January 21, 2013
There is something attractive about those “chunks” of knowledge that are outside our understanding. I enjoy reading things like this post on why you should be able to write a compiler and Paul Grahams essay on LISP much of the technical stuff goes over my head but I guess I like watching it fly by.
At the moment you can self study the Stanford Compilers course on Coursera with Alex Aiken
You are encouraged to write your own Java Compiler… In fact I guess that most of the people signing up to these free online courses are people like me who wondered what it would have been like if they had studied Computer Science/ at Harvard / taken a different route in life.
This could be a hobby project for me for then next few years… although with a heavy day job its not going to happen realistically.
Food for thought..
December 13, 2012
I like theoretical models. Here are 2 coming from Ruben Puentedura
The SAMR Model – From Enhancement to Transformation
4 Stages identifying how we might be using technology. The link goes through the example of how word processor might replace a type writer. You might have to progress through the levels, but if you get stuck for more than a few months at the substitution level then start to worry.
This concept is often mentioned but I’ve not seen it so well defined and citable as here.
Next, the following aspects of technology (not just information technology) can help you move up through the SAMR levels
Ordered by the chronology of human evolution, these aspects can also provide interesting groupings of new educational technologies see photo and link.
This is a great checklist for analysing the effectiveness of your lesson/s
December 10, 2012
The result of BETT 2012 for me was a confusion over all the different bits of learning platform and assessment systems and how they might work together to get a best of breed solution. Ultimately how we might compare them for selection purposes?
Attached to this post is a powerpoint showing how I organised my thoughts. I split the functions of a learning platform into 9 roughly linear steps. The key step to me is no. 5 that of the mark book. This is the ‘killer app’ part of learning platforms. Will a standard emerge for getting markbooks to talk to other systems? Or will we still be asked to copy assessment data by hand or via excel spreadsheets?
LearningPlatformSelection – For Web
April 9, 2012
Its course work marking time again and time to note down some thoughts. Although what with AIDA not being ratified we will be moving to Edexcel GCSE, so there I am perfecting the system just as we drop it. I am also going to ignore the rant that builds up in my head this time of year about the inherent problems of course work… that if its all about my tracking systems, time management and ability to get students to correct work then thats not really a fair reflection of some students work (‘nuf said)
- How to do more marking as I go along rather than just say thats ok. I need to be getting in to the nitty gritty of is it a 3 or 4 earlier and letting the students know. Our current Y10s are uploading work into Moodle which speeds up tracking & marking, but I decided to give ABC grades instead of numeric grades because the survey and database work are the big Y10 tasks and its good to give students easy to understand feedback. Although now I feel that to build up their understanding of the mark scheme earlier would be worth the effort even if that means saying “good db work thats 2 marks”
- How to transition into numerical marks whilst staying with Moodle.
- Planning we continue to do badly with. Students are awful about writing comments in their plan. Why not have another go at a separate project diary in Word (or blog if students wish). Angela says at her school if students are missing comments in their diary they get detentions so they learn to do that quickly.
March 25, 2012
Edmodo started off as Safe Social Networking for schools but they quickly added a (simple) grade book, quizzes and polls turning it into something more like a VLE or Learning Platform.
Their latest news is that they are going to have an app store for learning contents on the platform. This sounds interesting as decent content is always what is missing on any learning platform and finding, trying, paying for and installing new content is always too complicated.
So will Edmodo turn out to be a free VLE on which you can run your school? First thought – the grade book allows a numeric grade only ie, no A, B C or 5a, 5b, 5c. Second thought. Material and assignments are published in reverse chronological order ie in the conversation stream. There is no structure for courses.
So far I would say its not replacing a full VLE yet.
March 20, 2012
A reminder of how worthwhile meeting other teachers from other schools is – and a great lunch too.
- geo-caching: I finally got a chance to have a go and found questions with QR coded answers. Although getting kids to use their phones isn’t their yet. C:Geo didn’t work for me.
- Lego We do. Yes I’d like to but there are more important things to spend the money on (£70 per motor kit with usb, £160 for software site licence
- Edmodo: Free VLE plus social networking platform. This could be big.
- Programming: Small Basic, CodeAcademy.com and mobile apps (below)
- Building up links with local business (a reminder)
- BTEC Information & Creative technology level 2&3 might be interesting.
Some great links to mobile App creation
- RedFoundry see video Add modules eg. Menus, Modules (Flickr, twitter)
- Live Code (£££) long Video
- Stencylworks (free software) great Video. Scratch type interface. Find and share resorces in market place. Sell your game
- App Inventor (was run by Google Labs) for Android Scratch type interface – looks good
- XCode (Mac only) see video
- Apple SDK need to register
- YouSRC.com pc & mac great video Webbased simulator program. With android player. Apps can be shared with others. Source code available.
January 20, 2012
PROJECTION & 3D
We are to get a 3D projector so Sally and I went to a seminar With Anne Bamford reporting the results of an academic study that was pretty bullish on the use of 3D for Science. Students understand more from seeing a 3D beating heart than a 2D beating heart. Interestingly its preferred to looking at a 3d Plastic model of the chest and to dissecting a real sheep’s heart (because they don’t move?). Students recall more and ask more and better questions.
To use 3D projection in science we are going to need more than one projector, fortunately that might prove to be more affordable than we first thought.
- Most projectors coming out now are 3D enabled – costs less than £800
- New projectors use long-lasting LEDs instead of bulbs which means they pay for themselves in about 3 years.
- Active 3D is the only option native option in projectors. This requires you to buy 30 sets of expensive (£25) glasses. The consumer market drives projector sales. Most consumers only need to buy 2-4 sets of glasses.
- Cinemas use passive 3D which allows you to use cheaper (£2.50) glasses.
- HURRAH There is a solution(Volfoni.com) that allows you to add a device to a project make it produce a passive 3D image. So students can use cheaper more disposible glasses – they might even have their own from their last cinema trip. See the Smart Crystal Pro for around 500 Euro.
We waste a lot of paper and toner on printing. The last time I moaned that we needed software to control and monitor printing credits I was told it was too expensive. It seems now that they are giving this software away for free. Not only that (RUBBING MY EYES) they will replace all your printers with colour printers for free just to have the privilege of you buying toner from them. Sounds too good to be true, I will have to investigate further. Surely there must be a minimum spend.??
I met with one of the directors of the company.
July 27, 2011
Jolicloud has been the most successful OS on my cheap Acer Aspire One netbook. However the first update from 1.0 to 1.1 stopped Skype working on the Internal Microphone and the recent switch from 1.1 to 1.2 stopped Flash working in the browser. Other people have had these problems but there doen’t seem to be enough of a community to get solutions for obscure bits of hardware. I’m going back to version 1.0 but in the end if it doesn’t work, I’ll be looking some where else.
I have tried many replacements for the originally installed version of Linux, Linpus Lite. My Girlfriend who uses the machine most would have preferred Windows XP and I even went as far as buying a version off ebay with serial number but it didn’t work past the months trial period (if only I had paid the extra to have XP preinstalled.) She didn’t like the ultra lite Linux’s like Crunchbang nor Ubuntu netbook remix. Jolicloud has been the one that has stopped the cries for XP to be fixed.
Jolicloud is fast with a Chromium browswer, Spotify and Skype – our key applications around the house.
August 6, 2010
Summer holidays are time for thinking. Teachers need to learn. But how long to think before producing something? (eg. blog posts, emails). I’ve been thinking about democratic schools and have actually found something similar in Brighton, the South Downs Learning Centre. The Self Managed Learning (SML) technique it seems was also trialled in some East Sussex schools in 2005/6 but of course they couldn’t let go of the curriculum so it didn’t get anywhere.
I’ve discovered that youtube on a large TV is an amazing resource as I have watched testimonies of students from democratic schools discuss their experiences as is Google books (See Daniel Greenberg’s “Free at last” especially the chapter on fishing.
Given the bombardment of rhetoric from the establishment its good to realise that its critics have been around for a long time. I’ve been looking at books from Myles Horton & Paulo Freire (thanks Kata), Ivan Illich (Deschooling Society) and John Dewey.
This is a part of learning, the beginning of a cycle… just taking time following intuition. This post is nothing more than a collection of links to stuff that I might (I do hope) to get back to.
July 2, 2010
Straight forward(-ish) task design a poster to go in a leaflet for parents. “Top Tips for ESafety”
Planning/scoping on paper is good but some kids prefer to design directly onto the machine. I reckon there are 4 things to go in a poster like this:
- Slogan (or title)
- Top Tips (4-6?)
We know it would be quicker to get the Top Tips down first but could a students produce a good poster having thought up the top tips at the end of the process? Probably yes.
So how can you give students the independence to go it alone but not turn out with something of poor quality (or unfinished) at the end? Take a step back. let them design their success criteria (a peer assessment sheet) and let them go?
My thought for today