Learning with technologies for the workshop
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An introduction to using technologies in the classroom
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How to motivate your students

How to motivate your students | Learning with technologies for the workshop | Scoop.it

If teachers try to demand respect and are always dictating to the students, what they should and shouldn’t do, students switch off and lose motivation.


Via Nik Peachey
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Nik Peachey's curator insight, July 17, 2014 3:46 AM

Some useful tips and insights

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Don Ledingham's Learning Log | Learning with technologies for the workshop | Scoop.it

Play might be the highest form of research – but does it have a place in secondary education?

June 4, 2012 – 9:46 pm

“Play is the highest form of research” attributed to Albert Einstein.

Einstein’s quotation came to mind last week as I watched a four-year-old experiment with sand and water at one of our nursery schools. He was completely absorbed in his task, trying to build a ring of sand to create a small pond effect. He came to realize that he needed to wet the sand first to get it to stick together in order to make the walls strong enough and high enough to trap the water.

Time and again he tested his theory until – at last – success!

What struck me was that he was learning so much through the medium of play, where he had set the task, decided upon the success criteria, and established the timescale in which he would address the challenge. The result? – total and absolute preoccupation and focus.

The father of play psychology Johan Huizinga defined play as follows:

“Summing up the formal characteristic of play, we might call it a free activity standing quite consciously outside ‘ordinary’ life as being ‘not serious’ but at the same time absorbing the player intensely and utterly.”

Over the years I’ve become a complete convert to the early years’ approach, where children are encouraged to learn through play and active learning. It’s been interesting to watch this approach percolate up through the primary school where play is often used in a productive manner with older children.

Yet when I consider the secondary school curriculum the notion of using play, as an approach to promoting learning is rare – and in some subject areas completely unknown. But rather than criticising my colleagues I would much rather prefer to attempt to understand and explain why this may be the case.

The secondary school curriculum has evolved into a set of formal learning outcomes that often lead the teacher to adopt a methodology where they have complete control over the nature of the learning process, the criteria by which success will be measured, and the duration of the learning experience.

This is driven by a tacit expectation that “good” teaching requires such explicit goals and formalised learning steps. Yet compare that to the learning that took place in the nursery school, where the child was able to create the task in response to the materials provided and encouragement to play.

There are three main obstacles for the adoption of play in the secondary school. Firstly, It has been suggested to me that teenagers don’t naturally respond to opportunities to “play” and that they prefer concrete and explicit learning tasks. Secondly, the notion of teenagers being set free in a classroom to experiment with a range of available materials is simply a recipe for disaster!

The third, and potentially most compelling objection to adopting a play methodology is simply that teachers do not have the time to spend in such indulgent activities, given the pressure to get “through the course”.

Certainly this latter obstacle was a reality in an over-crowded and time limited S1 – S2 curriculum. But perhaps this is where an advantage can be derived from a properly conceived and delivered broad general education that extends across the first three years of secondary school.

There’s a lot of talk these days about deep learning – where the student has the opportunity to go beyond the typically shallow level of understanding and reasoning which characterised the early years of secondary school education. What can be deeper than to enable young people to create their own experiments and test their own theories about a subject area? I’m not simply talking here about experimentation in the scientific or technical mode.

It’s at this point that we can begin to draw upon the emerging practice where teachers are beginning to use play in a constructive and exciting manner to enhance and liberate the learning process. Here are three examples I have gathered through an appeal via Twitter:

1. Do you have an example? tweet me @donjled

2.

3.

Such powerful examples provide evidence that change is taking place in our schools – and that to certain extent we are seeing teachers “playing” with their pedagogy. Now Einstein would have been impressed!

Category Early Years Learning and teaching Uncategorized | Permalink | Comments (3)

Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go

May 20, 2012 – 9:30 pm

The practice of setting SMART targets in the world of education has become the norm. As ever we see ourselves as being more “professional” by adopting the practice of the technical bureaucrat and lack the confidence to find approaches which more suit our context.

A SMART target is one that satisfies the five criteria associated with the acronym.

“S” represents specific; “M” measurable; “A” attainable; “R” Relevant; and “T” time limited. Local authorities, schools, and teachers are encouraged to adopt this approach – or something like it – when planning their work. Such an approach gives the impression that change and improvement can be controlled and bent to our will – as long as we adopt the technocratic method.

In the space available to me here I’d like to focus on just one of the elements of the SMART methodology and consider whether or not it assists us in our desire to seek improvement.

The notion of “A”, an Attainable target, seems reasonable at first glance. Imagine the outcome for someone who sets him or herself a goal to achieve self-propelled flight. Yet surely there’s a difference between an impossible goal and an inspiring goal? All this came back to me recently when I was listening to someone describe their classroom practice and their use of SMART targets with students. Once again it seems reasonable and logical to adopt this approach with young people. To set an unachievable goal surely means that they will become dispirited and eventually disengaged from the learning process. Better then to chunk aspirations or goals into small achievable steps on a journey towards eventual success.

Such logic is based upon the premise that failure is to be avoided at all costs. There’s something deep within our psyche that makes us believe that to set a goal and to fail to achieve that goal is bad and deeply damaging. Such thinking permeates not only the classroom but also the Scottish educational establishment, where SMART target setting – in a variety of different forms dominates our practice. This is most evident in local authorities through the comprehensive adoption of project management strategies such as PRINCE, where the acronym translates to Project management IN Controlled Environments. If there’s anything less like a “controlled environment” than education I’d like to see it!

Nevertheless, we appear to have succumbed to the lure of giving into the appearance of being professional through adopting practice from other fields – as opposed to seeking out solutions and ways of behaving that meet our own contexts. Perhaps it has been ever thus?

Arguably then, education has adopted technocratic methodologies and we have, as is our unfortunate habit, slavishly translated and transferred them into areas of work for which they are not only unsuitable – but self-limiting in terms of the effect they have upon our practice and our achievements.

So to return to the notion of setting Attainable SMART targets in the classroom and the school. My problem with this idea is that an attainable target must, by definition, lack aspiration. For if a system is ‘hard wired ” to avoid failure – because failure is “bad” for people – then it must mean that we are always reaching for something which is within our grasp, as opposed to reaching for something just beyond it.

Such a model certainly creates “safe” environments for learning but these are deeply uninspiring places and lacking in any form of innovation and appropriate risk taking. The best teachers and the best school leaders are not hindered by a fear of failure. They are prepared to dream (something which doesn’t feature in a SMART target, or a PRoject In A Controlled Environment). They set outrageous expectations for themselves and the people around them. But above all they permit young people to believe that the comfortable boundaries, which they may have placed around themselves, can be escaped.

For me it’s this comfort with failure that marks out the outstanding practitioner. They know that a safe journey might be to set out the way in a logical sequence and achieve them in a nice comfortable steps A, B, C, D, E, etc. – but they prefer to stretch themselves and those around them to consider the final destination. By setting such aspirational goals they know that the final achievement will be far in excess of a goal that is restricted by our personal comfort zones.

From a personal perspective I had a long-term goal from the age of 10 to play rugby for Scotland. It consumed me and provided a focus for me for the next 13 years. I spent every moment, training, practicing and thinking about my goal. As it turned out, although I got close to fulfilling my dream, it never came to pass. So was that time wasted because I failed to achieve my target? Would I have achieved what I did in my rugby career if I hadn’t set myself that logically unachievable goal? I’m convinced that I have benefitted in so many ways from setting an aspirational goal which was possibly beyond my reach but which taught me so many things in terms of how to apply myself, make the most of whatever abilities I had, and ultimately enabled me to transfer that energy and focus to other aspects of my life.

I’ll leave the last word with one of my favourite writers, T.S. Elliot, who had this to say about attainable target setting (if he’d known that’s what it was to be called):

“Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go.”

Category Leadership Learning and teaching Learning Intentions Management Personal Lessons | Permalink | Comments (4)

Evaluation is For Learning

April 22, 2012 – 12:15 pm

“Tell us about a time when you enabled a learner to achieve beyond their own expectations and explain how you met their needs.”

Making a judgement about the effectiveness of an individual is probably nowhere more focused than in the interview situation. For it is in this highly charged environment that an interviewing panel draw conclusions about the likelihood of a person to meet the future needs of their organisation. And how do they do this? They ask the person being interviewed to tell them the “story” about how they have behaved in the past in response to a variety of challenges and circumstances.

This interviewing technique is known as Behavioural Questioning and is based upon the assumption that past behaviour is the best predictor of future performance in similar situations. Of course there is some validation of this narrative in the form of references from employers, etc.

The power of “storytelling” is also recognised in the realm of higher education where narrative methodologies are used with great effect in postgraduate studies up to doctoral level. Story collecting as a form of narrative inquiry allows the participants to put the data into their own words and reflect upon practice rather than merely relying upon the collection and processing of data.

It’s against this background that I want to explore the dominant method of evaluating the effectiveness of teachers, schools and educational systems – and the unintended consequences that such a model has generated. My argument being that we have a measuring (quantitative) weighted system, with qualitative (storytelling) being of secondary import, whereas I would turn that relationship on its head.

For surely the ultimate test for any education evaluation system is the improvement it leads to in outcomes for children and young people – and it is generally accepted that the factor which makes the biggest impact upon the effectiveness of that system is the quality of classroom teaching and learning.

Yet despite this knowledge it is an implicit fact that most school improvement systems are based upon the external collection and interpretation of student outcomes – with little reference to the quality of the teaching and learning process. The assumption being is that it is possible to improve school performance through external challenge. The problem with this system of school improvement is that it is based upon the premise that self-improvement cannot be relied upon in isolation.

Such external challenge has the unintended consequence of disempowering staff within the system to the extent that they feel pressurised to improve as opposed to tapping into their professional commitment to improve.

So if the dominance of the counting and measuring (quantitative) model has proven ineffective what might be the alternative? I think the answer lies in a parallel methodology that has had a transformational impact upon many of our classrooms over the last ten years. I am referring here to the notion of the Assessment is For Learning programme (AiFL).

The logic of Assessment is for Learning is based upon a realisation that simply giving a learner a mark or grade at the end of a course of study (summative assessment) does not enhance the learning, nor the teaching, process. In contrast where a teacher (and learner) use Assessment is for Learning to provide and reflect upon on-going feedback to revise and develop further the learning and teaching process – it actually enhances the final outcome and the effectiveness of the learner and the teacher in the future.

Now it seems to me that that our school evaluation models seem to comply with this simplistic paradigm. We use summative assessments – class, year group, school, authority, results – as the driver for change and make only passing reference to underlying stories which underpin the outcomes.

So what might a system look like that modeled itself upon AiFL? Let’s start by giving it a name – Evaluation is for Learning (EiFL).

I actually think we are beginning to see EiFL manifest itself in an incredibly exciting and organic manner within the Scottish education system in the form of pedagoo.org. Pedagoo represent a group of Scottish educators who are determined to describe and tell stories about their own practice in an open and transparent manner with the view to improving the quality of education they provide.

By tapping into what it is these educators are attempting to do in their own classrooms we begin to see an alternative to the dominant quantitative methodology, whereby teachers take the lead by sharing, reflecting upon and improving their practice. Imagine a school where every practitioner was “fired up” to the same extent and enabled and encouraged to participate at such a level, where they could share their stories with confidence and a passion for learning and professional inquiry – I’d put my money on that school any time!

School evaluation could be conducted in a similar manner with external evaluation focusing upon the narrative stories of managers and teachers as they describe how they are attempting to improve the quality of the education in their school.

The relationship between the stories (qualitative) and the counting and measuring (quantitative) in EiFL is reversed to the extent that the numbers are used for validation – not judgemental – purposes.

And before any of you think I’ve gone soft – if any teacher couldn’t answer the question posed at the top of this article I’d have extreme reservations about their competence – regardless of the outcomes of the students in their class.

Category Accountability Assessment Self-evaluation | Permalink | Comments (3)

Educational Leadership Metaphors

April 15, 2012 – 9:59 am

I’ve started a small piece of research using Twitter - the hashtag is #leadershipmetaphors

I’m asking people to identify the predominant metaphor they would use to describe effective educational leadership. I’ll run this through until the 27th April.

The score so far is:

Ship’s captain 2

@Mary10478: Captain of the ship: an eye to the horizon; navigate dangerous rocks; steady in storms; motivate crew; be brave far from harbour

Architect 1

Marathon Runner 1

“@johnoneill13: Marathon runner not sprinter.

Diplomat 1

Farmer 1

Theatre Director – 1 Has a clear idea of the overall structure & works as an ensemble with the actors to create the best end product

Master baker 1

Conducter 1

Jazz band leader 1

@realdcameron: It has to be the band leader -like Prince, brings the vision and imagination, lets the band take it on and can still pull it together if it goes off

Air traffic controller 1

“@atstewart: Air traffic controller. (Don’t like word controller) but allowing take off providing safe space as well as safe landing fits.”

Master Builder 1

Tour Guide 1

Submariner 1

“@KarDoh: I like the concept of the submariner – sometimes you can cruise along + enjoy the sunshine but mostly you need to explore deep down”

Virus 1

Gardener 1

Lens 1

Category Leadership Research | Permalink | Comments (2)

Giving permission for partnership working

April 7, 2012 – 1:13 pm

It’s been four weeks since I took up my position as Director of Education and Children’s Services at Midlothian Council, in addition to my new role as Executive Director of Services for People in East Lothian.

Aside from being able to meet and work with great people the most fascinating – and potentially most significant – aspect of my dual roles has been the opportunity to give permission for people to work together across two authority boundaries. People often talk about the “bottom up” approach as being the most effective change strategy and I’ve been an advocate for that mindset throughout my career. Yet over the last few weeks I’ve come to realise that in the realm of partnership working such “bottom-up” approaches are often stymied by the managers and leaders who are further up the ladder on either side of the partnership boundaries.

From a simplistic point of view let’s take a person who is appointed to a joint post between two authorities but who has a number of layers of management above them. To be a change agent in such circumstances is very difficult – especially if the partnership process may eventually compromise the position of the managers above them in each organisation.

Now contrast that to a situation where the change agent occupies a more senior post than those same managers in either organisation.

It is this latter situation that I now find myself in, whereby I can now give permission, authorisation and encouragement for colleagues to work together for mutual benefit and benefit to the organisation. In the past I’ve often found one of the most common obstacles to joint working, articulated by staff, is that “they won’t let me do that” – with a symbolic upwards finger point, alluding to the fact that management in their organisation would not approve (of course, there may be other more significant and personal reasons behind these assertions but I’ll leave those to your imagination). However, any such assertion now falters on the fact that such an allusion would mean that I (as the Director in both organisations) must have some form of leadership schizophrenia, where I can occupy two points of view on either side of the organisational divide.

Four weeks into the process it’s been very rewarding to see people actively and without direction begin to explore this new world, and from a personal perspective I’ve come to realise that one of the most important things I can do in my unique position is to continue to give permission for innovation and joint working – with a clear and absolute focus upon the quality of service we provide.

Category Leadership | Permalink | Comment (1)

Solving the Recruitment Gap

March 25, 2012 – 8:14 pm

A Scottish Government Report on the Recruitment and Retention of Headteachers in Scotland (2009) evidenced the growing crisis in recruiting headteachers in Scotland:

There is an increasing focus on these issues in many countries where recruitment and retention of senior leaders has attained “crisis” status, impacting with particular force in areas seen by aspirants as less desirable, such as schools located in inner cities and less accessible rural communities.

Three years on the situation doesn’t seem to be getting any better – particularly in the Primary School setting.

A combination of factors including, a relatively small pay differential between primary Headteachers and Deputes; relatively few principal teachers who have sufficient management experience to make the jump; and a perception by many that the job is too demanding.

In the next few weeks East Lothian is to advertise 7 headteacher vacancies and I am concerned that we won’t receive sufficient interest for all of the posts. It was with this in mind that had a chat with a colleague who is a Principal Teacher in a secondary school. An exceptionally talented individual she is concerned that the reduction in senior management posts in secondary schools will limit her prospects of gaining further management experience. I asked her if she would be interested in a management post in a primary school. Her reaction was very positive and it seems to me to be a worthy of consideration – especially with the 3-18 focus for Curriculum for Excellence. In fact I wrote about this possibility a few years ago for TESS Leadership Skills – are they transferable? I am convinced that such scheme would create a surge of interest from committed teachers who have significant management experience which would transfer successfully to a primary school environment.

The main obstacle for such a thing to happen is the qualifications barrier – secondary teachers are not qualified to teach in primary schools. However, perhaps there is a solution. What if a person wishing to be considered for a Management post in primary school had undertaken – or committed to complete the On-line post graduate certificate in primary education offered by Aberdeen University? What if the authority paid for half of the £900 fee? Are there any people out there who would be interested in such an opportunity?

And before anyone asks – yes I do think that primary teachers could manage in a secondary school environment!

Drop me an e-mail if this is something you would like to follow up.

Category Ideas Leadership | Permalink | Comments (4)

The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas

March 18, 2012 – 5:24 pm

“It’s easy to stop making mistakes. Just stop having ideas.” Unknown

“Too many people run out of ideas long before they run out of words.” Unknown

“The difficulty lies, not in the new ideas, but in escaping from the old ones.” John Maynard Keynes

“The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas.”
Linus Pauling

“Good ideas are not adopted automatically. They must be driven into practice with courageous patience.” Hyman Rickover

“A committee is a cul-de-sac down which ideas are lured and then quietly strangled.”
Sir Barnett Cocks

“If at first, the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.” Albert Einstein

“An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all.” Oscar Wilde

“New ideas pass through three periods: 1) It can’t be done; 2) It probably can be done, but it’s not worth doing; 3) I knew it was a good idea all along!” Arthur C. Clarke

Category Ideas | Permalink | Comment (1)

Learning to Lead – in a new environment

March 18, 2012 – 12:33 pm

My new responsibilities require me to adopt a clear and consistent leadership approach. However, if I am going to add value I need to “learn to let go” and provide my leadership colleagues with the necessary space and support to allow them to drive and lead their respective services, teams, schools, etc.

I’m not just about talking here about letting go in terms of operational control but also moving away from the approach which is characterised by self-preservation of the organisation, which can often be to the detriment of the needs of the people whom we serve. I know that loyalty to a group, or an organisation is a powerful means of motivating and holding together potentially disparate individuals. However, the new world in which we live is not going to be dependent upon the power of the group, but on the capacity of the group to adapt, change and, above all, form strong partnerships with others who share the same purpose. Consequently the traditional leadership approach, which builds group allegiance, often represented by a “we’re better than others” mentality, does not fit with our new environment. (If in fact, it ever did.)

Learning to Lead: some building blocks

1. Know that I can do SOME things better than others, but that others can do MOST things better than me.

2. Have the confidence not to know the answer and the willingness to say “I got that wrong”.

3. Realise that my principle role is to keep our focus on the needs of the people whom we serve.

4. Recognise that modelling leadership behaviour isn’t enough on its own to lead to system improvement, but that it can have a significant influence upon others.

5. Encourage others to tell me to STOP doing things if it’s getting in the way of their goals.

6. Encourage others to use my role as necessary to remove barriers or challenge practice.

7. Focus my attention upon enabling others, encouraging innovation, championing our values, and ensuring that we get it right for every person.

8. Think before I act and ask myself if my taking action undermines or supports my colleagues.

9. Talk openly with my colleagues about our respective roles and how I can enable them to their jobs even more effectively.

10. Demand an “outward facing” perspective focused on meeting the needs of the people we serve which is not limited by personal, professional or organisational boundaries.

Category Uncategorized | Permalink | Comments (2)

S3 Graduation Certificate?

March 17, 2012 – 11:50 am

TESS have published an excellent article by Danny Murphy entitled How should we measure improvement in the future?

In the article Danny explored the notion of establishing a Scottish Graduation Certificate.

This was a strange coincidence as I’ve recently been reviewing a number of posts I’ve previously written on the idea of an S3 Certificate. Perhaps the idea is worthy of resurrecting?

Here are some a link to these posts and a copy of an article published by TESS in 2008:

The recent OECD report on Scottish education contained a recommendation for a Scottish Certificate of Education for pupils in S4-6. While pondering the significance of this recommendation, I was challenged by a secondary teacher about how he was going to keep kids motivated for three years while they experienced a broad-based S1-3 curriculum. The teacher’s challenge was that if we could not motivate kids in two years, why would extending that by another year make a difference, especially if our entire secondary education is driven by the certification system?

The “reality” is that in many teachers’ – and students’ – minds the S1 and S2 curriculum is only given value by its link to the certificated curriculum. In fact, such is the power of this “value through certification” that some schools in Scotland have introduced the certificated curriculum even earlier. The logic of this step is quite compelling, and it certainly demonstrates that a school is doing something to address these allegedly fallow early years of secondary school.

So if, in reality, most secondary school curriculum models are driven by a “trickle down” effect of certification, why not recognise the power of such a driver and seek instead to build a different engine.

That would be to create a Scottish Certificate of Education, for which students would be eligible at the end of S3. In the OECD proposal, such a certificate was to be for the 3-18 curriculum. But I believe that there must be some means of capturing a young person’s achievements between the ages of three and 15 before they start to engage with the world of formal qualifications. This would form a junior Scottish Baccalaureate.

What if we could create a Scottish Certificate of Education which was more akin to the Duke of Edinburgh Award, or the John Muir Award, where it is more about accumulating achievements as opposed to any external exam? Such a curriculum would give schools the freedom to create the content within their SCE course, using the headings set out in Curriculum for Excellence, for example, skills for learning; skills for work; skills for life; curricular achievements across a broad spectrum; health and well-being; numeracy and literacy.

The only externally-assessed element would be numeracy and literacy, leading to the proposed Scottish Certificate for Numeracy and the Scottish Certificate for Literacy. A school’s S1-3 course could be submitted for external moderation to ensure it met national standards but, within that framework, there could be considerable freedom.

In my “imagined” curriculum, the focus in S1-3 would be on an “achievement port-folio” where employability would be a key component. I know that, for some, the idea of employability as a focus for education is a step too far. But we can flesh out a definition of employability which would be compelling, inclusive and, above all, easily understood by young people, parents and the wider community.

I know this proposal seems to run counter to the concept of non- certification before S3, but if we seek to change our practice we need to recognise the reality in our schools and build from where they are.

Category Curriculum for Excellence Ideas | Permalink | Comment (1)

Visiting Schools

March 15, 2012 – 9:00 pm

Gillian Grant (HT Gorebridge Primary School), Me , Colin Taylor (Head of Schools)

Colin took me round Midlothian this morning for an orientation tour. We popped into Woodburn Primary School and Gorebridge Primary School. Fantastic buildings but even more importantly the young people seemed to be so engaged and positive about their education.

This is going to be fun!

P.S. Doesn’t Gillian look too young to be a Headteacher.

Category Midlothian | Permalink | Comment (1)

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@jemimaanderson Thanks - can you give me an example of a lesson where play is used effectively with teenagers? 09:15:23 PM June 05, 2012 from Twitter for iPhone in reply to jemimaanderson ReplyRetweetFavorite@Kenny73 I'll be really interested to find out how it goes. 09:11:38 PM June 05, 2012 from Twitter for iPhone in reply to Kenny73 ReplyRetweetFavorite@fkelly Why don't you pop down to the nursery school and take a look at play and then think how it could be applied with older students? 09:10:09 PM June 05, 2012 from Twitter for iPhone in reply to fkelly ReplyRetweetFavorite@doglaunchers Love it! Inspirational teaching characterised by establishing a context and then having confidence to give up control. 09:07:51 PM June 05, 2012 from Twitter for iPhone in reply to doglaunchers ReplyRetweetFavorite@fkelly I'm looking for examples of lessons where teachers have used play to enhance the learning process for teenagers http://t.co/HKfoA5VN 08:39:24 PM June 05, 2012 from web in reply to fkelly ReplyRetweetFavorite

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Nik's Daily English Activities

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Find out about your dreams

Some people say that you can't really speak a language until you start to dream in that language. I'm not really sure that's true, but in this activity we can look at how you can start to write and understand your dreams in English.

This task is based around a website called DreamDoze, where people share their dreams and help each other understand them. The site enables you to write down your dreams, share them with other people and get their interpretation of your dream. You can also read about other people's dreams and help them to understand them.

 

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Nik's Learning Technology Blog: games

Nik's Learning Technology Blog: games | Learning with technologies for the workshop | Scoop.it

3D Computer Games with Young Learners: Spore

In a recent digital skills survey I carried out using Urtak I discovered that more than 50% of digitally skilled teachers don't feel able to utilise 2D and 3D computer games to achieve pedagogical goals (See survey), so I've been looking around and exploring some possibilities. The first of these is the Spore Creature Creator. Spore is a game which allows you to create creatures and evolve them along with their environment, all the way through to a space traveling society.

The free trial creature creator that we will be looking at allows you to create creatures, take snap shots of them and make videos of them to see how they move. Here's an example of a video I created to get students interested. I added the captions and text using i-Movie though you could just as easily use a free online video editor such as Video Toolbox or Windows Moviemaker if you are using a PC.

 

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11 Reasosn Why You Should Integrate Games in Your Teaching ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning

11 Reasosn Why You Should Integrate Games in Your Teaching ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning | Learning with technologies for the workshop | Scoop.it

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Nik's Learning Technology Blog: multimedia

Nik's Learning Technology Blog: multimedia | Learning with technologies for the workshop | Scoop.it

Using YouTube videos with students can be really great, but finding a video with the exact language you want and at a suitable length with too many other distractions around can be really difficult. That's why SafeShare.TV is so useful.

SafeShare.TV is a tool that has two primary functions. The first is to enable you to share YouTube videos using a direct URL that frames the video without the advertising and other distracting features that might cause students to wander off into less suitable materials.The second and perhaps even more useful function of SafeShare.TV is that it enable you to crop the video clip so that only a particular part is shown. This is particularly useful when you want to build activities or tasks around clips that focus students on particular linguistic features.

How to use SafeShare.TV
First find a YouTube clip that has a section that you would like to use. I chose this one from ‘Room with a View’ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tehft3GDw6k. At 9 mins it's quite long so I just wanted to use a few sections.

Copy the URL and then go to: http://www.safeshare.tv/. Paste the link into the field then click on ‘Generate safe link’.
This will create a new link to the video which you can then use with your students to show them the clip.
When the students open the link they will only see the single video clip with it’s title, like the example below.

If you want to crop the clip so that only a short part of it shows, then generate your safe URL and then click on the link that says 'Do you want to only share a part of the video? click to crop.' This will open a small video viewer. Click the video to watch it, then click on ‘Set Start’ at the beginning of the segment you want students to see. Watch the segment and click ‘Set End’ at the end of the segment. Now click ‘OK’

Once you have clicked 'OK' your safe link will be adapted to only show the section of the video you have selected. You can then either copy the link to share with students or share it through a variety of social networking mediums.

Here's a quick video tutorial showing how to do this.

You can download this video here or download a copy for i-Touch or i-Phone here

How can we use this with students?
Clipping videos makes it much easier for us to create activities and tasks that focus on specific areas of the video clip without having to watch the whole thing.
You can select example phrases to show the use of language in context, such as a telephone call or a scene that shows someone booking into a hotel etc.
Here’s an example: Booking a hotel room This was trimmed from a much longer clip on YouTubeYou can show students the beginning to a clip and ask them to predict what’s ‘going to’ happen next.

Here are two examples:
1. What's going to happen?
2. What's going to happen?

You can show the beginning and end of a clip and ask students to predict what ‘has happened’ in between.

Example:
They watch this one
Then this one

You can show students a number of sections from the same clip and ask them to order them either by using linguistic or visual clues and explain their rationale.

Here are 5 clips for you to try to order:
Clip 1
Clip 2
Clip 3
Clip 4
Clip 5

You can show each student in a group a different sections of the clip (like the 5 sections above) and then ask them to work together to describe the part they watched and put the different sections into the correct order as a group.You can use the sections to focus on the use of specific structures, like this one for ‘should have’ Should have clip or this one for the use of 3rd conditional 3rd conditional clipAt the end of these types of activities you can show them the complete clip. http://www.safeshare.tv/v/Tehft3GDw6k

What I like about it
It’s free and easy to useIt gets your students right to the part of the video you want them to seeIt allows you to easily split videos into shorter clipsthere’s a simple ‘bookmarklet’ that you can drag to your favourites bar, then whenever you find a YouTube clip your want to use you just click on it to get the SafeShare.TV link.

What I’m not so sure about
Sometimes it doesn’t work on my MACIt would be great to have an embed code as well as a URL

Well those are some suggestions to get you started cropping YouTube videos. I hope you find them useful.

You can find 25 more video related activities for EFL and ESL students here.

Related links:
Quick Twitter Video Activity20 WebCam Activities for EFL ESL StudentsSending Bubble Joy to your EFL / ESL StudentsMicroblogging for EFL with PlurkGreat Video Commenting ToolVideo conferencing for EFLSend Free Video MessagesAnimated Music Videos for EFL Creating multimedia stories12 Second Video Clips for EFL ESLTutorial: Using Videos from YouTubeGreat Video Commenting Tool

Best

Nik Peachey

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Labels: activities, multimedia, video, YouTube

© Nik Peachey

Thursday, 28 February 2008

Creating multimedia stories

I know that it's easy to be cynical about Microsoft, but every now and then they do produce great things for free! Photo Story 3 is one of those great things, and yes it is free!

Photo Story 3 a piece of free software that you can download to your PC and use to create multimedia photo stories complete with images, transitions, effects, text, background music and your own voice narration.

Here's a 2 minute Flash movie showing you how to use it and some of the features.Here is a movie I created with it to show off my Second Life office. There are two versionsSilent with better image quality (2.1 Mb wmv)Lower quality one with music (500k wmv)

I know there are a lot of online Web 2.0 ap that do all of this too, but for those of us with slower, unreliable or more expensive connections, it's nice to have a bit of software that can do the job for us without using any bandwidth at all (apart from downloading it of course).

You should be able to download Photo Story 3 from here.
It's a 5 Mb download, so that shouldn't take too long even over a dial up connection.

How to use this with students
You can use it to create multimedia materials for your students, whether is for use in class or to take home for homework. Here's some things you can do:
Create some narratives for them to viewCreate narratives which illustrate grammar pointsCreate a series of pictures and words which illustrate different sounds from the Phonemic alphabet

Having software like this that can produce a professional looking end product can be really motivating for students and really help them to push themselves to produce accurate polished work. Here's some things you can get your students to do:
It's ideal for presenting the results of project work.
Get the students to take photographs and upload them to tell their own stories to the classWhat they do each dayWhat they did at the weekend / on holidayStories about their familyGet some pictures from Flickr and get the students to order them and create a story around them.

What I liked about it
It's freeEasy to use and quick to learnReally liked some of the filter effectsLiked the way you can easily create a wide range of background musicsFile sizes were quite reasonable and exports pretty easily for a number of different devices

What I wasn't so keen on
It's a shame that it's so limited in the the formats that it exports to (mainly different sizes of wmv) , but I guess there are plenty of converters you could use if you wanted to change it for an i-pod or something like that.I also thought that a bit more control over how the text was placed over the images would have been really handy.There's no version for MAC of course, but if you have a MAC you won't need this as you get lots of nice stuff that does all this for you ready installed when you buy it.

Photo Story 3 isn't a revolutionary piece of software by any means, but I'm sure it can be used to really engage your students in some enjoyable learning.

Hope it works for you

Best

Nik

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Labels: audio, education, fun, mobile learning, multimedia, second life, video

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Nik Peachey I'm a freelance learning technology consultant, writer and teacher trainer. I also work for Bell Education Trust as Associate Teacher Trainer and for the University of Westminster as a visiting lecturer teaching the media and technology module of their MA TESOL course. Here you can find out more about my learning technology workshops. Here you can find out more about the other services I offer.

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TeachingEnglish - Learning Technologies: Login to the site

TeachingEnglish - Learning Technologies: Login to the site | Learning with technologies for the workshop | Scoop.it

This unit introduces you to the topic of learning technologies.

You look at what exactly a learning technology is and the considerations of integrating learning technologies into our lessons and syllabus.

You will also explore the advantages and disadvantages of using learning technologies in the classroom.

There are seven sections in this unit:
What is a learning technology?

Your experience

Integration

Advantages and disadvantages

Questioning ourselves

Some teaching examples of learning technologies

Reflections and further reading

 

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