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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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

IWB Conference - Sydney

Just a short note to let you know that I will be at the Australian IWB conference over the next couple of days. So if you are in Sydney and particularly near Waverly college feel free to pop on down. I will be presenting on each of the three days as well as running around like a madman helping people with TurningPoint. Iwill also be twittering (@halljackson) with my new iPhone or laptop so you can follow that - Now that will make me use it.

The Central Business District of Sydney, Austr...Image via Wikipedia

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Monday, August 17, 2009

English langauge PowerPoint Files

Microsoft Office PowerPointImage via Wikipedia

I got this from Larry's blog.

Barry Fun English
This site has a large range of PowerPoint files specifially focused on english language for either lower primary or ESL learners. These lend themselves to be integrated with TurningPoint ARS to make them even more interactive.

It is great to see some very good interactive resources devoted to english and literacy - instead of 1000's of printables.

Barry also has a range of flash games and tools that can be used online or with eBeam Scrapbook. - I do like his version of wheel of fortune.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics

<span class=gapminder.jpg" style="border: medium none ; display: block;" width="240" height="169">Image by guspim via Flickr

I have blogged about gapminder before - a great way to visualize data over time. Only problem is is that the information is still very dense, plus you have to be online to access this application.

So for a different application try StatPlanet. You can use it online or there is a download version as well. It only looks at 2000 and 2005 data, but maps it out on world and regional maps. the statistics are from the same place as Gapminder - UNESCO.

You can also down load software to make your own maps and charts with your own data.

This is great for both mathematics and Society and environment. It work well on an IWB as well so great for introducing a topic or statistics.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Lots of stuff means lots of work....

I have been bookmarking some sites - I should do it through delicious but... oh well here are a few sites and programs I have been looking at lately. Some of these will be put into the Keepad Interactive WA website. in the links section.

Draw Anywhere - a web based diagraming solution, you have to sign in but it looks great, and you can collaborate on diagrams in real time. - great web based interactives for maths, science, social studies, history and art.

Sandfields - a bunch of primary based flash resources. All are downloadable. some are subject speciafic others are adaptable to any learning area. Dowload them and put them into your ebeam scrapbook flash resources.

Nickpower - A great site for primary science teachers - interactives and links as well as some nice tools on his tools page that help with setting up experiments.

Teach ICT
- A British based ICT site with all the ICT courses and resources for high school. A great place for multichoice questions to put into turning point.

Have fun with that lot - Piles more to get through this weekend.

ICDL ft rgb bigImage via Wikipedia

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Friday, August 7, 2009

TurningPoint Quick Start Guides

I have been getting a few phone calls and emails from my presentation at Edith Cowan University. Mostly about TurningPoint and how to get started...
Luckily Turning Technologies have a great quickstart guide on the the website.

Scroll down to the bottom of this page to the supplamental documents ad grab one of the "basics of working with TurningPoint" PDFs.

This should get you started and then if you need to have a look at the user guide for more indepth information.

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Thursday, August 6, 2009

Learning to use IT in the classroom

Nortel Networks CorporationImage via Wikipedia

I visit a lot of schools during my working week for both demonstration and training. One thing that always crops up is the percieved lack of ability of anything tech based. There is certainly the desire to use it (either push or pull), but there is not a lot of training opportunites for teachers in the use of IT. There are paid services out there but most schools don't think of investing in them because, well the roof is leaking and the fence is broken and there is just not enough money to go around. If you do have money to throw at it go and get Atomic Learning from my friend Bryn Jones - a brilliant concept with a huge bredth and depth of IT in education training for both teachers and students.

Here is a free one I will be passing on to those teachers who are at the beginning stages of integrating IT into their classroom but need the extra confidence gained from more formalised training.


Videos and best practice to help teachers make confident steps in using IT in their classrooms.

Thanks to Larry for the tip.
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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

One for ECU Students

I was at ECU on Tuesday - did a record 7 presentations in one day and hopefully entertained some undergrads for a while. I did promise them two links that I have talked about before but I thought I would put them up again just so they are at the top of the page.

Hamilton Trust -

This is a site that has hundreds of term plans, weekly plans and lesson plans all derived and related to the UK national curriculum. some are free but 10 pounds gets you everything.

Lesson Writer -

This converts any text into a lesson plan, work sheet and graphic organiser in minutes - absolutely brilliant for directed teaching.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

New PowerPoint Resources

Powerpoint Palooza is a collection of over 220 educational powerpoints ready to download. They are all based on history so useful for S&E as well as ESL.

Because they are powerPoints you can turn them into interactive TurningPoint presentations in a snap by adding interactive question slides.