Saturday, 16 April 2011

Be careful what you Tweet

I'm following with interest the story as it unfolds regarding a guy called Chambers who tweeted that he would blow up an airport if he didn't catch his flight after a heavy fall of snow.  Stephen Fry has given his support to Chambers' appeal, joining many others in saying that the tweet was taken out of context and was clearly meant as a joke.

Not sure if I agree or not - on the one hand we should all be allowed to joke, but on the other hand, we all have a responsibility to censor our 'comments' as appropriate.  There are some things I would say in front of my husband that I would never say in a classroom, and there are some things I would say to my friends that I would never say in front of my husband.

What do you think?

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Learning from my students

In my web design class there is a young artist who is building a site for the local art community.  He often asks me in depth or difficult questions for things he want his site to be able to do.  In the past, this might have worried me as I can't always answer his questions, but today I realised what a joy it is to move beyond the constraints of what can be done easily, and to challenge both his and my learning.

All too often we limit ourselves to the things we are familiar with, instead of taking a step back and asking "what do I really want to achieve, and then trying to achieve it.  This is perhaps one of the advantages of not knowing the software.  My student has a "surely this is possible" attitude which makes us both try that bit harder to find a way of doing what he wants.  Great stuff.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Collaboration on Google Docs

I have discovered the power of Google Docs for sharing.  Forgive me for my enthusiasm, I'm not so quick as some of you.

What a brilliant tool.  I've created several documents already to share with colleagues, and we've all had fun adding comments and using the chat facility.

Above all though, I think this will be really productive.  An easy way for us to share a combined piece of work, adding to it as we have thoughts or ideas.  Fab stuff.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Twitter chat

Well tonight I followed (well, tried to follow!) a Twitter chat on EdChat.

Just about kept up, but it's definitely a skill which could be improved.  Some interesting thoughts on Shared Decision Making, and I'll try and follow others when I can.  A sort of virtual meeting I suppose with people from all over the world.

ESW, Job Skills and the Job Centre

Visit today from the Job Centre, looking at our ESW / Job skills classes.  Seemed very positive, so perhaps some good links will be made here.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Busy busy busy

A fun filled day today, CSS, Google Docs & Google Bookmarks to name but a few.  No luck with the Grand National though

Google Bookmarks

I'm seriously getting carried away, now I've gone and added my first bookmark to Google Bookmarks.  There's simply no stopping me!

Google Reader

As I'm halfway through reading Will Richardson's Blogs, Wikis and Podcasts - a book about Web 2.0 tools for the classroom - I've decided to follow his advice and set up Google Reader.  This is a space where I can set up RSS feeds for all the things I'm interested in.  The principle seems very straightforward.  Will says that you should check it daily for feeds of interest, to build a skill set in skim reading and finding what you're looking for.

So I've made a start, currently only following two feeds, one from Paul's E-learning blog and one to Emerging educational technology - a feed I found through using Google Reader's subscription search.

I've even gone so far as to add a star to a post I'd like to follow up later.  Next, I need to create some folders so that I can organise the feeds more intuitively.  I'll let you know how I get on!

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Remember the milk

As someone who needs to do lists in order to remember everything I'm not supposed to forget, Remember the Milk looks like it could be worth a further look....

LAN school opportunity

During my Web class today, one of my learners called me over because her computer was 'infected' with a virus.  The screen had turned into one giant warning message, with a list behind of her folders and files marked "infected" in red.

This gave me an excellent opportunity.  Only a couple of weeks earlier, my daughter had the same message on our laptop, and the following evening, my neighbour too.

I displayed the screen using LAN school to the rest of the class.  I told them the message was fake, and asked them how I could tell.  No one was able to answer, though they tried moving the mouse around to see if that gave them any clues.

It was because the message appeared in a browser tab that I knew it was fake, and we closed it and opened a new browser window with no further issues.

I hope that, as a result, all my students are now better equipped to look out for such scams which tempt unsuspecting surfers (such as my neighbours) to download malicious software.  The benefits of LAN software were unquestionnable in this instance.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Always Learning

There is no doubt that as teachers we are always learning.  I suspect a good teacher should be learning just as much as their students do.

I learnt today that the complex session I taught on CSS went fantastically well, because I was primed and ready for it.

The 'easier' session I did on optimising graphics for my later group was somewhat less successful.  It lacked clarity from the outset, because I had spent so much time concentrating on my more difficult session for the day.

So, next session, I'm going to approach the same task as a puzzle - here are my images (a bmp, a photo with a huge file size, and a photo that is simply too large in its dimensions) and get my learners to add them to a website.  This will force them to solve the same issues, but in a more practical way than just 'optimise these images'.  I think that will get them to see the reasoning behind the session.

On a plus note, we made great use of LAN school as a way of demonstrating a very well thought out response to the task by one learner.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Life Before Google

How true this post is: Life Before Google.  I have a constant list of things in my head that I 'need' to look up using Google.

My mind would be a far emptier place without it! (perhaps that wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing!)

Friday, 1 April 2011

The Power of the Retweet

A few of the publications and links I've been reading have mentioned the importance of Retweeting to attract more followers on Twitter.

So, as an experiment, I retweeted the link to the "Those who can, tweet" article that I mentioned in my previous blog post (retweeted from @MoodleMcKean).

24 hours later, I have another 5 new followers.  This, after having only a trickle of followers since I properly started Tweeting back in November time.

My conclusion, therefore, is that the Retweet is a most powerful tool if you wish to gain followers....

And if you're not following me already, please do ;) @clareontherun