Google Translate for Teachers

Lex Prin is very popular on YouTube and he only put this clip up on 23/9 and he is already getting to his 50,000 views. Living proof you can teach, learn , share and connect from anywhere , even your car. We have mobile devices and connectivity. The thought , though, you could use your mobile phone to rewrite and filter your thoughts into something which is more socially acceptable is a great one. One we all wish for. Teachers are not  the only people employed in a position where they have to sometimes rephrase what they are thinking to couch it in a more dulcet way. Why can’t our phones do this for us? Why isn’t there an app for that? We have all sorts of apps for productivity, time management, learning, skills development. We now need apps for personal and social capability! I thank the Teachers Registration Board of South Australia for sharing this video on my Facebook feed this morning.

History apps

Titanic There are some really good histoy apps around for iOS. Some of them may well have Android versions if you check. HistoryApps has a number of freed educational history apps which seem to be for younger children or those young at heart. TechRadar recommends apps for an older age group but most of them seem to be paid apps. There are two free ones , though, which are well endorsed: National Geographic’s Titanic and Streetmuseum’s Londinium. Timeline Eons is another really good free app for history. eLearningIndustry has free apps for teaching American history.

Pixntell

Pixntell has been around for a while but apps like this one probably need to come back into fashion again. The world has moved from an event driven approach to a narrative constructed one. Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and then gadgets like action cameras are all about recording your own narrative. The belief is that everyone has a story to tell and so short videos are now the thing. Pixntell is a free app which easily converts images into a quick video which you can share. It was designed as an educational app but we really have moved on to anywhere anytime learning and so it’s an app for anyone. There is a small fee in terms of an in app purchase to remove the watermark.

iPad magician

The world has moved on. Magicians have always been there and held everyone in their thrall. They have always been dramatic and had some interesting props. The next generation of magicians can just sit there and talk with an iPad. They are not only a productivity tool anymore. They can create illusions and we now have people who understand them so well they can manipulate them in magical ways. Wouldn’t that be a fun way to teach in class?! You can find Simon Pierro on his iOS Magic channel on You Tube.

Are YouTubers the next gen teachers?

Les tutos de Huito came up as part of a  discussion on the French news programme TFI which comes up on my Facebook feed whether YouTubers were the nextgen Teachers.  They had a variety of popular instructional clips and Huito was one of the featured YouTubers. The students interviewed loved his clips and found them very helpful and they are. They would be great as part of a flipped classroom approach or even to use a clip in class and develop it further. These sorts of clips encourage independent learning and that is what you are always trying to aim for – lifelong learning techniques. Personalised learning. Is it a good methodology to teach languages? The students spoke for themselves. Yes. I taught languages for 42 years and this is one of the most successful ways of getting students to participate in learning languages. You  have to run the lesson bilingually and as a natural conversation. Why? So many students feel embarrassed/bad/anxious/inadequate when they are learning a language. The trick is to mix their own language in with the new one and increasingly leave the first language out of it but to pop it back in as you are talking to facilitate conversation. Running the two has the advantage of supporting bilingual brain development. You then celebrate that you spoke for 5, 10, 20 mins in the target language. A whole lesson. You can set the goal, okay, I am going to speak in French for 5 minutes and you will do your best to understand what I am saying and you will tell me after what you understood. With technology it is so easy – you can draw on the IWB (however badly), you can show pictures or put up words or sentences. This all comes down to planning. Huito has thought out what he is presenting. He has his explanations in French to allay learner fears and he focuses on small amounts of English which he repeats to ensure there is a linguistic ease and facility for the learner. Bit by bit the learner will get English and then eventually will move on to immersion language videos. Most need this bilingual conversational step . It works. The more ways students have of learning then the better it will be. Clips like this are part of a learning and teaching toolkit.

Appreciative Inquiry

Appreciative Inquiry

 

Whether you want to be doing and Inquiry or an Enquiry is up to you. I tend to think Inquiry is a formal research based investigation. The two spellings tend to be interchangeable these days. Most teachers would know about inquiry based learning and a lot of businesses and organisations would know about appreciative inquiry. Home schooling has favoured appreciative inquiry. The model is not just about effecting change in an organisation. It’s about creating a positive model to grow learning and knowledge and that in itself probably will stimulate change because you are working collaboratively to find solutions to problems and to build knowledge. Toby Elwin explains the principles really well in his blog post. Appreciative Inquiry  really isn’t just about changing organisations , though. It’s about changing knowledge and knowing. Where it reads corporate you could read your name, your family’s name, your class’s name:

AI seeks, fundamentally, to build a constructive union between a whole people and the massive entirety of what people talk about as past and present capacities: achievements, assets, unexplored potentials, innovations, strengths, elevated thoughts, opportunities, benchmarks, high point moments, lived values, traditions, strategic competencies, stories, expressions of wisdom, insights into the deeper corporate spirit or soul– and visions of valued and possible futures.

What is Appreciative Inquiry Commons

The image on this post comes from sidewaysthought and Chad Renando has a more personal look at the value  of appreciative inquiry :

I know which path I would take if I had to choose between two states of being: focusing on solving problems or reflecting on what is positive, aspiring towards a positive future, and identifying the most effective path to get there.

It’s about changing your frame of reference to a more positive approach. Looking at what is there and you already know. Finding out what you can from other sources. Working with others to look at the possibilities. Working out what is feasible and viable and then delivering on that.

From an education point of view Professor Louis Stoll published a detailed paper recently entitled Enhancing teaching and learning through enquiry-based collaborative R&D . It is available through your library or if you search Google you will find the link to the downloadable pdf file.  She discusses Inquiry from the point of view of leadership and pedagogy and in the end there are four areas of impact but you need to read the whole paper:

Appreciative Inquiry

Stoll, Louise & Centre for Strategic Education (Vic.) (issuing body.) 2015, Enhancing teaching and learning through enquiry-based collaborative R&D, East Melbourne, Victoria Centre for Strategic Education

 

The video explains it more from a business model perspective. Appreciative Inquiry is everywhere . It is how we need to be thinking about any approach to change, whether it’s organisational change, personal change or a change in knowledge brought about by learning. The Lutheran Education System has a lutheran-education-queensland-inquiry-based-learning broadsheet which gives an excellent overview of the inquiry based model and its links to the National Research Council and the Australian National Curriculum. If you make it an appreciative inquiry then the research is there to prove just what a powerful teaching and learning tool that is.

Technology in perspective

Technology has no claim to superiority by divine right. Rhod Gilbert is a well known Welsh comedian who has played in the Comedy Roadshow and the Edinburgh Comedy Festival . His way of looking at electronic toothbrushes is probably how we should all be questioning technology and gadgets. If they are not value added in an educational sense then we need to question their value in our life. Is technology improving what we do? Is it taking what we do to a higher level? Is it challenging us to improve our thinking? Our skills? Our knowledge? E-ticketing has been a great addition to the world because it streamlines everything and makes it so easy. Video learning has been a great addition to personalised learning because with a one minute video you can learn something quickly. With a five minute video you can master a technique or concept. With a video course you can know so much more than you did before you started it. That is if they are well thought out and well constructed. It took me 5 minutes online last night to help someone out who couldn’t think their way through something. Not because they were stupid but because they were anxious. It was just chance I was online at the same time and our paths crossed.That, though, is one of the gifts of current technology.  In 2016 technology can bridge so many gaps if it’s done right. It can lift people up. That’s education. It’s deliberate and well thought out.

In defence of libraries

Noarlunga Library It’s the Noarlunga Library’s fault I haven’t been to a library in 20 years! I used to be at the library every week and it was a great place for my daughter . They played their part in ensuring she loved books and reading. She even went back as a volunteer when she was older. It was a great library then with all the foreign language books, the wealth of health books,computing texts, the craft and art books and the massive choice of fiction. They installed computers and allowed us access to this new Internet thing. I booked the two of us in for an hour at a time and we were lost in Netscape and just loved it, so much so I bought my IBM 486 computer and suddenly we could find everything online and were spending lot of time online .The library became superfluous to requirements. Last Wednesday was foul weather in Adelaide and I had the urge to go back to the library to see what had happened to it. It is an airy, well thought out space now. There are not so many books but there are more electronic media, magazines and computers. They even had some retro computers in their own special spot which were fully utilised as flat screens sat idle and unpopular. That was really interesting. There were more magazines and they were really well organised and covered a wide variety of interests. The staff set me up well and quickly and I was borrowing in no time. I also had an update and explanation of how it all works online now. Libraries are linked and so you can book resources you search and they will come to your nearest library. You can read books online or download them to a compatible reader. What interested me as I wandered was there was a map of the proposed changes to the Port Noarlunga foreshore to include and upgraded walking trail. It was clearly explained, there were photographs and it was information worth seeing. There was a lot of art work featured too. It wasn’t overly busy, probably because of the weather. Everyone there was engrossed in what they were doing. I came out with a number of books and some magazines which have already gone to work really hard in my life with the ideas they have brought me. A book or magazine brings specific content which is curated in a careful way. It is focused learning and focused presentation of material. Books have things which are not necessarily on the internet. It’s another way to see the ideas and creativity of others. The library is now going to be a regular part of my life because it is a learning space which allows you to explore in your own way.It is truly about personalised learning. I am still discovering the online part of it but I can see that will help broaden and deepen my searches and access to information. On a computer you are available to others. In a library you are available to yourself and that thought struck me clearly. Libraries are there for you and your own self development and that has been lost in the passion for technology . Originally, computing was just for me on my IBM 486 but now it has become a place where I am expected to be there. I am used to it and do well with technology but it was lovely to just have me time in the library where my learning needs are met uninterrupted and without any expectations other than my own . That is a library’s biggest asset in 2016.

Prisma app

 

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Original iPad Air picture

I have just downloaded the free Prisma app onto my iPad and I love it already. The effects are classier than other photo apps I have seen and so they suit design purposes . You would be able to create a better thematic or atmospheric approach with your images and, as a result , Prisma would be indispensable for projects and presentations. You can take your ordinary photos and instantly give them aesthetic appeal. There are people who can use Adobe Photoshop and similar and turn out the most amazingly artistic  images. I’m not one of them . I am always on the look out for things which will lift my artistic input and enable me to create things which have a sense of style. The effects are varied and interesting and so it’s an app which can go to work in different settings and arenas. The Prisma site is where you can download both the Android and iOS versions. It took a little while to settle in on the iPad. I downloaded it and then it took a couple of minutes to organise itself.

 

 

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Effect 2 Love this!

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Effect 1

Offtime app

The Offtime app might be worth exploring if you are trying to find the elusive work-life balance and find your phone distracts you. It is free but there are in app purchases which you might want to explore before you download the app. Basically, you can turn your phone off for a certain amount of time but can allow certain people to contact you in that time. It’s an app from Germany  and has been around for about 3 years now. Tech Crunch has a comprehensive review of it here. You can download it here. It has had sound reviews across the net and is probably worth at least considering . The official Offtime site explains it all very clearly. The iPhone version appears to be paid and not as versatile as the Android version.

View Excel workbooks simultaneously

Excel workbookI have just been through this silly thing of trying to look at two different Excel workbooks. I wanted to view them side by side but as I clicked on one it replaced the other one. I googled, as you do, and found this helpful advice on the Microsoft support site. If you open two workbooks they are down on the taskbar and you can switch between them by clicking on the relevant one. If you want to view them simultaneously you have to go to View and Arrange All. Easy when you know how! I am using Office 2007. I have other version but his one is my favourite.

Gaming Grandma Shirley

“I’m trying to get the idea across to people that gaming on YouTube isn’t just for young boys. It’s for girls and for older men and women, and I am here to stay. Just think all those young people who are gaming now — when they get old it will just be a natural thing for them to be there on YouTube.”

Aging with attitude: Gaming Grandma Shirley Curry

Isn’t that what lifelong learning is about? Giving people the skills and confidence to be able to go out there and learn whatever they want? Shirley Curry is doing more than that , though, if you read the article linked above. She is a highly successful gamer who works to her strengths. She likes talking and connecting with others and so she plays a social, leadership  role in the gaming community. Her videos get thousands of views and she has an impressive fan base. She is herself . She is learning. She can articulate her learning gaps and understand what she needs for the next step. She can see the value of her being an online gamer. It utilises her skills , it grows her skills but she can see she is helping others in different ways and one of the things she is currently advocating for is to use her model of online video clips to help vision impaired people become part of online gaming. She describes a lot in her videos. She is walking and talking her way through game plays very effectively. It means she is engaging others in an inclusive way and then she collaborates with them. She wants to vlog now and that is getting  that off the ground slowly. She has no fear of failure and doesn’t see skills lack as meaning she is inadequate. Just a fact. She needs to learn how to edit. She wants to learn how to vlog and knows there will be hiccoughs and problems until she gets it right. She knows how to reach out and get help. In turn she helps others . She understands the value of networking and connecting with others to grow knowledge . She worked with others to develop an action plan for learning both for herself and them. She can set goals and achieve them. This is what lifelong learning looks like. Shirley Curry has used her natural curiosity and love of talking with others become the cornerstones of a dynamic way of repackaging her skills so she can grow them. What is abundantly clear is that at 80 years old she is a happy learner.

Ugandan Take on Technology Start Ups

I love this Ugandan take on a Silicon Valley start up in Bulambuli Valley. It’s clever, positive, creative and demonstrates a growth mindset. I’ll let the video speak for itself.

10 Best Android Apps

Most of these  apps are free but a couple are paid and under $2. I really like the Paper Camera one. The apps are basically for getting a really cool look for your phone, staying up to date with technology information and getting some good functionality.  Phones are not cheap so it’s important to get the best out of them and find the apps which suit you and your life. They are not just a phone these days. Smartphones can be used to enhance so many aspects of your life these days. They are not just talk and text.  If they can play the part and look cool well, that’s a bonus!

Create a Slideshow in Facebook

Facebook is currently rolling out its improved version of photo and video uploads so there are more choices as to how you present pictures and videos. One of the options is to create slide shows from your images which would really suit some uploads. If you want to read more about it you can find more detailed information on pocket-lint.

 

 

 

Raspberry Pi Robot

I have a Raspberry Pi 2 and I have been learning Python. Why shouldn’t I combine the two now and try my hand at building a little robot? This post , then, is what I have done before. When I plan to learn how to do something I gather all my ideas together on my blog. When I am ready I can then come back to my blog post and follow up on the links. I have to work out what I need, which way to proceed and how to go about it, so I need my resources here so I can create my components lists and then my action plan. There are 10 recommended  Raspberry Pi 2 robots here on intorobotics.  The video shows someone working through how to make a robot for the Raspberry Pi using Python. It’s better to see what I am supposed to be doing.  There are instructions for  a simple Raspberry Pi Robot on adafruit.  Finally, on Instructables, there are instructions for building a Raspberry Pi robot and using Python. You can buy kits which come up on searches but some of those are rather pricey. For now I just want something simple.

Introduction to Graphic Design

Introduction to Graphic DesignI  have just completed the free Introduction to Graphic Design on Udemy course by Sean Berg. Amongst other things he works on custom templates for WordPress in Brazil. His course was different from the other ones I have done in that it was 100% focused on delivering the content. It was a lesson in methodology as much as anything else. This doesn’t mean the other courses did not concentrate on content. They did , but they did it differently. Sean Berg’s shining moment was the squares. The way he was manipulating the squares to illustrate the points he was talking about was very clever. His command of visual literacy to illustrate his spoken content is expert. As he is talking about graphic design he is showing you. There were no exercises as in the other courses but this course really was about concentrated focus on content. It is an excellent example of how to utilise teaching very effectively. Sometimes you just need to master delivering the message so that you are time efficient. I really enjoyed learning this way because there were no distractions at all. No swamping. Just the things he was trying to teach me. His course was a good practical use of using design elements to ensure learners were in control all of the way.

How’s Instagram going?

InstagramIt’s going well! I really like Instagram and have benefited enormously from it. In  March this year  I wrote a post to explain I was getting Instagram up and running. I had been on it since the end of last year but really had not had the chance to do anything until March. I haven’t looked back  . I changed the setting from private to public. Being private meant I had a chance to find out how it worked and what to do and run my Instagram account with some confidence. In March I had 6 followers and now I have 101 so like Twitter it was off to a slow start but I gain followers every week and that’s nice. I follow the people who create great ideas and images. My feed is full of inspiration for the things I like and want to learn. I have artists, textile artists, designers, cat people, dog people, coders, fashion and places like Dortmund and Paris.  I am always amazed at how productive people are and what beautiful images they put up. I learn a lot. There are some I interact with now and others I interact with because I can and it is the same for them. Comments and commenting is increasing at this stage. I use different languages and have a number of followers  and  I follow a number of people from Russia. Their textile arts are beautiful. I have learned that Bom dia is good morning in Portuguese and my Portuguese is not bad because my Spanish is better ! I use my German and French a fair bit and then , when we cannot talk each other’s languages, we use emoticons and that works really well  . It is what the people from Russia and I use. You can have fun conversations using emoticons only. Instagram is about superior visual input, ideas creation, creativity and then connections. You can now put up one minute videos and some people do that to show what they are doing or to show how to do something. Designers use video to very good effect. The benefits for me are:

  1. Inspiration
  2. Ideas
  3. Language learning
  4. Positive input
  5. Record things which I value
  6. Record things to blog about later
  7. Get feedback on ideas
  8. Build helpful connections
  9. Improve my skills
  10. Get background information on events, people, displays

Do you know Quora?

quoraQuora is a crowd sourcing question-answer site. The world really is there to answer all your burning questions 24/7. You never ever have to live in ignorance. People who go on Quora can vote answers up or down. You can also start building a name for yourself and some status as an expert as you go along. Start with one or two topics and once you get the hang of it you can branch out. It is a site you need to know about because it is yet another social site for information. That is good and bad. It’s good if you are offering help and solutions. It is bad if someone is using that information to complete homework tasks or anything like that. Somehow , though, that kind of behaviour stands out on the Net and people can read something and just know it’s not genuine. That aside, Quora is a great site for sharing ideas and information and helping other people to get on the right track when they are stuck in their thinking or skills.

Apps for your classroom

If nothing else, I’d like Daniel Nemerow to get a few more hits on his video. Teachers who bother to reach out to other teachers and share their discoveries and resources need to be encouraged. it makes it easier for everyone because there is so much stuff out there and teachers are really busy people. it’s good to get pointed in the right direction. Daniel Nemerow is reviewing Kahoot, Nearpod, Quizizz, Socrative, and Plickers. This way you can have a look and get an idea of whether the app would suit your classroom or not. Kahoot is highly successful and works well. The others are not so familiar with. Daniel Nemerow is and that is what matters. We are now easily able to share from experience.

Please clean your phone case

Here are the easy instructions for cleaning your phone case. I have blogged before about the bacteria on phones because glass and fingers create a wonderful way of proliferating bacteria. Phone cases are not much better because they are not something people clean. They wash kitchen surfaces, or wipe down desks. They will clean their glasses, car window or their computer screen. Phone cases? Probably never.phone case bacteria Do the phone case quiz! I did. Erk! I wouldn’t use rubbing alcohol at the end as this woman suggests. I would use anti bacterial wipes. They are easier and they can be used on your phone screen too without problems. There. Done. All clean now.

Is WordPress or Blogger better for SEO?

Good question , actually. I have always taught my students WordPress and how to use WordPress. It has made them think. It has forced them to learn how to put a blog together and it has given them a wealth of templates to choose from and customisations they can play with if they want to. Those were senior students, though. With younger ones I think I might have used Blogger and created group blogs or just one class blog. If it were just a class blog then I  could just as easily have used WordPress.  WordPress does take time to learn. Blogger is just there but you have to select the template carefully so that it looks good. I currently use Blogger and WordPress. I had shifted all my blogs onto WordPress but had left my first ever blog on Blogger until the traffic shifted over. It is a successful blog. The last post, which is highly visible, says I have moved and gives the new web address and yet, my old version is getting more traffic than my new one. My new one is advertised on Twitter. My original version has no promotion or social media connections. This is odd. Normally the SEO comes strongly from social media connections as part of the mix. So I am leaving my old blog on Blogger because this is intriguing. I have started a new blog on Blogger because I want to test it out to see how it goes. So far it is going well but I need to get it solidly established. I could then move it to WordPress. Blogger and WordPress play nicely together. What? And risk killing it? Like my original blog? I need to establish whether moving is a problem for successful blogs. My other blog which was not so successful on Blogger is going far better on WordPress. Do different blogging sites help the SEO of particular categories of content? Normally for SEO you are looking at:

1. Keywords like raspberry macarons, agile thinking, social media, atomic energy, search engine optimisation
2. Social media connections – you promote your blog content and posts in social media contexts to build a network and links
3. Tagging – you tag your posts so they are categorised. My year 10s last year turned this into an art form. They would come up with the most amazing tags because they were the tagging generation. It was a linguistic and aesthetic exercise for them . Tagging is important. Search engines need to know where to find your information
4. Image text – you need to fill in an alt text for the image and you need to say at least a sentence with a video or image so the search engines know what it is. The spiders which crawl over the net see text not images. I’ve used a web crawler. It’s surreal!
5. Content – It’s king. If you have what people are looking for they will come to your blog whether it’s on Blogger or WordPress.

WordPress can make SEO and connections easier because you can link the social media things very easily and you can add the twitter widget. It also has the reader where you get to see other blog posts and other people get to see yours too. The networking support is there for Blogger but doesn’t work as intuitively.
If you want to know more about SEO then Whiteboard Fridays can be very helpful.

Upgrade your blog template

Samsung phone image

Samsung 5 Phone

Blog upgradeBefore you upgrade , go to WP-Admin for your blog on WordPress and to the Tools which is the spanner icon 3rd up from the bottom. Select Export and download your xml file. That preserves your blog as it is.  Do that in any case because it is the back up for your blog. All my upgrades so far have gone well except one so the last one is not going to happen yet. The one which has been difficult has been glitchy and odd. Every other one has been straight forward. I am now reconstructing the tetchy blog and am just about here. If I click on customisations it is becoming jumpy and silly. Patience is a virtue. I am getting there , though. Some blog templates put everything at the bottom because it means they run faster on a tablet or smartphone. Classic mobile you-do-not-need-to know thinking. Mobile technology strips things down and so you are not getting the full experience necessarily of a website as you would on a computer. If you know that, you know what you don’t easily have access to. If you do not know that then we are back to the WYSIATI thinking and it can be limiting. I am trying to build blogs which have good information and then good links out but I also want them to run efficiently. Getting the new templates has really improved mobile performance and that was my main aim.  On a tablet this blog runs without the sidebars and all of that information is right at the bottom after you have scrolled down. On my phone it is more like a burner feed and just shows the text. This blog , though , is now running very fast and effectively on mobile devices and I am now happy the new look. Basically it takes a little bit of time and tinkering.

Change your blog template

E-WOTIt’s a 2D connected world in cyberspace. Icons and embellishments have become flat and simple as we have moved on. I discussed that when Instagram changed its iconic logo. We want fast, we want simple, we want to use phones and tablets so graphics and user interfaces have been rolled back to simple and flat. I have been meaning to update my blog template for a while now because I can see how it has slowed down on a tablet. I always check my blogs on tablets and phones to see how they are performing in a mobile set up. The newer templates are designed for the flat world and so will run more efficiently on mobile devices. Over the next couple of weeks I shall tinker with this template. I miss my old template already but life goes on and you have to ensure that your blogs are running effectively across all devices.  Oddly enough I upgraded the template on another blog to which I don’t post because I have a new version of it on another platform and after the upgrade the old, original blog was pulling in more traffic than the new one and yet, in content, they are identical. Some things cannot be explained in cyberworld but template upgrades are important to ensure you have the best access to the newer design efficiencies.

Induction for Beginning Teachers

The AITSL channel on YouTube has a wealth of positive, informative, practical and relevant videos for teachers at any stage of their career. The channel provides support from real teachers, real members of the profession. The videos relate  and connect to the Professional Standards for Teachers. These are the best professional development resources Australian teachers have ever had because they are authentic and they represent Australian schools and Australian conditions. That is not to say they would not be helpful education resources for other countries. These videos are well made and well constructed. This one about Induction for Beginning Teachers came up on my Facebook feed and then in an email to me. AITSL knows how to connect. It has become good at it and this particular video is very good on its design elements so the materials are well considered from an UX point of view.  The video explains that good induction does have a positive impact on beginning teachers and that if they are in schools with a strong learning culture and are mentored, they will feel like they belong, will improve in their skills and will be strong, confident teachers. I’d actually like to know the real reasons people are leaving. It won’t necessarily be what they say. In my first 3 years of teaching I tried to leave the job. I hated it, but I was so bad at job interviews I got to teach for 42 years in a high school and I loved it. It’s the best job in the world. It is challenging, confusing, demanding, exhausting, exhilarating but 42 years down the track I have found out I really have made a difference. I really did make changes. I really could help students to achieve their dreams, their realities, their hopes and wishes. A teacher is there as a new life is developing. It’s a position of privilege. You can be the one who lets them shine, or change or learn so someone can be who they want to be. You can make them good at something, you can inspire them and you can influence. For good. Like a parent you have a pivotal role in an emerging life. The AITSL video explains induction will help teacher confidence, professional understanding and support developing a diverse range of skills. It will look at professional practices, professional identity and well being as well as orientation. Teachers coming into the profession today have access to local, national and global networks. They have online resources like the AITSL channel and the AITSL site. In the end a real person you identify with and feel safe with will get you to take hold and grow. You have to grow in order to blossom. Teaching is not static so one skill set will not do you at all. New teachers need to be forwards compatible and experienced teachers need to be both backwards and forwards compatible. The new ones will have a vision for the future from their perspective. They will have the tools to relate easily. The experienced teachers will decode that into practice and show the perspective to newer teachers. It’s linking chains and joining  dots. Twitter discussions, real life discussions and sites like AITSL all help to bolt it all together. Educators are all connected now and that makes it a much stronger profession which is far more able to help new teachers to establish their strengths more effectively. A strong learning culture comes from conversations and discussions. That has to be an expected and accepted part of any teacher development programmes. The woman who narrates this needs some acknowledgement. Her voice suits the clip and this positive , well articulated lady is someone we need to value and validate!

How to be an Olympian

Olympian

Olympians have a very precise and logical way of becoming that good. The effort counts as much as the success. They use the calibration of competition to hone in on the details of what they need to learn and improve. They use data very effectively to improve performance and they are always looking for feedback. They master content, practice and then look expertly at what they can do to be even better.Their frame of mind is as vital as their mastering of skills.  If they lose by 3/100ths of a second does that mean they are not a gold medallist? On the day they are not. Tomorrow they could be and yesterday they might have been. They are at that gold level. If they came 7th when normally they win does that mean they are washed up? No. It might mean they have reached their peak and need to change sports or activities or it means they are dealing with issues which they need to sort out before they can be a top performer. It might just be a bad day or a bad year. They are on a continuum of learning and improvement. They are very good at getting the context right because they have strong networks and excellent feedback both from technology and their trusted network. ASAP sums it all up in a nutshell:

1. To think logically and analytically;

2. To work well as part of a diverse team;

3. To go beyond coping with change to initiating change;

4. To handle difficult interpersonal situations;

5. To create a personal brand, and

6. To effectively plan and carry out projects

Linda Durnell looks at the 7 Olympic skills on Huffington Post :

1. Unrelenting movement towards the goal
2. Knowledge is only useful when it is incorporated with action
3. Tap into the state of unlimited possibilities
4. Sacrifice
5.Can’t go it alone
6.Nothing lasts forever
7. Everyone has genius

Shane Murphy, PhD, is a licensed psychologist and associate professor of Psychology at Western Connecticut State University, discusses this from a psychology point of view. He has helped Olympians prepare for the games. He believes determination and practice are the keys . “A laser like focus.”

“But determination is also a huge component of success. You have to love what you do in order to put in the roughly 10,000 hours of deliberate practice that Anders Ericsson’s famous research indicates is needed to become an expert. But I think many different types of personalities can become successful Olympians. Certainly we see a wide variety of personality types on the USA Olympic team.”

What it takes to be an Olympian.

Flipagram

Flipagram is a cross platform , video social media site. It has been designed to mesh with Instagram and give Snapchat a run for its money. You can make a one minute video or video photo montage and add music to it. These sites are designed to support the notion that everyone has a story to tell and as such they validate what you do in life. It’s a belief that everyone’s life has great things to celebrate. Celia Werner explains in the video how to use Flipagram but Flipgram has extended the time to 60 seconds now. Instagram allowed 15 second videos but has now increased that to 60 seconds. If you look at the Flipagram channels there is not one for education and yet a 60 second video would be perfect for class use in lots of ways and the fact you can choose music rather than a voice over. It would be a different way of engaging with students and a different way for students to share what they are achieving. Since Flipagram is a relatively new kid on the block people are still trying it out to see what it can do or not do. People have the chance to grow social media platforms by innovative use. There is an education review of it here on learningworksforkids but you get the impression that Flipagram is just photomontage, slide shows. It can be videos too. It’s an app which encourages creativity, involvement and thinking. It is actually quite a challenge to get a one minute video together. You can share these videos on Flipagram and elsewhere. As Flipagram continues to grow it will find its home in our lives. As yet a lot of people haven’t heard of it.

The free Apple version is here

The Android version is here

ukpcmag reviews it here.

Ubuntu 16.04

Ubuntu 16.04Not quite what I was expecting from Linux, but still, I think we are getting there. I got notice of an opportunity to upgrade to 16.04 from 14.04 as I was installing updates to 14.04. I waited for the updates to install and then started on the upgrade. My opinion with Linux is that it seems to be better to do a clean install from an iso than upgrade an existing version. It takes AGES. Two hours later I had the upgrade installed. It had stalled when it was installing fonts and appeared to be quite dead. I left it  for 15 minutes and it righted itself thank goodness. It was then very glitchy as it got going. The laptop would hang and then get going again and I was thinking I had not made a good decision. This is a Dell Studio 1558 i7 cpu Q740 1.73 GHz with 6 GB RAM. I can see where the problems are. Ubuntu 16.04 is probably built for something a bit faster. Graphics have been an issue. I can’t use Shutter because it hangs the computer. I use the print screen button and then crop the picture which takes longer but at least I am not stalling my computer. I had Kaffeine running TV from a DVT stick and then it fell apart but, as you can see from the picture it was working fine again this morning. Speaking of which, when I rebooted this morning I had a lovely black screen with a colourful stripey rectangle to the right. Nice modern art but not an operating system. I shut it down, waited for a minute and then turned it back on. A magenta screen with a choice of 3 options. Oh good. Choices but none seemed to mean anything to me so I selected the one highlighted. Linux instinctively chooses the right option in my experience. So now my laptop has been running all morning. I have done any number of different things on it and have been to all sorts of different sites and used different applications. I still cannot use Shutter. Everything loads quickly, everything looks really nice. The graphics on this are well designed. I shall wait until the next version of 16.04 because I can say one thing for the Net, everyone gets on there and says what problems they are having. Coders and developers then have a way of fixing things which are going wrong and getting good information out. I have installed the updates. It appears to me running more smoothly and I am following what I have not already done on 16 things to do after installing Ubuntu 16.04. This sort of advice is very helpful. This version is running better on my Dell than 14.04 so I am hopeful the silly nonsense will be resolved. I hate living with the feeling I shall jam up the works just because I want to cut and paste!

3D pens

3D pens are not cheap but you can get starter kits to try them. They will be the next in thing because 3D is the next in thing. People will create 3D images rather than pen and paper ones or paint programme ones. I like this video because it is based on mixed media art and so you can see how all skills can be brought into play. It won’t be long before we have real adepts in 3D pen use. If you want to look at what they can do and have a more detailed review of the sorts of pens available then go to best3dpen.com. It is important to know what features and functionality they have, how to maintain them and what the issues are if there are any. officialrainbowgirl does some good reviews from experience. Knowing  whether they clog, run consistently or have heating issues is something you need to determine as much as possible before you purchase one.

Planner Plus

I only downloaded this app yesterday and already it is my best friend. When my Samsung 5 updated to the new OS it lost my icon for the calendar. I could access the calendar from quick search but that wasn’t the point. I have actually got the icon back now but in the interim I had downloaded the free Planner Plus from the Google Play store. You can also get it on iTunes. I was expecting a calendar and I can’t say that I am overly fond of digital calendars.Planner Plus Planner Plus can be tabbed or it can just present itself cleanly. I can add notes, to do lists and events. It is so easy to fill out, so easy to prioritise and in the morning it comes up with my reminders and overview. I have waited for years for an app like this and I love it. I am not sure as yet if I will get the premium version. This is also a really good and fair way to trial apps when you have a credible free version and then the option of having extra functionality or advantages if you take on the premium version. The site for the app is here.

I want a cube thinking app

cube template I want an interactive cube template for thinking which could also be used for presentations. Presentations are just thinking out loud in public. I want 9 squares on the cube and the option of adding more squares so it could be 4×4 and I want the squares on each face of the cube. Then I want it to be like Rubrik’s cube so that I can twist the cross sections and bisections. If I have sets of ideas on each side of the cube, that gives me the potential to mix and match ideas, challenge my thinking and have a chance to really grow my thoughts. It can look at ideas, theory , practice, images , video links even. I have looked and there is nothing. I have seen some nice Powerpoint templates for cubes which you can animate but they mycubetemplateare not exactly what I want. I found this lovely flower template which I have started to play with and it is really nice but I can’t rotate it and I can’t do the cross section twisting. Imagine looking at characters from a novel or play on each side of the cube. Imagine looking at a book from 6 different angles. Imagine learning vocabulary or gathering specific expressions for a specialised piece of writing. Imagine collecting steam punk ideas. Project building. I could do a lot with an animated cube for thinking. 3D, 21st century, where are you?

Dice-ider

Dice-iderWhen I first started teaching there was a very laid back, popular drama teacher who decided everything with a dice. This was in the 70s before technology, He would write six things on paper next to the drawn dice dots and then roll the dice. It was bizarre but it worked for him and his classes often used to use a dice to make decisions. Never a behaviour management problem and never a student stuck for what to do next. Dice-ider is an electronic version of this where you can fill in your six choices and roll the dice electronically. Their advertised choices are a bit silly for student use in my opinion and it’s a pity they did not just steer clear of what could be deemed unseemly. The app itself, from Google Play or Apple store, runs well and looks really nice. You can also use Dice-maker lite and have a template for making a real dice.

Cube creator

 

Cube CreatorImage: Readwritethink

If want to get good value from technology as you teach literacy you’ll enjoy using the Cube Creator in class. Take your time to understand how this works and look at each of the sections so you see the advantages of each to help students develop their literacy and literary skills. Cube learning works because it is a shape students are familiar with and it lends itself well to 3D learning which appeals to current students. If you use the Story Cube download the Story Map provided because it supplies the prethinking for the cube sides and shows you how to set up work in a cube thinking way. You can also scroll down and find the graphic organisers for prethinking and ideas development. Cube learning isn’t just for language arts. You can see how Chemistry does well on cubes with Elements 4D.

Technology will transform learning

Technology will transform learning? It already has. We can learn what we want when we want and how we want . The video is valid in that it maintains we have put vast amounts of money and time into transforming learning. Teachers have worked long and hard to implement all of this, to find out what works, to ensure the curriculum delivery is maintained and break new ground in how learning can occur. If you know what you want or need to learn then there are now plenty of ways of doing that. What if you are not aware of what you need to know? What if your perspective is limited? What if you are doing what I blogged about yesterday and limiting yourself to what is available as far as you are concerned. I was brought up on the ignorance is bliss saying. It’s true , you can be blissfully happy until you find out you are lacking, you don’t have the skills or you have missed seeing the big picture. Teachers don’t just deliver content. They have a duty of care and are also the adults entrusted to share vision along with parents. Teachers can guide students through possibilities, encourage them to take risks, ensure their eyes are opened to all the things they could be or do. Technology makes that aspect of the job easier because teachers can easily access authentic materials to support their learning plans. It is possible to show what it looks like, where it ends up, what the implications are. Within that , though, anyone can be learning anything at any time now. You don’t have to wait to know. It really is all about personalised learning.

WYSIATI

I receive email updates from Barry Ritzholz who runs the Masters in Business Podcasts on the  Bloomberg site. I like to listen to podcasts, choose my own and have access to a wealth of  expert input from all over the world. You can find Barry Ritzholz on Twitter @ritholz at and you can find his webpage at The Big Picture. The latest podcast is an interview with Danny Kahneman, a professor of behavioral & cognitive psychology, and winner of the Nobel Prize for economics in 2002. He talks about WYSIATI – what you see is all there is – in the way we operate and how it blinkers us to more and better knowledge. It creates over optimism and over confidence and makes us think that what we know and what is currently available to us is all there is. Business start ups flop because of it but businesses get started because of it. It is a double edged sword. You plan a lesson , the best lesson on the planet, and wonder why your students do not see you as the most marvellous teacher ever. Then again, it might go wonderfully well and then you blinker yourself to change because what you have been doing works. You do not notice the generational, cultural or work place evolution and inevitably you become stuck in a loop which you find hard to break out of. As a student you opt for the easy out, the easy subjects, the easy classes, the easy approaches because why would you want to work hard, right? Then it all becomes too hard because the goal posts move and life requires a lot more than you thought. WYSIATI is a very good concept for us to know and understand because it gives us a way of introducing conversations which will move us forward and allow us to be both more prudent and hungrier for all the information and experience we can have.

Rio 2016

Rio 2016The opening ceremony for the Rio 2016 games is on in an hour. I am ready! I have the Channel 7 news app which is very comprehensive. I didn’t really like the official Olympics app. It wasn’t doing what I wanted it to do so I have settled on the Rio 2016 app which runs in several languages, where you can track individual athletes, teams and countries. I really like this app for the way it collates its information and presents it. Australia has its own Olympics site so we can track what is going on with our team. If you are in a classroom, then Pinterest has plenty of boards with activity ideas around the Olympics. AOC also has a number of educational activities which you can filter from this webpage. So now we are all ready! Have fun.

Free classroom resources

student hand outsStudent Handouts is a bit of a misnomer for this site which has so many free teaching resources. Many of the resources can be printed ,if necessary, but they would work very well electronically. There are also sites to visit to enhance and diversify learning and so many activities which are here ready for teachers to customise. There are online quizzes, games, graphic organisers, prepared lesson approaches, electronic texts and everything is organised carefully. Have a look. I don’t really need to say any more. It’s a one stop shop to find things for the classroom.

Hay Day

HayDayThe thing with HayDay in the 70s level is Grease is the Word. I never have enough oil or butter. I catch up on the cream and then it’s gone. Ditto sugar. The sushi maker sucks up the rice but I can still manage to keep on top of that. My new facilities like the pasta kitchen and the salad bar just use so much oil and butter. The mayonnaise takes butter to make and then the lemon butter takes butter. It turns it into a massive challenge but also a lot of never ending work and dead ends. You have to stop producing and that’s a shame and a bit pointless really. I could keep it simpler and not offer to fill boats with all the different products. It would mean I don’t get the points and other players wouldn’t get the points either. If we all just stick to wool, cotton, wheat and vegetables there is nothing to buy. The red cloche hats are currently swamping the market because there is little call for them. The town folk don’t buy them, they don’t seem to come up on the boats and occasionally there is a call for them on the trucks. I make and keep 4. It can take 3 days to sell them, pretty as they are. I have extended all I can on the farm, the fishing area and town. That was quite an achievement so when the land deed, markers , maps and mallets come up I can now sell them and help others extend their real estate. I haven’t extended the fishing tackle and traps much because that is incredibly expensive with the diamonds. Not sure what that is about. In the 70s level it is always a challenge. Right now I am potato challenged because of the pasta kitchen. We need more plots but we also need more land. The game is not what you think and the complexity changes as you go along. I can remember the first 14 levels being really hard. Then it all choofed along and grew but now I am back to the really hard. I don’t really have the resources to do what the game is asking me to do and so I’d like them to think about the logistics of that. I can fill other people’s boats easily. I cannot always fill my own. I have plenty to sell but I don’t really need the money. I can make some things easily but other facilities are sitting there idle. My sewing machine never stops. I can keep it filled and going. The hat maker is idle most of the time. When I am at the level of making the next hat it will be busy for a while. The pasta maker never stops but the pasta kitchen can’t do much because of the butter scarcity. The dairy needs to be able to produce things faster and the olive trees need looking at. The problem is saws. If you had enough saws you could keep up the oil. Even if you hire Tom you solve the problem for a couple of days and then you are short of olives again. I take it all on face value. I do what I can. I think out what I can but , in the end, the game has to meet us half way and solve some of the shortages so we can play. Players also need to get a variety in their shops so we can all keep playing too. If you can’t make the stuff and you cannot buy the stuff then you grind to a halt. Three words : butter and oil.

TripCase

That’s the advert. The tutorials start here. My daughter came back from a big trip around America raving about this free app. She and her husband had it on their phones. They were making a lot of flights, roadtrips, hotel bookings, stops and going to events…all the things you do on a big trip. She said they would have been lost without it and that it was really easy to organise and that it kept them very much in control. She could not find enough good things to say about the TripCase app. Her point was that it was all there in one place and that TripCase was alerting her to things before the travel organisations were so they were finding out information in the virtual world before it was made known to them in the real world. That’s service!
It’s actually the prototype of apps which would be helpful to schools, educational institutions, big events management, intense medical care anything which requires a lot of elements to be co ordinated. It is making use of wearable technology but also co ordinating vast amounts of information effectively so that the individual can manage the doing of whatever needs to be done.

DIY Tablet Stylus

Not totally as convenient as a normal stylus because of the water….but…greater sensitivity and fun to make. Great way to use old pens so it’s about recycling. Great way to learn some science so there we have STEAM and saving the planet in one little stylus. According to the comments she is using the You Doodle app which is free.

Verbal vs visual memory

I’ll let you do the test in this video and see how you go. Good little test for students too so they can see how they remember things. There are then a number of suggestions as to how you improve your memory. It is important to know how you take in information and it is important to be able to retain the information you want. I have had an interesting experience this week because I am actually reading a paper copy of a novel. It has been odd because as I look at the page my brain seems to be wanting to process other things. The things which you filter out as you read on a tablet or computer. It is also making me aware that as I read I am taking a lot of other things in on a digital screen and that the visual aspects of reading digitally are both expected and important. I have to wait for about 10 minutes so I can just focus on the printed page . I am having to slow my eyes and brain down and then I am thinking just paper and text is not really helping me but it is slowing me down. I like the aspect we have now of processing text and visuals at the same time. I take the information in better. Maybe I have rewired myself? In any case we do need to pay attention to what is happening so we can understand the problems and the benefits and so that we can design materials which improve learning and retention of information. We have considerably increased the amount of information people are processing and much of it is visual so we have to understand how that information is processed and can be processed and we also need to recognize how we are disadvantaging people when we present information in a particular way. I have now reached a stage where I need time to process hard copy print only information. Once I have had my lead in time I can absorb it as fast as I have always been able to but using technology has changed how I am processing information initially. For those brought up on technology only there will be issues when they are confronted with paper only information and that needs to be understood. It now works both ways because there are people who are disadvantaged by the amount of information which comes at them on a screen and initially they are disoriented and cannot process it. They have to be taught how to read a screen. Visual and verbal memories can be trained  to work together no matter how you absorb information. It just makes you more aware and more efficient.

10 Apps for studying

Jess can be found on Instagram and Twitter as @studywithJess. In the video she is recommending 10 good study apps for students. She is cheerful, positive and likes to be productive. Students can find their own resources these days. It is very easy for them to go on the internet to find resources which will keep them active, positive , go-getting students.It makes good use of their mobile devices.  The study with Jess channel on YouTube has plenty of videos to keep students in control of their learning.

Troubleshooting tablet technology

aussieoutagesWhen things go wrong on a tablet or phone you have to keep calm and troubleshoot:

1. Check you have battery resources
2. Check you are connected to wifi/mobile provider if you should be
3. Check national and international outages
4. Close all the open apps
5. Turn off phone/ tablet and turn on again
6. Turn off modem, count to 10 and on again
7. If it is one app then delete it and reinstall it
8. Google like mad to see what the workarounds are.

The aussieoutages site is a good place to go in Australia because it lets you know if there is an issue. For the first time ever I had a problem on my iPad air. Instagram would start opening and then pop shut. Nothing. On my android phone there was no issue so I knew it wasn’t really an Instagram problem per se. I went to aussieoutages and sure enough there were a lot of people having a problem. There can be network conflicts which can create problems and with our current weather there could be things which affect wifi delivery. It was odd it was one device. This afternoon it started working again just fine and that was when I had gone to my iPad ready to delete the app and try reinstalling it. I had just used my phone in the meantime.

Windows 10

Windows 10 What they said originally about Windows 10 is right. It needs lots of RAM. It also appears to need a clean install and they said that too. My other version of Windows 10 was an upgrade from Windows 8 on an 8Gb computer. It improved Windows 8 , it ran okay but there were problems. The taskbar dismantled its function early on in the piece and no updates or fiddling around has ever fixed that. I installed a 3rd party start menu and at least got that functionality back because I lost the tiles as well. The customisations have held that version of Windows 10 together. It has been okay. Just okay. My Steam Castle has 16 Gb RAM and is very much graphics dedicated. It has an OEM version of Windows 10. I have Cortana, a functioning taskbar, the tiles in the menu and it all runs very efficiently and smoothly. Updates are fast and I am not there for ages waiting for downloads or installs. They do not take any time. This version will put up little pop ups bottom right about what is happening on my computer and that works well for me. The messages are by way of Did you know? Do you want to do anything about it? Just letting you know… That is all very helpful. Everything runs well and I can access everything easily. What I can’t find Cortana does and I use it like Apple Mac Spotlight . Now I have seen this version of Windows 10 I am more than happy with it and it is a pleasure to work on. Visually it is very good and technically it seems to be in control of everything. With Windows you get used to odd things happening and you just carry on anyway. This version of Windows 10 is competent in its capacity to function and troubleshoot.

Facebook video calling

Facebook video calling in Messenger is as easy as clicking on the video icon to call out or  tapping on the green phone icon when the call comes in. It works from an iPhone to an Android phone and can be very convenient because it does run from Messenger on your phone. The quality appears to vary from happiness + to frustration – . In this last couple of weeks I have had  Messenger calls from America to Australia. From New York it worked really well. Both video and sound quality were good. From Anaheim the sound was good but the video was not always smooth and worked best by the room window. From Las Vegas it was poor. The sound was intermittent and the video was lagging all the time. Again it was better by the window but the mesh on the window was probably interfering with wifi signals in the rest of the room. You get the impression it’s more like having to tweak the rabbit ears on a TV set to try to get video and sound. It’s a great option and hopefully Facebook and cities can work out the connectivity issues. Some places would just be on bandwidth overload and then there would be the other issues which affect wifi – walls, floors and competing networks…

How to install Virtual Box

As usual I am using my blog to gather my information and resources for a project I have in mind. Virtual Box will run an OS on Windows 10 without interfering with the things I already running on my computer. It will run the OS virtually. I am already doing that with Andy which is an Android emulator and the point made in the video that virtualware uses a lot of RAM is true. To do this you need a computer with plenty of RAM but the android emulator will only go as fast as it goes. I am wondering if Virtual Box will be able to run software at the same speed as a non virtual computer. If I can access another OS from inside Windows 10 I have access to the software which is not available on Windows 10. If I want to try something I always check on makeuseof or LifeHacker to make sure I am on the right track. LifeHacker has a good overview of VirtualBox. The latest version of VirtualBox is 5.1 and can be obtained here. Now I have the three things I need to get started.

The benefits of learning languages

There is a constant stream of information now about the cognitive benefits of learning languages. Learning a language develops your hippocampus, enables you to retain and recall information and helps you sort information better. SBS television has just put out another article about the benefits of bilingualism and again there is indisputable evidence that it benefits your brain and your thinking amongst other things. I can relate to what they are saying in the video about people speaking more than one language . When you are immersed in a language you can block other languages. If you are in a situation which is prompting other languages you know, then it’s true, you will think of the German word instead of the French one. I have taught a number of German international students French. My instinct is to talk to them in German. They are here to improve their English and are in my French class. Like me they have a ready facility to go from their native language to another but to make them go from English to French or French to English is initially very hard. They will then revert to German. I find it hard to go from German to French. One language has to be dominant but I have been in places where people readily go from one language to another in 10 minutes. In Sydney airport I heard a businessman go from Dutch to German to French to English in one call on his phone. That kind of linguistic capacity is learned and becomes a habit. The internet and technology devices have improved considerably in helping people to learn languages. YouTube has some good channels and then there a number of apps for learning languages in a sequential way. My own favourite is Duolingo because it works across all devices and delivers very good practice. Depending on the language you want to learn you can learn it in bite size pieces very easily on a phone or tablet.

Protect yourself against malware

Malware seems to come in waves and it’s good to have a routine which will get you and your computer back on top of it. The video gives some really good tips and then makeuseof gives you a sensible set of steps to take so that you can restore order to your computer. On a Mac I have always used the free programme Onyx to clean things up for me and it worked really well. With Windows I use a virus and malware checker and they are pretty effective but knowing how to go about sorting out a system to prevent a malware attack is good. Mr. Ford gives some good advice in his video. On the Mac I didn’t have anti virus running all the time either as he says. It tended to destabilise the Mac. I would run it as needed as he suggests. Whatever you decide, work out a plan to keep your computer safe and then a plan of action for when it plays up because of malware infection. Mostly it is very easy to prevent and not too hard to fix. The main thing is we don’t forget to do this and we remind each other every so often to ensure we are properly protected against malware.

Tablets in the classroom

The Pedagogy Podcast

Image: The Pedagogy Podcast 

Teachers are not the media stereo type, vacuous nincompoops with 50s hairdos in front of perfectly groomed, smiling students with their hands up as they teach from the board often with their arms folded or a weirdo lean. Teachers, in my experience , are real people with a wide variety of exceptional talents and competencies who hone in on detail. They are like Patrick Trowse (@wklifebalance) whom I got to know in the #aussieED teacher chats on a Sunday night. Teachers are sociable and they want to learn. Over a year ago Patrick started his blog wklifebalance and I just pointed him in the right direction. The blog is valuable because he looks at the sorts of things which affect the work – life balance of teachers, how to stay healthy and how to manage a very demanding, rigorous job. Since then he has grown and developed himself into a podcaster and his podcasts are well made, interesting and about the sorts of things which teachers need to know and manage. You cannot replace experience. You cannot beat information from someone who has been through the process and you cannot do without podcasts! I load up a USB stick with all sorts of podcasts. They help me to keep my other language skills up, they teach me about health and ecology and they provide things to think about and practical ideas for education.I play them in my car as I commute. Patrick’s podcast on tablets in a classroom, where he speaks with a technician, is invaluable because it covers the issues The podcasts on The Pedagogy Podcasts are then reinforced with written information to check and consider. That is a teacher. A teacher knows you have to provide information in multiple modes so everyone can learn.

You can tick the boxes on the Professional Standards for Patrick as he develops himself, collaborates with others and shares his knowledge:

1.1 Lead colleagues to select and develop teaching strategies to improve student learning using knowledge of the physical, social and intellectual development and characteristics of students.
1.3 Evaluate and revise school learning and teaching programs, using expert and community knowledge and experience, to meet the needs of students with diverse linguistic, cultural, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds.
2.1 Lead initiatives within the school to evaluate and improve knowledge of content and teaching strategies and demonstrate exemplary teaching of subjects using effective, research-based learning and teaching programs.
2.2 Lead initiatives that utilise comprehensive content knowledge to improve the selection and sequencing of content into coherently organised learning and teaching programs.
2.6 Lead and support colleagues within the school to select and use ICT with effective teaching strategies to expand learning opportunities and content knowledge for all students.
3.1 Demonstrate exemplary practice and high expectations and lead colleagues to encourage students to pursue challenging goals in all aspects of their education.
3.3 Work with colleagues to review, modify and expand their repertoire of teaching strategies to enable students to use knowledge, skills, problem solving and critical and creative thinking.
3.4 Model exemplary skills and lead colleagues in selecting, creating and evaluating resources, including ICT, for application by teachers within or beyond the school.
4.2 Initiate strategies and lead colleagues to implement effective classroom management and promote student responsibility for learning.
4.5 Review or implement new policies and strategies to ensure the safe, responsible and ethical use of ICT in learning and teaching.
6.3 Implement professional dialogue within the school or professional learning network(s) that is informed by feedback, analysis of current research and practice to improve the educational outcomes of students.
6.4 Advocate, participate in and lead strategies to support high-quality professional learning opportunities for colleagues that focus on improved student learning.
7.4 Take a leadership role in professional and community networks and support the involvement of colleagues in external learning opportunities.

In 2016 the Professional Standards are supporting and encouraging teachers to develop and share their skills. In 2016 a contemporary teacher can use technology to improve themselves, improve others and engage with the real world in a way which benefits others and impacts on student learning in an effective way. It is all based on sharing and collaboration. Creating the content, joining the dots and getting feedback.

Windows 10 themepacks

theme packsI always decorated my school laptop with a theme to suit the content and the feedback I constantly received from students was that it was a positive. They always wanted to know how I made the themes, how I blended images, where I had got the images and they were always asking questions about what I had put up as a theme. It creates a whole new level of learning. For me, at the moment, I am putting a desktop theme on my computer to match in with someone’s overseas trip. That way I get to see where they are, what it looks like and I have found it has made me want to find out more. It’s and easy and natural way to learn . Windows 10 comes with some nice themes and a spot to find them online. I have also found themepack.me which has a very good selection of quality themes for Windows and helpful hints as to how to improve your themes. There is an aquarium on there which I plan to try later. I love aquarium themes! You just click on the appropriate file for your version of Windows and then double click on the downloaded folder. It installs that easily.

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