Tag-Archive for ◊ delicious ◊

An idea that grew and grew
Saturday, July 24th, 2010 | Author:

I blogged a couple of weeks back about my new vision for our VLE. This has been implemented across 400+ primary schools here in Hampshire and I have been working away on the shared area recently trying to populate it with content and useful resources. One thing that has worked really well is the use of Delicious.

Now as you may know, Delicious is a great way of storing websites for use anywhere, it certainly beats the old way of just storing them on your browser on your home PC. I started a county-wide account a few months back, and this has gone down very well with people I’ve shown it to. The next step is to share it with a wider audience. That’s where the RSS feed comes in.

I started by using the RSS reader in Studywiz to ‘collect’ all websites that were tagged with a certain word and put this RSS feed into that area in the shared group. For example, http://delicious.com/hampshirebookmarks/football has all of our websites that are tagged with ‘football’. This page has an RSS feed and our VLE can take this and display a list of the sites. Nice 🙂

One problem is that I don’t have many websites on the county Delicious account yet, I need more. I know that Parkfield have LOADS of websites, so I start doing the same for those. Very nice indeed 🙂

I was content to leave it at that until I saw a tweet from @primarypete_ where he mentioned networks.

He said: (I’m) changing way I use Delicious. Out with google reader of new links. In with big network of educator users to search: http://bit.ly/b0aTbe

This got me thinking. Could I build a network of teachers too? Obviously I’d borrow some that Pete had, so I did. Within a few minutes I had a few responses to my tweet asking for help and then via Delicious I found more. I now have a network of 10 within about 2 minutes. That’s 10 schools/people that are sharing websites with me. So now back to the VLE, I’m now collecting the RSS feeds of my network’s websites instead of individual schools. This should make it much easier for teachers to find useful websites!

Couple of downsides though. When you are searching through your network’s tags, it doesn’t show them as a drop-down menu. So I need to check food_chains, food-chains and foodchains to make sure I have them all.

Also, I’ve found that lots of people neglect the comment/description box. So I have a list of websites but you have to visit some to understand what they are.

So what started as a way of sharing websites, has now grown into a massive library of websites found by teachers and shared with others. Fantastic!

Our network can be found here: http://delicious.com/network/hampshirebookmarks

So, does your VLE have an RSS reader? Could you share your links with staff that way?

TeachMeet Hampshire…the aftermath pt2
Sunday, May 23rd, 2010 | Author:

After discussing the event as a whole here, I thought I should talk about the high quality of the presentations from all involved. They were truly amazing. Sometimes at TeachMeets, there can be talks that are a bit weaker than others and some that might not be relevant to primary or to secondary, but at TMHants, we didn’t have this at all.

As mentioned, none of our presenters had presented at a Teachmeet before and the old adage of ‘Attend a Teachmeet, present at your second’ was true for some presenters such as Charlie Deane, Jo Rhys-Jones and Jon Audain.

The evening kicked off with a presentation from Hannah Knight from Horndean Infant School, Hannah avoided the fruit machine as she had to rush off early. Hannah uses a different VLE to most of Hampshire, yet this is irrelevant, the pedagogy is the important thing (as Emma Goto always tells me to say!) It is true though, there is very little difference between most VLEs and some of Hannah’s examples were amazing. I love the idea of filming ‘Guy Fawkes’ introducing a topic or Father Christmas having a VLE login so the children can interact with him. I wish Hannah could have carried on talking to really win over the VLE doubters! Horndean won a Becta Excellence Award in 2009, so please do take 5 minutes to watch the video. If you have any questions for Hannah, email me and I’ll pass them on.

Ok, so Hannah was done and the fruit machine could now come in to play…I don’t remember the exact order people came on, but will do my best.

Charlie Deane (@charliedeane) talked about her class blog and the power that it has had in her Y3 class. She started a blog with a bit of nagging from me and a lot of encouragement and inspiration from @oliverquinlan and his TMBett talk. Oliver’s blogs are here. Charlie talked about sharing children’s learning, improving enthusiasm and the fact that Pie Corbett himself has commented on a blog post! Not bad for a blog that is only three months old.

Jon Audain (@jonaudain) was covering for Phil Bagge (@baggiepr) as Phil was unable to attend. Jon began the first of his two presentations talking about the excellent e-book site MyEBook. I first saw this a few months ago after seeing a link from @colport, his books are here. MyEbook lets you add text, pictures and sound or simply convert a pdf and it makes a whizzy little e-book for your children or parents to look at. Why not upload children’s writing or create a school prospectus? Check out Jon’s examples or Phil’s examples. As Jon said, his children’s writing has been seen by 8000 people, truly powerful stuff!

Then came one of my highlights, no sooner had Jon got back to his table, the random fruit machine called him up again!

Jon then went on to talk about art packages and about the simplicity of Sumo Paint. He showed how he used Sumo as part of his Superhero topic, he then wowed us with his artistic ability and created a house which he quickly changed perspective on to make a tiled effect and this could quite easily have been from another planet. Sumo is a great package, why buy anything else when this one is free?? He also talked about the ‘create a Martian’ app he’s been playing with on his ipod touch and how the children used this to give their superhero an enemy. Jon’s presentation is available here.

Emma Goto (@emmagoto) talked about the power of using Bird Boxes to enhance her KS1 classroom. Full details of the Bird Box project can be found here. Emma discussed the impact that the birds had on the children’s writing and showed a 4 year old’s writing which had sentences, lots of words spelt correctly and full stops. Very good indeed! But nothing can top the excitement of your birdbox getting some visitors and being able to watch them online. This is something well worth looking in to and I will definitely be doing this in my school next year.

As mentioned in my previous post, I was starting to worry as a few presenters pulled out for various reasons. So I called on Twitter and asked the excellent Pete Richardson (@primarypete_) if he had time to knock together a video for us. On the night, we didn’t ‘need’ his video as time was running along nicely, but I couldn’t ask for something and then ignore it, so we showed it. And Malcolm became a star.

Please do take 2 minutes to watch this video. Malcolm the mole came on the screen to discuss Pete’s project, MOLE. The idea is that there is a map of the UK and it highlights different trips, residentials and places to visit. There are so many places you can go on a trip with your class, but schools tend to stick to what they know, Malcolm showed us that maybe we could explore instead. Great idea and I thank Pete for his hard work in making the video for us, Malcolm was definitely the star of the night. Please do go and add a pin to Pete’s map to help build up this collection of places to visit. Pete’s other presentation on the power of Prezi is here

During my presentation I talked about the use of social bookmarking. I was shown this by Kristian Still a couple of years ago and then did nothing with it until last year. Why save your bookmarks on different PCs? Why write down your favourite websites on a notepad? Why not share them? Delicious lets you share websites. We have started an account that I hope will become a Hampshire-wide account, but who knows. For now, there are about 250 websites that might be useful. Check it out here and my previous blog post about it here.

Kristian still (@kstill) showed how Xtranormal can be used within the classroom. His class were talking about the use of multimedia (we were told “that’s when there are multiple different media used in one go”) and explained this using movies created in Xtranormal. This could be used for a wide-range of different curriculum areas and you could see people excited by the potential. This is the great thing about TeachMeet, I’d heard of it before, but never really seen it. Now I want to go and play!

Paul Emecz (@emecz) discussed using Studywiz galleries for assessment, discussion and as a general collaborative tool. I understand that this may have alienated some of the attendees, but most of them use Studywiz and some of the principles could be transferred to just using pictures. Some of the pictures showed difficult images and allowing the children to discuss these can be very powerful. As we have mentioned many times on studywiz training, the gallery is by far the best tool. So many uses and so easy to set up!

Philip Griffin (@pilgram) joined us from Reading to discuss using handheld mobile devices in the classroom. The children were using Nokia tablets to aid their writing. Unfortunately the devices they were using are no longer available, but the principle is the same with others and I know some schools are using ipod touches and similar. The quality of their writing was very good and they obviously enjoyed using them!

Helen Caldwell (@helencvital) from our sponsors Vital, talked about the power of green-screening in primary. I have to admit that I was too busy looking at the amazing effects to take note of the software used. I have sent Helen a message and will update this when I find out. The green-screening allowed you to take pictures of children and then change the background from a green screen to another world or a dinosaur or whatever your imagination will allow! This seemed good and people were happy, but then Helen showed the video and jaws dropped. How about changing the background for a whole sequence of animation? We watched as a child swam under the sea. Truly amazing and I wish I paid more attention of how to do it rather than just staring at the screen.

Voicethread is mentioned a lot and I must admit rather sheepishly, I have never played with it. Jo Rhys-Jones (@jowinchester) showed how to use it and I loved it. Voicethread allows you to upload a stimulus such as a piece of writing or artwork and then to add a commentary around it. Jo’s example is here and she has her children discussing a piece of art. She also showed using different languages to commentate on the screen. I must find some time to go and play with it! For more examples, check out Pete’s blog here or David Mitchell’s (@deputymitchell) blog here.

Another tool I’ve seen but am still yet to play with, is Scratch. this lets you create games, move characters around and really bring some excitement to your Control lessons. I know a lot of primary schools use Flowol, but why not throw in some Scratch? Fred Crowson (@fcbsd) showed some possibilities of its use, including animating a basketball move to show in PE when discussing tactics! Fantastic idea! One idea that came from the video stream was using Scratch to create a ‘Going on a Bear Hunt’ game in KS1.

Some Scratch helpsheets and guides:

Like I said, these were all truly amazing presentations by some wonderful, inspiring teachers. I would like to thank them all again and hope that they will present next time…or better yet, some of the non-presenters from tmhants will get up instead!

Stop, Collaborate and Listen…
Sunday, February 28th, 2010 | Author:
Collaboration is a funny thing. As you may know, I train teachers at the moment and I would say currently, 90% of my days are used training on using the VLE. We talk about sharing and collaborating all of the time. Teachers think it sounds like a great idea, but who’s going to start it?
We are a large authority, I believe 2nd behind Kent, but collaboration across our schools isn’t great at the moment. Is it because teachers don’t want to? Is it because they don’t know how? Not sure. I tend to work with ICT teachers and people that have already been ‘won over’ by technology, so maybe my audience is a little biased, but even so, they still worry about sharing being time consuming.
Within our VLE, we do have a shared area that can house content created by teachers, but it is still very limited. If/when this takes off, it will be great, but is there a quick win I can achieve? I believe so.
Through my job, and more importantly, through Twitter, I am finding tonnes of useful websites and resources that need to be shared. Have I used all of them? Of course not, but I now know about them. Most are stored on my Delicious account for sorting later, but at least they are there. So if I find storing websites useful, maybe others will too? Imagine the power if all 440 of our primary schools shared websites amongst each other? To be honest, if 10 of them shared, it will be a good start!
So that’s where Hampshire Delicious comes in. I’ve started the account and it’s currently going through the management team to check they are on board, but if they’re not? I’ll push it anyway. It’ll be harder, but it will work for those that want it to.
The key I believe is not just in standardised tagging (KS2? Key Stage 2? KS 2?) but with the notes element. This will be extremely useful for teachers to see what the site is about rather than them having to wade through it to explore.
At the time of writing, it has 12 websites on it. 2 of those being guidance notes or a video of how to save bookmarks. By the end of the week I want 50. By then I should be ready to start launching it. Will it work? Will it change the way teachers find websites and resources? Will they see it as another thing to do? Who knows. But if I don’t try it, we’ll never know.
So…what do you think my problems will be? What will be the main benefits? Would it be something you would want to use/add to? I’ll hopefully be writing the communication to schools about it before Easter.
Just because it is a Hampshire Delicious account doesn’t mean it can’t be shared wider. The username and password is there for all to see on the guidance, so feel free to add a site or two (maybe your blog?) to it. I trust my network to use it wisely.
Why not check it out so far… www.delicious.com/hampshirebookmarks
If you want to see a huge Delicious resource, check out @simonhaughton’s account: www.delicious.com/parkfield I want to emulate this, but with notes about each site to help teachers a bit further.
ps. I sort of apologise for the Vanilla Ice-inspired title to this post, but hey…it made me smile.
ICT Cluster Spring 1 – Roundup Pt1
Wednesday, February 03rd, 2010 | Author:

So, another ICT cluster has finished and this one seemed to fly by like a whirlwind! I think I probably tried fitting too much into a short space of time. I promise next session I will slow down and give more playing time! (and find a room with a decent projector)
So here is a round-up of some of the things we did, and didn’t, cover. I will also send this out on twitter and hopefully people will add examples below too.

The purpose of this session was to show you some of the exciting websites that I have found recently, the majority through Twitter. These range from time-saving to collaboration-based tools. After meeting with some teachers before Christmas and one of them stating that there seemed to be a lack of innovation from Lead Teachers and above, I thought I’d try my best to lead by example. Who knows if it worked or not!

So, what did we look at? (BTW, all of these are free.)

Delicious – http://www.delicious.com/
Examples: www.delicious.com/ianaddison or www.delicious.com/parkfield
What does it do?
It allows you to store websites and favourites online so that they can be accessed from anywhere. Now this might sound like a small thing for some people, but if you think a bit bigger, such as creating a school account like @simonhaughton has done, then collaboration becomes much easier. I showed this at an inset day at the start of term and the teachers added their favourite sites, within an hour we had 50 websites for them to share. even amongst this small number of teachers, they were all adding websites that others hadn’t heard of. This means that next time they want to find a site for poetry, it might have been found by someone already. Very useful indeed. Next step? What about a Hampshire-wide account? hhmmm..might need some thought!
Top Tip
If you create a school account, make sure you decide on the tags beforehand. Otherwise, you’ll end up with KS2, KS 2 and Key Stage 2.

PrimaryPad http://www.primarypad.com/
What does it do?
Primary Pad is a tool that allows you to upload a word document or start from scratch and then have multiple users adding to and editing the document at the same time. Sounds chaotic? It can be. But now that @johnmclear has limited it to 6 people per pad, it works brilliantly for small groups of children. We have used in Hants to plan testing for Wizkid, we were all online plotting our next steps in real-time. It’s quite a lot of fun too!
Possible Uses
Why not get the children to collaborate on a story or piece of writing? Poetry? Playscript?
What about teachers editing a policy?
Top Tip
Go to www.primarypad.com/whateverwordyoulike and providing someone hasn’t put that word on there before, you can make a new pad. This means that you can have a pad tailored for your class or group, much easier to remember than using the random letters at the end!
Also, let the children try it first, then decide on rules. They can edit and delete each others work, so session 2 may need some rules!

Wordlehttp://www.wordle.net/
What does it do?
Wordle takes a selction of words you have typed or pasted and create a collage of them with the more frequent words appearing larger than the others. The best way to see this is to copy and paste a news article from a site such as http://www.bbc.co.uk/ and then try to see the key words of the article. I showed this using Andy Murray’s match report and the key words were ‘Murray’, ‘Tennis’ and ‘Open’. Useful to see if a child has written one word more than the others.
Possible Uses
Why not ask the children to list different words for ‘said’ or ‘walked’? Write the main word e.g. ‘said’ 3/4 times, then the others will appear smaller. Great for a vocabulary display or a way of creating a wordbank before starting a poem.
Top Tip
When typing words, put ~ between them. This way, the words stay together e.g. once~upon~a~time would stay together as a phrase. Perfect for story starters! More tips can be found at www.delicious.com/ianaddison/wordle

Part 2 will follow with Wallwisher, MyEBook and Animoto as well as details of Home Access

My Information Dilemma
Monday, December 21st, 2009 | Author:

I’ve been having a tough time figuring out what to do. I want to share ideas with people and try and give them one place to look for them. I have my Twitter feed. This is generally followed by strangers or friends found through Twitter. I also have this blog which was set up because everyone seemed to be blogging and I wasn’t. I thought it would be good to see what it was all about. Then I have my website. This is a Joomla-based website for my ICT Cluster. As well as the day job, I run an ICT cluster for around 50 schools. Some meetings we get 15 people, some we get 50. I wanted them to have somewhere to go to find out information, but none of them use Twitter.
So what’s the solution?
Maybe I should cut-down the website completely and just have cluster and ICT Mark information? The rest of the site is less important and was put on there to help fill it up a bit.
Maybe I should point them all to this blog? For now I have put the links on the blog page so that they can use my Twitter feed or delicious links if they wish. But it still lacks a space to give ICT mark information or useful dates.
Maybe I should have the invite/agenda of cluster meetings as a blog post, they can then use the labels/tags to find cluster agendas?

Any suggestions?

Ps: Jack Bauer interrogating Santa. Very funny, but a couple of rude words http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6yUCbqAGrg