Check username

namechk siteThere have been a number of funny memes about how hard it is to create a username for some sites because the one you want is always taken and then you try 10 others and end up with something stupid just because you are frustrated trying to find a username. Namechk will cross check usernames across plenty of sites. It means you then have the chance to dignify username choice because you are not in that pressure situation of trying to come up with a username as you are signing up to a site. Namechk will block out the sites where you cannot use that name and highlight the available sites in green. Easy!

IT skills for jobs 2017

it skills for jobs

Image : smh 

We are well past the stage where using a computer and mobile devices are desirable job skills. We are very much into the realms of data, SEO (search engine optimisation), apps development and UI/UX (user interface and user experience). Education is not about jobs but the skills people learn through study are generally the sorts of things which will carry them through to employability and the learning skills needed to advance themselves. Students do need to be familiar with the sorts of knowledge which will promote growth in their lives. I have spoken about UX and UI a lot on this blog. In classrooms which use technology it is something teachers need to be aware of. Design and technology  together. There was an article in the Sydney Morning Herald which discussed the sorts of IT skills we are looking for in Australia and it also included the soft skills we seem to be short of : teamwork, ownership and problem solving. Collaboration has been a classroom requirement for a long time as has teamwork. Ownership is about belonging and certainly there have been conversations and practices around that in education in Australia so I am wondering why these skills seem to be missing. CIO looks at the 10 IT skills which are most in demand at the  moment and looks and the reasons why.  The World Economic Forum looks at it from a global perspective and lists the skills we are looking for in the world. Not that much different form what we are looking for in Australia. FastCompany discusses at length three IT skills in particular and why they need to be commonplace now because they are so important to economic growth.  They are also important to an understanding of how technology works and influences us and how technology is being used and leveraged in today’s world. We have a lot of tools and software now. We need to progress to the next phase where we get he best out of them and then understand how they are impacting on us and can impact on us

Texting and driving doesn’t work

Well over a million people  world wide are victims of mobile phone misuse in traffic. Snapchat can be one of the biggest traps these days for people to text and drive. The “snaps” are quick and people are compelled to react to them. The message still has not got through about mobile phones and driving. Why? Plenty of people have been hurt. Too many people have been killed or seriously injured. The police and emergency services are over removing mobile phones from the hands of a deceased person behind a wheel. Nothing sadder when the phone is active and the person is not. YouTube is now full of videos of people using mobile phones and driving. There are personal videos, police videos and advertising designed to stop people indulging this destructive habit. It’s like people cannot understand it’s dangerous. It’s their mobile phone. It rises above all. It conquers all. It is invincible. There are people , like the instructors in this Belgian driving school, who are trying hard to help people break these stuck thoughts about mobile phones. It really is important to clearly demonstrate why this is dangerous and how it is because people just are not getting it. Technology has given us mobile phones but it has also given us the avenues for constantly re educating people about good uses of mobile technology as opposed to dangerous ones. 

Be the change

Drive change

drive changeAt some point a teacher needs to work out that they are the one who is driving change and leading the people they are associated with onto newer and better ground. They have to have the confidence to be that kind of teacher,leader and influencer. Teachers have to have a methodical way of feeling so secure in themselves and what they are doing that they can be those sorts of change agents. It is not surprising some teachers feel confused, swamped, isolated or abandoned. It is a big, complex job and when you realise they are the people who can profoundly change others then it should not come as a surprise that it feels daunting and extremely challenging to be a teacher. Changing the lives of others and being an influence for positive growth is a demanding task. You need to address those feelings and perceptions methodically. You need to remind teachers they are the ones who can make a depressed child more at ease, a struggling child more comfortable, whole classes full of children who want to be a somebody that somebody they want to be and then they are also the ones who can inspire their colleagues, assure parents in a difficult , disrupted world and who can make breakthroughs in the delivery of curriculum so that it more meaningful, useful and more accessible. Teachers need to be held up, supported and encouraged to understand that they are profound influencers and need to take control of that. The internet is  full of great professional education sites which are supporting schools and educators both locally and internationally. Teachers can connect and be part of virtual groups and initiatives which will hold them up and move them in a safe way to be the leaders they are capable of being. The feedback loop is essential but part of that means teachers need to be able to identify, clarify and express the sorts of help and support they need. They need to participate in discussions so they can drive those discussions further and deeper. They need to collaborate with others so they can share their ideas and thoughts in order to grow them. They also need to feel sufficiently strong and competent that they can walk in and start developing the  ideas they have so they can make them reality. As a teacher you are responsible for a lot of lives and involved in so many interpersonal transactions. You have to know, without a shadow of a doubt , that you are the one who can be the change and that waiting for things to happen won’t bring that change about. You need the professional educational input and development but you also need the personal strength training so you feel you can make a difference and just go ahead and do it. It’s about learning how to be an independent operator who has a way of engaging positively, and in a considered way, with those within  your sphere of influence.

lily tomlin quote

einstein quote

Habitica

HabiticaI said I would test Habitica for a month to see what I thought because I wasn’t sure. In a month I achieved a lot but for me the game part of Habitica was superfluous to requirements. I then did not use it for a fortnight, again, to see. I signed back in yesterday and was so glad!

In terms of functionality the site works really well. It is easy to load and navigate. I don’t find the app so helpful but I have grown used to it in the time I have used it. The app conforms to progressive disclosure as most apps do these days. I prefer to see the options and choices as you do on a website and take it from there. I find the app is handy to update my lists either by adding or completing tasks , to dos and dailies. The site for me, though, is more usable. I like to see it all in a glance and then drill down to the next lot of information if I want to. I guess the app is my quick look and check place and I use the site to think and plan.

Why am I back on Habitica? Why use an app where I am not interested in half of it? The half which works for me gives me back a lot of brain real estate. I don’t have to have a head cluttered with things to do and then hold and carry them around. I can write things in my diary or make notes on my phone but then it is all over the place. Habitica has sorted out my goals from my habits and then there are the things I need and want to do. Now that I am back I am using the dates on the to do list more. I really would like a forward planning list which captures my future plans if I have the time and wherewithal to complete them. My wish list. I do have a done list now and that is so handy. I can see all I have done. It is there for if I ever think I am not doing enough. It also shows me just how much I do.

Others really do like the gaming aspect of Habitica. They love the Guilds and Quests. It is not for me. Not right now , anyway. For others the gaming aspect keeps them on their toes, they get rewards and they are encouraged to achieve their goals in a nice way. Habitica is a very friendly, positive site and a site which focuses on positive performance and encouragement. I love the pixellated pictures and it fits right in with my current game Stardew Valley.

You don’t have to pay for Habitica. You can subscribe, donate or buy parcels of gems but there is no pressure to do so and no trickery in terms of forcing you to.  I am happy to dress up my avatar, grow and feed pets and just benefit from the positive feel of the site. When I use Habitica I get my ideas planned and worked out in the morning and then I can spend the rest of the day achieving them, adding to them, changing them and I do plan ahead now using the dates. I can achieve everything more easily with Habitica but the best thing is I don’t have a head full of garbage…it’s on my lists and ready to go!

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