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 di. This was in the 70s before technology, He would write six things on paper next to the drawn di dots and then roll the di. It was bizarre but it worked for him and his classes often used to use a di 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 di 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 di.

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.

Pokémon Go

Pokémon Go is everywhere at the moment. There is a temptation to ignore it or consider it as a passing phase or craze but there are equally enough alarm buttons around  for it to be considered as one for the experts. If you go skydiving, driving, sailing, scuba diving, horse riding you are at risk. Normally you learn high risk activities from an expert and experienced trainers through a series of programmed stages.. Society then also has a level of awareness about these activities and has safety thinking and measures in place. You don’t stop people from riding in a helicopter because things could go wrong. Training and development have always been part of our socialization as we engage with high risk activities. We learn how to protect ourselves, defend ourselves, prepare ourselves and what the expected behaviours are. Pokémon Go has crossed a gaming boundary where people go out into the wild to find Pokémon. They can be found anywhere because it is a game which uses sat nav and augmented reality. It is making really good use of the technology we have to create a different level of game interaction and develop a different set of gaming skills. I don’t know how the young people in the video could create a Pokémon which would then entice others so they could be robbed. There are a number of sites which are looking at  the side of Pokémon Go which is putting people at risk and I have left the links at the bottom of this post so you can follow it up. We need gaming experts, psychology experts, police and safety experts to get into the conversation and look at how we can keep people safe. As teachers we cannot ignore it. Nor can we ignore it as family members. There would be a lot of people in their mid 20s playing the game because they grew up with it. There are also younger people who are now new players to the game. It then is like any other highly skilled social activity. New players need to be taught properly as they would be with sailing. They need to be trained properly as they would be with football. Some digital games now need the same layers of training and development as other activities which can create problems for those who do not know how to play properly. If we just look upon it as a phase or something we don’t need to engage with , there are going to be problems as there would be if we ignored people who knew nothing going into the mountains to try and ski.

pokemon go Image: ifunny.co

Four things parents should know about Pokémon Go
Child safety warnings
Pokémon Go Tips for Parents
A Parent’s Guide To Playing Pokémon GO With Your Kids

Real or fake?

Artistically speaking , we can achieve some impressive images by photoshopping other images. There has been much discussion, though, about photoshopped fashion images or celebrity images and rightly so. Airbrushing reality has tended to skew perception of what reality actually is. This little video gives you a test and then the answers with information as you go along. Well worth keeping your eagle eye well trained. Spotting fake images has become a 21st century skill.

Know your cables

You don’t have to be a musician to gain value from Kennis Russell’s very effective cable video. He wastes no time. He explains things well. He adds images to support learning and then he summarises at the end and you realise he taught you well! I use XLR cables for my microphone and I have a little mixer for my sound so I need to know about cables. When I changed computers and had to set up the sound again I ended up having to use my splitter RCA cable because the new computer didn’t have RCA jacks. Why bother? It’s about reliability, stability and integrity of sound. On a laptop it will label the jacks for microphone and headset so you know which ones to use. On a desktop you might get the coloured jacks without the labelling:

Pink is to connect the microphone
Green is the line out for the speakers or headphones
Blue is a line in for mp3 player, CD player or something like that.

Wifi and bluetooth sound are handy and convenient but they are not stable and reliable and always available. Wired connections are solid and until we move further along the path to dependable wireless connections then best quality sound comes from wired connections.

Check data usage

It’s 2016. We need to be able to check on our data usage easily. A simple screen would do. An icon, a widget. Something visible and visual. The video shows you how to get more accurate information on a Samsung Galaxy S6. Going to settings and then pressing this and then pressing that is not very slick. Grateful for the information, though. I am surprised it is not like battery usage. We can see at a glance how much battery power we have. We should be able to see where we are on mobile data usage for the month or wifi usage for the month. Not everyone has access to limitless funds and plans. We need to be able to monitor our usage very closely at times. I am writing this because I have had a second power black out in a month. No wifi. I needed to be on the Net to get critical information. So I used my mobile data. I don’t have a sumptuous plan for mobile data use because I rarely need it. I have easy wifi access where I go or I don’t need wifi access at all. We need an app or widgets which can show us mobile data use against our plan or wifi use against a restricted plan. They can get us data on everything. Why not usage data?

Classroom Collective

Amy has less than 10 years teaching experience. She comes from Ottawa and already she has demonstrated an authentic commitment to teaching and professional standards. She is using technology to develop herself professionally, share her ideas and muster her resources. Her old blog, which is featured in the video, is here. She is articulate and organised and knows how to work on a growth mindset and professional development through sharing her ideas broadly. Her new blog is here. Amy also has a Classroom Collective Facebook page. Her Pinterest board for teaching is very lively and full of great ideas. Teachers are now able to reinforce themselves and others by using technology sites and they can become proficient in using technology by using technology to develop and save their ideas. It’s there. It is in public view. We can see just what Amy does and plans to do and how she goes about preparing herself for lessons. It then goes on the internet and is peer reviewed. She is documenting her development as a teacher but also allowing others to be encouraged and supported by her ideas. As she engages with her sites she is reflecting on her practice and when you look at what she is doing and thinking you cannot help but be impressed and glad she’s a teacher. So how did I find Amy? I was doing a search for organising resources. She has her SEO right on the name Classroom Collective.

Learning step by step

I used to love my abacus but it was bigger than the one in this video. It was inherently fascinating at an early age because it looked different from other things and it had colourful beads. Did I ever learn to use the abacus to count? Only in the most obvious way by sliding and counting beads or counting up and down rows. I didn’t know how to use an abacus properly and no one showed me. So the abacus reinforced what I knew already and held my interest for numbers just by being there. I did not ever use the abacus correctly which meant I was oblivious to the fact it was a remarkable tool which could do all sorts of things with numbers. The Hev project has created a video which makes it so easy to know how to use an abacus effectively and get the best out of this remarkable tool. It would be fun to make one. It’s tactile as well as cerebral learning and then you can just have fun making all the beads click!
If you google step by step learning or research that on YouTube you will get a lot of returns in terms of things to learn which are stepped out. It’s a gaming principle which the internet has adopted to deliver learning content. The Hev Project shows very clearly what step by step learning looks and sounds like. You are even invited to pause the video to have a practice until you have mastered and understood that step.

So what does learning look like?

One step at a time
Research
Ask your network
Practice and master
Next step
Reflect on your learning
Troubleshoot
Practice
Get feedback
Improve

When you don’t understand or don’t know what you are doing you go back to the step where you lost the thread. With technology you can easily access networks and research so that you do not have to wait to learn and as you are practising you can share what you are doing so you can get feedback, ideas and help so that, in the end, your level of learning is high and has a good outcome.

Improve creative thinking

This video looks at the six steps which improve creative thinking:

1. Know that everyone is creative
2. Looking at the left brain and right brain
3. The speed with which you think
4. Originality of thought
5. Flexibility of thought
6. Imagination and association.

Learning music adds considerably to creative and spatial thinking. Learning languages develop flexibility in thinking and the speed with which people can think. We are at a stage in research where we can know what develops the architecture of the brain and what has impact on cognitive development. Tony Buzan worked on the first Mind Mapping software and the iMindMap site offers a free basic version of this software which is very easy to use and implement. I have found mind mapping software to be a very effective tool for teaching and students enjoy making their own mind maps. They don’t have that fear of not knowing what to put down on paper when they have access to a tool like iMindMap.

When you hear Tony Buzan explain the steps clearly in the video  you know it is possible to open up creative thinking and that it ought to be a normal part of teaching and learning. The University of London has an interesting little article about the Impact of creative thinking in the 21st century economy .

We are “encouraged to ‘put the Socratic icing on the Confucian cake’ .” I like that.

Lesson planning in the 21st century

Lesson PlanningDesigners follow a reason centred or action centred models to develop their content. We are in the technological age and technology is part of our classrooms and so looking at teaching through a designer’s lens provides insight and clarity. Technology in a classroom means tablets, smart phones, interactive white boards, laptops, computer screens. Screens, images, placement of content, visual literacy. Design. Planning lessons ought to be centred around design principles and, as it turns out, they serve us well. The image I have put into this post is by no means definitive. It is a way to demonstrate how we already use reason centred and action centred lesson planning and as you look at it you will think of other things. There is a bit of tension between the two in education because some would like to abandon or down grade the reason centred approach and focus more on the action centred approach. As a designer you wouldn’t do that until you were really experienced and had mastered the foundations of design through theory and research. As teachers we will often be champing at the bit to try different things and technology can increase that feeling  because there are just so many great things you can do with it in a classroom. So approach needs to be tempered. We need some commonality, consistency and coherence across the curriculum. ACARA has done much to try to ensure that and to ensure we have content based on good practice and evidence. We are in a data driven world and we are able to access a lot of information about learning which was previously rather sparse. We can use that to our advantage. We can also use the benchmarking of NAPLAN, exams and national tests to inform our decision making as teachers. By contrast we can also take real advantage of anytime, anywhere learning and students, as well as attending lessons at school,  can be participating in online learning, community based learning, project based learning, industry based learning – in other words – lifelong learning. Aitsl encourages us to create lessons based on reason:

1.1 Select from a flexible and effective repertoire of teaching strategies to suit the physical, social and intellectual development and characteristics of students.
1.2 Expand understanding of how students learn using research and workplace knowledge.
1.5 Evaluate learning and teaching programs, using student assessment data, that are differentiated for the specific learning needs of students across the full range of abilities.
1.6 Work with colleagues to access specialist knowledge, and relevant policy and legislation, to develop teaching programs that support the participation and learning of students with disability
2.3 Design and implement learning and teaching programs using knowledge of curriculum, assessment and reporting requirements.
2.6 Model high-level teaching knowledge and skills and work with colleagues to use current ICT to improve their teaching practice and make content relevant and meaningful.
3.6 Conduct regular reviews of teaching and learning programs using multiple sources of evidence including: student assessment data, curriculum documents, teaching practices and feedback from parents/ carers, students and colleagues.
6.2 Plan for professional learning by accessing and critiquing relevant research, engage in high quality targeted opportunities to improve practice and offer quality placements for pre-service teachers where applicable.

The action-centred approach in aitsl comes largely through the encouragement to initiate ideas and collaborate with others.

6.3 Initiate and engage in professional discussions with colleagues in a range of forums to evaluate practice directed at improving professional knowledge and practice, and the educational outcomes of students.

6.4 Engage with colleagues to evaluate the effectiveness of teacher professional learning activities to address student learning needs.

7.4 Participate in professional and community networks and forums to broaden knowledge and improve practice.

aitsl asks us to inform our action centred approach through a reason based foundation so that we consult widely and adopt  professional insight into pedagogy.

Again it is coming back to the design and agile thinking principles:

Design thinking is : Understand, Explore, Prototype , Evaluate

Agile Thinking is about bearing the end user in mind, making incremental improvements and gaining feedback before you move on.

The reason centred approach and the action-centred approach are not in opposition in education. They operate together to stimulate growth and that positive mindset we keep talking about.

50 Teaching apps

teaching apps Image : Scholastic

Scholastic is a well known and well established text book company for teachers. It has branched out well into the online world and the site always provides some good resources and ideas. It focuses on reading, in particular but offers plenty of other ideas and has sections of the site for all stakeholders in a child’s education. The apps are well worth considering. They are a mix of free and paid apps.

#britex #brexit

#brexitI feel for teachers going back into the classroom after the EU Referendum in Britain. We are a connected world and so we can see and feel how things are affecting others and #britex #brexit is one of those things which is having a significant emotional impact on Britain. When you walk into a classroom of 30 students whose families and friends are affected by something like that , then as a teacher, it is a real challenge. I have always adopted the business as usual approach. I start the lesson as usual , I start up the content and the involvement. Sometimes ,about 15 minutes, into the lesson I will stop and say something like ” I can’t continue today’s lesson without sparing a thought for the people affected by…”. I have always prepared myself for the questions. With access to internet resources , it is easy. With Aceh we looked a little bit about what the French (these are French lessons) were saying about Aceh or Fukushima. I would spend a few minutes on that and sometimes questions would arise and I have always been ready with more than one point of view. My bottom line has often been, “You can listen to what I am saying. You can hear what others are saying in this classroom but it is important that you go home and talk about it with your parents and families. ” My belief has always been that as a teacher I try and represent what the world is thinking. I try and reassure and give hope, always, and that we look at how the world is reacting. We are connected. We can often point students in the right direction for sound and solid information. The EU exit is a very hard one to deal with because it is cutting across cultures, history, languages and the economy. I get on with my lesson and then students know if they blurt and cannot help themselves we will stop and look at what they are saying and asking. I was teaching languages before the European Union was founded November 1, 1993, Maastricht, Netherlands. Perspective is always important because it shows that the world does go on and things are resolved or just continue to be an issue. When it is affecting students in a very personal way then the Department or school has always had a back up care plan. You can see that #britex #brexit is a tough one because even Twitter is split into #britex and #brexit and then #EURef and #BritRef are now growing stronger which is only adding to the emotional upheaval. The internet has provided so many statistics and infographics on the EU Referendum it’s an indication of how quickly we can now quantify information. The teacher’s job is a tough one, though. It requires real skill, and it is an art ,to teach and deal with upheaval at the same time. I wish the teachers in the UK well.

Australian Geographic’s Top 50 apps

National Geographic Atlas

Image: 7 Great iPad apps for Learning Geography

 

Australian Geographic’s Top 50 apps are a mix of paid and free apps and the links to the apps are on the website. They cover a variety of nature based, weather based and astronomy based apps but also those to do with high quality travel and photography. Certainly worth a look.

Hay Day

Hay Day

The animals are all dressed for the hot summer weather…in the northern hemisphere. Here it is cold, wet and very winter. The game brings a bit of sunshine into each day but when it’s an international game then the weather perhaps needs to reflect that. Or not. Everyone loves those summer outfits on the farm animals. The artists obviously have fun as well as skill. My farm is doing well. I have over 2 million coins now, am about to go up another level and have expanded quite a bit. My town is expanded and decorated to the max. My fishing area has two more spots to expand and the main farm has three more spots to expand. With the new crops and facilities then I am thinking we need some land releases or it will all get squashed up and not look very nice. I’d still love to be able to personalize the fishing area a bit too with a cabin or two and some suitable fishing things. I find I can make plenty of lures but not enough of the lobster pots, duck traps and long term fishing nets. I manage but cannot grow that. Expanding the slots is very expensive so I make do. I’d prefer not to because I love that fishing area. I keep learning from the game that if you have diamonds (predominantly bought with your own cash) then you can do anything. It’s a pretty cynical lesson to teach people even though it may be true. The game does, however, supply free diamonds through  the red boxes, mining, and participating in events. There are times when it is very generous.The players rise above the diamonds are everything mindset and go out of their way to help each other and so the feeling of goodwill which spans across nations and languages is something quite remarkable to achieve in a game. One of the new changes is trading within a network so that you can obtain the goods you need to fill trucks, riverboats, the town and presumably derbies. I do not belong to a network and have no plans to. I gave up FarmVille because the networking was unpleasant. FarmTown wasn’t much better but could be very good at times. With Hay Day you join a network and then can participate in competitions and now trade. There is always a sourness with networks in my experience. The one who is so superior. The ones who complain that others are not complying. The ones who want you to be like them and then the ones who are quite treacherous in their game play . I have avoided the networks for that reason. It has spoiled other games for me. I like Hay Day. I just want it to be a game where I can spend my time happily and get some challenges along the way.

Fixing Windows 10 temporary profile pain

Windows 10 temporary profile Image: tenforums

I got this message yesterday morning and it was too much for my tiny brain on a Sunday morning. Having tried the fix of just restarting the computer a couple of times I just left it and went on to have a lovely day. As I thought about it I decided going to the registry first was not going to be what I’d do. I could locate my files by going onto the  C drive , going to Windows and finding my old profile under Users. The virus and malware checkers were still functioning so I knew what I had loaded previously had to be there. I found appuals site the most helpful because it was going from easy solutions to more complicated ones. On the temporary profile I had linked my Microsoft account and set a PIN as they suggested. I thought maybe that would release my own desktop but no. In the end I did an old fashioned ScanDisk from the dos prompt.

1. Right click on start and select Command Prompt Admin
2. Type in : sfc/scannow
3. It takes about 15 minutes to scan the files and shows you the percentage.
4. Turn off the computer and restart.

The sfc (scan files now) reported no errors and so I wasn’t hopeful. Good news was it had worked and my own lovely profile was back in place! It would appear the fix is easy but what seems to be happening is different fixes are working for different people. By the time you look at tenforums and appuals you have lots of options and hopefully one of them will work for you.

How to make animated gifs

This is a Photoshop tutorial which shows you how to make an animated gif. There are also YouTube videos on how to make animated gifs using GIMP which is open source. You can also use the online gifmaker or ezgif.

Gifs for learning

tumblr_njr4vw0PoL1qfg7o3o1_400

Image: Educational gifs (see link below)

It hasn’t really until I have been on Instagram for a while now that I have realised just how powerful animated gifs are as teaching and learning aids. A well made animated gif can show you easily how to do something and it plays non stop until you get it. Repetition is part of brain based learning and so it should not be surprising that animated gifs are so effective in teaching someone how to do what you can do or understand what you understand. Little videos achieve the same thing. They are effective because they are targeted, concise, precise and visual. As a learner you can just keep playing them until you really understand the concept or skill. Educational gifs has a nice selection so you can get started. Mashable also has a good selection to show how powerful animated gifs can be in an educational context.

Hijacking my timeline

copy-paste Image: wikiHow- 8 ways to copy and paste

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

Handy Computer Tricks

Grant Thompson may well call himself the “King of Random” but this little video is full of helpful hints and with over 4 million views I’d say he has hit the mark and been quite specific in his help. He has actually put together more than 6 simple tricks and the ease with which this video transfers information to the viewer needs to be analysed and observed! He has put a lot of information into this video but you do not have the feeling you are on overload. You need to be aware that Apple is pulling support for QuickTime security updates on Windows. Silly and even unbelievable in 2016. Running malware and virus protection should keep you safe because QuickTime is the easiest tool for making screencasts. So fuss free. Grant Thompson also forgot to mention the Windows Snipping Tool which is so easy for taking screen shots or parts of screens. Much easier than the print screen button.

How your brain learns

This is a great video to show anyone who wants to know how their brain works. It is also a good video to show students because it is clear and explains things very well. It is also a good example of how you can teach complex information in a digestible form so that anyone can understand it. The combination of hand drawn information, animation, clip art and then a voice over really does encourage understanding. The Learning Pod has other videos on a variety of topics to help people understand various things particularly in the area of Maths. There have been no new videos for a while. I wonder why? It would be of benefit to keep these sorts of videos funded and resourced.

Optimise Android Emulator Performance

 I have often used this blog to gather ideas for something I am working on or something I am trying to learn. One of the advantages of a blog is you can share what you are doing and invariably others will reach out and help, suggest, or share ideas. A blog is also a good place to grow your learning and research because as you are helping yourself , you are helping others. Connectivity! What I am trying to do at the moment is improve the Andy Android Emulator performance on my new Steam Castle desktop. This machine has so much more computing power than my former desktop but the emulator is no better. It’s good. It works. I can use it well but it ought to be better!  I am now on new ground and sorting myself out slowly so I can find ways and means of improving emulator performance on an awesome machine. The first thing I have discovered is that there is no real help for someone who is new to this and who is pretty confident with a computer but can’t find the information which will unleash the path of learning and accomplishment. I know how to get into the BIOS but I don’t think I should have to, to run an emulator. Given all the improvements we have then the BIOS should be set up to run an emulator or there should be software where you can SAFELY do this. As it stands, I have checked, and my machine can run virtualware and I don’t need to fiddle with things which are better left alone unless you really know what you are doing. In the same league as treating yourself medically from Net advice.

Why would you want to use an emulator?

1. For teaching purposes you can show any android app on big screen.
2. Accessibility. I don’t always have the touch sensitivity or mobility in my fingers to use a touch screen effectively and it’s good to be able to swap to a keyboard and big screen.
3. You can really appreciate the graphics and graphic design put into apps when you see it on a big screen.
4. You can interchange desktop and mobile computing very efficiently.
5. Sometimes you want to sit up rather than down.

The video has been helpful to me and then I have found some sites which I am putting here so I can come back and refer to them:

10 steps to increasing VMWare performance

How to Geek – Speed up your Virtual Machines

How to improve Windows Guest performance

I at least understand now what the issues are thanks to these sites and am at the stage where I need to learn how to proceed effectively.

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