Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Children and Their Media 2012 - Prezi Presentation

Absolutely love this presentation by Simon Leggett. Simon has put together a Prezi presentation on the results of the annual survey "Children and Their Media 2012". A very useful resource to see the trends in the ways young people are using technologies and other activities: electronic gaming, music, social networking, sport, reading, TV, mobile phones and computers and the internet.

New CEOP Advice and Video for Parents

Today I received an email from CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection) centre informing me of a new resource available for parents. Some very timely and important information with Safer Internet Day next Tuesday (7th February) just around the corner. They've just released some advice and a new video aimed at parents of both primary and secondary school pupils. A very useful website and advice to share with the parents of children in your school.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Another 2D / 3D Modelling Resource

Found another useful free web based resource for the graphical modelling element of the ICT curriculum. Rooms can be designed from scratch or use one of the thousands of ready made rooms. Add furniture, electrical items, windows, doors, add wall and floor coverings. It will even total up the items you have put in your room. Now that's what I call modelling!


Build in 2D then see your design in 3D

2D Graphical Modelling Resource

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

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

Leuven Study - ThinkQuest Example

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.

Leuven - ThinkQuest

How could I forget....?!! Should have added to the Leuven Contrasting Study post that a fundamental part of the project was the part played by ThinkQuest in allowing students from both Newport and Leuven to collaborate together in an online environment.

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

Visualisers in Teaching

Just saw this link to some videos demonstrating how a secondary school science teacher is using visualisers in her classroom.

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.

Google Earth - Leuven

Recently updated my Google Earth app and found an option that allows you to take a snapshop from Google Earth and posts it to Google+.

Leuven Contrasting Study Website

Last Tuesday I launched to a group of primary headteachers a new digital resource website. The Leuven Contrasting Study website is the culmination of a two year British Council funded Comenius Regio project between Newport and Stad Leuven in Belgium. Two of our primary schools and a school in Leuven, Belgium were involved in the project.

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.

Interesting Times

It's been a little while since I posted last, and there's actually quite a lot to share. Much has been going in the ICT world both in Wales and particularly across the border in England. Michael Gove certainly has stirred things up somewhat. As we say in the office repeatedly - 'Interesting Times!'

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.