Category Archives: Technology

Oh, I don’t know, I’ll choose C!

Each day I come across a variety of education-related websites, videos, infographics, texts and blogs which get me thinking about my role in education both in the present and the future. On occasion, something will jump out and hit the mark perfectly, like the video below.

Created by a Year 8 teacher in the US, Why We Need Common Core: “I choose C.” will have all teachers who watch it reflecting on their practice, and asking themselves what are truly the important elements of a student’s education. For those unaware, the Common Core State Standards Initiative is essentially the American equivalent to our own recently implemented Australian Curriculum. As you’d expect, both systems have a heavy emphasis on 21st century learning, but I love this sentence which is straight out of the Common Core’s mission statement:

The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers.

Upon watching the video you’ll understand what it means.

BTW, this video was created with the excellent but recently-closed xtranormal.com. If you like the look of it and you’re thinking, ‘I could make a video like that to transform some content I’m teaching’, then check out goanimate.com. If you’re keen to get your younger students making their own vids, ABCYA Animate is a great option too.

Thanks to ICT principal whiz @Stephen_H for sharing the vid in the first place via Twitter.

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Twipps for Tweechers….

…aka Twitter tips for teachers.

I’ve mentioned this before and I’ll say it again here – the beast of all networking tools (social, professional or both, as desired) is the most powerful way that us teachers can connect to others across the world. Mantras of teachers past such as ‘My classroom is my island’ and ‘You have to attend PD in person to learn anything new’ no longer apply.

Still, when I try to softly explain the benefits of being involved in such as vast professional network, many of my colleagues will tell me ‘it’s too hard’ or ‘I don’t get all those @ and # symbols’. Well, a fine fellow from edudemic.com, Jeff Dunn, has created this infographic to help you along.

(And once you’ve signed up for an account, you could start following @edudemic to receive little morsels of goodness, just like this one, daily!)

twitter

Aunty Makes a Splash!

Whilst checking my twitter feed this afternoon I came across the following from ABC Managing Director, Mark Scott:

 

 

 

My first thought was how great it is to see leaders in any field utilising social media effectively, because so few actually know how to! My second one (and more pertinent as far as this post goes) was that I’d better have a 2 minute glance at this ABC Splash and find out if it was, as Mr Scott put it, ‘something interesting’.

Well, 2 minutes quickly morphed into an hour, which I now believe qualifies me to share my impressions of the hot-off-the-press ABS Splash!

First off, the site is visually appealing, with nice large icons to help teachers, parents and students get around easily. You have the option to search for content by learning area (English, Maths, Science or History) or by the phase of schooling (Early Primary, Upper Primary or Secondary).

As it currently stands, the site more or less acts as a media archive, with all content linked to the Australian Curriculum. Typically, the clips come from a range of ABC programs including staples such as BTN, Catalyst, The 7:30 Report and Four Corners, as well as one-off series’ and features. Having a look through the content with my Year 6 teacher hat on, I was able to find plenty of stuff that related to specific strands and content descriptors from the Australian Curriculum for Science that I already happen to be teaching – Earthquakes and Tectonic Plates, Tsunamis, Tidal and Solar Power, Wetlands, Salinity and Native Flora just to name a few. Sure, there were a few clips that I’d come across previously, but having fully customisable search powers that assist in finding reliable content, produced for an Australian audience no less, was hugely advantageous.

Another feature that I’m extremely keen on is the information box that accompanies each resource:

Many classroom teachers would admit that correct referencing of electronic material can occassionally be replaced by merely copying and pasting a site’s URL from the address bar. Having a standardised box that kids can use to correctly cite their work, whilst checking and adherring to the copyright details is a great step forward for teaching digital literacy in the 21st century. Well done with this one, Splash!

The ABC states that they’ll be beefing up the content significantly in the coming weeks and months to include more videos, games and interactives, which will be great. Indeed, it’s worth remembering that this is a Beta version, and they’re asking for feedback via a conspicuous ‘Tell us what you think’ button on each page  . My suggestion when it comes time to check this out for yourself? Try to look at it with its potential in mind as it’s clearly a work in progress. Are you able to create learning paths for your students? Not within the site, but with the proliferation of social media, teacher blogs and school/class portals I can’t see the need to.

So there you go – ABC Splash has landed. What are your first impressions? Please share them by leaving a comment on here or via Twitter as I’d love to hear from you. And, FWIW, I’m sure Mark Scott would too!

Making difficult concepts easier – relatively speaking!

One of my Year 6 students loves Science. The periodic table, plasma, geothermal energy transformation – you name it, MM loves it. So when he asked me if I could explain E = mc2 to him, I needed a knowledge stream, fast, and this leads me to today’s point –  YouTube is awesome. Because as wonderful as biting babies and piano-playing cats are, there’s an unbelievable amount of information that us classroom teachers can tap into, especially things that have since been long forgotten from Year 12 Physics by Yours Truly!

Oh, here’s the best ‘fast’ explanation I found:

Mathletics for iPad is here!

After making us wait for a couple of years, 3PLearning have finally unveiled the iPad app for their flagship program, Mathletics. The app looks and feels great and allows students to log in using the same details they would on a notebook or desktop. They’ve also spruced up the Live component, which had grown from five to ten levels. If you reckon you’re ready to have a crack at Pythagorean Triads or Logarithms, proceed straight to Level 10!

They’re still adding content to the online modules, presumably to be included in updates over the next few months, but it’s a great start that will be extremely popular amongst students with iPads. If you like the look of the screen shots below, make sure you head to the App Store and download if for yourself.

Tag Galaxy

Well worth a play, Tag Galaxy searches for and displays photos from Flickr as an array of planets. Great for seeing places through the collective lenses of both amateur and professional photographers from over the world.  To get started, try searching for a location such as ‘Egypt’ or ‘Machu Picchu’ or ‘Great Barrier Reef’ – you’ll be amazed at the results!