Tuesday, 31 January 2012
Monday, 30 January 2012
|Build in 2D then see your design in 3D|
Spent a little time this morning getting to grips with Homestyler from Autodesk. It's a free to use website that allows the user to plan and design their own rooms. You initially work in 2D pulling the elements you need onto the customisable floor plan. Adding doors, windows, furniture, floor coverings, etc. Then click the 3D button and see your design in all its splendor. You can also take a snapshot and save it to your computer.
Looks like a really useful resource for use in Yr5. Would fit in beautifully with 2D and 3D graphical modelling.
Sunday, 29 January 2012
|BETT 2012, London Olympia|
Recently spent a couple of days up at the BETT Show 2012 in London. We had a focus this year of looking for some new foundation phase and KS2 ICT software tools. Our current authority wide managed ICT service is ready for its next upgrade (every 3 years) and we are moving OS up to Windows 7. Unfortunately most of the software currently running on the system will not work on this upgrade. Over the past couple of years we have been looking to move as much software as we can to being web based. Recently 2Simple's PurpleMash was purchased for a year for all our primary schools. We like this product but BETT was also a time to see offerings from other providers. The offerings from Just2Easy caught our eye. JiT for foundation phase seems to be something that might fill a gap in the loss of Numbers Words and Pictures 2 and J2E filling in the Blackcat Supertools gap at KS2. What really interested us though was the ability for pupils to publish their work to the web. When talking to teachers I always talk about publishing children's work. What happens to these wonderful digital resources that children have created? Do they just sit on the network drives in school, or do you celebrate their work, give it value and show the rest of the world? A purpose for doing the work. We also liked the feature of pupils or teachers being able to comment on the piece of work - what they like about it or how it could be improved (peer assessment). Next step is to spend a bit of time trying it out in the office.
|Google Stand - First Appearance at BETT?|
I've been going to BETT for about the last 10 years or so now and this was the first year that Google was there. Quite a large stand and always swamped with people. Loved the new Google Chromebooks and would really like to get my hands on one. Boots up in 8 seconds, and just runs Chrome web browser.
|A Pano of the Microsoft Presentation Area|
Spent a little time on the Microsoft stand and we're very interested in looking at the new Learning Suite offering. In fact we have already had the Learning Suite installed on a Windows 7 machine in the office to try out some of the tools included in the suite. Very interested in Kodu, reminds me very much of Magic Forest (remember that software?) but now in a 3D environment. Plug a xBox controller into your PC and build your 3D world and program your characters interactions. Also quite like Songsmith. It's not Apple's Garageband but it's a simple way for both the musically talented and untalented to produce a quality piece of music.
Saturday, 28 January 2012
An example of the type of communication between students in Newport and Leuven (Belgium). It was very interesting to see the way the students naturally used Google Translate to include both English and Dutch translations.
For those of you who don't know anything about ThinkQuest, it's basically a free online learning platform from Oracle Education (an education foundation) aimed at students between the ages of 7 and 14. Students can collaborate together using a variety of elearning tools. I'll post up some screen shot examples of children communicating with each other using ThinkQuest.
ThinkQuest is a web service that has been promoted and supported by us to our schools here in Newport for about the last 7 years.
|Screen grab from the ThinkQuest Project area|
My experiences have led me to believe that this can be a relatively expensive piece of technology that has limited uses?? However I have seen less expensive versions that as far as I can see do the same thing. Would love to here any experiences from people who have used these well in the classroom.
The website is a teacher resource site containing lots of information about Belgium, Leuven, along with planning documents, an approach on how to teach this study in the classroom and links to nearly 300 photographs and 29 videos which can be used freely in your class. It is a geography resource aimed primarily at Yr5/6 children who are studying a contrasting locality, however there are ample opportunities for a variety of other skills to be developed including communication, thinking skills and ICT.
The use of ICT as a key skill was a major focus in this project and the pupils used ICT tools to effectively give presentations of findings to their peers, parents and the mayor! They also created some excellent videos looking at both Newport and Leuven, along with the usual posters and leaflets.
The site is freely available to all at www.newportlearn.net/leuven
Interestingly for the first time I created this website using various Google technologies. Google Sites to create the site and hold relevant documents, Picasa to host the photographs, both NewTube and YouTube to host the videos, along with Google Maps embedded into the site itself.
Have a look and share with others. I welcome any feedback from users.
If you are particularly interested in setting up and running a Comenius Regio project you may be interested in this website I put together that looked at the background and day-to-day running of a project such as this. Contains documents, background information, photos and podcasts.
I'll be posting updates shortly, but also note that I've now added a Twitter favourite feed into this blog. It's so much easier and quicker to tweet things and favourite things that I see.