24 Learning: August 2006

24 Learning

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Millionaires or Monsters

I listened to Mike Anderson speaking at a school function last night and he presented a really excellent analogy that I think will help people understand what we are trying to develop in education in New Zealand. He contrasted the type of education required to be successful at "Who wants to be a millionaire". The filling up of the mind with facts as a model for teaching and learning contrasts with the sort of learning that is happening in "Monster Garage". If you haven't seen this great show it is worth a look. Briefly, a group of blokes transform a vehicle into something else by chopping and modifying. The example Mike showed was the transformation of a race car into a high speed line painter. The point he was making was that the planning, trial and error, arguing over, frustration, testing, hypothesising, remaking, collaborating, conflict resolution, measuring, building, rebuilding, evaluating, drawing, resource gathering, task definition, and celebrating the success demonstrated in the learning required to be successful in Monster Garage is far more relevant and important than the fact learning required to be successful at 'Who wants to be a millionaire".

I loved his analogy and think it illustrates well the shift in focus of education away from teaching stuff, to teaching children to be good learners. I wonder though how much time to we spend assessing children's abilitiy to learn rather than measuring what they have learnt. I'm not saying that all knowledge is unimportant because clearly we want our children to know their basic facts and their times tables and to be able to put capital letters in correct places and know that speech marks indicate what was spoken etc etc etc. The point is that if we only focus on measuring this content we miss an opportunity to work with children to help them learn what will help them to become better learners. In listening to Mike I was encouraged to think that the things he was highlighting as important issues are the things we have been talking about as a professional development cluster.

The new draft curriculum implementation in New Zealand is an opportunity for teachers to grapple again with the balance between content and learning skills. The draft curriculum calls them Key Competencies.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Cool Cat Teacher Blog

This is a new blog I came across today. (Ok. I'm new to this. The rest of you have probably been reading this one for ages.) I thought it was brilliant.

Particularly this post titled "Watch who you listen to". In it Vicki Davis talks about four types of people who give you feedback and to be cautious of who you listen to.

The "perpetual critic" is often easy to spot and can be incedibly draining to deal with. Not so easy to identify are the partial talebearer and the manipulated mouthpiece.

Who do you listen to? Or more importantly what kind of person are you in your interactions with others? Mmmmmmm! Food for thought here.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Podomatic Embed in your web page

Podomatic have come out with this cool new toy that enables you to embed your podcast in another web page, blog wiki etc. This is Georgia's.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

CTC Music Mixer for podcasts

If you are into podcasting with a class this is a clever little online mixing tool that allows you to create intro and outro music. Of course if you have garage band (Mac) or superdooper music looper you wouldn't bother with this but for a free online tool it is pretty cool. Or as an alternative use the free online demo version of superdooper music looper and record the output in Audacity.

I just love anything like this that puts the creative tools into the hands of the children. I love messing with it myself of course but I also really love seeing what kids come up with. So often if we show them the tools and let them get on with playing they will surprise us with their creativity. I'd happily argue that they can be just as creative and in some cases more so with the right tools.

Google Desktop and Windows Desktop

Google have had the desktop search tool available for awhile. It allows you to search for files on your computer using the google search functionality. The good thing about this is that it lets you search content of files not just file names like a normal windows "search for file" search does.

Windows have come out with their own version. You don't have to have the MSN toolbar if you don't want it and windows has some other plugins that allow you to search different file formats. I downloaded the PDF tool and it seems to work wonderfully. I can search by any key word and it brings me up a list of files containing that word (or words) sorted as to whether they are emails, pictures, documents etc.

Animator vs Animation

This is an incredible flash animation!!! Just brilliant. This is the sort of thing that I love to use with children to show them a story. It isn't just mindless like some of the Pivot animations I have seen kids make. It is very clever. This reminds me of the Bozetto shorts I have seen.

Thinking Maps

I came across this resource again today as I was preparing some stuff to share. Thinking Maps are a brilliantly simple but incredibly well researched set of tools for visually representing thinking. I heard the author David Hyerle speak last year in Auckland and thought it was the most immediately practical and applicable new idea I had come across in my teaching career. The power of thinking maps to help children progress their ideas is amazing. These are more than just graphic organisers. The image (left) links you to the official site or you can also visit this link to another site with other resources.

The introductory video is worth watching for an overview.

The thinking maps software is also available and certainly looks interesting although I think I would introduce the maps on paper first before I had students using the computer. This one is well worth a visit.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Treadmills!!!! and You tube

I was listening to National radio in the car today and Digital Life was playing. Helen and Kelvin Baxter were talking to Jim Mora about

which I hadn't heard of. Then later on I received an email with a link to this amazing video

Some people have far too much time on their hands obviously. But this is really cool. Not the movie although that is also cool. The potential for kids to broadcast their movies to an international audience is cool. Now I know before you squeal that there will be all those safety concerns. (I'll blog about those shortly) But what about Alice animations posted to You Tube?
The site itself would have to be closely supervised in school cause there is the potential for disaster there. I'm at home looking at it so I'm not sure if watchdog blocks it or not. The discussion on National radio was interesting. They were talking about people making adverts or in some cases anti adverts for products.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Rock you!

This is a little tool for creating slideshows which you can embed in a web page or blog. Derek blogged about this awhile ago and I have only just got back to looking at it. One of the cool things about this is the ability to either upload your photos directly or to insert a url to exisitng photos on the web. The pictures here are my Father-in-laws paintings. These were set up in google pages and the url for each painting inserted into the "Rock You" site. For NZ schools using watchdog you might be blocked from the main rockyou site but this link should get you in.

Setup is very fast and you have the ability to save a show and come back later to edit it if you want. Posting the show onto your page is just a matter of copying the code and pasting it. Instructions are very clear and easy to follow although I did discover when posting to this blog that I got an error message

Your HTML cannot be accepted: Tag is not closed: followed by some HTML which if I post it here it doesn't display.

Not sure what this means but if I tick the box beside "Stop showing HTML errors for this post" it publishes successfully.

Also the default code includes three default links. Watchdog blocked these. If you can edit a bit of HTML it is fairly simple to just delete those before you post. This is what I have done on this page.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Teaching hacks wiki

Teaching hacks wiki

This may grow into something worthwhile. I'm looking for a web resource that is full of ideas for integrating web2 tools into the classroom. The real advantage of this as a wiki is the potential for it to grow into siomething really useful. I will watch it with interest. If you know of anything similar let me know.

The following are the twelve main sections currently on this wiki. many of them are just at the ideas stage and of the others some of the ideas are fairly obvious but hey. The point of the wiki is to make it grow I guess. The link on Geocaching is interesting. I have heard of this and last year worked with a teacher who had a travel bug which her class followed around the world. This is in my "must find out more about this list".

K-12 Educators Guide To Web 2.0
Weblogs in Education Alpha Stage
Social Bookmarking Tools in Education Ideas Stage
Folksonomy and Tagging Ideas Stage
Wiki: Collaborative Editing in Education Alpha Stage
RSS Ideas in Education Beta Stage
Creative Commons Ideas Stage
Instant Messaging Ideas Stage
Geocaching for Educators
Information Literacy Ideas Stage
Google Earth 101 for Educators
Cyberbullying 101 for Educators

Saturday, August 19, 2006


This is another wiki tool that looks great. One really cool thing is that they offer advertising free space to educators. Click here for the link to the educator signup page.

I can see huge possibilities here for collaboration and also for engaging parents in participating in their children's education. From the simple end of the spectrum teachers could create a class wiki based on their current topic and children could post information and answers to questions as they go. The teacher and children can then add questions that arise from the postings and more information can be added as the learning builds. Parents and experts can also participate and build a real learning community.
The ease of use for creating a class web page that really does become part of the collaborative effort of the pupils seems to me to be really valuable. So many school web pages are locked down so that children have no avenue to contribute. I'm interested in safe ways to break down that barrier to children authoring on the web. Wikis look like they could be a great opportunity.

What I want to know is... Is there a good (free) web2.0 tool that combines the tools of podcast, blog and wiki into one space? I can see the benefits of each of these but it would be really nice to be able to access them all under one login rather than having to have different logins for each. At the moment I am using googlepages to collect links to all these tools in one place. I know I'm a newbie to this so any suggestion for better management of all this are very welcome.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Room 7

I've been working today with Room 7 at Paparoa Street School to publish interviews they wrote about New Zealand Disasters. They would love some feedback I'm sure. So if you get a chance, have a listen to one or two and send them a comment. I was really impressed with the quality of their interviews and their enthusiasm for doing this.

They also experimented with artrage. If you haven't played with this it is really cool software. There is also a forum on the ambientdesign page that allows people to share their images. Wow there is some cool stuff there!

Monday, August 14, 2006

I have already blogged about this site earlier in the month but it is worth mentioning again. The guy on the left is Jeff Han and it is worth watching his talk just for a glimpse of the cool new technology that is being worked on currently.

PB Wiki

I'm new to wikis so for those old hands out there this will be nothing new. I have experimented with pb wiki today. This looks like it could be a good tool for classes to use to develop a shared understanding of a topic. All the class members can participate in building knowledge by adding to the content.

Wikipedia is the classic example of this of course but with something like pbwiki you can create your own class space and only allow those who you want to access to edit it.

Sunday, August 13, 2006



This is the coolest piece of animation freeware I have seen yet. I've played with a number of different pieces of 3D animation software but this has to be one of the easiest I have seen. It is similar to Kahootz
but free. So far there are a couple of weakness I see. It isn't really easy to save the finished animation as a movie so that it can be shared. Reading the forum on the Alice website there are some instructions regarding using screen capture software. I tried this using Camstudio and it worked quite well but it would be a whole lot easier if it was able to be saved out of the software itself. The other thing I haven't seen how to do is create my own characters. I guess this must be possible but it isn't immediately obvious.

Taking this and using it in the classroom has so many possibilities. I'd be really interested in using this sort of software and creating a collaborative online project in the same manner as "Rock our world" does for music. I have already tried to set this up using Pivot
and trying to get teachers from my cluster to have children sharing files. So far no one has taken it up. It probably requires it to be formally set up and promoted. Once a few keen people got on board I think it would fly.
Send me an email if you are interested and I'll see what I can come up with. Or if you know of anyone else doing something like this with a collaborative project sharing animations online I'd be interested.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

This book edited by Terry Freedman looks like a good introduction to Web2.0. It has sections on a variety of applications like blogs, wikis, podcasts plus commentary from a number of experienced educators.

A brief glance makes me think this is going tobe something I will come back to. You can get your own copy for free from here.

You have to click on the link on the right hand side of the page that says "Get free samples".

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Gliffy and Imagination cubed

Here are two little toys that look like fun.

Imagination Cubed is one of those online whiteboards that you can share with other people. It's pretty simple to use and the cool thing is that you don't have to register. Just find the site and invite someone else to join you. Not sure how useful this is in a regular classroom but good tool to know about.

Gliffy you do have to register for (free) but this gives a whole lot of graphic functions. The creations can also be shared and worked on collaboratively. This looks like a very cool tool and I can see it being used even within one class as a collaborative tool. Certainly it becomes powerful if you can link your students to others elsewhere in the world.

I know there are a whole heap more of these things. I am only commenting at this stage on the ones I can see a use for in a regular classroom.

I've been listening to Room 208 and this to me seems to be a fantastic example of a teacher and class using web tools in very purposeful ways. This is a guy I'd like to visit.

Download squad is the new link to the social software blog. This could be one worth following.

I've just been distracted by Derek's Blog and particularly a fascinating article about wikipedia.
Well worth a read.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The Well

The well

This looks like an interesting community. Going since 1985 it seems to be a classic example of social networking at work. Who said this was new?

Have spent some of the evening browsing TED talks
Wow there are some amazing speakers here. Became fascinated with listening to Larry Brilliant talking about the eradication of smallpox. He also discussed Sars and Birdflu and the fact that the only way to combat these diseases is early detection early response. He also described GPHIN
an organisation based in Canada that uses the power of the net and networking to detect diseases way before it was possible by other means. His is a fascinating speech and certainly makes you think about the power of collaboration.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Some links to visit.


This one has some cool links worth visiting. I have played with gliffy awhile ago and think it is just brilliant. I'd love to get some children using this and collaborating on a project over the web.

This trading card maker looks interesting but I'm not convinced it has much advantage over something like powerpoint or word. It seems to me that it would be easier to create a template in word and take out the online component. Am I missing something here? I can't see the potential for collaboration unless you are talking about using someone elses photos. Then I'd question the value of doing that? If you could engage in collaboration with the photographer then I'd start to see this as a web 2.0 tool. Similarly the photo mosaic tool looks cool but really you can do the same thing by dropping photos into a table in word. What am I missing here?
Photo captioner is another example of a cool tool but just as easily achieved using powerpoint. I guess the point of many of these web 2.0 tools is that you don't have to rely on having your own computer all the time. I can certainly see the value of these for a school situation where children can use the tools and spaces like flickr at school and at home.

This also fits well with Nicholas Negroponte's view of a personal laptop for every child. His project is looking at low cost, low memory, but web enabled laptops. Web2.0 tools become really useful under that scenario. I just listened to his presentation at TED talks. Wow there are some brilliant speakers here worth listening to.

Listening to Stephen Downes

Just been listening to Stephen Downes talking about Web2.0. The podcast was from August 2005 but worth listening to as an introduction to Web2.0.

He was asked about where he saw web2 being integrated in to the school system. His response was that he saw initially at least these sorts of tools developing outside the school and being drawn into the formal school setting as they are evaluated and educational benefits seen. This is what I am interested in. How can we trial some of these tools in educationally benficial ways and promote this benefit in our schools.

One point noted in the discussion was the value of the web as an authentic publishing opportunity. I have seen this happen in the motivation of my daughter as she explores podcasting and publishing to a high standard for a real international audience. Georgia's podcast.

I am also very interested in the potential of tools like wiki's to increase collaboration between students as they learn and the potential for tools like blogs to enhance the feedback that students get to their learning by involving others in giving feedback. There is also huge potential here for parents to become much more involved in their children's education through online feedback.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Welcome to 24 Learning

This is my attempt to document my learning about using the web for effective learning. Over the next wee while I will be researching the possibilities for integrating the web, especially web2.0 resources, into effectice learning.

I've played with blogs, podcasts, discussion forums etc for learning, but now I want to get serious about learning what some of the possibilities are for using the net to remove some of the constraints on learning.

The title of this blog is a bit of a play on words. When I chose it I was thinking both of Web 2 4 learning (two for learning) and of 24/7 learning.