October 7, 2011
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Originally uploaded by ThomasLife
What better way is there of spending a wet and windy Thursday evening? More sandwiches than you can ever eat, an opportunity to play Kinect with Steve Bunce and getting on for a dozen short presentations by teachers sharing excellent ideas.
The atmosphere was cosy, the cupcakes inviting and the hosts (Steve Bunce and Simon Finch) genial.
I couldn’t possibly mention all of the presentations, but Alasdair Douglas‘ Angry Birds project, Martin Waller’s Growing Greener summary and Dominic McGladdery’s campaign to allow mobile devices to be used in the classroom were personal highlights.
Once more I find myself with some free CPD inspiring me to go out and try more things I don’t have time to implement (time when I should be writing up what I’m already doing, and thanks for the prod Dominic!).
Right then… when’s the next one?
December 10, 2010
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Last night was my third Teachmeet, TMNE10-2. For those who haven’t come across the phenomenon that is Teachmeet, they are a simply fantastic event. Imagine teachers from all over the region that want to get together in their own time to share ideas, tips, stories, thoughts and more. Imagine that no-one is allowed more than 7 minutes. Imagine that you are discouraged from using PowerPoint. Imagine there are no tables in the room, certainly no desks, just comfy sofas. Imagine there is free food. And wine. Awesome.
I know how easy it is to get overloaded with brilliant ideas at Teachmeets, and trying to implement too much makes it difficult to succeed. I’ve tried taking a laptop and writing everything down – but you risk losing the moment – so this time I went with nothing but my wits and a cunning plan.
What plan? Three things. Aim to leave with 3 things. Darren Mead (@dkmead) describes any form of learning simple as ‘change’. So try to leave with 3 changes. That way I can take away what I think is most important to me and my classroom practice without drowning in the flood of ideas.
To quote one of my Year 10s… “Epic fail”.
There is no way on this Earth that I could leave let night’s Teachmeet with 3 changes. No way I could leave with 5, or even 10. There were jut so many great presentations from so many inspiring colleagues that I couldn’t help but to soak up much more than that. So the new plan? Every day (give or take) between now and the end of term I’m going to write 1 blog post about 1 change – whether it be some piece of knowledge, a new skill, growing confidence in my own knowledge or a loss of confidence in knowledge that might be false (did I get that right Darren?).
And that’s the first one…
September 18, 2010
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There has been a bit of a ruckus in recent weeks over Scribd, a website for sharing and embedding PDF documents. Rather than just uploading and downloading the files you can read them online and embed them in a website or blog with incredible ease.
The furore is over their new policy of requiring users to be premium members to download archived documents (that is, documents that have been up there for a good while – although I’m not sure how long is too long). I can understand that this might be frustrating for those who have uploaded their documents to Scribd with the aim of sharing them (as I have) and a lot of the complaints centre on the lack of clear communication about this issue.
You can tick a checkbox to exclude your documents from the archive (although I’m not sure whether this means my documents will always be available for free or not…) and while it’s not ideal, a lot of documents have a limited shelf-life anyway and all of the resources I really like I post up at Mukoku anyway (eventually, at any rate). Embedding / reading the documents online is still free regardless of the age of the file.
I assume Scribd have bills to pay and can’t really begrudge them trying to make enough money to survive. They’re still offering a valuable service for free and a tweet looking for good alternatives came up with exactly no responses whatsoever. So I’m still using them and have just uploaded a Scratch tutorial for a sharks and fish game I ran with my Y10 Computing class this week.
January 10, 2010
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You’ve seen the TV show (if you haven’t, it’s a documentary following people building their own houses), now you can do the unit of work!
At the start of Year 9 we do a full term (12-14 weeks) based around the designing and promoting of a new housing estate. The students plan the estate, design the houses in Google Sketchup, do some financial modelling, create some form of advert and finally present their work to a board of directors (because only 1 proposal will be successful and only one student will be paid!). There are also easy tie ins for data handling and even sequencing (using some of the house-based Flowol mimics).
If you’re interested, you can see all of the resources and even download them as a full Moodle course at Mukoku.
December 18, 2009
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Mukoku is a Japanese word, meaning ‘out of resources’. I thought it was the perfect name for a Moodle site I’ve been wanting to set up for a while – a place where I can stick resources I want to share with the world. The plan is not to stick to ICT specific topics, but to post a whole range of resources; including presentations and suggestions I’ve made for conferences, my Techy Tips newsletters and a whole range of cross-curricular ideas – in addition to some ICT specific resources as well.
Previously I’ve used mwclarkson.co.uk and also stuck stuff on a webserver and posted links to it when requested. This way there is a permanent place and I can format things more carefully and with a lot more space than I could with the old website.
Dan Humphreys (@MoodleDan) has kindly given me the url mukoku.vl3.co.uk and in time, it would be nice to have other people contributing things as well. So let me know what you think, subscribe to the RSS feed and feel free to point others in my general direction