Saturday, August 27, 2011

Fun On Friday #120: Toontastic

What we did on our holidays - by Daughter Number 2. (It's a bit slow to load at first but stick with it!):

Brilliant, isn't it.?

Created in Toontastic - possibly my favourite iPad App at the moment. You move the puppets, you speak, you make a movie. Excellent! Daughter Number 2 drew her own puppets but there are loads of great pre-drawn models, with moveable limbs. (For example, see Pirates.)

When you tap the button to create a story, the App suggests you make five scenes:
  1. Setup;
  2. Conflict;
  3. Challenge;
  4. Climax;
  5. Resolution.
Some great teaching points there even before you start but all wrapped up in a bundle of the best fun ever!

Do you have any examples of classes using this app? How did you use it and what did the pupils make of it?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

New Session, New Students... Old Question!

I've asked variations of this question before (see ICT: Tell me everything I need to know!, What did they need to know? and Initial Teacher Education and BectaX) but with 550-ish new students starting a PGDE course next week, and with the ever changing nature of technology, it seems it's time to ask it again:
What should I do in a one hour lecture to get new student teachers excited and enthusiastic about ICT in education?
277/366: Drag and drop by DavidDMuir
277/366: Drag and drop, a photo by
DavidDMuir on Flickr.
My question is, essentially, how do I avoid this? -->

To set the context, I get one hour to talk to students about ICT in the first week of their PGDE course. This will not be the only thing they hear about ICT during the year, but it might be the first thing they hear and it will be the only time I have the opportunity to see the whole cohort at the same time. Roughly one third of them will be primary students and the rest will be secondary students covering just about every secondary school subject.

So, what do I do? What do I say? What could I get the students to do? How can I get such a large group, with different experiences, different interests and different levels of competence, interested and enthusiastic about ICT in Education?

Looking forward to seeing your suggestions.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Fun On Friday #119: Webify Me

I downloaded and installed the latest version of Firefox and followed a link to their Webify Me page. It claims to let you...
See your Internet as a custom collage.
Here's a picture of my collage:

You can click on the graphic to see an interactive version that explains what all the different parts represent. To be honest, I think it's more than a little off in places. Specifically, it has me down as a "Gear Head" as represented by a car magazine! Nah! Not even close.

Have a go yourself, post a link in a comment and let me know how close you think it got to you.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

facebook for data collection

Back after a long gap with a post prompted by a conversation with Daughter Number 2, who said that a friend of hers had recently set up a facebook event that wasn't an event...

The idea was that, instead of describing an event, her friend asked a question. Then, people could respond to the question by selecting one of the three attendance options available in facebook events. For example, you could make a statement, such as "School Computing helps prepare pupils for real world computing uses.", and map the responses as follows:
Attending --> Agree
Maybe --> Not sure
No --> Disagree
Obviously, you can substitute any question/statement you like and define whatever mapping for the answers suits your purpose. As long as you are content with only three responses, this looks like a quick and dirty way to collect data. Here's one I made earlier:

I thought this was interesting. It uses a technology with which students are already familiar (arguably "addicted to" in the case of my daughters) and so requires no special logins or hurdles to jump through for the participants. Also, it is easy to use existing friends and contact groups to restrict who can see and respond to your question. Finally, because you have to choose a date for the event, you automatically have a deadline by which the responses have to be made.

It is not entirely satisfactory, however, because you cannot change the response buttons, so you have to explain the mapping to potential respondents and there is no way to export the responses for further analysis. Therefore, I had a quick look to see how else it could be done and found that there is a facebook poll app that allows you to create your own response options. It draws a decent graph and can export the results to Excel. Also, if you are willing to pay, you can get other useful features.

Clearly, neither solution is as flexible as dedicated poll/questionnaire tools such as SurveyMonkey and Poll Everywhere but I think that doing everything in facebook is an interesting approach. I especially like the way you can take something created for one purpose (event management) and subvert it for an alternative use (data collection).

Have a go at my event poll and my facebook poll and then let me know what you think. Would you use either method, or is it just a daft idea?