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Showing posts from December, 2010

Using Montage: possible classroom application

Montage is a new development by Microsoft Fuse Labs . I spotted a link from Dave Garland and have had some time to play around with the app. Here’s a quick video about the features: Here is a quick video of features: Montage allows users to sign up via their Microsoft Live, facebook or Twitter accounts, so sign up is easy. Then it’s  a cse of entering a search term in the dialogue box. This is an example of what arrives.  The search results look and feel like a magazine, but each section is editable in terms of it’s content and display.  I was a little disappointed to see that Montage is very USA biased, and I hope that an option to limit searches within UK search results is available soon.  I also noticed that quite a lot of the content is quite commercial. Having said this, I can see a number of potential uses for this, especially as users are able to edit, save and publish their Montages. The link could be put into a blog and shared with a class, although the ap

Using technology in the field – match this photo

A simple but effective way of engaging young people in the field is to challenge them to replicate a photograph.  In this case, the task is impossible as the Barton-on-Sea cliff is so unstable, the sign above has vanished.  This can lead to a discussion about why the photograph couldn’t be matched. This technique can also add a little bit of time and stop pupils rushing through a fieldwork site. For example, this image: or this one: requires students to really explore a location. Of course, it also helps to have an edible food prize!

Reflections on UKIEF10: I’m too innovative, get me out of here……

As I sat on stage as part of the panel Q&A with the other Microsoft Innovative Education Forum workshop hosts, I wondered what would happen.  Apart from immortalising the Movember tash, there were two interesting questions. I’m not aware of the full context of each, nor the full question, but thought I’d share some thoughts here. I’m too innovative to use Microsoft. The first question was quite interesting and reminded me of the reverse snobbery that I was surrounded with growing up in the Welsh mining valleys. My answer was fairly straightforward, and from the point of view of a classroom practitioner and curriculum leader with no interest in selling anyone’s products.  I have witness teachers being innovative with a single piece of paper. One A4 poly pocket. I have been involved in an innovative lesson that used nothing else apart from little architect model people.  The message is that you don’t need technology to be innovative. I don’t see the logic is ruling

Reflections on UKIEF10: Keynote: Michael Furdyk

The first keynote of the day was from Michael Furdyk , who was introduced as someone who just makes you feel inadequate! You can certainly see why ! The co-founder of TakingITGlobal had an inspiring tale to tell, and one that has powerful implications for education. Firstly, it’s worth taking a look at this TED Talk highlighted and used by Michael during his talk: Trust is an issue in school when we need to let go – this puts up some barriers when it comes to co-construction of learning or indeed, adults learning from young people. There are a lot of links here to projects such as Digital Leaders where young people become the experts and driving force. The question is, why aren’t we showing videos such as this in assemblies? Two features of Michael’s talk hit me quite hard. The way in which he acknowledged the role of having supportive parents and a flexible, supportive school system was clear. I have no idea how the UK education system can be as flexible as described by

Reflections on UKIEF10: Keynote: Professor Sugata Mitra

I often like to leave it a little while before writing about keynotes and workshops. This allows the initial ‘WOW that is cooler than last year’s pants!!’ factor to subside and to allow some reflection back in the real work of school! Often, if it’s still with me a few days later, then it’s far more likely to have an impact.  What follows is purely informed by classroom teaching, and assumes that in the academic world it is both right and necessary to question assumptions!! The second keynote of Microsoft’s Innovative Education Forum was delivered by Professor Sugata Mitra .  I was also lucky enough to see him speak at the European Innovative Education Forum in Berlin last March. I was even more lucky to be able to pick his brains over a few glasses of wine. I can honestly say, that each occasion has impacted upon my practice. The Professor’s work is inspiring and presents a number of challenges to normal thinking in UK education. Firstly, for those that may not be familiar with

An overview of my Microsoft Innovative Education Forum Learning adventure.

Not long after the dust has settled on the 2010 UK Innovative Teacher Forum and I find some time to reflect and post the resources used. The event this year was held in Manchester and I would like to congratulate the UK Partners in Learning Team for putting together another event that was characterised by learning conversations.  There seemed to be a real buzz throughout the two days.  I am also very excited, happy and proud to have one of the Geography team here at Priory School selected as one of the European Award Winners.  Jo Debens (@GeoDebs) will be heading to Moscow in March next year. She will also be presenting at the Geographical Association’s Annual Conference about the project.  The Space Explorers: Place Creators project focused on empowering young people to make decisions and engage with change. Well done Jo! Check out Jo’s posts about the project here: What follows is an overview of my personal adventure through the event.

It’s the 1st of December!

Which means the end of Movember! I raised £250 overall, and our team (No Mo Fo) raised over £800.  Thank you to all who supported me!