Friday, 18 September 2009

iSpring & PowerPoint

iSpring is a very useful free tool that sits inside Powerpoint and converts presentations including music, sounds effects, transitions etc. to Flash files. This is ideal for use in Learning Platforms when teachers wish to share presentations with pupils. PowerPoint files can be accessed from home but not all children will have the full Office suite or the Powerpoint viewer at home to be abe to access the presentation, a flash file however will play in any browser. It is very easy to use.

Unfortunately I can't find a way of incorporating Flash files into Blogger so have to upload it independently then embed it :-(

I have made several presentations which include active script - these do not work, so drag and drop games such as OXO, Connect Four and Snakes and Ladders are no good, neither does the text box on screen PowerPoint Show work. At the moment I have only tried the free version, I will try the other two versions soon :-)

For more information or to download go to

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Aviary's Myna

An on-line friend, Dennis Newson was told earlier about Myna and passed the news onto me by e-mail. I am so glad he did! Myna is an amzing on-line music editor that will be so useful in secondary schools where not all computers have music editing software on and as they are networked it is not easily installable! Also students will be able to sign up and use it at home if they need to add a soundtrack to their work.

There is a bank of sound files that can be used to add music to web pages, presentations etc. The user can record straight into the program or upload clips to use straight from a computer.

I have played with one very short clip and it is accessible in various ways:

Just a link

CarolCarol's trial :-).egg by carolrb on Aviary

In the editor:

Or I can download it to my computer to use as a background track on a video or in a presentation.

It is very good and very versatile - a real find :-)

To learn more and watch a video clip demo visit

Thanks Dennis :-)

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Carol's Blog

I have been experimenting with Tagul, a new sort of cloud creating program. As you can see I did not take out enough of the common words, it really is just an experiment. The program is an beta version, I failed a couple of times before managing to get this one right so it needs a bit of patience but I do like the way the words turns around to be easily read. Each word acts as a search term so it is easy to navigate away by accident. :-) To display it in a blog you need to copy the cloud metadata and resize the image info there - there is help on the blog but that bit is very quick and easy. The percentage measurement does not seem to be workingfor me but you can take the tick out of that box and whatever size in pixels you put it it will display at. This one is 400 x 400, any bigger and it takes over the page. Have a go at

Sunday, 13 September 2009

The Flat Classroom Project

Sunday 13th September I attended an SL meeing where Chris Smith (SL: Shamblesguru Voom) interviewed Vicki Davis in RL based in Camilla, Georgia Eastern USA, Julie Lindsay in RL based in Beijing involved in international education with colleague Kim, and Kim Cofino in RL based in Bangkok, about the Flat Classroom Project.

This was a pre-conference session for the real life conference in Hong Kong that starts Wednesday 16th September 2009.

Notes taken at the meeting:

The Flat Classroom Project is based on the book - ‘The World is Flat‘ by Thomas Friedman. The topics studied and discussed are real-world scenarios based on that book and students collaborate on a wiki then produce an individual multimedia piece in response to their topic. A clip in this piece is ‘outsourced’ to a team member in another classroom, so not only do students study the flatteners as discussed by Friedman, they use them in the project.

The project has been going for 3 years and started when Julie joined her classroom in Bangladesh with Vicki’s classroom in Camilla Georgia for a project. It was very sucessful so they developed it further gradually inviting and involving other people and they have now developed a network around the world. It has evolved as a pedagogical approach; teachers and pupils share what they do using web 2.0 tools to flatten their classrooms.

There is a lot of information about the various projects :
They want schools everywhere to be able to take part in the projects , to see what they are doing visit;
The three of them said that the projects are amazing – they involve students from around the world, pupils peer review each other’s work giving international feedback – that is an amazing motivation for pupils. Pupils and schools are no longer working in isolation. In action this is very powerful. There are expert advisers who advise pupils on the wikis and there can be 50 or so judges to judge the outcomes of the projects. There are so many people involved in planning, reviewing, guiding the pupils in the projects it is a massive international audience that get access. It is all recorded in videos, the videos are observed and comments are fed back in the wiki. Teachers or expert advisers may use Skype to talk to children or teachers. Time, distance and cultural boundaries no longer exist. There were three projects last year and the feedback showed that pupils wanted to widen the age range involved. This year the projects will be open to 8 – 11 year olds. The work is 85 – 90% in English but other languages can be accommodated if necessary. Language problems have been overcome where they arise by the use of Google Translator. Boundaries have to be got around by the use of technology tools – the project aims to empower students to cope with issues that arise. This is now taken for granted, pupils who may be otherwise excluded are now included.

“Empowering learning and allowing students to be engaged and troubleshoot to MAKE things happen - beginning with the end in mind.” Vicki Davies

Teachers’ learning experiences
Every project evolves from the previous project. There have been growing pains.
  • Last October the groups were 7 or 8 student and that was too large. Groups of 3 to 4 are ideal, they struggle with that because holiday, sports schedules and time zones etc are all different. We are aiming at 5 students in a group now.
  • Engaging student is quite difficult; teachers need to be a part of it. The best teachers for this are those engaged with blogging with their children. The project needs a highly-engaged teacher.
  • Sometimes teachers have to get up at 3am to work synchronously but students have to understand that sometimes they will work asynchronously. The projects have lasted through three time zones so takes some planning!
The conference is Thursday to Saturday and comprises of 2 parts:
  • Addressing the digital divide
  • Making Ted type of talks about the Flat Classroom Project
Forty people are coming together including pupils and educators. They will be in teams, all working on the same objectives, getting to grips with web 2.0 based on the theme of the Digital Divide. They are being asked to brain-storm solutions, inspire, unite etc., and to put presentations together to show their ideas. The teams will also have virtual members, who, if they can, will be part of the back channel and ustream, the wiki and ning may be used. Presentations will be made on the second day.

“Seeing the engagement is wonderful, you create a really rich learning environment, educators who have been there and experienced it find it very powerful, exciting and want to be part of it.” Kim – I think :-)

Information from the noteccard given out at the meeting:

Flat Classroom Project
The plan is to run three flat classroom projects over the next 12 months to cater for different curriculum and calendar variations globally.
* Flat Classroom Project 09-3 (Oct-Dec),
* Flat Classroom Project 10-1 (Jan-March),
* Flat Classroom Project 10-2 (April-June)

We also plan to run three Digiteen projects to cater for global requests and calendars.
* Digiteen 09-3 (Oct-Dec),
* Digiteen 10-1 (Jan-March),
* Digiteen 10-2 (April-June)
(late Feb-April 2010)
Based upon the annual Horizon Report, this project incorporates the current research on students, learning, and the newest technology and is announced in January 2010 with the title and the author(s) that will be incorporated into the project. More details coming soon

This is a new project still in development based on the student-led outcome from the Flat Classroom Conference held in Qatar, January 2009. The winning student team invented the term and started ideas for 'Eracism' as a global project. We are currently putting it together and details are coming...however this will be cutting edge (of course) and include virtual reality, collaboration and interaction using Web 2.0 and have outcomes that can be transferred into local communities. Watch this space! We tentatively plan to run this new project twice:
* Oct -December 2009
* late March - May 2010

Educator Flat Classroom Project
Also, as a heads up, and still very much at the discussion stage, we are planning an educator/pre-service teacher immersion project option. We aim to provide an opportunity for educators to be part of their own project as professional development or as part of their pre-service 'training', thereby developing skills and knowledge in Web 2.0, multimedia and global collaborative project pedagogy. Once again, watch this space for more updates!

The Flat Classroom Project is Looking for expert advisers and judges now!

"Everyone is on an amazing learning curve – it is cutting edge and we are all out there doing it – come and join us and be part of it!"

I know I have said it before - and I know I probably could not stick the pace - but I wish I was back in the classroom now :-)

ICT CPD for E-Safety

Interview about ICT CPD for E-Safety in SecondLife -

Leon Cych interviewed me about how we use Second Life for CPD covering E-Safety It is very strange but I had no clue that we were the only people doing it :-) I had not even thought about it - it seems such an obvious thing to do to me. Discussion and back channel Indroductions and saying what delegates like about Second Life Teaching in Second Life - more general not e-safety!

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Pre-Business English Course Tour & Discussion

I attended a very interesting session in Second Life this evening. Graham Stanley, Gary Motteram and Gerhilde Meissl-Egghart were describing their new business English course that is being run as part of the Avalon project in Second Life.
The idea is to run their classes of 16 student in four groups of four. Each group will discuss and agree on a business proposal and they will carry out research etc., and work up to making a presentation for the rest of the teams in a Dragon’s Den type of game. It is hoped that this will engage the students as they can choose their own project to collaborate on. It is also hoped that the language vocabulary etc., will come from this work. Currently the team feel that raised confidence in speaking English in an interview or presentation situation would be a positive outcome from the course which is just a pilot to see what tools are needed and how best to make use of the VWs for teaching and learning business English. The group think that doing this collaborative project will use Second Life, and possibly other virtual worlds at other times, for what virtual worlds do well, and that other work may be done through Moodle. If the pilot is successful it may be possible to expand the course.
For lots more information about the Avalon Project see
Or visit the island in Second Life:
Hear the audio -
See more photos