Here’s a link to a very useful guide to safety within Facebook.
The URL below holds loads of great user advise.
As per normal the month has seen a lot of trials, presentations, brainstormings, collaboration and as always lots of conversation around future possibilities and required directions.
Below I’ve highlighted a few things that have stood out this month.
- MS Faculty have been invited to trial the Schoology and Teamie Learning Management System. We have asked that if possible MS faculty try both systems and compare the two environments. So far the response to the trial invitation has been fast and plentiful. Plans at the moment are to trial both programs through to the end of the fourth quarter, assess, reflect on the feedback and solidify steps forward.
- We have continued to investigate two Digital Signage systems that we could apply to our environment. The mentioned companies are : ONELAN and VII Networks.
Over the last few weeks, both companies have visited the Ms and have provided us with demonstration accounts. We will be discussing and confirming the most suitable platform within the next few weeks.
The communication options offered through both systems are expansive and exciting.
- The Grade 8 SS team have been completing their qtr 3 unit Prejudice and the students have been presenting their research findings and options through a variety of media rich environments. These environments have included Google Sites, Videos, Blogs.
A lot of focus has been on the quality of communicated content. It seems the technological environment is becoming increasingly transparent – being a location students can showcase their knowledge and skill.
- In order to confirm that the MS students are meeting the Grade 5 – 8 ICT Student Use Expectations I have been conducting random Spot Checks within the MS. The focal areas of the checks are :
* Physical condition,
* Use of organizational structure,
* Programs usage,
* Back-Up Status
A Google Form is being used to guide and track all inspections. The time taken per inspect is typically between 1 – 2 minutes.
At this time of writing the findings have been positive. We will continue to do this through the remainder of the school year.
- We have been trialling a few different types of iPad stands that could become a replacement unit for our current visualizers. It is found that the iPads can provide the same functionality as the visualizers, yet offer so much in addition ,it seems like the move towards a flexibly system like that is a good idea.
The trials continue.
- The MS SDLT and Tech-Know-Wise students will be preparing to trial the Maverick software within the MS environment. I have asked that the students prepare their laptops first by ensuring they are organized and backed up.
We will collect their feedback as we consider moving the remainder of the MS up to the Maverick OS.
- The Hapara teacher dashboard system remains in a testing stage.
- I have been investigating generating interactive visual representations of our core curriculum that could be placed into out Dragonnet. This is intended to replace he imagery that is currently in place to visually present our core curriculum.
- We continue to look into alternative application to Adobe’s Photoshop.
The MS is oozing vibrance as the weather warms and the faculty and students prepare for PEAK.
Below’s some of the cool tools, information found recently.
Can you… – (poster)
A great poster to help the kids think.
Cool tools for drawing and painting (web site)
A great list of online tools for drawing and painting.
Create interactive images (Application)
Make your images come alive with music, video, text, images, shops and more!
Slowcam – (Application)
Record amazing slow motion videos in real time with SlowCam. Tap and hold slow motion button during recording to capture video at 60/120 FPS* for ultra smooth slow motion capture. Support for all devices with iOS 7.
Safari Keyword Search 2.2.5 (Application)
Safari Keyword Search is a simple extension for Safari 5.1 and above that can change the default Safari search engine and enables keyword searching from the address bar. This is a simple but powerful feature that gives you access to several search engines using simple keywords. For example, you can search Wikipedia for information on monkeys by typing
w monkeys in the address bar.
… and as always, don’t forget to back up your data
Here’s a few interesting applications, tools, information that I’ve noted in recent readings.
Capo 3 (Application)
Capo 3 helps you learn to play the music in your iTunes library quickly. Now with automatic chord detection, Capo 3’s award-winning capabilities let you learn to play your favorite songs faster than ever.
The Elements in action (Application)
The periodic table comes to life with 79 video explorations of the weird, wonderful, and sometimes alarming properties of the elements.
Alternatives to Photoshop (Article)
Get to know IOS 7 calendars and contacts (Article)
Facebook buys Whatsapp… (article)
Itunes questions answered (How to)
Olloclip 4 in 1 iPhone lens (Product)
Adonit Jot Script – (iPad pen – Product)
And of course on without saying :
Any comments / Questions / Cool things yo’d like to share – let me know.
February has been encouragingly full of new knowledge & ideas, stirring possibilities and promise. The new systems and processes that I’ve experienced and discussed through recent PD excursion alight a motivation to investigate steps forward.
I recently posted the take away points from my PD trip to UK – see below:
I’ve listed some details of some of things that have been taking place in the MS since the start of the Year of the Horse.
- 10 teachers within the MS are currently piloting Hapara’s “Teacher Dashboard”. Teacher Dashboard provides an instructional management layer on top of the HKIS used Google Apps, giving users a snap-shot view of student activity across Docs, Sites, Blogger, Picasa, Gmail and Calendars.
For more information see here : https://hapara.com/teacher-dashboard-for-google-apps/
Through the remainder of the 2013 – 14 school year we shall be conducting reflective conversations with the pilot group in order to consider / confirm future usage / application.
- The grade 7 LA students are currently working on their quarter three “Powerful People” unit. In this unit students will be generating multiple pieces of work that highlight their selected powerful person. These pieces will be through a variety of media. I’ve been working with the students 🙂 – demonstrating and encouraging the use of the creative options available to the students through Apple’s iSuite programs. It is interesting to see the deeper creative control options available through all of the production tools. It’s great to know that the students are aware of the options within their laptops.
Their focus through the presentations has been great. I look forward to discussing their ideas and constructions as they develop.
All Grade 7 students receive this information and it’s very pleasing to see it connect to collaboration from previous social studies projects – the skills are being taught throughout the curriculum. The answers to questions shows the students retain operational processes and creative and communicative benefits.
Yeah – great to see.
- I have been looking into what options we have associated with the placement and control of a digital signage system within the MS. Connections have been made with a variety of companies and meetings set in order to test and consider what product may best suit our needs. Companies are preparing trial accounts for us to test the operational interfaces. I look forward to clarifying the options that are open to us.
More will follow.
- Through semester one, fourteen iPads have been allocated to a variety of MS teachers to test the application of the tool as a teacher tool with a variety of curriculum. Aiming to reflect on the benefit attached to these tools we are running an assessment of their effectiveness and potential benefit. This is also an ongoing process.
Findings will be summated towards the end of the year.
- My recent visits to ICT conferences in Hong Kong & the United Kingdom have highlighted an expanding global interest in students “making” and the educational experiences attached to doing so. Recognising this, Miss Law and I are currently investigating ways to enhance the Middle School’s robotics and 3D design elective programs.
So far, the addition and expansion of constructional components and materials plus the introduction of electronic components, and potential 3D printing have been exciting considerations.
We will continue to look at how best to implement these expansions, hoping to add as much as possible to the 2014 – 15 school year courses.
I will report more asap.
- The MS 7/8 grade maths department have been preparing to integrate digital motion data sensing products into the maths curriculum and associated activities. It’s exciting to see the connection of live data collection and mathematical processes. This sensor will be Vernier’s Motion Detector, used to measure position, velocity, and acceleration of moving objects. All data can be collected through Vernier’s Logger Pro software, currently available on all MS laptops. To date most data sensing has been applied to the science curriculum so it’s great to see that expanding too.
For more information on the motion sensors, see here : http://www.vernier.com/products/sensors/motion-detectors/md-btd/
- As previously reported, the MS technology department environment has been reconstructed. Opening early Feb, the technical staff are now going through the long process of re-organizing the newly constructed MS ETS and AV environment so that it meets their operational needs required to support our MS kiddoes.
- As frequently required, we continue to reiterate the grade 5 – 8 ICT Student Use Expectations to ensure our students are conscious of the operational expectations surrounding their use of technology.
The reiteration is considered crucial as the students develop operational habits around the use of ICT through their time at the MS.
We aim to help all be the best of users.
If your laptop prompts you to upgrade your operating system [OS] – decline until we let you know it is Ok to do so. Applications : iTunes, Browsers can be upgraded independently – you do not need to upgrade the OS to upgrade Applications (apart from some the iSuite apps)
Again, thanks for supporting us as we test and aim at providing the best systems for you.