Archive for August, 2009

Film fun…

| August 30, 2009 | 0 Comments 

Are you a fan of old time silent films? When actors were actors, and bartenders were… um, bartenders? Or are you a fan of the new special effects and eye candy delivered by George Lucas era cinematography?

Mr Lucas has had an incredible impact on the film industry for the last 30 years.


Maybe he was going before that if we can judge by the evidence in this “silent movie” version of Star Wars!

Are you like me however, and “never seen Star Wars”? Continue Reading

Internet safety and copyright

| August 29, 2009 | 0 Comments 


One of the most useful sites for getting across internet safety principals, is Childnet International.

They produce the excellent Know IT All resources, some excellent support for parents re internet safety, the ZCards on internet safety tips for primary and secondary students, ChatDanger, which looks at the potential problems with online interactive services, and much, much more… They have a complete guide to protecting a child’s privacy online. Here is the quick link. Continue Reading


| August 28, 2009 | 2 Comments 


Tutpup aim to provide simple, fun, competitive games that help children learn and gain confidence with Maths, English and other key skills and knowledge.

Their focus is on helping children gain confidence and mastery of basic educational skills.

Tutpup “doesn’t aim to replace teachers, schools or parents, but we do think that children can learn while playing fun games against other children from all over the world”.

Tutpup is free for any child to use and children can only participate with their parent or guardian’s approval.

They collect “only the minimum amount of information necessary to run the site and strive to exceed the highest standards of privacy and data protection”.


| August 27, 2009 | 0 Comments 


There are quite a few note taking tools.

It is always great when you discover a FANTASTIC tool for students who are researching material at any level.

Most information entered into your computer notepad is copied and pasted from somewhere. With QuotePad, you can do it with maximum efficiency: just select some text in any application, press Ctrl+Shift+Q and the selected text will be saved to QuotePad together with the URL of the webpage it was copied from.

And, if you need to enter something else, you can, and they are all stored in chronological order, with the URL attached.

This could be particularly useful for students preparing a university dissertation who wish to select text from a variety of sources, at speed, and have a record of where that text was found, to be used in the references section.

You can download and use it free of charge HERE.

Moshi Monsters

| August 26, 2009 | 1 Comment 


Moshi Monsters is a free online game for children, in which they adopt a monster and look after it. Children whose parents give their approval can become members on the site, and can adopt a Moshi Monster. Children care for their monster by solving puzzle games, which earn their monster virtual rewards called Rox. They can spend Rox on virtual items like food, furniture and other treats and toys for their monster.

Over time their monster will increase in level, be able to visit new locations in Monstro City, and earn all kinds of in-game rewards for playing.

More Mind Mapping

| August 25, 2009 | 7 Comments 

I have a confession, I have become a Mind mapping geek. Can hardly do a shopping list without using a mindmap.

What is a Mind map then?

Mind maps have many applications and are said to improve the memory. A mind map is often created around a single word or text, placed in the center, to which associated ideas, words and concepts are added. Some of the earliest examples of mind maps were developed by Porphyry of Tyros, a noted thinker of the 3rd century, as he graphically visualized the concept categories of Aristotle.

The best-selling fiction paperbackin the U.K., “The Naming of the Dead” by Ian Rankin, features detective Inspector Rebus who uses mind maps to solve crimes.

Here are a few mindmapping doodlies you might investigate:

Our all time favourite is, most definitely, 2Simple‘s 2Connect. A brilliant and simple (!!) program that we use every day on training days and more.

It is children’s favourite too, as it is so easy and intuitive, yet powerful.


| August 24, 2009 | 0 Comments 

screenshot-057ZoomIt is a screen zoom and annotation tool for technical presentations that include application demonstrations.

ZoomIt runs unobtrusively in the tray and activates with customizable hotkeys to zoom in on an area of the screen, move around while zoomed, and draw on the zoomed image.

We use ZoomIt on training days to show closeups of toolbars when demonstrating applications and how to use them.

You can download ZoomIt HERE

Using ZoomIt is EASY…

The first time you run ZoomIt it presents a configuration dialog that describes ZoomIt’s behavior, let’s you specify alternate hotkeys for zooming and for entering drawing mode without zooming, and customize the drawing pen color and size. I use the draw-without-zoom option to annotate the screen at its native resolution, for example. ZoomIt also includes a break timer feature that remains active even when you tab away from the timer window and allows you to return to the timer window by clicking on the ZoomIt tray icon.

The Flickr-ing Image

| August 21, 2009 | 2 Comments 

If you find blank spaces in our blog posts, then it is probably because your school filtering system is blocking what it thinks to be “dodgy stuff”. Things like social networking and images get filters in a jitter.

We sometimes use Flickr to host our pictures and, unfortunately, this is sometimes blocked. A real shame as we have so many delightful pickies of smiling folk on our days around the country. Have a look at home and you’ll get a lot more out of the experience.

One of the best elements of Flickr though, is that they allow outside (”third party”) applications or websites to communicate and exchange information with the images you host there.

Some of the best websites for creating cool new images and fiddling with Flickr Photos include:

Dumpr …What fun and madness you can create, so easily.

It is free but does require logging in (easy and discrete.) Look what Sarah did to the bald bloke! The (Toblerone) cheek of it!

Big Huge Labs fd’s Flickr Toys

and my old fave, Spell with Flickr – not a way to edit or alter your images, but a neat little tool to create pictures from text. Try it.

Gadwin. Snap! What a picture!

| August 20, 2009 | 0 Comments 

A quick tip!

The photos scrolling on our blog are ‘cropped’ before we upload them, in order to get the ‘best bits’. To do this we use a free program called Gadwin. Well worth checking out.

Choose the area you want to select, resize before you decide, hit “Enter” and your image goes not only on to your clipboard, but also into a pictures folder of your choice.

| August 19, 2009 | 0 Comments 

In our session on mind mapping how some of the many ideas might be applied back in the classroom, we often have a quick discussion on the power of recording ideas visually, and a discussion of how it can confuse some students who DON’T think or work in a visual way. I find it useful and reminds me of the “old style topic webs” I started using to plan at the beginning of my career. lets you create thought bubbles and connect them together.

You also can easily move the bubbles around or change the links connecting them to each other.

Being an online application it is a shame there are no collaboration features in it, but if you can fit your thoughts into little connected bubbles, try it.

It does print, which is a rarity for a Web 2.0 app.

There are several “mind mapping” software products available, my favourite being the one we use all the time on training days and with students: 2Simple’s brilliant, and adaptable, 2Connect. isn’t in that class. But it’s free and it’s fun, and it might help you see connections in your own thoughts.

• Brainstorm online
• Create colorful mind
• Share work with others
• Embed your map in
your blog or website
• Email and print map
• Save map as an image

Ball Droppings!

| August 17, 2009 | 0 Comments 

picture-9Ball Droppings
Strangely addictive this one. On a very simple level, this could be a great introduction to certain elements of physics, or just good for a laugh at the end of the day on a whiteboard …with the sound turned up.