I have had the Habitica app on my iPad for quite a while and hadn’t got around to using it. I loaded it up today and thought, no, no, I don’t like this. I looked up the online site up on my computer and it looks so much better, I can follow it better and I have some chance of deciding whether this is for me or not. Another negative , though, probably not. Do I need to gamify my life and todo lists? Maybe.habitica Will it motivate me better? Don’t think so. I think it will create a layer of stress. I am willing to try, though, and find out whether this is for me or not. I really like how you can set the goals up under headings and then look at how you are achieving. That is excellent. Often you write up lists and todos and you get no reward for what you are doing and then you don’t pay a lot of attention to what you are actually achieving. Habitica makes you notice. I think the gaming aspect of it would really suit younger people and the video certainly attests to that. Habitica does allow you to look at your life in a logical fashion and work towards achieving what you want to achieve. Gamifyng your life is probably a good thing if it is getting you places. I am going to try it for a month and then see what I think. There are certainly plenty of videos to help me along the way. If nothing else Habitica has made me notice that dealing with my emails is an achievement.


Versatile NoteLedge

NoteLedgeI have used the free, older version of the NoteLedge app on my iPad and there is a MacBook version as well which is pretty handy. NoteLedge is easy to use, offers some good note making options and is something which suits a classroom well. If you look at the images you can see my original handwritten ideas are much neater than the stylus writing. To be honest, I am better on a graphics tablet and with something like Tux Paint. Is it me? It is the app? I look at it this way. If I use it the developers will see how bad I am with a stylus on an iPad and make the app more responsive. It prints quite well but , you know, I am an adult, I want to use cursive. If I wanted to print , I would type. That said, you can look at the screenshots on the app site and it may just be I need to practise more. Electronic things can develop as you do and they become familar with your way of doing things as you use them. My next thought is a perennial one. Should I pursue handwriting on the iPad or just keep it to my graphics tablet? Do I pursue something which looks pretty sloppy or do I use the tool which makes me look effective? My answer is a bit of both. Keep practising but use my graphics tablet when I really need to have a credible image. I have tried different styluses and so far…no. Not that good. Last week I was able to get NoteLedge Ultimate for free on App of the Day. I really like it. My handwriting is a bit better but there is so much more with this one. It is 9.99 paid so you would really want to know that this is something you would use regularly and would be of good help. I started to work more effectively with this version because it runs really smoothly. One good thing about NoteLedge is you can export it to different file formats. The free version is very effective, though, and you can sync across devices.

If I am using something like this in class for the first time, we do the 5×20. 5 things in 20 minutes. It could be 5 things I like, 5 things about winter, 5 things I want to do, 5 things I did at the weekend. Sometimes I get the students to load their efforts onto the LMS so I can have a good look at what hey have done. Other times we just do show and tell and oral feedback. Students love using new things, they love exploring and they love reviewing. I always tell them that we won’t know if this is any good for learning or not unless they try it out and tell me what they think. I usually use Edmettle to get the feedback. Meanwhile, I shall keep practising.

Start a research project

infographic Image: Infographic of the day We are looking at how to create a really worthy and worthwhile research project. This is how we have started:

1.Basically the project will fall into 3 areas :

1. Something to improve myself – fish pond
2. Something to improve the world – homelessness
3. Something to improve a group – coping with diabetes

2.The research will probably fall into one of the 3 areas :

1. Pure research – cold fusion and how it will be safer
2. Practical research – how to mosaic
3. Social research – the impact of mobile technology on learning

3.You need to keep notes and a log of all you do right from the start. Recommend :

1. a blog on Tumblr because it is quick

2. Evernote because it can be accessed across devices

3. A web page of your own

Paper notes can be lost. Files on a computer can be corrupted and flash drives can be lost. Keep a record NOW.

4.Look for some really good infographics or mind maps to do with your research topic. Biggerplate.com has some really good mind maps

Have you thought of creating your own mindmap of what you are thinking  with regard to your project ?

Social media can be your best friend

You can use social media to improve your position, your message, your plans and dreams but at some stage you have to sit down and do some social media and website analytics. I have blogged about Website Grader before and Hubspot also has an amusing, but useful Twitter Grader. My current grade is 83%. Ali Anani’s slide presentation looks at other ways of getting useful feedback and information and strategic applications of Twitter. It is done from a personal point of view so you can see just how everything is linked together. That is the key. Creating links, looking at how those links work and getting some good web analytics tools to see how you are travelling , for want of a better expression. If you are going well, so are your messages. If you want your messages out there you can start off randomly and any way you like but, in the end, it is important to adopt an approach like Ali and pin yourself to some data and work strategically on the weak points. Like Hubspot Marketing Grader, Ali’s tools provide you with good insight. There are plenty of free tools out there so you can appraise yourself and your efforts. Make use of them.

Free Graphic Organisers

If you and your students can’t get organised from these 10 pages of graphic organisers…then I’ll just have to find more! This site has a lot of freebies to be used in class and electronically. It is so much easier when you do not have to spend that extra time actually making the tools you need to teach and facilitate learning. The graphic organisers are scaffolding for thinking, planning, ideas development. There are Venn diagrams, fish, apples, charts,note takers, flow charts…so much! A lot of them support literacy and thinking development but even if you don’t want to use them they will at least give you some quick ideas of how to create your own electronic scaffolding for teaching.

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