Saturday, 30 January 2010

Prezi - presentation software education version

I first saw Prezi at a Debating workshop run by Ben is a visual and dynamic presentation tool.

Here's an example of a Prezi, taken from the prezi site. This one is by a lady called Annette Evans:

I've just signed up and will be having a play.

Look here for the freetechnologyforteachers blog review.

Friday, 22 January 2010

Editing the size of video in your blog

Freetechnology for teachers brings you a step by step guide to resize video so that it fits your blog.

Go here to find out how

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Book review: Reinventing Project Based Learning, Boss and Krauss, ISTE

This book looks at mainly technology driven project based, cross curricular learning.

The part that I am reading at the moment talks about possible pitfalls:

  • Long on activity, short on learning outcomes
  • Technology layered over traditional practice – internet research then powerpoint is not a quality project.

  • Trivial Thematic units – really this points at theme based learning not necessarily being project based. What this means , I think, is that it does not naturally hang together as a cohesive mass of learning. I know from experience that sometimes it isn't possible to make a project that includes all of the elements you need to cover, if you are curriculum led. Some themes can be effective – year long themes such as:
    • change,
    • survival,
    • justice...
    • another one which came to my mind was the theme of connections...this crops up more and more with me in my classroom.
  • Over scripted with many many steps – this will lead to learning which looks very much the same – again,, I think that sometimes you need to have learning which looks the same. PBL is not always the best way of learning or teaching for every student (I can think of many students for whom the lack of structure is at best confusing and at worst, terrifying). Educating children to have the confidence, resilience and persistence to tackle open ended projects is the challenge which faces teachers.


Chapter 4, p65

Best projects:

  • Are loosely designed with multiple learning paths
  • Are generative, causing students to construct meaning
  • Have a driving question
  • Capture student interest (compelling reallife or simulated experiences)
  • Are realistic and multidisciplinary
  • Involve others outside school – this really lends itself to blogging/wikis
  • Tap into rich data or primary sources
  • Enable students to learn from each other
  • Promote enquiry
  • Incorporate 21st century skills such as communication, project management and technology – didn't we do these things in the 20th century as well? I must find out what that phrase is commonly meant to mean
  • Encourage/rely on key learning dispositions such as persistence, risk-taking, confidence, self reflection and cooperation.

  • Make students learn by doing...maybe we should rename schools as Doing.

Chapter 8, Building connections and branching out
One section focuses on parents as a bank of experts. One such connection (Kathy Cassidy)was with preservice teachers.  This made me wonder how technology is being taught at PGCE courses in UK.

Are students at University of West of England, where I graduated, being taught about either PBL or 21st Century skills?  Is their training to mine, 15 years ago? Kathy Cassidy has a great site dedicated to primary web 2.0...I've been looking for an age specific site for a while ...this is a wiki and has some interesting wiki links for sifferent areas of the primary class.  Great to see them in action rather than just some ideas about how they could be used.  Here's one - a choose your own adventure about a tennis ball, which was written collaboratively.
I like the idea of linking up with preservice teachers.  A pool of interested, knowledgable adults mixing with a pool of children writers.
I stumbled, via the Kathy Cassidy link, onto Dr Strange, who teaches an Ed Tech based course (here's a link to becoming great at using twitter in 15 minutes a day) and has lots of online conversations here.  He mentions MrC, a teacher whose blog I follow.  
It made me think about how closely connected our blog/web connections are.

Things I want to look at:

PBL schools in SW England

PYP schools in UK

Flat classroom


Sites I have looked at:

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Using flash animation from other sites on your smartboard slides.

Capturing Flash animations for your Smartboard slides

Now we’re into the real fancy stuff. Many of the websites that you will visit will have some fancy FLASH games on them that you will add to your favourites and will have all lined up to use in a lesson, when suddenly the network goes down. Well this is how to “borrow” those fancy FLASH games and have them stored on smartboard slides, ready to use and play and NO internet connection required!!
1. Open up a smartboard file
2. Open up the internet link and game you wish to “borrow” it is important that you do start the game, but you don’t have to play the whole thing!
3. Now click on the tools button (bottom right hand side of your tool bar) and choose internet options from the drop down list
4. Under browsing history choose settings
5. Choose view files from the next window that opens
6. You will be greeted with all the files you have viewed, massive list, to quickly find the shockwave flash file that you want to “borrow” sort the files using the “Last Accessed” button, press it twice that way it will put the most recent at the top
7. Hopefully you will see a file on the left that ends with .swf (this stands for shockwaveflash)
8. Click and drag the icon down to the bottom of your screen and onto your blank smartbook file.
9. The game should appear! Simply change the size to fill the screen or annotate around it then save it in your gallery or wherever you save your files!

This does not work 100% of the time, sometimes errors are thrown up, but you can’t expect perfection all the time can you!

Thanks to Andy for these notes to his smartboard course.

Friday, 8 January 2010

They Need their teachers to learn

Below is a video which promotes teachers learning new technology.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Other class blogs...look here for some links

Thanks to edublogger for providing this growing list of class blogs.

I looked for some classes which were about the same age and quickly came up with a NZ school with a really interesting site.  I commented on a couple of their posts and hopefully they will look at our blog.

This is the simple way I am starting to link up learning.  I tried twitter earlier this year, but found that it was too unwieldy.  Selecting the right people to follow was tricky and I didn't feel I could monitor the tweets unless I spent an unmanageable amount of time online.

I still need to get a manageable way to encourage children to post more on the blog...