#6 5 Minute Meals for ICT

December 21, 2008 § 2 Comments

‘Finding the right way to view your data is as much an art as a science.’

Topic or Tool: Many Eyes. A project and website set up to enable anyone to share data and data analysis. More importantly it allows anyone to create, edit, share data visualizations.

What does it cost? FREE.

How it could be used for teaching?

Anywhere you use data, Many Eyes can help. Sharing data, presenting data, investigating and evaluating data. This resource includes over 16 different visualisation tools so if its data you need to check out Many Eyes.

If you can not find a novel use for Many Eyes then I would be very surprised. We will be using Many Eyes to target and explore the large data sets now mandatory for the new curriculum. Combine this with the statistics available at the OECD (organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) and you have a powerful lesson in the making. Or perhaps you may decide to use a Google Form to collect data not solely from one group of students but a whole year, school, county, country? Is that large enough? As an example, we researched and sourced over 291  unique movie titles (any imperfect entries or duplicates were deleted, 611 total entries were recorded) from 4  groups working collaboratively and simultaneously in preparation for Unit 7, ‘Use and Design Databases.’ The data set was certainly more comprehensive and current than the measly 30 the board provided. If you want to add to the list, please do. We add some fun challenges, like the oldest film, long Directors name. If you want a copy of the list, you only have to ask.

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#5 5 Minute ICT Meals for ICT

November 17, 2008 § Leave a comment

Topic or Tool: Ancient Rome in Google. Wow. Google has released an “Ancient Rome 3D” layer for their popular Google Earth browser. The new layer shows many of the buildings and structures that made up the city during the rule of Constantine the Great. Some of the buildings even have interiors.

What does it cost? FREE as part fo the Google Earth tool. Another great amazing tool.

How it could be used for teaching?

I recently read about hi tech 3D immersive education at a school costing serious investment and although not fully immersive, it is free. This product allows you to;

  • Fly into Rome as it looked in 320 A.D.
  • Tour the interior of famous buildings.
  • Visit the sites in 3D such as the Roman Forum, Colosseum and the Forum of Julius Caesar.
  • Learn about how the Romans lived.

Dont expect me to tell you how to use this tool, be imaginative, but Google also announced a curriculum competition in conjunction with the release. Educators who create the most interesting curricula based lessons around the Ancient Rome 3D layer will receive a range of goodies. Maybe HIAS can offer goodies for the best shared resources? Would that encourage educators to share?

Watch the Youtube press video here.

How it could be used for learning?

Not having spent that long in ancient Rome, you could certainly set an orienteering task, a Roman treasure hunt. As the competition gaunlet has been laid down, can we put forward an offering to compete with our Amerian counterparts? Post your ideas here of contribute to the Google Doc.

I hope to send out the invites real soon.

#5 5 Minute ICT Meals

November 17, 2008 § Leave a comment

Topic or Tool: Ancient Rome in Google. Wow. Google has released an “Ancient Rome 3D” layer for their popular Google Earth browser. The new layer shows many of the buildings and structures that made up the city during the rule of Constantine the Great. Some of the buildings even have interiors.

What does it cost? FREE as part fo the Google Earth tool. Another great amazing tool.

How it could be used for teaching?

I recently read about hi tech 3D immersive education at a school costing serious investment and although not fully immersive, it is free. This product allows you to;

  • Fly into Rome as it looked in 320 A.D.
  • Tour the interior of famous buildings.
  • Visit the sites in 3D such as the Roman Forum, Colosseum and the Forum of Julius Caesar.
  • Learn about how the Romans lived.

Dont expect me to tell you how to use this tool, be imaginative, but Google also announced a curriculum competition in conjunction with the release. Educators who create the most interesting curricula based lessons around the Ancient Rome 3D layer will receive a range of goodies. Maybe HIAS can offer goodies for the best shared resources? Would that encourage educators to share?

Watch the Youtube press video here.

How it could be used for learning?

Not having spent that long in ancient Rome, you could certainly set an orienteering task, a Roman treasure hunt. As the competition gaunlet has been laid down, can we put forward an offering to compete with our Amerian counterparts? Post your ideas here of contribute to the Google Doc.

I hope to send out the invites real soon.

#4 5 Minutes Meals for ICT

November 16, 2008 § Leave a comment

Topic or Tool: Social Bookmarking. Another term for website ‘favourites,’ only you can organise these bookmarks and share then with colleagues or with ‘your network.’ Still not clear? Then watch this Common Craft video. PS if you have not come across Common Craft before, have a good rummage, plenty of CPD goodness here.

What does it cost? FREE. It boast more than 5.3 million users and over 180 million unique URLs saved. There are other bookmarking clones, StumbleUpon, Digg and Diigo to name but a few of the more prominent ones.

How it could be used for teaching?

Personaly, I use Delicious to keep a record of all my favouriate websites, available to me at any time from any PC with an internet connection. That in itself is very useful.

What I did not fully appreciate when I first started using Delicious, was the power of tagging and grouping bookmarks, and the subsequent benefit. I now have my websites tagged by subject and topic. Very useful.

But the real power of Delicious comes in developing a network of colleagues with shared interests. The creator of a bookmark assigns tag giving the website meaning. These bookmarks can then be shared (very easily) with colleague (simply type for: Kristianstill). Users can easily make social connections with colleagues and share their bookmarks.

Currently I subscribe to Edtechtalk, an American group of educators with great common knowledge. They dont miss much. Plus a number of personal online collaborations. I share my links with students and a few staff.

How it could be used for teaching?

Most of the teacher benefit will come from sourcing, tagging and sharing your own bookmarks. It does not take many colleagues in a network (3-4) before you will be receiving a number of websites to review.

I would really encourage you to use tags from the start, later tags become a great way to organise your bookmarks. Feel free to use any of mine.

Delicious is also a great search engine, as each page shows you the number of recommendations it has received. Its far less hit and miss than Yahoo or Google for example.

How it could be used for learning?

Apart from the fact you will have more and better web resources for your students, social bookmarking is a difficult topic to introduce. I have encouraged a few of the senior students to create their own networks. We have a group of students tagging Critical Thiking resources for an AS Level class they take outside of College, but its a challenge.

At Hamble College we do not have roaming profiles, so we use Delicious to evidence our bookmarking skills (even though Delicious can do so much more.) It is also a good way to share websites with students. Just point them to your Deliciious links.

Its a great way to show the power of collaboration, although the lower end of 11-16 education market may find using social bookmarking a challenge. Give the students a simple topic to research, save and share the bookmarks via Delicious.

It would be great to receive links from you, add me (Kristianstill) to your Network.

#3 5 Minute Meals for ICT

November 15, 2008 § Leave a comment

Topic or Tool: Smallworlds

What does it cost? FREE. SmallWorlds is a 3D virtual world (similar to Second Life and Lively) but it runs inside your web browser – no software to install. Targeted at anyone aged 13 years and above, Smallworld creators Outsmart believe that,

‘the combination of social interaction, self expression, media consumption and casual gaming features of SmallWorlds means there’s something in there for everyone, and the ease of use and general accessibility of the product means that even novice users can have a satisfying experience.’

carcer mod capeOnce you have designed your avatar, you are dropped into your virtual home with or without your virtual pet, you teleport into a multilingual international virtual world. Importantly for educators, Smallworlds is Moderated. Moderators and helpers are real easy to spot, they all have a saintly (some might say unearthly?) glow as they travel about in-world. They also wear a snappy looking blue cape with an “M” or “H” on the back just in case you miss the glow.

Whats more Smallworlds a mash-up or is mashable! ‘Mashable’ means you are able to mash together different web applications. A more professional definition can be found in the Horizon Report 2008

‘A mashup is a web application that combines data from more than one source via a single, unified tool.’

Same difference. For example you can play selected radio stations through your ghetto blaster, you can hang your pictures/artwork stored on photo sharing site flickr on your walls. You can take part in game tournaments such as chess and pool and much more. Smallworlds is a real interactive experience.

How it could be used for teaching?

At this moment in time, I have used Smallworldsto introduce students to social media. Once logged in, there is an enormous amount for them to do, people to meet and etiquette to learn. The importance of personal safety, security and 21st Century safety awareness are easily reinforced through Smallworlds. Features such as room design (Design Technology) and Chat (MFL), can be easily applied in Smallworlds as students complete ‘Missions’ to help them earn credits. These credits can then be used to make purchases, an instant reward, often used to ‘pimp’ their home space.

How it could be used for learning?

More recently, I have been corresponding with the Outsmart team, discussing ways to use the many features available in Smallworld to create learning experiences. In particularly we have been looking at how Outsmart can offer staff and headstart or ‘teacher package’ and ways to use the missions to develop learning opportunities for students. For example, heading to a Maths room full of equations, with supplying the correct answers earning you credits. Or by creating rooms or great characters in history, again with questions to answer but also rooms to display photo and artwork, then entered into international competitions….. More ideas please.


#2 5 Minutes Meals for ICT

November 15, 2008 § Leave a comment

I cant remember the format, just give me two seconds to copy and paste it from the last meal, to keep things orderly.

Topic or Tool: Busbi Camera, small, portable and easy to use video cameras.

What does it cost? The Busbi’s we purchased were from Insight, look for a price bracket of £30-35. Google shop for it! We have a purchasing agreement with Insight, so quick, easy, next day delivery and the VAT back of course.We purchase 30, in our mind, 2 sets of 15.

What do you get?

The camera comes with a mini cd (basic arcsoft video editing software, not that you will use it, as you have access to Windows Movie Maker), USB Cable, 2 X AA Batteries, 1GB (no brand) SD Card (enough for around 60 minutes of video) already in the slot and a lanyard. Remember, the latest Windows Movie Maker now supports mjpegs so no conversion necessary. In summary, the Busbi is very easy to use, with just three buttons, record, playback and delete, staff and student training should be minimal, shouldnt it?

Can there be a downside? Well the video quality is not great, much like that from a webcam – recorded at a tiny 320×240. Think mobile phone video, but more of that later. The sound quality is passable. Look don’t expect it to look and feel like a £100 gadget, because it didnt cost you that much now did it.

How it could be used for teaching?

This is a difficult question, but here are a few ideas. Use the Busbis to record your instructions for class on a planned absence? Create technical models in for Physical Education GCSE. This was difficult to answer.

How it could be used for learning?

Remember, Busbi is not a powerful camera. Think of activities you can get close enough to, to record. Also,  with battery life of about an hour, think 1 lesson at a time, although batteries and SD Cards can be replaced. On the plus side, no re-charging necessary.

I apologise for the clearly obvious ideas on where/how to use the Busbi, but I hope to offer one or two potential ideas you can try or mull over. Any more ideas, please send to me and I will add them to the list.

  1. An Introduction to Video (there goes the obivous). Within 15 minutes of paired work we had footage on the desktops and imported into Windows Movie Maker. (This did not include getting the Busbis out of the packaging and the packaging in the bin. That took longer than 15 minutes!) The students were bouyed by the novelty factor, I am not sure how much longer that novelty factor will last.
  2. Recording small skits in English or Drama, but remember you will need to get close. The Busbi is not the tool for full stage productions.
  3. The Busbi is great for reflection, film gymnastic balances, science experiments, or how you solved a maths equation! Play back is instant and on the camera.
  4. Get students to edit a science expereincment using Windows Movie Maker.
  5. Mentor or tutor time. Preparing for interviews. There is little more powerful then seeing yourself at interview.
  6. Film a particular technique is Design Technology or Food Technology and upload to instrutables.
  7. Use as a remote tool to interview students on placements or students on vocational courses.
  8. We are currently geting short film clips from students, we are going to use these to make a talking wall on our website.
  9. In English, ask students to create the College news and post it on the website, rather than writing an article.

Step aside, here comes big brother, the Bubi Plus, the Flip Ultra and most recently Flip Mino (£120). Now suggesting the Mino is a little expensive for College use lets focus on the Ultra. Like the Busbi, ‘The Flip Ultra,’ which costs £99 now £79, is an astonishingly simple. Like the Busbi, you take it out of the box (with batteries) switch it on, press the red button and start shooting. Unlike the Busbi, the 2GB also gives you 60 minutes recording but at twice the resolution, a 2x digital zoom and when you want to get at the footage, you flick a switch and a USB arm flips out (hence the name) allowing you to upload everything to a computer in a couple of clicks. Now I wonder if that flip-arm is education proof? Anyone?

#1 5 Minutes Meals for ICT

November 15, 2008 § Leave a comment

Topic or Tool: Screencasting, a digital recording of computer screen.

What does it cost? Low end FREE, at the Professional end, it can be expensive. For use in your classroom, on your website or CPD, Jing, Wink, ScreenToaster, Screencast-o-matic and the many others, are just fine. Just in case you get hooked, Camtasia, for professional level recording, editing and sharing high end screen video.

screen-recorder

The new kid on the block is ‘in browser’ screen casting. Enter ScreenToaster, a free web based screencasting tool that requires no installation, no software and can record your full desktop screen (or just a rectangular section) in few clicks. It will even host the finished screencast for you and is therefore immediately available for sharing via email or for embedding on other sites. You can download it of course, but why would you? Ok you might want to.

A hidden bonus is that Screen Toaster is written as Java web applet, which means it works pretty much on every Operating System. Any difficulties here, as your Network Manager, considering there is nothing to install s/he should be more than happy to help !

The downside – Screen Toaster doesn’t not currently record audio, but its coming, in the mean time you can add subtitles. On the up side, they were more than happy to help when I asked for a few extra accounts for students to use.

Screencast-o-matic is another similar online screencasting app but what you may like more about Screen Toaster is that it renders videos as streaming Flash so it becomes easy to embed screencasts in web pages. For those of you that love your firefox browser, there no reason to leave with Capture fox.

How it could be used for teaching?

An obvious answer, create ‘How to’ screencasts. Screencasts to show students how to login into your VLE? Or create functions in a spreadsheet, or any skill in a ICT lesson. Screencasts for staff on how to complete the NEW online registers or assessments?

How it could be used for learning.

I recently asked the students to evidence they could attach documents to their emails using screentoaster, I know I am not the only teacher using screencasting as OCR Nationals evidence. I know Gideon Williams at Perins School was complimented by his External Moderator for using screencast to  evidence some of the criteria in the OCR Nationals. This process requires thinking and planning and if your use the audio features, scripting skills as well. Getting senior students to create ‘how to’ screencasts for junior students is a very powerful learning tool but also a great resource creator / base for the teachers.

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