Google Maps and Instagram

One of the huge perks with my job is that I’m able to travel a lot and one of the best ways to see a new place is to go for a run. Running is my way of staying mentally sane. It helps to clear my head and gives me some good thinking time.

Screen Shot 2017-05-10 at 6.53.09 AMI’ve started to map the different locations I run in and post little video clips on my Instagram account with the tag, #whereismarkrunning. To help keep  track of these locations I’ve started to locate them on a Google Map in My Maps, a great way to create your own Maps, just like a Google Doc.

Here’s the map so far. Click on the image to see the interactive version on Google My maps. Each location has a screen shot of my video clip and the link underneath will take you to the Instagram version.

*there seems to be a ‘500 error’ if trying to view the map on IOS at the moment. Desktop might be best – online forum threads suggest Google is working on it…

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STEM Elements

Screen Shot 2017-03-17 at 7.06.59 AM.pngOne of our most popular regional events is the “STEM and Digital Technologies” workshop we offer. Teachers have a day to explore both the pedagogy of STEM and get hands on with a range of technologies, from Sphero SPRK+, to low tech gear like popsical sticks and ping pong balls! You can see a Twitter moment here which gives you a small window into the action!

This week I’ve been updating some of the material we share on the day and I’ve adjusted this graphic of the ‘STEM Elements’, based on based on the book, “STEM Lesson Essentials, Grades 3-8” by Jo Anne Vasquez, Cary Sneider, Michael Comer. STEM ELEMENTS (1)

 

These elements are a great way to make the important aspects of STEM stand out for teachers and I also encourage them to use these four elements as a planning guide when they’re preparing to engage students in STEM. When we have an empty box it forces us to fill it in! It’s a helpful way to help us engrain this thinking when we are starting out and a good technique to foster new pedagogies into our school culture.

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Here are some images from the workshop ran last Wednesday. If you’d like to host a regional STEM event at your school, or have me work exclusively with your staff, contact me here on Twitter or use the contact widget on this page.

 

Listen to the Learning Chatter

If you’re like me then you love using technology to engage and motivate learning in your classroom. One of the ‘hits’ you often have to take when you do this is being labelled as a ‘teacher into toys.’ It’s frustrating to hear since you know and have seen the difference they can make for your learners.

img_2650One of the ways you can show others the benefits of these ‘toys’ is to record some of the conversations that your students are having during activities. I’ve started to call this;

  • LEARNING CHATTER = the language and conversations of learning in action.

Here’s a video of some sound bites I captured with one group at a recent Sphero SPRK+ demo hour I took at a local Primary School. Listen for the subject based vocab, the design thinking and collaboration here.

 

Ipad Management and Setup

I’ve been asked to help a few schools setup their Ipads this term and it’s been quite an exercise working the process out! I can see why, in a lot of cases, schools decide to hire this process out to IT companies. The only ‘fish hook’ with that scenario is the cost.

But, with a mind to help make the deployment journey a little less mystic, here’s a poster that explains the steps in a broad over view and in more ‘ipad hands on’ detail. I’ve based a lot of the steps on Justine Driver’s and Nick Rate’s blog posts here, my own experience and what I’ve gleaned from threads on the VLN and a local IT company.

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In Breaking News – Apple is just this term releasing the DEP – Device Enrolment Programme, which will dramatically reduce the steps to setup your Ipads! From the advice I’ve been given by a company down this way, Schools will be able to have the same company that orders the Ipads, complete the DEP process so all we have to do in schools is open the box (the Apple ID and selected profile will be all setup and ready to go) and you will simply enrol the ipad with your MDM, such as Meraki. What a LOT of time that will save!

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Morning Run Panorama

I shot this pic with my iPhone 6 Plus while running from our house a few weeks back. It was a pretty foggy morning and I used the panoramic setting to catch the wide angle from each side of the road.

I used the ‘magic wand’ highlighting tool in iPhoto to get the colours out. We live in a blessed part of the world!

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A New Lens

One of my goals this year is to get to grips with a DSLR camera; stills and video. On the weekend I took a new lens on a trip with Mr 5 to a birthday party outing at Clip and Climb. It has an ‘F stop’ low end of F/1.8 (learning the lingo is half the journey) and gives you much better depth of field than the standard lens I got with the camera. I’ve been watching youtube clips about ‘Bokeh’ – blur in Japanese.

It’s great for those closeup shots, I think.

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Mastering Ipad Apps

There are lots of similarities between ipad apps – the way they save, share and work with files is often the same. Another similarity is the common use of ipad icons. Once you have mastered one app then it’s much easier to learn another because you are starting to become app literate; you now understand a little more about how they work.

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Image by @langwitches

I often talk about the Doctor Suess looking cog – most apps will use that to link to an app’s settings. And there are a LOT more icons that you can learn.

This graphic below is my effort to teach people the visual icons of the app. It’s like a language that, when understood, will help anyone master any app they come across. When you know that trash can icon means delete then you can apply that knowledge across every app you open – ipads start to loose their ‘fear factor’ and you begin your journey to becoming ‘An Ipad App Guru!’  Click here for the downloadable version.

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I would suggest taking students through this slideshow as a class and see how many of them you already know. You could maybe have a treasure hunt and find examples of the icons on the apps you have.

It’s all about building digital efficacy, which, in itself is a modern literacy. The image below illustrates this really well!

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Above image from http://www.fightilliteracy.org/

What Tech to Get!

This might be slightly tongue in cheek in parts but the message is plain. It can be hard to make a completely confidence decision when it comes down to it.

– “What should we get for the classroom? Ipads, desktops, laptops, Chrome Books?”

This graphic is my way of saying; IT DEPENDS. Maybe following the flowchart will give some clarity? It might also help guide a conversation but, to be honest, the opinion I have at the moment is that whatever you buy will have the potential to enable a fantastic learning programme in your classroom.

(Even if the flow does lead to the ipad, the versatile pocket knife of the learning tool world!)

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Apps for Teacher Modeling Book

Lots of teachers are using their iPads to airplay onto a TV with their Apple TV. This gives them the ability to have an interactive modelling book that they can prepare before a guided lesson and add to as the lesson progresses.

I was asked about which app I thought was the best for this. My short answer would be that it deepens what functions you want to use. For the simplest, cleanest interface I would use Bamboo but if you want some more features such as adding images, importing templates and documents and more then Explain Everything has it all!

Here’s a graphic I’ve made that highlights the features of three well known apps. Please share the graphic around.

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