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Wraparound (Mac) & Unlimited Mouse (PC)

| August 29, 2015 | Add Your Thoughts 

Wraparound is an application primarily intended for users with large and/or multiple screens, which allows the mouse cursor to “wrap” around the screens. Rather than spending time and energy moving the cursor across the screen, from one side to the other, simply drag it off one edge and it immediately appears on the other side.Wraparound can handle even the most abnormal of screen layout configurations, and even allow windows and other objects to be dragged though screen edges. And if you’re worried about not being able to hit your menu bar or dock without the edge to stop the cursor, you can always turn off horizontal or vertical screen wrapping to suit your preferences.

Unlimited Mouse is a free tool that allows you to move your mouse cursor from the right-end of your monitor screen to the left-end and vice-versa. Similarly, from the top-end of your monitor screen to the bottom-end and vice-versa without any stoppage. You can also move a window from one-end to the other-end of your monitor screen.

Run the tool and it will sit in the system tray. Right-click on its icon and select Unlock mouse. Now your mouse will move freely from one-end to the other-end of your monitor screen. To make your mouse back to default behavior, right-click on its icon and select Lock mouse.

Both of these could be useful if you use a split screen option when using a presentation tool, or interactive whiteboard software of many kinds. Off one side – instantly on the other…

Non Linear delights ~ Twine

| August 28, 2015 | Add Your Thoughts 

Over the last few events, we have been investigating LOTS of creative ways of developing non-linear experiences.

Twine is another way to create branching texts. It is slightly less graphic than some, and perhaps more suited to older students, but well worth exploring as it can motivate and inspire some, often reluctant, writers to explore the power of words, and be in charge of an adventure, yet know that readers will also feel in control, to some extent.

We used this with some lads, as a way of taking the focus off the spelling worries they had, and placing emphasis on them using their imaginative talents to create engaging, intriguing narrative. Continue Reading

SurveyMonkey ~ a classic goes on

| August 27, 2015 | Add Your Thoughts 

Screenshot 072“Intelligent survey software for primates of all species”.

SurveyMonkey has a single purpose: to enable anyone to create professional online surveys quickly and easily.

Using just your web browser, create your survey with the “intuitive survey editor”. Select from over a dozen types of questions (multiple choice, rating scales, drop-down menus, and more…). Powerful options allow you to require answers to any question, control the flow with custom skip logic, and even randomize answer choices to eliminate bias.

View your results as they are collected in real-time. Watch live graphs and charts, and then dig down to get individual responses. Securely share your survey results with others. Powerful filtering and cross tabulation allows you to display only the responses you’re interested in.

Kellett School, The British International School, Hong Kong ~ Day 6.2

| August 27, 2015 | Add Your Thoughts 

We come to the end of two superb weeks in Hong Kong, by sharing an evening session with teachers from Kellett School, and visiting friends from across the city. We brewed up our own concoctions of combination creatures,and shared a pethora of free online tools to bring those animules “alive” in fascinating ways.

Well done, and Thank You, indeed to all those who made the journey to the school, and for coming on a wonderful fantasy expedition with us.

The original idea, for the core creature, a Camelephantelopelicanary, came from Mr Rylands senior, Bob, a teacher, and head teacher, for many years.Camelephantelope

Screen Shot 2015-02-01 at 13.55.32A camelephantelopelicanary’s
A strange and wonderful thing
The bits of its body, are really quite shoddy,
So it’s all held together with string

Discovered, they say,
On the first day of May,
By an explorer out wandering the Nile,
The first thing he noted, was the fact that it floated,
And its face was all covered in smile

Screen Shot 2015-02-01 at 13.55.42Camelephantelopelicanaries
Came gasproodling out of the west
They laid their spherical cuboid eggs
In plastic cardboard nests

With two fore-legs, and two behind
(is that eight, or ten, all told?)
They prance and dance in the summer sun
To avoid becoming cold

Kellett School, The British International School, Hong Kong ~ Day 6

| August 27, 2015 | Add Your Thoughts 

Kellett School Pok Fu Lam

Our 6th and last day with Kellett School, Hong Kong, we will be sad to say goodbye.

Today, at the Pok Fu Lam Campus sessions with Year 4 pupils, and their teachers in the morning, and Year 1 children, and their teachers in the afternoon.

In the morning we were joined by three classes of intrepid Year Four explorers. And, explore we did.

We changed gear, notched up a few paces and plummeted towards certain… … …brilliance, with this group of children.

Roller CoasterWhilst  wandering through one of the landscapes in Myst 4 Revelation, (after standing still, wnd then travelling through the power of the mystical necklace) we stumbled upon a mysterious contraption in Myst 3 Exile. Behind a creaking wooden door, we found a lever that helped us rise high above the shining golden seas around us.

Eventually, after a bit of investigation, we discovered that if we pressed an intriguing blue button, we could enter the icy globe created, and take a remarkable tumble down this metal and wooden rollercoaster to …who knew where?!

…And then an afternoon with the Year 1 pupils …  experimenting with words and phrases while standing still in one of the Myst 3 landscapes.

Kellett School, The British International School, Hong Kong ~ Day 5

| August 26, 2015 | Add Your Thoughts 

Kellett School Pok Fu Lam

Our 5th day with Kellett School, Hong Kong, and today back at the Pok Fu Lam Campus for sessions with Year 6 pupils and their teachers in the morning, and Year 2 children and their teachers in the afternoon.

Again, well done all, for tackling the challenges we offered. Some imaginative, thoughtful and inspired thinking, talking, caring, sharing, inventing, creating, collaborating, building, developing, writing, laughing, experimenting… and SO much more.

The VillageThe morning with the Year Six pupils and their teaching staff, exploring the ‘hooks’, ‘nooks’ and ‘crannies’ that engage pupils in sharing their ideas with confidence and style. We explored a ‘Village’ setting in Myst 4: Revelation. Talk. speculation, sharing, thinking and taking ownership of this place, brought it from the virtual, into reality. Similes, and silences, enabled their ideas to flourish and take shape, forming images in our imaginations – gorgeous! We met characters, children up for tackling new ideas and risk-taking, found themselves becoming confident in their roles, expanding on fictional happenings with great detail and flare.

Edanna Spiral PlantIn our afternoon, we adventured with KS1 pupils, and teachers, adventuring through their creations, notions and persuasions, as we wandered through caves, climbed trees and became intrepid explorers. The children in this group wondered, and enthused, about strange objects as we investigated Edanna, the helix plants and the birds inhabiting this beautiful world, talking and writing with passion and interest – WELL DONE. The children made suggestions and proposals regarding the origins and purpose of items found; they considered different ways to ascend the plants and what might be at the top… and then, we went and found out. Would YOU like to know?…

A ha! That would really be telling. Why not have a look yourself one day?

Citrify ~ Online photo editor

| August 25, 2015 | Add Your Thoughts 

Citrify is a browser-based photo editor, that lets you pretty up your headshot by removing blemishes, erasing wrinkles and whitening teeth.

ObamafyIt also lets you add effects to pictures — for example, you can Obamify your picture based on Shepard Fairey’s widespread red and blue image.

(Flash, so doesn’t work on everything.) Simple, but useful, perhaps because of its simplicity.

Kellett School, The British International School, Hong Kong ~ Day 4

| August 25, 2015 | Add Your Thoughts 

Kellett School The British International School Hong Kong

Another superb day of inventiveness at Kellett School, Hong Kong. As with the adventures we set forth on yesterday, today had an analog emphasis. We set out, with scribbly sticks, into the world of words. Joined by Year 7 voyagers, we …went virtually nowhere. In a geographical sense that is. In terms of inventiveness, descriptive narrative, and playing with words, we travelled many miles. Our ideas were set free to wander, whilst we stood still, in an intriguing landscape, desperate to move, yet rooted to the spot.

Everyone was up for a challenge! They got it. What we do is not what “a lesson” should be”. More, it is a reflection of possibilities ~ too much (and too little) all in one go. Too many objectives ~ AND too few. Not what a “real” class would do in a “real” lesson, but “exactly what a real class does in exactly the space that a real class does it”. (What an empathetic, and real, comment). A chance to reflect, think, and consider, on what possibilities there are, using simple, accessible, tools.

After a good deal of discussion, the students wrote spontaneously, producing work of a high quality full of vivid imagery. They were also encouraged to refine their spoken language & clarify their ideas. They remained on task and enthusiastic throughout.

Modelling is often one of the best ways of scribing. It is a bit like reading a paper in front of a toddler. Turn around and you can find they are also sat with a newspaper. O.K. It’s upside-down, but they are starting off on the road to reading.

Writing, or any other challenge, shouldn’t be something we inflict upon children and then we go off and do something “important”, “intriguing”, “mysterious”, “enjoyable”, or “superior”. It is important to show a shared interest, willingness and openness to “having a go” as well. The “Big People” today, wrote and wrote. They shared their ideas with the children around them. They left their writing lying around as a hint, a guide, or an example of potential style, sentence structure, or vocabulary.They were stylish and original gems of invention too. Nicely spicely! Well done all.

Year 9 students for their second venture …

ShipThe students, in turn, offered suggestions, ideas or positive criticisms, to the giants there were sat next to on their travels through these mysterious worlds. There were a lot of us in some interesting settings, and it was joyous to see so much sharing taking place. Well done all today.

And a joyous afternoon session with the Year 2 children, juggling words, actions and ideas as we ventured through caves and up plants, meeting colourful creartures along the way.

Kellett School The British International School Hong Kong

Wordnik ~ 1.7 million words & counting

| August 24, 2015 | Add Your Thoughts 

Wordnik is “a dictionary aiming to collect all the words in the English language: 1.7 million so far! Examples, pronunciations, user notes, and more”.

Wordnik is a place for all the words, and everything known about them”.

Wordnik‘s goal is “to show you as much information as possible, as fast as we can find it, for every word in English, and to give you a place where you can make your own opinions about words known”. Continue Reading

Kellett School, The British International School, Hong Kong ~ Day 3

| August 24, 2015 | Add Your Thoughts 

Kellett School The British International School Hong Kong

Great, to be back at Kellett School in Hong Kong, for the first day of four days of lessons, with students and pupils from across the school. Today, we started our adventures with 70+ students from Year Nine, and joyous bunch of explorers they were!

More with them tomorrow and we look forward to that!

Thank you to Jacquie Hills, Deputy Head of Senior School and English Teacher, and her department for accommodating us today, working alongside us are we ‘stood still‘ in a landscape exploring language, feelings, atmosphere, expectations…

Kellett School The British International School Hong Kong

Then an afternoon of further explorations with pupils from Year Six.

Another big “Thank You” to Clive Dawes, ICT Curriculum Leader, here at Kellett School, for organising our explorations with technology here in Hong Kong.

Today, we went wandering in the world of words.

These journeys are extremely hard to define or describe. They are, inevitably, different from what is expected. Importantly, slower in terms of distance travelled geographically, yet we journey many miles in the world of language and imagination.

Essentially, your idea could be in complete contrast to the person alongside you, but you’re both right:

There is no “right idea”.  Because, even better, there’s no wrong idea.

Seeing the products of such work and the boundless enthusiasm that flows from it (where some pupils actually have to be asked to wait before writing down their thoughts!) is an impressive and influential experience. Well done all at Kellett School, for being up for the challenges, and keen to explore more… …and to students from Year Nine and Year Six for picking up words and juggling them.

GeoPlanet Explorer

| August 22, 2015 | Add Your Thoughts 

Here is a powerful tool, when carrying out a geography project of any kind: GeoPlanet Explorer. Here you can explore the geographical information provided by Yahoo in the GeoPlanet API and data set.

Simply enter a location in the form and submit it to get detailed information about the place you are looking for – including its “ancestors”, “siblings”, “children” (smaller regions of the area) and other relationships.

For example, when you look up Bristol (you can drill down much deeper and in more detail than that) it shows the ancestors as England and The United Kingdom. It “belongs to” category includes area codes, counties (both existing and historical) and much more.

This could be useful information when investigating a local area, or contrasting region somewhere else in the country, or indeed, the world.