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.”

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.


Halloween Science

If you like to mark the occasion of Halloween with something a bit different, then this video shows some interesting little things to do which allow you to combine science with Halloween events. Making things glow tends to be something which attracts attention and creates curiosity.
witch icon IconArchive has a nice selection of Halloween icons to decorate your creations.

Be more creative

Dr. Isaiah Hankel is

“a Doctor of Anatomy and Cell Biology and has worked extensively as a Fortune 500 consultant in the biotechnology industry and with some of the world’s leading corporations, including Amgen, GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, Roche and Genentech. He has also presented at many of the world’s premier academic institutions, including Harvard University, Stanford University, Oxford University, Cambridge University, The Pasteur Institute and The Curie Institute.”

Dr. Isaiah Hankel 

He grew up in rural Idaho and was diagnosed with ADHD and has worked through the challenges of this to become who he is today. He understands what it means  to:

3.2  Exhibit exemplary practice and lead colleagues to plan, implement and review the effectiveness of their learning and teaching programs to develop students’ knowledge, understanding and skills.

Australian Professional Standards for Teachers

He challenges the internal editor we all have where we are talking ourselves down, criticising ourselves, blocking ourselves. He looks at how to get past that and onto creating so we have something to show and have. He looks at how we need to let go and just do whatever we want to do without fear of criticism or failure. Just doing. He then looks at how you change and shape that into something successful by using constructive criticism, rational thought and reason to ensure you have the best you can do. Drafting is part of his process. He gets rid of the roadblocks to learning, focuses on productivity and then insists you stand back a take a long, hard look at what you have done to ensure it is your best. He achieves because he shares his ideas world wide. He uses social media to share his ideas  and to get feedback and ideas for growth but at no stage is he thinking near enough is good enough. The first part of the process where you create freely and uninterruptedly is an unfettered growth phase. The second phase uses your skills and ideas. The third phase is critical thinking and learning how to be even better than you thought you could be. Valuing improvement.

Never turn a page again

This video is only 1 minute 25 seconds and yet, by the end of it I had forgotten what it was meant to be about. Lost in learning! Lost in intrigue. Lost in the wonder of all that was occurring. It’s all physics. It’s a video which makes people want to know and find things out. On top of that, it is funny. It’s a carefully planned, well thought out , high impact lesson. It would have taken brainstorming, discussion, trial runs. There would have been a feedback loop and collaboration. It’s a video which arouses a lot of curiosity and engages the audience. A one minute video can do a lot!

One minute videos are the thing

With video , you can achieve so much in one minute whether it’s instructional or informational. Snapchat knows it. Instagram knows it. Facebook is revisiting it and YouTube and Vimeo are embracing it. One of our local councils used to have a one minute video competition for 16-25 year olds but appears to have stopped it after last year. The featured video was designed to help the aspiring video makers for that competition in 2013. Like the 140 characters of Twitter, a one minute video is a skills and competencies challenge which disciplines  thinking and approach. When you have limits like that you have to think, plan and create very carefully. It forces you to have a laser focus on optimum content delivery and visual presentation. There are plenty of sites to help and inspire you with one minute videos:


one minute videos on YouTube

one minute travel films

one minute videos on Vimeo

how to make a one minute video

Hatching chickens in glass

This Japanese school has allowed its students to really find out about life. It seems to be being done as a reality TV show where there are people looking on and commenting as though they are on a panel. It’s an interesting way of getting science into the foreground and making it central to normal daily activities. The students seem to be engrossed and excited. I can remember we grew broad beans and that was exciting! Growing your own chicken would be extraordinary in every sense of the word. I wonder what happens to the chickens next and who looks after them? This is taking ICT to a whole new level.

Messing with monitors

display settingsI bought a new , secondhand LG Cinema 3D D2542 monitor because I wanted to replace my old VGA only monitor which had served me well. I then moved the acer T230H into the second monitor position. Working on monitors is not my favourite job. The plugs and connections are down underneath at the back which is awkward to say the least. You can’t see anything easily and it’s a lot of fiddling around. I am not sure why they cannot be on the side or the back as on a TV set but there has to be a logical reason or they wouldn’t persist.

As the main monitor the acer T230H was crystal clear and very high definition. As the second monitor it is duller and this appears to be a common problem which has not been resolved. I am still working on it. There has to be a solution. With monitors there are so many things to consider.

On both the monitors I first adjusted the settings on the monitors themselves. With the LG that meant turning off all the 3D settings which were making the picture blurry. With the acer I have it set to video quality. I’d prefer a slider bar for brightness because essentially

Dual Monitorsthat is the issue.

With the acer monitor I adjusted the size of the text and apps in the display setting on Windows 10  under the settings icon in the start menu and that is such a convenient utility for the second monitor. For both the monitors I went into control panel appearance and then advanced settings and then the monitor tab to ensure they were both running at 60 Hz. The LG had set itself to 23Hz for some reason. I also adjusted the LG in the Radeon widget . I then downloaded drivers for the LG and rebooted. It was picture perfect now as a 2D monitor.

The acer is running on a DVI connection and the LG is running on HDMI. The last thing I can think of doing is swapping cables and also trying a VGA cable to the acer. It is a bit annoying I can only get it this far so I am hoping to find the solution. As it stands, though, I love my new, cool set up.

Grow social media

Growing social media sites isn’t really hard. You don’t have to be a business or an entrepreneur to build your online social media image.  There is a knack to it , though. It is important to be yourself, or at least, a genuine part of yourself. You are projecting an image so it’s a case of deciding which part of you you wish to project. There are also images which always work. Yes, the adorable kittens and puppies, but also images and videos which strike a chord in humanity or which make people see things quite differently. When you are on social media sites then the social is important. It is also important to connect your social media sites to a blog /blogs/ Facebook page. A lot of people now have a public Facebook page which is not their original /personal Facebook page. That seems to be working well. When you make a blogpost you can advertise it on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat/Pinterest. Some people also email content too. Social media and blogging can be part of creating a very solid online presence and image. I don’t connect my own Facebook page to anything else and am currently thinking about whether to make a public Facebook page. So what are my tips?

  1. Be friendly
  2. Make positive and genuine comments
  3. Follow a variety of people
  4. Make sure your images are clear (400 x 400    pixels approx)
  5. Work methodically on the image you want to project
  6. Get the right hashtags and notice what is current popular hashtag format
  7. Post regularly
  8. Link your sites to a blog
  9. Look carefully at what you like and you react to and use those ideas
  10. Be helpful

Helene inbetween has some detailed and very helpful ideas for building social media sites.

iOS 10.0.02

Normally, I do not update anything until the updates have been around for a while and they have fixed the issues. I decided to live dangerously  recently and update my iPad Air to 10.0.01 .  Using the home button to bring up the passcode screen was a bit of a surprise. Ooh, wow, back to clicking!  So over gestures because you can unintentionally gesture and create unsolicited random happenings which is not very slick. Then again, the gestures can achieve some things quickly and cleverly. The only problem I had with 10.0.01 was sound issues on some videos especially if they were on Facebook. Since technology has been buggy now for a while, no matter what you use, I wasn’t particularly bothered. My life will not collapse because I can’t hear a video. Other than that I thought 10 was really smooth and looked good. I felt like it was an upgrade. 10.0.02 came hot on the heals of 10.0.01 because some people had had some issues with it. It had interfered with  phone  functionality in particular. On my iPad Air  with 10.0.02 nothing much has changed other than now Flipboard won’t slide properly onto the next screen when I am reading an article. It also takes longer to load the magazines. It will get fixed eventually and all will be well. I have different devices and so if one isn’t working I use another. The real problem occurs when the device is critical to your way of life or work and it is not functioning. I always have a spare phone or computer  but if I had a device which was specifically set up for my life or work then I would find the bugginess of everything more than frustrating. MacWorld UK has a good review of iOS 10.


iPal takes robots to a whole new level and into a new arena. It is designed to be a baby sitter and is called a social robot. Wires and plastic are neither social nor sociable. The premise is people already use iPads and iPhones to babysit children and so this robot is better because it is more interactive. People have used televisions to babysit children. I remember an article about junior primary teachers attaching microphones to themselves because the children would only respond to a voice which sounded electronic. I also taught a boy once whose accent and cadence were very distinct but I couldn’t place where it came from . One night I could hear the television in the background and there was the voice and the accent. It was a cartoon character. Julie Carrie Wong discusses this robot in a well composed article in The Guardian:

‘This is awful’: robot can keep children occupied for hours without supervision

It is also discussed on quartz

These sorts of technological developments are going to happen. It is important we discuss them and understand their advantages and disadvantages. A robot cannot replace a person in terms of care but there may well be some really good uses for this robot.

The future of education

The future of education is in the hands of teachers like John Spencer:

My goal is simple.
I want to make something every day.

In the past it’s meant student-led documentaries, murals, and coding projects. It’s meant building a blogging platform or writing a children’s book. And as a dad, it’s meant making pillow forts.

Some days I make things.
Other days I make a difference.
But on my best days, I get to do both.

I have a crazy idea that all people are creative and that schools should be a bastion of creativity and wonder and so here’s where I experiment and make things and share my ideas on life, learning, and the creative journey.”

John Spencer YouTube Channel

By having personal goals which develop his own education, by sharing those goals and ideas and gathering feedback he has become a dynamic force as a teacher and educator. He has developed a lot of his ideas through blogging but has since branched out into his YouTube channel . You can read the interview with him about Inside Education Blogging on TeachHub.

His video makes the point in his video that the future of education is in your classroom and that you have everything you need right there. Couldn’t agree with him more. The classroom partnerships in education and learning/teaching are what drive unpacking potential, innovation and creativity. An enthusiastic teacher sows seeds and develops curiosity. All of that needs to be based on something, though, and curriculum needs to be well thought out and considered. The cry from many teachers is that they want time to explore the ideas and innovations coming out in class. There would be others who would not want to be with thirty students, thirty devices and no clear plan. All of this needs to be discussed. These days if students do not see the value in learning they just avoid it and pay the price down the track. Others bypass it and use the online materials and avenues to develop their ideas and learning. John Spencer knows a lot about technology and he knows a lot because he has made a commitment to making things and making a difference. That kind of make up in a personality will engage others because they can. They are not short of hooks , ideas and knowledge.

Google searches

Google brains

Image: Is Google rewiring our brains? 

There is certainly evidence to suggest that using Google will in fact use more of your brain and encourage more thinking than just reading print. The more you become comfortable in searches the more you interact and stimulate more areas of your brain. Dr. Moody is clear to point out that we shouldn’t assume it is just Google because she wants to research more about this:

“Now there are two different schools of thought on this. One is that when you first learn a task, you require greater activity and more attention, and that one could expect higher levels of activity if you were new at something. People with expertise can actually show decreases in their functional MRI pattern of activity. But what it seems here is that while engaging in internet searching, you are still very actively engaging these decision-making areas and it might be that the naive people are overwhelmed by the situation and are just treating it like a book – you’re still not trying to integrate the information, they’re reading it as though they were reading a book.

There’s one other interpretation as well, and that is that internet-naive people just have a different pattern of wiring in their brains from those who are internet-savvy – people who prefer using the internet and enjoy that mode of reading are wired differently from the internet-naive people. And we can’t distinguish that in this study, but that is also a possibility.”

Is Google rewiring our Brains? 

There is also research going to to discover exactly what is happening with children and young adults who are always doing searches, playing games and living in a digital, interactive world. As Dr. Moody points out, rewiring the brain can sound alarming but it is, in fact how we learn.

Google searchI have certainly been developing my Google brains since the advent of the Adelaide storms last week and the electricity pylon collapses. Someone credible said we had pylon collapses in the 70s or early 80s. I cannot seem to find a reference. Google is set up to cover current and topical information first so with this search I had to put -Westgate because there are bridge pylons too. I had to put -Adelaide and -storms because we have had so much news and social media coverage from the storms and then I have had -Bougainville because there is so much to do with powers pylons there. I have found no reference to collapsed pylons before in Adelaide. It means I am using the wrong words. I put power pylons in inverted commas so that those words would be together. I can try electricity pylons in inverted commas. I have said before on this blog that one of the things I do is try and break Google. It’s just a game to see if I can baffle Google. The research about the pylons , though, is serious. I actually want to know the answer. It would have been on our news in the late 70s or early 80s so there has to be a reference? I have tried twisted pylons, collapsed pylons, damaged pylons. Nothing. What has been happening as I do it, though, is I am finding out about other things and how to improve my searches. It has been a real thinking exercise.

Because we all need clipart


Image: Clipart Kid

We all need clipart from time to time. When I find a good site I put it on my blog . Clipart Kid has a lot of free, useful clipart. It clearly marks any clipart which is not for free use which is helpful. Sites need to be very clear what is free and what isn’t. The site also has some watermarked clipart which may or may not interest you. I like the approach where the boundaries are clear.

Picture Graphs

Young children are often taught data collection and data interpretation by using picture graphs. It gets across some basic ideas and concepts about data visually. Rebecca Peacock’s video is also teaching literacy because The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a well known children’s story. Her video is well suited to a flipped classroom approach. There is also a maker approach to education these days too where students are encouraged to make things and use technology to further their ideas and understanding. The making aspect of learning is to engage the brain through hands on involvement in a process .

Use Crayons To Share Data Between Digital Computer And Human Mind is a well thought out tutorial on and is well worth the read. The reason for the tutorial is to cover what the author sees as a sizeable gap in allowing humans to understand data collection and the meaning of data:

A missing element here is a type of data that a human can physically create using only their mind and body and basic art tools, can also read using the same, and that a computer can both read using *very* simple code and write using simple hardware, such as a set of markers on springs with coils and magnets to drive them, which could easily be made from trash and found items.

The tutorial is very much designed along an appreciative inquiry model and has a lot to recommend it in terms of developing cognitive ability and a real understanding of data collection and code. It is from someone who did a computer science course and didn’t get it. I did a database course and didn’t get it but got distinctions in all the other related courses and so I wasn’t failed. The tutor could see I could understand a lot to do with computers, just not what I was being asked to do with databases. I was not allowed to show her that I had constructed databases of my own. I was expected to do the exercises we were given in order to get a pass in databases. I suspect the same with the person who has created this instructable about using crayons and code. It is important to use a variety of methods to help people understand data collection and how it works. That is critical: teaching students according to their needs. It is something we need to play around with more and find out more and better ways of teaching things related to data. For some reason I can create my own databases but I can’t created them from data I am given. It drives me crazy and I get it wrong. I don’t actually care how many brown shoes were ordered. Other people will have different saturation points in learning. Maybe crayons are the answer.

Create understanding


Image : The Rapid e-learning blog

The performance based e-learning approach is how you create understanding and a way forward. Not just for students but for yourself as a teacher as well. I have written regularly about creating the create content – share – get feedback – grow content approach which is the tried and true method of the internet.  Personalised learning is possible with technology and so everyone can be included in the learning loop and the content exploration loop. Students can explore their learning and knowledge in different ways and so , as long as the feedback loop is there, teachers can see more easily whether students are progressing in their skills and knowledge. Students can give feedback too which will enable teachers to deliver content in a more accessible way.  The Rapid e-learning blog explains performance based learning clearly and gives some good tips. it is important that students can see evidence of their learning. it is important that they can put those new skills to the test. Christopher Pappas has also written a very good post on the elearning Industry site:

The Ultimate Performance-Based eLearning Guide For Instructional Designers

Again it is a very clear explanation of how to go about using technology and teaching guidelines in order to achieve  sound performance which can be further enhanced and encouraged.

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 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



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.




Effect 2 Love this!


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 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


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 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 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-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.



Walter Singleton

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