Week #10 – Blogs II

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Although we have come to the end of the journey for Connecting East, we hope this is not the end of the road for you in terms of developing your technological skills. Katie and I will continue Fruity Fridays for the rest of the term at least, so please come along if there is anything you would like support with.

And so to the final challenge. This week you will be using blogs to help you reflect on the Connecting East experience, and writing comments to share your thoughts and feedback.

Katie and I would like to say a huge thank you for joining us on this road trip. We are so pleased that so many of you came along for the ride.

Week #9 – Tools for ongoing PD

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This week we will explore a range of options for you to take control of your own professional development — with the help of Web 2.0.  On offer is a mix of tasks and tools to keep you connected and inspired.

By the way, see this recent article in the Guardian (UK) entitled “Pupils to study Twitter and blogs in primary schools shake-up”

Children will no longer have to study the Victorians or the second world war under proposals to overhaul the primary school curriculum, the Guardian has learned.

However, the draft plans will require children to master Twitter and Wikipedia and give teachers far more freedom to decide what youngsters should be concentrating on in classes.

This stuff is coming into schools faster than you might think.

There is only one more week of Connecting East when we return from the break.   So we’re trying to help you consolidate and build on your experiences thus far.

Just because you’ve been a Novice all along doesn’t mean you’re still one.  Please read all four tasks and tackle whatever you feel capable of.  Maybe you’re ready to sign up for Twitter, even if you don’t feel like an Expert.

But everyone above the Novice level will able to follow what Keri-Lee, Louise, and Belinda are experiencing at the EARCOS conference over these last days of term, thanks to Twitter.

Week #8 – Interactive Whiteboards

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Thanks for sticking with us on the journey so far. This week we’re going to be focusing on making the most of technology available to us at school: our Promethean Interactive Whiteboards.

Through hands-on tutorials, Novices will learn the basics of how to get started and Experts will advance their existing skills and create flipcharts to share with others.

We look forward to seeing what you create!

Week #7 – Image Generation & Avatars

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I feel a bit like a magician who is about to reveal his tricks, as we take on image generation and avatars. After this week, you will know how I made the signs at the top of each blog post for example. Or avatars like the one of me below:

Click to view my Home

You will realise that we’re not amazingly clever people, and rather just people who know some clever websites. Sigh. You’d better click on the link below.

Week #6 – Screen Capture

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We’re on the downward slope now as we enter week 6: Screen Capture week. This week’s challenges are dedicated to all those who have ever said, “What is this Jing thing on the lab computers, and why is it constantly annoying me?!”

Annoying it may be – that is, until you learn what it does – then you will think it nothing short of brilliant.

A quick introduction. Screen capture allows you to:

  • Take pictures of any part of your screen, save them to your computer, embed them, or link to them online.
  • Annotate over pictures you have taken to explain how to do something.
  • Capture video of you explaining something on your computer.
  • Share these wonderful pieces of wisdom you have created.

But don’t take our word for it – ask the following converts and devotees:

  • Luke
  • Haidee
  • Craig
  • Jackson

Screen capture is a great way for kids to share their knowledge and understanding as well. The grade 2-4 students have all had a go at some point. Hey, if they can do it, you can too!

Week #5 – Reading Blogs

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We’re halfway there guys! You deserve a pat on the back!

This week we’re focusing on all the wonderful information and ideas you can get from blogs. A lot of people ask me, Where do you get your ideas?” Most of the time I get them from other people’s blogs (see, I’m not really that clever after all).

People write blogs about all kinds of things, so it’s relatively easy to find a blog about something you’re interested in.

For this week’s tasks, we’re going to have you read and explore a range of blogs related to education (mostly!). We hope you will find something to interest and inspire you.

Week #4 – Voicethreads

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Welcome to week 4! Hope you haven’t hit too many speed bumps on our journey so far. Thanks for sticking with us – just think of the prizes!!

I’m excited to introduce you to Voicethreads. They are one of my absolute favourite tools for use in the classroom. Voicethreads allow you to upload photos, videos, documents and share them with others in a format which allows and encourages commenting. Comments can be made using text, voice, webcam or sms.

Voicethreads are spectacular for kids of all ages. Using Voicethreads you could:

  • Share what happened on school/class trips.
  • Explain a maths procedure.
  • Share a favourite performance.
  • Respond to visual writing prompts.
  • Gather opinions for persuasive writing.
  • Showcase developing foreign language skills.
  • Share favourite pieces of classroom work.
  • Demonstrate how to throw a ball properly in PE.
  • Explain the process behind a piece of artwork.

As you can see, the possibilities are endless. So this week, it’s time to share your opinions and exercise your

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Week #3 – Getting More Social

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For this week’s tasks, click the button below. Please read on for more information.

This week we are going to look at the power of social bookmarking. Signing up is one thing, but actually getting the full value is another!

This week we want you to explore the following:
Image from glowtxt.com text generator

The more people you add to your network, the easier it is find new and interesting sites to bookmark. We already know a lot of East staff who have signed up to Delicious, so adding them to your network is important.
Image from glowtxt.com text generator

We add tags to each site we bookmark so we can find it again easily. Each site can have numerous tags.

Explore the beauty of tag clouds such as the one I created below of my top 10 tags on Delicious, using wordle. You can see a tag cloud of your tags on Delicious (which is explained in the Apprentice challenge).

If you are ready for this week’s challenges, click the button below.

Week #2… Videos

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I hope you’re looking forward to this week’s tasks. Relax! We’re looking at videos this week – how hard can it be?

You might be reassured to look at the percentages of survey respondents who had never heard of the following:
TED talks – 61%
Atomic Learning – 56%
United Streaming – 39%

This is good news for us, because it means we can show you more useful tools for your classrooms!

Your tasks will revolve around using and navigating some/all of the following:
TED Talks
Atomic Learning
United Streaming

TED talks are 20 minute videos of ‘ideas worth spreading’. The website describes them as “inspired talks by the world’s leading thinkers and doers.” I would describe them as fascinatingly engaging presentations by really interesting people. There is something for everyone here, and Katie and I will share some of our favourites on the wiki.

Atomic Learning is a site that has video tutorials on just about anything you can imagine. If you don’t know how to do something relating to technology, this should be your first port of call. The school has a subscription, so you should be able to find what you’re looking for if you’re logged in at school.

United Streaming Is a Discovery Education subscription service the school pays for which allows you to search and download Discovery Education videos for use in the classroom. You can download whole videos, or just the segments which relate to what you’re doing. Click here for the latest Discovery Education Streaming newsletter.

TeacherTube is basically YouTube just for teachers.  We don’t ask you to go there for a specific task, but please check it out.

We have tried to mix it up so that you get a balance of fun AND educational videos.

Please know that you are welcome to watch the videos for ANY level, and you are welcome (indeed, encouraged) to come back at any time and make your way through the various levels. For the purposes of the prizes, you are only required to complete one level’s challenges however.

Click here to view the challenges for this week.

Update: Week #1

Thanks for the fantastic turnout for our first Fruity Friday! I said to Katie, “What if noone shows up?”, but you managed to allay my fears.

Welcome to the following

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plus the two of us:  klandmiles and TheLibrarianEdge

[updated 16 Jan 08]

Click on any of the names above to see the bookmarks they’ve collected so far.

We know there are more of you out there, and we will add to this list as information comes to hand!

We hope you are going to enjoy your social bookmarking experience. Why not add them to your network? Follow the steps below:

Reminder, signing up for a task is only one part of your challenge. You need to find some interesting pages and tag them with the tag ‘connectingeast’ so we can see them.

If you haven’t yet got around to it, there’s plenty of time to complete the tasks. We post new tasks each Tuesday, but you can complete them at your own pace. There is also a holiday coming up should you need extra time…!

Remember, Katie and I are available for Fruity Fridays at 7:15am, but please feel free to contact us at any stage to arrange an alternative time. We are more than happy to help you in any way.