Monday, December 21, 2009

What are we teaching?

In fact, one of the saddest but most common conditions in elementary school computer labs (when they exist in the developing world), is the children are being trained to use Word, Excel and PowerPoint. I consider that criminal, because children should be making things, communicating, exploring, sharing,not running office automation tools."

---Nicholas Negroponte, Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab (2007)

I'm glad to see others have seen this and it's not just me - and it is still going on.

My question is

How do we stop teachers using "computer time" to write up the good copy of their story and moving them to the student to creating a multimedia storybook/glog/video.

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Monday, December 14, 2009

All these kids know more about computers than me....

BERLIN - SEPTEMBER 04:  Visitors look at <span class=minia..." style="border: medium none ; display: block;" height="101" width="150">Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Ummm... actually no they don't.

Sometimes I hear teachers say this in my presentations or in the staff room. To many teachers they assume from past experience that all their students can blog, make music, edit video, create websites, and work any electronic gizmo that they face. While it is true that the geek is slowly inheriting the earth, there is a huge number of students coming through who just barely know how to set up a facebook profile and use email, and you can just forget about editing video or working a spreadsheet.

While there are some great teachers of technology around sometimes it is best that they learn from their peers. This is where fresh brain fills the gap and could even help a few of us teachers.

Based around the fast moving "missed curriculum" this site helps students do the things that us adults think they are doing... making you tube videos and facebook applications.

For more formal training in application you could try Atomic Learning for paid tutorials or Nortel's Learn IT site which is free.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

High-School Science Teacher Takes Fun And Excitement Out Of Science

SAN FRANCISCO - MAY 05:  A pedestrian walks by...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Have a read of this satire from the Onion and see how many people you have in your school that are just like this. The Onion is a great place to get kids to think about a topic outside of the box - from that skewed angle that makes them question why things are the way thay are. Unfortunately most kids would see the above article as fact not satire.

For a PodCast of a radio interview of how some science teachers are changing the way the teach (scientifically of course) have a listen to this.

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Monday, November 30, 2009

NAPLAN Resources

Most Australian teachers of literacy and numeracy know that last 2 years of NAPLAN tests are online at

You can print out a test and give it to the students and see how they go... but that is a lot of marking to do and then entering it into spreadsheets for analysis.

The other option is to use TurningPoint Anywhere and have the questions projected on screen. As most of the NAPLAN is multi choice it is perfect for gathering this type of data. Then it is just a case of running the report to get the marking done.

This has just hit my radar as well - - if you have some lab time you can get the students to do a couple of these - again all marked for you.

Take the stress out of NAPLAN preparation.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The role of computers in education.

You would think that for someone who works in educational technology I would have a firm grasp of where technology sits in schools in Australia.... Not really. Part of the problem is things change really fast in the outside world. When I was at school the internet was not accessible (it was there though), computers were found in one place - the lab, and the only time I got to use them was for doing some basic accounting applications.

20 years later and things have changed so much outside but still stayed the same in the classroom.

Recently on echalk the denizens were discussing the role of the computer teacher and whether they will eventually be phased out. It really depends on your view but here's how I think it will go (re posted on echalk).

We have a continuum with traditional subjects.

With abstract knowledge/understanding based subjects (such as Maths and English Lit) at one end and Product/Process based subjects (English and Industrial workshop) at the other, with other subjects spaced out in between. The question here is where does computing fit in... Comp Sci down one end, Robotics at the other and game making in the middle perhaps?

Actually the more I think about it English as a subject fits computing in schools much better than the old Pen analogy.
English is used in just about every subject to a certain degree to read, process and output data, we are now moving to a point where computers are used in every subject (one hopes) to a certain degree either to read, process or output data.

English Lit=Comp Sci English=AIT English+subject=Computers+subject.

"computer" teachers will teach the first two much like English teachers share the English/ English Lit classes. Much like the support staff for literacy and numeracy there will be integrators for subjects other than computing to help teachers use the technology effectively.

Sorry this post is a bit of a ramble and I think it needs to be a bit more focused - I'll work on it.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Robotics Competition

Keepad Interactive will be at the iNexus National Robotics competition at Curting University on the 5th of December. Not only will we be bringing our robots for kids to play with and program, we will also be supplying Turningpoint Keepads for the audience to vote for their favorite robot in the competition. So if you, your family or your class is interested in seeing some amazing robots head down to Curtin next Saturday.

For more details and to register go to

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Free maths worksheets

Even I have to admit that there are times where drill and practice is required in maths. Or sometimes you just want to use some examples.

Enter This website helps you create worksheets for most grades up to about year 7. You can either save them as jpg or pdf or print them. If you have ebeam installed you can even print to eBeam Scrapbook as a background that you can then draw on and mark up as required for a demonstration.

Making up maths worksheets with all the grids, nets, shapes and number lines can be really painful in MS Word - especially if you want then to be precise enough for the students to actually measure. Dynamic Paper from the illuminations website might just be what you are looking for. There is a whole slew of resources for maths teachers there. Go nuts.

I'll repost one of my other favourite literacy worksheet makers - This not only does the worksheet for you based on the text that you give it - it even writes your lesson plan.

Good music education software is hard to come by - This looks like it will fit the needs of most primary teachers. LenMus

LenMus is a free program for learning music. LenMus program allows you to focus on specific skills and exercises, on both theory and aural training. The different activities can be customized to meet your needs, and it provides interactive feedback until mastery of each concept is achieved. It also includes an score editor.
And if like me you have no musical ability at all you might want to try out this grid based synth. Be careful you could spend hours on this.

Sorry I haven't been blogging lately but the boss came over for a visit from the emerald city and things got really busy.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Fast eBeam Introduction

Just a quick introduction to eBeam for those who like their sound bites. Makes me want to make a video myself.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Free Robot Voice Maker

So you have bought and Ed-e, you have programed some moves, you have downloaded them into Ed-e but it needs something else - he can walk but he can't talk.

Now you could just use your own voice but it would be much more fun if he had a robot voice. For that you are going to need a vocoder.

I've looked around and most vocoders are either hardware (analogue) or plugins for synthesisers like pro tools and the like. I finally found a stand alone vocoder - Zerius, and it's free.

Record your voice (use the basic recorder in windows accessories - save it as a mono not stereo) - thats your modulator file.
Choose a carrier - the carrier files are tones or noise, this is what effects your voice
and give the output file a name and a location - this is what gets saved.

Download your output file into Ed-e, assign a key press from the remote and now he talks with the robot voice.

You can also do your Daft Punk impression now - Harder, better, faster, stronger! (couldn't resist!)

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Lower Primary Resources

It is usually hard to find good interactives for lower primary. So when I came across Toy Theatre, posted on echalk John Gowland, I had to repost it onto TIC.

It works very nicely with eBeam and has a huge range of interactive tools for demonstrating on an IWB or working one to one with a student. They cover Maths, English, Art and Music as well as some great puzzels that are simple to play yet difficult for adults.

Nice and bright and easy to navigate this is going to be one of my demonstration websites for primary school presentations.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Free Video Analysis Tools

BasketballImage via Wikipedia

I was looking through a PD calendar and noticed a session for Dartfish which is great software but a bit expensive for schools. so I decided to see if there was any free/open source tools around.

Video analysis tools are used to play with video to help visualise things that happen within a video recording. You can use video analysis for several learning areas. The main one is sport and PE where a teacher/coach can analyse technique, body flow and pick up issues that might be effecting performance. It can also be used to analyse game/team play.

On a more scientific level, video analysis can be used for physics experiments - particularly to track objects and measure time, distance and therefore acceleration / deceleration.

Finally video analysis is great for the arts, for both dance and drama. You could also give it to a student in visual or media arts class to see what creative uses they could find.

I came across these and I hope someone finds them useful, (MAC and PC) - more for physics and science. (Mac and PC) - both skill capture and skill Spector are free (PC only)

and if you need It - a video transcoder – for changing formats

So much to tell you!

Very busy weekend - did a public demonstration of Ed-e at Scitech on the weekend and during some down time found a whole heap of resources so it's going to be a list today. - Popular picture/storybooks read by famous actors and with excellent multimedia and subtitles - Videos for high school mathematics, liturature and writing - for those who need the visual and aural. stop motion animation the easy way. - LMS hosted for free.

Schoology - LMS hosted for free

Pixton - comic creator - online text to speech. - online games based on spelling lists

animasher - easy animation with your own media

Myths and legends - stories and online software to create your own.

Creative kids central - Classical music lessons and interactives

Have a play with this lot - see what you think.

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Friday, October 23, 2009

eBig Books

Cover of "Aesop's Fables (Oxford World's ...Cover via Amazon

I was at a school earlier this week, demonstrating eBeam and the Epson document camera. One of the teachers asked if there was a way to get big books up on screen. I showed them a free book from and they were ecstatic. So thinking that there might be more teachers who need this type of resource I had a look through my bookmarks and found a few good ones.
- This is a subscription service but they do have a wide range of well known books as it is supported by major publishers. You can get a free account but it does tend to limit you. the minimum you will pay as a teacher would be about $7 per month - which when you think about it is no that much for access to over 10 000 big books. The page turning animation is nice in it and it fills the screen. This is one of those times where it might be worth handing over some cash for access to this type of resource.

Storybird - On the other hand you have storybird, where anyone can make a digital storybook and publish it. This is a great way to get kids into real publishing where their creations go online for the world to see. There has been a lot of buzz regarding this site as it allows collaboration between students at the same time.

StoryPlace - a great resource with personalised books and audio - very interactive and great for lower level readers.

ICDL - The international Children's Digital Library has books from all over the world. The reader is not as good as the above two but makes up for it in content and the ability to get children's books in a range of languages and from different cultures. a real treasure chest of content.

Aesop's Fables - Txt based only but great for story ideas and embellishments. Not really suitable for a big book unless you make it yourself with storybird or issuu.

Children's Books on-line - JPG based old style picture books. - Ebooks can be purchased.

Unvarnished Brothers Grimm - they weren't called grim for nothing.

If you have any more please let me know! I'd like to put together a "big Book" virtual library.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Not the 9 o'clock news - free news resources

We have a new piece of software at the office that has got everybody interested in their web cam again. It's called Newsmaker from Dataworks and has been included into our software catalogue.

The basic premise is for students to setup their own Vodcasts. The software handles real time effects, as well as a basic autocue. It is fairly simple to use and is good fun, but can do some fairly decent effects like inset video and subtitles in real time. I can see a whole range of uses from doing a basic show and tell show, to a fully fledged news production show. The software is quite reasonably priced but you could do this with other free software - just not as integrated.

So that's all good, but how to localise it so that kids go from the known (what they see on TV) to the unknown - producing a TV news segment? I found this site while helping my girlfriend prepare for her class assembly. As you may know I'm based in Perth so this was perfect - watelevision .
It has news on what is happening as far as TV media goes in our state as well as a nice page of resources including theme music, logos and fonts for all the channel's news shows! Bonus! Just what you need to mock up a television news segment.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Cruising through SourceForge

Sometimes I just like to cruise through SourceForge for to see what is new and whether any programs have floated to the top of the pile. Here are two that I think are worth having for high school. And because they are Open Source they are free.

SweetHome3D is a 3D home decoration program that takes you from plan to rendered 3D environments. You could use it in maths classes to model rooms, layouts and organise space. It will even do outdoor environments. A easy way to start to learn how use CAD programs without all the extra bits.

If you are still using office 2003 (WA DET schools I'm looking at you) then this tool bar might be useful to you if you are in the maths dept. It allows you to render mathematical equations directly into word. Mathematics Toolbar, Drawing Toolbar and Math Database

If you have Word 2007 there is no need for this tool as it is built in to the newer version of office.

Lastly Wikipedia have just released their own reader - Wikireader at $99 US. You can update it for free yourself. It seems like a good idea - I'd like to have a look at one just to try it out but my budget is a bit lean at the moment.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Why use Keepads?

This was on Derek Bruff''s blog the other day, and it got me thinking about why we use ARS/Clickers/Keepads/SRS/CRS.

I have been going back over my old educational psychology books to see if there was some research from the past that validates the use of ARS now. Obviously Derek has written the book on CRS in use now, but I'm talking about some of the past research on questioning.

My ed psych book from university was the Imaginatively titled "Educational Psychology" by Maltby, Gage and Berliner. I was able to glean a few key points that relate to the use of ARS now.

Why use an ARS in your teaching mix?
  • Improves “wait time” I and II (Rowe 1974) - pre set counters give the right amount of time for students to formulate an answer- showing responses on screen and talking about them give time to reflect.
  • Reduces unintentional Bias (Rowe 1974) - Everyone has the same amount of time to answer.
  • Gives “Question Notice” to all students (Brophy and Evertson 1994) - everyone is attentive to the question because everyone has to answer it.
  • Allows question probing through the branching - The presentation can branch to probing questions to get more detailed responses.
  • Encourages “Intelligent Guesses” (Cole & Chan 1994) - It reduces loss of face due to a wrong answer - great for students to want try out an answer without embarrassment.
  • Can provide academic feedback without identification (Good & Brophy)(Cole and Chan1994) - immediate feedback is important - but it doesn't identify the person with the wrong answer in front of peers.
  • Increases perceived preparation and structure but allows flexibility. Reduces digression but provides opportunities for branching and customisation.

Using an SRS/ARS/CPS is not a toy, but a way of truly changing the way we look at questioning our students about the stuff they know and don't know to help them gain deeper understanding of what we are teaching.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Audience Response Systems V's Twitter

There has been a lot of talk (twitter) about the value of twitter in conferences - particularly during presentations. In one case disparaging remarks about the speaker were shown on screen while he was speaking. This was also a hot topic on echalk over the last couple of weeks. I Sent the list the following to mull over.

I have seen twitter used well in conferences and very badly in a few others. The trouble is that although very powerful it's very unidirectional in it's scope (both where and what you broadcast), as well as very individual. It's like giving all the loudmouths in the room a bullhorn, and the result is that the majority of people just shut up (don't Tweet).

We need to make it more fun and try an change the behaviour of the crowd so that they want participate.

What is sometimes needed is a more directed and focused system that aggregates responses so that it is useful to both the presenter and the audience.

Another possibility is an Audience Response System from Keepad. Going from an individualised "keepad" (multiple choice) to an "App"(Responseware) on an iphone or laptop (text & multiple choice). It allows your keynote/presenter/workshop facilitator to direct questions or solicit feedback, but aggregate the responses instantly to get a more "majority view". This can help focus the audience on the issues or content rather than presentation style.

This can all be integrated into a PowerPoint/Keynote/PDF/OO/Prezi in both PC and Mac platforms.

By the way, I hope you like the new green theme - It's spring here so I thought it was appropriate.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Dr Karl Kruszelnicki and TAFE WA

Dr KarlImage via Wikipedia

Now there is a combination you wouldn't expect.

Dr Karl was the MC at the recent Central TAFE forum/PD day. Keepad sponsored the event in kind with keepads for the e-Quiz. The result was that I got to meet and work with the man I have listened to on Triple J for over ten years.

It was one of those surreal geek moments being up on stage in front of about 400 people sharing banter with Australia's polymath.

Yes he is as interesting in real life as he is on radio and TV, and very easy to talk to.

Even more surreal was that two people on the panel who were on stage with us were friends of mine. David Appleby who works at WestOne, and Dr Jenny Lane from ECU answered some curly questions from Dr Karl about an organisation they didn't belong to.

One of the reasons I love my job.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

New Keepad Website

Locator map for AustraliaImage via Wikipedia

Every now and then I need to do my job on this Blog. Sure I point you to links and cool stuff online and free programs you can use with your IWB. But I also work for a great company who encourages me to share all this with you. So a bit of payment is due.

Keepad Interactive have just released their new website. On it you will find our latest software for both TurningPoint Audience response systems but also eBeam Interact and Capture software.

A training page with tutorial videos for eBeam will make getting to grips with it a lot easier for some.

It also showcases all our products that have recently been added to the stable. This includes Ed-E from RM and the projectors and document cameras from Epson.

The Site is and although missing the au is still based in Australia.

Go have a look and if you like it or hate it please contact us and let us know.

I can't sign off though without something to use for free. Copyright Friendly is a place to pick up copyright friendly images and sounds from a central place. With lots of links to big directories it';s a great resource for both you and your students.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

FREE Content is King!!!

Two posts in one day... it must be school holidays.

I've been organising my bookmarks recently (shock! horror!) and figured out that I have a lot of stuff sitting there that really need to be talked about.

In WA the Education Department is setting up a Online Teaching and Learning Network - which is great but is costing a fortune, and will be closed to anyone who works outside the Department of Education. So any teacher in the independent or Catholic system plus anyone who has skills to produce open content are effectively locked out.

These are 7 Content clearinghouses to find stuff to teach with that are open and encourage participation and in some cases contribution. This group is leaning to high school to University level but OER and Curriki have a lot of k-7 resources.

Intute a UK based service. Intute is a free online service that helps you to find the best web resources for your studies and research.Intute is created by a consortium of seven universities, working together with a whole host of partners.

is a project of the Monterey Institute for Technology and Education (MITE). The goal of HippoCampus is to provide high-quality, multimedia content on general education subjects to high school and college students free of charge.

Connexions is: a place to view and share educational material made of small knowledge chunks called modules that can be organized as courses, books, reports, etc. Anyone may view or contribute:
* authors create and collaborate
* instructors rapidly build and share custom collections
* learners find and explore content

I first heard about Connexions on

Open Educational Resources
: born from the creative commons movement. OER content is made free to use or share, and in some cases, to change and share again, made possible through licensing, so that both teachers and learners can share what they know.

Merlot: MERLOT is a leading edge, user-centered, searchable collection of peer reviewed and selected higher education, online learning materials, catalogued by registered members and a set of faculty development support services. MERLOT's vision is to be a premiere online community where faculty, staff, and students from around the world share their learning materials and pedagogy.

MIT Open Courseware: MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) is a web-based publication of virtually all MIT course content. OCW is open and available to the world and is a permanent MIT activity.

Curriki : Curriki is an online environment created to support the development and free distribution of world-class educational materials to anyone who needs them.

The Royal Show and Coin Machines

Arcade Coin Pusher, detailImage via Wikipedia

I went to the Perth Royal Show last night. For those of you who are not from Australia, it's like a State fair in the US where farmers come to town to show off their produce and animals, there is also a side show and exhibitions.

One of popular machines in side show alley is the coin pushers - you know the one where you drop in a coin and it pushes them all together and if you are lucky some will go over the edge.

As a kid I never really noticed the mechanics - just the possibilities of a huge windfall right in front of me. This time I had a look at the machines themselves - as the coins get closer to the edge, the machine has a "gutters" on each side (usually covered) that coins fall into - you won't hear them go through as the have dampened the sound as they fall into the machine safe box. There is also the lip on the edge of the cliff that puts a little more resistance on the coins about to go over forcing more coins into the gutter. The overall effect is a machine that looks like it will give out change but is actually maintaining the status quo collecting a lot more money than you think.

Coincidentally (no linguistic pun intended) I came across this piece today by Kevin Honeycutt - Who likens the machine to schools. I agree with the analogy, you seem to put a lot of time and money in but you get very little reward, even though you can see it right in from of your eyes. I would include the gutters as places where change gets lost due the construction of the school and it's policies. It is always an "out" for teachers who are being pushed to change but find it easier to do nothing and blame it on the system. It's also why kids sometimes want to tip the machine over (TILT! TILT! TILT!) due to the sheer frustration of not getting anything out of it.

Monday, September 28, 2009

create your own blogzine

Title page to Locke's Some Thoughts Concerning...Image via Wikipedia

This is agreat tool to use in school when you are trying to engage the reluctant teachers at your school. Make your own Magazine with the content from your PLN.


You read blogs as part of your personal learning network, somtimes the posts are relevent sometimes they are not but the shear number of people you connect to gives you at least something everyday.

Wouldn't it be great if you could automagically take articles from a range of feeds and put them into a pdf or ebook to then pass on to others or keep as a library of resources and ideas that you can use in your school. A bit like taking articles that you like and making your own magazine...

zinepal will do the hard work for you - no more cutting and pasting. Just put in the blog addresses and then choose the posts you want to include - then zinepal pat it together into a two column layout ready for printing or emailing. The images embeded will come too and you can customise the look and feel to a degree (mostly with limited fonts). You could then throw it up to issuu so everyone could look at it.

If you need to do more editing throw it at to convert it to an editable document, and then publish it.

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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Video Resources

There are a lot of video sites out there now - so much stuff is being uploaded it's hard to find what you are looking for, even with a good search engine.

NEOK12 to the rescue. Not a video site, but an indexed repository of videos from a range of different servers, all vetted for use in education. The videos are streamed through their site so if your school blocks YouTube this might be a way around it.

Use these videos with TurningPoint Anywhere and you have a visual and interactive lesson to start a topic and an opportunity to check prior understanding, prediction and comprehension.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Interesting things to do with your data projector

I subscribe to some blogs that don't strictly have anything to do with technology in education. One of them is digital motion a blog that talks about tools for VJ's. Video Jockeys are people who mix video and sound for installations, performances and night clubs to create mood and atmosphere - much like a DJ only with light.

One of the tools discussed recently was VPT - Video Projection Tool. What it allows you to do is to take various streams of video and images and using one or two projectors, project them onto multiple surfaces as if you had a projector for each surface. For instance you have 5 videos playing and being projected onto 5 different surfaces at all sitting at different angles - from the one projector.

I see a big potential for this technology in theatre arts - reducing the number of projectors being used and being able to control everything from one computer. And being free it definitely keeps the costs down. - Virtual sets.

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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Time to catch up with a few things....

Sand dunes (Gold Coast, Queensland)Image by Luke Redmond via Flickr

I feel like my feet have hit the ground for the first time this week. I was at the "Leading a Digital School" conference on the Gold Coast from Wednesday to Saturday - It was great but with presenting workshops, being on the stand and Co MC'ing the quiz night - I was exhausted by the time I got back to Perth... Thank goodness for my new iPhone for the six hour plane ride (thanks boss).

For one of my workshops / presentations I used a new web 2.0 tool called prezi - Prezi breaks the traditional slide based presentation model and is more based on a messy concept map with pathways to move through. So you can explore topics as they come up - or give it to people to explore themselves. Speaking of which - here is the one I used at the conference.

Our product line up has increased as well with an agreement with RM for both software and hardware - The coolest being the new Ed-e Robot. He certainly got a lot of attention at the conference and even danced at the quiz night on the main screen.

We also now have access to all the software the RM carry including podium - pod casting software simplified for primary students.

Last thing - echalk (the computer teachers listserv) has been buzzing about Greenfoot, a java programming environment for kids. I just had a look at it and it seems that I'm going to have to download and play with it because it looks really cool.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Just a little bit angry at the moment -

I've just read an article (link here) about very popular web monitoring tools that parents pay for to monitor their family's web use - particularly their children. OK so I don't like these type of monitors blockers without good reason, how are kids supposed to deal with the real online world when they don't see it?

Anyway the thing that got me angry is that this monitoring software is recoding what kids do - up loading it to their servers AND THEN SELLING THE INFORMATION TO MARKETING COMPANIES!!! This include chats, websites, forums ----- everything.

I encourage you to read the article and get as angry as I am. This is another good reason not to let someone else censor / monitor the net - you never know what they are doing with the information.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The New Literacy Generation

World map of literacy, UNHD 2007/2008 report. ...Image via Wikipedia

I just read an article from Wired magazine regarding the literacy of this generation. It seems that Stamford University has done a huge study and found what a lot of us who work with technology in education and blogger generally) already suspected.

Students are writing more now than ever in the history of education and large amount of it is outside the classroom mandated essays and coursework.

emails, blogs, facebook, review sites, Wikipedia... the list of ways that people write and use text is huge and it is all with an audience in mind, usually people we don't even know if it is a broadcast.

What is also interesting is that the style of writing adapts as the writer writes for different purposes and audiences so the smiley face has not crossed over to the essay or term paper.

There are a couple of important things we must as teachers take from this.
1: Literacy is more important now than ever before in society - we are moving from Read Only to Read/Write. This includes written, video, sounds and images.
2: People / students will write for an audience, especially if the audience is more than just a teacher.
3: That the purpose must be authentic for writing to be enjoyable.

View the full article here -

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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Music to your ears

There isn't a lot of music sites or software out there that can get kids making songs as quickly as this site can.

Based on chord progression rather than melody, JamStudio lets your students create music backing tracks, soundscapes and incidental music with the click of a mouse. The system still requires a knowledge of basic chords and chord progressions, but even I can quickly produce a track that doesn't grate on the nerves.

You could use eBeam to demonstrate how to get started on the program and Turningpoint to vote for favourites or what should be included into the mix.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Creative Commons & Open Source

Examples of computer clip art.Image via Wikipedia

Copyright for teachers can be a minefield. It doesn't help when it feels like everyone is breaking the rules all over the Internet. Here in Western Australia the Education department scare the bejesus out of its teachers but doesn't offer up any way to get resources that don't infringe on copyrights.

This was all brought on by my girlfriend trying to find clip art and images for her worksheets.

So here is the first of a series of way to get free digital resources without breaking the law...

But first just a few words on creative commons licencing - please be aware that some people do not want you to change the image or music that they have made available please check the licence of the work to make sure you can make derivatives.

Music - Jamendo: it's what is mostly on my iphone. CC licenced music from all genres
Free Music Archive: anaother great source of free CC and Public domain music

Images - Videos and other stuff - the Creative commons search tool will throw up CC licenced content based on your search terms.

Text - Project Gutenberg: Text copies of out of copyright and therefore public domain books.

There is way more than this but it should get you started.


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