Innovation is done

Looking around the inside of one of Google’s data centres is fascinating and you can hear from the vice president of the Google data centres himself. As he says , innovation is not done, not by a long shot. We may eventually get to the stage where we have smaller, more efficient data centres but that will take time, planning , thinking and innovation. You can see from the tour that a lot of thinking has gone into place to create a centre like this. I use Google all the time. I have never really thought about it being a place which has to be maintained and had no concept of the enormity of it. I just use Google. The centre is run on hard work but thought has had to go in as to how to manage the sustainability of a place like that. I am wondering what the air quality is like inside this water cooled, air conditioned centre. As they move around on their little scooters then some thought has gone into physical activity. You could not sit all day as you worked somewhere like this. All this for my Google searches and Google apps. It’s not just what goes on our screens which is important. It is all the work and infrastructure behind it which allows you to understand just what we are achieving and then to understand what the vice president of Google data centres clearly understands. We are not done yet with the innovation for the brains of the internet. We need to grow and develop our own brains to keep moving forward.

Content review

content planningIt doesn’t matter who you are providing content for. It doesn’t matter if you are an educator, a business owner, a trainer , an entrepreneur, an organisation, society or individual, you have to create a process whereby you review the content you are producing. I have created two slides which show how I quickly assess my content. It has to be current. My content has to address the fact I have a number of visitors from all different countries, some of whom do not speak English. I have to make some sort of effort to ensure the limitations of electronic translators will not mar comprehension. It is also important to be aware that you can offer your content in different ways and that visual literacy is very important in a digital world. Sometimes you find old content you created which needs to be updated and made relevant because the core messages and information are still relevant. People want to know there is value in content. They want to be able to use it, add to it, grow it and move it forward.

content review If you want them to act on your content you need to explain why and give them reasons for doing so. Content also needs to be appropriate for the audience. Nothing more unsettling to find out you don’t belong where that content is and you don’t want anything more to do with it. The opposite is also true. You find yourself engaging with content and then find yourself asking – What was that all about? Why did I bother? There was nothing in it. There are what are known as puff pieces. Your content review then has to focus on relevancy and context. You need to create a framework to ensure others can see the relevance of your content. Some of that it is in your display. Some of it is the perspective you offer and the way in which you show the value of the content. People like to have takeaways. They are surrounded with information and stuff. If you don’t look at the creation, presentation and development of your content in a constructive way then you just become part of digital chatter.

Benefits of coding

That cartoon came up on my Facebook again this morning, endorsed by a teacher. We live in the digital age and we can be victims of it and put ourselves in the position of being constantly rescued or told, or we can take control of it and have some input, some capacity to see what is happening and have sufficient knowledge to be able to manage what happens with devices and computers. I am not a big coder but I know enough to know when to alert sites, to know how to discuss technical problems and to negotiate improvements. I know when to be concerned or not when something goes wrong and I know how to customise some things when I want to and it’s possible. Knowing code puts you in the driver’s seat. You make better choices. Coding is cardio for you brain and The Smart Girl Workout explains it well. The article on the Benefits of Coding explains why it is good for anyone to learn how to code and then provides a number of links to support the arguments. It covers a number of different benefits including sustainablity. Douglas Rushkoff, in the video, has looked at our digital world from all angles and has widely shared his ideas. He analyses and questions our digital world  in a comprehensive way. Rex Salisbury looks at the benefits of immersive learning at coding bootcamps where you are in an intensive learning situation and come out of it with a strong sense of achievement and knowledge. For some that would be a better way of going about it rather than being drip fed. Immersive learning cannot be sustained because it’s exhausting and demanding but it’s a great way to get a head start into the ongoing brain cardio work of coding.

Kahoot

Kahoot is a Norwegian based interactive learning application which is designed to engage students through the use of IWB and a device. It works as easily on a phone as it does on any other device. People create Kahoot learning games and can share them. You do not have to . You can set your profile to private . It is important to check the settings since they are there to protect young students and for people who want some time to get to know the site and what it does before they go public. Wise choice on the developers’ part. I have chosen this clip because it gives a good overview of Kahoot and how to do it but the site is also very helpful with tutorials. In addition you will find plenty of good videos about Kahoot on YouTube so that you can familarise yourself with what Kahoot can do and how others use it. There is a review here on edshelf and another one here on tool review with some sound review questions for you to ask yourself. What a good idea that is. By now we should have standard checklist questions which we ask ourselves before we buy or try apps,tools and devices.

Share and share and share the magic

There is so much magic with technology . We have to keep the conversations going. We have to keep sharing. We are connected. Gradually , we are working out positive behaviours and practices around the internet, mobile technology and device use. We are now working out the social side of it so our practices do not impinge on others and infringe upon their space and sensibilities. It is becoming obvious now who the team player are NOT. The little video looks at some of the things we have come to agree upon but might want to discuss. There is always a personal preference allowed in our thinking because it no longer has to be one size fits all and it no longer has to be we are all doing this now , in this way, with this. The conversations have to continue so we arrive at consensus and a happy way of finding the magical things in technology use. It is easy for me to say , “Put your phone away , please” because we teach responsible use. The Year 9s were starting to champ at the bit because they know they will have laptops next year and they want them now. To help combat this frustration I have lifted my game with the iPads and my laptop use so we are using great sites, great images, great tools.discover Quebec I walked into class with the Discover Quebec app for them to download. They loved it. It’s an intelligent app which had 3D renditions, videos, maps, images, interviews. A whole information rich and visually impressive app which treats users intelligently and runs in French and English. I pulled out my really nice presentation on adjectives and one of the students remarked about how nicely the colours all went together and how the the whole board was filled with a balance of colour. They loved the red Ferrari on my wishlist in French. So then one of the students, as she prepared her presentation, was using an app to make a background for the slides with different coloured fingerprints.Her own fingerprints and her own choice of colours. Custom made backgrounds for learning their French. We have set up a mega online vocab challenge for next week of one boy against the other 3 best students one at a time. Everyone warmed to that kind of risk taking. In the next class I had my spreadsheet out which automatically calculates the percentages for the students. I remarked how daft Excel was for calculating at the bottom of the percentages 576% or something equally nonsensical. It should have something which stops it from doing ridiculous things. One student felt my frustration and offered to change it to an average for me because by now they know how number challeged I am . My percentages spreadsheet is orginally thanks to my brother in law but by now I can actually do the function stuff myself. So the student was trying to do the average and it all hashtagged and went stupid. A couple of students offered suggestions and I showed him how to format cells. We were doing this in French. It was not prescribed “content”, the exams and assessments will never show we were doing this. The bell went and we decided to finish it off on Monday. That was all learning based on sharing but we would not have been learning had we stuck to the plan, the device, the ascribed roles of teacher and student. We were having fun because we can and we were working out the boundaries with social niceties and consideration.

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