Archive for March, 2013

Taking a break & Breaking break times

| March 30, 2013 | 0 Comments 

Nolan Bushnell, the founder of Atari, once said a profound, and challenging, thing:

“Everyone who has ever taken a shower has had an idea. It’s the person who gets out of the shower, dries off, and does something about it that makes a difference.”

It’s not just the getting on and doing it. The thinking time is important too.

How many times have you been stuck with something, gone out for a walk, and, on your return, almost without conscious thought, you have solved at least one aspect of that conundrum?

The same can be true for our students.

A child, stuck on a science riddle, or a new concept of fractions, might be stuck now, but, when they head out to play, something can still be working away, within them, to the extent that, when they return to the classroom, something has clicked in their thinking.

But, …it’s too late. We have moved on to another subject.

The idea of needing a bit of time to think, to consider, to form thoughts, and ideas, is real, and could have a simple, yet effective, impact on some lesson, and curriculum, structures.

We have discovered, through practical experimentation, that reshuffling lesson starts, and finishes, independently of break times, has had a positive, and encouraging effect on children’s thinking through problems, and problem solving.

By having a few minutes, continuing with the subject, and challenges, from before “play”, “break”, “recess”, … has lead to some interesting comments, and results.

“Oh, Mr Rylands, I get it now!” … “I’ve been thinking about it. If I put this bit here…”

Building in a short “break” from the main task could have a similar effect.

Whilst this is not always practical because of time, staffing, equipment, and other restraints, when it has been possible, it has proven to be positive, and beneficial.

In an interview with the Ode Magazine, called Reading, writing and playing The Sims: What video games can teach educators about improving our schools, Nolan Bushnell kindly said he wished “his children had a teacher like Tim Rylands”.

Well, we have learned something from him…

We are taking a break. If YOU can, hope it’s a good one. Hopefully, when we come back after our “shower”, we will have had a chance to regroup, and will carry on building what we do,… … and even better.

“Did you miss? Did you Sir?” 5 Some of the 2013 links, so far. The 700th Useful & Interesting Post!

| March 29, 2013 | 0 Comments 


As well as recording our events, it has also been a fun challenge to find a daily link to something that might be interesting, or useful. This is the 700th Useful and Interesting post on the blog! We would love to know your thoughts. So, maybe you could fill in the simple questionnaire on Flisti HERE.

Hero Machine 2 & 3 ~ Cartoon Character Creation

| March 28, 2013 | 0 Comments 

With Hero Machine 2, you can create your own cartoon super hero. You might also experiment with the new Hero 3.0 A good way to analyse elements of drawing, & standard features of comic “language”.


| March 27, 2013 | 0 Comments 

If you like some of the tools we mention here, you might want to try EdShelf, to find other recommendations, reviews, and to make a collection of YOUR favourites. Search by categories, such as games based learning, presentation creators and digital textbooks.

Transformasaur ~ Dinosaur Adaptation

| March 27, 2013 | 0 Comments 

National Museums Scotland have shared another gem in Transformasaur, a game looking at dinosaur adaptation, survival and extinction. Can you help your dinosaur evolve to survive?

Success, or otherwise, is determined by physical and behavioural traits. Can your beast adapt to the environmental challenges it experiences during 3 historic periods? Some strong hidden learning hidden here.

3DTin ~ Browser based 3D modelling

| March 26, 2013 | 0 Comments 

3D Tin is a 3D model maker that runs in Chrome or Firefox browsers, and does not require any installation. Design your object, using coloured blocks, use the smoothing tools to make things less chunky than your original collection of voxels, then save your creations online. All functionality is available for FREE (as long as the sketch is shared under Creative Commons).

This can use HTML5 so works across many platforms, and can even work offline.

Choose 3D shapes from a huge library of templates and add them to your sketch, through a fairly intuitive interface. It is also possible to save your model, in some common formats, so that you could even send it to a 3D printer.

St Silas Church of England Primary, Toxteth, Liverpool ~ Day 2

| March 26, 2013 | 0 Comments 

A rewarding and very enjoyable morning with Year 5 and Year 6 pupils of St Silas Church of England Primary School with their teachers, teaching assistants and visiting colleagues from neighbouring schools: Windmill Hill Primary, St Patrick’s Catholic Primary, Woolton Primary, St Anne’s RCP, St Charles Catholic Primary, Windsor CPS, St Nicholas Catholic Primary, Kingsley CPS, Pleasant St Primary, Forefield Infants, Bedford Primary School, St John’s RC Primary, Greenbank Primary, Smithdown Primary, St Michael in the Hamlet Primary, Norman Pannell Primary, Holy Family Catholic Primary, Farnborough Road Infants and Belvedere Preparatory School.

Continue Reading

Today’s Meet

| March 25, 2013 | 0 Comments 

Today’s Meet is designed as a place to create a “back channel” during an event, such as a meeting, or conference. It can make a good way to encourage, and record, communication in a learning environment too.

A potentially useful way to gather thoughts, and ideas, in a collaborative way. At the moment TodaysMeet is open, so anybody could contribute. This means you need to consider WHO might add in from “outside”, but it is unlikely to attract people who you haven’t given the URL to, and Today’s Meet does not publish a list of active rooms. Give it a go.

St Silas Church of England Primary, Toxteth, Liverpool ~ Day 1

| March 25, 2013 | 8 Comments 

The first of two days, working alongside the staff, and pupils, of St Silas Church of England Primary School, Toxteth, Liverpool, accompanied by colleagues from the surrounding area.

The St Silas school motto is “Learning caring and sharing together; and the main thing is…Learning!” And, what remarkable learning they already do.

Thank you to Jonathon Nichols, Head Teacher and Deputy Head Teacher, Gina Donaldson, for inviting us. Continue Reading

Draft ~ make changes, without losing changes, for a change

| March 24, 2013 | 0 Comments 

In many online text editing programs, where, when you make a change, that’s it ~ the change is made everywhere.

When you share your document using Draft, any changes your collaborator makes are on their own copy of the document, and you get to accept or ignore each individual change they make. Easy version control and collaboration. Have a look at some of the other features here.

Senduit ~ Time limited file sharing

| March 23, 2013 | 0 Comments 

Senduit is a free, disposable, file sharing service. Choose how long you want your file to be available, (from 30 minutes, to a week), send someone the link (with a nudge about how long they have to download it). After your set time period, the URL expires.

Senduit doesn’t require a sign up, or for you to install anything, and enables up to 100mb of file sharing. Useful when sending a large file to a specific, recipient, or in a time based challenge too? On your marks. Get your resources. Go!