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Freemake Video Converter & Video Downloader

| July 9, 2014 | Add Your Thoughts 

freemake-video-converter-logoFfreemake-video-downloader-logoreeMake Video Converter is a useful tool for any Windows users who need to change a file from one format to another.

You might also try FreeMake’s Video Downloader as an alternative to Firefox video Download Helper

You’d have to think about copyright elements, but you can edit out the culturally sensitive elements of a film, for example, to use in your classroom, and then in any format.

iFake Text

| July 8, 2014 | Add Your Thoughts 

iFake text Barak ObamaiFake TextiFake text, is not a new idea, but it is worth revisiting, to make surprisingly real communications, between characters, about something intriguing maybe…

Get children thinking, wondering, or writing, about the background to the texts, or creating their own conversations, perhaps between historical figures, or personalities in a play or novel. What would YOU talk about with… anybody… …

Filtering ~ (Hopefully this isn’t blocked)

| July 7, 2014 | Add Your Thoughts 

Filtering 4“To filter, or not to filter. That is THE big question”.

Our local authorities are the ones who need to be provoked into thinking. There is so much inconsistency in policies and practice.

The aspect of training children, and students, effectively is intensely important. We filter so heavily, in some places, that they are given such a false sense of security; it is no wonder they stumble across undesirable content, when they go home, and are searching in an unprotected environment.

The internet is a vast resource; a wonderful wilderness of opportunities. There are some dark, unsavoury corners that we need protect our children from, through careful advice as much as monitoring. The web is exactly that, and there are some less than lovely spiders within it.

Filtering 3YouTube is blocked in a large number of educational contexts. However, it is a HUGE resource, and the biggest Aladdin’s Cave of valuable learning material ~ How to-s, thought provoking films, an archive of rich value.

One of the biggest reasons (offered) for blocking YouTube, is the comments that are logged in reaction to a lot of films. These can sometimes be written by people with a limited grasp of acceptable English or a desire to shock.

There are some (somewhat expensive) ways to filter out the comments. There are, however, some “freebies” such as ComentSnob, Quiet Tube, Cleanr, and NicerTube.

Filtering 5This is a wonderful time to be alive. The internet offers very powerful tools for research, collaboration and interaction. If we, as teachers, come across sites that are truly innocuous, and harmless, but enhance good teaching, we shouldn’t sit there and complain without taking action.

There are the possibilities of unblocking such sites, on an authority level perhaps. We have a professional right, and, in fact, duty to contact the people who administer our networks, and alert them to the fact that something useful is being restricted by the , understandable, blanket filters.

Filtering 6There has to be some consistency, and adaptability, but that depends on us being proactive. Open, as much as possible, but in a thought through fashion.

In our travels around the country, we are always amazed by how varied access is. We’re also startled by what people are denied access to, and why: In a lot of authorities, though not all, Noughts and Crosses is blocked! Why? Because it is “A Game”. Badness incarnate, surely!

Even the BBC site CBBC games is blocked in some authorities.

Filtering 2When we try to upload content to the blog, our ftp site is, sometimes, though again not always, blocked. This seems illogical. We need a password and detailed technical knowledge to enter it. We are uploading content not downloading some kind of strange unknown elements that might digitally corrupt a school computer network.

The ThinkUKnow sites offer some really valuable activities and resources when exploring internet safety. Visit the 5-7 site, 8-10 website , parent pages, and resources for teachers. Look back through this blog for others.

Filtering 7There are many remarkable, and powerful, resources out there.

We need to think. We need to act. Filtering can feel like action.
Is it making us complacent in terms of our responsibilities to children?

Which Date Works

| July 4, 2014 | Add Your Thoughts 

wdw-logo

Whilst many folk may use online calendars, to organise a group, “WhichDateWorks” is a simple, and effective, free way of coordinating different people when trying to find a time when everybody involved is free. (Next Thursday. 6!)

Newspaper Maker ~ & other front page generators

| July 4, 2014 | Add Your Thoughts 

NEWSPAPER MAKERNewsNewspaper maker enables the creation of convincing eye-catching headlines and articles.

You could also try the newspaper creator from JaguarPaw, or AddLetters version

The image chef generator (used to the right) creates a quick headline on The Examiner

News of the Future ~ “You are my density”

| July 3, 2014 | Add Your Thoughts 

“Back to the … …” With a news theme this week, it might be timely to mention the quirky site that is News of the Future.

Who needs a Delorean time machine when you can link to future news? Oil at $180 a barrel, Talking search engines, First Marathon Under Two Hours, and Euro Banknotes Invalid by Friday It raises some fascinating questions, like Can Paralyzed People Walk in the Future? Even some of the advert banners are mock ups of future possibilities: “Beam Yourself Around the World with Telebeamer!” There are also some more serious sides to the site. An example: a section on AIDS offers some sobering thoughts.

The way the site looks back at “past events” from these days, offers a good insight into how reporting can present or misrepresent “facts” too. In the words of Marty McFly: “Well, history is gonna change”

Who knows what might happen, but “If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything”.

Newswordy ~ Be less intransigent about news vocabulary

| July 2, 2014 | Add Your Thoughts 

Buzzwords are frequently used in news media. These are words that do not typically occur in everyday speech, but are common among newscasters, talking heads, and pundits on cable news.

These ‘news words’ are accepted by audiences for their implied meaning. But often loaded words are misused or used out of context. The actual definitions can be different than what is implied.

Newswordy is a growing collection of these words*, updated every weekday. Along with each word is a definition, a quote with its use (or misuse) in the media, and a news and Twitter feed on the subject.

Some powerful examples should mean we become less Ivocabntransigent. about our definitions of these terms. They could offer some Certitude. and make sure you don’t Vacillate. in the future.

*Click the tiny graphic, in the top right-hand corner, to find an archive of past words.

‘Tools to tell a tale’ ~ Birmingham

| July 2, 2014 | Add Your Thoughts 

Tools to Tell a Tale Birmingham

Longing poignantlyAnother, joyous, gathering of Baldylocks and the Three Hairs. Together with Pie Corbett, and David Mitchell, we shared a day entitled Tools to tell a tale – Improving reading and writing through ICT at The Macdonald Burlington Hotel, Birmingham

Tools to Tells a Tale, is an intriguing experience, bringing together the three bald blokes, for an exploration of story telling, on a global scale. Folks were part of an evolving story, alongside children from around the world, investigating a wondrous collection of digital, and analog, gems for bringing learning alive.

“Join us, as we travel across dangerous terrain, through swamp-infested landscapes, and to the top of crumbling towers, all through the power of inventive technologies”.

The chance to be a part of a live writing master-class, with children from Skye to Sydney, responding to this creative challenge.

An engaging, imaginative and exciting experience, for those joining the journey, aiming to leave everyone with copious practical ideas, approaches and technical tools to take back and use in their own teaching, with children of all ages, and abilities.

Gwen & IvanTogether, we…

  • discovered a vast range of ways to use ICT to enhance literacy
  • explored methods of engaging interest, and developing communication
  • were introduced to the power of blogging
  • experienced a Coveritlive collaborative writing session
  • investigated shared writing in conjunction with powerful, accessible, technology

We were all part of creating a story that roamed around the world, and was built upon by children across the globe (watch it here).

Through the day, among many other things, we investigated the power of blogging, and David shared ideas on the practicalities of setting up such a site:

Starting a blog although very simple, requires careful esafety considerations. Firstly, the platform you select is key. There are two platforms that I have direct experience of using and both of these are dedicated school blogging platforms with added safety features that you wouldn’t find on WordPress.com.

CreativeBlogs – Run by John Sutton. Their support centre is full of amazing resources from letters to send home to model policies.

PrimaryBlogger – An Automated service that will see you with a class blog in minutes. Their video tutorial guide page is a must to learn how to do the very basics.

David says: I wrote the following blogging policy as a model for others to use. You can download it from the frame, edit it, add your school logo and it’s ready to go.

Blogging Policy

Russell Scott Primary SchoolBrian Harkin (a teacher at Russell Scott Primary in Manchester) has written some handy downloadable web2.0 guides for Animoto, Coveritlive and Audioboo along with others. You can find these here.

Here’s a picture of the Y6 class at Russell Scott Primary School in Manchester busy with the Coveritlive. Their teacher is called Miss Quinn.

Today’s event was beautifully supported by The Roving Bookshop.

Tools to Tell a Tale Birmingham

Newsmap ~ What’s making the news? Where?

| July 1, 2014 | Add Your Thoughts 

Another fascinating news explorer is Newsmap, which is an application that visually demonstrates the constantly changing landscape of the “Google News” aggregator. Another fascinating, and discussion provoking, tool.

The more frequently a story is reported in the news, the larger it becomes in the “map”.

It is also possible to compare different countries, and to see which elements are given more coverage in those countries. You can view the map by region, topic, or time.

Extra! Extra! Read all about it (tomorrow)!

10 X 10 ~ Picturing the news

| June 30, 2014 | Add Your Thoughts 

10x10

10×10™ (‘ten by ten’) is an interactive exploration of “the words and pictures that define the moment”. It is also possible to look back, in great detail, for the last ten years!

10x10 titles10x10Every hour, 10×10 collects the 100 words and pictures that matter most on a global scale. Each hour is presented as part of a window, composed of 100 different frames. Each one allows us to peer a bit deeper into the story. Because of the nature of the world, and world news, some of these stories can be challenging, and even disturbing, of course.

10×10 runs with no human intervention, autonomously observing what a handful of leading international news sources are saying and showing. 10×10 makes no comment on news media bias, or lack thereof. It simply shows what it finds.

When we see a picture of a movie star next to a picture of dead bodies, we understand the extremes that exist in our world. If you’d like to learn more about 10×10, read how it works.

Recce ~ Explore London in style

| June 27, 2014 | Add Your Thoughts 

Reccescreen480x480

Recce is a fast, beautiful, and fun way to explore London and everything that is going on in the immediate environment. It is available, for free, here through iTunes or Google Store.

A Super-fast, fully interactive and immersive 3D way to discover some fascinating aspects of the capital.

RecceRecce features built-in GPS and Compass functionality to locate yourself, quickly, but it is available both on-line and off-line, with rich and relevant information.

Recce choicesTake a quick tour and explore London’s finest landmarks, from the classics such as Tower Bridge, Buckingham Palace & Big Ben to the modern additions such as The Shard, Gherkin, and Olympic Park. Explore areas known & unknown with fresh eyes.

Recce could be useful when planning, or taking part in, a trip to “the smoke”, or if studying a contrasting landscape. An intriguing experience of a different form of mapping. Fascinating.