Christmas recycling

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

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UX and Web Design

UX and Web Design

 

Joe Natoli is a consummate professional and this Udemy course leaves you in no doubt that you are learning well and from someone who knows how to engage you and teach you in the best way. It is a paid course but $15 for 187 well thought out, detailed and content rich lessons is a gift. I got an iTunes card last Christmas and used some of the money to purchase this course. The course has kept me going all year and so I have had more than my money’s worth. Lessons vary between about 3mins, 12 mins and an hour. Joe introduces himself to you by the use of videos and so you get to see and hear him and make a connections with him. There are then a number of voice lessons and , at the end,  the course comes back to video. Nothing is left to chance. It is all throughly mapped out and considered so that as a learner you are immersed in learning and have so many things to know and do.  It says on the certificate I did 23.5 hours . That is not quite right. During the course you get really helpful downloads and emails. These all need to be read if you want to add to what is already a comprehensive curriculum. There is also the processing and practising time. At the end there is a lovely gift of another video. That really is the icing on the cake and tops off the course in a very satisfying way. What I really liked was the show and tell approach. Joe talks you through everything and so you are learning visually and aurally and your brain is engaged all of the time. Nothing is left to chance. The rationale for doing something is explained in global, local and personal terms. You can watch him attend to details and see what a difference it makes. He explains and reasons everything he is showing you. It is about design principles , values, reasoning, being careful. It gives you a lot of insight into WordPress and how to get the best out of it. It teaches you how to be very good at what you have chosen to learn. Everything is there if you want to launch yourself on the web in a competent fashion. I loved this course and even though I didn’t want or need to know everything in it, it has all added to me and it has given me a good way to approach UX issues. At the beginning I had sound issues with the course. When my internet connection was changed from ADSL2 to nbn those sound issues were resolved. Udemy was buffering , as it turned out, under ADSL2. I also had a problem with no video when I viewed the course on my iPad. I had sound but no visuals. I used the contact option on the course and that was resolved within 24 hours. Doesn’t get better than that. I thank Joe Natoli for such an enriching and worthwhile course.

Code an Advent calendar

 

Pete Dring has made a series of tutorials for GSCE students in England so they can make a coded advent calendar which looks really nice. The tutorials are not long and are explained well. You do not have to be a coding expert and know a lot about coding to follow this information. It is meant for older students, though.

World Book Club

World Book ClubThe BBC world book club does a lot to support reading, authors,  interest in reading and knowledge of books. It regularly offers podcasts where they discuss particular books and you can email in questions to ask the author if you keep a track of which podcasts are coming up. They also have a bank of video clips where authors discuss their books. You can listen live or use the on demand services. It really is a good site to help keep reading and authorship real and authentic.

Another good site is Goodreads. You can track your reading and write reviews. It is also a site which offers insight into authors and books and encouragement to read. Right now they are holding a vote on the best books for 2017 which you might like to participate in.

Both of these sites offer a strong connection development between authors and readers and that’s how you do it in 2017.

Creative writing apps

In many ways we have increased our capacity to write creatively because we have technology and social media sites. We have opportunities to inspire and influence because we are on Facebook and Instagram and there are still those who meet the Twitter creative tweet challenge. We have blogs and websites and even though there is a big emphasis on visuals on the internet, the opportunities to write and write well are there. We can make our own books and publish them online. We can create influential and interesting email content. We need apps! Are there apps to inspire creative writing? Yes. You may have your own favourites. Yona Yurwit in the video explains what she uses on her iPhone and why. Makeuseof has some good recommendations of creative writing apps some of which are paid and some of which have a paid premium version. More and more phones are becoming less about consumption and more about productivity and creativity.

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