Archive for September, 2009

Sunday, 27th September, 2009

Electronic voting system

This is about electronic voting.

Interestingly it comes from the same guy I got OMPs from – small world.

This probably won’t go anywhere at the moment. Maybe when there is more time.

Tags: ,
Sunday, 27th September, 2009


This is a video about a tool for ‘managing thought’. He is talking about getting away from individual thinking, I think. This points to a website based tool for building quite a clever map.

The site is at – might be a useful tool for debate in a class (though I am not sure why I would go online instead of just talking.

Maybe the climate change one would be good to try with the seniors. The gallery has a lot of cool ideas.

Maybe a policy discussion in school?

Kind of cool though.

Tags: ,
Thursday, 24th September, 2009

Something to follow

I think this discourse about 21st century learners would be very interesting to follow thoroughly:

Start here for an outline of the discourse – what skills to 21st century learners need. Starts out with the claim:

It is a refreshing change to be at a conference focused on the impact of digital technologies on education that is grounded in evidence rather than hype and speculation. As background reading for the conference, which started today (Sept. 21) and runs until Sept. 23, the OECD organizers released a number of reports based on the research being conducted by the Centre for Educational Research & Innovation (CERI) New Millennium Learner Project. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the OECD findings are consistent with the findings of our research. They clearly support the view that this is a much more complex issue than is portrayed by the futurists and pundits and that few of their major claims are supported by research.

This can lead to this discussion about teaching content for skills or not.

and lots more besides – all very interesting -needs more time

Thursday, 24th September, 2009

Google docs

I have transferred all the whiteboard stuff to google docs and it is seeming reliable enough. I am not using any of the sharing yet really. I think I would like to be confident with content first.

I put OMP questions up to, which seems handy.

A concern about this is that it is possible that I can spend too much time talking through the computer or adjusting documents instead of interacting with the students. I should review this

The advanced physics wiki continues to fill up. Finishing entries can be an issue here and students would sometimes benefit from some guidance – something to think about. Also – publication to a wider audience?

Pros: gets some more feedback and fact checking, gets a sense of pride for work done, gets more input, takes peer review to a new level

Cons: feedback needs monitoring for abuse, some parts are incomplete so looks a bit poor, may spend too much time on this in comparison with the learning


Tags: ,
Friday, 18th September, 2009


I thought it would be useful to think about why Brainpop seems to be such a useful resource for middle school students. Here’s what I come up with:

  • They are short and freindly
  • They are familiar – not just from science
  • They are pitched at the right level (mostly)
  • They give feedback gently and promptly
  • They can be revisited

I’m sure there are more reasons. Not all of the presentations are perfect, so they need previewing, but, apart from that, they are good to go.

There must be others – fro example this site has a bunch of IB level stuff which is good where it matches up.

Thursday, 17th September, 2009

Advanced physics wiki

Today I will try and get some more use out of the wiki that various IB classes have contributed to about IB physics.

PB Wiki is easy to use for me to set up and administer, which is nice. There is starting to get  to be a lot of information on this site – it may need to have some things removed. (note, should check storage limits)

From previous use I think the important thing is iteration. The page should be made, then checked, then improved.

I think the criteria for success would be if students were to independently use this as a resource. I am not sure how to check this. People are starting to see other people’s material. I am not sure if this is a positive or not and should look for signs

Tags: ,
Wednesday, 16th September, 2009

Voicethread Project

I am going to set up a voicethread project with Djaisi for the grade 7 students. We did a version last year and it seemed to have potential, so it would be great to make this work in the program.

The task is:

To take photos from a heart dissection to show important things about the heart, then put these into a voicethread, use comments to illustrate the science, then post to personal blogs and peer assess

It will involve:

  • Setting up accounts for voicethread (ICT will do)
  • Order hearts and lab material
  • Find enough cameras and ways of downloading photos
  • Prepare task sheet with instruction and assessment information
  • Check schedule fit
  • How to’s for some of the unfamiliar tasks – voicethread, embeding, blog use…

How will we know if we have been successful?

From before it was apparent that it is possible to get a good amount of enthusiasm going. This is a good indicator. The problem last time was to make sure there was enough complexity in the product and the associated learning. Hopefully the learning will be apparent in the product. It should also be possible to include an assignment like this without a massive investment of time. If it overruns a lot or requires a lot of additional teacher time, this isn’t good

Monday, 7th September, 2009

A few challenges

I get a few problems with moving around.

First – network connections drop in and out, especially when moving from room to room so often

When hooking up to a projector, the display settings on the computer (need to?) change. This can mean that it is difficult to set up things just right in advance.

Parallels is better and works, but still requires plenty of time to set up. Also, it is set up to produce printouts in advance of class fine but is not so easily available for ‘live’ use in class, which would be the more responsive approach.

Monday, 7th September, 2009

Progressive Austerity

Another interesting comment via the fortnightly mailing:


The headline idea is ‘progressive austerity’ – the idea that a squeeze on funding in ICT might not be a bad thing – favoring the ‘lightweight use of learning tools’

The article includes taxonomies for self-regulated learning.

An interesting thing about the article is that Seb Schmoller draws attention to lack of comment on formative feedback. I am not sure why he thinks this is important in this context and need to re-read and follow some of the links more thoroughly.

Friday, 4th September, 2009

Photos and whiteboard notes

A couple of quick things.

A simple and quick way of taking exemplar work. After marking a set of lab reports today I took a couple of pictures of some good examples of some sections. I was then able to put them straight up on the board for discussion – very immediate if you have the camera and card reader there. This takes advantage of the projector in every room thing. Archiving these may have some value, though the immediate feedback is good – this aspect is worth some thought.

Whiteboard notes is progressing well, but there is a lot of fiddling to get into the right display mode quickly and to the right part of the text. This would be worth some thought. Have resisted publishing this so far, but it may be more important to support some middle school students, so I think I should revisit this decision.

Here the middle school web page may be useful. Certainly some thought needs to go into how to use this efficiently

Grade 11 students have used the graphical analysis part of logger pro with train data. This seems good, bit takes some time to teach and a manual for this in some form (video logs?) would be great.