Saturday, February 25, 2012


A fun Web 2 tool is Blabberize.

You need to register (free).

You upload your own picture to the web site and are then able to crop to use just  part of the picture if you want to.

You then place the mouth area on the graphic - you can use as many of these as you want to i.e. you can have more than one person in the graphic.

You then record the sound and your video is made. These can be embedded into the class wiki, blog etc.

Students will love making these as part of a presentation about a research project for example if students are studying about another country they could use a picture of a person from that country and then have them speaking about the food that they like to eat or something similiar. Young children could do a news topic for others to look at. 

Thursday, February 23, 2012


A very useful tool for educators is PresentationTube.

You need to register (free) and download a recorder to your computer (Windows).

You are then able to use the recorder to record your PowerPoint presentation. It records your animations, transitions, as well as embedded video and audio. The presenter is also able to annotate their slides which will also be part of the recording. Once you have completed this you can then upload the file ready to share it with your students or other viewers.

This video can be embedded into your online class e.g. Blackboard or Moodle or into a blog or wiki. How great for the teacher to use this as a presentation after a class so that students can go to it to reinforce their learning or the teacher could use it as an introduction to a new topic.

Students could use this tool to present their findings about a research topic.  This can be shared with a wider audience on a classroom blog.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Free videos for the classroom

WatchKnowLearn is a site where you will find videos to use in the classroom. This site is has videos and presentations which are in the different categories making it easier for teachers and students to find what they are looking for.

The videos and presentations are embedded from other sites or have links to other sites. Of course there are other sites such as TeacherTube which are great but the real advantage here is that it is one huge directory. In order to so this they invite educators to suggest videos for inclusion into the directory, and to review, approve, and assign those videos into appropriate categories using a wiki framework and philosophy. These videos are the highest quality found on the World Wide Web and cover all main curriculum or educational topics from primary to secondary schools.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Jig saw

Using Jigzone you can upload a graphic to the site and it will automatically make a jigsaw from it. This would be great for a teacher to use and embed the graphic into a wiki or a blog to create interest. Students could use it to embed as part of a presentation. You can nominate the number of pieces in your puzzle and the shape of the pieces in the puzzle.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Social media

Steve Wheeler has just put up a slide show about researching social media in education and what we, as teachers, can learn.

Researching Social Media in Education: What can we learn?
View more PowerPoint from Steve Wheeler

This slide show is really interesting and discusses social media and the case for using these in education.

In addition he discusses researching, researchers, and publishing research. I found this very interesting as here our universities are 'rated' on the research 'outputs' of the lecturers which aligns with slide 55. Outputs are counted when they have been published in an international academic journal.  I guess one of the reasons I have found this part of the presentation so interesting is that I have found that many of the articles I have found most useful are ones in open journals with are not considered as prestigious.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Skills we need to develop in our students

I frequently think about the ICT skills students need to develop while at school. I have found that at tertiary level it is assumed that the students already have these skills but the fact is that a lot do not - it is like reading secondary schools assume that students will have developed reading skills during their primary schooling but sometimes this does not happen. These are some of the skills I think are important in today's world.

Typing skills: so many students are at a disadvantage as they do not have typing skills so to type an essay takes them a long time. Today typing skills are essential.

Creating and formatting a document: the skills required to format documents are often transferable so while Office Suite is still the most commonly used package other suites are also used but the skills are similar. Students need to be able to create, format and edit documents, spreadsheets and presentations.

Internet: I have found all the students are able to use the Internet but generally for social networking and playing games. They need to develop strategic skills to enable them to search the Internet to find the information they need.

File management: including saving files and knowing where they have been saved so that they can retrieve the files at a later date. Many people just click the save button without having a clue where the file is being saved and often have difficulties retrieving the file at a later date. Included here is having back up copies of files.

Social media: Social media has become part of everyday life, it is important that people use these sites appropriately and understand such issues as cyberbullying and what material is appropriate to put on these sites (particularly as employers also look at the sites).

Emailing: using language appropriate for the situation e.g. if it is a friend or if it is a boss. Understanding the etiquette of emails such as capital letters denote shouting. 

Citing your sources: understand the copyright laws and that when they are using part of someone elses work that they must cite their source. They need to know how to do this.

Using Help: Many people seem to think that they shouldn't need to use the Help feature, I am not sure why this is but the Help feature offers many solutions to problems people face.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Integration of ICT in the classroom

I have just been reading an article by Grace Rubinstein in Eutopia - Technology Integration for elementary schools. It has some really great ideas. She starts by saying that teachers should use the technology when it is going to enhance the lesson, not the technology for its own sake; this is so true and so many teachers still use technology once a week in a lab which they feel is all they need to do!

Another point she makes which I have been saying for ages relates to the use of Interactive Whiteboards. She suggests that this tool needs to be used by the students not just the teacher!! Unfortunately this does not happen too often. I find this strange as this is a 21st century tool but teachers are often using it like an old blackboard and often have their back to the class!! Children can use these tools really well and they love doing so.

The points that Grace makes are all relevant for teachers - not just elementary school and promote using the technology to enhance the thinking and learning. This article is worth reading for ideas and to reinforce some of the ideas that you may already have.

While at Eutopia check out a video Thinking Big About Engagement which shows a teacher who is using a facilitator or guide on the side role with his students so that the students start to take charge of their own learning. This is a great video to watch and you can certainly see how engaged the students are in their learning.