Monthly Archives: May 2011

2.4 – Collecting volcanic ash⤴

from @ i teach physics

This week we set about collecting some of the volcanic ash from the recent Grimsvotn eruption. We collected this data as part of a British Geological Survey project to track the spread and concentration of the ash cloud.

We used sellotape and old catalogues atop a Land Rover in the car park; leaving these out for the entire school day on Tuesday. Thereafter, we attached the tape to the back of a sheet of paper which we will send to the British Geological survey for analysis.


Hopefully we'll have picked up some ash throughout the day. Pretty amazing when you think that it has travelled around 1000 miles to get to where we are.

2.4 – Collecting volcanic ash⤴

from @ i teach physics

This week we set about collecting some of the volcanic ash from the recent Grimsvotn eruption. We collected this data as part of a British Geological Survey project to track the spread and concentration of the ash cloud.

We used sellotape and old catalogues atop a Land Rover in the car park; leaving these out for the entire school day on Tuesday. Thereafter, we attached the tape to the back of a sheet of paper which we will send to the British Geological survey for analysis.


Hopefully we'll have picked up some ash throughout the day. Pretty amazing when you think that it has travelled around 1000 miles to get to where we are.

Why We Must Persist with Glow⤴

from @ Just Trying to be Better than Yesterday

If I turned the clock back a couple of years, my experience with ICT in the classroom had not really progressed beyond having my classes word –process essays for English Folio. I could muddle about with e-mail and the Internet but most of it was completely alien to me. Glow, Scotland’s national intranet, changed all that. Glow has turned me into a Blogger, ICT geek and a much, much better teacher. I know there will be those of you who will harrumph and dismiss, but I remain convinced that, despite the flaws, we must persist with Glow if we are to engage all teachers in Curriculum for Excellence in Scotland.

In case you are unaware or haven’t heard or don’t care, Glow is the world's first national intranet for education which hopes to transform the way the curriculum is delivered in Scotland.  The idea is, simply put, that all teachers, pupils, schools, can share ideas, lessons, everything in a safe environment. We can access all sorts of online tools, including Blogs, Wikis, Chatroom, as well as document stores for pupils, parents and other teachers.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m aware of the problems. It can be cumbersome and difficult to manage at first. Log in can be problematic. Finding your way around can be confusing. However, after a great deal of patience and persistence, logging on for a few minutes every day, the process becomes much easier.

Glow has transformed my classroom. Only last week I had my senior class on Revision Chatrooms for four nights before their final Higher English exam; my challenging S3 class beginning reflective Blogs and S2 class uploading Imaginative Writing. During the year I had an online poll, creative writing Blogs, and I could provide all sorts of important web links and movie clips. Two years ago I couldn’t do that. Without Glow I probably wouldn’t have done that.

‘So what?’ you may say and you may be right in that. Many a computing teacher has smirked at my claims. Of course there are better online tools out there. Of course we have more easily accessible online resources. But I’m sure you are very tech savvy. There are thousands of teachers out there who are not.

If we are truly to expect all teachers to engage with the Curriculum for Excellence then we must encourage them to use available online tools in order to engage their pupils in a manner which reflects their changing needs and to enhance their practice with the new guidelines in mind. I believe Glow can do that. I also believe it is not especially helpful to deride Glow at a time when so many teachers are resisting the temptation of ICT in the classroom. Glow is a safe environment for people to get used to online tools and begin sharing with pupils. Then, perhaps, teachers can develop the confidence to go further. Glow might not be perfect but it is something. It would be foolish to give up on it now.

Why We Must Persist with Glow⤴

from @ Just Trying to be Better than Yesterday

If I turned the clock back a couple of years, my experience with ICT in the classroom had not really progressed beyond having my classes word –process essays for English Folio. I could muddle about with e-mail and the Internet but most of it was completely alien to me. Glow, Scotland’s national intranet, changed all that. Glow has turned me into a Blogger, ICT geek and a much, much better teacher. I know there will be those of you who will harrumph and dismiss, but I remain convinced that, despite the flaws, we must persist with Glow if we are to engage all teachers in Curriculum for Excellence in Scotland.

In case you are unaware or haven’t heard or don’t care, Glow is the world's first national intranet for education which hopes to transform the way the curriculum is delivered in Scotland.  The idea is, simply put, that all teachers, pupils, schools, can share ideas, lessons, everything in a safe environment. We can access all sorts of online tools, including Blogs, Wikis, Chatroom, as well as document stores for pupils, parents and other teachers.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m aware of the problems. It can be cumbersome and difficult to manage at first. Log in can be problematic. Finding your way around can be confusing. However, after a great deal of patience and persistence, logging on for a few minutes every day, the process becomes much easier.

Glow has transformed my classroom. Only last week I had my senior class on Revision Chatrooms for four nights before their final Higher English exam; my challenging S3 class beginning reflective Blogs and S2 class uploading Imaginative Writing. During the year I had an online poll, creative writing Blogs, and I could provide all sorts of important web links and movie clips. Two years ago I couldn’t do that. Without Glow I probably wouldn’t have done that.

‘So what?’ you may say and you may be right in that. Many a computing teacher has smirked at my claims. Of course there are better online tools out there. Of course we have more easily accessible online resources. But I’m sure you are very tech savvy. There are thousands of teachers out there who are not.

If we are truly to expect all teachers to engage with the Curriculum for Excellence then we must encourage them to use available online tools in order to engage their pupils in a manner which reflects their changing needs and to enhance their practice with the new guidelines in mind. I believe Glow can do that. I also believe it is not especially helpful to deride Glow at a time when so many teachers are resisting the temptation of ICT in the classroom. Glow is a safe environment for people to get used to online tools and begin sharing with pupils. Then, perhaps, teachers can develop the confidence to go further. Glow might not be perfect but it is something. It would be foolish to give up on it now.

How to make a webcam into an infrared camera⤴

from @ i teach physics

Every time I teach about infrared radiation, I have a lot of nice images I can show my classes and maybe even a clip or two from 'The Predator' to go with them. I saw an email today offering an infrared camera as part of your attendance on a course and it reminded me of the fact that I have always wanted one to show realtime images in the infrared spectrum.

Given that I've got a little more time on my hands than I normally do, on account of it being the exam season, I set about trying to make myself one.


Photobucket
Photobucket






I opened up the nearest webcam and screwed off the plastic section surrounding the lens. On the back of it and found the infrared filter.









Photobucket

I duly removed it and replaced the infrared filter and set about replacing it with a visible light one. I initially cut a small square from some blackened x-ray film and tested it but I was still seeing some colour. This guide  suggested that the best visible light filter could be scavenged from the negatives of some old colour film.


This was the trickiest part of the process but I eventually managed to fit two small pieces of this film in place on the back of the lens.


I've tested it briefly and it looks pretty good. I'll post some images later.

My camera was a basic Creative Live Cam but other manufacturers should be constructed in a similar fashion. A nice cheap alternative for bringing infrared into the classroom!

How to make a webcam into an infrared camera⤴

from @ i teach physics

Every time I teach about infrared radiation, I have a lot of nice images I can show my classes and maybe even a clip or two from 'The Predator' to go with them. I saw an email today offering an infrared camera as part of your attendance on a course and it reminded me of the fact that I have always wanted one to show realtime images in the infrared spectrum.

Given that I've got a little more time on my hands than I normally do, on account of it being the exam season, I set about trying to make myself one.


Photobucket
Photobucket






I opened up the nearest webcam and screwed off the plastic section surrounding the lens. On the back of it and found the infrared filter.









Photobucket

I duly removed it and replaced the infrared filter and set about replacing it with a visible light one. I initially cut a small square from some blackened x-ray film and tested it but I was still seeing some colour. This guide  suggested that the best visible light filter could be scavenged from the negatives of some old colour film.


This was the trickiest part of the process but I eventually managed to fit two small pieces of this film in place on the back of the lens.


I've tested it briefly and it looks pretty good. I'll post some images later.

My camera was a basic Creative Live Cam but other manufacturers should be constructed in a similar fashion. A nice cheap alternative for bringing infrared into the classroom!

ePortfolios, Assessment and Transition Issues⤴

from

btc5

Almost a year ago, I wrote a post about a CPD session I attended on Building the Curriculum 5 : A Framework for Assessment while I was on secondment.

At the time, I wrote:

……We looked at how we might put this in to practice and were given a scenario so that we could assess an aspect of Literacy. After some discussion we looked at emerging approaches to assessment .

These come with a ‘warning’ message:

However, in their day-to-day practice, practitioners would not be expected to document the assessment process for all learners in this kind of detail. It will be up to local authorities and establishments to decide how evidence of learning is to be captured, evaluated and used to inform next steps in learning and teaching.”

At the time, I thought that, as it’s just not possible to provide that much detail about each student’s learning without compromising learning and teaching time, might we end up going back to paying lip-service to assessment (PLP’s, Self-assessment, Peer-assessment, etc.)?

I wondered what would happen if students were allowed (encouraged/trusted/guided?) to assess their own learning via ePortfolios?

Now that I’m back in class and have set up (emerging?) ePortfolios using Glow Wikis , I’m keeping an eye out to see how the students in my class are using them. Although the children all set out to record their achievements inside and outside of school – as demonstrated introductory statemements (Anna’s is embedded below), assessing your own learning is more complex.


Yesterday at school, however, I had an interesting conversation with Mason.

We’d been doing some work on decimals and I gave them a small slip of paper home with some examples (not something I would normally do – but the ‘homework’ issue is for another blog post!).

Mason mentioned that his was on his ePortfolio. I was confused at the time, but I was pleasantly surprised when I had a look later to see how he’d used his (boring?) homework and his ePortfolio as a vehicle to self-assess his learning in maths.

I am good at maths and I am especially good at decimals. I just started decimals a couple of days ago and I am finding it really easy to understand.Here is my maths homework from today (5.5.11).

091.JPG

I took this picture with apple’s ipod touch 4th generation. I also enjoy doing adding. Out of adding,subtracting and dividing, adding would have to be my favourite. Fractions are my least favourite.My teacher,mrs.V told me and my class that decimals are easier than fractions.”

Thanks Mason – your ePortfolio post told me lots more about your understanding of decimals (and your ability/liking of photography) than your little slip of paper alone handed in on time would have done :-)

Although, like Jaye ,I’ve seen blogs and wikis peter out in the past when children move from Primary School to Secondary, I’m hoping that they won’t ‘wither on the vine in Secondary School’ this time as Jaye predicts in her recent comment on here .

My fingers are crossed that the children understand the potential of their ePortfolios and use them ‘just because’ .. just like Mason did :-)

Knox Academy creates Award Winning film!⤴

from

Third year pupils at Knox Academy have spent the past seven months working on a short documentary film called ‘It Gets Better’. The film focuses on homophobic bullying in schools and gives hope to young Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transgender people that ‘It Gets Better’.

The pupils were part of the Panasonic Kid Witness News project, a Global contest, which asks young people to create an engaging short film with Global importance.

At the Panasonic awards day in Derby on May 4th 2011 the Knox Academy KWN Team were awarded the ‘Best Global Citizenship’ National Award. Out of the fifteen schools involved in the UK, the Knox Academy team were the only Scottish representatives.

Gill Brigg, Education Director for KWN, had this to say about the Knox Academy film. ‘The judging team was deeply impressed by the commitment of the Knox Academy students in bringing such a loud and proud message to the competition. Their film encapsulated the spirit of KWN through placing citizenship at the core and leading the audience through a challenging, yet optimistic, narrative. We loved the film. Well done! We will ensure that this film reaches as wide an audience as possible. Panasonic supports KWN in  679 schools across 26 countries and we will ensure that this film reaches as wide an audience as possible.’

The pupils worked alongside Stonewall Scotland to help create their KWN film. Laura Ferguson, Education Officer at Stonewall was very impressed by the Knox Academy KWN Team and wanted to thank them, she said  “I hope this team of motivated and intelligent young people will inspire others around the world to speak out about homophobic bullying; a problem that destroys lives. I was delighted to work with such a passionate group and I’m thrilled that the panel have recognised their efforts.”

Maura Drew, a third year pupil and member of the KWN team said ‘It’s been such a fun day; we didn’t expect to get any award. Some of the final films were really good. I was just pleased that our work has been recognised. I’ve learnt so much about film production from doing this. It’s a great project.

The team worked with professionals from Panasonic on film production, editing and camera skills.

‘This has been an amazing opportunity for our young people and I am so proud of them. Homophobia is a serious issue in schools and I want to thank these young people for getting the message heard that ‘It Gets Better’. This is our first year in the contest and to come away with the Best Global Citizenship award is really special, I’m truly honoured to work with so many inspirational people.’ Commented Drama Teacher, John Naples-Campbell

National Theatre of Scotland five minute theatre⤴

from

The Standard Grade Drama pupils in third and forth year at Knox Academy have been accepted to take part to celebrate the National Theatre of Scotland’s fifth birthday by creating 5 pieces of five minute theatre.

A total of 235 Five Minute productions will be broadcast online over 24hrs from 5pm on Tuesday 21st June, 2011. Entries were received from all over the world with 37 successful entries coming from Edinburgh and the Lothian’s.

John Naples-Campbell, Teacher of Drama, Knox Academy, commented:

”Knox Academy are incredibly excited to be selected to stage 5 pieces of theatre created by our Standard Grade pupils as part of Five Minute Theatre. Our pupils aged 14 – 16 years old are looking forward to being part of this wonderful project. Each piece will be staged at Knox Academy on Tuesday 21st June, 2011 as part of a day of theatre at the school.  We hope to create five engaging and stimulating pieces of theatre; performed, written and directed by the theatre makers of tomorrow. From all at Knox Academy…Thank you for giving us this amazing opportunity.”

The five groups from Knox Academy, whose performance proposals include a TV cookery show with a twist; tourists marooned on an island following the sinking of their cruise ship; a one to one confessional; a site-specific, physical theatre piece and a couples’ date night. The school are planning a day of theatre at Knox Academy on Tuesday 21st June, 2011 to celebrate the Five Minute Theatre programme.

Marianne Maxwell, Audience Development Manager, National Theatre of Scotland commented: “The response to Five Minute Theatre from all over the world has been fantastic.  There is a huge range of ideas from a huge range of people. The creativity of each submission promises live and virtual audiences 24 hours of short, original, funny and brilliant entertainment on June 21st.”