Archive for February, 2011

Sunday, 27th February, 2011

Accounts and passwords

Accounts and passwords often seem to cause issues, even if it is just that logging in becomes a several step process. Things get complicated when there are several different accounts and services change with time. For example I have a picasa account at home for photos, but that is google so it kind of clashes with the school account. I need to think of a strategy for organisng accounts easily.
I just added a video from youtube to one of my old playlists. These playlists were in an account made with a hotmail address. In logging in with a school address it seems t have let me absorb my old playlists in an account which I can access with my school account. Seems nice.

Thursday, 24th February, 2011

More blog thoughts

I fiddled again with embedding googledocs into blogs. This is possible on the school hosted platform using a short bit of code

This means a few things are possible. It seems that the theme chosen can control a lot about how pages display so, if the blog is to have a mix of static content to go with some more dynamic and commentable parts, then I need to figure out what the choices are. It would be good to have some nested pages there.

here is a current text page:
(notice that the one I made and deleted before still takes up that URL – is this indefinite? can I reactivate

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Saturday, 19th February, 2011

New blog?

Just tried moving this blog to the school hosted edublog.

Why? Well I guess there are a few differences between the platforms and the school on is the one I should make an effort to be familiar with. There also seem to be some embed options in the school hosted one that would be useful. Also, this puts me in the active community at school

Why not? Well, I put all the posts from here onto the page and that meant that some things I hadn’t intended to be part of the public conversation became more public. It’s not that they were hidden before, just that obscurity effectively hid them. Having posts appear on the hub page is not really what I am looking for here – just a bit of introspection.

How: Not all the buttons are easy to find, but there is an add blog thing via the dashboard. Posts get imported/exported through an excel format. This doesn’t ship the theme or title across, or the layout and any widgets.

What next? Set up a school blog for school stuff – embed the googledocs pages and some syllabus links and other stuff. Think about making one for IGCSE and one for IB separately. Figure that this would replace the finalsite. Decide how to set up pages as collaborations with colleagues.

Friday, 18th February, 2011

Dataset visualisation

This has an amazing variety of datasets and tools to visualise

Unfortunately not a science tool.

Here is one I made – compare unemployment rate for men vs women in 4 european countries and how it changes over time

Thursday, 17th February, 2011

Delicious to Diigo

Have transferred from delicious to diigo.

This was very easy – export form delicious import to diigo. There may be a few other loose ends (e.g. the tagcloud on the finalsite page) and other things, like followers and followed on delicious.

Still some things to do.

Happy to have set up google reader to look at all the student blogs – still not sure how to use this efficiently to participate in the activity.

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Thursday, 17th February, 2011

Lab report template

I will have a go at making a lab write up template from our old lab writing guide:
How? (I have added this as a template, and it is there, but difficult to find)
How do students access this? Is it easy to share? You create a new doc from template and look through the list – do students have the same access that we do.
Will the template remain intact? – Yes
Will one size fit all?
Is it possible to easily include all the elements easily? diagram, table, graph? Can this be modeled? Still to do.
Can we get exemplars for the writing and for the other tasks (diagram, table, graph) – sounds good – still to do
Could a self/teacher/peer assessment form or area be added? Still to do.

Tuesday, 15th February, 2011


A quick note of a couple of Nick Rate’s things about eportfolios for reference
Includes a google app about this
Includes a classification:
Dimension 1: The Dedicated

A dedicated eportfolio system such as Mahara.

Dimension 2: The Managed

The eportfolio functionality or module built in or attached to a learning management system such as UltraNet, KnowledgeNet, Moodle etc.

Dimension 3: The Blogged

ePortfolios that are contained within an online tool such as Blogger, WordPress, Wikispaces, Weebly etc.

Dimension 4: The Mashed

An eportfolio that is not contained in any one place. It draws on the functionality of several online spaces and web technologies, using the best features of those tools to create and share learning. An example could be this netvibes dashboard.

Dimension 5: The Saved

ePortfolios that are created using desktop software and are not online. They are typically shared after being saved to a disk. Common software for this includes PowerPoint, Keynote, iWeb etc.

Dimension 6: The Integrated

ePortfolios that are seamlessly integrated into the way students are learning. It is a direct reference to the work being done by Hapara with their Teacher Dashboard.

Tuesday, 15th February, 2011


Do you have any thoughts or recommendations for bibliography making tools? I used Endnote a lot for my Masters and found it invaluable, but this has a cost. I was starting up looking at EEs and thought that something like this would be useful.

Options that I can think of:
Citation manager in Word – well integrated, but not easy to share
Easybib: – free and includes a lookup function and automatic formatting
Wizfolio: – includes some tools for sharing information
Citation machine: – just makes the citations and doesn’t handle the formatting

Or else maybe it is easier just to cite manually

Monday, 14th February, 2011

Looking for tools

Just finished some grading and wondered if there was a better way to address some of the tasks:
When looking at results from a test it was useful to make a tally chart of responses to see what persistent errors or misconceptions there were. This kind of works with a class of 6 but is not ideal and some way of automating this would be good. If the test could be done online this would help to get data in. I guess this could happen with googledocs. Andy had his students type in there answers into a googledocs spreadsheet after the event and this seemed like a really good idea.
Another thing on similar lines is the idea of clicker questions – something like – poll everywhere – might be good when 1:1 happens – this would be good with scanned in files perhaps.
A few things to play with.

Saturday, 12th February, 2011

Online quiz making

I have been trying to find a way to make use of all the past paper questions that we have. There are hundreds of them in the files and it might be useful to have them available for the students to do quick self tests as part of their review.
I have looked through a few sites for this including survey monkey and polldaddy. The one that seems to me to be most fit for purpose is Quia which is made for this purpose. Questions go into a questionbank with labels and this can then select a random group of questions with a specified label. The students can then try this and get immediate feedback. To save retyping the question, the bank accepts images, so I can do a screenshot and upload that. The workflow for doing this is a bit complicated and it takes a while to upload a set of questions. This is what I have come up with for a workflow:
Open the paper
Grab each question as a separate screenshot for one subject
Put the questions in a folder
Rename the files with paper year, answer, labels (e.g. S07 A Physics waves) – works best in coverflow view in finder
Upload all the files to Quia – can do 5 at a time
Put them in a folder on quia named for the paper and subject to avoid long lists of files
Go to questionbank and make a template question with a “-” for text, ABCD choices and correct, incorrect feedback.
Duplicate the question about 13 times for the question set
Add image to each question and add correct answer and topic label
Complete questions then add subject label to each question

Here is a sample quiz

I guess this takes about 40 minutes for a 2 subjects from a paper.

Choice of labels seems important for usability

This is a subscription service, so I will need to see if I can get a school subscription or find a free alternative – will ask tech support. The workflow isn’t smooth so I would definitely be open to something else

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