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 :-)