Wednesday, 29 August 2012

RSS vs Email....who wins the war?

cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo shared by gdesigneralex

Ok…I must admit that I am a bit old school.  Before I discovered the wonderful world called Twitter and developed my own personal learning network (PLN) I used to do a lot of trolling for good blog posts.  I had my favourites bookmarked at the top of my internet browser and would regularly check in with them and read what interesting things they had to say.  Bloggers such as Shane Roberts, Chris Betcher, Rod Lucier and Jarrod Robinson were amongst my early favourites.  These guys were doing some pioneering work and remember reading blog posts that they would create and just being in awe of what they did in their classrooms. 

I was finding it really hard to stay on top of content that my favourite bloggers were creating and one day I discovered the wonderful world of Rich Site Summary or what is commonly known as RSS.  RSS is a family of web feed formats used to publish frequently updated works—such as blog entries, news headlines, audio, and video—in a standardized format. An RSS document (which is called a "feed", "web feed",[3] or "channel") includes full or summarized text, plus metadata such as publishing dates and authorship. RSS feeds benefit publishers by letting them syndicate content automatically. A standardized XML file format allows the information to be published once and viewed by many different programs. They benefit readers who want to subscribe to timely updates from favourite websites or to aggregate feeds from many sites into one place.  Here is a video explaining the basic concepts of RSS.

I was excited.  As my bloggers were pushing stuff out, I was visiting my RSS feed and seeing the content that they were creating.  It was a beautiful time and I was adding more and more subscriptions to my RSS reader.  Then I hit a wall: I had subscribed to too much content and I was drowning in information.  I felt as though I was missing out on important stuff and not keeping up with the work that my favourite bloggers were doing in their everyday lives.  I was finding it hard to find the time each day to check my RSS feed and every day the pool of information was getting deeper and deeper. 

I then had a thought – I interact with my email on a regular basis (eg more than once a day) and could subscribe to these blogs via email.  One of my favourite blogs that I subscribe to is Free Technology For Teachers by Richard Bryne.  Everyday an email of blog posts comes into the folder that I have created for his blog and I check it at my leisure.  The email posts a quick summary at the top of the page about the blog posts and I quickly scan them and see if they have any relevance to me.  If they spark my interest, I simply ‘click on the link’ and read the post.  If it is something that I know that I could possibly use in the future, I bookmark it to my Diigo account with the appropriate tag (watch out for more blog posts featuring content from my Diigo account) and now that content is safe and secure for ever!

So in summary, RSS was a massive failure for me.  I was drowning and getting stressed.  Content delivered to me in the ‘old school’ manner work much better and I can get a handle on it easier.  I would love to know about your favourite bloggers, simply for selfish reasons so that I can learn from them.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

If I ask nicely enough.....

Prezi is one of my favourite tools that I have used when I am presenting information. I think that this video sums up my thoughts on the whole notion of Death by PowerPoint.

A tool that I have used with a lot of success in the past for my own presentations is Prezi. For those who don’t know, Prezi is a cloud based presentation software that opens up a new world between whiteboards and slides. The zoomable canvas makes it fun to explore ideas and connections between them. The result: visually captivating presentations that lead your audience down a path of discovery.
Before this tool was blocked by my employee for students, I used to use it in class in a number of different ways. Here is a Prezi that one of my students created. Please note: I realise that there are spelling mistakes and grammar mistakes. I wanted to share an authentic example with you.

The possibilities for the use of Prezi by our students are almost endless. Kids really enjoy creating and engaging with Prezi. I realise that I am barking up the wrong tree here, but I would love it if somebody in a position of power could somehow help us educators on the ground get the tools that we need to help our students engage in the learning process. I realise that this is policy but I would love it if every time I discover a new tool, I don’t have to check if the students can if the students can access it and that it gets through our systems filters. I am all for safety and keeping my kids out of the way of harm but a bit of common sense must be bought into our lives and that of the students under our direction.

Monday, 23 July 2012

eLearning for the sake of eLearning

It has been a very long time between posts. I was reflecting the other day about a statement that I make to my kids all the time. The statement is “It is not about the bling bling but it is about the learning sting” My kids do some amazing things and I am constantly in awe of what they do. At the start of their journeys with me, they get caught up in things looking pretty and nice. After a while, a lighbulb flicks and they realise that it is about the best tool for the job. My learners are constantly empowered to use eLearning to enhance their lives for the better, not just because it is ‘fancy and pretty.’ They also know that if they come to me and say “Can we do a PowerPoint presentation?” that they will feel my wrath and I will get annoyed.

But my concern is this – if teachers are just ‘digitising stuff’ to meet curriculum requirements, why are they bothering. If they are not changing their pedagogy and embracing the place of eLearning and just ‘doing computer stuff because’ why do they bother? If they go to the ‘computer lab’ because ‘every other class does’ why do they bother? If they find every excuse to not use eLearning and it is ‘to hard’ because ‘I don’t know how to do this and don’t want to know’ why do they bother.

eLearning is not easy. It is messy and sometimes can fall on its face. Students are empowered when teachers use eLearning along their journey and it puts the student at the centre of the learning journey. I have a concern that teachers are just doing eLearning tasks to meet curriculum requirements and do not ‘truly believe’ we are going to never get anywhere.

Kind of a pointless post but I felt I just need to ramble a bit.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Interesting Weekly Things That I Have Seen This Week (weekly)

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Sunday, 10 June 2012

Interesting Weekly Things That I Have Seen This Week (weekly)

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Sunday, 3 June 2012

Interesting Weekly Things That I Have Seen This Week (weekly)

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Tuesday, 29 May 2012

A simple thank you!

cc licensed ( BY NC ND ) flickr photo shared by hellojenuine.

I am a lucky man! Last year I was lucky enough to win a Smart Classrooms Teacher of the Year Award which recognised the practices that I deliver within my classroom with my learners. I was extremely chuffed to be recognised and felt very honoured. Whilst I was recognised individually, my practice as a teacher is shaped by the people who I surround myself with in my personal learning network. They inspire me, push me and make me a better educator which in turn enhances the lives of my students.

To those who have inspired me (and there are to many to list….you should know who you are) – I thank you for your passion to our cause to making learning relevant for students who live in the 21st century. It is a hard job being an educator in 2012 and I think that people forget that sometimes. To the facilitators of innovation, I think we all owe a great deal of thanks to. Without them, our systems would not run smooth and our thought processes would not be challenged and facilitated. I love the fact that I have such a wide variety of people who help me innovate and create. Without them, I would be lost. Hopefully they will never be lost to me!

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Interesting Weekly Things That I Have Seen This Week (weekly)

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Sunday, 20 May 2012

Interesting Weekly Things That I Have Seen This Week (weekly)

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Sunday, 13 May 2012

Interesting Weekly Things That I Have Seen This Week (weekly)

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Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Creative what......

cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by Carlfish

Creative Commons is something that I believe every 21st century teacher should be aware of and fluent within, yet when you mention it to teachers, I am sure that you will get a number of blank stares.  Our learners come from a generation of content consumption – things are at their fingertips and they want it here and now.  The ability to consume information and ‘sell it off’ as your own is prevalent within 21st century learners.  Creative Commons is something that continuously baffles me and that I am attempting to get my head around. 

So today I decided that it is time… is time for me to truly commit to the process of understanding Creative Commons.  Within my bookmarks, I have numerous items saved about Creative Commons and my kids are going to be exploring the implications / notions throughout the rest of the term.  There are some outstanding resources out there. We are also going to have a webconfernce with one of my favourite thinkers Rod Lucier.  Hopefully he can inspire and motivate the kids to become active and responsible digital citizens. 

Is it just me or do we all think that this is an important skill for teachers and students to understand in 2012?

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Interesting Weekly Things That I Have Seen This Week (weekly)

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Thursday, 3 May 2012

When will my back flip occur?

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by Pål Berge
It has been a very long time between blog posts indeed!  We are well into term two here at McDowall State School and life is certainly flying along.  I am eagerly anticipating the 15th of May  2012 as it is the highlight of my schooling life every year.  For those who are not in on my sarcastic attitude, the NAPLAN tests begin on 15th of May and finish on 17thof May.  I am not actually eagerly awaiting them: I am eagerly awaiting them to be finished.

For a while now, I have been tossing and turning how to best use the ‘Flip Classroom’ model with my learners.  I have stated numerous times before that I am a huge advocate of the flipped model and it fits really nicely into some key learning areas.  We have been using the flipped model with two key learning areas (Maths and Science) this year and the kids are massive fans of it.  When I explained the model to them, they were very excited.  Like most things that are new, learners engage at the beginning and fall away as time progresses.  I am happy to report that the enthusiasm that my leaners are demonstrating within the learning process has been infectious.  I feel that these two key learning areas lead themselves well to be ‘flipped’.

To those who are reluctant to engage in the flipped model, I would encourage you to consider it.  The key question to ask yourself when thinking about the model is this – When do the kids truly need you?  Do they need you whilst you back is to the board or do they need you whilst you are applying the knowledge that you have passed onto them?  Sometimes the answer may be both but in the majority of scenarios, I think you will agree with me that the need you when they are applying their knowledge.

With the advent of c2c, I really think that there are some fantastic opportunities for teachers to consider ‘flipping’ their classroom when the context is appropriate.  Next week, in Science, learners in my class are learning about scientific concepts that are very complicated and hard for my simple mind to understand.  I found some outstanding videos, emailed the owners of those videos and asked for permission to ‘mash them up’ to suit my context of learners and they agreed.  Tonight for homework, they will be preparing themselves for the learning that they will be undertaking next week.

I would be happy to hear your thoughts on this.  I am an advocate for this model of learning because it empowers my students to be active participants within the learning cycle. 

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Interesting Weekly Things That I Have Seen This Week (weekly)

  • Space has captivated humans since the beginning of our history. We have used the heavens for everything from earth bound navigation to poetic inspiration. Space is always there, and it is huge, so it is no wonder it has played such a major role in the cultures of humanity. That impact continues today with the recent announcement  of an asteroid mining endeavor by Planetary Resources . As a celebration of humanity making this huge step, here’s a list of 22 visualizations showing different aspects of that vast expanse above us all.  

    tags: space

  • "Ok, I'll be honest. I get very nervous when I hear education reformists and politicians tout how "incredible" the flipped classroom model, or how it will "solve" many of the problems of education. It doesn't solve anything. It is a great first step in reframing the role of the teacher in the classroom. It fosters the "guide on the side" mentality and role, rather than that of the "sage of the stage." It helps move a classroom culture towards student construction of knowledge rather than the teacher having to tell the knowledge to students. Even Salman Khan says that the teacher is now "liberated to communicate with [their students]." "

    tags: flipped classroom flippedclassroom flipped_classroom

    • 2

      Venham Conhecer a Nova Temporada da Jogando.Net na versão Season6, com muitas Novidades, Eventos, Itens e Muito mais, para os jogadores do Jogando.Net

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      >> Todo dia sorteio de GOLDs entre os players logado.
      >> Dezenas de invasões todos os dias.
      >> Frutas de resetar stats, use a fruta e re-distribua seus pontos.
      >> O TOP ranking da semanal e do mês ganha muitos GOLDs seja TOP você também.
      >> Leo the Helper, ganhe todo dia um novo item clicando no NPC.
      >> Sit:
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      Ta Esperando o que para começar a jogar ?
      Go Go Go

      - post by Rodrigues Arauajo
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  • TED-Ed’s commitment to creating lessons worth sharing is an extension of TED’s mission of spreading great ideas. Within the growing TED-Ed video library, you will find carefully curated educational videos, many of which represent collaborations between talented educators and animators nominated through the TED-Ed platform. This platform also allows users to take any useful educational video, not just TED's, and easily create a customized lesson around the video. Users can distribute the lessons, publicly or privately, and track their impact on the world, a class, or an individual student.

    tags: TED flipped_classroom

  • You may know TED, not as the guy from marketing, but as the nonprofit organization devoted to “Ideas Worth Spreading” — or as the set of global conferences, Talks, and videos that touch on the many heady, relevant issues surrounding Technology, Entertainment, and Design. As an increasingly powerful medium through which the world’s experts share their hard-won knowledge, TED is also an educator. In March, the organization launched the first phase of its “TED-Ed” initiative, in practice a series of a dozen short animated YouTube videos “created for high school students and lifelong learners,” in the big picture an invitation to teachers to collaborate with TED to create more effective video lessons that can be used in classrooms.

    tags: TED flipped_classroom

  • tags: newton youtube download

  • Therefore, here is my short list of YouTube channels not named Khan Academy that offer mathematics lessons.

    tags: math youtube tutorials

  • A dedicated YouTube Channel to explain concept explored in Mathematics

    tags: math youtube

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  • tags: newton unit weight force youtube physics

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  • "A short video on Calculating the Net Force acting on an object, then using this value to calculate the acceleration of the object."

    tags: force acceleration youtube physics download

  • "Force is the "push" or "pull" needed to be exerted onto an object to make it move or to accelerate it. Newton's second law of motion describes how force is related to mass and acceleration. This law can be stated in a mathematical equation. In general, the greater the mass of the object, the greater the force needed to move that object. You may need to learn how to calculate force to solve both basic and advanced physics problems."

    tags: how to force physics

  • A fun little video project I did illustrating Isaac Newton's three laws of motion. The music is original as are the 3D animations and motion graphics. Let me know what you think about it. Does it effectively illustrate the concepts?

    tags: newton law Physics flipped_classroom download

  • There is a gravitational force of attraction between the Earth and the moon, but is it mutual? That is, are the forces on the Earth and the moon equal? Most people would say no, the Earth exerts a greater force of attraction because it is larger and has more mass. This is a situation in which Newton's Third Law is relevant. Newton's Third Law says that for every force, there is an equal and opposite reaction force. So the force the Earth exerts on the moon must be exactly equal and opposite the force the moon exerts on the Earth. But how can that be - that the same size force keeps the moon orbiting, but barely affects the Earth? The answer is inertia - the tendency for all objects with mass to maintain their state of motion. Since the Earth has much more mass than the moon, it has greater inertia and therefore experiences much less acceleration for the same amount of force.

    tags: newton law youtube physics flipped_classroom download

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