Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Ewan has started the conversation...

Following my earlier blog re Ewan McIntosh's visit to the University of Glamorgan today... the conversation between Welsh Bloggers ( a strange breed) has begun. I had a comment dropped in from the person sitting next to me this afternoon ...... the first time in over 17 months of blogging that there has been a comment from here in the principality - now look what you have done young McIntosh !!!! link to Jimpow blog... now we have a dialogue.
Ewan Mcintosh at Glamorgan University

It was great to have the opportunity to touch base in the 'real' world with Ewan McIntosh at the Glamorgan Business School, Treforest.... yes in Wales. Ewan had been invited by CELT ( Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching) as part of their Blended Learning Project. It was actually a seminar on Post 16 Blended Learning in schools that Ddraig-Goch , a year 3 Primary Teacher had stumbled into... ( in with the big fish!!!).
However as Ewan's presentation progressed no one would or should be surprised that many of his points chimed very much with my thoughts. Ewan's main message I guess was to use the tools we now have at our disposal to motivate our learners... whatever their age.
From my point of view even though topics visited by Ewan in his 90 minute seminar were expected it is as always great to hear these things put over in Ewan's easy but hugely enthusiastic way. In the room as well there were actually 5 of us confirmed bloggers in the room, which perhaps shows that the tools are being used by a growing group of educators.
Ewan ranged over :
Digital Video
Mobile Phones
Use of Gaming
phew!!!! quite a bit in the time allowed, but the presentation seemed anything but rushed, there was ample time for Ewan to take questions from the assembled group.
I have come away feeling re-invigourated thanks to the afternoon, it was brilliant to actually meet finally face to face ( yes Ewan I am a bit greyer in real life!!! well I am getting on!).
I have to say a big thank you to the University of Glamorgan for being far sighted in arranging Ewan's visit - even though it was quite literally a flying visit. I hope Ewan managed to get to Bristol Airport in time for his flight back to Scotland..... thank you Ewan for an inspiring afternoon.
It was also good to catch up with Haydn Blackey from the CELT Blended Learning Project team.

I will finish with this last shot with the question WHY bother? All of us convinced of the need to use new technology and embrace the changes it will make to the way in which we teach know well that there are a myriad of reasons why.... I hope and expect that most people in this afternoons lecture will go away with plenty of reasons why..... thank you Ewan.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

On the afternoon of Wednesday 27th June at 3pm a certain Mr E McIntosh will be giving a Seminar at the Glamorgan Business School on the campus of University of Glamorgan, on the use of Social Media in Further and Higher Education... And guess who will be going to hear Ewan's words - yes yours truly Ddraig-Goch.

It is very fortunate that for me Wednesday afternoon is my Planning, Preparation and Assessment time, and with a little bit of good will and timetable juggling ( thank you very much to my Y3 colleague who is helping out for 30 minutes ), I find myself free to travel up to Treforest to listen to Ewan speak live for the first time.

I must say now that when I began blogging and podcasting well over 15 months ago it was Ewan who I went to, following my calls around Wales for other like minded Web 2.0 users in education. (and getting little or no response!!!).
Ewan was very helpful giving excellent advice and support, as he does for anyone who is weird enough to travel this path of ours, into blogging podcasting and wiki-crafting. Thanks to Ewan I stuck with it, began trying out different Web 2.0 tools in school and the rest as they say is history.

I was giving a seminar myself on Podcasting in Primary and Secondary Education at the WITS 07 conference at Ty Dysgu, in Nantgarw on Friday of last week ( where I has Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach, Allanah King and Jane Nicholls skype in to talk to my audience - thank you ladies very much). When I met Ian Morgan from NGFLCymru who told me of Ewan's visit this coming week ( he also kindly e-mailed me the details )...... as you can imagine when I got home after a hectic but excellent day, I filled in my registration and fired it off to the University at great speed.

It will be interesting to see/ hear and perhaps meet Ewan after all this time in 1st Life!!!!

This year has been good for me in that I have been able to speak globally to many colleagues, however it is only recently that I have actually managed 1st life contacts with people such as Joe Dale ( Integrating MFL into my Classroom ) and Chris Fuller ( Edgehill College Spanish Podcasts). I look forward to being able to more friends in the 'real world' as well as virtually.

Look out for a report and photos to follow later....

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Sunday, June 24, 2007

As my friend Allanah said in a comment, it is at moments like these, important birthdays and the like that you see how the new read/write web works in aggregating firends from around the globe. To al of those who have made comments or sent texts, thank you very much ( you know who you are) If you follow the link below you will see a google video posted from my colleague Daniela Lucci Cordisco and her pupils from Lazio - it is so sweet it certainly brings a tear to the eye... E-Twinning in action....

Grazie molto : )

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Saturday, June 23, 2007

** Tiny Ted is safe and well .... in Birmingham, Alabama.. **

For those followers of Cefn Fforest Primary School's roaming geocaching bear Tiny Ted's latest travels the past few weeks have been a bit of a worry as Ted has been out of communication, and has not posted any pictures.... we have all been worried! Especially some teachers at The Oaks Pupil Referal Unit, in England!! who Mr Harrington met recently in Nottingham at an E-Twinning Conference and of course, many many pupils and teachers in New Zealand, as well as his original family here in Wales

However this week Tiny Ted has re-emerged from his silence, he has been with our friend Sheryl in The United States, while there he has been attending a few teachers conferences

One in New York (lucky TT) and more recently in Birmingham, Alabama. He has posted these picutres of his travels...

He certainly seems to be enjoying his food again, and is continuing to teach teachers how to use computers.

He has been finding out what teachers talk about while they are at conferences... and what strange things teachers get up to!!!

He has also been finding out how many things there are to learn... and been worried about where he should go next...

As you would expect from such a special bear he has been making heaps and heaps of new friends.

He is now moving on to stay with a teacher over the summer vacation in Alabama, her name is April Chamberlain, I am sure that she will post some fabulous pictures of Tiny Ted's summer in the USA which we will hear about real soon....

Thank you Sheryl for taking such good care of a special bear ( he is really looking well in the pictures). More news on Tiny Ted's adventures will follow...

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Well here it is - the day I have been dreading for some time has arrived, 50 years old today!!!! It is very hard to believe and take in. 50 for me is one of the birthdays I have been least looking forward to, and I can't really explain why ( some deep philosophical mortality thing I guess?).
But when it arrives there is no way of avoiding it.... ( much like death and taxes) .... even though you may wish to.
The whole thing is made much easier to take by being surrounded by a good ( if a tad ,sarcastic!!!) family, for which I am extremely grateful.
For example the cake above was lovingly made by my 18 ( soon to be 19) year old daughter ( Emily has 2 children Abbi 17 months and Jaycob 5 months old). emily has had a difficult time during her teenage years and we have gone through some very low and difficult times - but she spent all of Friday afternoon at my mum's house making this cake for me - it is pretty well all her own work and it really made me feel proud of her, and the way she has grown into a woman and a mother. So far that single action has made me feel that perhaps I should just be grateful, and just grow old DIS-gracefully!!!!!

The balloon and card avalanche arrived this morning ( following many hushed conversations at home that I was told to keep away from!!!!!!) Many thanks to all for their congratulations. Most of all to my wife - who has all of this to come next year ( tee hee!!!), after all she has been very brave and put up with me for the past 24 years!!! ( most prisoners are let out after 10!!)You will dear reader have noticed that so far I have avoided getting myself in shot - sadly this could not last.... so here are some pictures of the person who usually prefers to stay the other side of the camera lens!!!
I plan now to start counting backwards for birthdays and hope to goodness I don't make it to a century!!!! As for presents well....... there is the small matter of a track day at Silverstone behind the wheel of a Ferrari 355!!!!! Hey I could get used to this .... 51 here we come : )

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Thanks to john at Creative ICT for posting this video - it gives a somewhat chilling view of where our virtual worlds may take us....

What do you think ????

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**A request for help from the blogosphere from Draig-Goch !!!**

I am running a MacBook with the Intel Core Duo chipset and Mac OS X. I have Audacity loaded onto the Mac as it is my prefered mode of podcasting.
My problem is I have tried a few times now to download the LAME encoder for Audacity ( yup I know that there is one for Mac running intel chip!). In the read me file it suggests that the file has to be amended. This sadly is where my tech brain turns to scrambled egg ( first sign of trouble and - I'm off !!!)....
I have tried a number of times to associate my Audacity with the LAME file - to no avail, all lame options are greyed out so un-openable when I search.... there must be someone out there who has had this problem and can help me to sort it out ????
I am not proud I don't mind asking for help when I need it ( I am lost this time !), so do help if you have come across this before..... many thanks in advance

Ddraig-Goch !!! a very tired Welsh Dragon who really should be in bed by now : )

Sunday, June 17, 2007

While trawling the internet this evening and having left some comments on Roger Distill's pupil blogs, this nifty 'FREE' product was briefly reviewed on the site and here it is...

"...FauxTo brings to our desktop an excellent mini Photoshop with Web 2.0 technology! I am not a Photoshop user, preferring Serif PhotoPlus, but I am told that Fauxto is very akin to Photoshop, although much lighter, of course. Nonetheless, it sports a good range of tools, filters, effects and so on, and even works with layers. I can't imagine students with ordinary everyday photo-retouching requirements needing anything more than this - and it's free!

Images can be loaded from your computer drives, from your Fauxto account, or from any URL (there's a copyright issue here, about which students should be taught!), and saved back to your account or your computer. As you might expect, they can be shared across the Internet, too. A really neat application!

Imagine your students' computer desktops adorned with shortcuts to the likes of Fauxto, Google Reader, the Zoho suite, SplashCast, Picnik, Flickr,

Posted by the ict-grump Friday 15th June 2007 "

This looks to be a neat product to give a go to - posted by Roger Distill alias The ICT-Grump! Roger is also to be found in the Ning Social Networking area.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

** Skyping into AETC07 Conference with Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach**
I happened to be on Skype recently in school chatting with teachers in Europe, when I received a hello message from Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach.
Sheryl as many will know is a Keynote Speaker at conferences around the globe, and is a leading light of K12Online07.
Sheryl is presenting workshops at the AET Conference 2007 on the uses of Web 2.0 tools in the classroom, to Alabama Educators in Birmingham Alabama, on Tuesday 12th and Wednesday 13th June. Sheryl very politely asked if I was free at around 3.45pm (9.45am Alabama) on Wednesday to take a call, and to explain the ways in which we at Cefn Fforest Primary School have been using Skype as a means of global communication. I said yes, before really realising the full implications of speaking via video skype to a conference in the US!!!! from my small classroom in Wales.
(It is strange that very like a certain Terry Freedman, Sheryl has a very chatty way of getting people to agree to things which on the surface seem so 'matter of fact' but are quite 'out of the ordinary').
The result of this is that at the end of the teaching day on Wednesday, I shall be sitting in my classroom awaiting a call from 4,000 miles away in Birmingham, Alabama....

Today Tuesday 12th June Sheryl is going to be chatting to Jane Nicholls (ICTUCAN) from Dunedin New Zealand also via a Skype call.
Here is the recording of the conversation with Sheryl and her colleagues in Birmingham, Alabama play

Friday, June 08, 2007

** An update on Flixn in school, I tried it out today - Good News the site is not blocked (yay)- Bad News Flixn can't locate my webcam!!!! - this is probably a port question and will need a visit from the tech people to see if it can be overcome!!!

I was very impressed the see that Kathy Cassidy's Kinder Kids in Moose Jaw Canada, had found my post and tried Flixn out today in their class ( the flat world - classes without walls in action again.

Oh bother - I blogged when I said that I was grounded!!!!!!!!!!!! ( shh!! don't tell anyone - they'll never know).
Check out Joe Dale's 'Integrating MFL into the Classroom' blog where he has tried out flixn and can see its educational potential, particulalry in language teaching.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

The Ddraig-goch blog is going to be operating in tick-over mode for the next few weeks as the person behind the blog needs to concentrate on writing the reports for his class of 31 pupils.

Like all children the only way to concentrate his/my mind on the task is to take away his privileges - one of which is spending hours every day/evening communicating via blogs and podcasts with his friends.

So to all of his friends Ddraig-goch has been grounded- normal service will be restored when the deed has been done ( or if he/I manage to avoid the lock down ( self imposed)..... we will see.....

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

An interesting Web 2.0 tool Flixn which enables video to be recorded and directly embedded into a variety of blogs ( Yes Joe typepad included). It appears to offer a 5 minute recording which can then be viewed from your blog...

It seems very like the OU Flashplayer which offers a similar opportunity, I am not sure if there is a time limit on that. But for my kids 5 minutes of recording time would be enough. I will be checking tomorrow in school to see if the site is blocked ( we hope not!!). Thanks initially to Jane Nicholls and by association to Clay Burrell for that. Also to Chalkdust blog and by association back inevtably to Will Richardson for the initial post...

It is n't the only new tool available at present another one which I came across thanks to AK is Zentation which is a site where you can match a Google Video to a powerpoint slide set to produce a whole new idea of presentation. AK and I were looking at it as we cast around for a vehicle to present a double act for the K12 Online Conference in October !!!!!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

** Well Done Play To Learn E-Twinning Project**
I heard today from Daniela Lucci Cordisco that Play To Learn has been awarded its E-Twinning Quality Mark from the Italian NSS that is excellent news ahead of Daniela's trip to Estonia for the e-Twinning Conference in Tallin next weekend.
Bravo bravisimo Daniela form your partners around Europe.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Blogging from the UK E-Twinning Conference NCSL Nottingham

Today has been interesting to say the least. Firstly for the chance to meet with people such as Jeff Howson ( E2BN, Making The News and Flashmeeting) and Oscar Stringer ( not actually met yet !!!), and secondly to actually have Face 2 Face meetings with people that I respect within the UK blogging and podcasting community - Joe Dale, Chris Fuller ( and Ali of course).
Over dinner the chance to catch up and consider future developments in Web 2.0 tools in education.
Talking of which I have a site from Teaching Mr Stacey - it is called Gawker a downloadable time- lapse film program ( for the mac!!!!sorry pc users)
Thanks Mr Stacey ( Da iawn Mr Stacey - Bendegedig!!! Gwych!!)

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