Saturday, October 9, 2010

Darwin: Who Wants to Live a Million Years?: Science Channel

A great educational time filler for the kids.
There is information on natural selection, the natural selection game (it took me four tries to get my species to survive!) and bio information on Darwin.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Another movie making tool

Well, I have just made my first video blog post using Moviestorm. It was quite an easy process, if a little time consuming (1.5hrs)
This would be an entertaining way to add some information to a class wiki or blog, and by saving the movie it can easily be edited as required from class to class or year to year, without having to spend the time making a new movie each and every time.
The music is still a little loud, but this could be tweaked if I wasn't more concerned about the study that I should be doing instead :)
Moviestorm is more complex than Xtranormal, but in my opinion you also get a more polished feel to the finished product. The file size is also quite large with my short movie being just under 20MB.
Oh yeah, I would also smile at the end :-)

Without any further ado, here is My Procrastination....

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

How secure is your password?

While catching up on a bit of reading, I came across Judy O'Connell's blog "Hey Jude" and the post Pass the [password] test.
Needless to say I went and had a play and my results were much the same as Judy found (only much worse!).
My banking password was cracked in one second, and a password that I call my 'generic' password and use for everything that I don't think needs to be secure came back with a result of 237 years.
The one thing which this test does not take into account however, is the use of personally identifiable information such as names, kids names, DOB etc that a person may find out about you in order to crack your password.
Be all means go have a play, but remember to have a password that is also not easily guessed!

Oh yeah, I have chosen a new password...

7 billion years? Much better :)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Student engagement and standards

I have been spending some time catching up on the feeds in Google reader and I have come across this interesting post on the use of blogs in science classrooms by Chris Ludwig. I have even looked through the blogs of his students to get an idea of what is possible in the science classroom. The post by Chris Ludwig on blogs in the classroom is found here. It s also through this blog that I came across xtranormal which featured in my last post.

Movie making

Ah, I have found a new time waster! The clip says it all...
My first  movie using xtranormal, 'Saved by the bell'.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Interactive Periodic table

Wow, how great is this! An interactive periodic table that even shows the orbitals of each element.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Bullying? No way.

A great song by Kate Miller-Heidke on school bullying with a video clip made by Year 9 drama students.
Official video clip can be found here

Friday, August 20, 2010

My son's Blabbermouth

Here is my Mii son

Blabberize: alternative to Voki

I have just had a play around with Blabberize and sent a digital Mii with a personal message to my daughter at school. It was quick and easy to sign up, it took a little fiddling to get the mouth looking sort of normal, but no more than five minutes and I read no instructions. I am quite happy with the results and it gives a different feel than a Voki as you can make any picture you upload 'talk'.
I can say that I will be using this again and showing to my students...gee I wish I taught e-learning, I could discover and play with different sites more often.
With out further ado, I give you my digital Mii...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Twitter chat widget

While trolling through my twitterverse I was reminded to check out the education ning community that I joined awhile ago but have neglected through lack of time to participate in actively.
I am glad that I finally found the time tonight to have a look as some smart cookie, Nathan Grimm, in my Personal Learning Network (PLN) has made a widget that follows educational twitter chats where ever you care to embed it. And here it the sidebar, after a bit of updating and rearranging of my blog layout. Great new layouts available just in time to accommodate this twitter feed :-)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The sounds of nature

I found a great site today that allows you to create your own sounds of nature for free, Nature Sounds.
I added a sound track I created to a picture from National Geographic and this is what I ended up with.
Ideally I would love to use Nature Sounds to add a track to play in the background of my webquest.The uses for this type of application are as varied as your imagination. Enjoy :)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Embedding Google docs into blogs etc

While cruising through my Twitterverse tonight I came across this wiki page, Porchester Curriculum Resource Bank  with the following information...

Q) How do I put my Google Docs work into my Learning Space?

- Open a NEW Internet browser window and log into your learning space.

- Copy this code; (which you will have to go to the afore mentioned blog to see as when I put the text in it is just not happening..).

- Change the red writing to the location of your work

- In your learning space, compose a new post and click on the "HTML" tab. Now paste the code into the box.

- Return to your Google Docs work. Now go to publish it.Copy the URL (the address in the whitebar at the top of the screen)

- Replace the Red text in the code with the URL of your work.- Give your work a title, choose a category, then save it. Done!

So, of course I had to give it a go and I have managed to embed the survey results from my previous post. Check them out!

A great way to lets the kids see the results on their class wiki/web page/blog or what ever.

Sunday, August 8, 2010


I hate stats.
I love reading statistics but, I dislike immensely calculating stats for no reason other than to learn how to. So, for my prac placement this year I am in a high school right at the time when across the board all the year levels are learning stats! Oh, how my mind groaned when I found out.
Then it came time for me to sit down and start planning lessons. I faltered with no inspiration whatsoever, also due to the fact that the year 8 class I am visiting is a numeracy class, working at a Year 5 level.

So how do I treat these kids as teenagers while teaching them work simplified to a Year 5 level? I did what any other pre-service teacher trained to teach high school students would do, I went and saw my daughters grade 5 teacher to see if he had any tips. :-)
I discovered that I already had the knowledge in my brain and that the principles that I am learning to make lessons engaging for mainstream, and not so mainstream students, is the same as is done for students in Year 5.
Start with concrete materials (ie conduct a survey), model what needs to be done (show how to tally the data), get digital tools involved (create a graph using excel), then the students get to show what they have learnt (by drawing graph on graph paper, which they can model from the digital copy they produced). Well scaffolded for success I would say. Now to make something that would fit the Year 8 class.

I decided to involve social media as this is what interests teenagers, and how great would it be for the kids to use social media at school!  The class, enmasse, would tweet or post a link to our survey and watch the results unfold in real time.
The question too, had to be of interest to the students, but suitable to supply the type data we needed. As we needed at least three lots of data I came up with three questions: At what age did you get your first mobile phone? (My mother is the outlier at 65years) How many internet capable devices do you have? And are you 30< age <30 ? The last question is, how many hours do you spend online per day, to compare with data from 2007.
As I was preparing the lessons I realised how well this would transfer across to the Year 10 numeracy class with a bit of extending to include mean, mode and median.
I asked my PLN on Twitter if there were any pitfalls, and I got some great tips on setting up archives etc. I decided to revist Google docs to set up the survey and I discovered the great templates and backgrounds they have.
I have found the whole experience great, I have learnt how to use new tools and how invaluable my PLN on Twitter is. Thankyou to everyone who has answered the survey to give us a head start for the class :-)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Visual statistics

This is a great way to look at statistics through time using Gapminder World. The folks at Gapminder World have even included a guide to making motion charts using your own data and Google docs.
This application may help students to understand stats as they change over time and could even plot their own progress through out the school year (although there would need to be a few quick quizzes to bulk the data up).

Saturday, April 3, 2010 :: Words that stick

I was just looking through twitter posts where I have found some more great links such as Icon finder which has great array of icons for any occasion. These will be great for personalising a web page or class wiki (or even a blog when I find the time) so I have bookmarked this site and changed my recycle bin icon to one with roses. I found the icon finder through a posting by Maryna Badenhorst on twitter.
Anyway, the point of this post is that I came across wallwisher through a posting by Scott Macleod (@macleod) on twitter
You can customise this wall and invite people to post comments on sticky notes. There is an option to approve every post, which may come in handy if you don't completely trust all of your students intentions. A great idea for class collaboration and brainstorming over a period of time.Could be used to list student interests to be used for up coming lesson focus.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Making a teacher

I have been following Maryna Badenhorst on twitter for a while now and I recently found the time to look a little more closely at her postings after finding quite a few of her postings were relevant to me and my interests. 
I found Maryna's blog (of course I am now subscribed) and there was this inspirational clip on her blog that I just had to keep and share.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


I have been investigating Twitter of late, and the further I delve and explore twitter, the more interesting it gets. I have found some great people/associations to follow and I have stumbled across some interesting conversations. In order to get the most out of twitter, I have had to continue my e-learning journey which, without the help I have found online would have hit many a dead-end. ShellTerrell has posted information on her blog, teacher boot camp for digital immigrants like me, on how to  access and join in the #edtech conversations which are held on a weekly basis on twitter and are contributed to by a myriad of educators.
During my exploration I came across TigerPhysics, which is a twitter id of Kevin McChesney, used solely to keep in contact with his students. I think this is a great example of technology in use and, the students have access 24/7 to reminders about papers that are due and when tests and exams are to be held.
Must now return to  my reading of Shell Terrell's tips!
I must say that this twitter fixation began due to this blog post by Bright ideas, thank you for extending my PLN SLAV
Just as I've posted this I found a great blog post on using twitter for education through adding an #edtech column to my Tweetdeck, this post by Steve Wheeler is worth your time.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

How not to engage students

I found this picture at 21C learning blog with the heading...

Would you be game to put this sign over the photocopier?

December 10, 2009

Too true, lets try a constructivist approach instead.

Teaching and learning algebra using web 2.0

Teaching and Learning Algebra 1 using Web 2.0 -
A few links in here that I would like to keep and possibly use later on. I found this slide show through the delicious bookmarking site