Compare the size of two countries

mapfightWe wanted to compare the size of Australia and Quebec in class. It wasn’t an option on the other site I blogged about in Compare Two Countries. I found MapFight which offers quite a number of places to be compared. Once my class could see Quebec fitted into South Australia and then stretched into the Northern Territory they understood how big an area Quebec covers . These students know how big Australia is so to find something equally massive was impressive.

Do what you wanna do

E-WOT Image: my image via befunky

I have just used Wordle to make an image of my E-WOT blog and then I have customised it by going to the BeFunky site. I did it because I wanted to. That’s the whole point these days. We can do what we want with technology and use it to produce, create and offer whatever we wish. There is no longer one size fits all in terms of use and content creation. That being the case, nothing in the use of educational technology should be set in concrete nor should it be mandated in terms of use because we are still in the process of  discovering what there is in terms of technology to benefit education. As we use technology with teaching we shouldn’t have the market economy or human capital head on. We should be looking through our education lens as we always have. Now, though, more than ever , I think , teachers are in the position where they can test and try all sorts of devices, OS’s, software, sites and sounds. We are pioneering still. We are partners in learning with our students, parents and colleagues. There is so much to discover and so much to unfold and unpack as an educator, there is no way we can be lone ranger in the classroom. We need to connect with each other and our students so we are constantly creating a feedback loop which will eventually, assuming technology doesn’t keep developing at this rapid rate, settle on best practice. We ended up with textbooks, workbooks and pens and pencils for quite some time once we moved away from inkpots and pens. We had reached the colourful highlighter and texta phase when the ground shifted and desktop computers took off. At the moment the internet shifts and resettles about every 6 months so you have to change your approach to a certain extent. About every two years devices and OS’s have significant changes . What did we do before iPads which are now tablets? We have to connect and collaborate because it is a rapid change phase and the ideas burgeon and grow into useful and usable classroom tools. My next post will look at how I think we are managing this. Some people think we aren’t. In terms of education there is a lot to consider and take on board. It’s not just a matter of using laptops or Photoshop or iPads. It’s much much more and it is fun. So, until the next post, just do what you want to do with technology and if it is being processed through your teacher head , it will have a good impact.

Create interesting images

FotosketcherI am always on the lookout for image manipulation programmes to liven up my whiteboard, my slide presentations and my videos. It is good when you find a programme which will make multiple images form one. Fotosketcher is a free programme which will do just that. It is very easy to use and it’s as simple as loading the image and clicking. There are sliders and other tools to play with to make your photo effects even more interesting and with that sort of thing it is a matter of playing with the tools and seeing what they can do. As long as you don’t save it , you can play with the effects for as long as you like. I took an iPad image and put it through the draw option. The change is instant. Photo enhancing programmes have come a long way. The Windows 7 version is running fine on Windows 8. It is software which has had some pretty impressive reviews. Since it is so quick , it’s a great classroom tool.

Classroom Technology Snapshot

mot du jour Image: Ma Maitresse It is May 2013 and week 4 of term 2. What am I doing with technology in my class?

Year 8

My year 8s love using their mobile phones with the French apps I showed them in the first week of the school year. Before lesson starts the boys are playing soccer and rugby games on their phones with a French team in it because they know that relates to learning French. These students do not have laptops.

We have been to a supermarket online and done a cross curriculum shop
We are preparing an oral presentation on Cuisine which is supported by slides
We are getting better at using wordreference.com and reverso.net instead of a translator
We are making an electronic display of the things we like and the things other people like
We practice our vocab with Provoc and Imagiers on You Tube
We have uploaded exercises onto LMS

Year 9s

We have just presented an iMovie or PowerPoint/Keynote movie about ourselves in french
We have learnt space vocabulary with movies and ProVoc
We have watched little French videos of Cite de l’espace
We have learnt to use reverso.net and wordreference.com really well
We learn grammar from slide presentations
We are making a podcast in French of our shopping trip to the moon
We have uploaded exercises onto LMS

Year 11s

We are really good at reverso.net and wordreference.com
We have just watched a feature film Les Choristes
We are doing exercises related to that on our laptops
We blog about everything we learn
We do Mot du jour every week and explore a couple of words each week using a graphic organiser
We have uploaded exercises onto LMS

Year 12s

We are really good at reverso.net and wordreference.com
We have just watched a feature film Comme une image
We are doing exercises related to that on our laptops
We are blogging really well about everything we learn
We do Mot du jour every week and explore a couple of words each week using a graphic organiser
We have uploaded exercises onto LMS

All the tools you could possibly want

cools tools for schools Lenva Shearing has created a Cool Tools for Schools wiki and has deservedly been rewarded for all her work. You can email her with other ideas for cool classroom tools. It is a site which has grown because Ms Shearing took the time to organise it and so the structure is there now so that the more others help and contribute the more it will be a beneficial and helpful site for everyone . We are at that stage now where we need to keep getting materials and resources together online so there are banks of information and help which we can use to create dynamic classrooms. These are not motivators. They are tools. Like paper, pens, books used to be. There is no reason for us not to be working together to find the best resources for our classrooms. When a whole planet of teachers can collaborate as Lenva Shearing is showing us we can then our classrooms ought to be awesome.

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