Monthly Archives: April 2012

Wordle Muddle⤴

from @ ICT-Echo

Wordle: ICT-Echo
This week I was at a seminar titled Glasgow Teacher Education 2014. We were asked in our groups to think of a word that we felt represented teachers for the 21st century. Along with this word we had to think of two associated words. These were then typed into Wordle.net to produce an image similar to the one above.

This caused some amusement to those in the room who had not seen Wordle before and some were keen to use it in different contexts (their own classes/lectures).

Now as a starting activity for a seminar it was reasonably interesting, but it occurred to me to be a missed opportunity. It was also an example of style over substance.

Let me explain my disappointment with this activity. To start with each individual could write three words on a post-it and submit it for inclusion in the wordle. I myself gave the task some thought. My first choice was 'flexible'. The two associated words were 'mind' and 'body'. My thinking was that a teacher for the 21st century should be flexible in mind and body. I thought about it for a few seconds and changed my initial choice to 'agile'.

After all the words had been submitted a word cloud was generated and the words that had the greatest frequency of use appeared largest on the screen. I scanned the screen to see my cleverly chosen words. They were the smallest and most insignificant on the screen.

Wordle had been used to select the promote the most common obvious words suggested by the group. Not the unusual or challenging words. Not the words that might challenge the orthodoxy but the words that represent it.

Now I don't want to criticise Wordle because I can see that it's a useful tool. My criticism is in the way it was used to cleverly re-inforce the collective opinion of the needs of the teacher for the 21st century.

But it does make me think wouldn't it be interesting if Wordle had an inverse proportion option that pulled out the key words that were important but rarely used? Ultimately it comes down to those presenting the seminar to explore the use, meaning and choices of the participants to explore the deeper understanding.

Feel free to post your choice of words that represent the teachers for the 21st century. Remember to give the reasons for your choice.

Wordle Muddle⤴

from @ ICT-Echo

Wordle: ICT-Echo
This week I was at a seminar titled Glasgow Teacher Education 2014. We were asked in our groups to think of a word that we felt represented teachers for the 21st century. Along with this word we had to think of two associated words. These were then typed into Wordle.net to produce an image similar to the one above.

This caused some amusement to those in the room who had not seen Wordle before and some were keen to use it in different contexts (their own classes/lectures).

Now as a starting activity for a seminar it was reasonably interesting, but it occurred to me to be a missed opportunity. It was also an example of style over substance.

Let me explain my disappointment with this activity. To start with each individual could write three words on a post-it and submit it for inclusion in the wordle. I myself gave the task some thought. My first choice was 'flexible'. The two associated words were 'mind' and 'body'. My thinking was that a teacher for the 21st century should be flexible in mind and body. I thought about it for a few seconds and changed my initial choice to 'agile'.

After all the words had been submitted a word cloud was generated and the words that had the greatest frequency of use appeared largest on the screen. I scanned the screen to see my cleverly chosen words. They were the smallest and most insignificant on the screen.

Wordle had been used to select the promote the most common obvious words suggested by the group. Not the unusual or challenging words. Not the words that might challenge the orthodoxy but the words that represent it.

Now I don't want to criticise Wordle because I can see that it's a useful tool. My criticism is in the way it was used to cleverly re-inforce the collective opinion of the needs of the teacher for the 21st century.

But it does make me think wouldn't it be interesting if Wordle had an inverse proportion option that pulled out the key words that were important but rarely used? Ultimately it comes down to those presenting the seminar to explore the use, meaning and choices of the participants to explore the deeper understanding.

Feel free to post your choice of words that represent the teachers for the 21st century. Remember to give the reasons for your choice.

Is leadership an innate quality or a learnable skill?⤴

from @ @ajbaxby

The last workshop of PGDE Curriculum Studies this week, and it was a happy-sad occasion.  The students have progressed so much, changed greatly and (I hope) learned and enjoyed themselves lots!  The year has flown by, but I think that's the nature of getting old too.

I am immensely proud of the progress they have all made, and I'm even more impressed by the innovation, enthusiasm and talent on display.  I suggested something to my group that I really beleive: "If you stop enjoying the job, do something else."  In my opinion, there are enough teachers out there that don't seem to enjoy themselves anymore - perhaps they never did...  Our young people deserve the best education and this can only happen with dedicated, enthusiastic, skilled teachers.  As such, I really hope that some of this cohort go on to be educational leaders of the highest calibre in the future - there are certainly a few to watch!

A recent article in the Guardian alluded to the fact that there is a lack of strong applicants for the top leadership jobs in education.  This led me to thinking that maybe Leadership could be some sort of elective for PGDE students...  I'm not sure this is feasible, but who knows?  Maybe it should even be compulsory!

So, is leadership something that one can learn?  Are leaders born?  There is often comment made that people like Churchill or Martin Luther King or Martin Johnson are born leaders, but are they really?  Is there some common feature of a leader, or are leaders shaped by the experiences of their lives?  Is it a combination of both (or more)?

Thus, I conclude by considering the nature of leadership in ITE.  We are all leaders in the classroom, yet we assume that all teachers have the skills to be a leader from the outset.  Is this really the case?  Do the student teacher already have these skills in some innate way, as it's not something that they get a lecture on!  (Do we even all have the qualities to be leaders?!)  Perhaps the ITE of the future will not be about electives in EAL or Outdoor Learning, but in Leadership or something like it...

Is leadership an innate quality or a learnable skill?⤴

from @ @ajbaxby

The last workshop of PGDE Curriculum Studies this week, and it was a happy-sad occasion.  The students have progressed so much, changed greatly and (I hope) learned and enjoyed themselves lots!  The year has flown by, but I think that's the nature of getting old too.

I am immensely proud of the progress they have all made, and I'm even more impressed by the innovation, enthusiasm and talent on display.  I suggested something to my group that I really beleive: "If you stop enjoying the job, do something else."  In my opinion, there are enough teachers out there that don't seem to enjoy themselves anymore - perhaps they never did...  Our young people deserve the best education and this can only happen with dedicated, enthusiastic, skilled teachers.  As such, I really hope that some of this cohort go on to be educational leaders of the highest calibre in the future - there are certainly a few to watch!

A recent article in the Guardian alluded to the fact that there is a lack of strong applicants for the top leadership jobs in education.  This led me to thinking that maybe Leadership could be some sort of elective for PGDE students...  I'm not sure this is feasible, but who knows?  Maybe it should even be compulsory!

So, is leadership something that one can learn?  Are leaders born?  There is often comment made that people like Churchill or Martin Luther King or Martin Johnson are born leaders, but are they really?  Is there some common feature of a leader, or are leaders shaped by the experiences of their lives?  Is it a combination of both (or more)?

Thus, I conclude by considering the nature of leadership in ITE.  We are all leaders in the classroom, yet we assume that all teachers have the skills to be a leader from the outset.  Is this really the case?  Do the student teacher already have these skills in some innate way, as it's not something that they get a lecture on!  (Do we even all have the qualities to be leaders?!)  Perhaps the ITE of the future will not be about electives in EAL or Outdoor Learning, but in Leadership or something like it...

Win prizes: Writing Competition for Children.⤴

from

If you are under 16 and interested in writing you are invited to enter the annual Young Writer of the Year competition  run by   Tyne & Esk Writers,’ in partnership with East and Midlothian Library Services.  Your story or poem can be about any subject and you could win a great prize. The competition is being sponsored by the Scottish Seabird Centre and the winners in each section will receive a family day pass to the Centre as well as a £10 book token. The overall winners in both the primary and secondary section will also receive an iPod shuffle. 

There are two groups of entry for children and young people who live or go to school in East Lothian and Midlothian: P4 – P7 and S1-S4 and two sets of prizes, one for East Lothian and one for Midlothian in best poetry and best prose. The main judge of the competition is Tom Murray, the Creative Writing Fellow for Tyne and Esk Writers’. 

 Entry forms will be available in schools and libraries in East Lothian and Midlothian by the 27th April.

We really look forward to receiving your competition entries.

Win prizes: Writing Competition for Children.⤴

from

If you are under 16 and interested in writing you are invited to enter the annual Young Writer of the Year competition  run by   Tyne & Esk Writers,’ in partnership with East and Midlothian Library Services.  Your story or poem can be about any subject and you could win a great prize. The competition is being sponsored by the Scottish Seabird Centre and the winners in each section will receive a family day pass to the Centre as well as a £10 book token. The overall winners in both the primary and secondary section will also receive an iPod shuffle. 

There are two groups of entry for children and young people who live or go to school in East Lothian and Midlothian: P4 – P7 and S1-S4 and two sets of prizes, one for East Lothian and one for Midlothian in best poetry and best prose. The main judge of the competition is Tom Murray, the Creative Writing Fellow for Tyne and Esk Writers’. 

 Entry forms will be available in schools and libraries in East Lothian and Midlothian by the 27th April.

We really look forward to receiving your competition entries.

Newton’s Rings⤴

from @ stuckwithphysics.co.uk

I’ve been trying to show my AH pupils all of the experimental work for Unit 3 during this week, as it’s the last week of the course before their NAB next week.

Having gone over much of the theory before Easter and encouraging them to cover the theory on Scholar, I set up a few of the interference experiments – Young’s Slits with microwaves and using a He-Ne laser, which are both nice and obvious and relatively reliable (for physics demos). We took a few measurements and used them to find the wavelength for the microwaves and the slit separation, d, for the laser experiment.

We also used the travelling microscope to measure the slit separation, using a flexi-cam and projector to show both the view down the scope and the readings on the Vernier scale.

Optimistically, I decided to try the same set up for Thin Wedge Fringes and Newton’s Rings – demos which are not so nice and not so obvious and, as I’ve found in the past, can be awkward to set up. Worse still, they must be observed through a microscope, ideally a travelling microscope to allow measurements of fringe spacing to be taken.

The thin wedge fringes worked pretty well and we measured the fringe spacing, using it to calculate the thickness of the wedge. And it all worked!

Continuing to ride my luck, I had a go at Newton’s Rings, using our ancient, somewhat chipped Griffin apparatus. After setting it up, I had a look through the eyepiece and, to my very great surprise, saw the brightest, clearest Newton’s Rings fringes I have ever seen.

To my further surprise, it all looked great through the flexicam-projector, so much so that I took a picture and tweeted about what I’d been doing. One reply, from John Burk (@Occam98) asked how I’d set it up.

So, here goes…..

Griffin Newton’s Rings apparatus -
plano convex lens placed convex side down on glass plate
Beam splitter (sloping glass plate) reflects light from sodium lamp (in blue lamp holder) down on to lens
Travelling microscope above for viewing interference pattern through beam splitter.

The images below show how the flexicam was connected to the travelling microscope, using a collar to align the camera and eyepiece lenses, and in turn connected, via the S-Video input, to a Sony LCD projector.

It’s a very rare physics lesson where all of the experiments work, let alone first time. Luckily, when I needed to get through a lot of experiments to gather up the loose ends of the unit, that’s exactly what happened. After all the effort of getting all the apparatus together and set up, getting such excellent images for Newtons’ Rings was a great way to finish my lesson, and coincidentally the Advanced Higher course.

All downhill to the exam now…..

New accessibililty features in Google Apps⤴

from

Google has recently made some important accessibility enhancements within Google Apps for Education. 
Google Docs and Google Sites have new keyboard shortcuts and better screen reader support with support for two screen readers: JAWS and ChromeVox.  Members of the blind community can now use JAWS, VoiceOver and ChromeVox within Google Calendars to manage your calendars, create and edit events or simply browse your events.

For more information on Accessibility within Google go to http://www.google.com/accessibility/

The hunt for photo id⤴

from

GP1 is flying to London this evening, for an American visa for his impending trip to the States with BUNAC. He will have to leave his passport at the US Embassy and needs some photo identification to fly home again. Yesterday we took the house apart looking for his student rail card to book train tickets for a trip to Newcastle on Wednesday. No joy. Today we took the house apart looking for his driving licence. Of course he has known for weeks that he needed some id for this flight. Of course he has known for days that he didn’t know the whereabouts of his driving licence.

We didn’t find the driving licence but I did find, down the sides of the sofas, the following:

  • Several male nail clippings;
  • Approximately 10 assorted pens and pencils;
  • The remains of a party popper;
  • Miscellaneous bits of Knex;
  • A few playing cards;
  • 25 Spanish pesetas;
  • £10.74 in loose change (all mine, as I was the one who bravely stuck my hand where no man would dare);
  • A lot of stuff too disgusting to describe.

After I’d excavated that lot he discovered he could use his old, recently expired passport for identification. His driving licence will have to wait a few ore days.

Autism Film Club – free viewings⤴

from

To celebrate World Autism Awareness Month in April, Ambitious about Autism is bringing some of the best and most recent films about autism straight to your computer screen.   The programme will feature four online film screenings on our website during April 2012.  Click here to get the Autism Film club password  to see the films.

The two remaining films to be shown are:

Animating Autism

USA / 2011 / colour / not rated / 63 mins:  Streaming  on Wednesday 18 April 2012  

Animating Autism is a feature length documentary on autism that follows seven individuals on the spectrum as they collaborate to create a short animated film. The documentary follows them as they learn how to turn their sketches into movies and form lasting friendships.

Loving Lamposts

USA / 2011 / colour / not rated / 84 mins:  Streaming on our website on Wednesday 25 April 2012

LampostIn Loving Lampposts, we witness this debate and meet the parents, doctors, therapists, and autistic people who are redefining autism at a moment when it’s better known than ever before. Motivated by his son’s diagnosis, filmmaker Todd Drezner explores the changing world of autism and learns the truth of the saying, “if you’ve met one autistic person, you’ve met one autistic person.”