Facebook recently updated their Groups feature. Allowing finer control over groups which you set up, who can join, who can post, who can share etc.. Their are also improvements to how you are notified about group updates and a new feature called ‘docs’ that provides a Google Docs-esque shared notepad / document. Group chat is also built in allowing you to talk to everyone in that group at once. For a demonstration head over to Mashable or watch this video:
I was honoured to be invited to Becta-X (the x stands for exchange) during the Easter break. The conference brought together 75 leading educators and 75 leading people from the Media sector. Thanks to @TomBarrett for getting me the invite – truly much appreciated.
The aims of the day were:
The way the digital media industry influences young people is both a threat and a real opportunity to education. As part of its “Fit for the Future” programme Becta has asked Just-b. Productions to independently bring together thinkers and doers from both these two worlds
We hope this participatory and distributed forum will break down walls between these two sectors, between big and small, between speaker and delegate, between real and remote participants and create fresh thinking on all sides.
I’ll not describe the entire order of events, if you want the details or indeed just the perspectives of others then please have a skim through some of these posts from other educators who were in attendance:
As you will see from those posts there was some discussion and reflection afterwards as to how much of a success the event was. My 2-cents worth: Continue reading
Inspired by Simon Job, this is a post about how I surf the torrential tidal wave of information that is out there on the Internet, how I filter it down into a manageable stream to consume and how I save the best bits for later.
I have been using Google Reader for the last 3 years or so to read the latest updates from my favourite websites and blogs. I have just spent about the last 4 hours tidying up my list of 400+ websites which I follow after reading an article on Lifehacker about how to declutter and streamline you google reader inbox.
I’ve split this little guide into three sections:
- How I read just the best bits of the Web that I want, filtering out the noise.
- How I save the best bits to read later or for future reference.
- How I find retrieve my archived information.
I’d be fascinated to hear how you filter the Web to your liking, and whether any of this was of use to you
Simon Job has created a great little graphic to explain this process:
Go and read it.
I threw my lesson plan out of the window and did exactly what Tom did, here are the replies: (click through for them all)
This caused great excitement and interest in the topic, and really helped us look in to the language and mathematics of describing chance.
This class have really been inspired with the idea of my network, I had to stop them spending the rest of the lesson bombarding you all with further questions! Bringing global connections into the classroom is a real attention grabber, and like it or not we are entertainers!
Nothing more to say – thanks Tom – a great idea, and thanks to everyone who contributed to the lesson.
I had an observation lesson today and decided to pull out all the technology tricks! We happened to be at a point in the scheme of work looking at data handling and collecting data in particular. I decided I’d develop the Questionnaires lesson which I used at interview last year. 60 minutes should be enough to do it more justice.
So here’s the plan:
- Discuss data quality based on previous lesson
- Tweet a link to my questionnaire and a Wallwisher for feedback on the questions
- Fill out my questionnaire full of deliberate mistakes in class
- Look at the live data spreadsheet
- Groups look at the data for one question, suggest problems with the data collected, and suggest improvements to the data.
- Discuss findings, looking at key points of: Leading Questions, Bias, Open/Closed Qs, Personal Qs, Options Boxes, Group boundaries etc.
- Look at Twitter feedback on Wallwisher, compare to our own thoughts
- Each team leaves one learning point on our own Wallwisher.
- Compile new Qs into anew Questionnaire
I had a great time on Friday night at BBC 21CC in Salford at Teachmeet NW. I presented briefly on Google Forms as per my previous blog post and listened to a wide variety of great presentations. I’ve collected all the links and chats from the evening together on the wiki. And, although it went against the ‘talk only on what you’ve done in the classroom’ Teachmeet rule, I did a very brief demo of Google Wave. Let’s be honest, I knew the ever-so-slightly geeky audience would like to see it!
But this got me round to thinking, how do we expand Teachmeets beyond the geeks? Almost every person in that room on Friday was on Twitter, had a blog etc etc.. I emailed all staff at my school on Monday about Teachmeet, a few took the proverbial out of me, a few said it sounded great, ‘but on a Friday night?’, in the end – nobody came.
Not all online learning networks actually thrive, here’s a tale of a failed attempt by myself:
I have been involved with a couple of projects in Manchester as part of a collaborative of schools from across the city. Part of this was the continuation of the LEMA project and the creation of some great resources that I have discussed elsewhere.
During this work the idea of an online space for sharing links, ideas and resources was mooted. I jumped at the suggestion and went to work looking for a solution. A Ning was the first obvious idea, I’ve been part of some excellent examples over recent years, although my use of them has dwindled since Twitter invaded my time.
One of the key requirements for the website was the ability to store files, Ning can’t do this inherently. We could have used another online file hosting service and linked to it, but many of these are blocked by school and LA filtering systems. Having ruled out Ning, I found a similar competitor called Grou.ps . This startup seemed to offer all that we needed, a space for sharing links and resources, a forum and blog posts if things really took off.
Interview reflection: Part 1:
I was successful in my interview for the post of Director of E-Learning at Stretford High School, I’m delighted and thoroughly looking forward to starting in September.
The day obviously went well, my lesson was praised as being good with many outstanding features, I’ll reflect upon that in Part 2 of this mini-series of posts. Further to this my presentation was praised as being excellent and the interview went well despite my apparent nerves.
I must thank everyone who helped me directly and indirectly to get to this point. I turned to my Twitter network on numerous occasions whilst researching and writing for my application form and whilst putting together my presentation. I must thank everyone who offered advice or opinion, it was all invaluable.