Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Interesting New Tool Yuuguu

Yuuguu

"Yuuguu lets you interact with your colleagues and friends as though
they were sat right next to you... no matter where in the world they are"

I have to say thanks to Lee Davis @IBO for the link to Yuuguu ( Japanese for fusion).

"Yuuguu, derived from the Japanese word for fusion, enables users to see, share, and take control of each other’s computer screens and applications. Users can ask anyone to securely share their computer screen in real time, whether they’re on a PC or Mac platform — and without having to download or install any software. Colleagues just need a browser and Internet connection to participate.

Free, easy-to-install, and easy-to-use, Yuuguu can be used by team members working on a project or friends sharing applications. Colleagues and friends can message and chat while they share screens for enhanced collaboration. The platform includes high quality, low cost voice conferencing services for one-to-one and one-to-many voice calls. And Yuuguu’s integrated presence status brings a sense of community to web sharing, as users can see when friends are online and click to invite them."

It will be interesting to see how Yuuguu matches up with the likes of Skype, Elluminate and WiZiq as it appears to fuse both with conference calls and desktop sharing. It is also cross-platform (Mac and PC available), it is also a part British product, based in Manchester.

"Comment from Philip Hemsted Co-Founder of Yuuguu - Hi there - many thanks for the review, I'm Philip one of the Yuuguu founders. We'll be releasing the web share version soon so viewers won't have to download a client to share screens and chat. If you want to have a go let me know and we can have a collaboration session."
This just shows the power of blogging, and yes Philip, I would love to give YUUGUU a go, a collaboration sounds great.... contact needs to be made.

I would like to try it out, so if anyone else in the Edublogosphere wants to have a get together download the program and let's give it a 'test drive'. To do this once, downloaded we will need to invite friends into a network using e-mail.... so let me know.


YUUGUU goes web based so no download or install - Yuuguu WebShare


Sadly now I am 'Mac-less' - I have finally had to take the MacBook back into school for my colleague who is taking over IT when I leave the school in just over 3 weeks. Having been able to directly compare both Mac and PC ( as a lifelong PC based user up to 2006).
I personally would not even try to carry out video/ film making projects on anything other than a Mac - IMovie is so easy to use, and transfering to iDVD very simple, making film projects easy peasy! ( I know having used Win Moviemaker on PC - it doesn't come close to its Mac cousin). I was somewhat underwhelmed with GarageBand for podcasting ( apart from video podcasting which is more practical on Mac) still prefering Audacity on a PC. The Mac operating system while fast and very smooth in operation I still found it quite alien compared with the MS environment, the basic fiddle of having navigation buttons on the opposite side of the screen!

I will certainly miss the Mac as I settle back into using my basic Dell Inspiron... but who knows what the future holds.....?


Friday, November 23, 2007

A thought - To Act or Not To Act ??

On visitng my friend JimPow's blog I came across this YouTube video on the need for action on Climate Change - watch and make your choice....


Thursday, November 15, 2007

Kingswear Primary School Podcasts get the Seal of Approval'

Kingswear Primary School in Devon have been experimenting with podcasting - using Audacity and posting on podcast hosts Podomatic for a while now, I came across thier recent batch of Halloween Poems which are fantastic. We loved them in class and I felt that they need a further showing to the edublogosphere so take a listen..... definitetly Kingswear Seal of Approval - well done Jo :-)


Click here to get your own player.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Stephen Heppell Interview for LTS


An interview with the influential 'Tech Guru', Prof. Stephen Heppell from Journey to Excellence from the Scottish HMIe site from LTS Scotland. This was found thanks to a del.icio.us link from Catherine Naamani a senior lecturer from the University of Glamorgan.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Cefn Fforest Podcasts are back....

At last in mid-November Cefn Fforest Podcasting from Class 4H is back in action, mainly thanks to Mr H getting himself organised....


Click here to get your own player.

Monday, November 12, 2007

'Spelling it Out' by Maryann Manning

Following my Saturday morning web trawl on teaching spelling, today I came across this article from Maryann Manning, Maryann is in the Education Department of the University of Alabama in Birmingham.

"There are five types of spellers in our classrooms – find out which types you're teaching this year.

Long ago I abandoned the practice of every student studying the same list of spelling words in favor of a more individualized program. My philosophy changed as a result of reading, listening to other teachers and, most of all, seeing that weak students at the beginning of the year were still weak at the end of the year. I wasn't meeting the needs of all students with one spelling list.

My students improved considerably when I moved from a prescribed list to thinking of spelling growth as a function of the reading and writing workshop and other literacy activities. This month, I'd like to share my ideas about teaching spelling....

To read Maryann's main findings go to the full article @ Teaching Pre K-8

Suggestions for parents
We know there are several classroom practices that help all spellers. We can pass this information along to students' parents, and let them know that whenever a student engages in reading, spelling will improve. The same is true of engaging in writing, especially in the writing process when attention shifts from content to mechanics.
"

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Saturday Morning Reflection


Good morning world, I have been doing my usual meander through my Bloglines Reader this morning and came across an interesting discussion which is going on regarding ' Spelling and What is the best way to learn '. Over at Education Investigation JLeitze pondered the issue refering to Wes Fryer's recent post "The outboard brain, memory, transfer and learning"
In his article Wes ranged over issues relating to questioning using higher level thinking skills allowing pupils to use technology in a meaningful way ( his example was kids being asked meaningless lower order, unrelated questions as a means of demoralising kids rather than encouraging their higher order skills ), a thought provoking read for all web 2.0 protagonists.
Wes followed by challenging the traditional way of almost old fashioned rote learning of spellings - unrelated word lists as Wes goes on to relate'
"There is virtually NO academic research I read or was exposed to in my masters and doctoral graduate coursework in education which suggests giving students spelling tests of decontextualized words on a weekly basis improves their abilities to spell, read or write. The real skill related to spelling is WRITING, and the best way to improve writing skills (according to the body of literacy research reviewed by Dr. Stephen Krashen of USC in his excellent book, “The Power of Reading, Second Edition: Insights from the Research” is to encourage students to READ prolifically. My son, like his mother, is simply not a speller. His brain is apparently not wired to visually remember the spelling of words, and he’s regularly done poorly on spelling tests. I am absolutely, positively not worried about this. Since this summer when he started reading the Harry Potter books, he has been voraciously consuming literature."
Wes's point regarding reading being the key to spelling reminded me of a podcast from Judy O'Connell in Australia, called Reading at Delany, in which Mr Geoffrey Lee relates his story of a failing kid who wanted had a goal and reached it by becoming a reader, a great listen if you have a few minutes.
As I prepare to leave the classroom in December, I can look over 19 years of development in education, many things have changed, Mathematics has become more investigative as other foundation areas of the curriculum here in the UK, but ( there is always a but!) spelling is still in over 90% of classes in UK schools a list based system, whether this is topic related or word family/ sound related, almost always an unrelated list of words taken out of context - surely in a Web 2.0 world there must be a better way to teach our pupils to spell - is Wes right 'reading is the key to a full lifelong enjoyment and understanding of the written.
It also relates to another article in Education Investigation regarding the use of 21st Century Learning tools - I guess for us all how can we use them to enhance and improve the quality of teaching and learning in our classrooms - I know that Jane Nicholls of ICTUCAN has spent a year carrying out action reasearch in New Zealand as an E-Fellow into how oral language is improved by the use of powerful web 2.0 technologies such as podcasting ( which has a spin off to writing and spelling) - can blogging have a similar effect on the written word ? - discuss :-)

Thursday, November 08, 2007

VisuWords

Visuwords - visual dictionary might be the closest you'll ever get to seeing a neural network in operation- creating synaptic links in order to make an information pathway.

When you enter a word into Visuwords, it creates a graphical abstract of all related terms, and ties them together in a web that you can manipulate. Mousing over a term defines it, and you can drag the terms around, into groups, or stretch the web apart to see how related terms relate to each other. It is, as the kids say, mad cool. You can see it in action at visuwords.com



Thanks to Tom Barrett for the initial information on this in his del.iciou.us links.

A New Challenge for Ddraig-Goch

The news of my imminent departure from Cefn Fforest Primary School became official today when all pupils had the information in a termly newsletter.
So, after 19 years teaching in the same school I am branching out into pastures new - my role will be as an Online Workshop Coordinator for the International Baccalaureate, based at Cardiff Gate, north of Cardiff.
I am very much looking forward to the new challenge (who says you can't teach an old Dragon new tricks?? I almost understand how to use Web 2.0 tools!!!!)and also to keeping my contacts with all of the new developments in teaching and learning using new Web 2.0 and 3.0 tools.
I believe that my enthusiasm for using new technology and forging International links both combine very well in my new job - keeping up with new developments in Educational Technology tools and applications is in my job description.
It will also give me the chance to work more closely with teaching colleagues from IB Schools around the world who I have met virtually at online conferences, and in online collaborative projects, in addition to keeping in contact with my spreading Personal Learning Network.

I have to say a great big thank you in advance to Allanah King in New Zealand, it was purely chance which brought us and our 2 schools together in October 2006 - firstly as podcast buddies, then blogging partners and finally as Skype partners... I would like to think that Allanah, myself and both sets of pupils learned in the new way - together collaboratively both teachers and students, and that we have since become good friends - indeed my kids came running to me earlier this week saying "Miss King's online can we reply to her skype message?" , the answer was "Of course you can!!!" ( really no need to ask). Sadly in a few weeks time we will be sending Cuddly Kiwi our link toy back to New Zealand after his year long visit to Wales ( and he still has his voice - just about!). We will try to keep track of Tiny Ted, who we think is still in Alabama with April Chamberlain.

The web 2.0 community is one of the most welcoming and supportive that I have come across in 19 years in teaching - as for professional development - I have learned more in the past 2 years than in the previous 17 put together. The community is a 24 hour one in which any of us is never afraid to ask the 'dumb' question, or to spread good practice which immediately becomes global - I will go with the general feeling that it is becoming a truly 'Flat World' - Durff, the wrinkles are being smoothed out - I know that there is still huge inequality globally but it is shifting there is change ( it was interesting to hear Wes Fryer complain of more blocking of sites in US schools than in Communist China!), parts of the world previously silent are gaining a voice, through dedicated teachers and others ( Mediasnackers for one).

I am also hopeful that Cefn Fforest will continue to develop as an online community through the dedication and enthusiasm of my successor as IT Coordinator - we plan to get blogs up and running for all classes before I leave at the end of December ..... Ddraig-Goch coming to an online workshop near you?

Tuesday, November 06, 2007



Teachmeet08

An interesting meet-up is being planned around BETT next year. Called TeachMeet08, it is a gathering of education technologists, willing to share their experiences and expertise. It is being led by Ewan McIntosh among others.

When and where?

Friday 11th January 2008, Olympia Apex Hall

5.00pm-6.00pm

Entry time - after 6pm you may not get in, although you can leave any time (tbc).

6.00pm-8.30pm

TeachMeet08 5th Edition, London, BETT

Early evening drinks, snacks, innovation

9.00pm-late

We could reserve tables at Pizza Express (under the venue). Add your name if you want to do this (at your own expense unless a sponsor comes forward).


If you want to sign up, please do so at the supporting wiki: TeachMeet08.

Hope to see you there.

Original Post by Lee Davis

Friday, November 02, 2007

UStream.TV

If you're thinking how can we make use of these new technological developments of online collaboration?
Take a look at the Ustream.TV feed from the TechForum 2007 conference held today Friday 2nd November in Austin, Texas with Miguel Guhlin and Wes Fryer discussing the impact of and solutions for CyberBullying using new technologies - interesting stuff - and with 40 people in the room in Texas and up to 25 people taking the live stream in UK, Canada and Melbourne, Australia (3am!! Jo McLeay!) ..... is this the newest way to virtual conference??

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