Contact Me here...

ipad games apple google primary Applications programming Scratch education eyfs fobissea Gmail internet resources social networking china facebook integrating technology iPod KS2 learning technology Year 6 apple distinguished educator BISV change coding control cyber pets design thinking DIY EAL email excel futurelab ICT internet safety Key Stage 1 ks1 lessons Mimitchi MIT Paint Primary ICT safety stories Tamagotchi trolley Video web apps workshop Year 5 2012 21cl 21clhk accounts ADE android animation animoto animoto. animation application apps AR assessment balance beijing BETT browser cake or death challenge based learning chat children chrome classroom computer wildness computing conference Conference calls creativity current trends curriculum cyberbullying desktop development digital digital story telling display docs dropbox Edmodo edtech elearning europe Ewan McIntosh film filters flat classrooms FOBIT forbes future game maker gaming global Google Apps google docs google drive google earth google wave hacking Help horizon report how to Ictopus IE images iMovie infant inspiration Instant Messaging international week internet explorer interview ios julan opie K-6 Key Stage 2 leaders learn Lego lesson literacy management maths meme microblogging moshi monsters multimedia New York Times newsletter NoTosh Oculus Rift online paper park PBworks photo photography pictures portfolios posters qr codes rants reception safe search schools search sites sketchUp slideshow SplashUp story strategy synth tablets Taipei Taiwan teacher teaching tech attack TES theme themepark timetables Tom Barrett training trends in ICT trrends in ICT twitter tycoon UK updates USA Vietnam virtual reality vocabulary VR vVideo web web pages web sites Windows windows 7 workarounds world maths day year 2 Year 4

Entries in facebook (3)


Educational Buzzwords: A 21st Century Paradigm of Flipped Learning Spaces

Diaspora was supposed to be an open source, decentralised version of Facebook. A quick search will tell you what happened to it and whether you can access it. Who knows if it will ever come to life. Its premise was all that Facebook is generally not - a place for true user-voted news that was voted on worthiness and not a test bed for dumbing-down of the news to the lowest common denominator. Still, Condé Nast could never let that happen as it might damage Reddit's stake as number one switchboard for memes and Facebook, well, Facebook is Facebook - the gateway drug for the general masses to like and generally believe ANYTHING that they read. Still, it's the use of 'diaspora' in the wrong context that is slightly irksome and its misuse links my thinking to the general state of technology in education.

Diaspora though (an oft incorrectly used adjective) is, in my opinion, in the same league as 'Paradigm Shift' or 'Flipped Learning' or God forbid '21st Century Learners' when used as an adjective to describe collections or movement of things. Although I'm not a total word nerd, my poorly written English at times is akin to Lynn Truss's book 'Eats, shoots and leaves' and I feel somewhat aware that there is a misalignment somewhere in the general banding of these phrases where children's learning is concerned. And it bothers me that we're losing track of what we're here to do as teachers.

The terms are, in general, related to the gaping void we're presently in where technology and education are mixed are thrown around with little understanding of where the real sentiment is actually gleaned from. This article: You are Asking the Wrong Questions About Educational Technology by Jordan Shapiro yesterday really highlights this. His point about teaching our students for the workplace is telling us that educational technology is, in the most part askew. The naming conventions are off-target too.

We'll returning to that in a moment. The recent highlight in my most recent experiences in my job are that buzzwords are increasingly everywhere. The PC-ness of common diction is becoming swathed in the 'correct' phrase to use. It's like a barometer of how connected one is to their profession or clique or how one would like to be part of a particular clique (Think: ISIS or ISIL. Media = ISIS, Government =ISIL). The Apple clique is a great example in education (I'll be writing about a recent very poor experience soon once the thin film of WTF has finally been shed by the hired shaman). Being a  or brushed with 'Appleness' gets people all gooey-eyed at the thought of using an Apple product. I get it. Using them offers the children opportunities they never had previously - game-based learning for example. I get it. Everyone does. It's not the tool the children need for the 21st century. It just is the 21st century and these are the things we have at our disposal. You don't have to use them all in the hope that you're being a proper 21st century teacher either. Choose what fits and refine it next time. Maybe using fewer is a paradigm shift in itself. We never get to see how many times can you use an app and for the maximum purposes.

Making a 21st Century Learning Space is another phrase I would rather chew soap over than say out loud. Yes it's a space. Yes it's a area where learning will (hopefully and plentifully) ensue. Are we in the 21st Century? Just checking. Did they dribble this equivalence in 1914? Probably not. Probably because because the learning taking place wasn't preparing students to be future global connected citizens in a world where they are being prepared for jobs that don't exist yet. Global in 1914 meant war and a globe was more likely part of a flip-top drinks cabinet or an orrery. I think we need these phrases to jump the shark and we need to reach peak-phrase. Remember peak-oil? What a scam.

Jordan Shapiro has hit the nail on the head. It's one of the best articles I read in a long time (thank you Zite!) and it's basically telling us to do things right. Do things for the people we have in our care and make sure they understand that, according to Uncle Ben Parker: With great power comes great responsibility. Give them the opportunity to learn with modernity in mind but not with a dependency on what or which job they can attain with certain skills. Hand that power over to them. The students need proper guidance and this starts with those at the top making it their mantra too. We as teachers need to be aware of our changing landscape and take a more lateral view. Move away from what's being posted on your Wall or what phone is being released this week - it's an echo chamber. Instead, parse the knowledge of what they can do with this technology. We should be passing on our knowledge to those who strive for knowing more and we should be the stand-up guide we're employed and studied hard to be.

The conveyor belt of education from early years to university is written all too negatively in the sense that what began a 1000 years ago in a university in Modena is still in part the same trajectory today. Shapiro all too well understands that this as application over ideology. This isn't Gattaca or Divergent however, as long as the en-masse standardised testing continues we're destined to be looking too heavily on what industry wants and not what students need us to impart. Technology, regardless of the century we're in, isn't helping our students unless we seriously think about the power they have over their own learning. That device they have there in their hands allows them to read, interact and be part of a club that requires a certain level of tailoring on our end. That tailoring requires us to adopt new styles of teaching for new styles of learning.

If your students can search for the answer online does this mean they know the solution. No, it doesn't they're not Neo and you're not the Oracle. Does it mean we need to assist them in applying this knew found knowledge. Yes, it does. Think of it like cooking. You can watch how to bake a Victoria sponge. Will you know how to make it from there on? Not in detail. If you can apply this in the kitchen then you undoubtedly know how to make a Victoria sponge. By the same token we should all be able to describe the difference between Knowledge, Information and Data and how the three intertwine.

Being the 'Sage on the Stage' or the 'Guide on the Side' is a new set of phrases I've encountered recently but this doesn't mean I'll be flipping my classroom every Tuesday because Sir Ken Robinson's voice over in an animation said so. Adopting a stance that this is the way it is and has been for a while now means it's something that will be here for while to come.

Get your SAMR on; I'm off to teach from a Hole in the Wall.

Apr192011 Using a Social Platform in the Primary School

I have been using edmodo now for a while and find that it's very simple to use and a real hit with the children. The most common remark being " it's just like Facebook". Not quite.

The children love it and are on there daily sharing their links links to games (mostly links to their home made games) and chatting in a safe environment- the language being used is excellent if a little short.

We have tried to encourage the use of proper grammar and not use this: !!!!!! or ????????? or "what the..." which is a commmon phrase here in Asia schools (they know the word that comes after it so they should not be using the phrase at all!

We currently have a Moodle setup at our school that is really never used and pretty defunct - this seems the perfect ticket. I just hope that Edmodo's business plan incorporates importing iCal (and others) to their systems or some kind of 3rd party cross app ingenuity that will really get the party moving. 

If you're wondering what is going on here then look at the comments from Simon Haughton about it too.

This helping guide should be pretty helpful too. The below embed is in HTML 5 so hit the link if you can't see it.

As much as I like Edmodo I kind of feel that there isn't much in the way of expansion in an education context. Moodle, as we know is a little clunky and filled a void of affordable LMS, Edmodo fills a void that is NOW using a Facebook skin but out of our (general) control (ICT folk baulk at this).

Please, don't get me wrong, I like the whole premise but am waiting for the day when the money pot is dry leaving us high and dry - and those who have advocated its merits - even higher as we've pushed it as a LMS to our devoted colleages.

Personally, my staff enjoy the links and guidance I give them, but this could be too much should Edmodo one day say (a la "Yeah, we love your enthusiasm but we're done; so and so has bought us for 140 gadrillion Dollars" = Angry teachers. The knock-on effect would mean that our teachers would think twice about hitting the link I give them. 

So, in summary, I am going to make this plain and clear to our teachers and maintain that should they want to stay with Google Apps then all is good - just make sure that parents know which platform you're going with.



Internet Safety for Primary Aged Children

From the beginning of this month we have running a month's worth of internet safety lessons from Year 1 to Year 6. At first I was a little apprehensive about going as young as Year 1 due to the general abstractness of the Internet as a whole. Sometimes I think that the children don't really understand how this all works. I know that they see things in a different light to us adults and that sometimes these kind of boundaries are simply eschewed but, the idea of chatting, gaming, SMS-ing, chatting in games, Facebook, Skype and that thiscomputer is the portal to an ethereal life also, sometimes, escapes them.

When we discuss the handing out of personal information online many children still think this is acceptable. Why? Because they see it as making friends in a truly honest type of way. The conversations with children as young as 5 (because they Facebook their friends usually with an older sibling) they think that adding a friend is simply just that. What we have to do now is kind of unravel this honesty and make them stop and think.

The videos posted below and the image right (from a series of animations for 5-7 yr olds ) are from the CEOP Think You Know? Campaign from the UK Police force. The noce way this taps into young minds is the general feel of the animation. It's not like the help videos of old where some minor sporting celebrity would tell the kids to stay safe, instead it's a lot more in tune with both age group and context. The website, you think you know is well stocked with catchy ideas for age groups 5-7, 8-10 and 11-16 and games to keep the younger ones thinking about how to behave in a responsible way.

There is an element to a child's online life that is often over looked because sometimes adults either feel that they don't know enough or that using a computer is embarrassing in front of their children. The issue is the sharing of information with the child and vice versa. The fact that many parents don't know what their children are doing online is a serious cause for condern. As an ICT teacher I have access to the lives of many children and their computing habits. It interesting to find out just how many children of 9 and under have a computer in their bedrooms. Many, though don't but the content they're viewing is also borderlining a worry.

I mentioned above the 5 year old users of Facebook and what they do on there. They told me that they play games on there. Fine. But, I would hazzard a gues that the people they invite are people that they don't know. This was the key element of the beginning of the internet safety month: Sharing information online. BrainPop gladly shares their online safety for free. Thank you Brainpop.

The knock on from this is chat based element of Facebook is chatting during an online bout of Call of Duty MW2 (Mature 17+ and kids as young at 9 playing it) or similar Xbox 360/ PS3 type game. What was difficult again for the kids to understand is that they could be playing some 30Yr old man from Colorado while we're here in Asia. The discussion went further with children telling me that they don't chat with them during gaming time as it's too difficult. Again, they miss the point of befriending someone that they wouldn't in real life.Would male friends with a bunch of men playing football on the field because they like football? "No!" they cried. So..

There is some kind of synaptic element to it all where the understanding of the internet is perceived as an extension to everyday life. Was TV the same as this? I don't think so. Could it be the video site revolutionthat allows every body into your living/bed/study room (as the video below suggests) that makes it more like real life.

As the kids get nearer Year 6 (10 ro 11Yrs) they're already versed in commenting on YouTube (one of the more immediate ways to gain an angle on cyberbullying) so the CEOP have made a set of rather poignant videos similar in impact to the recent drink-drive campaigns.The video at the bottom is for parents.

For those parents who've got teenage children or your're reading this and Year 6 and over.

A final video. The key part of this is that you should find out the options of privacy first. Can you only allow friends, friends of friends or the whole world to view your profile? Children should be allowed online as long as they know how to change the settings and only befriend those they know in real life.

This video is from the same agency in the UK. It is very hard hitting.