How to Haiku!

Presentations that work

I was recently asked to run a workshop on how to develop effective presentations. I had run this workshop last year, but of course, last year’s work needed updating, as so much changes so quickly that workshops from even last week seem out of date! Some things remain the same:

Of course, a lot of things have also changed; and one of the most important updates I made to my workshop was to introduce participants to Haiku Deck.

What is Haiku Deck?

Originally an iPad app, and now available on the web, with future plans for access on other platforms, Haiku Deck is a gorgeously simple slideshow creator, that enables the user to create presentations that easily meet all of the tips for presentations mentioned above.

The creators behind the app focus on three words: simple, beautiful and fun.

Click this image to view a simple Haiku Deck example.
Click this image to view a simple Haiku Deck example.

A ‘deck’ or presentation can be created in four easy steps, and the finished result can be shared on social media such as Twitter or Facebook, embedded on a blog, website or in a learning management system, emailed or opened in PowerPoint or Keynote for further editing (if necessary).

How to Haiku

The steps to create a deck are incredibly easy. The process described below is for the iPad app – but it is very similar using the web-based app, and extremely intuitive.

First, click the plus sign in the centre of the bottom of the screen to create a new deck.

Then, give your deck a name, and choose a theme. Don’t worry – if the theme doesn’t suit, you can always change it again at any time during the creation process.

The different themes run across the top of the iPad screen. Simply scroll through to choose your favourite.

2014-06-30_1109The deck creation process is determined by the four images you will see on the left hand side of the screen. These allow you to (from top to bottom) add text, add images, arrange your text and add notes.

Adding text is very simple, and the beauty of Haiku Deck is that it encourages you to keep the text to a minimum. Yes, they have made additions, to enable users to input dot points, or blocks of text, however the deck is most powerful when text is used sparingly.

One exception to this is using the block of text option  for quotes, which can be quite powerful when combined with the right image – see this example below:

quote eg

Choose from selected keywords, search with your own keywords or upload your own image!

Choose from selected keywords, search with your own keywords or upload your own image!

Choosing images is the fun part. Haiku deck cleverly identifies key words in the text on the slide, and automatically allows you to search a database of thousands of images using these words. You can also choose to search using your own key word, or upload your own image. The thing that really stands Haiku Deck apart from other presentation software is that if you choose a Creative Commons Licenced image (read more about this type of image here) it automatically includes the attribution on the slide – saving an enormous amount of time.

You can also choose from a range of pre-formatted charts, or choose a solid background colour (handy for those quote slides or for when you do need to include a lot of text). In addition, in the iPad app, you can purchase stock photography right from inside the app, with images costing $1.99 US.

Even if you are not wanting to create the entire slideshow in Haiku Deck this automatic attribution is powerful. Why not  create a deck of awesome pictures, complete with attribution in Haiku Deck, and then export the slides to PowerPoint or Keynote (say if you wanted to also embed movies, music or other features not currently a part of the Haiku Deck suite).

Choose to add a headline and subheading, or add dot points or a block of text.

Choose to add a headline and subheading, or add dot points or a block of text.

The third stage is to place the text. Here you have a number of options, which are useful for working around the image in order to best combine image and text. Although the options are somewhat limited (you can’t freely place text anywhere you wish on the slide, you must choose one of the set positions), this restriction actually frees the creator, as it enables the focus to be on simply word and image, and speeds the creation process.

The fourth step is optional, and is the addition of notes. You can make these notes either private, or you can publish them along with your slides, for sharing with others. This is a much valued addition to Haiku Deck, as it really enables the tool to be used for much longer or more complex presentations, and is a godsend for those of us who get nervous when speaking, and like to have a visual prompt!

When to Haiku

Haiku Deck has been designed to be used for any type of presentation, however it’s ease of use and the simplicity of the slide design lend itself particularly well to the following uses:

2014-07-01_12431. Prayer/Reflection/Meditation: when you want beautiful images and few words, nothing beats a Haiku Slide deck. Being based in Brisbane Catholic Education, many of our meetings and gatherings begin with a simple prayer or reflection; and often these are required at short notice. Even the most familiar prayer can be given new life when it is paired with amazing imagery.

2014-07-01_12422. Conference reviews: when you attend a conference, you hear many nuggets of wisdom. What better way to capture and share these, than by using Haiku Deck. When you return from the conference, and have an amazing looking presentation to share with colleagues, no one will know just how quick and easy it was to create!

There are so many other creative ways to use Haiku Deck; young students could easily create a deck for a show and tell item, use as a simple way of sharing visual instructions, create awesome looking flashcards to learn a foreign language, and then share the great holiday snaps upon return from said foreign location; the list is endless!

You can find many more exciting and wonderful applications for Haiku Deck on the Haiku Pinterest Page. Better still, share ways you have found to use this beautiful piece of technology in your classroom, library or beyond!

 

 

 

 

 

Putting a Pin on it – Pinterest and Professional Learning

One thing that always amazes me when I think about the internet and communication is the way news travels – how things ‘go viral’ and become so popular that it seems everyone is suddenly aware of a new song, image or joke. The way that information travels is particularly clear when we observe the statistics information created by WordPress concerning this blog. Using the statistics, it is possible to see where our readers come from, how they found the blog and what links they clicked on.

By far our most popular post has been on the implementation of a 1:1 iPad program in a primary school – on an average day, this post garners over at least ten times the number of hits the other posts receive – a huge difference.

Why is this?

From what I can see, the vast majority of hits are coming from Pinterest. One or two readers have ‘pinned’ an image of a classroom poster in Pinterest, and hundreds of others have repinned this image, and visited the blog as a result. Quite a few readers also come from Twitter, where I share a link each time a write a new post, and the remainder come from a variety of other sources.

A typical 'tweet' sent out to followers on Twitter, alerting them to a new blog post.

A typical ‘tweet’ sent out to followers on Twitter, alerting them to a new blog post.

It seems that Pinterest is no longer just the domain of crafters and those wishing to share recipes – but also a huge educational community, drawn by the ability to share great websites and classroom ideas easily, and what’s more, visually.

A typical Pinterest page

A typical Pinterest page

After a long day of teaching, it is hard to come home to face screens full of text. However Pinterest’s visually appealing and simple interface allows you to scroll through hundreds of contributions, clicking on those that appeal and digging deeper by visiting the website where the image came from if more investigation is warranted. The improvements Pinterest recently made, linking pins to the board where it came from, as well as a board where someone else has also pinned it makes searching even more fruitful, as one pin is likely to lead to a host of others on a related theme.

When you re-pin an image, this helpful board pops up, with somewhere else where you are likely to find related pins.

When you re-pin an image, this helpful board pops up, with somewhere else where you are likely to find related pins.

Pinterest seems an unlikely place to go for professional development. However, if you are brain drained and in need of inspiration, boards created by Stephen Heppell, Trish Wade or Vicki Davis are just a starting point for great ideas, curated from all over the world. I maintain a few boards also – focusing on apps for inquiry learning, creative commons images and book trailers, to name a few. You can see an example of some of my Pinterest boards below.
Pinterest boards
It seems that the path to discovering quality information and resources is no longer just a direct line to Google. We know many students do much of their research via YouTube, and so it seems, many teachers are using tools such as Pinterest to direct their searching via items that others have already collated. Why start at the beginning, when half the search has already been done for you?

Faith inspired by contemporary media

Catholic schools are not only places that foster the educational development of students they are increasingly provide the school community, in all its cultural and spiritual diversity, with opportunities to engage with the Catholic Christian Faith Tradition.  In a contemporary context with fewer people regularly attending mass it is often the school that not only teaches the wider school community about religion it also provides the community with religious experience.   It is in this dual nature of the teaching and ministry of Catholic schooling that the wider community needs to be invited into a rich and meaningful dialogue around faith.

Who will be the ‘digital missionaries’ of the church?

The Archbishop of Brisbane, Mark Coleridge spoke at Brisbane Catholic Education’s Powerhouse of Leaders 2012, a gathering of the diocese year 12 student leaders (read more about this event in an earlier post) calling those present to be not only leaders of their schools, but also leaders in the Church.  Leading the Church into and onto the ‘digital continent’ is the perfect opportunity for today’s youth in the church to lead.  His Grace asked the student leaders, who will be the ‘digital missionaries’ of the church?  Watch the Archbishop’s homily to hear more of what he shared.

The call to become ‘digital missionaries’ provides school and parish communities with some challenges but also with many exciting new opportunities to reflect and imagine how this might take place.  An aspect of this challenge is the belief that technology can be seen as a way to replace much of what makes life and living so rich and vibrant, especially a catholic Christian life.  So it is important to engage with technology and media in a way that sustainable, American psychologist Sherry Turkle, in her TED Talk Connected, but alone? examines the way technology is used by people to feel connected.  Ultimately Turkle concludes that contemporary technology must be embraced not as an alternative but as a vehicle to deepen traditional experiences.  This is a balance is not commonly achieved in the secular world, but, perhaps this is where these emerging digital missionaries are needed most.

How might this look in a school or parish community? 

Click on the image to access the Religion and Ethics course.

Click on the image to access the Religion and Ethics course.

It is timely to pause and ask the question, how might this look in a school or parish community?  It is also timely to look to those organisations and groups who are engaging with contemporary media and technology in some really exciting ways, locally, nationally and internationally.  You’ll see it’s already happening.

Locally, Brisbane Catholic Education’s newly developed Religion and Ethics course is a quality example of using media to engage and extend students learning with a blend of traditional and contemporary pedagogies and ultimately providing students with a learning experience that challenges students to be active, critical and powerful members of their communities.

The Faith and Life team of the Archdiocese of Brisbane are also engaging with contemporary technologies and media in exciting new ways.  Hosting a YouTube channel means that now the entire diocese and beyond can connect to the Cathedral and Archbishop Mark.  In addition to this, the recently published prayer resource atimeofgrace for the Year of Grace further engages with technology in an exciting way.  Using a variety of prayers and QR codes or links to online content, this resource merges traditional prayer types with contemporary resources and ways of praying.

Nationally the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference host a media blog and a YouTube channel, both of which provide schools and parishes with a wealth of resources, reflections and ideas.

Caritas Australia are successfully using social media to help communicate to the wider community news about their work and to promote their annual Project Compassion.  Students and parishioners can follow Caritas Australia on the official facebook page or twitter account and can watch the many great films made by Caritas Australia via YouTube.

Click on the image to learn more or to download this app.

Click on the image to learn more or to download this app.

Internationally His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI has compelled to the church to engage with social networks.  He himself has almost 1.5 Million English speaking followers on his official twitter account and many thousands more followers across His 8 additional non-english accounts.  Follow His Holiness on twitter here You can also down load The Pope App which provides access to news, photos, video and much more.

Also the team of WYD RIO 2013 are engaging with social media in a way that is quite exciting.  With a presence on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, this team are producing and sharing some fresh and youthful media.  Truly engaging and connecting pilgrims in the conversation of World Youth Day 2013 before the official gathering begins later this year.

How can a school or parish compete with large organisations?

Now that you are more aware of how the wider church community is engaging with contemporary media, the question still remains, How might this look for a school or parish?  Most of these sites produce and distribute media are from bigger institutions with budgets and paid staff.  Many can also draw on the services of in-house professional graphic designers.  So how can a school or parish develop media at the same level?  Again turning to contemporary technology and in particular to mobile devices and the wide selection of photographic apps available schools and parishes can produce media at the same level of quality as these groups.  The following brief list is a collection of some great apps that the team at ResourceLink have used to produce quality pieces of media in a faith context.  Such as the reflective image shown.

Basin and Towel prayer/reflection card

  1. Camera+, add vintage filters, frames and text to your photos with this easy to use app.
  2. WordFoto, turn photos into stunning word art!
  3. PicPlayPost, collage and frame together images and video.
  4. InstaQuote create quotes that are easily shared and beautiful.

What’s a way forward?

Harnessing the power contemporary technology combined with the energy and capacity of young and the young at heart, schools and parishes can be inspired to answer the call of both His Holiness Benedict XVI and His Grace Mark Coleridge to boldly lead the church into and onto the digital continent.  By do so schools and parishes will engage their communities in a conversation about their Catholic Christian faith and to do so in ways that have the potential to challenge and transform believers and those seeking faith.

6 Ways to Keep Track of Digital Information – A Resolution for 2013

Every day we face new influxes on information – in our email inbox, on our Facebook page, in our Tweetstream, in feeds for blogs that we subscribe to,  in discussion forums, and just the stuff we stumble upon while surfing the internet. As busy people, it is often at precisely the wrong time that we find that fascinating article, or when we are looking for something else that we discover a great resource for the future. Keeping track of all of this digital information is important – we all know how quickly our time is sapped away while searching online. Fortunately, there are a number of tools that are easy to use, and which we can use to manage our digital information, so that we can virtually ‘file’ and share with others the quality articles, resources and media to be easily drawn upon again, or to be read at a later, more suitable time.


cc licensed ( BY NC ND ) flickr photo shared by Will Lion

This blog post therefore focuses upon what is becoming known as ‘content curation’.

Traditionally the term curator refers to someone who looked after objects in a museum exhibition. Nowadays, many of us are curators of the knowledge that we find online, using tools to shape and organise this information around themes or topics, gathering together in one place these randomly placed discoveries. However, Beth Kantor, in her excellent primer on content curation hastens to add that being a quality content curator is more than simply aggregating links – content curators, like museum curators, choose the quality pieces connected by a meaningful theme, create a context for presenting them and organise and possibly annotate or extend upon them to them in order to maximise value for others.

Why should teachers and teacher librarians develop their content curation skills?

Content curation has always occurred in schools – resources were always gathered around the topic of teaching, in order to support and extend  student understandings. The difference is that in the past, this consisted of gathering ‘hard’ content – books, posters, newspapers, kits etc (and these were usually gathered together by the teacher librarian, the leading content curator in the school). Nowadays, the teacher librarian and teachers not only have access to these resources, but also to a huge range of digital resources – many of which provide fantastic, engaging learning opportunities for today’s students. In addition, content curation is very central to education – as Beth Kantor states,

Curation is all about helping your audience dive in and make sense of a specific topic, issue, event or news story.  It is about collecting, but it is also about explaining, illustrating, bringing in different points of view and updating the view as it changes. (Kantor, 2012)

It’s a pretty pithy summary of what an educator does on a daily basis.

So what do you need to know about content curation? Here are some tools that you will find useful. You do not need to use all of them. What is evident in many articles is that content curation is often done ‘on the fly’, so use the tools that best fit in with the flow of your day. For example, if you already use Twitter quite a bit, you may prefer to use Storify. If you have multiple year levels to manage, you might find Diigo lists a useful feature. If reading blog posts and other social media in a magazine style layout suits you, you may choose Flipboard for your iPad, or Scoopit.

The best part about content curation is the ability to easily create beautiful looking and interactive resources around topics students and teachers need access to. This is particularly useful if students are researching topics where quality information is difficult to find, or to support students who spend too much time being overwhelmed by the quantity of information and not enough time actually creating their response. Curation tools help to cut through the noise, and promote direct access to quality information.

In addition, students should also work on developing their curation skills. Being able to quickly and critically evaluate a range of information sources is a vital research skill, which is of growing importance when considering the huge amount of information accessible.

So here are 6 of the best content curation tools currently available. Check them out, have a play with each of them and decide which ones best suit your information management needs.

1. Storify: Create a story around a topic being discussed on Social Media

Storify allows you to search a range of social media (with Twitter being used most commonly) to create a newspaper style document with tweets, photos or videos that can be saved to read later, or shared among others. Storify is particularly useful if you are following a particular hash tag (for example if you know of a conference going on) and you wish to record all of the tweets posted by participants, but can’t view them all as they are posted. You can nominate to save all tweets with that hash tag, then go back later to read what was said. Here is an example of a Storify which captures a professional conversation which took place on Twitter.  Take a tour of Storify.

2. Diigo – Social bookmarking and more

I have written previously on the power of Diigo for saving, organising and annotating websites, and for making them available to others. Without doubt Diigo is a powerful social bookmarking tool, and a must have in the toolkit for any contemporary teacher.

3. Flipboard – Create a personalised magazine on your iPad

Flipboard allows you to import your blog subscriptions, Twitter account, Facebook account and many other interesting web publications into a unique iPad interface which ‘flips’ like the pages of a magazine. Each page is tiled, and with a tap on the screen, enlarges so that you can read the entire article, still in the magazine style layout. Flipboard is fabulous for when you want to gather together and browse multiple web sources, and allows you to quickly flick through and find particular articles of interest.

4. Scoopit – Curating articles from social media and online sources

Scoopit is a growing curation tool that gives you a number of different ways to collect information. You can connect your social media accounts, scoop items directly from the web as you discover them or draw them from a list of suggested scoops based upon keywords which you nominate.  Without doubt this last feature is a fabulous time-saver, as many interesting articles are provided for you to scoop onto your page without having to go searching for them. You can also rescoop from other members pages. Once you have scooped articles, you can also add your own comments onto them, making this tool particularly powerful for directing students to specific parts of pages or sections of material. To get an idea of how Scoopit could work for you, have a look at Gwyneth Jones’ page, the Daring Library Ed Tech Scoopit.

5. Pearltrees – building visual mind-maps of resources

Pearltrees is a visually beautiful tool, which allows you to store your digital resources as pearls, which are connected together in a mind-map format. It’s simple click and drag interface means it is very simple to organise your pearls into trees. You can also work with others to co-curate on a topic, which is useful if a group of teachers are all working on a similar topic. Another interesting aspect of pearl trees is the ability to scroll through the pages you have ‘pearled’; this makes it easier for younger students to select the weblink that they want. You  can see this feature in the video below:

6. Pinterest – a digital pinboard

Pinterest has grown exponentially since it was launched, and very quick and easy to use.  The open nature of Pinterest means that it is possibly more suited for teachers or older students, as there is no way to limit access to just particular boards. Despite this, many teachers are finding it a very simple way to collect great classroom ideas for later inspiration. The best way to start is to find some pinners who have similar interests to you, and follow their boards. You can repin their pins, as well as add your own pins from pages you like on the internet. Add value by writing a short description so others know what the image links to. To get an idea of how Pinterest works, check out one of my boards on mobile learning.

The most important thing to remember is that these tools are meant to assist the management of the flow of information. Use them as part of your work, not as an additional task which must be done. If it isn’t quick and easy, try something different – the beauty of having so many tools is that there truly is something for everyone!

Make a resolution to choose one content curation tool to manage your information in 2013- and at the end of the year, you will be amazed by how much you have collected!


cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo shared by ransomtech

Reference:

Kantor, B. (2012, July 13). NTEN Webinar Reflections and Resources:  The Unanticipated Benefits of Content Curation. Beth’s Blog. Retrieved January 31, 2013, from http://www.bethkanter.org/nten-curation/

Young People using Social Media positively: Authentic, real world learning opportunities

Many of you will have heard about Martha Payne, the 9 year old Scottish girl whose blog, Never Seconds, came to international attention earlier this year. If you didn’t, here’s a brief rundown:

Martha began writing her blog as a record of her school lunches.
She promised a photo, and a score:

Photo credit: Sakurako Kitsa / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Food-o-meter- Out of 10 a rank of how great my lunch was!
Mouthfuls- How else can we judge portion size!
Courses- Starter/main or main/dessert
Health Rating- Out of 10, can healthy foods top the food-o-meter?
Price- Currently £2 I think, its all done on a cashless catering card
Pieces of hair- It won’t happen, will it?

Within two weeks her blog posts had gathered more than a million viewers, and enthusiastic posts from other students sharing their own lunch photos, not just from Scotland, but from Finland, Germany, Japan, Spain and the United States. She was garnering so much attention that she even raised a sizeable amount of money for a charity; Mary’s Meals, an organisation that funds school lunches in Africa. Seven weeks later, the local council made the controversial decision to ban Martha from bringing her camera to school; thankfully this decision was quickly reversed after protests from some of her most well known supporters (including Jamie Oliver and Neil Gaiman) as well as a massive media protest at the short-sightedness of the move.

This is just one example of the extraordinary potential young people now have to influence what was previously beyond their reach; using social media and other 2.0 technologies, the thoughts and actions of young people can have powerful influences across the entire globe.

Another example is the recent news that Hasbro has revealed it will release a toy oven in shades of black, silver and blue, after McKenna Pope, 13, submitted a petition with over 40 000 signatures that she had created on Change.org.  The thirteen year old was planning to buy the toy oven as a gift for her little brother, but became aware that it only came in pink and purple, and featured all girls in the advertising. Using YouTube to raise awareness of her petition, McKenna showed how social media can be used to create positive change.

With examples such as these for inspiration, there is no end to the possibilities for teachers looking for ways to engage their students in real world action. In fact, as Marilyn M. Lombardi’ suggests in Authentic Learning for the 21st Century: An Overview, thanks to technology, authentic, real world learning has never been more achievable.

Why not consider the following:

* Use iPads and iMovie to create documentaries on student issues – post to a YouTube channel for a world-wide audience

* Publish student research as a Wikipedia page

* Tweet results of student surveys; ask other schools to comment and compare results

* Create a Google Map of the local area around the school, locating community services and resources relevant for the school community; publish on the school blog

* Participate in a global project such as the Flat Classroom or a local one such as Witness King Tides

* Use real data sets to create suggested strategies for real-world problems – try Saving Migratory Animals as an example

As you can see, the possibilities are limited only by your imagination, and the projects can be as simple or as complex as you wish.

Looking for further inspiration? Check out these amazing young people and what they’ve achieved using passion, energy and technology!

A small beginning has led to Random Kid – a website that helps kids solve real world problems:

Using YouTube to share a great message:

Have your students taken on a great real world project? Share in the comments below!

Marilyn Lombardi. (2007). Authentic Learning for the 21st Century: An Overview | EDUCAUSE.edu ( No. ELI Paper 1: 2007). Educause. Retrieved from http://www.educause.edu/library/resources/authentic-learning-21st-century-overview

Top Tips for Tweeps – A step by step introduction to Twitter

You’ve read the ResourceLink blog’s previous posts on developing a Professional Learning Network using Social Media. You’ve seen the term PLN bandied around at conferences and online, and you’ve heard TV shows and radio stations asking you to add your comments via Twitter. You keep meaning to set up a Twitter account and see what the fuss is about, but it just seems far too overwhelming…

Here is your answer! A step by step, no-fuss explanation of Twitter, how to set up an account and how to use it professionally to access the wealth of resources, information and connections that are literally just one click away once you build your network.

If you’d like to learn more about the bigger picture of Professional Learning Networks, please feel free to view this presentation,

and to download the accompanying booklet. This should motivate and excite you enough to want to dive into the Twitterverse – and here’s how to do it!

Step One: Sign Up

As with all social media, to use Twitter, you need an account. While you can use a pseudonym, if you are planning on using Twitter as a Professional Learning Network, it makes sense to use your own name. Often you will meet up with fellow ‘Tweeps’ at conferences and other professional learning events, and if you use your own name it is much easier to make these real life connections. You can read more about the importance of being yourself on Twitter here.

Sign up to Twitter

Signing up to Twitter is very quick and easy. https://twitter.com/

Step 2: Acquaint yourself with the Twitter interface:

Roll over the image and wherever you see a small black Twitter bird, you will find information about the Twitter interface.

Click on this image for the interactive explanatory diagram.

Step 3: Spend some time ‘lurking’

There is no reason for you to start ‘tweeting’ immediately. Of course, your experience using Twitter will be richer once you start interacting and making connections, but there is no hurry! Spend some time searching various hashtags, such as #edtech, #edchat or #tlchat. A great list of hash tags is available here (it is open to edit, so add any you discover and make the resource richer!).

Step 4 – Build your network

Search for a few well known Tweeps who share generously in your field of interest – for example, @gcouros if you are interested in contemporary learning, or @gwynethjones if you are a teacher librarian. Spend time building a small network of useful, quality tweeters who will become the backbone of your Professional Learning Network. Choose those who you find to be posting tweets that really interest you, and look who they follow – chances are, they will also have similar interests, and be worth following also. I have compiled a list of Tweeps you may like to begin with -Teacher Tweeps to Follow – but it is by no means exhaustive, and is reflective also of my own interests. Use it as a starting point!

Step 5 – Begin Tweeting

Once you feel comfortable with the interface, and you have a small network, it is good to start ‘giving back’. The community is only as rich as it is thanks to the generosity of everyone who shares. Don’t think ‘what I have to say isn’t worth sharing’ – there’s a great video that answers that doubt here;

The things you can share are many and varied. Try to keep it 90% professional – an occasional joke or private thought just shows you are human, and sheds light on your personality, but no one needs to know what you had for breakfast every day! Share useful links you’ve just discovered, your experiences with a new resource, quotes by experts, recent insights you’ve made while teaching…answer questions posed by others and ask your own – the more you interact, the more rewarding your experience will be. These guidelines are excellent if you are unsure.

Step 6 – Use a tool to help stay afloat

After you have been using Twitter for a while, you may find that using a tool such as Tweetdeck or Hootsuite helps you manage your Tweetstreams more effectively. These tools essentially ‘plug in’ to Twitter, and allow you to see multiple conversations or lists at the same time. You can even feed in other social media accounts such as Facebook, and view all posts from the same window. Tweetdeck and similar really come into their own when you are following a particular chat, for example if a conference is on that you want to attend ‘virtually’. You can follow the regular tweets in one column, and the conference hash tag in another – see below for an example.

This is an example of Hootsuite – you can see each of the streams including my personal PLN list and also the hashtag #edchat.

Step 7 – Enjoy building your network and learning new things each day!

More information about Twitter, including presentations and explanations can be found on this Google Doc created by George Couros. Also check out this excellent presentation by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano.

Another great tool is this  useful poster for educational hashtags:
Popular Educational Twitter Hashtags
Compiled By: OnlineCollegeCourses.com

Bringing Augmented Reality to Life – in the classroom and the workplace

The team at ResourceLink decided to follow up our recent blog post on Augmented Reality by testing it out in the ‘real world’. We have had two major opportunities over the past weeks to play in the augmented reality sphere, and we would like to share with you our experiences and hopefully inspire others to branch out into this exciting area of edtech.

The first opportunity we had was at the annual Kids Connect, which is a conference run by kids, for kids, organised by Paul Shaw and the Year 7 students at St Thomas Camp Hill.

The organising committee for Kids Connect, from St Thomas School Camp Hill.

Last year was the first time ResourceLink team members had participated, and we blogged about our experience of developing interactive historical timelines here.

This year, with the theme of ‘Escape 2 the Future’, we decided to use Augmented Reality as a way of providing windows into the past and the future. As the Kids Connect conference was once again at the amazing Brisbane Powerhouse, we knew that we could use AR technology to give the students a way of exploring the way time can be viewed as a continuum from a particular point in time.

Click on the image to access information about how to download these apps to try them out for yourself.

We introduced the students first to the concept of Augmented Reality by giving them a number of experiences using some of the apps we blogged about previously. The students were immediately engaged and excited by the possibilities before them, as they viewed the different animations and movies made possible using apps such as String, HeartCam, SpidermanAR and Floodlines.

The marker was a printed A4 page, with a black and white icon on it. You can see the marker to the left of the black and white photo, which is the ‘aura’ – an historical photo of the Powerhouse prior to its redevelopment. The marker was placed on the glass entry to the Powerhouse, and the exterior of the Powerhouse as it appears today can be seen through the glass in the background of the photo.

Once the students had an idea of what Augmented Reality was, we sent them off on a discovery journey around the Powerhouse. We had placed markers around the building, and the students had to find the markers and using their iPad or iPod touch, view the marker through the Aurasma app. Each marker had been placed in a part of the Powerhouse where we had sourced an historical photo of the same spot. As the students viewed the markers through Aurasma, an historical photo of the place where they were standing emerged, so the students essentially had a ‘window’ into the past history of that part of the building.

Once all of the markers had been discovered, the students used the app PicPlayPost to create a frame that featured their favourite
‘window’ into the past, and a video explanation of why they chose that one. An example of this app is below.

To get an idea of the way places change over time, the students viewed a few short clips from Back to the Future, and made observations about the way the locations changed, and yet in some ways stayed the same as Marty McFly travelled through time. With this idea in mind, the students then explored and discussed images of the future, suggesting how they thought life might be improved through technology in the future.

We then introduced the students to the Aurasma app. Aurasma is also an AR technology, and it allows you to create your own ‘auras’ which are embedded into a marker that you create. The students used a number of apps on the iPads and iPod touches including iMovie, Toontastic and Screenchomp to put together a short video depicting their vision of the future, which would act as their ‘window’ into the future.

Finally, the students created their ‘markers’, which were simply A4 posters. We had pre-created ‘location’ channels for each of the mobile devices, so when the students went through the process of embedding their auras onto the posters they had created, they could upload them to the channels and share amongst each other. We did experience a few ‘glitches’ with this process, as the wireless internet was quite weak, and the student’s videos were in some cases over a minute long, however we also experienced successes with this process.

The final result was that the students were able to share with others a glimpse into the future that they imagined, via an augmented poster that they had created – take a look at how they worked…

Our second AR project involved an art installation in our office, which we enhanced using the Aurasma technology.

“The Earth in the Balance” on display in ResourceLink

A staff member using an iPod touch to view Rick’s video from the marker.

When the artist, Mr Rick Dalmau offered us the opportunity to display his work at ResourceLink, we jumped at the chance. However it quickly became apparent that Rick’s sculpture had many meanings, and that the story behind it’s construction was fascinating. So, with his permission, we created a short video of him explaining how the piece came together, and we used the Aurasma Studio app to embed this movie into a marker we created using one of his photos of the piece. Entitled ‘Earth in the Balance’, the piece is created from a variety of found objects. If you wish to hear Rick speak about his creation, simply download this PDF Leviathan over granite . Download the Aurasma app, and search for the ‘ResourceLink Auras’ channel, and subscribe.

Once you have subscribed, simply hold your device, with the app open over the printed pdf, and the video should begin playing. Double click on the video to make it full screen. Make sure your volume is on full!

Augmented Reality has really added to ways we can share information, and enhance our resources and displays – if you have any exciting ways you have used AR, please share in the comments below!

Augmented Reality – Even Better than the Real Thing?

Augmented Reality has become a buzz word recently in ed-tech circles.The K-12 Horizon Report describes Augmented Reality as  blending — or augmenting — what
we see in the real world with related information,data, media, and even live action.

Although it was once envisaged that the future would be completely virtual, it is now becoming apparent that rather than stepping into entirely computer created worlds, it is better to harness technology to add to our current reality – hence ‘augmented reality’ has become more popular, and ‘virtual reality’ has become less so.

An easy way to understand exactly what the difference between virtual reality and augmented reality is by viewing examples of each:

This is an explanation of Virtual Reality (also known as Virtual Worlds):

Below is an example of Augmented Reality:

The girl is able to see a 3d model of the lego before she purchases it.

Virtual reality has existed for quite some time, however the increasing use of mobile devices equipped with cameras has enabled the development of apps that put this technology into the hands of students and teachers; and the potential for learning is very exciting.

Augmented reality has two major forms; the first is where a printed trigger image initiates an interaction through the camera of the mobile device; there are many examples of this (and they will be elaborated on below), but the one pictured here is ‘Sneaker ID’, where the printed image of a sneaker transforms into a realistic 3d depiction of a sneaker when viewed through the app.

The second form is where the app uses the devices GPS capabilities to ‘layer’ digital data over the location where the user is. A well known example of this is Layar, which provides a huge number of layers which can provide information about the user’s local environment. The photo below shows a Layar view of Museums and Galleries in a 5 kilometre radius from the Brisbane Catholic Education head office in Brisbane.

Although augmented reality as a learning tool is still in its infancy, there are a number of apps that provide an engaging way to stimulate students imaginations, and one app in particular, Aurasma Lite, which moves beyond simple viewing an augmented reality, and provides tools that students and teachers can use to quickly and easily create their own digital layers onto images and items.

The Horizon Report suggests that Augmented reality is very likely to become a powerful teaching tool within the near future for the following reasons:

  • It can be used for visual and highly interactive forms of learning.
  • Students find connections between their lives and their education through the addition of a contextual layer.
  • It is an active, not a passive technology; students can use it to construct new understanding based on interactions with virtual  objects that bring underlying data to life.
  • Dynamic processes, extensive datasets, and objects too large or too small to be manipulated can be brought into a student’s personal space at a scale and in a form easy to understand and work with.

Before looking at using Aurasma though, let’s just explore some of the ‘fun’ ways that augmented reality can be used in the classroom.

1. As a stimulus for creative writing:

Download the String AR app, and using the printouts available from the String website, bring ‘Proto’ to life on a student’s desk, or inspire a story based around a dragon who bursts out of the computer screen and into the classroom.

2. As part of a science unit on Earth and Space Science:

Examine the Mars Rover in a way that was never possible previously; Using the marker downloaded from the NASA 3D spacecraft app, bring the Rover right into the classroom for an interactive experience:

3. Make mental calculations of money fun:

Capture photos of students with money falling from the sky using MoneyVision; add the totals and graph to seewhich student received the most ‘virtual’ cash!

4. Students studying weather patterns can use the Floodlines app and printable markers created by the State Library of Queensland to examine the extent of the flooding in Brisbane during the 2011 floods.

More ideas for these apps can be found in the attached booklet.

Aurasma takes the tools for augmenting reality and gives it to users.

It allows users to connect short movies, animations or still images to items; best explained by the creator of Aurasma himself, Matt Mills

Creating an ‘aura’ is simple – instructions are in this booklet.

Ideas for using Aurasma in a school setting are numerous; here are just a few:

1. Attach a video of a student presenting their project/artwork/writing to the piece, so that those who weren’t in attendance at the presentation can view it later.

2. Attach a student created book trailer to the cover of the actual book, so that others can view the trailer prior to reading.

3. Embed footage of a school event into the printed school newsletter – still photos in the newsletter become video captured on the day.

4. Record a student reading to a photo of the student holding that book; a collation of these images with embedded video taken over time can provide a timeline of student reading development.

5. Embed a video of the teacher reading out an exam/assignment question onto the task sheet for those students who struggle with reading print text.

6. Create a short video orientation of the school and attach to the school emblem/crest – this will provide a multimedia introduction to the school to anyone who scans the emblem using the Aurasma app.

7. Place Location Auras around the school grounds, with video explaining the history/useful information about that part of the school.

8. Attach labels with embedded video to realia in the school library to add additional explanations about use or care of the item.

The list is endless! Please share your ideas in the comments below.

Augmented Reality might still seem futuristic, but it is hardly science fiction. Students will be engaged and challenged by the multimedia and transmedia possibilities augmented reality brings to learning; what an exciting time to be an educator!

Check out more augmented reality information and resources on my PearlTree.

A Day in the Life of a Mobile Learner

The flexibility of mobile devices is without doubt what affords them their great potential.  Whether you have a 1:1 tablet arrangement, a bank devices or a single device per class, there are many possibilities for creative use. A mobile learner takes advantage of this flexibility; they use it individually, with a buddy and in groups,  taking it to where the learning is – to the playground, to the library, on the excursion – and using it in a variety of ways – as a source of information, as a tool for recording learning, as a method of expression or a channel for collaboration. This post aims to exemplify just some of these modes of use.

The SAMR model developed by Ruben R. Puentedura encourages teachers to move beyond simply substituting the mobile device for what they might otherwise do with another tool, and

‘enables teachers to design, develop, and integrate digital learning experiences that utilize technology to transform learning experiences to lead to high levels of  achievement for students’ (Beyond Substitution, 2011).

The SAMR model

SAMR, a model designed to help educators integrate technology into teaching and learning , was developed by Dr. Ruben Puentedura.

While this model is excellent in encouraging teachers to imagine creative new ways to engage students in constructing new understandings, it also provides a place for apps that simply present more traditional teaching strategies in innovative ways. The key as always is balance – and the seamless use of technology – so that it does not dominate the learning but merely enables it. Just as picking up a pencil does not disrupt the ‘flow’ of a lesson, but just enables the student to record their learning, so too should opening up an app on a mobile device not be the focus of the lesson, but just the process through which students access the information or learning opportunity.

The presentation below ‘A Day in the Life of a Mobile Learner’ seeks to present the many ways a mobile device (in this scenario, an iPad) could be used throughout a ‘typical’ day for a student in the middle years of primary school. Below the presentation is a more detailed account of the day, with suggestion as to how each of the activities fit within the SAMR model, to enhance understanding of how the model looks in action.

If you cannot view the Prezi (above) please use this link.

A day in the life of a mobile learner: the adventures of Kid A

The app images link directly to the page where you can download these apps. For other useful teaching apps, check out the ResourceLink Pinterest board for apps.

Before School:

Kid A goes to the school library, and borrows an iPad from the ‘Gadget Garage’. He then chooses ‘Fred and Ted’s Road Trip’ to download  onto the Overdrive Media Console.  When the bell rings, he returns the book on Overdrive, and then returns the iPad, before moving to class.

First up Kid A participates in Literacy Block.

Kid A participates in a number of different activities.

The first thing Kid A does is practise his morning talk with a buddy. He recorded the talk using Dragon Dictation, and then pasted the text into the the VisioPrompt app, which converts the iPad into a teleprompter. Having his talk on the teleprompter enables him to feel more comfortable when talking in front of the class, and also gives additional reading practise. This is an example of Augmentation, as the apps allow Kid A to do the same task (morning talk) but with functional improvement.

Kid A has a spelling list of words that he practises by typing into WordFoto. The act of typing the words in and searching for a picture that connects or represents the words helps Kid A remember them better. When he completes his wordfoto, he places the picture into the Dropbox app, so that his teacher can print it out later for him to take home. Having a visual stimulus assists Kid A and encourages him to spend more time practising his spelling words. This is an example of Modification – although the task of recalling spelling words is the same, the method used is significantly modified by the Wordfoto app.

Kid A now joins with three classmates and plays Futaba, using the pre-prepared list of vocabulary words and images his group compiled the previous week. Futaba is unique, as it allows four students to participate in a game using the one iPad simultaneously. This is an example of Substitution, as there have always been word games that students have played where they match words with images – the iPad in this case simply provides a different channel for delivering the game.

Next week, the students in Kid A’s class will be exploring the instructional text type of recipes. In preparation for this, Kid A works through the Cookie Doodle app, reading each stage of the recipe and noting the verbs used at the beginning of each instruction. The Cookie Doodle app is an example of Redefinition – the task is redefined through the use of this app, as it allows a level of interactivity with the recipe that would only otherwise be possible through actually cooking.

After morning tea, Kid A starts his maths rotations.

During this time, he works individually and in groups, completing number skill activities and also more open ended problem solving tasks.

First, Kid A practises his ‘add to 10′ skills, playing the game Mathris, a number facts game based on Tetris. (Substitution).

Working with a partner, Kid A then uses ScreenChomp to develop an explanation of how to multiply by two digit numbers. This whiteboard app records the verbal explanation and the writing on the screen and converts it to a video, which Kid A emails to his teacher. The video forms an excellent piece of evidence for the teacher in assessing Kid A’s understanding of multiplication. It also allows the teacher to pinpoint if and where there are any difficulties (i.e. if Kid A needs more practise with basic maths facts, or in remembering the strategy for multiplying double digits etc). Previously this opportunity to watch and listen as a child explains the process of completing an equation was limited, as teachers did not have the time to sit one on one with every child – therefore this is an example of Modification – the app provides data gathering in a way that was previously extremely difficult.

To wind up their maths rotations, Kid A leads a whole class game invented by the teacher,  using the speaking calculator app. Another example of Augmentation, as the presence of the app allows for a functional improvement on previous games using calculators, by the presence of the ‘speaking’ feature.

Time for the class to begin working on their integrated unit, which is one on sustainability.

The class is exploring ways that they can change their school environment so that it better reflects principles of sustainability.

They begin with a simple ‘substitution’ exercise – working in small groups to complete a KWL graphic organiser on the iPad, using the Tools  4 Students app. This is emailed to the teacher for later use in a whole class activity.

Next, Kid A buddies up with a friend, and walks around the school, using the iPad to take photos of parts of the playground where they think environmental practices could be implemented. They return to the classroom, and use the Skitch app to annotate their photos, explaining why they took the photo and what change they believe is needed. This combination of activities is an example of Modification – although it could previously have been completed using a digital camera and pen and paper, the use of the iPad camera and Skitch app have made the learning far more about the process rather than the tools.

Finally, the class adds the finishing touches to a display for their upcoming parent morning. This display is two-fold. Firstly, the students wrote poems about the school environment, and published them as posters for the classroom walls. They then recited these poems to the class, while a classmate recorded their presentation using the video recorder on the iPad. Today, the students use the Aurasma Lite app to attach the video to the posters, so that parents can view through the Aurasma app and see their recitations. This is an example of Augmented Reality, and is definitely a task that falls into the Redefinition category of the SAMR model, as it was not in any way possible prior to the use of augmented reality apps in the classroom.

Further information on Augmented Reality and augmented reality apps will be featured in an upcoming blog post, so if this activity has intrigued you, stay tuned!

The afternoon session brings Health and Physical Education and Art.

The HPE and Art activities are simple examples of how basic substitution apps such as PE Games and FacesiMake can be used in creative ways that encourage higher order thinking and collaboration skills.

The PE Games app is essentially a HPE Games book that is accessible on the iPad. The flexibility comes from being able to add your own games to the ones already included. Students can be encouraged to work collaboratively by providing them with access to the app and the required resources (e.g. balls, hoops, beanbags), and asking them to work together to understand and play a game that is randomly chosen by shaking the iPad/iPod touch gently.

The FacesiMake app allows students to exercise creativity in designing a face using innumerable number of items, including pieces of fruit, household implements, stationary items…the options are endless. Suggesting that students use this app to create a new character for a story that they are to write, or to imitate a famous work of art adds another layer to what is essentially a very fun and non-messy way of creating unique images of faces.

Kid A’s day is over too soon! He has never been as engaged, and during the  day, he has worked independently, in partnership with his buddy and in small groups, as well as in whole class settings. He can’t wait to see what apps he might use tomorrow…but that is a blog post for another day!

References:

Beyond Substitution: The SAMR Model. (n.d.).2011 Summer Tech Institute. Retrieved August 1, 2012, from http://msad75summertechnologyinstitute.wordpress.com/beyond-substitution/
Please note: The Prezi in this post was embedded using the very helpful tips found at https://boisebarbara.clarify-it.com/d/62kpct

Numeracy Ideas for the Contemporary Classroom

The Melbourne Declaration of Educational Goals for Young Australians (MCEETYA 2008) recognises that numeracy is an essential skill for students in becoming successful learners at school and life beyond school, and in preparing them for their future roles as family, community and workforce members. More broadly, a highly numerate population is critical in ensuring the nation’s ongoing prosperity, productivity and workforce participation.

Individuals who are numerate are better prepared to participate and engage in a world that is increasingly focused upon creativity, innovation and which focuses upon knowledge creation and sharing.

This blog post is based upon the research of Professor Merrilyn Goos and many of the ideas here have been inspired by the great work of Tom Barrett.  He is a tremendous inspiration for all teachers, not just in the work he does with Ewan McIntosh for NoTosh, but also in his tremendous crowd-sourced series, Interesting Ways. I would encourage you to follow him on Twitter (@tombarrett), as a regular source of great ideas and resources.

21st Century Numeracy

Professor Merrilyn Goos has developed an excellent model for 21st Century numeracy:

Created by Merrilyn Goos

A model for 21st century numeracy by Merrilyn Goos

Click on the thumbnail for a larger version, or read about the model in more detail in the following Keynote Presentation: http://www.nlnw.sa.edu.au/files/links/Goos_SAkeynote.ppt

Explaining the model:

You still need mathematical knowledge to be numerate! This includes concepts, skills, and problem solving strategies, as well as the ability to use sensible estimations. A numerate person also has positive dispositions – a willingness and confidence to engage with tasks – independently and in collaboration with others – and apply their mathematical knowledge in flexible and adaptable ways.
Numerate practice often involves using tools. These include:

1. Representational tools like ready reckoners and charts and tables that might be used in a manufacturing context, and of course

2. physical tools like mathematical drawing instruments and the work related tools of a trade or profession

3.digital tools – technology.
A numerate person can organise their personal finances, for example in relation to credit card spending and mobile phone use. They manage their personal health by making decisions about their eating and exercise habits. They engage in leisure activities that require numeracy knowledge, such as travel, sport, perhaps gambling.

All kinds of occupations require numeracy. Many examples of work-related numeracy are very specific to the particular work context, and often the mathematics used is either invisible to the user or is used in very different ways from how mathematics is taught at school.

Informed and critical citizens are numerate citizens. Almost every public issue depends on data, projections, and the kind of systematic thinking that’s at the heart of numeracy.

Numeracy – A General Capability

In the Australian Curriculum students become numerate as they develop the capacity to recognise and understand the role of mathematics in the world around them and the confidence, willingness and ability to apply mathematics to their lives in ways that are constructive and meaningful.

As they become numerate, students develop and use mathematical skills related to:

  • Calculation and number
  • Patterns and relationships
  • Proportional reasoning
  • Spatial reasoning
  • Statistical literacy
  • Measurement.

With this in mind, below are four examples of different ways technology can be used creatively to enhance students’ numeracy skills. These ideas do not focus specifically on maths, but rather on broader strategies that require the application of a number of the mathematical skills numerate students demonstrate.

 1. Wolfram Alpha –

creating interesting calculation and number problems with real information

Wolfram Alpha is a computational search engine. Although it works at extremely complex levels, there are many challenges that can be set using Wolfram Alpha as inspiration and to check results against.

For example:
Write down everything you know about the number 28. http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=28

1)    Is 10 001 a prime number? http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=Is+10001+prime%3F

Or create engaging calculations using information that is nominated by the students. For example:

1)    Which Harry Potter movie is the longest, and by how much (students need to compare numbers, order them and then subtract second longest from longest) http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=Harry+Potter+and+the+Philosopher%27s+Stone&a=*C.Harry+Potter+and+the+Philosopher%27s+Stone-_*Movie-

2)    How much closer is Brisbane to the South Pole as the North Pole? http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=Brisbane+to+North+Pole

3)    Are there more men or women living in Australia, and by how much? http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=how+many+men+in+australia

2. Proportional Reasoning using Scootle

There are fantastic learning objects available on Scootle that allow students to see and interact with fractions and the understandings required to develop proportional reasoning.

Explore this learning path of examples of some of the quality learning objects:

http://www.scootle.edu.au/ec/pin/EDWHQM?userid=20960 – Pin number is EDWHWM

Cassowary sanctuary

Help a park ranger to arrange fencing in a wildlife sanctuary. Divide common geometric shapes into equal-sized sections for keeping cassowaries. Group the enclosures to form a quarantine zone, then express divisions of the enclosures as fractions. Work through facts about the life of cassowaries: physical characteristics; diet; habitat; life cycles; and locations. Interact with graphs to see how people can help to save cassowaries. This learning object is a combination of two objects in the same series

Playground percentages

Help a town planner to design two site plans for a school. Assign regions on a 10×10 grid for different uses such as a playground, canteen, car park or lawn. Calculate the percentage of the total site used for each region. Use a number line to display fractions and equivalent fractions. This learning object is a combination of two objects in the same series.

Measures: scaling down

Compare the areas of squares, rectangles and triangles before and after being scaled down (reduced). Notice that ‘similar shapes’ in the mathematical sense have the same shape but different areas. Explore the relationship between side-length reduction and area reduction when scaling down shapes. This learning object is the third in a series of eight objects that progressively increase in difficulty.

Spatial Reasoning using Resources from Flickr

A great deal of Maths is visible in the everyday. Having students identify where they see Maths can be an engaging way to relate the concepts being taught to real life examples.

Using Flickr students can:

  • search for specific examples of spatial concepts in real life

http://www.flickr.com/photos/44335830@N08/sets/72157625801871870/

http://www.flickr.com/groups/geometric/pool/page2/

http://www.flickr.com/groups/99544099@N00/pool/

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo by kathryn_rotondo: http://flickr.com/photos/kathryn_rotondo/2228148826/

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo by Andrew J. Sutherland: http://flickr.com/photos/sutherlandviolin/3351394552/

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo by Cast a Line: http://flickr.com/photos/58754750@N08/5454720719/

  • students upload their own photos and share explanations for their choices – use the ‘notes’ feature on photos in flickr to add explanations, as seen in this example:

cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo by reekhardough: http://flickr.com/photos/70968517@N00/321037734/

  http://www.flickr.com/photos/70968517@N00/321037734/

Developing Statistical Literacy using Google Docs

Using Google Docs allows students to create forms that are automatically linked to spreadsheets for analysis of data.

The difference between using a program such as Excel and Google Docs is that with Google Docs you can provide a web link or embed the form on a class blog or website to provide more open access. Also, multiple students can access the form/spreadsheet at the same time, making it possible to set group tasks or even homework (e.g. survey parents etc).

An example is here:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AgBciM5qWAuTdGRIQWdPS2FJN2tfYkVxRXlPSGRiZUE

Google Forms can be as simple or as complex as required, and provide the option to view responses in a summary format also:

Google Spreadsheets allow data to be visualised also:

Developing Measurement Skills using Google Maps

Google maps allow you to zoom in on many different areas of interest. If you have a Google Account, you can create maps with pins that have associated maths challenges.

As part of the Maps Labs, you can tick an option to have a distance measurement tool function that students can then use to measure different distances – not only the distance between different points, but the area and perimeter of swimming pools and other large constructions and locations. To access this tool, you need to be logged in – why not create a generic Google account for students so that they can use this and other features.

For Example:

http://g.co/maps/phz5s

Your thoughts?

Have you used a contemporary tool in an innovative way to develop numeracy skills?

Share your ideas or experiences in the comments – we’d love to hear of more ways to engage students in this vital area!