We’re in the news!

I came across this beauty ages ago while trying to convince someone that I’d done something that I hadn’t really done. Yes, yes, naughty Mr Clancy. There wouldn’t have been any malice in it, trust me.  It may have been Mum and Dad actually and I was trying to prove that I was making a difference in the world, rather than just partying and wasting money. Fodey is a newspaper clipping generator and allows for you to title your own newspaper, date it, and then add in content and even pictures. Yep, the perfect alibi!  It’s also a great tool of differentiation, in case you don’t intent to use it for the aforementioned purposes, to add a bit of creativity to those literacy lessons that sometimes bring out groans of disapproval in the classroom.Take a second to read the clipping below, which I generated just for the USQ EDC3100 community of bloggers a moment ago!

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Maths Bloom’s Taxonomy

Can I just start off by saying I prefer saying Math, not Maths. Maths is such an awkward word and for a nation made famous for dropping ‘er’ of every noun possible, it surprises me nobody had cottoned on to this shortened variation. Anyway, spread the word and join my revolution! Now, let’s continue talking Math.

Engaging children in Math can be done using a number of frameworks. During University lectures last weekend, we were instructed on the value that Bloom’s Taxonomy offers teachers in tapping into the higher order thinking of children, seen as valuable in ensuring the fostering of critical thinkers and engaged learners in a constructionist environment. While the taxonomy would be nothing new to any of you, a modified taxonomy that encompasses how one might engage students in the digital age or at least engaging students with the aid of ICT was presented to us. Right now I am engaging into the material learned in the lecture through justifying its importance, ironically in ‘evaluate’, one of the higher order thinking skills of Bloom’s Taxonomy, it suggests ‘blog’ as a possible digital verb. I wonder how much students would enjoy blogging? Cue, an opportunity for students to blog on a class blog like wordpress, or blogger awaits. Higher order thinking, check; Engagement, check; Learning Maths, uncheck … it’s Math, check 😉

I love it when we get such amazing literature in schools and I know it will be something a lot of people will take interest in. Take a look at BloomDigital and let me know your thoughts. I for one will be smashing the living daylight out of these from this day forth.

What do you think about BloomDigital?

 

Independent Spelling Tests

I was scouring through my teaching bookmarks folder this afternoon and came across a link that didn’t ring too many bells. Upon opening it, I liked what I saw; see there’s always a reason I bookmark urls. I have no idea who to give credit to as the bookmark was 15 deep in a list of about 45, so I’ll take 100% credit for it now. The website, Spelling City, is an interactive website for spelling lists. Now this is fantastic news for teachers because I have yet to see a spelling test take place without a student asking, “what was number three again” or “I missed one and I don’t know which it was”. If you haven’t encountered those questions before then an opportunity to run a PD on giving spelling tests beckons for you! As the teacher, you can type in you list of 20 weekly spelling words (I am going of prac experiences here) and assign the task to be done at any time; perhaps a pretest on Monday, and the spelling test proper on Friday to gauge improvement. Upon logging onto the list, each student is met with your twenty numbered spaces for the spelling of words. Once the student clicks their curser into the rectangle, an automated voice speaks the word, then gives the word in sentence form. The students can then go ahead and click into number two, and the process repeats until the test is done. There is also a ‘say it’ option for the word to be repeated, and a ‘sentence’ button for the word to be used in context again. All results are sent straight to your account allowing for privacy of results. Hopefully there were no spelling mistakes in here so you’ll give this ICT your due konsideration, considaration, considirash, your due diligence.

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Padlet; brainstorming just got a lot more interactive!

Want to add some interest to your next brainstorming? Today during our lecture, actually more a touching of base than a lecture, we used an app called Padlet. Until tonight I had never hear of it. Padlet allows any number of users logged into your session to simultaneously share, using what Padlet themselves coin ‘a piece of paper’ or ‘real-time wiki’. With around twenty people online tonight, users were able to post questions from different locations across the globe onto the ‘piece of paper’, or alternatively images, videos, documents, and text in real time. While in theory, it acts in a similar method to google documents, it is much more visually appealing.

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Going forward, I can only think of this as a wonderful resource for teachers, with class brainstorming, word of the day practice, group work for researching information, general sharing of information, and a plethora of other possibilities. I’ve locked this in and it will be my ‘go to’ app for adding an ICT edge to brainstorming.

Converting YouTubes

I have always been intrigued and love the challenge of the converting  different formats, whether it be to audio to different audio format, video to different video format, documents to different document format or the list goes on. After reading Jacqueline’s blog post about how she was able to convert XPS to PDF, thank you Jacqueline, I have been inspired to share my own favorite conversion. It converts YouTube clips to any audio or video format of your choice. This process takes place online and it’s free at onlinevideoconverter or alternatively you can add a browser extension in a snap to chrome, safari or firefox! For the video format conversion alone, you can convert YouTube to .mp4 (my personal favourite as then it’ll play on VLC player seamlessly), .avi, .mpg, .mov, .mk4, .m4v, .webm, .flv, .3gp. The conversion process takes less than a minute for most YouTubes, and then you’ll have it on your computer eliminating a reliance on internet connection and/or buffering potential hiccups. Of course you need to adhere to copyright protocols, but it’s a site that adds to your arsenal of convenient ICT for educators. There’s plenty of other converters out there, but this is my favorite. If you have other, please feel free to share.

Voki, create personalised speaking avatars!

My first experience in front of the classroom came when undertaking the Cambridge English Language Teaching to Adults course. Its lesson structure still underpins a lot of my teaching pedagogy today where I prefer to hold off on giving the ‘success criteria’ and ‘learning intention’ until I have challenged the class to identify it for themselves. In the CELTA model, this was known as the eliciting process. While visual material can be used as prompts to elicit vocabulary or themes, I have always found that my successful lessons have come through storytelling and engaging students to be invested in the happenings of my story. Total Physical Response (TPR) is an essential partner in this orientation phase, particularly when working with children who speak English as an additional language. Today when reading Ashley’s blog I came across a wonderful idea to engage students, meaning my reliance on caffeine to get my imagination and storytelling inspiration going can be somewhat lessened. Voki is an app that allows you to make speaking avatars. You can customize your avatar by skin color, voice and accent, language, clothes, hair, among many other options. After writing your script, your avatar can engage students in a way they’ve never been engaged before. In voki classroom, students can create their own voki and complete set assignments interactively, tapping into the their creative side. I’m liking the look of it, so that’s heartening, because I actually need to use it in Maths this semester. Stay tuned for an update or two, though, but if you like it or have alternatives, leave your thoughts. Mr Clancy.

Gliffy; sharing visualisations effortlessly!

At Uni this week we were asked to practice using conceptual modelling to solve a chosen Information and Communication Technology (ICT) related problem. Our professor suggested using Gliffy for drawing the conceptual model. I went ahead and joined the site and slapped together a few squares to represent computers, and threw in some directional arrows and text. The end result was a somewhat successful visual representation of the ICT problem I was attempting to interpret. Later, I went back to Gliffy to see what it is capable of doing. Its tagline is “where ideas take shape” but importantly it allows users to create a variety of shapes in any browser before saving, exporting or printing; basic diagrams, flow charts, organisational charts, Network diagrams (why i didn’t use that for my task, I don’t know), venn diagrams, mindmaps and more. I can think of a one teacher I work close to that would like the venn diagram choice after having me butcher four successive free handed venn diagrams for her class last week). It took me no more than one minute to make my conceptual map (although I have been working on my growth mindset), so that means for a student to make a visual interpretation of any learning, it wouldn’t take much longer. Anyway, for a professional finish that gives students some choice in presentation, I think this little beuty has something to offer.