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Summit for Transformative Learning in St. Louis, Missouri ~ Workshop

| June 7, 2016 | Add Your Thoughts 

MICDS Workshop Tools to Tell a Tale

A Workshop …at the 2nd annual Summit for Transformative Learning in St. Louis, Missouri hosted by Mary Institute and Saint Louis Country Day School (MICDS). and we gave folk the chance to explore virtual worlds for real, then find out how to make their own resources that engage, motivate, inspire and differentiate, children of all ages and abilities.

We investigated the power of engaging children in the writing, speaking and listening, and inventing, processes – and how this can impact on so many areas of a child’s progress. In our workshops we shared links, ideas, and tools, for encouraging creativity within our students, whatever age, whatever ability.

We took folk on a magical tour of inspirational tools to inspire the uninspired learner.

We had a hands on, and hands off, time… exploring a range of digital delights, and the analog learning that flows through them. You had to be there… a group of sunshine~itself, contributive laughter, smiles, inventive, supportive, warmth~alive voyagers!

We shared our fantasy journeys with a group of intrepid explorers, and set off to distant lands, beyond even the huge range of places they joined us from. We stood still, and pondered, in beautiful, virtual territories, but also set off to discover those who lived beyond.

Thank you all for a joyous time, full of shared laughter and learning… and that to-be-considered C word.

What does “creativity” actually mean? Suggestions included ‘you think of solutions out of the ordinary’, ‘to do ordinary in a different way from the usual’, ‘knowing what to do when you don’t know what to do’.

The Wikipedia reference to Creativity, includes the folowing thoughts:

Creativity refers to the phenomenon whereby a person creates something new (a product, a solution, a work of art, a novel, a joke, etc.) that has some kind of value. What counts as “new” may be in reference to the individual creator, or to the society or domain within which the novelty occurs. What counts as “valuable” is similarly defined in a variety of ways.

Scholarly interest in creativity ranges widely: Topics to which it is relevant include the relationship between creativity and general intelligence; the mental and neurological processes associated with creative activity; the relationship between personality type and creative ability; the relationship between creativity and mental health; the potential for fostering creativity through education and training, especially as augmented by technology; and the application of an individual’s existing creative resources to improve the effectiveness of learning processes and of the teaching processes tailored to them.

The Creativity debate. Can you? Can’t you? Do you? Is there such a thing? What are its values?

Creativity is allowing oneself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.
— The Dilbert Principle

Creativity belongs to the artist in each of us. To create means to relate. The root meaning of the word art is “to fit together” and we all do this every day. Not all of us are painters but we are all artists. Each time we fit things together we are creating -whether it is to make a loaf of bread, a child, a day.”
– Corita Kent

To create one’s own world in any of the arts takes courage.
– Georgia O’keeffe

Every act of creation is first of all an act of destruction.
– Pablo Picasso

SO…. what does creativity mean to you?

Wherever, however, whoever, whenever you are… we would value a comment on this. Be… um… creative!

Summit for Transformative Learning in St. Louis, Missouri ~ Keynote

| June 5, 2016 | Add Your Thoughts 

MICDS_Olson_HallOpening Keynote at the 2nd annual Summit for Transformative Learning in St. Louis, Missouri hosted by Mary Institute and Saint Louis Country Day School (MICDS).

The “STLinSTL@MICDS” conference is designed to bring experts and classroom practitioners together to explore ways to enhance and maximize student learning.

The event, taking place in the school’s recently completed state-of-the-art McDonnell Hall and Brauer Hall STEM Building.

The summit has six strands: ‘Amplifying STEM’, ‘Best Practices in Pedagogy and Assessment’, ‘Brains on Learning’, ‘Contemporary Literacy’, ‘Excellence in Teaching, Coaching, and Athletic Development’ and ‘It’s Elementary’.

Elizabeth Helfant And TImThank you to Elizabeth Helfant for inviting us to this valuable event. We first met Elizabeth in Memphis back in 2013 at the Lausanne Learning Institute.

Enthusing and inspiring learners using ICT, was our theme, bringing together technology and learning into one space to enthuse and inspire technicians and teachers alike. The fusion has been deliberate. Technology won’t improve children’s learning without the passion and enthusiasm of those who use it.

We showed how technology can be used to deliver teaching that reaches out to all children and gives them hooks to learn from, how the tools technology delivers can fire their imagination, can entice the reticent learners and can engage the whole class so that learning becomes fun and exciting.

We took folk on a magical tour of inspirational tools to inspire the uninspired learner. Real examples of transformational education, technolgical tools that have proven impact to excite and lift the eyebrows (as well as the writing hand) of even the most reluctant writer! Using freely available tools that can be used within 2 minutes in your classroom, take your pupils onto another level of creativity and enthusiasm for writing

In this speedily changing education world, with a potentially daunting set of “new” elements to teach, we picked apart some of the possibilities to unravel the computing conundrums, but also started off what we regarded as key aspects of any teacher’s tech armoury, for bringing lessons alive across the curriculum.

Moom ~ The Museum of Online Museums

| June 5, 2016 | Add Your Thoughts 

MoOM is the Museum of Online Museums. It contains curated links to online collections and exhibits from museums and galleries around the globe, covering a vast array of interests and magnificent obsessions.

On the MoOM main page you, will find the current exhibitions. The main collection is in the center column, divided into three subsections.

The Museum Campus contains links to brick-and-mortar museums with an interesting online presence. Most of these sites will have multiple exhibits from their collections (or, in the case of the Smithsonian, displays of items not on display in the Washington museum itself).

The Permanent Collection displays links to exhibits of particular interest to design and advertising.

Galleries, Exhibition, and Shows is an eclectic and ever-changing list of interesting links to collections and galleries.

A massive collection of resources to fire up any classroom. Happy exploring.

The Life Cycle of Plants ~ The Birmingham Grid for Learning

| June 3, 2016 | Add Your Thoughts 

The Birmingham Grid for Learning‘s resource The Life Cycle of Plants, is a very simple but effective set of revision activities to familiarise pupils with, well, um, the life cycle of plants.

Explore the About Plants section for more ideas, including changing the colour of plants, investigating the shape of seeds, & identification charts to help identify the flowers, trees & shrubs around your school.

Collaborizeclassroom .com

| June 1, 2016 | Add Your Thoughts 

Collaborize Classroom is an easy-to-use online learning platform. Register & launch a free site in less than 5 minutes. A safe & password-protected learning community for you & your students. Take a poll, hold a debate, post a practice test or let your students support their arguments.

A great way to launch student-driven projects and challenge-based learning.Bring the best resources from the Internet into your online classroom by attaching pictures, videos, PDF or Microsoft Office documents.

Gain instant access to a vast and growing collection of teacher-designed lessons,create topics, lessons and assignments that you can share with other educators worldwide, and download peer-reviewed topic-based lessons with just one click.

For a largely free resource, Collaborize Classroom has potential.

Artcyclopedia .com

| May 26, 2016 | Add Your Thoughts 

Artcyclopedia is an online database of art works that can be viewed, and investigated, online.

With over 9,000 artists, and 160,000 links to 2,900 art sites, this is a comprehensive resource.

Type in the artists name or browse by medium, subject, nationality, or focus on specific subjects such as women Artists. Search by “movement” such as Pop Art, Magic Realism, Photorealism, & Pointillism

There are some interesting collections, such as Tiltshift versions of Van Gogh paintings.

Use the Actualizer to view art works at their real life size.

ButtonBeats

| May 25, 2016 | Add Your Thoughts 

Button Beats has many elements worth exploring.

In one, trigger the range of beats and breaks by activating different sections of the cube. Then add your own elements, such as guitar riffs and synth lines.

There are many interesting ways to investigate aspects of composition in the free version of Button Beats. You can even sample, and play, your own voice or sounds.

Dig deeper in to the site to try out such things as the drumpad, & Rock Face remixer. Each one can also be embedded on a blog as below.

Have a play and remember there is the red STOP loop button!

ButtonBeats.com

“Improving Outcomes” using Technology Conference – Warwickshire

| May 20, 2016 | Add Your Thoughts 

Warwickshire IO with ICT

WESToday in Leamington Spa for the “Improving Outcomes” using Technology Conference hosted by Warwickshire ICT Development Service’s Summer Conference, delivering a keynote exploring the wonders of the web assisted by plasticine, googly eyes and feathers, followed by workshops developing story telling and writing skills, with and without technology.

Huge thank you to Colin Talbot, e-learning adviser for ICT Development Service, Warwickshire County Council, for inviting us to his event and for coordinating today’s processings magnificently.

Folk round here are doing some REMARKABLE things in the face of challenging times, and misconceptions. We are honoured to know such inventive, inspiring educators.

It just goes to show that with the right stimulus and input, many of the children will write not just because their teacher wants them to, not even because it’s about a computer game, but because they have been challenged and inspired and want to write for themselves.

School and home life is not, and shouldn’t be, all about technology. However, if we, as educators, do not keep up with some of the skills, interests, passions, and playful times of our pupils (those who are lucky enough, it has to be said, to have access to these technologies) then our classrooms will appear stagnant environments, in comparison to their homes. Giving children the opportunity, and encouragement, to become “creative plagiarists”, to borrow ideas off their teacher, and from each other, that is when you get a spiral upwards within a classroom.

In our keynote, we investigated the power of engaging children in the writing, speaking and listening, and inventing, processes – and how this can impact on so many areas of a child’s progress. In our workshops we shared links, ideas, and tools, for encouraging creativity within our students, whatever age, whatever ability.

We took folk on a magical tour of inspirational tools to inspire the uninspired learner.

Whilst what we do is sometimes subtitled as “Tech To Inspire… writing”, if you look at the pictures of any event, you will notice that children are not often at computers. We are really using the ICT in an “invisible” way to inspire speaking, listening, writing, behaviour management, and so much more.

We then balance that with a HUGE amount of technical things with the staff, who can, with the extra time, and developed contact they have with their classes, apply to great effect, back at school.

There was certainly a shared desire to tackle the challenge of pupil engagement today. Well done all.

Other workshops included:

–       Making the most of your data – Using your management information systems to help close the gap for all learners

–       Technologies that make an impact – Getting hands-on with new technologies that will help to improve outcomes

–       The Outstanding School – The role of technology

 

Français interactif

| May 18, 2016 | Add Your Thoughts 

Français interactif!, is a huge & comprehensive, web-based French program developed at the University of Texas.

In addition to interviews of native French speakers and a wealth of cultural information, the website also includes recorded vocabulary, phonetics lessons, grammar explanations, and Internet activities.

Français interactif! helps you explore the French language and culture by following the lives of real students who participated in a Summer Program in Lyon, France. The students introduce you to their French host families, their French university, and their lives in France.

Français interactif is organized into 13 chapters that deal with themes relevant to beginning French learners.

Each chapter begins with a short video, in a combination of English and French, but using French mainly, to introduce vocabulary that will be encountered in that chapter.

After practicing the pronunciation of each word in isolation, videos capture native speakers who use the new vocabulary in a context that provides important visual support.For example, watch, and hear, a fruit vendor name each type of fruit on sale at the market that day. pdf support materials are provided, & the textbook is available as “print-on-demand” or downloadable by individual chapters free of charge.

 

The goal of these materials is in the title: Français interactif!

Onelook ~ search with a difference

| May 17, 2016 | Add Your Thoughts 

OneLook® Dictionary Search a search engine for words and phrases: Have a word for which you’d like a definition or translation- it’ll take you to the web-based dictionaries that define or translate it. If you don’t know the right word to use, it’ll help you find it. “No word is too obscure”: More than 5 million words in more than 1000 online dictionaries are indexed by the OneLook search engine.

Define words: Type a word into the search box on the front page to retrieve a list of dictionary web sites that define that word. Be sure “Find definitions” is selected.
Find words: Type a pattern consisting of letters and the wildcards * and ? to retrieve a list of words matching your pattern. The asterisk (*) matches any number of letters or symbols. The question mark (?) matches exactly one letter or symbol. (Read these sections for more info on wildcards and the Reverse Dictionary.)
Translate words: Type a word into the search box and select “Find translations” to retrieve a list of dictionary web sites that have translations of that word into other languages.

CoSketch

| May 11, 2016 | Add Your Thoughts 

CoSketch is a multi-user online whiteboard designed to give you the ability to visualize and share your ideas as images.

Anything you paint will show up, for all other users in the “room”, in real time. It only takes one click to save a sketch, as an image, for embedding on sites and blogs. Runs in all common browsers without plugins or installation. CoSketch is free & doesn’t require registration. Draw freehand, or use icons from the library.

Now with Google Maps support. Draw on a blank canvas or use Google maps as the background for your sketches to show directions or share trips. Get doodling.