Things I Learned This Week – #24

This week I learned that not being contactable is actually quite nice sometimes, to always back up the contacts on my SIM card, and too much stuff to list here from ReWork: Change the Way You Work Forever. 🙂

http://delicious.com/dajbelshaw/TILTW24

Tech.

  • Confused/annoyed with Apple’s recent decisions (e.g. about Flash)? Aza Raskin’s recent post about the history of Apple (and his dad’s role in it) is a must read.
  • LED-powered lights with built-in speakers for wireless music in every room? Yes please!
  • Boxcar has launched a free, ad-supported, version of its push notification service for iPhones and iPads. It allows you to get instant notifications of everything from Twitter replies to emails.
  • Been under a rock or on a different planet this week? Here’s a rundown of what’s new in Apple’s new iOS4 operating system (which is powering the new iPhone 4 and, presumably, future devices)
  • Again, if you’re not aware, the football World Cup has just started in South Africa. Google has made its Street View imagery available inside each stadium as well!

Productivity & Inspiration

The obsession with current events is relentless. We are made to feel that at any point, somewhere on the globe, something may occur to sweep away old certainties—something that, if we failed to learn about it instantaneously, could leave us wholly unable to comprehend ourselves or our fellows. We are continuously challenged to discover new works of culture—and, in the process, we don’t allow any one of them to assume a weight in our minds. We leave a movie theater vowing to reconsider our lives in the light of a film’s values. Yet by the following evening, our experience is well on the way to dissolution, like so much of what once impressed us: the ruins of Ephesus, the view from Mount Sinai, the feelings after finishing Tolstoy’s Death of Ivan Ilyich.

Education & Academic

  • I like the sound of Trebor Scholz. Not only has he got a sweet name (geddit?) but he rejects the ‘digital natives’ label and gets students even in large lecture classes to produce publication-quality books. Awesome.
  • Futurelab has a new resource called the Futures Thinking Teachers Pack:

Education is about the future. Educators aim to prepare young people for the future and to support them to fully participate in all aspects of civic, cultural, social, intellectual and economic life. It is therefore important for young people to be given opportunities to think carefully about that future and their role in it.

The Futures Thinking Teaching Pack supports teachers and learners to develop approaches to exploring the future that are not about making predictions, but about considering possible, probable and preferable futures in order to support action and decision making in the present.

The pack, which is closely linked to National Curriculum requirements, engages Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 students in grounded inquiry into current trends and possible futures. The activities in the pack encourage students to critically examine their place in the world, the structures and features that bring about the societies they live in, their own beliefs and their agency in shaping their preferable future.

Data, Design & Infographics

Repairing the world is not about individual virtue; instead, it’s a design problem. Bacigalupi wouldn’t have to fly to the American Library Association meeting if America had decent, comprehensive high-speed rail (which is certainly not zero-net, but is less harmful than flying). People wouldn’t pour so much surplus income into goods if they could jaunt down to the Neighborhood Share Center for shareable tools or toys or camping equipment.

(Image Created by Wellhome.com Insulation and Energy Audits)

Misc.

  • My wife and I finished watching the last episodes of Lost this week. We’ve been watching it most of our married life and tend to like to watch it in a concentrated period of time after obtaining the whole series (we’ve done the same with 24, Prison Break, Flash Forward, etc.) I’m delighted, therefore, to find out that there’s going to be an epilogue on a forthcoming DVD about how Hurley deals with being the ‘chosen one’ on the island! 🙂
  • From the random-but-made-me-smile department comes The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows. I liked this one in particular:

open source blindness
n. the tangerine-slice glow of summer sun through closed eyelids, which is your body’s way of telling you that the drawbridge obscuring your emotions from the world is about as effective as peekaboo.

  • Like the bar chart above, this is something that should probably go in the design/infographics section. Kayak have got an awesome mashup that shows you visually how much it costs to travel to various places:

Quotations

We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools. (Martin Luther King)

You know how many committees we have at Apple? Zero. We’re organized like a startup. We’re the biggest start up on the planet. (Steve Jobs)

The greatest education in the world is watching the masters at work. (Michael Jackson)

The smaller the mind the greater the conceit. (Aesop)

Your life is what your thoughts make it. (Marcus Aurelius)

Image CC BY CLF

 

Things I Learned This Week – #23

I’ve learned this week that there’s a sweet spot between gut instinct and meticulous research when it comes to most things, especially gadget-buying. I’ve also learned that cous cous is a viable lunch option. :-p

http://delicious.com/dajbelshaw/TILTW23

Tech.

  • Lifehacker reports that scientists have confirmed that your anxiety levels are raised when someone’s phone goes off who has the same ringtone as you. So don’t be the loser who still has the CTU ringtone from 24. Get something individual. I’ve now got the music from Super Mario when Mario got the star of invincibility. No copying! 😉
  • I doubt ‘data life’ in the future will actually look like this. But the concept’s cool.

Productivity & Inspiration

  • Mashable has a great post entitled 10 Free Android Apps to Boost Your Productivity. Having just invested in a Dell Streak, I’m excited to see some on there of which I’m already aware but also some I’m not! (they’ve also got 60+ Awesome Android Apps whilst you’re there…)
  • Seth Godin reckons there’s different voices inside your head trying to get you to do various things. Which is one way of thinking about it, I suppose, from a getting-more-stuff done point of view. I’d like to think that my ‘artist’ and ‘evangelist’ voices shout loudest, but I fear it’s often the ‘lizard’ and the ‘zombie’!
  • Over at alternaview they’re proposing the ’30 day challenge’ to get stuff done. Which is kind of like my ‘calling myself into the office’ idea, except it sounds better. :-p
  • I don’t get people who are addicted to email. How difficult can it be to not do something? Anyway, if that applies to you, then check out Why you’re hooked on email – and how to stop.
  • After reading another wonderful guest blog post on productivity by Scott Belsky I’m definitely going to buy his book!

Education & Academic

  • If you don’t already subscribe to Free Technology for Teachers, then you should! And this post on using a combination of Viddler and drop.io for cover/substitute teacher lessons is exactly why.
  • The Rapid E-Learning Blog featured 10 Free Audio Programs to Use for E-Learning. Which was handy.
  • The excellent timelines.tv site has been relaunched with some new content. If you’re a History teacher, or just interested in history, check it out!
  • To continue with the History theme, Historypin is an awesome augmented reality mashup of old pictures and Google Streetview. Makes me wish I was back in the classroom…
  • There’s now a Google Docs demo site up, which should help you influence the influencers in your school/organization! (implementing Google Apps was one of the best things I did in my previous position as Director of E-Learning)

Data, Design & Infographics

  • This visualization of supercomputers across the world by the BBC is worth playing with (it’s interactive on their site). Click on ‘OS’… :-p

  • In the UK we call them motorways, in Germany they call them autobahns, and in the USA they call them freeways. Whatever you call them, it’s annoying when the traffic on them slows down for seemingly no reason. This well-designed graphic explains how that happens:

Misc.

Quotations

Hope is a good breakfast but a bad supper. (Francis Bacon)

You have to choose where you look, and in making that choice you eliminate entire worlds. (Barbara Bloom)

It’s Human Nature to Find Patterns where there are None & to Find Skill where Luck is a More Likely Explanation. (W. Bernstein)

You are what you repeatedly do. Excellence is not an event, it is a habit. (Aristotle)

Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful. (John Wooden)

Image CC BY-NC-SA j-ster

 

Things I Learned This Week – #22

I learned so much from attending the Thinking Digital conference for 2.5 days this week that I’ll have enough for several blog posts when I eventually go through my notes! What’s below is what I learned apart from those times that I was in the magnificent Sage in Gateshead. 🙂

http://delicious.com/dajbelshaw/TILTW22

Tech.

  • I haven’t got one (yet!) but if you’ve got an Apple iPad and want to display what’s on your screen to a projector, you need to jailbreak it and install Display Out via Cydia.
  • Of course, you should be waiting for an Android tablet:

  • Viewer2 looks like something that should be Mac-only but is actually Windows-only. What is it? An exceptionally cool way of organizing and tagging photos, that’s what!
  • Want your Android phone to act like an iPhone on certain websites? Here’s how.
  • You can probably tell I’m heavily considering going Android this week – here’s Lifehacker’s guide to the best bits of the 2.2 ‘Froyo’ operating system update.

Productivity & Inspiration

Education & Academic

Data, Design & Infographics

  • Twitalyzer produces nice graphics related to the stuff you do on Twitter (it thinks I’m generous, which is nice – and live in Doncaster, which is wrong…)

  • At the conference I mentioned in the introduction, I got a chance to have a go at some origami. My efforts were feeble, which is why I have the utmost respect for these awesome examples of paper art!
  • Twitter Streamgraphs produces some very pretty visuals of… guess what? 🙂

  • I thought Walk With Me, a ‘soundtrack for walking’ was a great design idea (and it’s free!)

Misc.

  • A 13-year old boy has become the youngest person to climb Everest. Turns out there were age restrictions in place on the Nepal side, so the team ascended using a more difficult route within China!
  • Mark Twain requested that his autobiography not be published until 100 years after his death. It’s time.
  • If Ian McKellen (Gandalf from Lord of the Rings) decided to be Will Smith in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air for a day, this is what it would sound like:

Quotations

We are stuck with technology when what we really want is just stuff that works. (Douglas Adams)

I never learned from a man who agreed with me. (Robert A. Heinlein)

Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards. (Vernon Law)

Luck is a dividend of sweat. (Ray Kroc)

There is no more dangerous error than that of mistaking the consequence for the cause. (Friedrich Nietzsche)

Image CC BY-NC-SA ::hap

 

Things I Learned This Week – #21

I learned lots and had a great time at the bMoble Conference in Bradford on Thursday. Shame I didn’t get home until 1.30am the next morning due to trains being massively delayed at every connection! My 7-minute micropresentation went down very well at the associated TeachMeet, presenting using the Lessig method. I’m going to try and sync the video stream and my slides when I get time! 😀

http://delicious.com/dajbelshaw/TILTW21

Tech.

  • You’ve got to love search engine mashups. The latest I’ve come across is Goofram, which puts Google and Wolfram Alpha side-by-side!
  • LiteSwitch makes Command-Tab on Mac OSX a little more useful. 🙂
  • Looks like momentum is growing for a move from Facebook to something more open like Diaspora. Proof? 4772 people pledged $174,323 towards a $10,000 goal. Wow!
  • Amazon S3 is a cloud storage solution. It kicks ass; lots of start-ups use it. Now Google’s getting in on the act.
  • I really like the CoolIris presentation method and have used it a couple of times before. Alan Levine’s got an updated guide on how to do it. Awesome!

Productivity & Inspiration

  • Lifehacker’s got a great post entitled The Set-It-and-Forget-It Guide to Never Missing Important Events. I needed to re-visit my labelling ‘regime’!
  • Another post on Lifehacker explains how useful procedure lists are. It’s something I’ll be looking into soon…
  • As I’ve said eleventy-billion times before, running makes you more productive. Barefoot running looks interesting but potentially painful. Thankfully, Zen Habits has a guide for that!
  • MicroMobs looks like a very productive way to get groups communicating effectively (ReadWriteWeb overview here)
  • On Friday it was the 30th anniversary of Pac-man. The Google home page featured a commemorative logo with a playable game. Apparently it pretty much ground many people’s productivity to a halt… 😉

Education & Academic

Smartboards don’t change the model that’s broken. They just make that model way more expensive.

  • You’ll be delighted to know that that the Boltzmann Equation has finally been solved after 140 years. And just as I was about to publish my own solution… 😉
  • Futurelab is partnering with HP to launch the Catalyst Initiative. As part of this, Futurelab has been invited to facilitate the ‘Pedagogy 3.0’ consortium. They’re taking applications to be part of it. The aim is to:

explore new models of teacher preparation that will better equip teachers to facilitate powerful 21st century STEM learning experiences for students. Projects engage new teachers during their pre-service and induction years, and involve in-service master teachers, teacher education faculty, and engineering/science content experts and faculty.

  • Zooburst is a 3D, augmented reality storytelling tool that I think educators are going to love! Example below from Alan Levine (hint: try clicking & dragging!):

Data, Design & Infographics

  • Want a well-designed visualization of the 2010 World Cup schedule? Look no further! (shame it’s in German…)
  • Ahh… I always wondered where cursors came from… 😉

  • George Siemens has posted a list of useful data sources for those wanting to research and/or find out statistics.
  • Confused about the political situation in Thailand? Need a quick, nicely-designed overview timeline of recent events? Here you go (CC BY-SA wltpim):

Misc.

Quotations

I don’t deserve this award, but I have arthritis and I don’t deserve that either. (Jack Benny)

Man is so made that when anything fires his soul, impossibilities vanish. (Jean De La Fontaine)

Prosperity belongs to those who learn new things the fastest. (Paul Zane Pilzer)

Never, never, never, never give up. (Winston Churchill)

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry & narrow-mindedness, & many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. (Mark Twain)


Image CC BY-NC-SA Claudio.Ar (not too much online)

 

Things I Learned This Week – #20

This weekend I’m in Edinburgh with my wife, Hannah, to celebrate 10 years of being together (hence this being a  bit shorter than usual!) I’ve learned a lot about many things over those years – but that’s a whole other post… :-p

I learned this week that no-one reads Twitter bios. Not really, anyway. It took over 5 days for someone to notice that I’d changed mine from something useful and descriptive to ‘Middle Eastern arms dealer’. 😉

Also, people are very helpful when you say you’re affiliated with JISC. Oh, and I’ve learned how to do the Super-Hula properly on Wii Fit, you’ll be pleased to find out… 😉

http://delicious.com/dajbelshaw/TILTW20

Tech.

  • Have a guess what Free-OCR.com does? Handy! 😀
  • CommonCraft have produced a video explaining Augmented Reality. Shame you can’t embed it elsewhere… 🙁
  • I am genuinely more excited about this tablet computer than I am about the Apple iPad. Why? It’s got a Pixel Qi transreflective screen for a start…
  • “The future is here. It’s just unevenly distributed” William Gibson is famously quoted as saying. Robert Scoble witnessed the idea first-hand this week and blogged about it in a bit of a useful link-fest.
  • Need to add widgets and stuff to your website and don’t know how to code? try Stiqr!

Productivity & Inspiration

Do you often find ideas that change everything in a windowless conference room, with bottled water on the side table and a circle of critics and skeptics wearing suits looking at you as the clock ticks down to the 60 minutes allocated for this meeting?

If not, then why do you keep looking for them there?

The best ideas come out of the corner of our eye, the edge of our consciousness, in a flash. They are the result of misdirection and random collisions, not a grinding corporate onslaught. And yet we waste billions of dollars in time looking for them where they’re not.

A practical tip: buy a big box of real wooden blocks. Write a key factor/asset/strategy on each block in big letters. Play with the blocks. Build concrete things out of non-concrete concepts. Uninvite the devil’s advocate, since the devil doesn’t need one, he’s doing fine.

Have fun. Why not? It works.

Education & Academic

  • Doug Holton doesn’t think Jean Piaget, John Dewey, Maria Montessori, or Paulo Friere would get published in most academic journals today. He has a point.
  • 68% of students at Edinburgh University have contract mobile phones with 49% owning ‘smartphones’. Kind of dispels some myths. More here.

Data, Design & Infographics

Misc.

  • Everyone likes free stuff. And most people like Twitter. So, Mashable’s post 5 Ways to Get Free Stuff On Twitter is a solid-gold winner… 😉
  • An unexpected, but fitting tribute, to our great, glorious, departed, unelected leader:

Quotations

It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out, it’s the pebble in your shoe. (Muhammad Ali)

Effective communication is 20% what you know and 80% how you feel about what you know. (Jim Rohn)

Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive that is Youer than YOU! (Dr.Seuss)

Conflict cannot survive without your participation. (Wayne Dyer)

Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently. (Henry Ford)

Main image CC BY photojenni

 

Things I Learned This Week – #17

On a personal note, I learned that people really don’t know that their hacked email account is repeatedly spamming others unless you tell them, that customer service is still a completely alien concept to some businesses, and that before placing it in the washing machine it’s best to check pockets of running gear for MP3 players, headphones and the like… 😮

http://delicious.com/dajbelshaw/TILTW17
(29 bookmarks)

Tech.

  • Google’s ‘satnav killer’, Google Maps Navigation, has been released in the UK. Shame you need to put on an American drawl to use it.
  • I’ve been playing around with NoteSync, a cross-platform, Adobe Air application that syncs with Google Docs. Genius. I give it until the end of the year before Google actually buys it.
  • The video below was the first ever video uploaded to YouTube (5 years ago this week). So now you know. :-p

Productivity & Inspiration

  • Please don’t annoy Seth Godin. Do these 8 things to be more efficient/less annoying to him (and everyone else) when it comes to email.
  • Scott Belsky’s got some grand plans about how to make meetings better. Here’s 7 of the best. 😀

Education & Academic

Data, Design & Infographics

  • A USB flash drive that can dynamically display what it contains? Now there’s a plan…

  • Revisit is a really nice-looking, flexible way to display tweets:

Misc.

Quotations

The wound that bleeds inwardly is the most dangerous. (Proverb)

Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth. (Buddha)

Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions. (Dalai Lama)

Oh yes, the past can hurt. But, you can either run from it or, learn from it. (The Lion King)

Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday. (Dale Carnegie)

Main image CC BY Prabhu_B

 

Things I Learned This Week – #16

On a personal note, I learned just how delicate the balance is that keeps our world ‘normal’ (think volcanic ash cloud) and that the gadgets which provide the most satisfaction are those where you identify a problem, research solutions, and then make your purchase. :-p

http://delicious.com/dajbelshaw/TILTW16
(65 bookmarks)

Tech.

  • I found this presentation about perceptions of the role of technology in 2020 interesting – especially the shift over the last 10 years in attitudes to the internet ‘endangering reading’:

  • Stuart Ridout wrote a useful post about spotting email hoaxes this week after his mother-in-law got scammed. Even my wife had to come and ask me yesterday after a professional-looking email from HM Revenue & Customs claimed she was due a £1000 tax refund. Some might call this ’email literacy’. I wouldn’t be one of those people. I call it ‘digital common sense’. 😉
  • Not too sure whether to follow a given individual on Twitter? Try foller.me! (which says this about me – including the following Twitter follower map)

Productivity & Inspiration

  • My colleague @andystew shared this video with me this week. Sometimes, even if you’ve planned things up to the hilt, you just have to steam on in there. LLLLLLEEEEEEEERRRRRRRRROOOOOOOOYYYYYYYYYY JJJJJJJEEEEEEEEEENNNNNNNNKKKKKKKIIIIINNNNNNNNSSSSS!!!!!

  • Football Manager came out for the iPhone this week. And I bought it. And still remained productive. Check. Me. Out. (context: I almost failed my GCSEs, A Levels and degree because of various iterations of this game – it’s that addictive…)
  • The following gapingvoid cartoon originally had the ‘f-bomb’ in it which is why it didn’t find itself onto my wall. This toned-down version might, though…

  • There’s some useful tips on happiness over at Dumb Little Man. Numbers 15 and 30 on the list are especially important!
  • Also at Dumb Little Man is this post on ‘time pockets’. I call it ‘parallel-tasking’ but whatever you call it, it’s worth learning how to do. :-p

Education & Academic

  • I needed some advice about online survey design and creation this week and found this information from Bristol University useful!
  • Will Richardson linked this week to a Cisco-sponsored report entitled Learning from the Extremes. Much as I found We-Think by co-author Charles Leadbeater a tortuous and platitude-riddled affair, I’m looking forward to going through the report in more detail. A great point is made on p.16 about it not being education we need to reform but society:

Spreading learning is not just a question of providing more teachers and schools. A parallel process of social and cultural change is critical, so that learning is taken more seriously at home and in society. An educated society does not just have an effective school system; it has a culture that values learning.

Consider how one rears children. They are not little machines waiting to be directed by higher headquarters. They are people learning how to be free and responsible citizens. Their future emerges; it is not designed.

Data, Design & Infographics

  • The Infographics Showcase aims to collect the best infographics and data visualizations on the web, including this motion graphic on wine-making:

  • The following infographic shows how much artists earn for various ways of listening to their music (of course, if you buy a CD you’re paying the artist once to listen to it thousands of times; with Spotify you’re paying the artist each time you listen – via your subscription):

(click on image to see full – very tall – version)

  • Processing is an Open Source programming language and environment for making kick-ass visualizations. There’s a great guide to getting started with it here. I’ll be going through this over the next few days so watch this space!
  • You can now create your own linked data application courtesy of the New York Times.

Misc.

A big mark of privilege is that social and economic networks tend to facilitate goals, rather than block them. This makes it easier to ignore the social and economic networks around us; and it makes it easier for the privileged to imagine their accomplishments are the result of their own pure merit. Imagine two roads: one smooth, well-paved, well-maintained, the other lumpy and full of cracks and pits. Most people will drive over the smooth road without even noticing it – but that doesn’t mean that the smooth road hasn’t facilitated their driving. Nor does it mean that the person driving on the smooth road has more merit, as a driver, than someone stuck on pothole avenue.

  • I never knew robots could be so funny when folding towels
  • And for all of you who still call cars ‘horseless carriages’ and think there’s nothing better than a typewriter, paper.li is a way of having Twitter delivered to you as an online newspaper. 😉

Quotations

I am always doing things I can’t do. That is how I get to do them. (Pablo Picasso)

Every choice you make has an end result. (Zig Ziglar)

Conflict cannot survive without your participation. (Wayne Dyer)

We need men who can dream of things that never were. (John F. Kennedy)

No one can see their reflection in running water. It is only in still water that we can see. (Taoist Proverb)

Main image CC BY-NC-SA Erica_Marshall

 

Learning Score, a lesson-planning tool. [Review]

Full disclosure: after mentioning Learning Score in a previous post (and raving about its potential) I was kindly given a free copy of the latest version, courtesy of John Davitt and Tribal. This was done on a no-strings-attached basis and does not influence the positive or negative points I make below.

Introduction

Lesson planning is a difficult thing to learn to do well; it’s even more difficult to teach others to do effectively. The idea of coming up with learning objectives and success criteria before dealing with specific activities is a difficult one to get used to. And then there’s all of the other things to get right:

  • Timings
  • Transitions
  • Managing resources
  • Homework

The list goes on…

Overview

So that’s why I was overjoyed (yes, overjoyed) when I saw Learning Score. It’s described as a multi-media lesson planning and delivery tool and I believe it to be invaluable for:

  1. Planning your own lessons
  2. Sharing your lessons (and associated resources) with others
  3. Modelling good practice

As you can see from the video at the top of this post, it’s extraordinarily intuitive and easy-to-use. The metaphor used is a musical score, a perfectly befitting one as a well-planned and executed lesson is like beautiful music played by a symphony. 🙂

In an improvement from the previous version, you can add up to 6 tracks, meaning that you can rectify the strange situation where ‘props’ are available to be added at the bottom of the screen but, by default, there’s nowhere to put them!

You create your lesson in ‘Edit’ mode and then, when ready for delivery (and after saving, of course) you click ‘Play’ to enter delivery mode. This has a timer function to keep you on track, but to be honest I find that learning goes off at so many tangents sometimes that the lesson plan is merely a statement of intent. The timer’s not that useful to me, but may be to trainee teachers for reassurance.

Double-clicking on the resources in ‘Play’ mode allows you to view/listen/access them within Learning Score. For obvious reasons, the filetypes available are limited. With videos, for example, only SWF and FLV files can be used. If you’re fond of using downloaded YouTube clips, this presents no problem at all. If you’ve got a bank of high-quality MP4 files, on the other hand, you’re going to either have to get transcoding or play them outside of Learning Score.

Positives

I love the whole concept of Learning Score: the way that it liberates you from having to use just text, which often can constrain ideas – and therefore creativity. I really like the way that, if you choose, you can package up all of your resources inside Learning Score, ready for delivery. And then, again if you choose, export them, share them with colleagues, or add via SCORM-compliance to your schools’ Learning Platform.

I admire the powerful simplicity of Learning Score, the way in which you can very quickly build up a lesson by focusing on learning rather than just keeping students busy. I find the interface intuitive, fairly lightweight and flexible. I like the ability to add annotations. In short, if a site is created to be able to share the resulting .lsz files (I’ve been told it’s in the works) then I can see Learning Score taking off. Big style. 😀

Areas for development

But Learning Score isn’t perfect. There are still some things I’d like to see improve. For example, although I can customise activities and props after dragging them onto the score, I haven’t figured out a way of adding to them so that they appear by default. And having only 30 characters for the main learning objective is nowhere near enough!

My second problem is the proprietary nature of the file format it produces. To a great extent this is the nature of the beast: it’s a new, fairly revolutionary tool. But the ability to read and write the file formats using (potentially) other applications would be a boon. It would reassure me as an educator that I’ll always be able to access my own lesson planning in future.

And finally, although the whole point of Learning Score is lesson planning and delivery in a very visual and multimedia kind of way, sometimes it’s necessary to print things out. Unfortunately this is what a wonderfully-crafted and visual Learning Score looks like when exported to text format ready for printing. Not pretty.

Conclusion

I highly recommend Learning Score. It’s an application that, had I not very kindly been given a free copy, would definitely have purchased for myself. It not only serves as an awesome way to plan your own lessons (and meetings, projects…) but to demonstrate in a very hands-on, visual way how colleagues and trainee teachers can do likewise!

 

Seven types of ambiguity and new literacies

Some people talk of ‘learning styles’ but I think that, really, we use each main type of style (kinaesthetic, visual, aural) depending on what it is we’re learning. In fact, as a teacher, I’ve observed this in the classroom.

Those (high-flyers) who have the groundwork understanding to quickly assimilate concepts need merely aural input to learn effectively.

Those (most of the class) who need some consolidation of the groundwork before assimilation need things explained visually.

Those (SEN, etc) who need to re-explain the groundwork completely before moving on need kinaesthetic activities.

Feel free to shoot me down, but that what I’ve observed. And the same is true for my own learning.

At the moment I’m trying to apply Empson’s Seven Types of Ambiguity to my Ed.D. thesis. Specifically, I’m interested in finding out how terms such as ‘digital literacy’ and ‘electracy’ are ambiguous. It’s confusing. So I did my equivalent of breaking out the Duplo:

Empson, the 1st type of ambiguity & literacies

Empson, the 2nd type of ambiguity & literacies

Empson, the 3rd type of ambiguity & literacies

Empson, the 4th type of ambiguity & literacies

Empson, the 5th type of ambiguity & literacies

Empson, the 6th type of ambiguity & literacies

Empson, the 7th type of ambiguity & literacies

Note that this is visual learning for you but kinaesthetic for me – I did something similar when doing my MA.

Thoughts/comments? Do you do something similar? :-p

 

How I put together ‘Things I Learned This Week’ [visualization]

Last week, Mark Warner asked how I put together my Things I Learned This Week posts every Sunday. It’s a week-long process, really, and one that benefits both author and reader. You get links that you may have missed, whilst it motivates me to read more than I would otherwise (and to bookmark and reflect upon it).

You may recognise the middle part from My Digital Reading Workflow. 😀

So, to summarize in bullet points:

  • I use a template to make sure I lay them out in a standard way (and to make it easier for me)
  • I read things via RSS (email) and ‘favorite’ things on Twitter, add to Instapaper, etc.
  • Interesting stuff is bookmarked with the week’s tag on Delicious (in this case TILTW9)
  • On Saturday evening and Sunday morning I choose the most interesting for each section to share in the post

Hope that helps! 🙂

 
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