Tuesday, 27 December 2011
Monday, 7 November 2011
- Who is going to add the devices to the network and provide passwords?
- How to you plan stop outsiders using the network if a common password escapes into the community?
- How often is the techie on site to sort out wireless access issues?
- What about filtering?
- Phones are an extra considerations – are pupils allowed to bring in their own phones? What are the rules for using phones in school?
- How is their use going to be monitored?
- Is there a policy in place? Does that cover insurance, e-safety, expected behaviour and sanctions?
- Is staff training needed?
- Has training been budgeted for in the cost?
- Have you talked to prospective trainers to find someone happy to try to train teachers in using all of the different devices they may get in their class?
- Is school going to provide devices for those pupils who can’t afford them?
- Is school going to allow school devices to go home with individual pupils?
- Does school insurance cover home use / transportation? The school filtering will not work at home, and some homes may not have broadband. How does school intend to address that issue? Will filtered dongles be provided? Who is going to set them up and pay for the usage?
- Do you intend to use apps?
- How will you purchase the apps?
- How will you synchronise the devices?
- Will school purchase the apps for home devices?
- Will schools ask parents to buy the apps and provide money for those who won’t?
- How will you charge the devices? If you have a Parasync suitcase or similar for the class ones, how will you charge the home devices?
- What about pupils who forget to charge their device or bring their charger?
- Do you need more electrical points / sockets? Are trailing wires going to be a health and safety issue?
- Do you have a budget for apps? A set of 30 devices even at a few pounds each is a considerable expense over a year or two.
- Where are pupils going to store their work if being used by several students? Is there are master computer with storage that they all link to?
- For photographs, video or animation work?
- For digital art work to be printed and put on display or displayed on an electronic photo album, Smart Screen, plasma screen, signage screen?
- For music lessons?
- As shared research / collaborative projects in groups or pairs?
- Just for Office applications - Internet, Word, PowerPoint, Excel and e-mail?
- For research using CDs or DVDs?
- For watching video clips or listening to podcasts?
- For using IWB materials such as SMART or Promethean Active?
- For audio / SMS / photographs / Skype / internet research / note taking?
- For on the spot, use as needed dictionary checks, fact checkers and searchers?
- To access lessons after the event for revision, shared resources etc?
Monday, 17 October 2011
opportunity arose I had no hesitation in signing up for a second on-line course to acquire a bit of paper necessary for the job. I found a course, signed up, paid up and got stuck in.
I have just completed it, I have spent 18 days, almost non-stop, working on an advanced TEFL certificate course. I have now received my certificate, I passed by a wide margin thank goodness, after being a teacher for most of my life, the bit that was new was teaching English as a foreign language rather than to native speakers.
|A typical sequencing task|
I was about half way through the course and had felt several times there was lots of missing information. Suddenly I found out that in some, though not all explanation pages, some words were hyperlinks to glossary type of entries, but there was no way of guessing, they were black typeface, the same size, not underlined... there was nothing to hint at a link! It was only when I ran my mouse over a couple of statements trying to decide something about the answer to a question that I found them.
Tuesday, 21 June 2011
I went back and read the instructions for Blogger - they are the same as for everything else...
So - does it work on a new post and not the old post? No!
Back to the drawing board ;-)
Hmm - come back to it and used two different templates....
driver touble - again!
Wednesday, 15 June 2011
I have seen lots of a huge range of genre adult literature for all of my book reading apps, some free, some paid for and definitely in large numbers but have not seen loads of children books available. Admittedly children’s books need much more in the way of images and video, maybe sound files to make them interesting but unless they work out to be massive in files size so that they are hard to download I can’t understand why!
I decided to try to see what the benefit of using the ePub format instead of a website is. In the dim, distant past, I wrote several websites for schools. These days however, I wonder if a format suitable for use on personal devices may be more useful - still undecided on that one as this is my first experiment. Also, looking towards the future I am not sure whether I should try to start developing apps or books! I have not worked out which is the best format for what.
This is a short account of my issues, if anyone is making an ePub book there may be bits here to help!
Very early Yesterday morning I started an ePub book on a topic which I created a website for years ago. I still have suitable images and video, so in theory it was going to be a quick test... I soon discovered there is no such thing as a quick test!
Having done the hour training session on my Macbook I needed to replicate the set up on my iMac - first problem how did I import the template into Pages! Having achieved that I started writing.
On the course we were told clearly to have one image and one lump of text on the page then move on to another page... I did that! No-one could say why, the tutor just said that that more “went funny, err did funny things.” I imported images and wrote a few words about each one. Next I added video files and a link to a Google map. I set the floating bits to inline - was told that is essential! Saved - exported to an ePub - No, no, no you can’t do that! No clue why, but it was not acceptable.
I guessed that it may be the video format, so imported the videos into iMovie, exported to Quicktime and, success, my ePub book exported.
I synchronised my ipad to see it - hmmmm - okay but it neededs loads more work. Most titles were on the wrong page, there were huge gaps and an empty page. It had doubled the content on one page and that looked good.
So - back on the computer I doubled the content on the pages, two headings, two images, two bits of text. It looked better, a bit more like a book.
I added it to the iPad - and - it still looked dreadful and the titles were still on the wrong pages. Pictures or videos were placed inside text and all sorts of strange things. Half pages were mixed up on the wrong pages, something I would have thought was impossible.
So - back to the drawing board. Version number three was back to very short pages, as recommended, just a photo and some text, but, it still failed.
I realised that at the end of a passage of text the cursor needs to be on the next line down or it thinks the picture, video, link or whatever goes at the end of the line. Hitting the in-line status for a picture then places it in the middle of the last line of text, if there is not a new line after the image it carries on the text from below. I also thought that as the pages were short to have them centered was really going to look better. So I added a few space at the top and between items, it all looked lovely on Pages - but disastrous in ePub...
I decided that as several of the headings were on the wrong pages it had to be something to do with page breaks, took them all out, put them all back... experimented with space, took them all out, put some back - tried all sorts. By this time I had probably published it 20 times and nothing improved it.
I knew it was driver trouble - though I was getting cross with the software by then. I was telling myself to think logically - I had homed in on spacing and line breaks but nothing made a difference, text from the next page entered the bottom of the page before the line break in several cases.
I was on the verge of giving up but thought of one more thing - I started to check the styles of each line - and - though my headings on two pages were the same size and colour as the other headings, they were called something different...
The styles are the key! As soon as each line was the right style it published and looked reasonable on the iPad - not nearly so good on the iPhone and the videos that play on the iPad don't play on the phone.
So I have my first short ePub made, it is called Children’s St Lucia, it is 12.3 MB.
Each time there is a line under a photograph saying who took it and it is on the left, it should be centered, each image should be centered. I have tried everything I can think of - centering the line before and after as well - nothing changes them.
At this point I am giving up for a while. The software is flaky! It is not just driver trouble.
However, taking into account it is never going to look like I want it to look it is still an easy way of making books for the iPod Touch, iPad and iPhone. It should also work on other devices...
If anyone has time to test it on any device and tell me which ones it works on, which it doesn’t etc., I would be really grateful. We could all learn whether it is worth developing books for children with it or whether or wait ;-) To download the book Click Here, add it to your book library and synchronise with any device having a suitable reader :-)
Saturday, 11 June 2011
I was particularly impressed with the workshops and need to practice and get to grips with so much!
ePub - Today I made my first ever ePub book, not to share as it is rubbish but to learn the techniques. I have so many ideas of ePub books to make I don’t know where to start! Embedding video, audio and images in a book is just such a wonderful way to make teaching resources available to pupils and for pupils to share information. http://support.apple.com/kb/ht4168 Many thanks to Oscar Stringer for the ePub session and his patience :-)
I have made my first iphone app with Dashcode - it is far too simple to be worth having, but it is a starting point. http://developer.apple.com/library/ios/#documentation/AppleApplications/Conceptual/Dashcode_UserGuide/Contents/Resources/en.lproj/MakingaWebApp/MakingaWebApp.html . I have started working on an app in Quipper.com but I think this offers more functionality - the downside is that I need a developer’s license to move forward...
I saw a demonstration of, and want to investigate Hype - it is a flash type of program, far more intuitive than the others as it is basically drag and drop, simple logic but no programming :-) It is built in html 5 so should play a website on virtually device - we shall see. Not sure that it is an app maker though, it may just be for making web sites in html 5!
Also Padilicious looks to be a very useful app making site! Can’t wait to try them all. http://www.padilicious.com/index.html
David Baugh lead the Make an App sessions and he is going to add the workshop information to his wiki http://www.makeanapp.info/
I have ideas, too many probably - and not enough time. Roll on the summer :-)
The easiest workshop for me to keep up with an understand was GarageBand on the iPad.
GarageBand turns the iPad into a recording studio, so anyone without any musical knowledge can make music but with just a little knowledge masterpieces can be made! There are a selection of pianos, organs, guitars, drums, and basses which sound amazing, Joe Moretti lead us through making a piece of music in an hour - not bad going by anyone’s standards!! It was great fun. Thanks again to Joe for the session. I am tempted to subject all to my first effort - but like my app I am sure no-one would appreciate it :-)
An ePub book for children first I think!
Having logged into Blogger for the first time in ages I am delighted to see a mobile template available - so - to view my blog on my phone now and see what it looks like :-)
Wednesday, 11 May 2011
I should probably first clarify that I am not an ESL teacher, not even much of a teacher these days, but...
My iPad is most used frequently by myself to
• check and respond to e-mail and Twitter whilst I am away from home
• make notes in meetings, seminars and more
• listen to podcasts or videocasts
• read from RSS feeds, websites, news and books
• play on the Garageband app - current favourite
• play silly game apps whilst travelling or wasting time
• currently - whilst trying to get thinner and fitter it sits in front of me on my exercise bike so that I can read and exercise - takes my mind off the exercise bit ;-)
My iPad is in demand almost the second my grandson arrives in the house with a "Can I play on your iPad please nan?"
Woody uses it for loads of games, books, painting and music apps - he even investigates those I have downloaded for myself, once he hands it back apart from having a depleted battery (he does like the sound up full) it has many apps still open. He flits from app to app trying them all out and having a fun time. He will happily play with it or on it whilst the adults are doing the boring coffee and talking bit, until someone offers to play with him!
We have not had a set of iPads in a school situation but there are many similarities with the iPad Touch which we have been using for a couple of years. The web access, apps, instant accessibility and long battery life makes them a huge success in the classroom.
If I was wanting to use mine for teaching there are a few things that I would consider…
- unless I "jailbreak" it I cannot share it with a class though a projector and screen
- if I make great use of an interactive whiteboard and have made lots of interactive resource with the IWB software I can't load that onto my iPad
- I can't share the games or websites created in Flash with my class
- The camera flash card, USB type of added extra is underpowered - I was not particularly successful at things I wanted to do with it.
The iPad is a lovely device with loads of wonderful apps for group work such as making stories, recording narrations, making animations, videos and other things with various different sorts of apps. It is a delight to use. I consider it a personal device rather than teaching device, if wanted something to use for teaching I prefer a laptop…. but that is just me and my preference others would say otherwise!
Saturday, 16 April 2011
two days so I have rushed through the weekend work and decided I had
better post before I go:-)
What is your perspective on the OLPC programme?
It was a great idea but flawed!
What do you like about it?
I love the concept of being able to educate pupils with technology to
help them overcome some of the difficulties they have to get the most
basic education. I admire the ideology that pupils given a computer
will educate themselves and the amount of money that various people
have put into this dream. The fact that it was initially aimed at
those pupils who have virtually nothing and this was going to give
some sort of equality is great.
What do you think went right and wrong?
The foundations for this initiative simply were not in place. Pupils
and schools needed electricity, a support system, wireless
infrastructure, the internet, and staff training. Most of those needed
to be in place before there could be serious hopes of success. Sadly
that lack caused huge problems, staff had little idea of how to
approach using them, often schools did not have the means to charge
them, did not have the repairs when they broke and the computers do
seem to have suffered even though the design was that they were to be
The project, in some places, suffered at the hands of man, crime meant
that the computers did not get into the hands of children, and even
where crime was not an issue still many computers did not get in the
hands of pupils.
The assumption that children would learn proved not to be the case.
Children did not learn how to use them, look after them or repair them
as had been expected in far too many cases. Being aware of Sugata
Mitra’s work I can’t help but wonder whether there was too much made
available and to individuals not groups. He proved that groups of
children will support each other and work things out but his computers
had internet access, power and were hardy desktops not laptops being
Possibly children who were given the computers were given too much too
quickly so that they could not get to grips with them. This is where
the SMS on the simple mobile phone projects teaching pupils to read
and write seem to have the advantage, they can do much less but what
they do is more structured. Mobile coverage is improving all of the
time and they are much cheaper.
I am not sure that much actually went right though I am sure that in
some places people are striving to make as much use of them as
possible such as Uruguay seems to be doing.
When compared with the statements:
“The cost of implementing an XO program, including the purchase of
laptops and other infrastructure, as well as development expenses, has
been estimated at about $75 per student per year. Even a less
expensive national program would be difficult to afford in a country
such as Rwanda, which currently spends a total of about $109 per pupil
per year on primary education.
If donors are expected to foot the bill, they need to consider how the
costs and benefits of laptop computers compare to the proven cost-
benefit ratios of other aid programs for improving social or
educational conditions; in short, opportunity costs. For example,
apportioning a total of $8 per person per year over the next five
years to basic health expenses could save 11 million lives in Africa,
according to projections of a prominent coalition. A total
expenditure of $0.50 per pupil per year in Kenya on deworming was
found to increase school participation by 14 percent.”
One cannot help but wonder whether the money used in the initiative so
far may have been better spent!
Friday, 15 April 2011
Sunday, 10 April 2011
I thought using the app version of it on the iPad may give me some insight, it seemed a good plan as we have had a few days of beautiful weather and it was great to be able to start the learning journey outside. However I was not bargaining on finding and getting hooked, within seconds, on the acoustic guitar synthesiser which sounds very realistic. I was so delighted with it I starting to work out the chord sequences of dozens of old folk songs.
It has a full range of keys both major and minor and a preset selection of finger picking rhythms which seem to be set in a straight 4 time, any speed but not any time signature, not that I have found so far anyway!! Consequently I abandoned the presets but am enjoying playing myself.
Having a few iPads in schools would give children comparatively cheap opportunities of playing a large combination of instruments together. With preset chords it should sound lovely and allow pupils to add real instruments with with an in-tune chordal accompaniment. We have had the drums being played on a class set of iPod Touches but Garageband opens the field much wider. I am not sure yet whether the built in recording facility would be useful in this situation but I guess not as it would only record what was being played on one iPad.
Here is a You Tube example of a piece of music composed on the iPad - somthing like this but with real instruments, flute or clarinet for eample playing a main melody would be great in school giving great opportunities for improvisation too.
Teachers who use songs in class to aid teaching such as those who teach languages to very young children would really find this app useful - not having to carry a guitar to and from school, having it on-hand at any time and so easy to play - simply a dream :-) Not only that it is very easy to record a song so that the teacher could just start it playing then be with children doing actions or whatever without having to play at the same time. I would have loved this at school!!
There are a few blog posts to share ideas for this very new capability
From the comments on the following blog clearly not everyone shares my opinion… http://www.musicradar.com/news/tech/garageband-for-ipad-7-things-musicians-need-to-know-391104
Experienced musicians can get quite an amazing sound from this app, my favourite so far is this version of Let it be but the walk through here and other demos may be much more useful!
Wednesday, 6 April 2011
If you have any sites to add please go to Google Docs to add them and share the page with anyone who may find it useful - visit https://docs.google.com/document/d/1QHJoG7pbZxQPNEzIhCNIuLwxQIydlyIcINdLLD5xOkg/edit?hl=en
Re the embedded Google doc - I had to add some code to give a bit of height and width, it started off very tiny with no measurements in the original code. It is pretty usless - but an interesting trial :-)
Tuesday, 5 April 2011
From the site:
“This is an update to Bloom's Revised Taxonomy which attempts to account for the new behaviours and actions emerging as technology advances and becomes more ubiquitous. Bloom's Revised Taxonomy describes many traditional classroom practices, behaviours and actions, but does not account for the new processes and actions associated with Web 2.0 technologies, infowhelm (the exponential growth in information), increasing ubiquitous personal technologies or cloud computing.
Bloom's Digital Taxonomy isn't about the tools or technologies rather it is about using these to facilitate learning. Outcomes on rubrics are measured by competence of use and most importantly the quality of the process or product. For example. Bookmarking a resource is of no value if the resource is inappropriate, invalid, out of date or inaccurate.”
This information on the site helps to place all aspects of ICT onto the developmental continuum. The quick sheets give examples of ICT exercises and how they fit into the the progression of the taxonomy. I would love to map these into the learning objectives of the National Curriculum so that we have a clearer method for assessing the ICT work of our pupils - if and when we get the new curriculum I may do exactly that but there is no point at the moment.
There is a downloadable PDF giving lots of information, ICT ideas and examples for each level that would be so useful in assessing a pupil’s ICT work.
Not totally convinced I am really for primary school children to be hacking and reverse engineering - but hey ho...
The same wiki does loads of work on Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences
Interactive Whiteboards and Pedagogy
The whole site is a little gold mine of interesting things to investigate it will take a while to get through!
Thanks to Cyber Placebo for mentioning it in the SL VRT11 :-)
Monday, 4 April 2011
I do really want to do this one though, it is about mLearning and started April 2nd and is running until May 14th. Two days in I am overrun with e-mail, all interesting but just too much! I have done loads of week 1 reading and answered the week one questions. So – up to date on the 3rd day ;-) Long may it last.
Anyone still wishing to join visit the wiki http://mobimooc.wikispaces.com/a+MobiMOOC+hello!
And join the Google Group http://groups.google.com/group/mobimooc/topics
One of the videos for week one was the 2007 Teacher’s TV on the use of mobile phones in school – I watched it when it came out but had not revisited and it is quite astounding that even though the statistics will have increased dramatically since the film was made the attitudes of the adults probably hasn’t in many cases, it could have been made yesterday! http://www.teachers.tv/videos/mobile-phones-mobile-minds.
The survey carried out very recently in the States and reported on today would appear to uphold that view http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/what_do_kids_say_is_the_biggest_obstacle_to_techno.php?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+readwriteweb+%28ReadWriteWeb%29
"The results are pretty fascinating, as they show great adoption of technology among even very young students, but lingering resistance on the part of school administrators to sanction some of those tools into the classroom."
The report on the survey finishes with the most telling quotation:
"74% of high school teachers, 72% of high school principals, and 62% of parents of high school age children said yes, they thought their school was doing a good job using technology to enhance learning and/or student achievement.
Only 47% of high school students agreed."
I am looking forward to taking part as much as I can in the MobiMOOC and hopefully learning more about what is probably the most fascinating aspect of educational technology for the near future.
Saturday, 2 April 2011
This project is still in progress!
SMS for reading project - a journal
I visited the school doing the SMS project and was shown by a very excited and willing group how to use the phones, talked through all they they have been doing etc. There is lots of enthusiasm within the group that are taking part but they were really upset that a new message had not arrived to coincide with my visit.
It is very early days but the children are clearly very involved in receiving texts and sending replies. The text they got earlier this morning was "How many months have 28 days in them?" they all have responded "February" - so it will be interesting to see what they make of the answer "12."
It is interesting to note that the children have been told that they are only allowed to use the texting facility. Yesterday their teacher was with us at our ICT Conference all day. Today when she got in she found that they had all been using the camera while she was away - it does not take them many seconds to work out how it all works! While the cat's away… We have promised them that if they behave we will use the camera facility for the treasure hunt so I must try to spend time at the school soon to write that!!
Whilst the teacher involved was talking to other teachers at the conference yesterday she was amazed that there were secondary school teachers who had never thought to ask the pupils to use their phones in the classroom, apparently a few went away quite excited by the idea... let us live in hopes that we get a few more converts, they are quite hard to come by!
I visited the school again at lunchtime today and was able to take some video of the children getting, reading and replying to the messages. They are very enthusiastic - whether that will pay in terms of reading or spelling improvements I am not at all sure They seem to have an understanding now of what a riddle is. Next week the messages will be based on the Greek Myth of Pandora's Box. The answers should be longer than the one or two word answers to the riddles. It will be interesting to see if their interest diminishes with the need to type in more words. Friday I am going to create the Treasure Hunt for the following week.
I visited the school on Friday and planned the treasure hunt, they are going to use the Learning Platform for this project. I made up a sentence of brightly coloured huge words and cut them up putting them into tiny envelopes. Their teacher is going to take pictures, real close-ups of tiny images from the classroom. Pupils have to find the image, photograph it and send their photo of it to their teacher, close by they will find a tiny envelope with a word on it! The words need to be collected, they can be assembled into a sentence on the last day and their sentence sent back to their teacher. So 13 words, 13 picture clues to lead them to their envelopes!
The words given to the pupils for the treasure hunt make up my sentence:
Little Red Riding Hood and how she beat the big, very bad wolf. The children will have to end up with a similar sentence. The treasure hunt is running next week.
This week has fallen apart somewhat! On Friday I did not talk to the children, they were playing Red Nose Day Games, when we planned the visit I should have had about 20 minutes with the children and then done the treasure hunt but they were otherwise occupied, we had forgotten Red Nose Day.
Today (21st March) I sat them down, started the camera and asked them to tell me the story of Pandora’s Box so far. They denied having it, they said the messages they had were the riddles....
I read the first message to them
• We are going to work through the story of Pandora’s Box over the next day or two. It is a Greek myth. See if you can find out what Pandora’s Box is.
- yes they had all had it and answered - they all told me it was a metal box. When pushed a little further apparently there was a Pandora’s Box episode in Dr Who! So I asked what that story was but no-one could tell me. I asked what this story was about and no-one realised they had had the first part of a story in the next four messages. They told me they had received something about the Romans - close but not close enough and not enough of it. I mentioned a sacrifice - they knew about a bull - and a god - really no idea at all. So - I read them the story, explaining it as I went, they were fascinated as one would expect but unable to take enough meaning from the text episodes to get the gist of the story. I have left the teacher to send them the last 6 messages, the next two they have already heard but the last four are new, what was in Pandora’s box when she opened it and that hope was left etc - I have asked them to tell me the story next time I visit!
One rather strange thing is that the children do not seem to be bothered by the fact that they don’t understand. I asked them what they would do if they did not understand a text, they replied they would ask.... but they didn’t! When I pointed that out they seemed pretty nonplussed, as though they had not realised that they did not understand... hmmm difficult to see how to encourage them to think about it to decide whether or not they understand. Answering questions should provoke thought.... maybe the riddles are working against thinking for understanding!
I chatted to the teacher about this story, it is simply too hard so we are finishing it quickly and getting on the the treasure hunt. The teacher had an idea for sequencing another story, a traditional tale. I have used Red Riding Hood for the treasure hunt so we agreed on the Three Billy Goats Gruff. I have split it into texts and mixed it up as requested but not sure what the teacher envisaged - numbering the texts and sequencing them by number? Waiting to see what she has in mind. Meanwhile I need loads more riddles and one liners :-( That seems to be the level of understanding, reading capacity etc..
Week 5 - sadly the teacher was away ill when I got there. Knowing that there would be no messages to look at, talk about etc, I did not even go in the classroom, the pupils involved would have rushed to me and grabbed their phones and been disappointed!
Now we are headed towards week 6. The pupils should have done their treasure hunt and we should be on to a sequencing activity, In theory this little test finishes on Friday - must talk to the teacher before I talk to my boss on Monday to see whether we want to carry it on, whether the teacher is able to put up with the disruption, whether the pupils are making any advances in their reading - though I am already sure that their attitude to reading has improved - and more!!
This is a link to the presentation re the SMS project presented at BETT 2012
Videos that were embedded are now linked to You Tube for ease of viewing.