Saturday, 31 October 2009
Friday, 30 October 2009
Thursday, 29 October 2009
We have 5 lovely new iMacs in each of the Kindy classrooms. I wanted to set them up so that the students can use them independently as much as possible. Given that the users are as young as 3 years old I needed a strategy ...
First I changed the iMac settings for the desktop changing the icon size to the biggest one and increasing the text to 16pt.
Next I asked the Kindy teachers to send me links of sites or flash game files that they wanted to put on the computers. I also changed the dock so that only the most commonly used programs were shown there and I increased the size as well. A bigger size makes it an easier target for young users to click on.
Then I went into the requested sites and games and took a screen capture to be used as the icon for the game. This screen capture was dropped into Img2icn to create an icon for the shortcut.
You can see the Img2icn in the picture above. Download it here IMG2ICN
Next I dragged the link to the desktop to make a shortcut.
Then I right clicked on the new shortcut and selected "Get Info".
Next I took the newly created icon and dragged it onto the thumbnail until it changed the image.
Finally changed the name into something short and there you have it, a lovely shortcut ready for the desktop. Now all the students have to do is double click to go to that website. These shortcuts can be kept in a documents folder so that teachers can drag out only the sites to the desktop that they want their students to access for the lesson. It takes only a few seconds. This way the young students can use the iMacs much more independently.
Tuesday, 27 October 2009
In these photos you can see the grade 10 students shooting the footage for their "Make a Music Video" project. So far the students have made story boards to match the song lyrics and record any special props or camera angle notes.
Here is an example from one of the Grade 10 students who has quickly put together their first shots for their personal music video. I really like the angles that have been used here. It shows their knowledge about camera angles and composition. Well done Yoga!
Monday, 26 October 2009
This app allows the user to log in right on the blog to make a Twitter update or to check their own Twitter updates. As we know, fewer clicks makes the whole user thing more friendly. I personally love Twitter as it enables me to carry on conversations with people from all over the world. By choosing like minded people to follow, I am able to control what I have access to. Twitter for me can be inspiring, funny or informative. The secret is in learning to express yourself in 140 characters or less.
The original idea was to take a Chinese movie but I suggested to use something that the students are more familiar with, like Mr Bean. Mr Bean has very little dialogue which makes it the perfect choice as students can create a voice over that explains what is happening rather than trying to match with a person speaking.
I asked the class of Grade 8 students to choose three different Mr Bean movies so we could download them from You Tube. The students chose the Camera One, The Baby One and The Swimming Pool One. The students were immediately engaged and started to ask for vocab that they didn't know.
We asked the students to take only 2 minutes of the clip and to add voice overs but this was allowed to be creative and not necessarily follow the original video. After that the students changed the Macbook International settings to ITABC for Chinese characters and created subtitles.
The end results have now begun to be published on the school LCD screens at the school cafes for the other students to watch. I have uploaded Marc's video here for you all to see. Chinese is a second language for Marc and I think that he has done exceptionally well. This video was shown recently in a shopping mall at the 21st Century Learner Seminar hosted by iMac (Apple) in Indonesia. It got a lot of attention and drew a big crowd.
Sunday, 25 October 2009
I think that the quote in the screen capture below from his blog is really moving as is makes me realize just how much I take the Internet for granted.
It makes me wonder 'What can I do to help connect others to connect to the www? Today I visited a government school seeking to raise the quality of its teaching and learning program. The school had two computers, one laptop and one Windows PC for the whole school. The PC was locked up in a cupboard along with a wifi router. It was clear that this computer is rarely used in the teaching and learning process. The school has Internet access but not even the principal had an email address. It made me realize just how much I now take for granted in my current school. It was a sobering moment ...
Saturday, 24 October 2009
SWA students presented at Summerecon Mall Serpong today as a part of the iBox seminar on 21st Century Learner. Two Grade 5 students presented about making a virtual Monas (Indonesia's national monument) and two Grade 8 students presented their Mr Bean film clips with student created voice overs in Mandarin Chinese and Chinese character subtitles. The students were fantastic. Many people could not believe that the work was student made. The students made a quick demonstration of the process which had the audience mesmerized. The presentation drew a big crowd in that shopping mall. The first minute is in Indonesian for the benefit of the audience.
Wednesday, 21 October 2009
Today I made a search for online Mandarin games for learners. What I found was a game called Zon. This site is still in Beta but it looks really interesting. Click here to go to the site ZON
Zon is an interactive massively multiplayer online role playing game for learning Mandarin Chinese. We are currently trialing it for use with Mandarin classes in our school.
In Zon, a new player assumes an avatar who arrives as a tourist in Customs at the Beijing Airport. With little more than some traveler’s checks, a passport, a backpack, and the clothes on their back, the player must first pass through Customs, then navigate the Airport on the way to their Hotel. Throughout each new scene, players are presented with various learning tasks and ongoing assessments that teach them about specific Chinese language concepts and cultural information about the context of the scene.
A new player begins as a Tourist, and can progress to Resident and Citizen levels by accomplishing various tasks in the environment.
To make their presentations even more interesting the students made video clips using the Macbook webcams about their lunch.
After the students had finished this task we went to Playnormous.com and played Lunch Crunch http://www.playnormous.com/gameplay_lunchcrunch.cfm
What a fun game! It is important that children learn about healthy eating so that they can make better food choices. Playnormous is a great site with lots of games and class activities that support the games on the site.
I made this presentation as a part of a joint paper that I wrote with these other people from my recent Masters in Education (Ed Tech). This was a wonderful learning experience in which I learned so much about online communities. Please take a look and leave a comment if you like.
Tuesday, 20 October 2009
Today via Twitter, I found a wonderful site called Storybird
It is a lovely site for children wanting to write their own stories. Storybird is a safe site as all stories are approved by the site before being made public. There are beautiful illustrations to choose from made by professional artists.
Here is an example book http://storybird.com/books/seeing-things/
Today in Grade 7 the students learned about different types of transportation. First the students wrote down all the different kinds of transportation that they had ever traveled on.
There were plenty of unusual ones like metro mini, flying fox, helicopter, skateboard and even an elephant!
The students were then asked to make a Keynote slideshow with photos and the words in pinyin.
火 车 －huo che - train
Just as this lesson was in progress a helicopter landed in the field beside our school. Of course we took advantage and got all the students to take a look and learn the words for helicopter:
直升机 － zhi sheng ji - helicopter
Monday, 19 October 2009
Sunday, 18 October 2009
Here is that list of top 10 tools by The Guardian:
4 Comment Is Free
5 BBC iPlayer
9 iTunes U
I would like to write my personal top ten list:
1. Blogs - I started blogging with a Grade 3 class back in 2006 about 4 years ago. It changed my whole perspective on teaching and learning in the digital age.
2. Macbook Pro - I bought my first Macbook 2 years ago and after only a few weeks wondered why it took me so long to convert to Mac. Needless to say I am now an Apple Distinguished Educator.
3. Facebook - this enables me to connect with childhood friends, friends who have moved overseas, family, colleagues, past students and even present students. It is the ultimate social site.
4. iPhone - it is always in my hand. To have a phone that is so tactile, carries my music, my email, my photos, my videos, connects me to the world and helps me to get to my next destination - what can I say? I love my iPhone
5. Twitter - awesome, my lifeline, my professional link to the ICT world.
6. iTunes Online Store - it's so easy and fast. Access to music, videos, podcasts and apps.
7. You Tube - I love to check out You Tube. I learn so much from how to use new software, to what's new, to something creative. Love it!
8. Google - a constant source of information - anywhere, anytime.
9. Canon Ixus - always in my handbag, ready to take any picture or video (that happens a lot!) with a sharp image result.
10. Email - I have taken this one for granted - it has almost become a 'hidden' technology.
Saturday, 17 October 2009
Today in Grade 3 the students editing a movie clip using iMovie. The current UOI is all about money systems. The video clip is one that was taken of my father shopping at the supermarket in Australia using the new self service cashier. In the previous lesson the students watched the full video clip and made their own scripts. In the lesson today the students imported the whole clip into iMovie so that they can choose one minute of footage that matches with their script. Next lesson they will add a voice over, titles and transitions.
Thursday, 15 October 2009
BTW, we love to use Starfall.com
It's an amazing online learning to read resource that's for free. The kids love it!
Many people assume that when a school has 1:1 laptop program the students are always working fully in digital media. It is important to have a balanced program that involves a mix of digital and hands on activities. Here is an example from our art department. We do a lot of work that involves mixed media.
Wednesday, 14 October 2009
Tuesday, 13 October 2009
Today I 'discovered' the Insight button. It is fascinating to be able to see how people have found your video, what countries are watching it and how many people have seen it.