22 posts categorized "eTwinning"

March 18, 2007

Congres Frans: News ways to teach and to teach yourself

Img_5112 Another packed talk on new technologies, but yesterday morning's was more about specific tools and letting the participants use their imaginations as to how they might use them to either work with the kids or just to get more savvy themselves.

The notes are in French, but obviously the links are of use to anyone new to tracking the wealth of useful information out there for teachers of languages or any other subject for that matter. Excuses pour les fautes de français ;-) I'm glad to be home after yet more time away, but Sonja, who I met while doing the ECML Blogs project 18 months ago, was kind enough to take me to the beach at Noordwijk for some brisk breezes and spectacular moonscapes (left).

Avec tellement d'information sur le web ça devient de plus en plus important de savoir comment y naviguer. Tout ce que j'ai montré ce matin est gratuit et se prête parfaitement à l'apprentissage de langues et, bien sûr, sert à former le professeur.

Firefoxscreensnapz001 1. Del.icio.us - mon réseau de liens
Tu gardes tous tes liens sur le menu 'Favoris' de votre ordinateur, où personne peut les trouver et où ils deviennent désorganisé dès qu'on y rajoute? Pas moi. Je garde tous mes liens en ligne avec le service del.icio.us où j'ai ma propre page de liens.

Chaque lien est 'étiquetté' - ou 'tagged' - avec des mots que j'ai décidé étaient les meilleurs pour les retrouver plus tard. Certains liens ont deux mots clés, d'autres ont vignt. Ça dépend du lien et pour qui c'est utile.

Pour mes classes, je peux inventer des tags particuliers: francais2e (c'est pour la classe de français '2E'). Je peux aussi mélanger plusieurs liens: poésie, contemporaine, français2e, français6f (ce lien est utile pour tout étudiant ou prof qui s'occupe de la poésie, de la poésie contemporaine, de la classe 2E, de la class 6F ou tout combinaison de ceux-ci. Tout ce que j'ai à faire c'est rajouter des tags à celui que j'ai déjà choisi pour rafiner ma recherche.

Firefoxscreensnapz002 2. GoogleDocs
Collaboration à plusieurs auteurs? Utilisez GoogleDocs. Invitez ceux qui peuvent changer le fichier 'Word' ou le tableau 'Excel' (tout est en ligne donc il n'est pas nécessaire de disposer de ces logiciels, en effet, pour visualiser les fichiers). Vous pouvez être à un, à deux, à vingt... personnes à la fois en train de rédiger le document et voir ce que les autres écrivent en même temps, même si les autres se trouvent loin dans une école partenaire, par exemple.

Firefoxscreensnapz006 3. Wiki
Wikiwiki sont les bus rapides de Hawaii. Un wiki est un site web qui peut être changé par seulement une personne à la fois. Créer une page est simple comme une clique, donc parfait pour des élèves ou des profs qui veulent créer un simple site web de ressources ou de travail. Les pages peuvent être réglées pour que tout le monde ou seulement certaines personnes puissent les changer. PBWiki ou bien Wikispaces ne sont pas mal (et gratuits).

Firefoxscreensnapz003 4. Blogs
Le centre du réseau personnel pour beaucoup de professeurs partout dans le monde. J'ai montré plein de profs anglophones avec leurs 'learning blogs' (journaux d'apprentissage) mais il en existe aussi en français - plus de liens à venir la-dessus.

Regardez les Blogroll des blogs pour trouver encore de pensées, des idées et des ressources de profs qui partagent les mêmes passions. Pour savoir créer votre propre blog allez sur le MFLE.


Firefoxscreensnapz004 5. Pageflakes pour tout tenir ensemble
On peut copier les liens trouver dans les petits boutons oranges (comme celui sur mon blog, en haut à droite) dans le 'Add Feed' de PageFlakes.com. Vous finirez avec une page qui n'arrête pas de changer. Regardez la page de East Lothian Council. Devenir membre de ce site et vous pouvez partager gratuitement vos pages avec tout le monde comme nous avons fait ici.

6. Podcaster
Faire un podcast c'est facile avec Garageband sur tous les Macintosh. Si vous voulez un logiciel qui le ressemble sur votre PC téléchargez et Audacity et LAME MP3 encoder (liens et instructions ici). La première fois que vous créez un fichier et que vous voulez le convertir en MP3 vous allez devoir montrer à Audacity où vous avez suavegardé LAME, mais c'est la seule partie difficile de ce logiciel.

Pour une bonne introduction au podcasting (en anglais) allez sur le site de ma région, Podcasting 1. Il y a aussi des idées pour faire encore mieux dans vos podcasts et des idées de structure et de pédagogie dans la partie 'Podcasting 3'.

Pour voir ce que d'autres profs de langues ont fait allez sur le MFLE.

Firefoxscreensnapz005 J'avais utilisez Google Earth pour montrer ou les professeurs écrivains se trouvaient un peut partout dans le monde. J'avais aussi 'volé' d'une photo dans Flickr à un endroit sur Google Earth en utilisant le logiciel FlickrFly. Ce dernier n'est pas le plus facile à capter la première fois qu'on utilise, mais ça vaut une petite demi-heure pour l'apprendre.

Bon courage avec vos nouvelles technologies et n'hésitez pas à me contacter avec, bien sûr, mon blog!

February 25, 2007

Open markets are the only way we can compete - and it's the same for education systems

The Director of the eTwinning Programme makes the point that in business open markets and free trade are the only ways we can operate to remain competitive. The differentiating factor that will bring one business above another is innovation. But, he says, the same is also true of education systems. We can't operate in a bubble, a closed shop, not sharing what we do - everything we do - and how we do it.

This very cosmopolitan European conference, where I've been talking shop with educators from 25 different countries and cultures, has really started to make me think about the role of one of Scotland's biggest educational projects, Glow, the national intranet. The whole concept of the intra instead of the extra- is something which seems, to me at least, to be at odds with the Commissioner's European model. It's not a knock on my part of an ambitious, exciting project, just a 'wonder'. I want it to be a success but I also want reaching out to other cultures to be a success far more.

He says: The future is ours. Let's build it together. Where will Scotland fit into this?

February 24, 2007

Flashmeeting - "better than the rest"

Flashmeeting at first glance seems to be the best video conference facility for schools. Ever.

184 schools across Europe are using Flashmeeting to collaborate using only the web, a webcam and... that's it. There's no need for any download to your computer. The video conferences are recordable, saveable, publishable. So are the chats. And the audio. You see, the audio is displayed as a separate Audacity-like track which you can edit and play with afterwards.

How can you find previously recorded and published conferences? You use their tag cloud, of course, created by the folk that use it, not by some pre-determined metadata from a bunch of boffins not using it with kids. You can also see where participants were on the accompanying marked out globes. From May you'll be able to share files in the same way other chat and video conference tools operate. PowerPoints will also be integratable to your video-conference.

As an authorised user you get free access to the system (all eTwinners are authorised). As you invite people to join the meeting all your meetings are safe and secure.

So, with technology that the whole of the world can use for education safely, securely and without any download, what is the role of Glow's video conferencing, which requires permissions to be set, I imagine, to let outsiders to get in and which also, as far as I can remember, needs a wee app to be downloaded to every machine that uses Marratech in Glow? My lack of knowledge in video conferencing means that I really don't know if there is a difference worth noting or not - I'd love to hear from someone else who really knows.

Magazine Factory - "a healthy disregard for the impossible"


  Christian Komonen, Magazine Factory 
  Originally uploaded by Edublogger.

Last night I was sharing my birthday drinks with crazy Finn Christian Komonen, the Executive Producer of Magazine Factory, a cool and beautiful looking app to help teachers and students create their own web magazines. He's a nice guy so I bit my tongue about how blogging allowed you to do all this for free and just listened.

Magazine Factory is built on open standards and encourages classical editorial management: each project has an editor in chief, an editor, journalists... Importantly for this EU audience - it's multilingual. Entirely. The sites, the software, the support, it all comes in 30 different languages including Greenlandish (is that what it's called?), German, French, Finnish (it's a Finn's product).

The Factory hub features the latest feeds from the magazines which have been created and where the teacher has decided to publish on the web. Others choose just to publish on school intranets.

Magazines can be produced to great effect, making the 'magazine' look and feel, at least, like a pretty professional mainstream media webzine. I picked off the Cooking Magazine and thought it looked nice.

I'm still left wondering what the difference is with a blog. It's a blog with no RSS, no feed, no comments, no .... you get the picture. But it is a nice community and it's multilingual, so collaboration across the continents is made easier. The layout of the finished page and the way the interface is structured for the editors suits small teams working in classrooms. And as I write this Christian's keeping on asking people what could be done to improve it - his potential users have already got themselves more templates, a PDF printing option and a tweak for Internet Explorer 5.5. At the end of the day, when everything web 2.0 seems to be a commodity, it's having guys like Christian on call that make (largely free) products like this worth opting into for some projects.

Animating with Oscar Stringer

Img_4759 Teachers' main error with animation is that they, or the kids, start out with an idea that is too complex to achieve. If it's too complex it will defeat you. Here are some simple ideas for animation:

  • How tos: How to make a mummy (useful afterwards as a teaching tool for younger students)
  • Animate objects: A love story about two pairs of shoes.
  • Tell a story everyone knows
  • Don't feel you need language: animation is a way to avoid the need for the spoken word since the images can say it all.

In today's animation workshop ICanAnimate is going to be used to create some claymation (stop motion animation). Another pay-for tool is StopMotionPro. One tool I didn't know about is the Open Source SMAnimator, a free to use application that works well, even has the 'onion-skinning' that you need to see where your character was in the last frame in relation to where he was in the previous one. There's also MonkeyJam.

The workshop intro and some more of Oscar can be seen on the videos on his website.

Some animation tips:

  • Pauses: in music, silence is important. In Dance, stillness is important. In animation we need pauses before action to accentuate the action that's about to happen.
  • Animating multiple features: animating every feature of a model (eyes, arms, feet...) makes the character look 'fast and furious', jumpy. Limit the kids' concentration to animating one thing at a time.
  • Blinks and winks: remove eyes, and pop them back on after three frames.
  • Planning: Oscar's leaving some big pauses (he's just left 18 frames for a special effect he'll add later). This is because he knows what's coming up. Planning is vital to knowing what you're doing, but the collaboration that takes place on the hoof is just as important. Let the kids alter the detail of the story - it's fun.
  • Instant gratification: Look back at what you've done regularly. Give the kids the instant gratification and the time to peer review, criticise and change things if they are not happy - let them get it the way they want it. Actually - get out of their way ;-)
  • Keep models simple: bold design with not too much detail - let the camera have a focus of attention.
  • Add visuals before adding sound effects: it's easier
  • Keep transitions simple: advise the kids to keep transitions to a simple minimum. They tell the viewer when the beginning and end of a scene are taking place. That's all.
  • Animation is 60% sound: Sound effects and voices are not the 'icing on the cake'. They make the film, they bring it to life. You can get some nice sound effects from FindSounds.com
  • Share it: Use the bluetooth on your Mac (or PC Bluetooth adaptor) to send the finished film to one student who can then send it to others around the class. Give them ownership of their own film.
  • Advert-length films: Keep films to that length - somebody's got to watch that film in the end ;-)
  • Visual representations of emotions: much more fun than words

Oscar Stringer coming up today on edu.blogs.com

After recording some nice short segments with Stephen Heppell yesterday I'll be grabbing Oscar Stringer later on to talk about how he sees animation fitting into our less-than-Heppell-like timetables and classrooms. How can a teacher with the constraints of the 40-minute period and meaningless high-stakes assessment find the courage to get animated?

322145357_17b0b001ce This conference has so far been great, meeting lots of old friends and seeing some new projects using the very technologies we've been showcasing in the past two or three years of eTwinning workshops. If you like, I've been able to see the impact of those sessions on blogging and podcasting - they do have some effect! ;-)

I've also had a lovely birthday. Yes, border control do read passports and can sometimes smile to wish you a nice day when they notice the dates match up. And thanks, too, to the nice guys at Bar Manneken who made sure my glass wasn't empty of Kwak (pictured). Manneken Pis is actually this - going to a bar named after a peeing boy was a first for me but jolly good it was.

February 23, 2007

Q&A with Heppell

School:
Don't talk to anyone while you work. Don't copy the work of those who've done the same thing before you. Make sure you have all the stuff you need to know in your head.

Business or Work:
Talk to everyone, try to copy what they do and build on it, know how to find out the information you need. Be ingenious!
____

Teachers reaching the end of their careers are often those who are most excited about the changes and opportunities in education. Is this because they are finally being released of the shackles of conformity that they have had their whole career? Is there a way to liberate teachers from this before they reach 60?
____

Some people think technology is just about doing what we do already quicker, neater or with more colour. It's more useful to think about learning in terms of what we can do now that we couldn't do before thanks to technology, building, space, more thinking.
____

Vocabulary is a heck of a barrier to making changes : 'Not School' had huge effects on the performance of kids because the learning wasn't learning. Learners were researchers.

Stephen Heppell at eTwinning: 21st Century Learning

Img_4748 Heppell's hypercarding again, and hitting the nerve where it matters.

School buildings, timetables where one subject is studied for a month at a time, libraries made from honeycomb, air-filled balloons to give privacy to learners, people taking risks because they realise that the riskiest thing they can do is do what we did last century.

  • 1997: We built BIG things to DO things for OTHERS
    We had national curriculums, central control. We deliver curriculum, we deliver stuff.
  • 2007: We build THINGS to help PEOPLE to HELP EACH OTHER
    The Creative Archive, eBay, YouTube. We communicate, we mentor, we twin up, we help, we don't want content, we want to interact.

Some phenomena - do they matter?

  • Img_4752 YouTube: A 12 year old can be world champion cup stacker. Everyone's excited in the video, except for the mum ;-) Kids are still keen to be the best, they are proud of their excellence and want to share it, they can share it, and schools' attempts to limit this power are, at best, futile.
  • YouTube: CMTV is YouTubed podcast video from a school. It's simple, it's effective, the whole school watch it, a third of parents watch it. It's better than assembly, so much so that they don't do assemblies any more. It's produced by kids for kids.
  • TeachersTV: A content producer, creating programmes to help teachers to do their jobs better. One of the biggest growth sectors in its audience? Kids. They watch it, they want to learn what it could be like to be taught in a particular way.
  • Mobiles: China in 2002 had 200,000 phones. In 2007 China adds 200,000 more phones daily.
  • Homemade video: 60-second videos are celebrated at international cinema events, like Bafta.
  • Knowledge and content don't matter: Why do PC World sell Encyclopedia Brittania for 99pence? Who knows? Knowledge is free on the web so knowledge can't and shouldn't be sold. It's what is done with knowledge that's worth money. [Ewan - Do we teach our kids to 'do stuff' with their knowledge?]
  • Buy Essays Online vs Free Essays Online - which one wins a GoogleFight?
    Could we not start asking our students to critique others' essays and give their reasons for grading them themselves as students?

School buildings

  • Toilets in back of every classroom: kids need to drink water to concentrate, kids need the toilet, kids need a toilet near the place of learning. Performance of kids who drink more water rises 15-20%
  • Classrooms designed by students, architected by students and with no 'front', just a wide length-long door open to the grass outside.

Education 2.0 - Education 1.0
We can't expect schools do meet the kind of targets being set by copying the tactics of those reaching them already. Every school is different. Teachers need to be empowered to go and research what will work for their culture. That means they will discover new things.

After all, we wouldn't go to the dentists and wish it was "like it was when I was a wean".

Why should we not measure the happiness of children as they leave school? Has the process contributed to their happiness, their enrichment, beyond academic results? We need a learnometer.

Education 2.0 is really something that should feel very comfortable for most people, like Learning 1.0. It's maybe just that some have forgotten the excitement you can feel when you're learning rather than being taught.

"Once upon a blog"

Great wee blog and podcast collaborative project between an Irish and Maltese school, Once Upon A Blog is worth a look and a listen.

EuroDrawing - culture, record-breaking and art


  EuroDrawing in action 
  Originally uploaded by Edublogger.

15 countries have been involved in drawing a 150 metre picture in the EuroDrawing project, with kids from nations as far apart as Lithuania, Poland, France and beyond collaborating on the world's longest picture. A la Olympic Games, each time the painting got handed over to someone else to add on to the students met Face-to-Face, had an exchange if you like, and shared each other's cultures in person as well as through art.

It's one of these low-tech/no-tech type projects that makes you want to be part of it. I hope they get a website up eventually with a Quicktime VR or something similar so that we can get a flavour of it.

About Ewan

Ewan McIntosh is the founder of NoTosh, the no-nonsense company that makes accessible the creative process required to innovate: to find meaningful problems and solve them.

Ewan wrote How To Come Up With Great Ideas and Actually Make Them Happen, a manual that does what is says for education leaders, innovators and people who want to be both.

What does Ewan do?

Module Masterclass

School leaders and innovators struggle to make the most of educators' and students' potential. My team at NoTosh cut the time and cost of making significant change in physical spaces, digital and curricular innovation programmes. We work long term to help make that change last, even as educators come and go.

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