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MINDMAP (IX)

| September 27, 2016 | Add Your Thoughts 

There are many mind mapping applications out there. However, the desktop apps are often bloated and not intuitive, and most web apps charge you for premium features.

DRichard.org’s MindMap is free, open source and it’s full of HTML5 goodness.

This is a prototype of an HTML5 based mind mapping application. It lets you create neat looking mind maps in your browser.

It is also available offline? You can use the app wherever you are, there is no need for an internet connection.

It is so easy, it could be useful for pupils planning a project. Could it also be helpful when doing your own planning?

MEM IDEX

| September 23, 2016 | Add Your Thoughts 

Memidex is a massive collection of well sorted links for investigating the meaning and sounds of words.

A free (mobile friendly) online dictionary & thesaurus with a simple interface, adult-filtering, & millions of external reference links for definitions, audio, and etymology.

Rowlatts Hill Primary School, Leicester ~ The Return

| September 21, 2016 | Add Your Thoughts 

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Great, to be invited back, to Rowlatts Hill Primary and, this time, with the children and teachers creating our composite creatures.

Thank you to Jay Virk, Headteacher,  for inviting us to be with her colleagues and children for the day; special thanks to Deb Swann, Deputy Head, for coordinating arrangements wonderfully and to the staff and Y6 pupils for being to up for the challenge of investigating some of “the other parts” of our computing needs.

…to create wondrous wildlings, mysterious intriguing oddities, using some inventive digital, and analog tools. We brewed up our own concoctions of combination creatures, researched about them, and presented our findings using some magical, online gems.

Each group generated their own beast; found out fascinating “facts” about those elements; (and even made up their own; then presented the findings, using other resources.

“I know this is true because I made it up myself”.

We discussed the aspect of pupil motivation, engagement, and involvement, being some of the most valuable elements of powerful learning experiences, and crucial to enable an initial “take off”. They also ensure that children remain in touch with their own development, and learning, with improved outcomes, in terms of standards, confidence, and developing that desire to fly.

Finding additional, effective approaches, techniques, and tools, is the root of our work over our two days, in different settings. So it is is powerful, as today, to be invited back to extend these aspects event further.

The common factor is that desire for children to be passionate about their life long learning.

Information, is accessible, available, downloadable, and discoverable, in many forms, for free, and just a click away, these days. It was superb to share, swap, discuss, and develop opportunities to build, discuss, and extend, ways that folk here today could continue the great work they are already doing, in moving beyond the older model of education when the focus seemed to be on generating “memorising machines”.

The learning, behind the tools we discussed, was all about nurturing independent, (yet cooperative) analytical, (and open) questioning, (and accepting) thoughtful (and thinking) critical children. Children who are able to assess the voracity of that readily available stack of “facts”. Children who are able to be involved in guiding their own learning, and (perhaps the most important role of quality learning), able to consider approaches in knowing, (or working out) what to do when they don’t know what to do. Well done all.

Music Theory Is Your Friend

| September 12, 2016 | Add Your Thoughts 

Music Theory Is Your Friend friend could be helping you make extraordinary music.screen-shot-2016-09-12-at-14-47-27

34 Music Theory Hacks: contains Theory Ideas and Techniques that could spice up your music. How To Read Music is a guide to getting up and running in record time! What about 208 Songwriting Tips: Yes! : 208!

Key signatures can be really confusing when you are starting out. What Are Key Signatures?

How about 6 Steps to Harmonising a Melody simple approach to the basics of 4 part harmony

In Understanding Modes you can have a go at untangling one of the most misunderstood subjects in music theory!

A Lesson from Steve Reich’s Clapping Musicscreen-shot-2016-09-12-at-14-56-01  is a simple but powerful lesson in using process-driven rhythmic patterns!

 Modes Reference Guide: Yeah, lists. But hey, it’s a reference guide not a John Grisham thriller!

Arranging Chords: Does not mean hanging your trousers in interesting ways!

Potentally worth investigating.

Astronomy

| September 2, 2016 | Add Your Thoughts 

Exploratorium copyThank you to Kelly Campbell for the nudge towards a few astronomy tools. She oversees a small team of retired educators and librarians who volunteer their time with EducatorLabs. The primary role of this team is to answer resource requests that come to them from educators every day, on a variety of topics. Each time they get a request, they put together a resource toolkit to be used in the classroom.

Here are some Astronomy Lesson Plans. Some Educational and Fun Astronomy Games. Find our about Solar System Facts and Astronomy with Planets for Kids. Or Space Exploration Insights & Resources.

Some eclipse links and resources here, come from Exploratorium which we have been fortunate to visit at Pier 15, in San Francisco.

EducatorLabs is funded by donations and fueled by help from people like you. They greatly appreciate any help you can provide!

Abbeymead Primary, Gloucester

| September 1, 2016 | Add Your Thoughts 

Abbeymead Primary

AbbeymeadToday we had the pleasure of providing an INSET for the staff of AbbeyMead Primary School.

Thanks go to Amy Coole, Assistant Head, for coordinating our visit.  Amy has been along to our sessions before.

Today we focussed on tech, but, more on the power of picking up words an juggling them. Reading is a stimulus and models building sophistication in children’s writing. Speaking and listening, come alive when we expose children to new, valid, interesting and real, whether that is through ICT, trips, or other experiences. Oral rehearsal boosts quality and confidence … sometimes, making it up as we go, verbal, or written “jazz”, produces some of the most intriguing, and fascinating results. Today, we looked at how to inspire all of these elements, through the use of technology and beyond. Well done all.

Everybody here today was “Up for a challenge”! The aim was to have a look at some of the plethora of ICT ideas available, and how they can, even further, enhance the curriculum, particularly in the area of writing.

Today, we explored an increasingly speedy whizz through many analogue and digital gems. Folk were up for the challenges, and stuck with us on some quite technical wizardry, and a range of free, accessible tools that can be powerful in many contexts, in the classroom and beyond. Too many to mention in fact. Thanks one and all, for your laughter as well.

We splattered folk with oodles of accessible tools and ideas for raising the levels of creativity, writing, speaking and listening among children of all ages. We looked at the powerful effect of using games, Web2 tools, software, handheld devices and more and explored ways of teaching that focus on quality learning, rather than the latest gadget.

The school have a focus on the children enjoying their writing, having a belief, and confidence to believe they can do it, understanding that creativity is possible alongside the pressures that raising standards can put on teachers, and children. Feedback marking has its place, and benefits. We explored ways of developing enthusiasm to write, to enable that feedback to be based on real writing, for purpose, and building the desire to take off and fly.

This is a group of teachers who are up for anything. A bubbling passion can make the difference between a mundane, meandering, unfulfilling session and an incredible, meaningful learning experiences.

Writing can sometimes feel like something we inflict upon children and, whilst they do it, we go off and do something else, far more mysterious, intriguing and interesting, almost as if writing is beneath us.

It is vital to join children in whatever, essentially challenging, enjoyable task we set. Modelling can be one of the best ways of scribing. Some children don’t know what enjoying working looks like. Much in the same way that if we read a newspaper in front of a toddler we might find that they are imitating us and doing the same thing (O.K. It’s upside down but it’s the idea) it can be valuable to sit, amongst our pupils and rise to challenges ourselves.

The Together We Grow Conference, Northern Ireland

| August 26, 2016 | Add Your Thoughts 

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THIS was what it’s all about. Real, practical, inventive, balanced, effective teaching and learning, helping people who are “up for a challenge” and open to new ideas, that can have a positive impact in their classrooms. Children add a valuable perspective to the learning, and keep us all firmly focused on the true purpose of creative teaching: to inspire, motivate and engage all of our charges in a way that enables powerful progression. A true delight to share with colleagues, from Northern Ireland. Thank you all. AND WELL DONE!

We enjoyed starting off this academic year with colleagues from NI, in Eglinton, County Londonderry, for a pacey, interactive, collaborative day.

Our theme: TOGETHER we grow, ~ with many layers of technology, packed with ideas and… a good laugh!

A huge thank you to Donna Vaughan Curriculum Services Team who has been crucial in the run up to today’s event (and knows a good pint of Guiness whenever she sees one too! 🙂

Host School Eglinton Primary School and their Principal Mrs Lorna Blair.

We were joined by colleagues from Ballykelly Primary School, Cumber Claudy Primary School and Limavady Central Primary School.

Education can sometimes be a little slow in its uptake of new technologies. Can we some times be “Early Adopters” of tech that’s been around for a decade.

Whatever format, whatever degree of complexity, there has been a slight history of initial reluctance, before, eventually, some have involved “this new stuff” in their classroom environments. Whether it is a stick and sand, wax tablets, scrolls, books, slides, film, video, computers, PowerPoint, YouTube films, and beyond, …they have all been integrated in to teaching sessions, in some way though.

All the way through, however, these new tools have often been used to modify the way a teacher presents facts, and information, to their pupils. They have had more impact on TEACHING, than on LEARNING.

In many educational settings, the relationships, and interactions, stay unchanged: A teacher, as “Sage on the Stage”, imparting their wisdom, information, and knowledge, to an unsuspecting audience sat in front of them. Are we training our children how to come to school, sit, bored, for a few hours, and get away with it without being spotted?

In the same way, challenges (or, sadly, what we more often call “Tasks”), the independent elements of a lesson, can remain, rooted to the spot, for a long time.

Tech CAN make a difference… BUT IT IS GOOD TO HAVE A BREAK TOO…

| July 26, 2016 | Add Your Thoughts 

Summer-TeKEducation can sometimes be a little slow in its uptake of new technologies.

Whatever format, whatever degree of complexity, there has been a slight history of initial reluctance, before, eventually, some have involved “this new stuff” in their classroom environments. Whether it is a stick and sand, wax tablets, scrolls, books, slides, film, video, computers, PowerPoint, YouTube films, and beyond, …they have all been integrated in to teaching sessions, in some way though.

All the way through, however, these new tools have often been used to modify the way a teacher presents facts, and information, to their pupils.

They have had more impact on TEACHING, than on LEARNING.

In many educational settings, the relationships, and interactions, stay unchanged: A teacher, as “Sage on the Stage”, imparting their wisdom, information, and knowledge, to an unsuspecting audience sat in front of them.

Summer HolidaysAre we training our children how to come to school, sit, bored, for a few hours, and get away with it without being spotted?

In the same way, challenges (or, sadly, what we more often call “Tasks”), the independent elements of a lesson, can remain, rooted to the spot, for a long time: children still wading through printed text books, step-by-step, and completing units set by teachers, in, and out of, the classroom?

How much tech has impacted upon, and benefited this part of the education process, is still debatable.

Is there a chance that ICT can still be thought of as “When students go to the computers”, or “When they get to do some typing”.

On a basic level, very little has changed.

It is so good to explore some of the potential for imaginative, inventive and different and innovative, “creative” use of technology, to bring our learning environments alive. Onwards onwards… (With a break too perhaps. See you on the other side…)

Spent!!

| July 20, 2016 | Add Your Thoughts 

Spent is an interactive game which asks players to consider what life would be like as a potentially homeless person.

The game puts you in the shoes of someone who has lost their life savings, and has you choose one of three low-paying jobs to see for yourself how quickly money runs out, raising a child and making it through the month getting paid a minimum wage.

Take the role of restaurant server, warehouse worker, or office temp and discover how difficult it is to manage your initial $1000. “Homelessness is something that could never happen to me”. How one life changing event can send life spiraling out of control.

Useful when looking at personal economy, empathy, understanding and life choices. How would you cope?

Blobz ~ Electric Circuits

| July 19, 2016 | Add Your Thoughts 

Andy Thelwell’s “Blobz” is targetted at 7-to 11-year olds

The hosts, a group of simple animated characters called ‘The Blobz’ and the absent-minded Professor Flobsworth. ‘The Blobz Guide to Electric Circuits’ the basic principles of electric circuits, about the need for a complete circuit and a power source to be present. You can learn about how switches work, about which materials make good conductors, how the length and thickness of wires affects the current in a circuit, how circuit diagrams can be used to describe circuits and more.

Aspects include—‘What makes circuits work’, ‘Conductors & Insulators’, ‘Switches’, ‘Changing Circuits’ & ‘Circuit Diagrams’. Each section has useful info, an interactive activity and a quiz.

The Art of tagging ~ Discussing The Divine Comedy With Dante Alive

| July 19, 2016 | Add Your Thoughts 

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It is impressive the way you can explore Discussing The Divine Comedy With Dante, HERE with hyperlinks to wiki entries about each character. Art, History, Wiki links AND mouse over “tagging” – creativity on many levels.

The 2006 artwork by Chinese artists Dai Dudu, Li Tiezi and Zhang Anjun became an internet hit, with people scrambling to identify all the 103 figures depicted in it.

The dinner party guests – including Stalin, Beethoven, Audrey Hepburn, Bruce Lee, Marlon Brando, Mao Zedong, Gandhi and Bill Clinton – are surrounded by images of Man’s creations such as the Pyramids.

How many people can you recognise? Continue Reading