I’ve written before
about 2Simple DIY – this is basically games design software for younger
children. Max Wainwrightfrom 2Simple showed us some of the great
content that has been created by Porchester
Primary School. Its impressive stuff and its great to see what the young
people are capable of imagining and then producing. I really liked Indiana
Jones Game that one of the children had made, where you had to explore the
inside of a pyramid! And also the Shark Attack game where you were the dolphin.
Max finished up his presentation by showing us some new
software that they have been working on at 2Simple
– It included augmented reality to help the children draw and understand 3D
shapes. Although it’s only in its alpha stage – I already want a copy!
This is a nice little video (you tube) showing some children from Churchend Primary School in Reading using Microsoft Surface for the first time. One of the reasons that its so interesting is that the classroom teacher is talking honestly about how the technology could be improved for education. You also see the children use the technology for the first time.
What I want to know is has Surface made it into a Scottish School yet? And when are we going to get to try it out in a school north of the border?
Not only did Leon Cychgive me a lift back to my
hotel after Teachmeet NE London 2009. But he also gave a cracking presentation
on some of the projects he has been working on recently and an advanced look at
a couple of websites.
The fist of
these was BBC Learning Open
Labs which are a portfolio of learning resources and online prototypes. The
content is 'open source' which means
that everything is free, available for anyone to use and can be modified for
non-commercial use. BBC Open Lab is inviting input from teachers, learners,
students, developers - anyone with an
idea for a learning resource wanting to develop it into a prototype.
Leon showed us a great Mash up that shows a spinning 3D
globe and coming out of it are ‘bars’ of information. The ‘bars’ are generated
by RSS feeds from the BBC news website. This means that you can quickly look at
the globe and see where most of the world news stories are currently coming
from. You can also click on a bar of
information and get a summary of the news story. A great idea, with lots of potential use in
The website is being developed through Naace, the professional
association for those interested in advancing education through ICT. A complete
set of fully evaluated CPD modules will be available from September 2009.
The modules that will be available
Assessment in Primary Schools
Assessment in Secondary Schools
on the ICT knowledge and skills that are required to teach numeracy and
literacy within the QCA Primary Framework
e-safety into ICT work in school
Activities using ICT, Monitoring using ICT
Web 2.0 Visual Learning Collaboration Tools in both the primary and
Courseware that supports Modern Foreign Languages in Primary Schools
developing higher-order thinking skills utilising ICT mind mapping and
concept mapping interfaces
I’m assuming that the modules will be available to non-NAACE
members as well?
I was trying to keep one of my latest Personal Learning Network discoveries on the QT until
the Geographical Associations Conference next week. But as I’ve already shown
it to a few people at the Innovative Teachers forum and I
also talked about it last week at Teachmeet North East London. So I thought it was about time for a blog post - before Alan beats me to it!
I’ve blogged about Augmented Reality
before (and here). I think it has the potential to be the next evolving technology in
education. It will also serve to bridge the gap for teachers between
the virtual world learning spaces and real world learning spaces. In simple terms, augmented reality turns an augmented reality code
into 3D virtual objects. This has huge potential to be used in education.
it is now possible to extract some buildings for Google Earth and make
them appear right in front of you. I tried it out with a few of the
children from MGS just before I left and they couldn’t believe it.
The Augmented Reality viewer uses
ARsights that is currently a free download. You need to have a web cam
attached for it to work. The better the webcam the better the results.
It’s very simple to use – first of all you need to download the AR
sights Software, then a placemark (this is basically a bar code) and
then you need to pick a 3D model from inside Google Earth. All the instructions are on the AR Sights website.
let you work out the rest yourself – but here’s a quick screencast (sorry forgot to turn the sound off!) to
show how it works. I’ve used the Sydney Opera House as an example.
Even though only some of the 3D buildings are available at the
moment in Google Earth – I can already see this free off the shelf resource being used to teach
place, compare urban areas, support tourism studies, look at the shape
of buildings and for virtual fieldwork. Its very impressive stuff!
This is the second in the series of five posts on my experience
North East London last week. Listening to Tom Barrett
speak or reading his blog is always
so refreshing - he can only be descried as a legend in the edublogosphere. He is
a key part of my personal learning network and completely committed to his school
and the children in his care. I have learnt a huge amount from over the past
Tom used Prezi really well
for his presentation and you can view his
Prezi here. If you have not seen Prezi before
its well worth a look. Tom’s presentation was called, ‘Mr Barrett there is glue on my
laptop’. The title had real meaning as what time was trying to explain
that technology should be embedded into regular classroom practice. Tom gave us
a video tour of his room which he described as a ‘regular primary classroom’
the big difference being that ‘technology was always on tap’.
Next Tom showed us some of the work he had been doing with
his classes. The first example was using Google Earth to help with story
telling. It was based around James and the Giant Peach where the children had
to use Google earth to plot their own escape story for the peach. They used
Google earth to record their story and also used it as a canvas to write their
story as well. Tom has a good write up of this over
on his website.
Tom then started to talk about how he uses Delicious as a homepage for all the computers
in his class. This is a really great
idea. If you don’t already know delicious
is a social networking site that allows you to save bookmarks to the Internet. It’s
well worth checking out, you can find
my delicious links here and I’ve also embedded a great little commoncraft
video below to explain how delicious works in a lot better way than I ever
I’ve used delicious
with students before for Advanced Higher (A-level) work. But then I was really
only encouraging the students to create their own delicious accounts, so they
could save bookmarks and if I found a website that I thought would interest
them, I could recommend a link to them.
Tom uses Delicious in a different way. Tom’s class’s delicious
page is set up as the home page for his class computers. This means if his
class are using the class laptops Tom can quickly direct the children towards a
link (it’s tagged for maths, science, geography, literacy etc...)This saves the children from entering
complicated URLS and also keeps that more focused on where tom wants them to
end up on the Internet. I thought this
was a great idea with fantastic potential.
It was great to meet Drew Buddie
again at Teachmeet NEL 2009. He’s known as the Digital Maverick on Twitter and follows
nearly 2500 people and in return over 2800 people follow him! Drew spoke about
a number of things but kept coming back to the theme of his personal learning
network and how they support him with his work. He also talked about some of
the issues surrounding the use of social networking and web 2.0 tools in
schools. For example according to the small print you are ment to be 13 or
older before you use Voki.
Drew also shared with us a few
tools that he likes to use in his classroom. In particular, he is a big
Glogster Fan and showed us some excellent ‘glogs’ that his students had created.
Glogster is website that also you to create engaging posters and artwork. Drew
also told us about Glogetser for Education (I’d not heard of that before) - https://www.glogster.com/edu
Drew summed up his presentation by
showing us the Indispensible
Tools Wiki. This is a Wiki
that he has created by crowd sourcing ideas on indispensible web 2.0 tools from
other teachers. Its well worth a look and I’m sure that most people will find something
in the list that you have either forgotten about or not heard of before.
Inspired by those clever people over at the commoncraft show this short paper animation videoGoomoodleikiegin Plain English by Leigh Murrel (San Diego, CA) is a great
bit of work and would make a good thought piece for staff CPD. The question could be what do you like or dislike about this future scenario for education? For example, I like the way the teacher has embraced new and free technologies to encorage collaboration and group work. I don't like that the teacher gets rid of the posters from the walls in the future scenario!
When John Davitt initially told me about the
Random Activity Generator – I thought it was an excellent idea. Then at BETT
2009 he showed me the alpha version working on his iPhone. Since then I’ve been
waiting with eager anticipation to see it released into the Apps Store. John
kept telling me it would be next week……months passed! Then yesterday John sent
me a tweet letting me know it had been finally released!
The RAG is a great idea with huge
potential. It basically generates random activities for you to try with your
class. I’ve embedded a video of the demo from the website below so you can see
how it works.