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Kellett School, The British International School, Hong Kong ~ Day 5

| August 26, 2015 | Add Your Thoughts 

Kellett School Pok Fu Lam

Our 5th day with Kellett School, Hong Kong, and today back at the Pok Fu Lam Campus for sessions with Year 6 pupils and their teachers in the morning, and Year 2 children and their teachers in the afternoon.

Again, well done all, for tackling the challenges we offered. Some imaginative, thoughtful and inspired thinking, talking, caring, sharing, inventing, creating, collaborating, building, developing, writing, laughing, experimenting… and SO much more.

The VillageThe morning with the Year Six pupils and their teaching staff, exploring the ‘hooks’, ‘nooks’ and ‘crannies’ that engage pupils in sharing their ideas with confidence and style. We explored a ‘Village’ setting in Myst 4: Revelation. Talk. speculation, sharing, thinking and taking ownership of this place, brought it from the virtual, into reality. Similes, and silences, enabled their ideas to flourish and take shape, forming images in our imaginations – gorgeous! We met characters, children up for tackling new ideas and risk-taking, found themselves becoming confident in their roles, expanding on fictional happenings with great detail and flare.

Edanna Spiral PlantIn our afternoon, we adventured with KS1 pupils, and teachers, adventuring through their creations, notions and persuasions, as we wandered through caves, climbed trees and became intrepid explorers. The children in this group wondered, and enthused, about strange objects as we investigated Edanna, the helix plants and the birds inhabiting this beautiful world, talking and writing with passion and interest – WELL DONE. The children made suggestions and proposals regarding the origins and purpose of items found; they considered different ways to ascend the plants and what might be at the top… and then, we went and found out. Would YOU like to know?…

A ha! That would really be telling. Why not have a look yourself one day?

Citrify ~ Online photo editor

| August 25, 2015 | Add Your Thoughts 

Citrify is a browser-based photo editor, that lets you pretty up your headshot by removing blemishes, erasing wrinkles and whitening teeth.

ObamafyIt also lets you add effects to pictures — for example, you can Obamify your picture based on Shepard Fairey’s widespread red and blue image.

(Flash, so doesn’t work on everything.) Simple, but useful, perhaps because of its simplicity.

Kellett School, The British International School, Hong Kong ~ Day 4

| August 25, 2015 | Add Your Thoughts 

Kellett School The British International School Hong Kong

Another superb day of inventiveness at Kellett School, Hong Kong. As with the adventures we set forth on yesterday, today had an analog emphasis. We set out, with scribbly sticks, into the world of words. Joined by Year 7 voyagers, we …went virtually nowhere. In a geographical sense that is. In terms of inventiveness, descriptive narrative, and playing with words, we travelled many miles. Our ideas were set free to wander, whilst we stood still, in an intriguing landscape, desperate to move, yet rooted to the spot.

Everyone was up for a challenge! They got it. What we do is not what “a lesson” should be”. More, it is a reflection of possibilities ~ too much (and too little) all in one go. Too many objectives ~ AND too few. Not what a “real” class would do in a “real” lesson, but “exactly what a real class does in exactly the space that a real class does it”. (What an empathetic, and real, comment). A chance to reflect, think, and consider, on what possibilities there are, using simple, accessible, tools.

After a good deal of discussion, the students wrote spontaneously, producing work of a high quality full of vivid imagery. They were also encouraged to refine their spoken language & clarify their ideas. They remained on task and enthusiastic throughout.

Modelling is often one of the best ways of scribing. It is a bit like reading a paper in front of a toddler. Turn around and you can find they are also sat with a newspaper. O.K. It’s upside-down, but they are starting off on the road to reading.

Writing, or any other challenge, shouldn’t be something we inflict upon children and then we go off and do something “important”, “intriguing”, “mysterious”, “enjoyable”, or “superior”. It is important to show a shared interest, willingness and openness to “having a go” as well. The “Big People” today, wrote and wrote. They shared their ideas with the children around them. They left their writing lying around as a hint, a guide, or an example of potential style, sentence structure, or vocabulary.They were stylish and original gems of invention too. Nicely spicely! Well done all.

Year 9 students for their second venture …

ShipThe students, in turn, offered suggestions, ideas or positive criticisms, to the giants there were sat next to on their travels through these mysterious worlds. There were a lot of us in some interesting settings, and it was joyous to see so much sharing taking place. Well done all today.

And a joyous afternoon session with the Year 2 children, juggling words, actions and ideas as we ventured through caves and up plants, meeting colourful creartures along the way.

Kellett School The British International School Hong Kong

Wordnik ~ 1.7 million words & counting

| August 24, 2015 | Add Your Thoughts 

Wordnik is “a dictionary aiming to collect all the words in the English language: 1.7 million so far! Examples, pronunciations, user notes, and more”.

Wordnik is a place for all the words, and everything known about them”.

Wordnik‘s goal is “to show you as much information as possible, as fast as we can find it, for every word in English, and to give you a place where you can make your own opinions about words known”. Continue Reading

Kellett School, The British International School, Hong Kong ~ Day 3

| August 24, 2015 | Add Your Thoughts 

Kellett School The British International School Hong Kong

Great, to be back at Kellett School in Hong Kong, for the first day of four days of lessons, with students and pupils from across the school. Today, we started our adventures with 70+ students from Year Nine, and joyous bunch of explorers they were!

More with them tomorrow and we look forward to that!

Thank you to Jacquie Hills, Deputy Head of Senior School and English Teacher, and her department for accommodating us today, working alongside us are we ‘stood still‘ in a landscape exploring language, feelings, atmosphere, expectations…

Kellett School The British International School Hong Kong

Then an afternoon of further explorations with pupils from Year Six.

Another big “Thank You” to Clive Dawes, ICT Curriculum Leader, here at Kellett School, for organising our explorations with technology here in Hong Kong.

Well done all at Kellett School, for being up for the challenges, and keen to explore more… …and to students from Year Nine and Year Six for picking up words and juggling them.

GeoPlanet Explorer

| August 22, 2015 | Add Your Thoughts 

Here is a powerful tool, when carrying out a geography project of any kind: GeoPlanet Explorer. Here you can explore the geographical information provided by Yahoo in the GeoPlanet API and data set.

Simply enter a location in the form and submit it to get detailed information about the place you are looking for – including its “ancestors”, “siblings”, “children” (smaller regions of the area) and other relationships.

For example, when you look up Bristol (you can drill down much deeper and in more detail than that) it shows the ancestors as England and The United Kingdom. It “belongs to” category includes area codes, counties (both existing and historical) and much more.

This could be useful information when investigating a local area, or contrasting region somewhere else in the country, or indeed, the world.

DrumBot ~ Some fascinating tools with a beat

| August 21, 2015 | Add Your Thoughts 

There are lots of useful tools for the budding musician at The best little app is the DrumBot itself: An online drum machine for those who can’t find a real drummer to jam with! It has different loop sets, that can get you started with your sequencing of drum sounds, at great pace, with realistic loops to choose from.

As the pro drummer joke shows, there is no replacement for a REAL musician with sticks: “What’s the difference between a drummer and a drum machine? About four bars by the end of the piece!”

There are some other useful utilities at Drumbot too:

For example, with TapBPM, find the beat of a song by tapping your keyboard.

Guitar Tuner is exactly that: an online tuner to help you tune a guitar by ear.

The metronome is a free online metronome buddy, to keep you in time as you practice.

The Drumbot Sequencer enables some simple collation of beats and sounds.

With DroneFX you can create drones, ambient music and unique soundscapes with ease.

Fuzzmail ~ replay your creations

| August 20, 2015 | Add Your Thoughts 

Fuzzmail is not designed to be used in education, yet has a lot of potential to add some dynamism when showing the development of a piece of text. We’ve had fun using this IN CLASS.

Fuzzmail records the act of writing and lets you send it as an email. Dynamic changes, typos, pauses and write-overs are captured and communicated.

Fuzzmail is free. Just start typing a message and Fuzzmail will record what you type.

When you’re done, click “send” to stop recording and send your message. The recipient will get a private web link to read the message replayed in the way that you typed it.

A copy of the Fuzzmail you wrote will be sent to you at your email address.

Display it on a whiteboard to children of all ages: I can see this as useful at KS1, and up, showing how a sentence has been built up and modified, all the way up to higher ed, showing the dynamic creation of a section of a thesis. Here is a little example created by Fuzzmail.

Have fun, and perhaps email any examples you are pleased with.

Forvo ~ “All the words in the world, pronounced”

| August 19, 2015 | Add Your Thoughts 

Find out how to say a word you’re unfamiliar with, at the web site Forvo.

Forvo describes itself as: “the largest word pronunciation dictionary in the world, now with translations. All the words in all the languages pronounced by native speakers”.

For example, if you want to hear the words “Web2.0″ are pronounced in many different languages and dialects, you can, HERE.

Aiming to one day have “all the words in the world pronounced”—including words in 23 languages—Forvo relies on users to generate both words in demand and the proper pronunciations of those words. How about getting students to contribute their own pronunciations.

So you could, for example, check out the pronunciation of major cities, and if you can’t find the city,  just head to the add a word page and put in a request for the word you want. Alternately, you can head to the pronounce page to record pronunciations of words you know.

Forvo has a simple aim, to harness a bit of social web power and create a valuable resource.

Kellett School, The British International School, Hong Kong ~ Day 2

| August 19, 2015 | Add Your Thoughts 

Kellett School

Superb, to be back at Kellett School, Hong Kong. Today, our second of our six days with Kellett School, we were joined by secondary colleagues at the school’s Kowloon Campus.

A  day of exploration alongside three groups of teachers from across the secondary aspect of the school.

To work alongside colleagues from every department in Secondary schools, means that, at some point, somebody has to translate and assess how the resources we share can be useful in their particular subject specialism.

How powerful, therefore, to hear staff today rising to that challenge and buzz about how they could apply some of the web 2.0 technologies in their lessons. From R.E and Geography teachers and maths specialists, through to PE teachers, is a huge range of interests. Well done folks for having the vision to see how some of these things can have an impact in their classroom.

We explored the world of visual literacy and how to motivate students in the areas of speaking, listening and writing. As well as the amazing “ages” within  some of the Myst like games, there are many other ways to stimulate discussion and creativity. We whizzed past but a few of them, and saw the powerful results they can have on building confidence and so much more.

The Beatles Year 3000 ~ History: Myth, fact or confusion?

| August 18, 2015 | Add Your Thoughts 

Here’s a fascinating film that gets you questioning what our impressions of history are based upon.
We find an artifact and put our impressions upon it. What is fact? What is fiction? What is confusion of the two? What is based on flimsy, half forgotten evidence?

Useful in history lessons in the build up to research on a topic. Useful when discussing how to trust a single source or recording of an event. (A Youtube film, so possibly blocked at school, but well worth a watch & finding a way to show)