Thursday, May 31, 2007

** Do You want to explain Wiki's to someone**
If you do The Common Craft Show's Lee Le Fever has posted a straightforward simple to understand description of :
1) What a Wiki is...
2) How a Wiki works...
Thanks to Sheryl Nussbaum Beach for the link and for trawling YouTube for this video... enjoy.

This is probably the last post of a busy day, but I have found some excellent posts and video clips today - I would say my favourite from a practical point of view is the Zoho Notebook ***** for which I can see immediate application for collaboration, the above What is a Wiki? I think is my second favourite ****.
There is always great new Web 2.0 stuff coming through it is just a case of being able to filter what is useful for teachers and others in the education field.
Check out the MS Photosynth video on the right ( thanks for the link Allanah in New Zealand ) or watch the presentation from the TED Talks March 2007, where developer Blaise Aguera Y Arcas shows how this software enables the amalgamation of pictures stored on the web tagged with a specific place tag. These images can then overlaid via Photosynth to enable zoom in and pan functions using multiple images to give depth and detail - each image is brought via the web enabling zoom by only bringing you the specific data from required images. ( you don't ever store all of the images on your pc ). Cool stuff...
** Open University Open Learning Project **

Many thanks to Stuart Brown from the Open Learning team at the Open University for this video their award winning OpenLearning Project, which applies the Open University's strong distance learning knowledge with the power of Web 2.0... one day all learning will be like this (perhaps)...
** Zoho Notebook **
I recently posted on the Web 2.0 tools from Zoho. I have just caught up with Michelle De Craene's blog, Michelle is using Zoho Notebook online to store her PhD thesis... more of this to follow.
But the tool itself shows great promise as a one stop shop for collaborating online in so many ways. Perhaps the future is to have PC's and Mac's which don't run MS Office or Open Source software taking up precious hard drive space... but we keep our records online and amend them/collaborate over the web... ( ah post MS Office world - just imagine if you will for a moment - in the distance you may see Mr Gates beginning to rotate!!!)
Check out Zoho's demo on Zoho Notebook - with thanks to Michelle, and of course the developers at Zoho.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Microsoft Surface

The newly announced "Microsoft Surface", I read about it earlier today on the Cool Cat Teacher Blog

" [Surface is] the first in the company’s new category of surface-computing products that it has touted as “breaking down traditional barriers between people and technology.” Surface has a 30-inch display in a table-like format that can recognize physical objects. It allows, according to Microsoft, “hands-on, direct control of content such as photos, music and maps. … through natural gestures, touch and physical objects.”

Surface can also recognize objects embedded with identification tags similar to bar codes....Surface, as Microsoft sums it up, brings an “opportunity to create technology that would bridge the physical and virtual worlds.”

As Vicki Davis says the new device should be available next year - However news of the device has reached the UK, as it was just shown on the UK ITV 10 o'Clock News. Can I put my order in now??

Thank You for the post Vicki - it looks like a must have tool

Blogged with Flock

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

I think that it is high time we let our pupils speak up for the new web 2.0 tools that are now becoming more widely used in education. Here are 2 video's from New Zealand the first from Jill Hammonds who asked students at Te Awamutu Intermediate school to talk about their use of blogs and wikis.

The second video is by Rachel Boyd and her class of 6&7 years olds from Room 9 at Nelson Central School. Here they talk freely and enthusiastically about how and why they use blogs in their classroom.

David Warlick recently on his blog where he had put out an appeal that I will repeat here from Jane Nicholls said about teachers using Web 2.0 tools in New Zealand .

"I met Jane Nicholls while working in Dunedin, New Zealand a few months ago, and was so impressed with the enthusiasm of teachers there. The job seemed to be “fun” for them."

"Jane is currently researching the benefits of podcasting and has asked me to forward a request for participation in her research project.

*** ICT U Can!: A request for help:

I am currently undertaking research looking at the question:

In what ways does podcasting enhance oral literacies?

I have been gathering data in my own context but I would love to hear what other teachers have found when using podcasting in their classroom programme and add voices from further a field into my final write up.

I hope that you can help her with this very important question." taken from 2Cents Worth by David Warlick.

Blogged with Flock

Monday, May 28, 2007

** A motivational video on the use of Web 2.0 Tools in Education**

Being a member of the Ning NextGen teachers Social Network is great as there are all sorts of teachers there pushing at the boundaries in the use of 2.0 tools in the classroom. A recently posted video from Paul McKenzie (another Kiwi!!- though now teaching at an International School in Kuwait) is a great motivational tool for creating a 'Tech Buzz' in a school... It is called 'Bridging the digital Divide' I am sure that Paul would be grateful for comments...

Bridging the Digital Divide


Many thanks to Allanah King and Jane Nicholls for giving me the lowdown on what looks like a pretty cool conference which, even though it is happening 11,000 miles away from me in here in Wales, is an Online Conference similar to K12Online.
This means that once you register at the conference page you have access to all of the conference presentations and follow-up sessions. The sessions which I have seen already such as Allanah's and Jane's are great because they speak from a teachers point of view, and how they/we have gone about integrating the new Web 2.0 tools into day to day teaching and how they can be used to enhance skills which you would be teaching anyway, with a greater impact with the pupils as well as allowing you to spread the pupils work around the globe to a 'real' audience.
A home grown example from here in Wales :
On Friday last week we had one of our school Environment Days, where we carry out a number of activities linked to the environment - this year we spent time rather than writing about what we had done - we blogged live on the day about what we were doing as a whole class collaborative writing session. This wasn't even lead by me, but me teaching colleague in a parallel Year 3 class ( who also runs a class blog) asked if she could run the sessions for our kids. I was really pleased this happened, it was a success which we will undoubtedly do again.
However I have drifted from the point ;
If you go to the site now you will be able to see/hear Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach's Keynote Conference Presentation which she runs as a Elluminate Presentation.
I think that this conference is a must attend for all looking at ways of integrating new Read/Write Web tools into their teaching... do take the time to register.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

As Web 2.0 tools and the use of them makes steady progress globally as well as here in the UK, the K12Online Conference 2007 planning process begins and as many have said there is plenty of time to have a go !!- The team at K12Online are looking for us using the tools daily in our classes to make proposals for presentations - go on, you know you want to!!
I know that I plan to this year, probably in Week2 Strand A, where I am hatching a plan to co-present with my colleague Allanah King in New Zealand on how Web 2.0 tools have linked schools 11,000 miles apart who now talk to each other in various ways most days of the week - which is pretty cool ( now I've told you my secret plan - What's Yours?? - Go On - have a go, you never know where it could lead, thats the best thing about the new-ish Read,Write Web!! )

There will be four "conference strands"-- two each week. Two presentations will be published in each strand each day, Monday - Friday, so four new presentations will be available each day over the course of the two-weeks. Each presentation will be given in any of a variety of downloadable, web based formats and released via the conference blog ( and archived for posterity.

Week 1
Strand A: Classroom 2.0
Leveraging the power of free online tools in an open, collaborative and transparent atmosphere characterises teaching and learning in the 21st century. Teachers and students are contributing to the growing global knowledge commons by publishing their work online. By sharing all stages of their learning students are beginning to appreciate the value of life long learning that inheres in work that is in "perpetual beta." This strand will explore how teachers and students are playing with the boundaries between instructors, learners and classrooms. Presentations will also explore the practical pedagogical uses of online social tools (Web 2.0) giving concrete examples of how teachers are using the tools in their classes.

Strand B: New Tools
Focusing on free tools, what are the "nuts and bolts" of using specific new social media and collaborative tools for learning? This strand includes two parts. Basic training is "how to" information on tool use in an educational setting, especially for newcomers. Advanced training is for teachers interested in new tools for learning, looking for advanced technology training, seeking ideas for mashing tools together, and interested in web 2.0 assessment tools. As educators and students of all ages push the boundaries of learning, what are the specific steps for using new tools most effectively? Where "Classroom 2.0" presentations will focus on instructional uses and examples of web 2.0 tool use, "New Tools" presentations should focus on "nuts and bolts" instructions for using tools. Five "basic" and five "advanced" presentations will be included in this strand.

Week 2
Strand A: Professional Learning Networks
Research says that professional development is most effective when it aims to create professional learning communities — places where teachers learn and work together. Using Web 2.0 tools educators can network with others around the globe extending traditional boundaries of ongoing, learner centered professional development and support. Presentations in this strand will include tips, ideas and resources on how to orchestrate your own professional development online; concrete examples of how the tools that support Professional Learning Environments (PLEs) are being used; how to create a supportive, reflective virtual learning community around school-based goals, and trends toward teacher directed personal learning environments.

Strand B: Obstacles to Opportunities
Boundaries formalized by education in the “industrial age” shouldn’t hinder educators as they seek to reform and transform their classroom practice. Playing with boundaries in the areas of copyright, digital discipline and ethics (e.g. cyberbullying), collaborating globally (e.g. cultural differences, synchronous communication), resistance to change (e.g. administration, teachers, students), school culture (e.g. high stakes testing), time (e.g. in curriculum, teacher day), lack of access to tools/computers, filtering, parental/district concerns for online safety, control (e.g. teacher control of student behavior/learning), solutions for IT collaboration and more -- unearthing opportunities from the obstacles rooted in those boundaries -- is the focus of presentations in this strand.

This call encourages all, experienced and novice, to submit proposals to present at this conference via this link. Take this opportunity to share your successes, strategies, and tips in “playing with boundaries” in one of the four strands as described above.

Deadline for proposal submissions is June 18, 2007. You will be contacted no later than June 30, 2007 regarding your status.

Presentations may be delivered in any web-based medium that is downloadable (including but not limited to podcasts, screencasts, slide shows) and is due one week prior to the date it is published.

Please note that all presentations will be licensed Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported.

As you draft your proposal, you may wish to consider the presentation topics listed below which were suggested in the comments on the K-12 Online Conference Blog:

* » special needs education
* » Creative Commons
* » Second Life
* » podcasting
* » iPods
* » video games in education
* » specific ideas, tips, mini lessons centered on pedagogical use of web 2.0 tools
* » overcoming institutional inertia and resistance
* » aligning Web 2.0 and other projects to national standards
* » getting your message across
* » how web 2.0 can assist those with disabilities
* » ePortfolios
* » classroom 2.0 activities at the elementary level
* » creating video for TeacherTube and YouTube
* » google docs
* » teacher/peer collaboration

The first presentation in each strand will kick off with a keynote by a well known educator who is distinguished and knowledgeable in the context of their strand. Keynoters will be announced shortly.

This year's conveners are:

Darren Kuropatwa is currently Department Head of Mathematics at Daniel Collegiate Institute in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. He is known internationally for his ability to weave the use of online social tools meaningfully and concretely into his pedagogical practice and for "child safe" blogging practices. He has more than 20 years experience in both formal and informal education and 13 years experience in team building and leadership training. Darren has been facilitating workshops for educators in groups of 4 to 300 for the last 10 years. Darren's professional blog is called A Difference. He will convene Classroom 2.0.

Sheryl Nusbaum-Beach, a 20-year educator, has been a classroom teacher, charter school principal, district administrator, and digital learning consultant. She currently serves as an adjunct faculty member teaching graduate and undergraduate preservice teachers at The College of William and Mary (Virginia, USA), where she is also completing her doctorate in educational planning, policy and leadership. In addition, Sheryl is co-leading a statewide 21st Century Skills initiative in the state of Alabama, funded by a major grant from the Microsoft Partners in Learning program. She will convene Preconference Discussions and Personal Learning Networks.

Wesley Fryer is an educator, author, digital storyteller and change agent. With respect to school change, he describes himself as a "catalyst for creative educational engagement." His blog, “Moving at the Speed of Creativity” was selected as the 2006 “Best Learning Theory Blog” by eSchoolnews and Discovery Education. He is the Director of Education Advocacy (PK-20) for AT&T in the state of Oklahoma. Wes will convene New Tools.

Lani Ritter Hall currently contracts as an instructional designer for online professional development for Ohio teachers and online student courses with eTech Ohio. She is a National Board Certified Teacher who served in many capacities during her 35 years as a classroom and resource teacher in Ohio and Canada. Lani will convene Obstacles to Opportunities.

If you have any questions about any part of this, email one of us:

* » Darren Kuropatwa: dkuropatwa {at} gmail {dot} com
* » Sheryl Nusbaum-Beach: snbeach {at} cox {dot} net
* » Lani Ritter Hall: lanihall {at} alltel {dot} net
* » Wesley Fryer: wesfryer {at} pobox {dot} com

Please duplicate this post and distribute it far and wide across the blogosphere. Feel free to republish it on your own blog (actually, we'd really like people to do that ;-) ) or link back to this post (published simultaneously on all our blogs).

Monday, May 21, 2007

Allanah King's Presentation for Teach4OnLine Conference

Allanah a good friend of mine and blogging/podcasting colleague was asked to contribute to the upcoming Teach4OnLine conference in New Zealand. Allanah explains in very straightforward terms both the range of Web 2.0 tools which can be used in an educational setting plus more importantly the pedagogy behind actually using them.
It shows very clearly how the use of these tools and applications, improves the ICT skills of pupils, and their view of The World outside their classroom, giving the pupils a voice in a global setting.
Allanah also explains how as educators we need to feel comfortable using the tools before giving ownership to our pupils, but demonstrates the creativity we unlock in our pupils when we take this important step, and the teacher becomes fascillitator, rather than leader of the learning.
Thank you Allanah, an inspiring video for all of those nervously deciding whether it is the right time for them to embark on this path.

** A note on watching the video it plays better if viewed directly from TeacherTube.

** Great Little Web 2.0 Tool for Creating a Newspaper**
We are working in school at present on a newspaper article to support our topic 'Flat Stanley' by Jeff Brown. The neat little Web 2.0 gadget linked to at the end of my post on our school blog enables your pupils to create their own newspaper articles, with many elements of a newspaper and produce a good facsimile as an end product - The kids will love it and the results speak for themselves
**** 4 Star Gadget... P.H.

On Monday 21st May 2007 as part of our IT and Literacy work we will be producing our own newspaper articles on a part of the Flat Stanley story. We will be using this link.
UK E-Twinning Conference 1st-3rd June (NCSL Nottingham)

I am looking forward to visiting NCSL Nottingham the weekend after next, and to attending the UK E-Twinning Conference, it will be the first time that I will have been to one of these events. I am hoping to catch up with some 'virtual' colleagues and also to network and find out what others groups have been up to.
My class have been involved over the past 6 months or so with the Play to Learn Project, a collaboration of 12 countries looking at how our children Play - in school and -at home. The group is co-ordinated by Daniela Lucci Cordisco in Lazio Italy. It is a very lively group with the blog being updated regularly by the members, plus spin-offs of Skype Conference and Videoconferences being held informally on ocassions. I have to thank Daniela for graciously allowing us to join. My pupils have gained by being able not only to view the work of friends from all over Europe, but also from being able to talk and sing directly to each other. Our latest work is in Playground Games - it is interesting to see similarities and differences between pupils play across the EU from Spain in the West - to Cyprus in the East - to Estonia in the North. If you want more information contact either the British Council or visit the E-Twinning Portal ( registration is free and school groups post requests for partners on this site)
I had been hoping to go to the E-Twinning Conference in Tallin, Estonia on 7th-10th June, originally I applied and was informed that I had not been selected. Kindly Tess from the British Council rang me a week ago giving me first refusal on a place ( I would have loved to have gone to both but this is impractical for me at present (( Report Writing in Progress!!)). So sadly I must forego the opportunity to meet up with Daniela and Kylli from Play to Learn who will both be delegates to the Tallin Conference ... I am sure we will meet up soon!!

Friday, May 18, 2007

** Special Visitors**
Dino and Bella from Appleby School New Zealand visit Cefn Fforest in Wales and have a Skype Video-Conference, Speak in our Friday Assembly and then join in a Class 3H Celebration Party - phew what an exciting Friday at Cefn Fforest Primary School. Dino from Moturoa Class ( Miss King) is an e-pal with Dinosaur Harry, and they got to once in a lifetime chance to meet each other in Wales today.
( we will post the link to the podcast of our chat very soon )
Dino and his sister Bella made it to Cefn Fforest, very early this morning ( at around 8.20a.m.) They are in the UK on holiday before returning to via a break in Malta ( by the pool, I guess!) back to New Zealand.

We had arranged with Miss K at Moturoa to have a live Skype class to class VideoConference at 8.30 am - ish UK ( 7.30pm NZ time)
It worked out really well from both sides (11,000 miles or so apart) - in New Zealand parents and pupils waited excitedly, while in Wales we waited excitedly for Dino and Bella to arrive. The Skype chat lasted for about 30 minutes before we had to let our friends in New Zealand go to bed!! Miss King has podcast the skype video chat here with 2 others they were involved in this week.

Dino and Bella then came into our assembly at 9.15 ( Dino took loads of photo's) and they told us something about New Zealand and the things that they get up to there - they both spoke very confidently to around 200 children ( a compliment to their teachers I am sure). Before finally heading off laden down with presents and cards from their friends in Wales.
We combined their visit with our celebration party for having 1,000 visits to our ClassBlogmeister Blog, so Bella and Dino got to have an early morning party as well, how cool is that ??


Moturoa said...

That is just so cool. Thank you so much for hosting Dino, Bella and family. I am sure the visit will be one of the highlights for them. I have just finished making a podcast of some or our Skype chat but as it is close to one o'clock in the morning her in NZ I will publish it tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Take a look at a great little web 2.0 tool at zoho. It is provides you with online Microsoft Office compatible tools - w/p, spreadsheet, presentation. This would allow pupils working in school using for example Powerpoint, to upload their powerpoint file to Zoho where it is held online. They can then access this from any pc ( or collaborate with others if they give them the password) without the need to have an expensive version of MS Office, as it is all done online. They can finish off work, correct work, then re-save it to access back in school.
The scope is also for teachers to use this perhaps for reporting/planning as you can access your saved work from anywhere ( perhaps not the beach or by the pool though!!)
This nifty piece of online wizardry was first brought to my attention by John Sutton @ Creative ICT recently - thanks John.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

** NextGen Teachers Skype Forum**

Doug Belshaw from NextGen Teachers @ Ning Social Networks organised a Skype Conference on Sunday 13th May @ 6pm GMT.
The meeting was well attended from both sides of the Atlantic :
Doug Belshaw from Teaching.MrBelshaw.
Aaron Smith as the token American voice. (The Art Guy)
Ollie Bray from Scotland,
Kristian Still from Southampton,
Joe Dale from The Isle of Wight,
Leon Cych ( NAACE)
and myself from here in South Wales
The discussion was wide ranging and even though originally billed as 'How we use Web 2.0 tools in Collaboration', we actually covered much more ground teasing out the problem of access, blocking and how we get the work going on in pockets around the UK to a wider audience. It was great to hear Leon from NAACE give some excellent advice and pointers to possible ways forward, even thoughwe perhaps as a group need to develop some 'joined up thinking' as to how we develop the use of Web2.0 and beyond ( Web 3.0 is in the wings waiting to get out!!).

A very interesting discussion if a bit long I know at 55 mins, but the quality of the discussion makes it worth a listen - hopefully not too disjointed by our SkypeOuts at various points. I hope you find the points raised thought provoking.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

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Liverpool FC in the European Champions League Final yet again ..... enough said ( from a person who has supported Liverpool FC for almost 40 years). As the motto above the Shankly Gates says "You'll Never Walk Alone". We look forward to Athens in a few weeks time. Well done Stevie' and the team.
Here is an interesting way to explain how blog/newsline blog aggregators work -
There are two types of Internet users, those that use RSS and those that don't. This video is for the people who could save time using RSS, but don't know where to start.

The link in from Dave Terrar and his Business Two Zero site where he links from the work of Lee LeFever from Common Craft. It is a really cool way of getting information across in an easy to watch way.

A dear friend

It seems very apt to be writing this blog post in tribute to a dear, dear friend. The world has lost a true global educational  IT innovator...