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Thursday, 18 December 2008

Clickers on the Out?

Is the age of the clicker response system coming to an end?

Web applications are cropping up that enable people to use their cell phones to vote online or through text messaging. One such service is provided by Poll Everywhere. It is certainly worth checking out. You can create a free account which allows you to use the service with 30 people. Unfortunately for me, sms is not available in El Salvador yet, and web browsing on cell phones is still quite expensive here.



I started this blog just prior to attending NECC for the first time, just last year, the main purpose being to have a place to record ideas, finds and anything else I didn't want to lose in the increasingly large collection of favourite and inspiring items I have placed in and various other cyber places.  So you'll forgive me for the moan below if you happen to stumble across it per chance.

I have been perplexed recently about how to continue shifting educators into a world of new literacies and learning, when things are moving so very slowly. Is it really enough to change one teacher at a time?  Do people really understand the untapped potential that web 2.0 offers(I suspect students might!)? The very lack of curiosity and enthusiasm for embracing new literacies concerns me. Maybe we are going about it the wrong way and need to rethink our strategies for getting the ideas across. Perhaps we need to stop focusing on the teachers so much and begin focusing on the students...students will learn despite their teachers and ours will learn through their own social networks which hopefully will begin to include those teachers (yes there are some who are on-board) who are keen and able to support their learning in that way.

At a time when many are frustrated by the need to move forward while simultaneously being dragged in the opposite direction through the confines of traditional educational systems, I find the follow post most comforting.

Check it out in Will Richardsons Blog

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Florida Virtual Library

Came across this in Will Richardson's post on the Future of Schools tonight-yes I am a few days behind!

Florida Virtual School and more importantly its virtual library have given me a tiny shove further in the right direction. There are people lining up(virtually I might add) to enroll in this school-that's teachers and students both! Those already enrolled are apparently high achievers and have the test results to back this up, if you value such things. Perhaps more importantly is how these same students must be functioning at a highly independent level. Are these kids are exceptional, if so why? Could it be that 2.0 learning is everything we are told it is? I would wager that it is and that our kids have already primed themselves for this type of learning. If only we as educators could buy into it and allow the power over learning that we hold, to shift across the balance.

New Toys

It is a bit early for Easter, but look at what dumpr let's you do!
Happy Easter!
This Easter egg was created with

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Our Favourite Web Applications

At the beginning of the school year I held a series of small sessions with different departments aimed at introducing them to various web applications.  We looked at blogs, wikis, voicethread and at the very end as a bit of a lark, ToonDoo.

A few weeks later I was contacted by the Economics/Business Studies teacher who expressed a great interest in using ToonDoo along with the work he was doing with storyboards. We took it on and ToonDoo took off! Soon after, Spanish and French jumped on the ToonDoo train and even Art is interested in its capacity to display pieces along brief comments. What draws people to ToonDoo is the fun they can have with telling their stories, without having to deal with too much on the technical side of things. We have recently learned how to alter the body stances and facial expressions of characters as well as create ToonBooks. The only thing I think could improve further is the number of frames offered for each Doo, which forces users to create parts 1, 2, 3 etc..

The excitement is far from over, as we have now discovered GoAnimate, a web app that goes a few steps further, allowing users to create short animated films on line.  While many of the features are similar to ToonDoo, such as galleries of backgrounds, characters and props, GoAnimate stands apart allowing characters mobility, voices, background music as well as special effects my favourite of which is falling snow. It is also very 2.0ish in that users add their own graphics to the galleries, thereby generating a user created gallery shared by all!

Check out my first try below!