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The life and times of an elderly educationalist in a technological age.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Another blogging day in Argyll.

Went into a lovely, quiet, anticipatory classroom, this morning, the sort of environment that most teachers would envy. On the way to my desk I casually mentioned that I could do with a volunteer to connect up my computer and calibrate the whiteboard. 25 hands raised. So I chose one who hadn't done it before. 3/4 ,minutes later, twas done. They went online and checked the sitemeter..I don't do that for them anymore...they had atlases and a map and listed all the places that had looked at what they had done....they made labels for the big map in the hall in appleworks and printed them, to show the rest of the school where their hits had come from..The children constructed...they wrote ...collaborated...they photographed....imported their photos in iphoto..and they cropped...they copied and pasted their work...into their new postings.....I just supervised and encouraged....Ready to post...to see their work..they did the login...ACCESS DENIED.....they thought they had done something wrong..reassurance required..tried again using my ID...the igear window came up in the place where the slideshow used to be...6 attempts..boy are they patient, giving me encouragement by then. Maybe this time. Try again Mrs M. Did in the afternoon...ACCESS DENIED. Should have had the video camera running..Their attitude to this is better than mine. They think it will be better tomorrow. I just came home and posted their pictures. They need to see their work tomorrow, so they will be encouraged to do it again! You could give up so easily when you are seven.....

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Children do that to you!

Take your breath away! Teachers can do that too...when they feel constraints have been lifted. My ties to the paper doctrine were loosened today, when, in discussion with our head teacher, it seemed my "off the wall thinking" might actually fit with the latest initiative!...Gee whizz! Still got to get it to match the 5 to...no the 3...to something...to prove though.
In class today, I mentioned, in passing, when a child had picked up her photo for the teddy blog, that she would not see the picture in the space for the post, and she replied " No I know, it'll be html!" I asked, "What's that?" and she replied that it would be computer language for it to understand the picture. If you are not impressed, you should be! She is seven! Give them the tools!!!!!
Morag's got the html bug...as well as a nasty cold..clever person that she is! She saw the html for the sliding titles on the teddy blog..picked up on the fact that she could copy and paste it into her own title bar and it worked. Check it out at Morag's blog
Don't you just love working with thinking individuals? Not an anorak in sight!!

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Not up to speed..but speeding up!

My Bluetooth tablet arrived thanks to the Masterclass fairy. It was set up and running in 5 minutes. My class regard all of our new ICT tools with excitement...so they were quiet and interested....Maybe it will?...Do you think we can? How do we? Why does it have no wires? What can it do? So the first thing I did was to pass it round, having opened the Promethean software on the whiteboard, to see what they might make it do. We had some sit round the corner so they could not see the board and draw faces..just fun...then we had them able to see the board and had a wee chat about hand/eye coordination and how we need more than one of our senses to function in most situations. We then did some experimentation with other progs and a website or two, checking out the blog and the sitemeter using it. They found some limitations and there were times where they felt the need to type rather than write. Anyway...just new..much more to explore.

A wee visitor arrived on the doorstep on Thursday, bearing flowers, so the next phase of the teddy blog begins. ...Great excitement...children took the boys to lunch, assembly, and photographed. Morag and I spent the weekend trying to find ways of getting sound on the teddy blog....and we have..but we want the children to read/sing to both schools .....but we don't think we will be able to see it in school...the usual problem...the infrastructure/firewall won't allow. It's not yet working as we would like but we know people who will help...We think we need a Masterclass in bloggstuff! Mpg files and movie on blog. If you read this and can help.....listening! So much has happened in three weeks, and that's why the children like it....immediate responses. Big audience. Watch their space...yet again.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

What a busy week!

The teds have gone global! It takes such a long time for wee ones to type in their comments, so our next ploy is to improve keyboard skills. Just on time the software fairy arrived....with a wee programme that might help "Speedy keys" from SEMERC, so we'll see how we get on. The children have been tracking the visitors to the teddy blog enthusiastically and coming up with all sorts of notions to make it better. Sent them away on Friday, because they were hanging about so long after school to talk about it, I might have needed to give them tea! The more this goes on the more I realise how little I know in the great scheme, and this enthusiasm must be fed!!!!

I'd been spending many hours working on building a school website, having had a couple of days training on Dreamweaver/Photoshop Elements and Flash....I know... industry standard progs, that take months to get to grips with, properly and add several hours of support, from Maggie. When the site is uploaded to the server it is jumping about incontrollably, yet it looked ok. Maggie, from her position of superior knowledge spent many more hours rejigging and redoing my mistakes, which at the time of doing, were not at all obvious. I ostensibly, have a half day a month in which to do this to conform with the school improvement plan. I was able to work with the knowledge I had been given,but was trying to run before I could crawl. By the time I lift the material from its many and varied sources, the morning is over, and none of it is prepared for web. Dreamweaver is aptly named! Dream on! I try to do this as a fully class committed teacher....marking and planning already take place, too often, outwith the classroom, and without the children being present to get the right feedback. So I fail there too.I can master Dreamweaver. I know I can....When? Oh and ..If I am run over by a bus tomorrow...who will finish it or even maintain it, if this level of skill is needed.
I hear that the Argyll & Bute QIO's are to be given templates for their web presences. If they are to have a template, why not the schools? After all why does the school want a website? All the reasons you can come up with, don't involve skilling up a member of staff to create it. So just this week a solution may have arrived on my desk. Time to be independent. Web blender from TAG. Sooo simple. The children in my P3 could do it...You know what...they might yet!
And I hope you'll note from the heading that I have been mucking about with html just a bit. I suppose this proves that, at this great age, I am still trainable! :-)

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Am I nuts or what?

I suppose I must be..What other explanation can there be for spending a Friday night creating a blogger ID for a bear, cute though he might be? The class thought it would be best if Campbell and Spencer bears could post for themselves...These bears have skills you could not imagine!
In the morning the first thing the children asked to do was to log onto talking teds to do a quick check on who had been to see, but our system was down..Is it working yet? rings in my ears. So we used the whiteboard for an activity downloaded from Promethean about India, since we had had a visitor from Delhi on this blog....and they are tracking enthusiastically. We got out the atlases and found out where it was and later in the day I showed them some film so they could get a feel for the sights and sounds of India. Being able to show on a big screen added a greater dimension and the discussion generated was of quality.
This week has highlighted the lack of basic world geography....and they are now working on a 'Need to know' basis, so they are not being taught, but are learning!
Some children had gone home on Wednesday and emailed the urls of the two blogs to relatives abroad, and when we had a hit from Brisbane, great speculation.....Could that be Kyle's uncle? Where is that? How long would it take to get there? Why does an email go so fast? How does it get there then?
Nuts? No! I'm just working on a "Need to know" , to try to be one step ahead of them.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Are you gobsmacked?

I was asked today, by one of my class, and, yes I was! Jumped up and down and shouted Wow! Then they asked me how to spell it to put in an email! So I know I am still needed! What did they do? The lesson today was copy and paste...how a graphic behaves in a writing programme and how you copy a bit of writing into a drawing programme. We were using Appleworks 6. They had the two windows open. Meantime there were a few working on the class email account for the first time. Our system went into slowest mode so I suggested to the group on email that they quickly copy the address that they were sending to..and relaunch....so they did..I was diverted elsewhere..as one is in a class of 26..and got to them later. So what had they done meantime? They had copied and pasted the email address of the people they were sending to into the address bar,in a new window.....because they had copied the address...so they pasted it into the address! Now this may not seem to be gobsmacking to many...but they are 7 years old and they will need skills like this and much more and that was a WOW! Well done Bethany and Kyle.....I know you look at this blog at home!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Blog on regardless!

We learned how to get on the web and we use a stylus pen to use the IWB. Sarah wilknson.
My favorite thing is lwb because you can use the pods.Shannon
I enjoy using the pods because the board recognises your pod from your desk. Christy
I like using the stylus because it is recognisesed by the board. Kyle
I am getting beter at Numbersup on the ibook.Bethany
My best thing is to calibrate the iwb. Stuart O
I learned so much with the white board and I enjoy using it. Eryn
I am getting better at I.C.T. time. I am getting better at different things I couldn't do before. Tayler
I love the IWB becase you can do anything. Kieran
I am getting better at the pods . My favourite thing is the pods. ChloeGillies.
I am getting better with the I.W.B and the pods and calibrating the I.W.B ScottI
I lke using the computer and the pods and the i.w.b. Campbell.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Quiznights at Castlehill

Iam going to buy something to do with P3s castle project.It is a sword and shield.Knights used this equipment in the old days. Joseph

We learned how to use pods and it is so much fun! Maryann

My favourite thing is the board and the pods. Chloe M

Primary 3 are very very patient....but then they have to be when our technological efforts are thwarted yet again! Our first attempt at class blogging was soooooo slow! The children were itching to go...their comments were ready. They were totally tickled by the maps in the sitemeter...quote.." This means the whole world will be able to see what we write!" But in the hour that we had with our connection so slow, we had three attempts at posting our photo...and numerous referrals to igear login and only managed 3 of the 26 intended comments. Lots have gone home tonight with the blog url to try a comment from home....so we'll see. They want their own blog.....They want Campbell bear to have his own blog!
Anyway I promised I'd complete the posting at home... As always in Primary 3...It's watch this space!