coach. He is also the 3x Top Canadian Coach, 2x Top Male Coach, Executive Leader, and a member of the Millionaire’s Club. He has helped over 30 personally sponsored coaches reach the rank of Diamond or above, and has 5 of his own personally sponsored coaches in the Top 100 of the company.

Smart Ass Fitness Academy

There is nothing smart Alec about these tutorials. They are very good examples of agile thinking and a positive mindset. ¬†Miguel talks you through the steps and ideas very carefully but with a lot if energy and enthusiasm. You learn because he is focused but personable. From¬†the two tutorials I have already got a list of things I want to do and try. ¬†It’s 2017 and we have a real world image and we need to ensure we build a strong online image too since so much of what we do can be accomplished online. One is not better than the other. They complement each other and it’s good to have a structured way of approaching your online presence.

New Year Resources

calendar template123newyear.com has everything you could possibly want by way of New Year resources. It has messages, traditions, calendars, monthly calendars, horoscopes, wallpapers. There are so many things to help you get your New Year off to a good start and know where to come when you are looking to plan New Year next year. This site helps you to keep track of and organise everything ! No more scrambling to find your things and ideas for the New Year.

Ready for 2017

PNew year 2017lenty to celebrate already with my blogging! WordPress just put up my 10 year anniversary celebration of blogging on WordPress. I started on Blogger in 2003 and this year I have had a chance to really focus on what I want to achieve through blogging. It is worth thinking about. It helps me clarify my ideas , get feedback, look at ideas and think about them. Blogging is always a journey of discovery and growth. The reflection and ideas building are intrinsic to blogging. My top post for the month and this year continues to be the MiniMac OS shortcuts.  That was a good find and helped me a lot at the time.

I found the 2017 Windows 10 desktop theme at winaero. I really like it and the graphics are very clear and well thought out.

I’d like to thank all my followers on WordPress, all the people who visit my site, all those who connect with me on Twitter from the tweets about the posts and those of you who just come and look. I get a lot of really helpful support and feedback which has enabled me to blog on.

I wish you all a really happy , positive and productive New Year.
wordpress10years

20 apps for New Year Resolutions

21thnextweb has reviewed 20 apps to help you keep control of any resolutions you want to make for 2017. The apps will help you to achieve whatever it is you want to do . In fact, if you look at the apps you will see they will help motivate you to have ideas about achieving things you want to do. I had only looked at the first one and setting myself a 21 day challenge is the sort of thing I respond to well. To have an app to customise my challenge is a bonus. A lot of them are goal setting apps but it is how they set that up which will determine whether you respond and the app helps you to achieve what you want. I like the look of the MindBloom app.  I shall take a closer look at that.

Say Christmas in different languages

We need a good YouTube clip or web page where we can find how you actually say Merry Christmas in different languages. There are clips where some of the languages are used but they go too fast and have no text. Not good if you are trying to learn how to say something. I have picked a clip which goes slowly enough so that you can actually see what is written and try to pronounce it yourself. There are also plenty of web pages where you can find the lists for different languages but no sound files. Net needs to get onto this so we can all meet each other half way. WhyChristmas.com has a good list of how to say Merry Christmas in different languages and they have backed it up with cultural exploration of the festivities in the different countries.

Star Wars Christmas

Just a bit of fun from the Salt Lake City Comic Con.

DIY Raspberry Pi Game Boy Zero

I am a bit like one of the commenters under this video clip. I love watching videos¬†like this but don’t think I could make one myself. I am just fascinated by how people can do things like this and how they go about it. Who would have thought of using a Raspberry Pi board to make your own version of a Game Boy? It’s a hands on thinking challenge. It is problem solving and creative. It also draws in the knowledge of others. Wermy has put his video¬†up on YouTube to show others what he has done and then others have come in with their comments as to how the build could be improved. And that’s how you learn something in 2016. You make, share, show others and get feedback. The feedback can be rude and unhelpful but often someone will suggest something to move your skills and thinking forward. A project ¬†video like this becomes an online learning community so that in the end there will be the best DIY Raspberry Pi Game Boy Zero ever. Skills and ideas sharing can be done very effectively on YouTube by using videos and getting effective comments which further promote ideas and thinking. Project based learning is something which has high audience appeal as well as involving the learner because it naturally creates thinking and puzzling situations. Part Two finishes the project off with the wiring.

Are 3D printers eco friendly?

3D printers can be eco friendly and they can be energy efficient. Like most technology developments the early prototypes are energy and environmentally disastrous and then science and people get to work to create better , more efficient models. We don’t need more plastic which cannot be broken down or is toxic. We don’t need devices which burn up energy. We do not need devices which add small particles to the air we breathe. Since 2013 a lot of work has gone into 3D printers and their energy and environmental impact. If you want to look at the issues 3D printers can cause with the environment you can look at this post on LIVESCIENCE but the world has since been tackling some of these issues. 3D printers could save overall energy and environmental impact by printing locally and in smaller numbers to match need. There is a 3D printing pen which recycles plastic bottles. Quora has been discussing the environmental impact of 3D printing but it comes down to us as consumers to know what we are looking for. If you want to know the materials used in 3D printing they are explained here on 3DPrinterHelp. As with anything else we buy we need to look for the environmentally friendly, energy efficient models. We cannot do that unless we know what we are talking about.

Teachers being asked to teach porn literacy

protective behaviours

Image: Protective Behaviours

The porn industry relies on the compulsive attitude of people towards porn. It relies on exposure both literally and metaphorically. I haven’t missed the irony that if you ask teachers to address porn literacy in schools ¬†because it would appear research suggests children are being damaged by exposure to porn, we are then allowing even more exposure. I understand why so many parents now are home schooling and world schooling their children. Both of those areas are growing. I was one of the few teachers who trained for the compulsory and urgent delivery of AIDS education in schools in South Australia. I went on to be one of the teachers delivering a 4 week sexually transmitted diseases prevention course to year 11s (16 year olds). We were required by law to deliver the AIDS education . The school I was in at the time then went on to create a one year life skills¬†course to help teenagers deal with the real world issues and STD teaching was part of that. That was pre SACE. SACE had its own compulsory subjects like Australian Studies. We were all trained to deliver the AIDS and STD materials and curriculum. I had also trained as a trainer of trainers in protective behaviours. ¬†I didn’t find delivering AIDS education difficult. It was something which parents and students at the time found very helpful. We did not just do it, though. For the ¬†AIDS education we had no choice and parents knew that. The life skills course was something we discussed with parents so everyone had their input and say. If children are being exposed to porn we need to remember we have laws against it. ¬†We need a really clear picture of how ¬†young people are accessing it. If they are not doing safe searches then parental controls are not on. If they are by passing the ¬†parental controls we need better ones. If they are accessing porn in someone else’s home or other venue it then comes back to our laws. If nobody cares much what images are on prime time, popular sites then we have a problem. It’s a big issue. Children need trusted adults to talk to about these matters. It should be their parents. If it can’t be their parents then there are counsellors available. If it is determined to be a really¬†serious a problem which requires action then maybe some teachers should be specifically trained in porn literacy as I was in AIDS education and STD¬†prevention. ¬†Putting it in the curriculum only adds to the industry ¬†exposure in the same way talking about food porn does. ¬†We just keep using that word and we are¬†normalising it and helpfully detracting from what appears to be quite a problem. The industry¬†thrives on access. So I’d not be thinking about porn at all. I’d be looking at how to deal with the issues which have arisen . Given our laws, unless they change, we need to go back and look at what they¬†say and start asking sites and individuals to please comply. Saying it’s everywhere and then putting it in schools is not my idea of how to solve it. Like AIDS education , though, it’s something where there can be a dialogue between parents and schools and then suitable courses developed if there is a perceived need for this.

If you want to read some of the discussions  , you can take  a look at  these sites:

Teaching Media Literacy and Combating Pornography РCatholic Education Resource Centre

Schools ‘should teach how to view porn’, sex forum says¬†– BBC News

Should schools teach ‘porn literacy’ ¬†– Quibly

New Zealand Health Education 

Coder blogs

I really like this video by Chris Hawkes. He is a competent , successful coder who has taken time out of his busy schedule to take us on a walk and discuss his ideas about what he thinks the fundamental issues are with regard to contemporary coding . We can walk with him and listen to him unfold his thinking. Coding requires a very disciplined mind and thinking but it also requires a capacity to keep up to date. Chris Hawkes puts forward a very strong case for coders to be able to be efficient and capable researchers who share and discuss their knowledge. We no longer have the answers, the way, the method, the procedure. We live in 2016. We can’t just use Google a quick solution to something. We can’t spend our time reinventing the wheel . We need to have people who know how to get quality information which will move ¬†a project and thinking forward. People need skillsets and knowledge but they need to be able to quickly update their capacity to function now, today. Coders have communities to build their skills and knowledge. They learn to connect , share and problem solve. Nobody can know everything any more and one thing will suddenly become obsolete. Programmers need to be able to learn on their own and they need to now how to do quality research and find things out. They need to be interested, self directed and lifelong learners. Communities develop best practices and share their updated knowledge and tackle¬†trouble shooting and problem solving . It takes teamwork to solve complex problems. Coders are sharing their knowledge in lots of ways. Huffington Post published 25 best coder blogs. Makeuseof has recommended 7 coder blogs for student programmers. One of my favourite coder blogs is codercoach because Kristi Pollard (Stanton), RHIT, CCS, CPC, CIRCC gives such a personal insight into coding , the life of a coder and issues with coding.

Blue Mail for Android

Yesterday I downloaded and installed the free ¬†Blue Mail app as an email client on my ¬†Android phone. Until now I haven’t needed an email client. Why do I need one now? I have mail notifications I need to keep up with and prioritise. I don’t want to spend my time on my desktop trawling through emails and then decided which ones I need to respond to. Using my phone means I can respond straight away and quickly if I need to or just read and delete. It’s about getting the updates I need and quickly dismissing what I don’t need. Blue Mail installed quickly on my phone and picked up the email address I wanted effectively. it is then very easy to use and manage. YouTube has plenty of training clips if you want to be able to use all the functions properly and if you want to run multiple email accounts from email. At this stage I haven’t organised the multiple accounts. I need to get used to the app first. The is a review of Blue Mail on techrounder¬†¬†and it really has had some good reviews. There is also a technical review as to why someone decided to forgo Blue Mail. It was written in 2014, updated in 2015, ¬†and so, by now, perhaps the issue might be resolved. You can read a copy of Blue Mail’s privacy statement. ¬†At this stage I have had no issues and the advantages have been immediate.

Colour your world

 

PANTONE 15-0343 Greenery is the colour of the year for 2017. Pantone is ¬†one of the significant industry standards for colours and colour integrity. They are there to make money, yes, but they are also there to set standards, create ideas, inspire design in a visual world and all of that is important with technology. It’s not just about fashion. It’s about film, user interfaces, video software, gaming. ¬†Just think about it. How much of our technological world is determined by our visual experience and much of that is¬†related to authentic colour and the use of colour? The Pantone matching system is here on cal-print.com. ¬†Printed colours and digital¬†colours are not identical. Colour charts can be used to get the best match . Mixedmedia has some troubleshooting guides. Even engineers and scientists should worry about colour and there is a good research paper about that here by Rogowitz and Treinish¬†at the IBM Thomas J. Watson Center. Colour matters in a visual world.

Right age for a mobile phone

This is hard. I was at a meeting the other day and one of the people was saying a six year old in his family wanted a mobile phone for Christmas. Wanting and having are two different things. The family decision was no. We were talking about it , though, and it is a hard decision for parents to make these days. The everyone else has one argument has been there forever no matter what the item. It’s not a reason to give someone something. Mobile phones can be costly, they can open a child up to the internet, they can open a child up to cyber bullying, media images and content. it seems to me safety is one of the strongest reasons for a child to have a mobile phone , that and the convenience of communication when parents have to run around meeting work commitments and then family commitments. As we talked we more or less came to the consensus that upper primary was probably okay – 12/13 years of age. It really does depend on the child and family. Commonsensemedia has a series of¬†questions you can ask which might help you decide. Parenting has a rational discussion about it with some helpful things which can be considered. Canstarblue also has some important points for consideration. Ownfone puts the risks in a nutshell for you because that is the thing which is the deciding factor…do the benefits outweigh the risks?

The internet uses a lot of energy

 

 

green energyIn more ways than one. There is the CO2 footprint and then the footprints all over our daily living and lives. It needs to be managed both physically and psychologically. The video looks at how they are trying to manage data centres so they are more energy efficient and the reasons why they are energy intensive. That way you understand some of the issues and mechanics behind internet energy use. Some big companies are investing in 100% renewable energy for their internet output so they are not dependent on the finite and dated fossil fuel energy. The carbon use infographic  from climatecare gives a lot of useful information about our internet energy use.

…the carbon output of hitting “send” on 65 mails is on par with driving an average-sized car a kilometre (0.6 of a mile)…

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2015-11-carbon-footprint-email.html#jCp

Enerdata has an informative interactive map showing the increasing use of energy in the world.  China is currently at the top of the list. You can also look at CO2 emissions and China is top again. As you look at the top 10 countries you can see there is quite a difference in energy use between the top five and the next five. This particular site offers a great deal of information about world energy use and also offers a daily update. Technology is increasing energy consumption and in a connected world the answer is not going to be using less. It is going to be about using renewables and creating technologies which are less energy demanding. Those ideas are already being implemented and worked on. We need to be mindful of that and encourage ourselves and others to keep coming up with better, more energy efficient ways of using technology. Stopping spam emails would be a good start!!

 

Moving forward on Instagram

Instagram Best NineBack in March I blogged about being an Instagram tragic. ¬†I had signed up to Instagram at the end of last year and then the life events were so big I had no time to get going . I had 6 followers in March. Bit sad, but still, I have moved on. I wasn’t totally useless. The time between signing up and March had been spent getting Instagram on my phone and tablet and finding good people to follow so that my feed was positive and inspiring. I certainly did not fail in that and the daily input from Instagram was, and still is, very uplifting and motivating. Today I have 178 followers which is not a bad improvement and is evidence you just have to be there and participate to grow your social media following. Many of my followers are local and I get input from them which has made¬†Adelaide look and sound very different. I have got to know the benefits of my local area so much better. A number of followers¬†are very creative, artistic people and that is something which has a good impact on me, my life and my thinking. Others are design and tech experts and their ideas are worth seeing. A lot of my followers are from overseas and that keeps me in perspective , is good for my languages and allows me to look at things differently. One of the people I follow and who follows me back put up a picture of their best nine ¬†images for 2016. I have chased that down and you can get your best ¬†nine images from 2016bestnine. It is quick and easy. For me the pinks have it. It’s amazing how many of those pictures are pink.¬†I am laughing that unfinished things are more valuable on Instagram than the finished things. I got more likes for my poor unfinished Hallowe’en cat with just its head than I did for the cat itself. I got more likes for the piles of handspun wool than I did for the beanie I actually made with it. That’s the thing. Instagram really is a good way to document the stages of a¬†project . Instagram also values works in progress because it’s a site which supports learning , creativity, process and development of ideas. That is one of the biggest advantages of Instagram. There is a community which will encourage you to develop ideas and get them into practice. I was also pleased to see the picture of when I left my home to go to my first Living Smart SA course at McLaren Vale. Instagram was there appreciating the fact I was doing something new, worthwhile and which centred on learning. ¬†The nine pictures tell me what I ¬†have achieved on Instagram but also give me an opportunity to reflect. There is what you think and what the world thinks. There is you and your interests and then what the world is interested in. Instagram gives you a way of calibrating yourself and your ideas but it also gives you a way of documenting what you value and what you are learning. Will I make changes now based on the best nine? I have to look at all the other pictures I have put up and see if there is something I really value which others don’t. Does that mean I shouldn’t do it? Not at all. If I want to get those sorts of things ¬†noticed then that forms a basis for social media learning.

Google sites

Google sites is free but there are education and business versions of it where you pay an¬†annual fee. It can be used for intranets within an organisation or family websites. It could be used to build an e-port folio so you have a record of what you achieve with your reflection on those achievements. It has the templates and tools you need so that you don’t have to go looking for them. Google explain it here on their welcome page . The Google help forum gives you an insight into what is paid and not paid and discussions around Google Sites. There is a review of Google Sites on SuperWebsiteBuilder. Google Sites is another way of demonstrating growth and progress. Often people are so busy they think they are not achieving anything. If they can look back over blogs and websites they can see the growth because it has been documented along the way.

Gaming has gone up a level

 

I am not here to advertise Nintendo or Super Mario. I am using Super Mario¬†as an example of where gaming has headed and the sort¬†gaming growth which is occurring. If you do not game and aren’t a gamer you won’t be aware that gaming is now encouraging game making and development. Super Mario is a well known retro game which has held on to its popularity because, well, because it is Super Mario. It is now an iconic game which¬†started as an arcade game on September 13th 1985. It’s ¬†on the Nintendo 3D device¬†and you can get the Super Mario Course Maker . Once you have made the courses you can upload them and other people can play them. Nintendo encourages players to do this. The Course maker runs like a game and so it unpacks things as you learn and it requires you to put in some basic time requirements so that you do learn. Games are now starting to encourage players to think about the games in a different light and to involve themselves in development. The recipe for success is sharing these levels¬†. One of the tried and true methods of growing knowledge and learning on the internet. The video I have used on the post shows you that you can work on the music for the Super Mario games as well. This kind of approach to gaming is allowing those who want to become more involved in something they like and use their skills, brains and capabilities to improve and develop something. It really is interactive learning.

Steam Castle is ready for Christmas

Steam Castle

Had a lovely time decorating my computer for Christmas. It has a USB tree and lights, a little LED bling Christmas tree light which I have put in a frame, a cool glam candle holder made from perspex and glitter beads¬†and then strings of gold beads on ¬†top of the Steam Castle . The Christmas theme comes from themepack.me. It’s the Christmas Tree theme.

Kobo Reader on Windows 10

I have a Kobo e-reader which I like because it is small, exceptionally portable and ¬†when you use the light for the screen it does not glare. I find that better for reading text. The dictionary function is excellent ,aKobo reader appnd, all in all , it suits me well. I had not connected it to my Steam Castle¬†PC which has an OEM version of Windows 10 and a very nice one at that. ¬†The e-reader started charging , updating and ¬†was showing up on MyPC for about 10 minutes but then it vanished. No amount of turning things on and off worked. It seems to be a problem with Windows 10 having searched for that problem on Google. Except it is not. The Kobo e-reader works perfectly fine on Windows 10 . It just doesn’t show in MyPC. I downloaded the Kobo desktop app which picked up my e-reader for the amount of time it was showing on MyPC. Then I could do nothing other than browse the shop, sync the device and ¬†look at my account. ¬†There is , however, a¬†Kobo universal reader app¬†which you can download from the link on ¬†The Digital Reader for Windows 10. I downloaded that. It comes up in the Start Menu as ¬†Kobo eBooks so you have to be careful not to confuse it with the ¬†Kobo desktop¬†app which just comes up as Kobo. The app is very easy and cruisy. The interface is very clean and the menus top and bottom do everything. I could sync my e-reader, add new .pub and .pdf files, which I really wanted to do, and browse the shop. I can export files too to my desktop. It works very well and in a fuss free manner. Within 2 minutes of loading it I could navigate and use it. There is nothing mystical or troublesome about it. So, it didn’t matter that it was not showing in MyPC when I used the ¬†free Kobo eBooks app from the Windows store.

Making an LED card

 

Paper circuits are all the go at the moment because they are fun for making light up cards. It is also a very straightforward and simple introduction to circuits and electronics. The video explains clearly the logic behind what you are doing and then you can see that it is not that hard to do. Copper tape, 3V batteries and little LED lights are not that hard to source and then making the card adds something creative and personal to the process. If you prefer written instructions you can find them here on  Hi-Low Tech .

Write a novel

Yes, write a novel. Just do it. Why not? The internet is full of great ideas, tools and information to get that novel written. I am writing¬†this post by way of follow up to the Storyboard post. You really can do anything you want to these days. There is no way you are short of help, advice, tools, templates, tips. Everything is there to get you on the road to learning whatever you want. We live in a world where writers like Trevor Schmidt, Major Geek, is willing to just sit down for a few minutes and take the time to help you -anyone- to realise their dream and be a writer like him. You don’t have to sit and think about it . You can just start because the internet gives you so many ways of starting. That is all you have to do. Take the first step. Writerswrite has 5 top online tools to help you organise your writing. The Snowflake method is worth exploring a little more deeply because it is one of the most popular ways of getting yourself into writing these days. ¬†It is a method which seems to be having a great deal of success. If you want some tools and templates then allindiewriters has some very good recommendations for you.

Send free e-cards

e-cardsImage: imaginaryecards

It’s that time of the year where you need choices in the e-card department. You can’t send what you sent last year and you may be stuck for other sites. Imaginaryecards.com has plenty of choices. How-to -geek has 9 other sites which it recommends for free e-cards. That is all I have to say. You need to go looking now to find the sites you like.

Write stories with Storybird

I have picked and education oriented video about Storybird because this blog has always had a strong education focus. Storybird, though, can be for anyone who wants to read or write stories and provides a lot of support to help you achieve your aim to be¬†a writer. There are so many aspiring writers out there. So many who have an¬†idea for a book or piece of writing. There is also room for artists on Storybird too because people want their books illustrated and don’t necessarily have the skills. It then becomes a collaborative site and a site where you can encourage yourself ¬†and others to write if that is what you want to do. It provides incentives for you if you want to participate in that kind of approach and ,yes, there is a paid section where you can actually publish your writing and get a print or digital copy. The prices are more than reasonable. It is a site which will guide you through the process of getting your writing into reality. How many never get to that stage? Change is action. If you want to be a writer , you need to write. If you want use your imagination and write creatively then the site will probably help you. There are quite a few other YouTube videos about the site. Children have to be 13 to join but can join at a younger age with parental permission. Commonsense media has a review of the site. There is also a teacher review here. It is a platform for all readers, writers and artists, not just a site for young children.

Taming technology

Simplifying our use of technology really is a first world problem. We are spoiled for choice with technology , whether we are talking about hardware , software or services. In global terms we are not really overwhelmed by the weight of technology in our lives. Truly, others have far more demanding issues to confront on a daily basis. Nevertheless, there are people who are genuinely becoming stressed by the constant demands of technology and there are people who are being pushed to the wall by the constant requirement to be connected or to access technology. We really need to use our critical thinking skills when it comes to technology and the video sums it up as these 5 steps:

Formulate a question
Gather information
Apply information
Consider implications
Explore other points of view.

The website Inc probably sums up the increasing encroachment of technology on our time:

“After you’ve checked SMS, WhatsApp, voicemail, email, your second email account, Facebook messages, LinkedIn messages, Twitter mentions, Twitter DMs, Quora messages, snail mail, and Slack for the third time in a given day, you’ve lost the opportunity to actually, ya know, get anything done. Narrow down the number of communications media you use, and batch process the messages that arrive, to reclaim your day,” suggests VC Patrick Mathieson.

The whole post about simplifying our lives talks a lot of common sense and it will probably strike a chord with you as it did with me. The tips recommended for simplifying your life can apply just as easily to technology as life in general. You do need to set boundaries. You do need to have reasonable expectations of others. Why should they respond immediately to your SMS or email? How many sites can a person reasonably belong to and check in a working day and if they have dependant children or older parents ? How does it help to be connected? What are the things which trigger bad responses to connectivity? How many devices do you need to use and why? Can you do more on one device? Why can’t you use the device of your choice? Have you explored the apps and sites which streamline your activities? Those are some questions to start your critical thinking.

I have been using my phone more because it is always with me. I have taken the time to learn its settings and I have improved how I do things on my phone. I check emails in the morning and again in the evening. I do not connect to emails on my phone. If I don’t want to be interrupted I turn the sound off. The pressure comes from the perception that technology is harassing you. When you feel like that and that your life is not your own you need to change the balance and make incremental changes until you reach that point where the balance of power is again in your favour. You have to change the point of critical mass until is flows your way according to your wishes. Popsugar has some nice ideas for simplifying tech use . Put the critical thinking time in so it works for you. We are lucky to have all this technology but it does need to be tamed.

Geocube

Geocube runs in English, Spanish, German and Italian. It would be good to get some more languages onto it because it is an amazing tool for learning geography. It makes good use of the visual and graphics capabilities of the internet and our current hardware . It presents material like a Rubrik’s cube. There are 54 pre-prepared topics and it really is a very appealing site. You need to play with it and see what it does.

2 x 2 Leadership Matrix

No claims to being able to explain the real mathematical import of a 2×2 matrix and its implications. There is, however, ¬†work being done around 2×2 matrices for leadership. Even with a limited understanding of maths, the import of the 2×2 leadership matrix is worth exploring for its merit. A 2×2 matrix establishes the determinant of a matrix and is an inverted matrix which means it can reverse another function. It’s about balance and the relationships between the elements. Inverted matrixes can be used to decode or to help solve other mathematical functions. The argument for a 2×2 leadership matrix has been put forward by J.R. Bailey and it centres on the tension between good and great leadership and how that affects the power and impact of a¬†leader . Leaders can be good or bad. They can be effective or not but to have vital, positive leadership the great leader needs to be held accountable by positive good leaders:

Great leadership is powerful, dominating, often overwhelming. It can sweep people along through sheer animation. Great leadership excites, energizes, and stimulates. It’s a rousing call, shocking complacency and inertia into action. It’s one of the most potent pulls in human history, and as such accounts for much of humanity’s progress, as well as its suffering. While it ignites collective action and stirs passion, its direction depends largely on those that wield its power. Great has no inherent moral compass, and thus its unpredictable potency can just as easily be put toward pugilistic and peaceful purposes.

Leadership is not a continuum. You can work on the skills but the outcomes are determined by the other elements of the matrix and how they operate. A very clear version of this is explained by Justin Bariso. The video about the 2×2 matrix on the Harvard Business Review site clarifies it further.

The key elements of leadership are discussed on the onlinelivingblog. The three elements which would impact positively or negatively on the inherent relationships within the 2×2 matrix would be:

1. your own motivation
2. transparency
3. responsiveness

aitsl has the downloadable leadership reflection tools so that you can work on:

locate your current leadership practice
identify strengths and areas for development
view your developmental pathway
access targeted leadership resources to assist your professional growth.

The aistl interactive leadership profiles also give you an opportunity to mix and match different aspects of leadership so that you can work to strengths and positives and notice the weaker spots you have . It looks at relational and systemic impact so that engagement with others is broadened and enhanced. That contributes to vital leadership and one that is in balance with the 2×2 matrix. The matrix gives you a way of looking at leadership. aitsl gives you the tools to do something about itso that you engage with others. Leadership is not in a vacuum nor is it on a continuum. It is in a matrix and as you work on your skills you have to be mindful that the impact of others with determine the sort of leader you are. The corollary is also true: the impact of leadership is the responsibility of others and so it is always important to develop the skills of others. It’s a ¬†dynamic state.

2000 Twitter followers

Twitter followers

Thank you!

Icons from : nymfont

The good news is that these followers are real people with some impressive interests, involvements and skills. I enjoy engaging in the Twittersphere and Twitter has helped me a lot to develop my thoughts ,¬†ideas and to create a PLN worth its weight is gold. Many of the followers come from my blogging. I run different blogs, each with their own focus and they all pick up followers both from¬†the blogs and ¬†Twitter . I follow over 3000 people on Twitter and I have built my own numbers up by being there and providing content which others value. My handle @sally07 comes from ¬†the days where we did not blog or tweet as a real person. We hid behind a pseudonym. It was part of the fun because the internet has always had a sense of the ridiculous in a good way. It used to be email addresses, then it was names on blogs and Twitter and it now has become the hashtags. Some of those hashtags become iconic and drive change. Twitter does not let you change your original name when you signed up unless you go through a big process and that would then mean losing all my followers. I run the account in my own name as I do my blogs. There was a day where I had to decide whether to stay behind a pseudonym wall or be a real person on the internet. I have found real works well for me. People need to know I am real and I exist and that has improved engagement. It’s how you get followers. Yes, you can pay for them. Yes, you can have a successful account under a fake name and then it comes down to your own values. My decision was I wanted to be able to make a real contribution as a real person. I am doing the same on Instagram. I have 163 followers now which is nothing compared with some but it’s so much better than the 6 followers I had at the beginning of the year. ¬†If you want followers I have 3 pieces of advice:

  1. Be yourself and genuine
  2. Offer something positive
  3. Have a sense of fun

Not everything I do is funny or light hearted but you do have to lighten accounts up from time to time. I thank everyone for contributing positively to my Twitter account and to my blogs. I have had some sound help, support and encouragement. I have had some great discussions and input. The strength you can gain from social media is not to be underestimated. I’d like to think I provide some of that strength with my accounts.

Christmas recycling

This post has been very popular and the video always gets a lot of reaction when I share it. It is a great way to use up those old magazines you have around the place and the effect is really nice. You need time to make these little trees so I am giving you time now! Certainly a creative way to recycle magazines and bits and pieces of Christmas decorations. Something to keep little hands busy and something where you could make quite an impressive display if you made several of them. The video guides you all the way and so you could run it on a smartphone or tablet and pause it as you go along. This is a real  advantage of video instructions. You can stop when you need to, rewind when you need to and simply go along at your own pace. Students can get very absorbed by making things and this tree tests manual dexterity and patience but then offers the chance to be inspired with the decoration. Students will come up with very original ideas for decorating and creating their own personal trees and they can photograph and film them to make other Christmas things. Snapchat them , even, when they get home. This sort of activity is a good precursor to an oral activity or video. They enjoy making their own little characters and props from bits and pieces and then filming it or photographing it. As they are constructing they are thinking about what they will actually say and do for the task and the busy hands and working through the practicalities of designing a tree helps to direct their thinking. It is surprising how your ideas develop and you make things. It is even more surprising what will come next in terms of digital use of things which have been hand made.

The case of the Twitter edit function

twitter impressionsOh what a tangled web we have woven with social media. Instagram lets you edit as does Facebook but not Twitter. Three years ago they were supposed to be creating a limited edit function but still there isn’t one and still I¬†can make myself look like a prize twit because I cannot correct a typo or malfunctioning link. I have to delete the tweet and put up a new one or quote the tweet. If I delete it , it means I would lose the retweets and likes I may have gathered and that can happen so quickly on some tweets. The logic is that Twitter can send out viral tweets and if it is misinformation then the best option is for the tweeter to delete that post. It has caused a lot of heartache when people or organisations have put out incorrect information. The impact can be a lifechanger ¬†in a bad way for some. Twitter is also used by opportunistic advertisers who might use the edit function to change a good tweet which is gathering momentum into advertising for something. ¬†Quora has some interesting responses to the twitter lack of edit position. I quote my tweet if I want to correct an error so then the original tweet and the quoted tweet are gathering impressions. quotetweetThere is a belief that any tweet has a short life span and so it’s better to delete and start again or quote the tweet so that it just goes back into the new stream of tweets. I guess Facebook and Instagram do not have the same time turnover and short life of information. I still think it should be possible to correct spelling errors or links. How hard the algorithm is for that I cannot say. I am just asking!

Using technology in the real world

Technology use in the real world is quite different from school based use. For a start, the real world uses phones and phone apps far more frequently. Phones are used for messaging reminders, information, keeping in business contact, company and govt apps, calendars, reminders, QR codes and video calling. The real world uses QR codes a lot to get information out. The real world also engages more regularly with social media. Facebook pages, Instagram and Twitter are used to provide a point of contact, sometimes to create discussions and information sharing¬†and to create real ties with people of similar interest or regional location. The real world documents their activities more with photos which are shared and ideas which are shared. You get to see work places, discussion groups, activities, ideas generation. Through social media you engage more dynamically with a business ,¬†organisation or key individual. Individuals will use their phones for information checking, sharing photos and ideas with you: show and tell. They will use their phone to put in reminders or check their calendar. They will show you how they manage their phone and the sorts of things they use it for. Some use it to make videos which they share on YouTube or Instagram. They might be tourist videos but more often than not they are instructional videos or videos of their pets. Phones can also be used to navigate exhibitions and to get local information. Phones play a significant role in documenting daily life and routines. ¬†Laptops are used to get work done. I have seen people on the train studying power points, writing scripts for essays or tutorials, doing spreadsheets or studying notes. Laptops are noticeably the work horses of the real world. Tablets tend to be for games, videos and video calling. Some people do that on their phones but tablets by and large seem to be the device of choice for video calling especially for older people. There are fewer people who bang on on the mobile phone incessantly and loudly in public. It tends to be more discreet these days and often phones are not visible in meetings or restaurants at all. They come out when someone wants to share information or put in a diary date or check an appointment. White boards have a limited use in the real world and different from in a classroom. In classrooms their use is multipurpose, multifunction and multifaceted. In the real world they show someone else’s laptop and you go through their files as a group. From that point of view they are used collaboratively. You are all looking at something and it is being changed in real time as the discussions ensue. It’s actually a satisfying use of IWB in a meeting. In the other group I attend the IWB is used for Power Point displays, videos and group work questions. It’s good and it works but a white board can do so much more. In the real world I use my phone so much more. Everywhere I go there are things I can do with my phone either to get information or to share it. ¬†For one of my groups I take pictures for Instagram and my blogs. They have brought me in contact with so many people¬†in the region and local businesses. Organisations also use email a lot to get out information, enhance information, supply useful links, create discussions and offer support. That use of emails is very helpful and positive. It is quite effective for deepening discussions and the emails which come with follow up ideas and information help create a very positive atmosphere. The last thing which is all the go in the real world are very classy, cool desktops with gadgets. The minimal ¬†design emphasis is obvious and the clean, clear layouts¬†and arrangements are striking. Pleased to add that my retro desktop has proven to be popular!

Do something differently

Do something differently and do something different. With technology it’s a must because it changes rapidly. You can use your familiar ground to do things differently and you can challenge yourself to do something different. The future isn’t now, it’s tomorrow. You are not the future now , you are in the present but the future will be different and it will mean changing . Technology is a handy way to keep yourself open to change. Change your set up. Change how you do things. Change the order in which you do things. Use your tablet more or less. Try the phone version of something you use on a laptop. Do without your laptop for a week. Use images instead of words. Send a video instead of an email. As you train yourself to change you are investing in your self confidence and skills. You trust yourself to be able to do things differently and believe you can work things out.

1. Use different tools. You could well find something better.
2. Learn a new device or app.
3. Use chat instead of email or vice versa

People who are confident and inventive with technology have a balanced set of skills and approaches. They know how to troubleshoot and they can think of so many ways to problem solve. Experience is a great teacher. As people we always like our way of doing things and the tools and media we use. It doesn’t hurt once in a while to try and do it differently and the way someone else does it. Pay attention to what other people are using and what devices they use and when. If you think they are competent with technology then try it their way and see what you learn. As you work through a process of doing something differently then what are you learning and what are the benefits? Did your change make you feel more or less successful? Did you know how to problem solve? Did you ask for help? How quickly did you adapt to the new way of doing something and what were the benefits for you? Learning by doing is very effective. You do not tend to forget and you stimulate your brain to think differently. You also make use of different skills and don’t just have a set of unrelated thoughts in your head which may or may not come into action. Often, when you are doing something different or differently you will automatically share that experience and therefore gain valuable encouragement or feedback for improvement. It just comes naturally that you share either because you are pleased with what you have done or you are frustrated by it.

Can I put my money where my mouth is? Have I done different things or done things differently?

1.I put Hay Day on my smartphone. I am not one to play games on my phone and had the belief it’s not easy and not good for me. I thought it wouldn’t be as good on a phone. I downloaded the app, logged in, connected my current account on Hay Day via Facebook and then marvelled at how easy it was and how I could spend 10 minutes happily. I was surprised how well it works on the phone and how easily I could play. It’s how I found out about Hay Day. Someone was playing on their phone and I asked about it because I love farm games. It ended up being a really good conversation but I came home that evening and loaded it onto my iPad Air.

2. I have made myself use Instagram all year because I had joined and not really done anything or participated. Most days I am taking photos to put on my account. I have loved it because the community is very positive, creative and artistic. I have got to know some local and not so local people very easily. My photos have been successful and I can look back over the year and see how I have changed and grown and then see what I have achieved.

3.I have been involved in a lot of different social settings and events this year. I came to technology as a teacher. I have a teacher headset. It has been really interesting to see how the real world uses technology because the emphases and uses are quite different . I plan to blog about this.

Hijacking my timeline

social-media-engagement-marketingthink-com-gerrymoran-e1414508453828I wrote the post below in June this year and now again I am feeling the need to voice an opinion about how entitled others seem to feel that my timeline is theirs to hijack. Currently there is a pressure in social media to subjugate yourself to all and everything which mainstream media and others publish. The argument goes along the lines that if you do not subject yourself to their views then you are being blinkered, narrow minded, in your own thought bubble and totally unchallenged. Gerry Moran has a very good infographic for questioning engagement in social media so that you can keep your thinking straight. The crux of it to me is does the content add to a great conversation? If it doesn’t, I don’t want to see it and reserve the right to mute, block, unsubscribe from or hide posts. There is so much current content which is tripe. I’d rather have quality to challenge my thinking. Nothing wrong with being discerning.

copy-paste

Image: wikiHow- 8 ways to copy and paste

My device, my internet, my fees, my timeline. That simple. It is interesting how from time to time you get a swag of more or less demands to copy and paste information to your wall or timeline or to share something. It is not persuasion. It is usually a fairly blatantly ¬†emotive and manipulative written piece. “I know who my friends are. I know who will paste this…blah blah.” “If you care , you will share this…blah , blah.” My device, my internet, my fees, my timeline. Full stop end of story. You have your own timeline. You have your own perspective and way of looking at the world. Share it with me but do not tell me what to do and what to think.It is the Show me don’t tell me which out to be at work. ¬†I really hate the patronising clap trap which comes up on social network feeds every so often. The obligation to share and care and the obligation to copy and paste. One of the real strengths of social media is they are ¬†places where you do have access to all sorts of ideas and points of view. If I want to share something I do. I am quite capable of doing that all by myself. The other week I did want to share a picture which had the You have to share sentence on it. I added a comment to say I supported what was being said but others were free to make up their own mind and use their own hearts. Cyberspace is no different from real space. People try to take over your feed and timeline when they have their own patch of cyber real estate. You also get the inbox chain letters where doom will surely enter your life if you don’t copy and paste to at least 12 people.Then there are the demands to retweet. ¬†For some people it would make them feel like they are betraying a friend. There is emotional manipulation in all of this. One day the internet will work out that people can think for themselves. In the meantime My device, my internet, my fees, my timeline.

Hay Day

zengardenhaydayI have had a break of ¬†about 3 months from Hay Day. Like any game you play regularly, it was familiar ground, the game play wasn’t helping me and it was creating a negative rather than positive effect as I¬†played . The blocks were held up¬†game play and game development, as I saw it, and it seemed like I was repeating myself rather than actually playing. I had other things to do so I just stopped playing. The game had not met players half way by supplying enough saws and axes. Then, if you were investing in and running a number of facilities and animals,it was a constant battle to keep up with the demand especially with sugar and dairy. There seemed to be players who were there more for their own benefit and those of their friends and were constantly putting up the this is already sold sign when clearly the item¬†was for sale when you got to their farm. When it comes to games I never allow them to enable a negative experience in my life. I could see on my Facebook feed that Hay Day was bringing in some new ideas¬†like helpers and decided to have a look at the weekend. I have been playing every day but not as much as before. I do not want to get to the stage where I am fed up with it again. It’s a good game and the graphics are so well done. Greg can help with tree felling as you can see from my picture.. Rose and Ernest have their home up on the cliff and help with dairy and the animals. That has made such a difference. I can keep up well now with dairy and sugar and it’s funny watching them work around the farm. I have extended all I can by way of land , town and¬†fishing areas. That was quite an achievement. Extending the tackle boxes is incredibly expensive but one extra slot can make such a difference . That was the other part of the problem. I was running out of lobster pots and those sorts of things so it was just silly. I had the diamonds so I got an extra slot and that has eased the pressure on the fishing area. This time round I am using the facilities as I need them rather than full production on all. It is working better. If I can’t fill orders then it’s bad luck but that isn’t happening much. It’s important to stop this game from making you feel like you cannot manage and cope. It’s a game. Take on the challenges but don’t push yourself to the point you don’t enjoy it. Rose and Ernest will drop extra things on their land for you to collect and that is helpful when you need saws, axes and items to expand storage. So, for me , this game has come back to being enjoyable again. It is now working positively and it’s good to see the game developers have listened to what have been genuine play issues.

Mac Apps

It’s exciting to find really good apps for your device or laptop. MacApps can be very reliable and helpful depending what you want to do with your MacBook. Beware apps which drain system resources . You can locate System Monitor in Spotlight to check which apps are heavy on system resources and would be draining your battery. Press the stop icon to stop them from running. My best cleaner for the MacBook is Onyx . It has been reliable over a number of years. The comments underneath the video mention Alfred and that is a very good app if it’s the sort of thing you want. The Mac lets you know about battery charge so I am not sure why you would want a third party one. The video lets you know about 30 good apps. You will probably know about Google Drive and Evernote but here are 28 other apps worth considering which you might not know about.

Thoughtful e-waste recycling

e-waste-furniture-3-jpg-650x0_q70_crop-smart

Art piece Rodrigo Alonso

Recycling e-waste creatively is a great idea but we need to pay attention to whether we are being thoughtful about it or not. Rodrigo Alonso has made e-waste furniture art pieces as a statement about e-waste and the fact we have so much to recycle. They are indestructable , though. They look really cool but they are literally are going to last forever because the e-waste is cast in epoxy resin. We need to find a different material which is biodegradable because these furniture pieces are seriously geeky and could be part of an e-waste management and recycling programme. It is worth reading the treehugger article on them so you understand the issues at stake. The Greenpeace site keeps you up to date on the green contributions and advancements of different electronics companies. This Pinterest board keeps you informed about creative recycling and what countries are doing to manage the e-waste problem. weburbanist has an amazing array of examples of how people have recycled e-waste in particular and other waste into lighting. From weburbanist there are links out to other eco friendly sites.

Recycling technology

 

Linux Tech Tips acknowledges the beginning of the video is a bit silly. Not as silly as actually letting your devices go to landfill so they can contaminate the soil and water in the area. This video is from Canada but it offers a sensible approach to how you recycle technology. In Australia we know about Mobile Muster for phones. You may or may not know about IKEA for recycling batteries and spent¬†longlife globes. Batteries and ink cartridges can also be taken to Officeworks and some council offices and/or local libraries are battery drop off points. The video makes the point it is important to first gather what you no longer need and cannot be reused and purposed and then look in your local area to find how to recycle what. Yes, you have to make an effort. That’s why the video alludes to the fact¬†that people will just put things in the bin because they can get away with it and because it is still effort on your part to recycle electronic and digital devices. I am lucky I have an e-waste recycling depot near my home now. It is also important to get to know your normal recycler because bit by bit they are coming onboard with e-waste. The e-waste recycler near me will recycle most things for free and then there are charges for things like electric sewing machines. The list is published online and is clear. The video also explains why you get these charges. Collecting and recycling e-waste is not that easy so now we need to make a big effort to try to streamline these processes. We need to make it easy for people to recycle e-waste and we need to find the ways to make it easier for the companies to process the e-waste resources which they recuperate. CRT monitors are heavy and not everyone would be able to load them in the boot of a car. Those weight issues with electronics need to be considered.

So the plan at the moment is:

Collect and separate the waste

Check online for e-waste recyclers near you

Check your local council e-waste programme

Check if your library recycles e-waste of any kind

Check if stores take back items for recycling

Check if stores are e-waste drop off points

 

Sustainable computing

We can do better. We are busy, time poor and run ragged at times but we can do better with our energy use and technology purchases. It’s thinking about it which creates the change and then mapping out a plan which will work, won’t confuse anyone and will make a difference. We can recycle a lot of technology now. E-Waste recyclers are not easy to find , though, necessarily, and are sometimes open for short amounts of time. My e-waste has now made it to organised groups of waste in my garage. I can now recycle in peace because it is all in one spot. I have just replaced one of my monitors with a new (secondhand) more energy efficient one. I had the money to do it so I looked for one at a price I could afford. We can’t just throw things out and replace them. Technology does not come cheaply but it is a case of looking around on the Net and finding the bargains and thinking about how energy efficient and recyclable the new purchase will be. Upgrading is a good option because it is cheaper than buying new and can be done in stages. You need to know someone who can upgrade or learn how to do some of the things yourself. ¬†Yawarra has some good and workable tips as to how you can easily go about rethinking your computing so it is more sustainable. Deborah Howell the associate director of IT facilities at Cornell University has made a slideshow pdf available so that organisations can look at how Cornell goes about sustainable computing. I explained how I made my blogs carbon neutral quite a while ago. ¬†We are doing better to create green technology so we need to keep¬†¬†doing our bit to make computing and personal technology more sustainable.

Lifelong learning

Teachers do not take skills learning for granted in their students. They might, however, take them for granted in themselves. I read an article How to Transform Your Next Conference Takeaways into Real-Life Results and it made me think of myself and the teachers I had known who had been off to really thought provoking and enlightening conferences and then could not always find a way of implementing what they learned or allowing others to know what they knew. Sharing those newly learned skills. There is a way of learning new skills and applying them. In recent years I have always used social media to show and grow my ideas so that they become part of my thinking. There is the Conscious Competence Ladder by Noel Bursch which makes sense once you see it:

Unconsciously unskilled ‚Äď we don’t know that we don’t have this skill, or that we need to learn it.
Consciously unskilled ‚Äď we know that we don’t have this skill.
Consciously skilled‚Äď we know that we have this skill.
Unconsciously skilled ‚Äď we don’t know that we have this skill (it just seems easy).

The video by Thomas Frank explains neurological developments as we learn , offers some good links and explains new skills acquisition and application well. He is also quite clear about the fact the skills and knowledge you acquire from effective teaching at school can be applied to lifelong learning. ¬†I was laughing when he got to the bit when actually standing on the skateboard nails it! It’s true. Sometimes you have to make the obvious first step and working that out takes a bit of planning sometimes. No teacher will overlook that when they are teaching. ¬†You have to download the app, send that email, work out your first sentence or simply turn on your laptop.

It’s important to have a plan for applying a strategy if you want to learn something or you want to teach someone else.

1. What is the first step?
2. What practice do you/they need?
3. What are the benefits, the positives, the good impacts of knowing?
4. Do you/they need to find more help on a particular thing?
5. Do you/they know what you/they don’t know?
6. What are the road blocks/potholes/implementation dips?
7. Master the first thing first.
8. Have a plan for getting to the next thing.
9. Map out your/their learning journey.
10. Reward yourself/them along the way.

AND THEN…look back and see how far you have come. Find a way to document the journey. Might be a diary, journal, video, images, blog but make sure the learning journey is clearly documented along the way because that is the biggest reward of all: seeing how far you have come. Reflection is how you know you know.

3D Paint

 

Windows 10 is about to go 3D with its Paint programme. The video shows the sorts of things it can do even if it is a bit sugary sweet. The website is better. 3D is where it is all headed and we shall have the tools to do it which will make us think 3D instead of 2D. We are no longer the flat planet even if all our icons and interfaces have gone that way. Bit odd really, but 2D allows for greater speed and delivery and a less cluttered interface.  I am looking forward to this update and I have a 3D monitor now so all is good.

 

Windows 10 Creators Update 

Origami Design Studio

Origami ¬†Studio is about design prototyping, is used by Facebook and Robert Lang is known as Mr. Origami. It has been around for a while . Currently it has been upgraded and polished ¬†so that it runs on i devices . There are tutorials which help you master the different aspects and functions of it. Robert Lang has a long history of origami interest¬†, skills and of the mathematical foundation of this ancient art of paper folding. There is a review of Origami Studio here which explains how they benefited from Deign Studio prototyping on Facebook. There is a starter tutorial here but he sound quality isn’t the best. There is a Mac version and iPhone/iPad version. So far nothing for Android or PCs.

Ergonomics month

America is having an ergonomics month. Not a bad idea given we are all tethered to our devices and need to be mindful of how this impacts on our bodies. I got that information courtesy of The Ergonomic Times which is worth keeping up to date with. I regularly blog about ergonomics because we use different devices. They absorb us and then we may forget what that is doing to us. There is some really good and useful ergonomic quick advice on Humanscale which will help you to do an easy overview of your ergonomic approach to workspaces. There is also an interesting article about how the Aeron chair has had a 21st century makeover. We can do things better because we have technology and access to data:

Today’s designers have access to more data, newer materials, and more sophisticated manufacturing capabilities, and those all factored into the new Aeron.”

fastcodesign.com

Get ready for Hallowe’en

I’ll make this the last post in my Halloween trilogy. It’s a repost from 2013¬†and worth it because it has a good message.¬†

What I like about this clip is that it teaches whoever is watching it that you cannot believe everything on the internet! Love that thought. It also teaches the viewer not to worry about that but to just find the work around and if you are providing information for internet readers and viewers, to provide something authentic and workable. For that reason , the clip is well worthwhile watching as a reminder to provide quality internet content and to just move on if you find dud information. Not even bother about it. These little Hallowe’en glow jars are simple and easy to make and maybe someone who is good at chemistry can work out why the other ones didn’t work. Younger children would need to be supervised as they made these glow jars but they are a fun thing to do for Hallowe’en or any other festive occasion or that matter. To build on this in class or at home there are plenty of Hallowe’en resources on the Teaching Ideas site which encompass multiple teaching and learning modes.

Halloween activities

 

I saw some of the black lights in the hardware store last week and wondered why on earth you would need them. Now I know. They have used them to good Halloween effect in this video. These are all activities which children can do safely under supervision and have fun. Nice way to learn some science!

Giphy has some nice Halloween gifs to decorate digital projects.

 

Whitney ibe blog

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