I had a thoroughly enjoyable day over the bridge in Newport today. My Welsh connections continue to grow. Monmouthshire, Newport and others, invited me for a day of exploring visual literacy ideas, mainly focused on the use of games. EVERYBODY was up for a challenge and it was great to spend the day with so many smiling faces. Thanks to all those who sent thoughtful, encouraging (and very …prompt!) emails. I look forward to a return visit to Monmouthshire already booked for later in the year.
Congratulations must go, at least, to Frances, for conducting a mini masterpiece to go with another roller-coaster ride. I was impressed by some truly inventive ways to play standard percussion instruments too. A gloriously controlled cacophony. I will post pictures when I get them. Thank you to Karen, Frank, Penny and all those involved in the organisation of a fun day.
I admit that it is now Tuesday, the week after BETT finished, …and so am I ! !
BETT is an enervating experience but so energising at the same time.
Saturday’s presentation went very well indeed. It was fully booked, with people standing all around the room so, apologies to those of you who didn’t manage to get a seat! It was really encouraging to get so much feedback after the event and to see the website “hits” go through the roof.
There is a definite positive feel about technology in education at the moment. That move from black and white to colour that we talked of, continues apace.
I experimented with a Gyro Mouse, very kindly sourced by Marc Keable, of Classroom ICT. A Giro Mouse enables you to navigate through a presentation or website and move the mouse pointer without having to place your hand on a surface. Takes a bit of getting used to I have to say, but I think there is a vast amount of opportunity to use one creatively with children. For example, in a virtual landscape experience, a giro mouse would enable you to navigate and “walk” whilst standing in front of the screen. I look forward to trying new ideas soon.
BETT thursday was busy but, as I sit writing this, Friday looks like it is going to be packed.As anybody who has worked BETT will confess though, the working day is great, but the after-doors-have-closed events are an event in their own rights. Steljes, 2Simple and GigaJam may be some of the most innovative companies in the world of education technology but they also know how to entertain in style.
On more serious matters, I promised I would mention some of the things that have caught my eye so far. Shakespeare Works may be a small company but their stand alone was a gem, all decked out in theatrical spangle. I was impressed by their polished films, but also by the way they link their CD-Roms with, what looks like, inspiring training days.
Shoo-fly continue to surprise, this time with whiteboard pop-up books! A unique visual effect that deserves a lot more attention.
I did a particularly dramatic fall somewhere between both stands but was wearing my T-shirt with “I do all my own stunts!” so got away with a laugh from the stands around. My best finds of the fall were Spiny Software and Crazy talk4. (Both soft landings!) Crazy Talk 4 is the most effective and simple way of creating animated avatars and faces. Has so much potential with children of all abilities. I hope that they make contact with Pete Wells, the Johnny Vegas of education, who already uses this program with his usual wit and flair.
No links for these few days as I am writing online.
There is a great buzz abound this year in Olympia. BETT may be the world’s biggest technology in Education show, but I didn’t realise just how much of the world knew that too! It has been so motivating to meet people from all across the globe this week. Sweden, Denmark, and Holland, in particular,seem to have emptied and headed for the show!
When you see so many innovative uses of technology it confirms to me that it really is a glorious time to be alive. The Futurelab speech from Annika Small reiterated that point. The move from a black and white (text based) world to one of colour (the proliferation of uploaded films and online communities) Exciting times that BETT is showcasing.
I think that, nowadays, everyone has the potential to be a Pepys. The difference is that, when Pepys wrote his now famous diary entries, he was not expecting anyone else to read it! I have been surprised at the amount of emails I have received in response to the new blog and the “new-look” website. Thankyou.
Wednesday’s presentation gave me the opportunity to chat to Professor Don Passey, from Lancaster University. An encouraging and perceptive man who seemed genuinely excited by the new direction that the gaming project is taking. I am still not at liberty to divulge too much information but continue to urge you to “Watch this space” over the next few days and weeks.
More tomorrow on what has caught my eye so far.
Mr Hutt, that fine fellow from RM is taking the brave step to go independent. (visit his site at http://eduhutt.wordpress.com/ )
His farewell “Do” was held at a very interesting restaurant complete with entertainment. For more info send money in a brown envelope marked “Blackmail”
I always look forward to BETT and this year is no exception. BETT is the world’s biggest “IT in Education” event. It takes over the whole of Olympia, and not many other trade events do that! Each year brings a batch of new ideas and launches of innovative products and projects. For me, this year has an extra nugget of excitement because Joe and I (SoIntoIT) are also going to reveal a new direction in our adventures with Myst.
You heard it here first! (Well you will do when we are at liberty to tell.)
I am going to be presenting three “Invitation Only” sessions at the Dfes (Department for Education and Skills) Meeting space (Stand H49) If any body would like to attend these, though, please let me know and I will see if I can sneek you in. (“We’re with the band!”) These sessions are at 13.15 on Wednesday, and 13.30 on Thursday and Friday.
I am also going to be doing a 3/4 of an hour seminar on Saturday 13th, at 11.45 in Seminar Theatre B. I will be revisiting some of the old territory of simple ideas for visual literacy, the use of the Myst games, and other ideas. But, the element I am really looking forward to is the opportunity to present these NEW ideas, on-line with Joe (“Mr Moretti to you!”) Joe will have been on the Apple stand all week so look out for him there and see if you can get him to to tell you what we’re up to!
I can’t wait…
The case of the disappearing blog!
Was 2006 just a dream? A blog down the drain. Due to some technical hoolamagoolas it appears that 2007 is going to be a fresh start. Hey ho. Here goes.
This year started out with a great event in Huntingdon, the Huntsnet Professional Training day: Literacy group. It was a great pleasure to contribute to such a well planned and smoothly organised day. We had a fun filled, post festive frolic beginning with a Rylands waffle and then into four sessions, through the day, on different aspects of creativity to inspire literacy.
I also really enjoyed having the opportunity to share the day with Joe (even if his name was erroniously speltt on the hann doubts as Joe Spaghetti)
Joe lead some workshops on using GarageBand to create podcasts. A big challenge in an hour but Joe managed to motivate each group in his usual humorous style. Mini masterpieces created all-round. I heard big guffaws of laughter even over the glorious cacophony we created in my session, which we ended by composing sound tracks to film of another roller-coaster ride.
It is always good to spend the day with people who are up for a challenge and the Thongsley Field group were no first-day-back slackers. The day ended with a mini cinema of some of their animated gems of cinematography and mind-mapping how they could use some of the ideas from the day back at the chalk-face-reality of school term 3.
Congratulations to Rebecca, and all those involved behind the scenes, for a successful and enjoyable day.
Now it is down to BETT preparations.I am looking forward to my presentations again this year, and also, to the opportunity to meet faces old and new.
As in the past, I really hope to add a “link-per-blog” this year, to some of the oddities of the web that spring up. I get a lot of response from these but, in truth, only add them for my own entertainment…
Although it has been around for a couple of months now, I still enjoy having a fly in “Goggles”, the “mod” of Google Earth. In my TimesEd review of Google Earth itself I ended with “…and I think to myself what a wonderful world!” In Goggles case I think to myself “what a clever chap!” I’m not sure if I “approve” of the ability to take potshots at locations but, it is great to fly Biggles-like in a bi-plane over London or, even, the Moon!
Safe flying folks!
2006, where did you go? Perhaps it is best to wait a while and start afresh… until such time time as I can decide on the facial hair issue (my daughter wants me to do a ‘Johnny Depp’ and have it long enough so it can be ‘beaded’ 🙁
At least that will make up for the Baldylocks-and-the-Three-hairs look, up top!
So a new Year… a new blog… HAPPY NEW YEAR all.
I WISH I HAD KEPT A BLOG SINCE JANUARY 1999 BUT…
In fact, this a page where you can read some examples of work I have been sent recently.
If you would like to see your own examples here, I would love to add them to the gallery. Send them via email@example.com
I look forward to reading even more, like the gems below from
Oxford School, Muenster, Germany
Tomahna was left empty as if to die alone. The wind howling, the rocks eroded from many years of rain. A falcon ready to snatch its prey from the ground. From the silk-blue sky shone the rays of the sun through the intricate stained glass. (J.S.)
As I looked out into the lifeless landscape I saw a bird circling ahead; it’s blue eyes narrowed as if it had seen something scurry along. Its black long feathers gave off the faintest smell. “Breathtaking isn’t it?” said a voice that seemed to come from nowhere. Suddenly I spun round and saw a door. Each and everything was carefully engraved. (L.D.)
The lantern-lit bridge of green envy hung motionless above the icy waters. The door creaked as it swung open easily. Before me sat a lever, old and rusted, where many hands had touched. The next door was harder to open and made a spine-tingling screech like nails on a blackboard. (C.C.)
Scattered pebbles crumbled beneath my feet while the gentle lapping of the water soothed me. To my left, a glass house stood at the foot of a lantern-lit bridge; beautifully carved with patterns that seemed to twist the imagination in and out. A calm breeze fell over this strange land. As terrifying as it was, I kept going. (C.L.)
The music sounded far away from an unknown place. The bridge was made from neatly formed stained glass plates for each step. The sand was rippled by heavy winds. The door looked like thousands of weeds had carved its beauty. (D.M.)
I listened closely to hear the splashes of water spreading over the rocky sand. I walked over to the sea’s edge and I came to a golden bridge. Each part of the floor was shaped like a candy wrapper. As I stepped on to the unsteady bridge danger increased with every step I took. (J.L.)
The silky sand was covered in ripples curving in all directions. Smooth rocks surrounded me and tiny pebbles were encrusted and looked as if they had been lying there for generations. I could hear the murky waters ebbing with the strong breeze. The clouds looked heavily laden and the dim light was just breaking through. (M.E.)