It’s all good, really

 

Image:  Galaxy black space                                                 First week back , term 2, 2015. All good, really. spaceI met my year 9s for the 2 hour double lesson yesterday morning and our  new topic was space. There is soooo much vocabulary to learn for space. Technology makes it easy and I have proof! For space I have made two different slide presentations which I converted to videos. We went through the presentations and we pronounced all the words. I had embedded those videos into a movie with space things and a loose narrative so we went over the vocabulary again. My laptop desktop was a map of Cité de l’espace in Toulouse. I explained what the areas were and then showed them 3 short videos in French about how school children have an excursion to the Toulouse space city and so they could see the real version of what was my desktop background. Some of our vocabulary was used in those videos. I played the slide presentations again to see if they could now tell me what all these words meant. We use Education Perfect for Language learning support. It’s a paid online learning tool and French covers the costs by doing everything electronically. I gave them 30 minutes to learn the space vocabulary there because I had set up the list. It’s divided into 4 ways of learning vocabulary and in the time they were learning so many of them were saying , “Look, I got 100%!” ” Look! I got 80%. That’s good isn’t it?” Some brought their iPads to show me. These students like taking learning risks because they know if they consider it unfair I will negotiate a fall back position if they speak to me about it. 20 mins into their online learning I announced they were having an online test in 5 minutes. Gasp! They ramped up their efforts and watched me set the test. I can do that in 3 minutes and the test came up on their iPads 2 minutes later. They had two chances at each word and 5 minutes to complete the 20 word test. This was the vocabulary we had just learnt that lesson. Education Perfect then emails me the results and notes the words/expressions students had the most difficulty with. All the students got 18 or 19 out of 20. There were four things they were having difficulty with. One student raised the issue they had lost a mark because they had not put a hyphen in. I could see it on his iPad. I have taught them to look out for assessment traps. The point was valid. We listened to two French songs as a break because we are looking at French music for our project this term. One of the songs meant I had to explain the difference between Francophone and French and how you get to be a French national. To finish the lesson we found a conversation in our book and worked with a partner to get the short conversation ready for today. Once I hear those I have a ProVoc presentation/ IWB quiz on the space vocabulary and then we’ll watch a French space cartoon. It’s good with technology. You can really get to work.

Curating is a vital skill

Curating is one of the important building blocks of cognitive computing and artificial intelligence. The software for these Livebindersareas is going to be as good as the curating and if you have watched the video about Watson , you will know that intelligent software needs intelligent curation. The outcomes will only be as good as the input and that means resources on the internet need to be of a very high quality and peer reviewed. Cognitive computing is used widely in medicine these days and artificial intelligence is being applied in educational contexts. Currently we do not have many sites where students can safely curate information. Paper.li is a well established, well respected one and students can curate in Evernote but it is not the same as the widely available information aggregation sites. Safety and suitablity are important in schools so we needs apps and online sites which teach curation but which are student friendly and child safe. My own favourite information aggregation sites are Flipboard , Zite and Diply. I collect suitable links on my blogs and like  places like del.ic.ious. Livebinders allows you to curate your own material and is education friendly and has education support. These sorts of sites need to be more available on the Net, more prominent in schools and come with a safety tick for education.You need to use information aggregators to understand how they work and then that will inform good choices when you do your own curation on a site.

Because everyone needs a worldometer

World population clock Everyone needs a world population clock. This site gives so much current information with regard to current populations in the world and individual countries . China has the biggest population. It took until around 1800 to get one billion people but we are set to hit 8 billion in 2024.

Little Lucy helps you learn

Lucy is one of the new emotionally intelligent robots developed by Professor Rajiv Khosla at La Trobe University. It is a collaborative effort across nations , in particular with Japan. There’s that word again – collaboration. Nothing of significance is achieved or created these days without collaboration. Lucy was originally designed to help with dementia and aged care patients but has now branched out into helping autistic people in a very significant way. In the SBS article Robots ‘help autistic children learn’ mother and nurse Yvonne Cartwright articulates extremely well what Lucy has done for her two autistic children but she also articulates views which resonate with any teacher. Robots are computers. We may personify them and identify with them as being like people but they are hardware and software. They will repeat things over and over. They will do what they are programmed to do . They are as clever as we can currently make them and will develop as we use them to engage with real people and then have experts like Professor Rajiv Khosla who will patiently, and seemingly happily, use his knowledge and network to improve the capacity of the robot to do and be more. Cognitive computing is making a difference in the lives of real people . It is allowing them to connect with others and it is allowing them to develop their personalities. It is also improving what they know and can do. Robots will repeat and repeat and repeat and not tire of it. In a real classroom they could provide some engaging help in lots of ways and they sound like they can develop linguistic skills so it would be good to have a Lucy in language learning classrooms. Finally, the future is here. Yvonne Cartright sums it up for teaching in the article:

“We don’t celebrate them finishing high school or uni, we celebrate those light bulb moments where you see sheer joy in your children’s face by something they’ve done, and they know they’ve achieved something.”

We don’t finish anything. We are on a learning continuum and as robots become available to us we shall be learning with them and teaching them how to achieve something else.

Anti gravity shoes and worm hearts

worm hearts Image : 19 things you didn’t know you needed to know

So much to know that I didn’t know I needed to know. I am wiser now and know that Michael Jackson invented the anti gravity shoes and worms have 5 hearts. The link above about what you didn’t know you needed to know has used some animated gifs in a really good way to help you understand how things work, how they are made, how things happen. The internet can be horribly sideshow at times with its bouncing, sparkling, flashing, moving animations which are basically junk net. The Vivaldi browser can be helpful that way because you can turn off images. It can be distracted when things keep moving on a page. 19 Things You Didn’t Know You Needed to Know is different. It is a good educational use of gifs and I am thinking we are now at the stage where we could create assignments, electronic tasks and worksheets where we use animated gifs, images and videos to create our content and it would be so much more interesting and relevant. Video loops certainly have a good educational use and we should look at incorporating them more into what we do.

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