Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Teachmeet08 - Drek Robertson

Derek Robertson micro-presentation on - Objection! Games in the classroom? Using Phoenix Wright for the Nintendo DS to encourage and motivate writing in an S2 English language class.

Monday, 14 January 2008

Cool Items from Bett 2008

First off Hardware: Q4technologies - Interesting Stand which caught my attention from some of the show guides. Basically its a piece of software that allows you to programe and control Robospaien Robots. Most of the software only works with the new robosapein V2, but the highest programme level had support for all the robospaien robots. The software has 3 versions which have a clear progression from KS1 all the way up to KS4. I saw it and was really inpressed. The ks2 interface has programing language like LOGO - its a new take on robo dance with mindstorms Lego. Check out this video of the robots danceing to a program - at the highest level. http://www.q4technologies.com/GoRobo.objects/ExtObj-2/The%20Lion%20Sleeps%20Tonight%20-%20lq_r24-1.wmv

On the TTS stand we had the newest offering from the makers of Beebot. The Easi-Speak it is a really easy to use voice recorder. It records about 2/4 hours of voice, (depends on format), it had a USB rechargeable battery built in and had the ability to record multiple tracks. For £25 each or 5 for £100, it is a great buy and a possible solution to how to podcast in the classroom without the need for a pc.

Finally the last offering was the Roamer Version 2 - Sadly still a prototype but it seems to have a lot of potental. The way I understand it is that you will be able to remove the 'brain' of roamer and get it to control other things - so set up traffic light simulations.

Next up Software: - there where 4 interesting pieces of software at the show.

Honeycomb by Testease - which i mentioned on the last post is a easy to use safe - blogging personal website tool - its is worth a look, though isn't cheap.

Podium Version 2 - was also being shown - Podium is a great pieces of software which others have been using for a while - these updates finally allow to add backing tracks to the audio you record.

2Simple had 2Publish+ which Anthony had already talked about - I need to have a closer look still, but looks great. Another I just spotted as I left was 2Design and Make - which allows you to make nets.

All in all another great show.

Sunday, 13 January 2008

TeachMeet08 Live at Bett 2008 - and some thoughts

Unique talk program with something called nanopresentations. Which are basically either a 2min or 7 min presentation - you were not allowed to use PowerPoint.

It was a unique format that allowed for a forum where you could hear from "innovators" about their practice in ICT. Nice and easy to digest in bitesize chunks.

Just listened to Vivien Black about work she has done with year 1 using blogs in Honeycomb - new software from Softease. She told use about a year 1 child who at home drew a picture in paint and then logged in and uploaded it to his blog.

Me and Anthony had been shown this software (by Vivien Oddly enough) on the Softease stand earlier. It’s a mix interesting mix of piczo.com and Blogging tool - wrapped up in Textease Studio Tool. I'm not a Textease user but it looked good and very easy to use - Vivien's example shows this. Well worth a look.

There were many other speakers but one which stood out for me and Anthony was Derek Robertson micro-presentation on - Objection! Games in the classroom? Using Phoenix Wright for the Nintendo DS to encourage and motivate writing in an S2 English language class.
It was an inspiring talk about how in Scotland he has been using computer games and consoles in the classroom.

I need some more time to digest it - but he talked about using Wii in Nursery. Using DS with Brain Training to develop mental maths skills and Phoenix Wright, a text based decision making game to learn about play scripting and persuasion in English.

It linked nicely with a Seminar me and Anthony visited in the morning on ICT and the Primary Framework for Literacy led by Gayle Gorman and Helen Wolstencroft. Gayle made a comment about the press keeps talking about that children are on games consoles and the internet too much. She suggested that we should be enbracing childrens culture and using that to motivate and engage children in school. Derek Robertson seems to be doing it already.
Hopefully I'll upload the video I took of his presentaion so you can all check it out.
It’s always something I’d been interested in and it’s great to see that people are doing it. With my new AST status i’m now gonna try and pursue some of these ideas.

Check out the Teachmeet08 site with a list of who spoke. http://www.teachmeet.org.uk/

More on Bett 2008 and some of the highlights soon.

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

SMART Notebook Version 10 - its here

Readers of Anthonys Blog will know that this is the new software from Smart. He has posted a number of youtube videos. (I'll put the link below)

Finally after weeks of trying I finallt managed to download it. It does not disapoint.

It retains all the functions from before and adds more.

Finally you can make tables - no longer will you have to draw them - works very much like MS word.

The dual page mode which in the past was hidden under menus is on the main toolbar.

The auto draw shape tool is excellent - this will correct all your bad shape drawing.

You have a fill tool - I think its new - I've never noticed this before.

You can now animate text just like MS Powerpoint. - need to play with this a bit more.

Themes are a new one as well - work in the same way as powerpoint themes - set one up apply it and all your sides will take on the same formatting - background colur etc... Nice quick way to alter Notebooks to your schools prefered set up.

All in all great additions - try and download it from here....

Here's a link to a selection of videos that show most of what I discussed above.

Enjoy - Hope to see some people a BETT 2008

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

More on ICT Infrastructure

Happy New Year.

I was welcomed back to school with unfortunate news - the brand new ICT Suite which had been installed in September had been stolen. So no ICT for a few weeks....

But how is this related to ICT Infrastructure - before I was saying how important it was to have a reliable system etc...

What I have discovered the hard way is security is part of this. If you have poor security then your infrastructure will be stolen. Our server was also stolen - which meant the data and work went as well - luckily we have a backup that is done on a weekly basis automatically so we can restore our work. How many schools out there have a regular back up made. If we didn't we would have lost 2/3 years of planning and resources.

My new plan for the suite is - Computers locked to desks with cables. Bars on windows - not nice looking but its a deterrent.

Finally because the sever was stolen I've decided to keep the new server in a completely different location to the suite. A sever can sit anywhere. This way the work and data is much more secure.

Hopefully some of these points might help you avoid the same mistakes I have.