May 28, 2008

How would you use my visualiser...?

 ...And the best suggestion on how to use it over the next week will get one. On my continuing posts from last week's adventures, I must let you know about something I won.

I never win anything, so I was quite excited to win one of the new generation of visualisers at the TeachMeetcharity raffle, courtesy of the Visualiser Forum, represented by Dave Smith. You know, the ones you see in lecture halls and being used by Edward de Bono during his talks.

Basically, though, it's sitting in London, waiting for a home with someone who would use it far more frequently and far better than I would. I want to give it away. To know who would use it best, I'd like to open up the opportunity to my blog reading colleagues in the UK (simply for ease of getting hold of the thing) to write a quick comment on this post telling me how on earth you would put this visualiser to use in your context. Feel free to email the blog post address to colleagues and put in a group effort, on several different comments. The best one - for me - wins.

If you want some ideas you might want to check out the new Visualiser Forum blog, a community blog pulling together ideas from kinds of disciplines and levels. Currently, the large pristine box is sitting in an office just off London's Central Line and, ideally, you would be able to pick it up from there. In the meantime, tell me what you would do with this.

Pic: Lectern


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Visualisers obviously come into their own when you need to give an individual, ie close-up, demonstration to the whole class, but without having to do so for each pupil.

But you can raise the bar a bit by integrating it with other applications, as in the following example:

1. Demonstrate cutting an apple in half to show the seeds close up.

2. Take a snapshot of the exposed seeds.

3. Import the snapshot into your word processor and annotate it.

4. Save and print your newly-produced worksheet/aid-memoire.

I may have heard about that sort of thing before, so can't necessarily claim originality.

Another example:

1. Show something close -up. Perhaps something in an early stage of development.

2. Use an electronic voting system to ask the pupils what is likely to happen next.

3. Show the object in its next stage of development.


OK, where do I pick up my visualiser?


I thought about this the other day in class. We were doing an Art lesson modelling the face of John Lennon - dont ask! Up to my neck in clay and wanting to scream because all the children had to crowd around to see what I was doing it suddenly occured to me how uesful a visualiser would be in that situation. To be able to show the children exactly what to do on a big screen at their desks would make my life far easier.

In fact this could be used in so many practical ways in the primary classroom, instantly showing good work etc

I know that its not all singing and dancing, but it's the practical use of technology to build on good teaching that already exists - that to me is the whole essence of ICT in the classroom!

I tried one of these out a while and really enjoyed it - just couldn't justify the expense of actually buying one!

I only had it for a week and in that time I was:
- sharing good biological diagrams in my advanced level textbooks with higher classes.
- displaying work such as diagrams & mind maps created by pupils, with the class and discussing them.
- displaying demonstrations of experiments involving colour changes, and taking pictures of the results.

In future, it could also be used to:
- show dissections of organs.
- show the phenotype characteristics of fruit flies to higher pupils.
- combine diagrams/concept maps - i.e. pupils produce a section each/in pairs which is then displayed, captured and eventually combined.

Just a few thoughts...

I saw these being used in Finland where there was one in every classroom in the schools I visited. I think though, that I would use it for pupils to do regular show and tell/ mini teaching sessions where they came up and demonstrated something or described a concept using their own objects or designs. I think this is a great way of encouraging real literacy and raising the confidence and self-esteem of our pupils. This approach also encourages deep learning and helps the pupils to take on the responsibility for their own lerning, and that of others. It takes peer-assisted learning to a new dimension.

...and I'd buy one if my department had the cash as well...

We got one in our English department for a while and we used it so much we just about wore it out!

Having examples of student written work in jotters being shown and then edited/marked LIVE is one regular thing we did. The students (who agreed to let their efforts go forward) loved it as they got feedback there and then, not only from the teacher but also the rest of the class. Thus the feedback is relevant, accurate and timely. And collaborative!

You can also show texts that you are not allowed to photocopy, as well as texts that are in books and difficult to copy even if permitted.

I also show them articles from papers, magazines, graphics and such interesting things as medals, pictures and letters from the front for them to see and discuss during the War Poetry unit. All these things are good background which make English more exciting and fun. The students can SEE the very things we read about in the texts etc.

I actually used to do a lot of this kind of thing using a webcam and holding the jotter up which worked after a fashion but was not as clear and easy to use. All I could do was take a snapshot, add it to a blank PowerPoint and then edit on the screen using either the Smartboard next door, the Airliner slate or even my own (brought from Aldi) graphic tablet.

I entered teaching only a couple of years ago after 23 years travelling the world in the Army. I personally think that it is a GREAT time to be a teacher - all the IT and other things such as AiFL, ACfE and the hardware/software. I was watching Johnny Lee show how to use a Wii remote to turn a display into a smartboard last week - truely it is an exciting and funtime for all of us.

Idea: Using a visualiser for displaying Pictochat on the Nintendo DS

Currently, we’re running a BECTA research project on Harnessing technology. We’re using Pictochat on the Nintendo DS consoles to help develop enquiry-led lessons in a renewed curriculum. The initial problem lay in sharing the results with the whole class. We’re experimenting with a Linux-based program to help display the ‘scribblings’ on the whiteboard, however, this is taking time to organise. It also is a potential barrier to the teachers we are trying to tempt into using the technology. So, something as simple as a visualiser to display the DS screen on the big screen may well be the solution we were looking for. Please share any experience you may have found when trying to do this.

We’re located in Bedlington, Northumberland, ten miles north of Newcastle upon Tyne. The project is between the school, Newcastle University and the local authority. I have created and am running the project; I’m Steve Bunce Secondary Strategy ICT consultant, school-based at the high school (including a school in special measures).


I was actually trying this last month (although admittedly with mario kart not pictochat). You may get a slight reflection off the DS screen but this can be countered by slight angling of the DS.

Feel free to contact me at [email protected] and I might even be able to send you a visualiser to try!

Adrian Kite (Visualiser Forum Board Member)


Ok, posting as requested.

Now, visualizer bid

What would I use it for...

Well I'd love to be selfish and keep it in my classroom but I can actually think of many uses around our lovely little school.

1. Itunu -visually imapired in my Year 7 group whose camera and laptop have broken down could use it to help her access materials rather than the ridiculuously large sheets of paper she has to manage.

2. EAL - we've had a number of new students in the last few months from Brazil, Portugal, Afghanistan... and any help for our new EAL TA in sharing resources and developing their language skills would always be helpful .

3. As a geographer - we can get our compasses, and rocks out so that everyone can see them and then come and feel texture or try the compass out on the board with peer feedback (constructive of course)

4. Picture from newspapers - encouraging a wider awareness of current affairs -
we make use of images as wall paper and screen savers to promote discussion
but this way children's input could be accessed instantly.

5. Sharing work in an active way to make some of our staff's learning a tad more active.

6. Wowing the senior management team to the possibilities ict has to bring ideas to life and get some of them more pro-active rather than reluctant-reactive .

7. PE - demonstrating how to hold sports equipment before taking classes out
onto the field in a way that a whole class can see what's happening .

These are some of my ideas - more will appear as we move to making more active
use of ict to enhance learning -heh my new role - am I on the right lines??

When my school got one of these, I first thought,'What would I do with that when I have an interactive whiteboard?'But I soon realised that I could display handwritten work for sharing and peer assessment.
It also allows bits of paper to be turned into interactive, visual activities-labelling maps, pairs games for language work etc.
The DHT has now nabbed it for assembly and regularly wows the pupils with excellent visuals (which might be cut out from a newspaper or old black and white photos.) We would definitely like more of these if we could afford them!

Dear Adrian, thanks for your advice, I'll email you directly.

I saw this for PSP on TV

Whether the quality is any good, but it's always a trade off between quality and cost. Has anyone else had experience of this or other adapters?

So the big question is....having spent ages thinking of lots of other things we could do (and not just in English)..... is the compo over yet? 8-)

*carries on chanting injunctions to the Great Gawd of Tosh, offering left leg of smallest S1 child to appease the Lord of Tech and generally abasing himself*

So the big question is....having spent ages thinking of lots of other things we could do (and not just in English)..... is the compo over yet? 8-)

*carries on chanting injunctions to the Great Gawd of Tosh, offering left leg of smallest S1 child to appease the Lord of Tech and generally abasing himself*

So the big question is....having spent ages thinking of lots of other things we could do (and not just in English)..... is the compo over yet? 8-)

*carries on chanting injunctions to the Great Gawd of Tosh, offering left leg of smallest S1 child to appease the Lord of Tech and generally abasing himself*

And typepad promptly triples his comment and multiplies the effect. Doh!

I would drive 658 miles from Elgin to London if we THERE's dedication to the task of acquiring resources from anywhere 8-) I'm famous for scrounging from local shops, cinemas and organisations for posters, writing materials, donations to the writing competitions etc but this wouldn't actually be the longest journey. THAT honour goes to the trip I made to Florida on holiday in 2006. At the end I half-emptied my suitcase and filled it with reward stickers from Wal-Mart (as my kids love the American ones), stationery and educational theory books and award certificates and ribbons. Poor Mum and Dad (he did 37 years in the RAF) were also asked to bring back even more stickers when they went to Washington DC. And they did too, bless them!

Anyhoo we lost the loaned visualiser back to Education Services who use it in their canteen for showing what scones they are having for lunch.... or something. 8-(

We are currently experimenting with a webcam attached to the top of an OHP with the light shining through tracing paper to try and achieve the same effect but obviously the comments or feedback we write is saved as very poor quality pictures.

Another method is using a graphic tablet to write directly onto a previously photographed piece of work and get the kids to take pictures of the board with their mobiles; or print off a screenshot.

So you can see we ARE trying many different ways to achieve the same effects... pity our budget is so low that we cannot afford to buy even one for the department.

I'll stop grovelling now!

So have you decided yet Ewan ?


a little late perhaps, but still good for those finding this in the future. (and have managed to get past dave t!)

Not so much a standard lesson, but I would use the visualiser as an aid to teach children origami. when showing folding techniques it is very difficult to get the idea across to more than 3 or 4 children at a time - as it's quite a fiddly thing to do.

That said origami instructions are a joy to figure out for yourself, and it is a real challenge writing them concisely.


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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.

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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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