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Harry Potter’s Renaissance Science, Magic & Medicine

| June 24, 2016 | Add Your Thoughts 

Designed to accompany the Harry Potter Exhibition, organised by the US National Library of Medicine, the Online Education Resources are a touch of magic in their own right.

Follow the clues, to discover similarities between Harry’s fictional world and ours. Investigate the Potions section and find answers to things such as the difference between the Sorcerer’s Stone and the Philosopher’s Stone, and what Nicolas Flamel was really famous in history?

Examine the historical records in the Monsters section and find answers to investigate The Monster Book of Monsters that Hagrid used to teach the Care of Magical Creatures class in Hogwarts, and the creatures and monsters that Gesner’s Historiae Animalium included.

Mandrake is used in a potion for un-petrification in Harry Potter. Find out what Mandrake was used for historically in the Herbology section.

“There was a lot more to magic, as Harry quickly found out, than waving your wand & saying a few funny words.”

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, J. K. Rowling

IT16 Conference & Exhibition ~ Kent

| June 23, 2016 | Add Your Thoughts 

EIS 16

EIS KentA Keynote and workshops at the IT16 Conference & Exhibition at the Ashford International Hotel in Kent.

There was an other Keynote from Peter Twining.

Our keynote was called Animal Magic! A Mission Improbable.


We spent some fun time exploring the power of inventive technologies and see how they can have a huge impact on raising computing skills and creativity in children, right across the curriculum. We need to inspire young people; enhance their creativity and confidence so they can pick ideas up and start to juggle with them; encourage resourcefulness through challenge, but also the ability to reflect and benefit from the experience of others; to motivate a love of learning for life. With a focus very much on creativity, particularly engaging learners’ imaginations, we investigated ways of working that are centered on innovation with many free accessible tech tools and practical ideas.

Our workshop was called Out of this World. Tech to Inspire…. Games Based Learning for Real


Accessible tools and ideas for raising the levels of creativity, writing, speaking and listening among children of all ages. Understand the powerful effect of using digital games, Web2 tools, software, handheld devices and more, to model a way of teaching that focuses on quality learning, rather than the latest gadget. Investigate how virtual worlds, with their stunning landscapes, peaceful characters and realistic challenges, can be used across subject areas.

Culture Street’s Picture Book Maker

| June 21, 2016 | Add Your Thoughts 

Culture Street’s Picture Book Maker

Whilst it is not perfect, you can, quite quickly, create some little gems.

Choose your characters, some backgrounds, objects and artefacts, then get composing your tale over multiple pages. This can help break down simple stories in to distinct sections, perhaps as a plan for a more extended tales

Younger children could find the Picture Book Maker a great stimulus for planning, but also for presenting the end results of their writing.

gosoapbox.com

| June 20, 2016 | Add Your Thoughts 

SoapBox is a controlled digital space, designed to “improve student engagement by breaking down the barriers students face when deciding whether or not to participate in class, and gives teachers a concrete assessment of student comprehension, in real time”.

Soap Box is a service that enables teachers to gather instant feedback from students through their cell phones, tablets, or laptops. Soap Box offers nine useful functions for teachers and students. There is even a “confusion barometer” that enables students to put their status as either “I get it” or “I’m confused.”

As there is a chance to communicate through a back channel, there is also a “profanity filter” that blocks inappropriate language from being posted.

SoapBox is currently in beta and free of charge. This could be well worth exploring within schools who are lucky (and wise) enough to allow, and encourage use of mobile technology, and interactive judgments, and evaluations, within lessons. A hard point to debate. Maybe try it through Soap Box.

 

The Levelator®

| June 20, 2016 | Add Your Thoughts 

“Do you believe in “magic”? You might after using The Levelator® to enhance your podcast.

An old and archived piece of software but genuinely useful

So what is The Levelator®? It’s software that runs on Windows, OS X (universal binary), or Linux (Ubuntu) that adjusts the audio levels within your podcast or other audio file for variations from one speaker to the next, for example. It’s not a compressor, normalizer or limiter although it contains all three.

It’s much more than those tools, and it’s much simpler to use: Drag-and-drop any WAV or AIFF file onto The Leveler’s application window, and a few moments later you’ll find a new version which just sounds better.

(*The sound of a clink in their TipJar would be enhanced with The Levelator® too, b.t.w. 🙂 )

email dodo

| June 20, 2016 | Add Your Thoughts 

With eMailDodo you can create and administer email groups in one central place (‘in the cloud’).

Because eMailDodo is a cloud service, all members in your group can use the same single email address for the group on any pc or mobile & it’s easy to remember.

Never again worry about misspelling an address or accidentally leaving somebody out of an email.

Via eMailDodo you can not only send eMails but also Questions (“polls”).

Hertfordshire Deputy & Assistant Heads Conference

| June 16, 2016 | Add Your Thoughts 

Herts for Learning
inner_logo‘Resilience’, the Enabler or Barrier to Effective Leadership  – A one-day national conference for primary deputy and assistant headteachers. Strong leadership in schools is key to driving up standards and ensuring all young people get the good education they need at The Auction House, Luton.

Exploring the power of inventive technologies and see how they can have a huge impact on raising computing skills and creativity in children, right across the curriculum. We need to inspire young people; enhance their creativity and confidence so they can pick ideas up and start to juggle with them; encourage resourcefulness through challenge, but also the ability to reflect and benefit from the experience of others; to motivate a love of learning for life. With a focus very much on creativity, particularly engaging learners’ imaginations, we investigated ways of working that are centered on innovation with many free accessible tech tools and practical ideas.

One element that is very important to us, is the many ways to inspire and motivate children into believing they are writers. Changing the perception of themselves into being a writer. “I didn’t know I could do this and… I’m actually enjoying the process. Did I write THAT?!”

Don’t guess at things. If there’s something factual about your story, check it. Research can be great fun.

Get someone you trust to check it through for any mistakes (but don’t let them re-write it for you!).

And, of course …..

It doesn’t always have to be digital

Always try to make your first line or paragraph unusual or interesting to get the attention of someone who’s just idly picked it up.

Get dialogue going quite quickly.

Do work on good description BUT don’t over-do it.

Try to avoid using clichés to describe things – ie: instead of saying ‘Scared to death’ think of a way to really describe how you felt. Eg: ‘I felt my stomach clench and my hands start to shake, while a feeling of panic seemed to rise up in my throat’.

Use your own experiences. Use your imagination, of course, but also write about things you know about. This makes your writing ring true, which is really important.

Thanks go to Lynne Wilson and Danielle Wallington for inviting us and cooordinating today’s event.

Other keynotes included Dr Angela Smith is a forensic psychologist, coach, trainer, keynote speaker and regular blogger on the Huffington Post and Jonathan Lear, Award-winning practising teacher, deputy head and creator of Guerilla Education.

Biography .com

| June 14, 2016 | Add Your Thoughts 

Biography.com is a really useful collection of background stories on a vast collection of fascinating characters right through history, to the present day.

Themed areas mean you can investigate such collections as videos on significant women through history, including full, and mini, bios on some remarkable people.

Search by nationality, what the person was best known for, life events, date, or alphabetically. There are special themed gatherings, such as some startling celebrity lookalikes, and an On This Day section, which looks at significant births, deaths and events, each day.

This could be used in such things as a history, research, empathy, unit of study. How about in conjunction with I Could, when thinking about a future life path.

We are ALL significant. What would your bio look like?

Hyper Cities

| June 12, 2016 | Add Your Thoughts 

Powered by Google Earth, and Google Maps, Hypercities is a huge collection of historic, and more modern maps, that can be viewed overlayed upon up to date plans.

HyperCities essentially allows users to go back in time to create and explore the historical layers of city spaces in an interactive way.

Cities mapped include Los Angeles, New York, CHICAGO, Rome, Lima, Ollantaytambo, Berlin, Tel Aviv, Tehran, Saigon, Toyko, Shanghai, Seoul, and more…

Keeping Score ~ interactive musical notation

| June 8, 2016 | Add Your Thoughts 

Sorry footie fans, Keeping Score is an interactive invitation to explore some of the greatest classical music, by reading the musical notation and investigating background information, from the grandest ideas, to the most subtle of emotions.

Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony’s Keeping Score is designed to give people of all musical backgrounds an opportunity to explore the music and life of the composers such as Mahler, Beethoven, Berlioz, Stravinsky, Shostakovitch, Tchaikovsky, and Aaron Copland.

Extensive audio, video, and interactive material offer an engaging and quite in-depth online learning experience. By following scores and exploring musical techniques, as well as the personal and historical stories behind some key pieces of music, we gain a real, and dynamic, understanding of just how remarkable the mind and soul of a composer is.

In one small excerpt, for example, we discover that, after the premiere of his First Symphony, Mahler found that the opening “sounded far too substantial for the shimmering and glimmering of the air that I had in mind.” So he changed the instrumentation to the whispery sound of string harmonics. He continued revising the instrumentation for five more years before the symphony’s publication!

The site also includes a historical timeline that takes users deeper into the eight individual composers’ political, social, and cultural milieus as well as downloadable lesson plans created by teachers who have experienced the Keeping Score Education program.

Keeping Score aims to connect music to all subjects in the curriculum as a way of bringing learning alive.

The site is designed to appeal particularly to secondary, college and university music appreciation students and their teachers, but contains some brilliant elements that would work across younger age groups.

The great thing about classical music is its ability to reach us at all levels. So relax, pick the piece of classical music you love the best, and take a great journey with your students!

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!