24 Learning: November 2006

24 Learning

Monday, November 27, 2006

Ultimate Flash Face

This is a neat little face generator. Great little tool for those non artists amongst us.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Airforce Special Ops online game

This looks like a fun game to play. Starting November 22nd the NZ Airforce are running an online competition with different challenges and problems to solve. You have to be at least 11 year old to enter. What a great online game. You can look at the first four challenges in advance. I think I have solved the first one but I can't do challenge number 2 at all.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

6 Word Stories

Wired Magazine
asked some authors to contribute their own 6 word stories to rival Ernest Hemmingway's

For Sale: Baby shoes. Never worn.

Get your children to have a go and see what they can come up with.

Here are my attempts.

ICT Professional Development. Switch it on?

(you'd have to be a teacher in Canterbury to understand the next one)

Friday afternoon. Norwest wind. Crowded walls.

Happy 40th. Get off the couch.

Learn fast. Drown waiting for help.

This is fun. Famous last words.

Maybry student video


I have just spent an absorbing hour browsing this site. Wow! It is just brilliant. The level of thought these children demonstrate is stunning. Have a look!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Peter F Drucker Quotes

This link takes you to some great quotes from Peter F Drucker, the business consultant. I loved this one.

Teaching is the only major occupation of man for which we have not yet developed tools that make an average person capable of competence and performance. In teaching we rely on the "naturals," the ones who somehow know how to teach.

What do you think? Is he right? I have certainly learnt a lot 'about' teaching in the course of my carreer but does this make me a better teacher? Maybe it does to some extent. I think there is certainly some truth in his quote. There is also a great challenge in it to teacher education providers. What are the characteristics of the 'great' teachers you remember. I believe that the most significant characteristic is passion. A passionate maths teacher can make maths come alive for his/her students. Many successful people when asked this question refer back to a particular teacher who turned them on to science or art or drama or music.

What is your passion and are you passing this on to the people you work with? Am I?

Saturday, November 11, 2006

ERO musings

One of the schools I work in is in the middle of an ERO (Education Review Office) visit. For those of you outside NZ reading this these are school inspectors. I was chatting to one of the teachers who had a visit from the ERO inspector who wanted to view all her folders. I couldn't help wondering how they would get on if they were to ask me and I said they are all on my laptop. If you want to see evaluations read my blog. If you want planning view this wiki. If you want feedback look at the comments...... etc.

Have a happy day!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Will Richardson's letter to his children

I copied the letter below because I think it is so brilliant. For me this sums up the future for our children.

The author of this piece has a great blog worth looking at

Will Richardson

Dear Tess and Tucker,

For most of your young lives, you’ve heard your mom and I occasionally talk about your futures by saying that someday you’ll travel off to college and get this thing called a degree that will show everyone that you are an expert in something and that will lead you to getting a good job that will make you happy and make you able to raise a family of your own someday. At least, that’s what your mom and I have in our heads when we talk about it. But, and I haven’t told your mom this yet, I’ve changed my mind. I want you to know that you don’t have to go to college if you don’t want to, and that there are other avenues to achieving that future that may be more instructive, more meaningful, and more relevant than getting a degree.

Let me put it to you this way (and I’ll explain this more as you get older.) I promise to support you for as long as I can in your quest to learn after high school, whatever that might look like. I’ll do everything I can to help you find what your passions are and pursue them in whatever ways you decide will allow you to learn as much as you can about them. I’ll help you put together your own plan to achieve expertise in that passion, and that plan may include many different activities and environments that look nothing like (and in all likelihood will cost much less than) a traditional college experience. Some of your plan may include classrooms, some may include training or certification programs. But some may also include learning through online video games, virtual communities, and informal networks that you will build around your interests, all moving you further along toward expertise. (Remind me at some point to tell you what a guy named George Siemens says about this.)

And throughout this process, I will support you in the creation of your learning portfolio, the artifact which when the time comes, you will share to prospective employers or collaborators to begin your life’s work. (In all likelihood, in fact, you will probably find these people as a part of this process.) Instead of the piece of paper on the wall that says you are an expert, you will have an array of products and experiences, reflections and conversations that show your expertise, show what you know, make it transparent. It will be comprised of a body of work and a network of learners that you will continually turn to over time, that will evolve as you evolve, and will capture your most important learning.

I know, I know. Even now you are thinking, “but Dad, wouldn’t just going to college be easier?” It might, yes. And depending on what you end up wanting to do, college might still be the best answer. But it might not. And I want to remind you that in my own experience, all of the “learning” I did in all of the college classrooms I’ve spent time in does not come close to the learning that I’ve done on my own for the simple reason that now I am learning with people who are just as (if not more) passionate to “know” as I am. And that is what I want for you, to connect to people and environments where your passions connect, and the expectation is that you learn together, not learn on your own. Where you are free to create your own curriculum, find your own teachers, and create your own assessments as they are relevant. Where you make decisions (and your teachers guide you in those decisions) as to what is relevant to know and what isn’t instead of someone deciding that for you. Where at the end of the day, you’ll look back and find that the vast majority of your effort has been time well spent, not time wasted.

In many ways, I envy you. I think about all of the time I spent “learning” about things that had absolutely no relevance to my life’s work simply because I was required to do so. Knowledge that became old almost as soon as it was uttered from my professor’s mouth. I think about how much more I could have gotten from those hundreds and hundreds of hours (and dollars) that now feel frittered away because I had no real choice. I want to make sure you know you have a choice.

So, when the time comes, we’ll start talking about what roads you might want to pursue and how you might want to pursue them. Your mom and I have high expectations, and we’ll do everything we can to support the decisions you make. But ultimately, my hope is that you will learn this on your own, that you will seize the opportunities that this new world of learning and knowledge offers you, and that you will find it as exciting and provocative a place as I have.

Love always, Dad

(Will Richardson)

Blogged with Flock

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Alice Animation

I have been working with a group of year 4, 5 and 6 children learning to use Alice. This is their effort after one day playing around. Lots of room for improvement but so much fun.

Click here to get your own player.

Myspace fall from popularity

Heard an interesting interview on national radio today from a couple of tech gurus (can't remember who). They were saying that myspace is fast losing popularity with teenagers because of the clamp down on publishing of copyright music on people's myspace pages.

This brings up an interesting discussion about the role of social networking spaces. It isn't illegal to play your favourite music to your friends when they visit. What about playing it to your friends when they visit you online? Mmmmmm. Interesting issue. It would be worth having this discussion with the children and young people and see their view. What if you posted your song and someone else copied it? What if they made it into a hit and started selling it?