Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Amazing Grace as you have not heard it before...

I came across this clip from the Chapman University Choir in SoCal. Their "signature song", Amazing Grace is unforgettable. Listen through to the end!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Is there a shift in learning?

There has been much talk about Teaching and Learning in recent months in my establishment. It seems to be the buzz phrase and departmental meetings and staff INSEDs are all focused on this. I had a look around for some thoughts on the subject and found this quite interesting. There is a talk in a shift in learning and the following seven areas seem to be where the Shift is talking place (or they are stimulating the Shift). These include:

  1. Digital & Research Literacy
  2. A move from Standards to Habit
  3. Game-based Learning
  4. Connectivity
  5. Transparency
  6. Place-Based Education
  7. Self-Directed Learning & Play

8 Apps To Turn Your iPad Into A Digital Whiteboard

Whether you’re interesting in blending, flipping, personalizing, or differentiating your classroom, technology can be a huge help. Technology gives students direct access to content, which frees the teacher up for other roles.
iPads function exceptionally well in this capacity, and one of their talents is to function as a digital whiteboard. Whether you want to lead an in-person class through the iPad screen, or you need remote access to eLearners or others in a school-to-school program, you’ve got options. Below are 8 apps (with various strengths and weaknesses–the only way to know if they truly fit your needs is to try them, unfortunately) that can help you blend and flip your classroom–or just give students more direct access to you, one another, and the content.

1. Doceri
Price: Free to try, $4.99 for full version
More information from developer: “Doceri allows me to present a lesson from anywhere in the classroom; a big plus when trying to manage 32+ middle school students. To actually see what I am writing and replay it while facing my students with my back to the board is amazing! I can work out equations ahead of time, or live in front of the students.” Anne Whitman, 7th grade math teacher at Oakdale Jr. High in California
doceri-digital-whiteboard-screen2. Educreations Interactive Whiteboard
Price: Free
More information from developer: ”Educreations turns your iPad into a recordable whiteboard. Creating a great video tutorial is as simple as touching, tapping and talking. Explain a math formula. Create an animated lesson. Add commentary to your photos. Diagram a sports play. With voice recording, realistic digital ink, photos and text, and simple sharing through email, Facebook or Twitter, now you can broadcast your ideas from anywhere.
educreations-app-digital-whiteboard3. ShowMe Interactive Whiteboard
Price: Free
More information from developer: ”Turn your iPad into your personal interactive whiteboard!ShowMe allows you to record voice-over whiteboard tutorials and share them online.”

show-me-digital-whiteboard4. Whiteboard HD
Price $4.99
More information from developer: ”Collaboration on preliminary sketches, group brainstorming and student projects are all perfect uses for Whiteboard. You can even share ideas through external monitors or projectors in multiple aspect ratios when used with the iPad VGA adapter. At the end of class or a meeting, it’s easy to save and bookmark notes, images and diagrams in the apps project manager, then send out a copy of the groups work via email.”
whiteboard-hd-digital-whiteboard5. Syncspace
Price: $8.49
More information from developer: ”SyncSpace lets people express and explore visual ideas together, wherever you are. It is a zoomable drawing space that can be shared in real time over the net. It is a shared whiteboard plus a whole lot more.”
sync-space-digital-whiteboard6. Jot!
Price: Free
More information from developer: ”Jot! is a simple, fast whiteboard that lets you sketch out your ideas and share them in real time. Draw, take notes, or wireframe on your iPad quickly and easily as soon as ideas come to you. Share your ideas via email or save them as photos. Collaborate in real time over the internet with Live Sharing.”jot-digital-whiteboard
7. BaiBoard
Price: Free
More information from developer: “Live collaboration from iPad, Mac and web via 1. Zoomable multi-page whiteboard, 2. Collaborative annotation on PDF docs, and 3. Screen Sharing from iPad to web browser.”
baiboard-digital-whiteboard8. Groupboard
Price: Free for 5 students; class sizes available at subscription prices
More information from developer: ”Groupboard turns your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad into a collaborative whiteboard, allowing you to draw and chat in real time with other people anywhere on the internet, even with users using a web browser.”

15 Free Learning Tools You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

I saw this post on the TeachThought site and felt that it was worth a repost.

It can be hard to keep up with the ever-growing list of free educational sites out there, much less distinguish which ones will best meet your needs and help you learn skills you really need without shelling out big bucks. New sites are always being launched and even those that have been on the scene for a while sometimes don’t garner enough attention to make it onto your radar, often getting overshadowed by more high-profile sites. As a result, even those who are in the ed tech loop can miss out on some seriously helpful free learning sites. Here we highlight just a few of these under-the-radar free learning sites, that run the gamut from providing full degree programs to simple job-skill training tools, offering a little something for every kind of learner.


Scitable, created by NatureEducation, is an online collaborative space for science learning. Visitors to the site can browse or search through science articles and ebooks, ask experts science-related questions, build an online classroom, or even share their own content. Materials on the site are focused on the life sciences, but there are also numerous resources that can help learners start or accelerate a career in science.
2. TVO
Similar to PBS, the Ontario-based television station offers many of the same educational resources and opportunities for learning. Even if you can’t tune in live, you can take advantage of dozens of videos on topics like science, nature, business, tech, education, and culture. Connected to TVO is Big Ideas, a site that offers videos that touch on important and engaging topics like mathematics, economics, and even urban design. Other resources include educational tools for parents and kids, civics education on Canadian government, and access to loads of compelling documentaries.
While sites like Coursera and Udacity have been drawing the most attention on the free education front these days, Saylor has largely flown under the radar. Created in 2008, the site offers nearly 250 free courses online, with topics centered on the 10 highest enrollment majors in the U.S. In addition to taking classes, learners can participate in discussion forums (organized by topic), track courses and print transcripts, and may soon even be able to access free textbooks.
This North Carolina-based site is produced by Goodwill Industries and focuses on helping people from all walks of life build skills in technology, literacy, and math that will help them find work. All classes offered by the site are entirely free, and even come complete with mobile apps that make it possible to learn on-the-go. Currently, there are over 750 free lessons that teach everything from how to use Microsoft Office to basic addition and subtraction.
The brainchild of educational entrepreneur Shai Reshef, University of the People is a tuition-fee, nonprofit, online academic institution that offers access to undergraduate degree programs in business administration and computer science. It maintains relationships with Yale, NYU, Hewlett-Packard, and the Catalyst Initiative to supply students with opportunities for research, future study, and internships. While the site focuses on helping learners in developing nations, students from nearly 130 different nations have been accepted (tuition is free, but you still have to apply).
Engineering for Change isn’t a traditional learning site with videos, courses, and lessons. Instead, it’s a live, interactive webcast that allows participants to learn and interact with others in engineering. It’s also a chance to play an active role in helping to solve humanitarian engineering issues. A new topic is addressed every month, and anyone interested in becoming more involved or learning more about engineering is encouraged to sign up.
  Through The Faculty Project, learners can get access to professors from prestigious schools like Dartmouth, Vassar, Duke, and Northwestern, to name just a few. There are dozens of courses and lectures to choose from, covering a broad spectrum of topics. Launched just this year, the site is slowly building up a great collection of resources that can help students learn through video, PDF, PowerPoint, discussion boards, and educational articles.
There are a growing number of sites out there that are dedicated to providing users with access to free textbooks. Textbook Revolution is among them, and while it hasn’t received as much attention as some others, it’s still a solid place to look for free educational resources. Currently, the site offers up access to dozens of textbooks, ranging in topic from accounting to chemistry.
Learnthat is an excellent place to explore tutorials that cover business, technology, and finance. Visitors to the site can learn how to improve their skills in Excel, digital marketing, or even management, through hundreds of helpful articles, videos, and photos.
Most web-savvy individuals have heard of Reddit, but many may not be familiar with the University of Reddit. The site offers anyone the chance to share their expertise through class lectures and videos with others in the web. Currently, the site is home to educational materials in art, computer science, general studies, language, math, music, philosophy, science, and social studies, which means most things are covered. If they’re not, learners are always welcome to add their own educational content.
MentorMob doesn’t supply any educational content of its own, but is an excellent tool for bringing together resources from other sites, organizing them, and sharing them with others. Users can create their own “playlists” of educational material or browse through existing collections compiled by other users. While it has been featured in a number of major publications, the site doesn’t have the widespread attention that others generate, but that could change as the Pinterest-like functionality helps users to create incredibly useful lists for learning.
  Memrise promises to help users learn through a combination of brain science, fun, and community. Much of the content is game-based and highly visual, offering visitors to the site the chance to boost their skills in a variety of languages, or even to learn more about topics like cheese, herbs, and fish.
LearnersTV brings together videos, audio lectures, science animations, lecture notes, online tests, presentations, and publications to offers visitors a wide range of material with which to learn. Those looking for an in-depth experience can find entire courses, while those just doing cursory research can browse through short articles and PowerPoints.
Knowing how to use technology is an essential skill in today’s job market, but with so many new technologies popping up all the time, it can be hard to keep up with them all. That’s where Grovo can help. The online learning site specializes in offering video lessons on top Internet products. Visitors to the site can expand their knowledge of sites like Twitter, Gmail, Facebook, and WordPress, or just learn a bit more about netiquette and online marketing.
Alison offers free online courses and certification through 400 different courses in 10 different course categories. Launched in 2007, the site helps people from around the world earn certification in topics like legal studies, psychology, health studies, project management, and human resources. All content is free but to get a copy of your certification, you’ll have to shell out about $20.

Saturday, March 09, 2013

HSE decisions about iPads and Tablets

Mark Steed posted the following entry on his blog :"Why IPads and Tablets in Schools don't sit well with me", which provokes some interesting thoughts. If we expect staff and pupils to be using technology for many hours a day and we know that they are using them socially as well (most pupils use technology for entertainment purposes), do we need to be teaching them about safe physical usage. Should this be part of the induction programme? Here is Mark's thoughts...

Why IPads and Tablets in Schools don't sit well with me

I am concerned that little discussion seems to have been given to the range of potential health issues surrounding the introduction of mobile technologies into the classroom. We have both a duty of care and a duty to educate young people in their safe and healthy use.

(If further incentive were required) In our increasingly litigious age, organisations lay themselves open to a potential liability claim if they do not provide adequate health and safety training. (think: 'Working at heights' training for use of ladders, workstation audits, the correct use of Rowing Machines or DT equipment etc.). It is likely to follow that where schools are providing iPads or tablets for use by pupils or staff, that there are potential liability issues, if appropriate training on their safe use is not in place.
Schools would be well advised to incorporate training into their ICT and/or PSHE curriculums on the health risks surrounding poor posture when using mobile devices. So what form would this take, given that it is almost impossible to maintain good posture when using them? (I am not occupational therapist but) I suspect the best advice is not to spend prolonged periods focused on our iPads, to take regular breaks, and to carry out exercises akin to those recommended on long-haul flights."

Posted via email from schonken's posterous

Saturday, March 02, 2013

This is not great news

On April 30th, we will turn off and our mobile apps in order to focus 100% of our efforts on Twitter. This means that as of April 30, Posterous Spaces will no longer be available either to view or to edit. 

Now I will have to find another method to post online.

Posted via email from schonken's posterous

Now that I sit on the Health and Safety Committee...

About me

I am an African living in Scotland. A son, a father, an ex-husband, a boyfriend, a teacher and friend trying to piece together the stories that my God, my parents, my ex-wife, my girlfriend, my pupils and my friends are telling me, so that I can tell my own story. Thanks to all for your support and advice. I still love good coffee and popcorn.



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