Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Diigo Tags 10/15/2008

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Virtual Worlds and Social Networks at HandHeld Learning2008

An interesting panel discussion involving danah boyd, Ian Hughes, Dave Taylor, Kurt Squire, Kathy Trinder, Ron Edwards and a representative of Disney online (Club Penguin)-followed presentations by 5 of the group which ranged from the 'soft sell' of Disney's virtual worlds ( not really doing a whole lot to break down gender issues with Disney Fairies which is highly unlikely to attract many boys....!)through to Dave Taylor using the Virtual World training doctors in safe simulated environments and Ian Hughes from IBM and Ron Edwards ( Ambient Learning) with their recreations of ' realworld' spaces for work based training and work with hard to reach disaffected kids.
The discussion developed from the initial issues around access to some of this technology in a school setting and moved more interestingly into the field of how we can use these spaces in new and novel ways.....getting away from as Ron Edwards would say 'the sage on the stage'. I have attended 'in world' presentations of this kind, and while for me this feels comfortable ( back to lectures with good visuals) and the chance to interact with colleagues many miles away, this style of experience will need to change for the 21st Century.
I was pleased when Ron, Ian and Dave Taylor showcased how we can use the 3d nature of the environment to model 'realworld' situations.
Ron showed how in his examples from Ambient showcased their in world peer mentoring within a safe and secure area and also the fusion of mobile phone and virtual world with the Virtual Worlds London project. Ian took us into the work that IBM took us into the world of 'inworld' staff training and also IBM's virtual Forbidden City. Dave showed us a little of the work that he has done with SciLands in Second Life......
All excellent stuff, tomorrow my main focus will be looking at affordable implementation and sustainable development of mobile technology with the Sottish LTS group including Ian Stuart from Islay.

Diigo Tags 10/14/2008

Monday, October 13, 2008

Pecha Kucha at HandHeld Learning 2008

Dan Sutch from Futurelabs concluded an excellent show and tell (Pecha Kucha) session at HHL by encouraging all educators to get involved in the discussion and discussion on the way education should be preparing for 2025..... how will education look in 2025.....will or should institutions such as schools still exist in 2025..... help Futurelab out by joining the debate here. Also follow their blog. Handheld Learning08.

HandHeld Learning Conference 08 Day 1

The Opening session at this year's Handheld Learning conference at The Brewery deep in the heart of The Barbican was hosted by Andy Black from Becta. Andy had assembled a group of teachers who have achieved some extraordinary results from bringing technology into their classrooms. Most importantly using technology as 'an enabler' to achieve a teaching goal - the classroom is not tech driven but the tech is curriculum driven. Above is Nic Hughes from Nightingale Primary School, who introduced the Robosapien as a means of teaching control. Andrew Davis from Clunbury Primary School also showed actual work with 'real' children. We also heard about the Learning2go handheld project from Wolverhampton. There were other presenters in the session all excellent in their own right which certainly started the conference well...... this afternoon Pecha Kucha session on emerging technologies.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Diigo Tags 10/12/2008

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Diigo Tags 10/11/2008

  • Welcome to The Forbidden City: Beyond Space and Time. This website provides you with access to an immersive 3-dimensional virtual world where you can celebrate and explore aspects of Chinese culture and history.

    tags: virtualworld

Friday, October 03, 2008

Diigo Tags 10/03/2008

  • Yoram is currently the Director of the Mandel School for Educational Leadership in Jerusalem, Israel. From 1994 to 2002 he was at the Branco Weiss Institute for the Development of Thinking in Jerusalem; Director of the "Intel-Lect Schools" Project, Director of the Institute's theoretical publications and a post-doctoral fellowship program for teacher trainers. Concurrently he was editor of the Institute's journal, “Educating Thinking”, author of the Position Papers of the Institute and presented at the international conferences of The Association of Education for Thinking in USA, Canada and UK.

    tags: thinking skills

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Diigo Tags 10/01/2008

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Gurkha Justice Campaign

I for one don't tend to get political but there are occasions where injustcie needs to be admitted and sorted out and this campaign is in my opinion one of these:

See the campaign in action here

Gurkhas are fighting for Justice. They want the same terms and conditions as their UK and Commonwealth counterparts.

Britain has had no greater friends than the Gurkhas. They have served all across the world in the defence of our Country for nearly 200 years. Over 45,000 died in the two World Wars as part of the British Army. They are still fighting in the British Army today.

You may have seen in the media that they are fighting in Parliament and the Courts. Step by step, things are getting better - but there is a long way to go.

Today, we expect judgement from the High Court as to whether their treatment has been unlawful in terms of the right to live in the UK if they retired before 1997.

Whatever the High Court decides today, the Government has to change the law on how it treats Gurkhas. We demand the full, fundamental change in law that will allow all retired Gurkhas the right to live here.

By signing up below you will be expressing your support for all Gurkhas. You will be signing our petition, and we will be able to contact you in the future as we mount the largest ever campaign to get them the Justice that they deserve.

Join me in the campaign: together, we can finally right this wrong.

Joanna Lumley

Dim Dim 4 - still a great user interface

At 4pm UK(11am EDT) Sundar from DimDim hosted an online session on the new aspects of DimDim4 - it still has the best look and feel of any of the online video conferencing apps, and is developing quickly, using feedback from users in order to make it even better. If you want to join in and ask questions that get directly back to DimDim go to the website and simply sign up for a session and experience it for yourself.
I think that it is still a powerful contender, perhaps held back by its limit of 20 people per meeting in the free version, rising to 100 with addition of being able to add your own branding in the Pro $99 per year version. In the free and pro versions you can only have one meeting going on at one time but can have meetings spread out around the clock which is useful. Below are some of the key features of DimDim4

Look out for more features from the DimDim crew in 2009.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Diigo Tags 09/29/2008

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Paul's Virtual Worlds Diigo Tags

Following the Jokaydian Unconference in Second Life this weekend here are some of the Diigo links that came from the discussions:

Peggy Sheehy opens the conference with some inspring stories of how SL can be used in education.

HeyJude Online's presentation and discussion at the Joeys Auditorium
  • tags: fotopool

  • Quest Atlantis (QA) is an international learning and teaching project that uses a 3D multi-user environment to immerse children, ages 9-15, in educational tasks.

    tags: virtualworlds, education, elearning, gaming, 3d, web2.0, game, edtech

  • Quest Atlantis (QA) is a learning and teaching project that uses a 3D multi-user environment to immerse children, ages 9-12, in educational tasks. Building on strategies from online role-playing games, QA combines strategies used in the commercial gaming environment with lessons from educational research on learning and motivation. It allows users to travel to virtual places to perform educational activities (known as Quests), talk with other users and mentors, and build virtual personae. A Quest is an engaging curricular task designed to be entertaining yet educational.

    tags: barab, virtual_worlds

  • Project Wonderland is a 100% Java and open source toolkit for creating collaborative 3D virtual worlds. Within those worlds, users can communicate with high-fidelity, immersive audio, share live desktop applications and documents and conduct real business. Wonderland is completely extensible; developers and graphic artists can extend its functionality to create entire new worlds and new features in existing worlds.

    tags: lg3d-wonderland

  • tags: learner, blog

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Paul's mobile microblogging Diigo Tags

The Jokaydian UnConference in Second Life

Come in and listen to Peggy Sheehy on TwitPic

Unconference agenda here

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Teachmeet 08 at the Scottish Learning Festival

Today 24th September the 9th (or was it 10th?) Teachmeet was held at the Scottish Learning Festival, recent Teachmeet's have been streamed through Flashmeeting and this evening at 6pm master of Flashmeeting ceremonies David Noble hosted around 13 educators from the UK and further afield ( including a certain David Warlick!) as the in room host Ewan McIntosh hosted his last Teachmeet. This link will take you the unedited Flashmeeting recording.You may need to fast forward past the initial setting up, however, if you are patient you are in for a real treat, as this I think is the best flashmeeting/Teachmeet yet, even accounting for some very localised Scottish accents.... not all are Scots though, indeed don't miss the first presentation of the evening by Tom Barrett showing some of the inspirational work he is doing in his UK primary school. In the middle of the recording is a visit to the breakout sessions,also a tribute to the departing Mr McIntosh.
For the quality of the learning experience this is a must see recording.

The demise of Skypecasts

I see that from earlier this month (1st September) Skype has discontinued( or in their words - retired) its Skypecasts (beta) as again in their words 'the quality of what was produced didn't quite measure up to the high standards that they required of the service'. This will be a disappointment to those who used it to join in some excellent conversations over VOIP.
However I can understand their decision as the open nature of joining a skypecast could also lead to some less than brilliant examples of VOIP - Skypecasts could literally be gate-crashed by anyone registered with Skype, I remember from the first series of K12Online in 2006 that the 'When Night Falls 24 hour skypecast was on numerous occasions stopped in its tracks by strange interlopers!
I hope that Skype have an idea of how they want to replace the 'Wild West' that was Skypecast!!!

Periodic Table of Videos

Thanks to IB Chemistry online mentor Maria Muniz Valcarcel for bringing to my attention this gem of a site where Nottingham University have put together an excellent resource of short Youtube video clips on each chemical element. They have also thought about the possibility of YouTube video being blocked in many schools - to aid this they have set up a mirror site here which will hopefully allow your school to use this as a resource for your students.
I think that the winner as far as student use is concerned is the interface itself allowing them to visualise where they are in the table and then have the rich full media experience.
Here is the introduction to the series :

You can also subscribe to their Youtube feed here

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Diigo Tags 09/23/2008

  • An Abergavenny boy and before his untimely death in 2003 an occasional player for Abergavenny Hockey Club.

    tags: no_tag

Monday, September 22, 2008

If you click the EdTech Roundup link above it will take you to the Sunday (21st September) evening Flashmeeting discussion between a group of dedicated UK educators - also here. The discussion was linked around a series of WOW's of the week where particpants explained some of the tools that they are currently using in their classrooms in particular in this show a discussion between the merits of Edmodo ( thanks Jose) and Yammer for secure microblogging. Utterli , Flowgram and Bussu ( for mfl teachers *)also cropped up in conversation. This is weeks discussion was once again ably lead by Doug Belshaw ably assisted by Lisa Stevens the wiki pixie. In the morning I had joined the late night Oz teachers Flashmeeting ably lead by Simon Brown and Sue Tapp with local colour and humour supplied by the ever resourceful Dean Groom

Diigo Tags 09/22/2008

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Utterli ( nee Utterz)

It has been a day of revelation and multi tasking - Utterli ( the Utterli blog here )came up in converstaion at some point during the day..... from an Aussie I believe. Utterli is a bit more verstaile as a tool than is something like I guess. These are the audio/visual equivalent of Twitter were you can join in the conversation and invite others in to either a written or multimedia collaboration.
Utterli is particulalry easy to use and I think could easily become addictive..... ooooh dear!
(Utterli was until earlier this month known as Utterz)

Using Flowgram

Following a packed Edtechroundup this evening, I can't actually remember who it was that suggested Flowgram as a means of recording a presentation, so my apologies to whoever that was! I have had a busy day trying to keep up with the conversation today having been in an OZ tech teachers flashmeeting along with my friend Joe Dale this morning. Followed by hopping into Lisa Parisi and Maria Knee's EdTech talk this afternoon, I was a little punch drunk this evening for the 8.30 to 9.30 Flashmeeting..... however I was keen to give Flowgram a go, the result is below.
It strikes me as a tool which is as easy to get your head around as something like Voicethread in that the recording procees is easy, it even gives you a time line in order that you can organise your presentation. You can use a range of different sources to which flowgram will sync. My small example uses a voice over a blog post, followed by a picture from my hard drive ( I should have voiced over that as well!) You can also upload powerpoint slides for voice overs as well. I thin that it would be great to see how kids in a real class use this tool..... more creatively than I ;-)( the sound effect in the background, not of course a steam train, but Mrs H ironing..... I did my ironing this ironing before joining Sue, Dean and the gang from downunder .... honestly I did!!!!)

A Video that speaks for itself

From David Truss

Yammer - A micro-blog for your organisation

My WOW of the week - is Yammer, Twitter without the hassle!

Yammer recently won the top prize at the TechCrunch 50 event. But what is it and how could it work for you?
Yammer is Twitter-like in that it works on micro-blogging rules of short posts, where it scores over Twitter is that you can set up a Yammer network for your own organisation/ school or social network group which is then closed to others..... no followers only invitees! In addition to the micro blogging you can also tag posts to help colleagues find what they are looking for. If the organisation or someone within it wishes to takes admin rights over the group allowing access controls etc there is a fee of $1 per user per month, but if not the whole system works free for your users.
Below David Sachs the founder of Yammer explains the origins and uses of Yammer

It would be a great system to set up for all sorts of groups - especially perhaps as people consider how to introduce these tools into the classroom - Yammer can be configured to work from SMS (The company already allows interaction with the service via the site, an AIR client, iPhone, Blackberry, IM, SMS and email. This evening they’ve also launched an API to allow third party developers to build Yammer into their applications. ) The AIR client integration means that you can have a Twirl - like update on your desktop.
You could set up your class/subject group up on Yammer and use this as a means of communication for both assignments and as a method of communicating comments on assigments. It could also form part of your education of pupils on acceptable use.
Within a school a Yammer community of teachers would certainly help to begin the process of integrating web 2.0 tools into teachers daily lives with a purpose - I would advise against school admin getting involved as it could soon temper the debate within the group!!
This certainly seems to be something which would be useful in many different schools/organisations as a means of communication that the Twitter community can understand.

Diigo Tags 09/21/2008

Friday, September 19, 2008

Diigo Tags 09/19/2008

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Diigo Tags 09/17/2008

  • The OpenSimulator Project is a BSD Licensed Virtual Worlds Server which can be used for creating and deploying 3D Virtual Environments. It has been developed by several developers. Out of the box, the OpenSimulator can be used to create a Second Life(tm) like environment, able to run in a standalone mode or connected to other OpenSimulator instances through built in grid technology. It can also easily be extended to produce more specialized 3D interactive applications. Check out the list of growing features to get an idea of what OpenSimulator is capable of.

    tags: opensource, secondlife, virtualworlds, opensim, virtualworld

  • In this presentation we're going to take a preliminary glimpse at SecondLife and discuss what it is, some of the important characteristics and activities taking place in the virtual world and importantly broach some questions on how or in indeed whether SecondLife can be used to facilitate learning in higher education.

    tags: secondlife

Monday, September 15, 2008

Diigo Tags 09/15/2008

  • BeTwittered is a client for Twitter, which is a very popular micro-blog sort of service. Twitters uses are always expanding into new areas, but it’s a great way to keep in touch, or just passively follow what others are up to. If you are not familiar with Twitter, go get a free account and check it out. It’s VERY easy to sign up. Because Twitter is hard to describe well- It’s best to just try it for yourself. Feel free to “follow” me to get started (whether you choose to use BeTwittered or not ) Just visit meta_robert after you sign up, and click the “follow” button on my page.

    tags: betwittered, twitter, software

  • tags: posterous

  • Pat
    I like to hike, read, crochet, teach, and do digital scrapbooking. I retired after 27 years of teaching in the classroom. Now I teach graduate courses as an adjunct instructor for Furman University.

    tags: teaching, education

  • A new US edublogger

    tags: mr

  • Shantideep Adarsh Vidhyasadan is one of the English Medium Schools established in 1998 with 13 students in a backwarded countryside of Bhaktapur district of Nepal. The name of the village is Bageshwori (altitude approx. 1500 metre). It lies in the eastern part of Bhaktapur district. It was established when the parents were not so aware of their children’s education. We (school Management) had to struggle a lot to achieve the sympathy of the parents / villagers. They weren’t convinced in the very beginning and didn’t send their children to this school thinking that we can’t run the school continuously for the long run. As a founder director, I tried my best to build up and uplift the situation of the school. By the end of that year, we were able to impress them showing the out put of our teaching techniques and methodologies. As a result the number of students reached 78 in the beginning of the second year. The number of students has been increasing gradually. But we can’t enroll all the new comers due to the infrastructural and financial problems. Now we have 137 students.We hope we can fulfill the need and desire of our parents/ villagers (target groups) if your contribution on the infrastructural or/and academic sectors can be entertained.

    tags: savschool

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Diigo Tags 08/24/2008

Friday, August 08, 2008

What a night to just happen to be in NYC?

Celebrating our Silver Wedding Anniversary and Deb's 18th birthday (ha!) in New York, we happened to be sitting having lunch watching a rolling advertising hoarding on the side of the Radio City Music Hall, when up came an advert for The Police at Madison Square Garden on Thursday night...... having followed the band as I have others on and off over the years, and as we are on holiday, I thought let's go for it. I had to follow the tricky route of acquiring last minute tickets for what is possibly the band's last ever performance. Thanks to a site called StubHub ( recommended if you are ever in this position) I managed to acquire 2 tickets in a reasonable spot for the first gig I have been to since Queen at the NEC in 1979!!!!And boy what a gig it was.
First the poor B52's tried to wow the crowd,who joined in reluctantly at first, but gradually warmed to things as the numbers in the arena grew to its predicted 19,000.The B52's did an hour set.
But were followed by the fab 3 who started spectacularly with 'Message in a Bottle' back by the drums of the NYPD just watch this for the start of a concert!( thanks to TheSchemer among others for the Youtube links)The guys actually did over 2 1/4 hours on stage, I guess largely on adrenaline.The audience did their very best to raise the roof off 'The Garden', sting had his beard theatrically shaved off and the very end the fat lady did actually sing.
Thank you for a great night Andy, Stewart and 'Master of Ceremonies' Sting, it was brilliant and great to be able to say..... we were there.
The Police

Friday, August 01, 2008 has just been updated to Version 2.0 - url, make sure that your firewall recognises it and doesn't block it!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

'Newsflash! from Sean
It looks like the dates for the 2008 UK MoodleMoot will be October 16th and 17th. We are just finalising the venue details at present, but we suggest that if you wish to attend and present, that you send in your name and an outline as soon as you can (until we can get the database for this set up, please email them to Jon Allen, Jason Cole or myself). We apologise for the delay in announcing this - the difficulty lay in finding a venue large enough for the size that the Moot has grown to, without having to charge a small fortune in registration fees.

As soon as we have more information about the venue, and details regarding registration, we will post them here.'

by Sean Keogh.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Audacity and MP3 conversion on Eeepc

The final element has now been achieved, and would have been done much sooner had this 'old' dragon thought carefully about what he was doing in the Linux command line. As you can see below audacity recordings can now be converted into mp3 format.

Thanks to daria ( a french blogger-le blogue!) and his link to this simple and yet so important piece of code:

To compile put the lame file you downloaded in your user folder
Right click it and select extract all followed by ok
Go into the lame folder you just made
Click tools then open console window
Type sudo apt-get install build-essential
then type su
after you enter your password type ./configure
then type make
then type make install
That should be it Audacity should find the file automatically.

So simple but it works, and once in audacity preferences it will happily find the 'lame encoder' Now Eeepc900 is a fully functioning podcasting machine...................the podfather has to try it out......soon.

Implementing a powerful Learning Community

Dean Groom from Parramatta Marist High School in Australia makes some very salient points in his recent post on kicking off a learning community. Firstly that we have to forget the tools and the buzz words with the kids...... don't introduce blogging, just start a reflective writing project where people will feel free to write, and others will feel free to comment. I very much agree with Dean in getting away from our over use of the names of the latest whizzy tool, I believe that this puts off the less intrepid teacher who would have a go if we were less tool led (I will get down off my soapbox now!)
Secondly, Dean as many of us believe that you have to grow this collaboration it cannot be imposed in a false way, it has to be organic using the medium that your pupils find most relevant to their voice, also don't be afraid to scaffold the learning along the way, and also to use issues which arise as 'learning opportunities' not as so often happens, as a means of curtailing discussion and as a result the whole learning experience for the pupils. I found as well that if this process is given time to grow it will take firmer root in our pupils psyche and will just become the NORM and you will have a growing community whole will act as advocates for this method of learning. All of which brings me back to Dean's excellent presentation below. Thank you for sharing this piece Dean. Learn more about Dean's work on Project Based Learning (PBL) here (courtesy of Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A Birthday Present

Having recently returned from NECC08, I was presented with a rather nice birthday present today from the OPLS team here at the IB - a T Shirt and mouse mat with the logo above :-)
Thanks guys, I really appreciate it ;-)
I am sure that a photo of me wearing the said garment will appear here soon....... even though as you may have noticed I hate having my photo taken.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Mr Freedman goes to print

Mr Terry Freedman has been very busy over the past months, working as usual with willing collaborators from around the world to produce his new publication Web 2.0 Projects which follows his 2006 project Coming of Age V1 (now available in pdf format here)
Terry would welcome our feedback on the project, so if you have any points to raise follow the links on this page to leave your thoughts. All I can say is thank you Mr Freedman for continuing to promote and encourage the use of new technologies in classrooms both here in the UK and around the world..... dear reader you re encouraged to download the publications and use them with staff in your schools........ please.

Twine (beta invite)

Twine looks like one of those killer apps even before it comes out of beta testing. The idea of being able to use Twine as a semantic web interface to grow your network and all of you related feeds automatically is surely long overdue. More of these Web 3.0 semantic applications will appear as RDF technology begins to be embedded into them, it will undoubtedly help in the growth of online communities...... excellent I am waiting for my invite to join in :-) Take a look at what Twine should be able to do here.

Further Eeepc developments

As I become more adventurous with my Linux coding I discover how capable the Asus Eeepc900 is. If you look very carefully at the screenshot above you may just notice in the top left hand corner of the screen, an old friend ....... Audacity ( my favourite podcast recording software) ** message to Joe Dale following a conversation on Sunday - Yes Audacity on the Eeepc900 **
Here is a screenshot of Audacity running on the KDE operating system on the Eeepc, recording with a headset and mic is preferable to using the built in mic (I guess you might in an emergency, however it is not very good quality!). The coding was not at all difficult after a few false starts (code I used here), I reckon 10 minutes tops to get the coding done and Audacity up and running.
All I have failed to do now is find out how to open the lame.dll file to fully enable MP3 conversion- so if anyone else out there has a fail safe way of enabling the lame.dll file I will owe them a drink!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

World of Warcraft in the classroom!!

As part of my researches into the use of gaming in the classroom, I found myself in a large darkened room at NECC being taken into the wonderful World of Warcraft by Leslie Fisher. Some may know of my own ventures into the use of the Myst game in the Primary classroom, so it is a field which is of interest to me, as I guess it is for others.

Once you enter the World you create your avatar and what type of character you are with your characteristics ( mostly though not exclusively violent!).
Once settled in you can choose to accept a 'Quest' - questing gives them experience. In the World it takes you an enormous amount of time to reach the higher levels ( now 80 levels in all, and growing all of the time!) however you do have to break the questing down into small steps.

You need to go to the getting started guide you need to research the game this is a higher level skill that pupils have to achieve, so the higher level kids will soak up this like a sponge. The game will also improve pupils spelling skills and has an etiquette all of it's own, strangely not tolerating poor behaviour or bad spelling, while accepting random violence!.

There are many online sites around the world helping newbies to come to grips with their 'new world' although you will have to use your critical skills to source the best information. There are forum groups eg for information forums on questing and all things 'Warcraft'.
Social interaction- it doesn't matter who the individuals online as none knows who you are - very like 2life. Also there is complete equality online disability does not exist in an online environment
Bad language and being impolite are not tolerated nor is poor spelling.

You can buy or sell to people along the way thus earning money. You get rewarded for progressing in the game. You can also make things as you go along.
This game is totally immersive and will allow kids to develop their spatial awareness skills.
there are professions for characters from level1 it takes 15,000hours to reach level 70. Once you purchase the game you have to pay a regular monthly fee *see below from Wikepedia

Suggested Retail Price Monthly Fee Paid Character Transfer Fee Charactername Change Fee
Europe €14.99[60] €11-€13[60] €20[61] €8
United Kingdom £9.99[60] £7.70-£9[60] £15[61] £6
North America
US$20[62] $13-$15[63] $25[64] $10
AU$29.95[65] US$14.99[65] US$25[65] US$10[65]

* These rather garbled notes were taken during Lesley's presentation, in the darkened room, my feelings on the WoW, it's a great looking environment and gives great feedback to the player/players who are online........ its use in an educational setting is less clear cut - we heard tales of youngsters globally who are playing the game (at home) I am not sure that school authorities would see past the violent reputation of these games, it does have some educational value however it is unlikely that you will see it in a classroom near you anytime soon!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Conference or Unconference?

Apparently the queue for the main exhibit hall resembled the opening of the January Sales on Oxford Street, I can't comment as not only wasn't I there, but I wouldn't have wanted to be either!
The stroll along the Riverwalk to the Convention Centre was as relaxing as usual, in the pleasant summer heat. I guess that San Antonio differs greatly from other American cities, in that above ground is an American city, which seems a little quiet compared to others, while below and flowing under those city streets The Riverwalk is where the city comes alive - all of the bird song that you here is down there, while the bustling arteries that are the Riverwalk are rich in the sights, smells and sounds of this city so close to Mexico.
Contrast this to the vast air conditioned Convention Centre, large, impersonal and COLD! I was in discussion this afternoon with a group of teachers who were a mix of newbies like me and some 'old hands' about the ethics behind the conference, what is the target audience for these 'Mega' conferences? The conclusion was......... not us. But and it is an important but, to pull in a wide range of national and international visitors an event like this has to have a critical scale and reputation.
( For me San Antonio City = Conference Centre, The Riverwalk = Unconference! It is difficult to be objective though from inside the tank!)(cc image from Hapal )
It is really difficult, as the edublogger community's main focus is to bring in others, to show them what is possible if they are willing to take a risk. All of the members of the community have by the very nature of their belonging, taken risk as far as trying to show their pupils a new, exciting and more relevant method of learning. Risk taking is not in the nature of the teaching community as a whole, so how to encourage them to give it a go?
ISTE to be fair do their best to recognise the educational benefits of risk taking and has scheduled presentations and panel discussions linked to using new technologies in new and creative ways.
The Blogger's Cafe is also a recognition of the worth of the community, for me though here is the dilemma, how it is solved I would be interested to discuss. How do you create an area where meaningful discussions and collaboration between teachers can take place, while at the same time not hiding this place from those who may be curious and would be likely to 'stop by' to see what is going on. The positioning/design of the space is not quite there in my opinion. It has been placed on a main walkway for those going to presentations which is great, it means that it is not hidden away as a place where only those 'inside the fish tank' will go, however the space lacks the intimacy and feel of a space where people can find a quiet corner to have a chat or ask that question that has been bugging them about how to move forward with their ideas.
From this newbies point of view ISTE positioning is good, organisation/design of the space could do better. I must add though the positioning of power sockets enabling great power hook-up is a definite plus.
Perhaps today I might just dip my toe into the 'Great Hall of Commercialism' we'll see....... I might just take the easy way out and seek the company of those with whom I have more affinity!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Ddraig-Goch's TravelBlog

As mini Dylan 'The Dragon' and I will be travelling a bit this year we have set up a travel blog(Ddraig Goch's Travel Photoblog) which will be used as a photoblog site over the coming months. This will free up the main blog for regular blog posts - do keep up with our travels :-)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Cool Browser Firefox 3.0

It has finally been released following its beta testing - cool Mozilla Firefox 3.0 is here.... sorry there are visuals from me yet -I need to work out how to upgrade the Asus 900 to 3.0!!! But believe me when I say that Firefox 3.0 will not disappoint. Among the host of apps which integrate is PicLens v1.7 from CoolIris ( thanks to Dave Clancy from IB Cardiff for showing us this)
It really is the coolest way to search and view video and images on line -this is how the web should be web 3.0 is getting closer. Other features of Firefox 3.0 can be found here. As ever open source development shows the big companies the way......well done Mozilla I for one hope you make it into the Guinness Book of World Records for the total number of downloads in the first 24 hours of release.
The OLPC guys celebrate Firefox 3.0's release.

Isle of Wight Conference 2008

My mate Joe Dale from Nodehill Middle School, Newport Isle of Wight has finally released the details of his Isle of Wight Conerence for 2008.
Surely this conference with its focus firmly on first class practitioners talking about what they have done in their own classrooms cannot be bettered,as these are teachers on the cutting edge of the creative use of technology with pupils. I certainly intend to be taking a trip across the Solent to the beautiful Isle in October....... you should to!The Isle of Wight Conference 2008 takes place this year on 25th-26th October at Nodehill Middle School in Newport and will cost £100 to attend. As in previous years, the event will feature a host of practical sessions delivered by inspirational speakers from around the UK on topics such as:

* Mobile Phones
* Wikis
* Primary Languages
* Ning networking
* Songs
* Virtual Learning Environments
* Digital Storytelling
* Games based learning
* Gender differences
* Videoconferencing
* eTwinning
* Digital Voice Recorders
* One Stop Animation
* PowerPoint
* Interactive Whiteboards and Voting Systems
* Blogging and Podcasting
* Assessment for Learning
* New KS3 curriculum
* Web 2.0 tools
* vodcasting
* eCreativity

Speakers include:

* Sharon Tonner - ICT specialist, High School of Dundee
* Jo Rhys-Jones - AST in MFL, Kingswear Primary School
* Lisa Stevens - Spanish Teacher and eTwinning ambassador, Whitehouse Common Primary School,
* Carole Nicoll - Language Factory
* Drew Buddie - ICT coordinator, Royal Masonic School for Girls and eTwinning ambassador
* Nick Mair - HoD in MFL, Dulwich College
* John Warwick - Deputy Head, St Luke's School and eTwinning ambassador
* Kathleen Holton - HoD in MFL, Argoed High School
* Mark Pentleton - Radio Lingua Network
* Lesley Welsh – AST in MFL, English Martyrs School and Sixth Form College and SSAT languages lead practitioner coordinator
* Chris Fuller - Spanish teacher, Edgehill College and SSAT languages lead practitioner
* Sharon Balch - French teacher, Swanmore Middle School
* Doug Dickinson - Independent ICT consultant
* Kathy Wicksteed - Languages advisor for new KS3 curriculum
* Adam Sutcliffe - MFL teacher, The Gordon Schools and Glow Champion
* Lesley Haggar-Vaughan, Shireland CLC manager
* Julie Adoch, HoD in MFL, Heathfield Foundation Technology College and her students

There will also be promotional sessions run by our sponsors Podium, Televic, Sanako, ConnectED and Babelzone and other publishers such as Heinemann, Oxford University Press and Espresso will have stands in the exhibition.

A free MFL Show and Tell session will take place in The Function Room of The Bargeman's Rest on Saturday 25th October and like last year, delegates will be able to sign up on the conference wiki if they would like to speak or just watch.

In the next month or so, I will publish a delegate pack including details of how to book, session titles, biographies, travel arrangements, where to stay etc on my blog which will give you plenty of time to persuade your school to let you come to this exciting opportunity for continuing professional development!

Here are some pictures and quotes from 2007 to whet your appetite:
# Taken sooo much away from today. Thanks a million! Lisette Begue – Sneyd Community School)
# Excellent. Well done to everyone who took part and looking forward to next year (John Bald – Education Guardian)
# Thank you for running this inspirational event (Annalise Adam – Gregg School)
# Excellent. Well done and a big thank you to the speakers. Really inspiring (Virginie Rayner – Wheatley Park School)
# You surpassed last year. Fantastic! (Volker Green – The City Academy)
# A great conference that has given me some great practical ideas to use in my teaching. Thank you. (Tamsin Cobden – Solent Middle School)

So see you in October and spread the word.

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