Monday, 26 September 2011

e-Learning Conversations

What a fabulous sharing and learning day. On Saturday the 24th of September we had our inaugural e-Learning Conversation's day. Point View school kindly hosted this 'free' event and teachers attended of their own volition.

So... what was different about this day? 

  • Each session was lead by teachers who volunteered to talk about something they were doing their in classroom. 
  • For some of these teachers it was the first time for them to talk publicly about what they do in their classroom.
  • In each session I could hear real conversations going on, questions, answers, sharing of similar or different experiences, new ideas. 
  • In most cases there were no presentations, just teachers showing photos of their classroom, websites they used, examples of work with students... and talking. 
  • It was very relaxed...teachers could come and go as they like.
  • This was not talking about what you could do in your classroom or in your Professional Learning, this was about what real teachers are doing right now!
It was a small group of 42 teachers from 16 different schools, 13 from our e-Learning PLN. The rest of the teachers had heard about it and opted to join in.

This I would consider is the best Professional Learning you can have... teachers who are passionate about their craft that they would give up one of their Saturdays to talk to like minded teachers from different schools all over Auckland.
Talking... Conversations... Face to Face...Fabulous Professional Development and Learning for all!

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Infographics and Inquiry Presenting

All of my schools at the present are embroiled in Rugby World Cup fever. Students are researching and finding out information not only about their own country but also adopted countries. Soon they will need to present this information so I have been talking to teachers about how 'Infographics' are a great way to present student work.
Students will have created their research question, found their keywords and used the smart researcher tools to find information.
They will have copied photos or graphics to folders and the internet references to WordProcessor (Word, Pages, Google Docs) along with 'brief' notes copied from Internet pages that answer their research question. They will synthesise their notes and present facts and 'hopefully' they will present new ideas with conclusions and inferences.

Now how could they present it?
The following example has been created in Comiclife.
Or in PowerPoint
Or in Keynote
The following diagram lists all of the possible elements  that could be included in an infographic
The criteria for an infographic presentation is
  1. Keep a balance between graphics, text, charts and numbers
  2. Be aware of what colours work well together, not too many and remember complimentary colours (opposites of the colour wheel)
  3. Check all of the time that you are answering your research question
  4. Reference your facts, graphics etc
  5. Include graphics, photos, graphs, flow charts, graphic organisers, statistics
  6. Add your own inferences from the information presented
For younger children you can simplify the criteria
Some of the programmes that would be suitable for creating infographics
  • PowerPoint: more suitable then Word as all of the different objects will not move around randomly + version 2007 and 2010 have great Smart Art graphics
  • Pages or Keynote (for Mac): easy to move objects around and place them
  • ComicLife: great Title graphics, easy to create 'Chart' type infographics
  • Kidspiration and Inspiration: Mindmapping type infographics
One way to introduce students to 'Infographics' is to show them a variety of examples and examine what make them great presentations, itemise the best points and use them in their own infographics.
I am gradually adding examples to that are suitable to show younger students.
Click on this link to see examples suitable to show students.

I will be following up with more posts on this subject as I develop ways of how to teach students how to find the right sort of information, graphics, symbols etc to suit their presentations.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Tracing Activities

The Foundation font is a perfect font for our New Zealand Schools. Download it and use it to make Handwriting activities for your children.

One of the fonts is made of dots.
Make tracing activities for the children of the letters they need to practice.

One of my junior teachers that I work with finds Black and white images on Google Images and copies them onto her notebook software page.

Children use these as tracing activities, great for students who need to practise fine motor control.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Post it Wars

I saw @mrwoodnz tweet about Post-it -Wars and then I read his blog post. I was confused until I read the link to the herald story about Post-it-Wars in France. It is a corporate 'collage' war using Post-it notes stuck to windows.
Have a look at the 20 photos on the Herald page.

Shaun had created his own Post-it-War using Linoit which enabled him to use different colour Post-its. I tried it out, it is not as easy as it looks.

Sticky Notes on Win7 worked quite well and was quite quick to create notes but there is a limit of notes, so use wisely.

iCardSort (Free or NZ $8.29 ) is an iPad app that was easy to use and didn't seem to have a limit on sticky notes.

There are other apps available for the iPad

So how could this be used in Education?
  • create icons or emblems
  • create flags
  • take a popular graphic and problem solve how to make it with square shapes (i.e.stickies)
  • investigate how pictures are made up of pixels and plot/plan a picture on a spreadsheet and then make it with the sticky notes
  • have a post-it-war with other classes using the windows of the classes to show case your efforts
  • if you are using technology then post images to a wiki or a blog
Thanks Shaun for making me spend 4 hours investigating was great fun!