Saturday, February 28, 2009

It's time to move on

Yes it's time to move on from my first blog home here, to the new improved detached version of Butterfly42.

This blog will sit here for sometime with a link to it from the new version so all is not lost.
But I'm now established in my new detached home, with my own address from where I'll continue to butterfly about life the universe and everything trying not to cause chaos but possibly finding some answers.

So it's time to follow the furniture van to the next place, don't get lost along the way and click on the RSS feed when you arrive to ensure we keep in touch.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

The snow walk

Saturday was to be the day for setting up a new blog, but the prospect of a walk in the park , snow still on the ground and sun bright, was tempting.

I asked my fellow tweeters what I should do first, walk in the park or work on the blog? And the unanimous response of those around was to walk first and then set up blog and write about it. So no couch potatoes there.

Sadly once we were out there it was so good that that we did not return for a long time. No new blog set up :-(

Whilst out I tweeted some photos from the iphone but this was not enough, a blog post was required so here it is.

Instead of the new blog I'm showing the pictures in two ways, first new to me a Photopeach spiral (Thanks Simon Widdowson and Allanah King for sharing this at about the same time) and then using Animoto. I have an education license for this so can make longer films

Enjoy my walk

Snow in the park on PhotoPeach. Use the slider to hear the sound and click on the full screen icon to get a big picture. As well as rotating, the images can be 'pulled' around with the mouse.

Snowy walk using Animoto

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Open EYE

This morning I read Open EYE's Submission to the National Union of Teachers' Consultation on the Early Years. Open EYE are continuing their campaign for developmentally appropriate early years 'education' which they claim the new early years foundation stage requirements are not in sympathy with. The paragraph on ICT, focused on the dangers of 'the screen' referred texts in support and I must look carefully at them.

Straight away I moved onto on to 'Does Not Compute' by Aric Sigman and his Remotely Controlled.
This is a laudable debate and needs airing..I'll continue to follow it, where are the counter arguments? I've got mine to follow, share yours

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Through stories

Through stories, fantasy, science fiction, parable, the word is spread. Round campfire, cup of tea, glass of wine, computer the people listen. The names are changed, the place elsewhere. The truth is out, the word is spread and people arm themselves. Things change.

Listen to a story

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

BETT 2009

It's that time again, BETT "The worlds largest education technology event" is held annually at Olympia, London, will indeed attract the world.

Always an exciting and interesting event it's where new educational technology is showcased and established resources revisited, experiences shared and ideas put forward through seminars and presentations and and often significantly the place where the government announce new plans, money and strategies.

Unusually this year my BETT experience started early when I joined the Learning and Technology World Forum 2009 today, taking delegates to schools and other educational establishments using technology successfully to support learning and teaching.
on the opening day January 14th I'll be "guiding" a group of visitors from the conference around the vast exhibition, helping them to get the best out of their day. I'm looking forward to helping them and considering other peoples priorities.

From Thursday I have my own agenda, which definitely included Friday night's Teachmeet event after the show, an informal unconference led by practitioners, not to be missed.

More about my experiences after the event.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

8 years ago

While collecting the Christmas decorations from the loft I ‘fell over’ a box of old Child and Junior Education magazines going back to 2000. At one time the stalwart support for most teachers and probably still are, there were very few classrooms that did not have centre page picture from those or their sister magazines ‘Projects’ and ‘Art and Craft’ on display. Up to a couple of years ago I had been buying them since I first entered a classroom on the teacher side of the desk.

I could not resist a look at the ICT sections of both magazine 8 years ago, in December 2000. How have things changed I wondered?

In Junior Education’s news section there were two technology entries.

Liberal Democrat MP Richard Allan says

“the current provision of IT equipment and support in our schools in inadequate ... in spite of support from the Government weaknesses in ICT remain ….. Liberal Democrat proposals include increasing equipment to that every pupil in England and Wales is guaranteed to have a minimum Internet access of one hour per week”.

Does this happen yet??

The other news item was a Becta supported Web Nose Day Awards for websites illustrating a school’s contribution to Red Nose Day. Any winners here?

The ICT section had an article on How, When and When not to, use a DTP package by Richard Ager followed by a two page spread on ‘The Internet – what can it do for you’.

The opening paragraphs have bullet points we would still share today (but at a different level) ,
  • for communicating (by e-mail),
  • for publishing ( via someone else’s website ),
  • for teaching resources (virtual teacher centre, Yorvik, download paper resources)
  • for research ( with safety precautions to avoid accessing unsuitable material – it can be fun and rewarding!)

The page includes "The Best 10 Things about the Internet" and "The Worst 10 Things about the Internet" and shows a picture of poster guide to Safe Surfing and an internet glossary .

This is followed by two pages of reviews of hardware, software and events, including well known and not so well known names of the time.
  • Granada Learning - Table Road, (CD content) ,
  • Softease - Textease 2000, (tools),
  • Nstore 6 HS software ( record keeping and report writing)
  • Kidglove a colourful keyboard cover ‘for children with learning difficulties’.
And the web site of the month was Film Education a registered charity funded by the UK film industry., still a very active and topical site.. I see they have a film competition this year, end date 30th April 2009 .

Child Education settled for one page of ICT a look at a content programme from the BBC website Number Time , which I know many people used then and still do.
The very supportive description of what could be seen on the site and how to use the site technically indicated that teachers were not yet expected to be intuitive when meeting something new online. And it’s still there too.

The obvious difference today is that the paper magazines have parallel areas on the Scholastic site with links and downloads both electronic and paper based.

As to what appeared in the paper magazine for December 2008 someone will have to tell me how it compares.

So over 8 years we have some changes, but enough?? It will be interesting to see month by month what has changed, disappeared, arisen in ICT and education according to Scholastic.

I'll let you know

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Tracking Santa

For all children, everywhere on Christmas Eve, 'Track Santa' with the aid of Norad ( bi-national US-Canadian military organisation responsible for the aerospace and maritime defence of the United Sates and Canada) who have been doing it for over 50 years now, using the technology of the time.

This year Santa can be followed using Google Earth, downloaded to computer or mobile phone, and strategically placed web cams giving realtime glimpses of his journey.

The frequently asked questions section in 'About Santa' give sensible answers to our important questions and, useful for some, technical details about the sleigh. There are seven language to choose from at the beginning.

The real action is of course from December 24th but the site with it's simple games, video and information about Santa, countdown tool ( in seconds) and the option of text in seven languages it would be a valuable tool for creativity and fun in the days before.

So have fun on Christmas Eve!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Rose Review

Sir Jim Rose's interim report - the Primary Curriculum Review - is due on Monday. and already the press are talking about it. While the the BBC spends time talking about summer born children and the opportunity for part time starts for these children. The Times online has two articles mainly about the curriculum changes.

Under the expansive headline "Traditional subjects go in Schools shake-up" they say "under the plans, information technology classes would be given as much prominence as literacy and numeracy, and foreign languages would be taught in tandem with English."
While the article "Primary School Children 'should be taught technology, not tradition' " It's reported that

" Computer skills should be given the same importance as reading, writing and arithmetic, and children should be taught to use podcasts and PowerPoint presentations in primary school, a curriculum review will say today.

The long-awaited report by Sir Jim Rose, a former schools inspector and senior government education adviser, will suggest that children are so computer literate at such a young age that ICT skills usually taught in secondary schools should begin in primaries.

This will ensure that what goes on in the classroom is “a better fit with children's developing abilities” and will help to ensure that education in England does not get left behind by the global technology revolution.

It's good that it's recognised that ICT, e-learning has an important role to play for the next generation but I do hope that the phrase "children should be taught to use podcasts and PowerPoint presentations" is actually the Times interpretation of something like "children will be able to use digital technologies to communicate, present and create multimodal texts'. I'm sure that a review to influence education now and in the future would not be so prescriptive as to mention specific old technology tools such as PowerPoint!

Let's see what we see

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Advent Calendars are not just for children

For communities celebrating Christmas the first of December is the time to start counting down to Christmas day, either to contain excitement or to raise it according to your perspective. Schools have always harnessed them for learning through making or using.

Where once we constructed them with card and pictures cut from last years Christmas cards , now we have the internet and the opportunity to use it's power and a whole range of Multimedia techniques to provide content for calendars than can be seen by the world.

And of course the calendars are not only for children but harnessed by a variety of establishment to share the arts with adults.

So below is a selection of calendars I found last year, some available for this year.

Woodland's Junior School in Kent has a global audience for their annual calendar which provides Christmas activities, information, web search and teaching ideas making it a focus for the month.

Their KS1 offering is bold and bright with repeatable colouring and games that children can use at home as well as at school.

Porchester Junior School are all set to start their Advent Calendar
on December 1st with it's links to a new Christmas web site every day.

Fiery ideas offer Christmas quiz advent calendars for KS1 and KS2

Northumberland Grid for Learning 2007 calendar provides a multi-modal text per day building to a Christmas story to read through to the 24th day.

Nrich Have a calendar every year, this year 2008 has making maths activity every day.

Last years offering from the Stepping Stones School has a multimedia example from the children on every day.

For the older audience

Music soothes the savage breast, so if it's the end of a day with a lively bunch of children go to the BBC Bach Christmas Calendar

For further rest and relaxation after a busy day take a look at last years calendar from The Tate, already completely open but strong people will be able to restrict themselves to one picture per day.

From the museums Liverpool has a calendar for this year, but it's not yet open so can't tell more.

Saltaire Village have used their homes to create an advent calendar. decorated windows are lit up every evening.

And finally for owners of the itouch and iphone there are quite a selection of downloadable Apps called Advent Calendars offering pictures, sayings, music and recipes. Prices vary from free to 5.00+. However the Porchester Junior website is optimised for viewing on mobiles so perhaps I'll use that.

If you know of any other examples or have one of your own please add it to this as a comment.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Early Years Foundation stage

Received an e-mail from 10 Downing Street today.. I'm quite used to digital communications from there as they are also one of my Twitter friends.

The message pointed to the government's response to the EYFS petition.

Details of Petition:

“We recognise the government’s good intentions in its early-years policy-making, but are concerned about the EYFS legislation, which comes into force in England next September. Our concerns focus on the learning and development requirements, as follows:

1. They may harm children’s development

2. They will restrict parents’ freedom of choice in childcare and education

3. Their assessment profile requirements may place an unnecessary bureaucratic burden on those who care for young children

4. Recent evidence suggests that government interventions in education generally may not be driving standards up and may be putting too much pressure on children.”

The full response can be read here but two paragraphs to hold on to are:

"The EYFS does not prescribe the approach that schools and providers have to use in their everyday practice, other than an emphasis on the importance of play. It simply sets out statements of what children can be supported to achieve, and the developmental milestones that most – though not all – should reach by around the age of 5.

The only statutory requirement to write anything down is that practitioners must complete an EYFS Profile for each child in the year in which they turn five – reception class at primary school for most children. This is intended to help inform future policy, and to support teachers in understanding children’s needs when they enter Key Stage 1 of primary school"

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Little Voices, Little Scholars

I like to keep in touch with what's happening in the early years. One of the ways I have of getting a global view is to follow early years blogs. I follow quite a few occasionally leaving messages of encouragement and will share them over the weeks.
Here is Little Voices, little Scholars.

They have had a focus on Speaking and listening, as well as environmental issues. Take a look at the video Apii's Hippo

Monday, November 17, 2008

National Strategies new site

The National Strategies have a new front page, still a beta but worth trying out. It’s bright, spacious and colour coded and so far appears to work effectively, one click on the Primary Framework link under the purple Primary banner and it’s straight through to links to the Frameworks and onwards as needed. Really useful is the addition of third party bookmarking tools, delicious etc on many articles.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Cuddly Pinky directions

Good to see Solent University addressing the needs of all students, after all not everyone can read a plan well some need all the visual clues possible. Take a look their novel and amusing but well thought out take on a
route finder

I wonder if the children would be able to write a description of the routes from this video or make a plan.... or even make their own for new children? ( addressing audience, planning, working cooperatively, understanding maps and directions)

Thanks to Miles Berry for sharing this .. hope you find your way OK

Happy Birthday Paddington Bear

Its the big 5 0 for Paddington today

He's having a tour of the London in a Black Cab to celebrate and there's a photo competition for those lucky enough to see him, (see the site)

Think of the number of children who have laughed about and enjoyed his stories over the years, he was certainly a regular visitor to my classroom over the years,
and how many of them knew where Peru was on the world map but not their own town!

Off to drag my duffel coat out of the cupboard to wear while I drink cocoa and eat marmalade sandwiches virtually with, Simon Mills who has just let me know about it via Twitter, and anyone one else celebrating.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

WWI experiences of an English Soldier


WW1: Experiences of an English Soldier via kwout

I am beginning to visit the wonderful blog WWI Experience of an English Soldier with trepidation.

We do not yet know if he survives the war, this has not been revealed but the war is coming to an end.......

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

ICT, Display and Textease

Having played about with Blockposter I then went to Textease Studio CT which, if you have it, allows for the creation of posters equally simply and quickly

Take a Print Screen of the map and paste into Studio, select the image and use the blue tags to crop it .

Go to the Tools menu Page tab, where paper size A4 is selected and
  1. select Poster Mode
  2. change to Landscape
  3. change the size of paper to the size required
  4. select Scale to screen.
  5. the whole page should be visible with a grid representing the sheets of paper needed.
  6. stretch your image into the size required,
  7. save it
  8. print
The poster facility is useful at all ages but especially with younger children when real authentic images can be used for vocabulary development and story making , pictures of a child for body parts, of a flower from the school garden for naming the parts.
Go on be creative and let me know what you do.

ICT, Display and Blockposter

I’ve only just seen Blockposters on the Ictopus news blog post of 7th September but it looked like a way of supporting a group of people in using ICT as part of a school visit to a river! (It’s not the only way we’ll use ICT )

Using this we could make a very large poster of the route of their walk and have it as the background to a wall display.

I hope too that it will become one of those hooks that start people off on a creative use of ICT for learning.

First the test your idea…
I tried a jpg of a river photo first (not bigger than 1mb) and produced a reasonable 3 x 2 ft poster.

So next make a map background....

I first created a jpg of the area I wanted. I found it on Google maps, took a ‘screen print’ of the page, pasted it into Microsoft Paint (could have used Irfanview and any other of the free picture editing application that allowing pasting), cropped it to get just what was needed. Then saved the final image as a jpg and created a landscape poster 4 pages wide.

It’s a clear print and shows all the details clearly. It will make a great back ground for…. well I know what I would do but it’s up to the group to decide what they will do with it. Share any of your good ideas with me here and I'll pass them on.

Blockbusters is an online application, with a size limit to the images and looks to be really useful for paper display as well as decorating your office with large versions of favourite digital photos. Worth a try

Monday, September 08, 2008

This week .....

... there is great excitement in the world of science as after Wednesday there will be a whole new set of knowledge and understandings about the building blocks of the universe ( and I'll be really surprised if the answer is 42) when the Large Hadron Collider is finally switched on.

CERN - The Large Hadron Collider via kwout

BBC Radio 4 are having a 'Big Bang day' , the web site has Professor Brian Cox, involved in the project, answering questions.

On the other hand you may find this rap below more informative, words here. (Thanks to Karl Fisch) who also has a link to some super images.

So see you on Thursday???

Next week will ......

....... be different .. lots of other new beginnings .

There’s a group of students getting excited about beginning their Initial Teacher Training with the London Diocesan Board on Monday and I’ll be joining them on Thursday for a day focused on e-learning so that should be fun …..

......that's of course if there is a Thursday :-)

That was the....

.....week in which Google launched it's new browser Chrome.

Its new, sleek, innovative, fast, allows many more web pages to be open at once and doesn't go into a complete crash when one of them has troubles. It's built for today’s e-users.

I know this because I’ve read the comic book explanations, downloaded and installed it and then like many many others failed to read the licence I agreed to!!

Read all about it on Doug' blog I'm just too ashamed to go on...