Archive for July, 2009

Why (teachers) should blog

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

A spin on Godin’s (the bald one) first few sentences: Running a class blog for students gets the teacher searching for really good Web links that fit that particular lesson’s content and that help students understand it. As Dave C (the chemist blogger) has worked out, you can use those links next year and in [...]

How does your news get paid for?

Saturday, July 25th, 2009

“A dollar for a newspaper or a few bucks for a glossy magazine feels like a fair price for a copy. Trees have been cut, presses have been rolled, trucks have been driven to get that copy into your hands.” John Gruber Daringfireball Pay Walls

replying to

“Content matters. And you must find a way, in the [...]

Accuracy (Google Earth and sundials)

Friday, July 24th, 2009

A colleague draws a short line at the edge of the whiteboard recording the image of the window frame when the Sun shines in the classroom window and then carries on. As he is an enthusiastic and engaging teacher, the students’ attention is drawn away from the mark. The students are always amazed at how [...]

Customise the header image in the default WordPress theme

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

Use the GIMP to copy an image into the blue gradient area of the Kubrick theme, now the WordPress default

Mr Baker is not well

Sunday, July 19th, 2009

Attempts to upgrade to WordPress 2.8.1 led to me not being able to log into the admin pages. The database tables updated OK, but my passwords were not recognised and attempts to reset the admin password using the MySQL database manager application failed. I’m not alone, although some people appear to be authenticating OK but [...]

Foreign currency

Sunday, July 19th, 2009

Download one side on foreign currency conversion. It explains converting from Sterling to foreign currency and back again, and has a few questions of each kind. The worksheet assumes that students will use calculators.

I was searching for Web pages with simple explanations of the topics in the Number unit of an access maths module so [...]


Thursday, July 16th, 2009

Nice photos from NASA in the Boston Globe with captions.

Moondust by Andrew Smith is worth reading, despite the review, because its the only account of the thoughts and reflections of those who walked on the Moon that is easily available. The author felt a need to put Project Apollo into the context of his life [...]

twitter for essays

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

Twitter includes a 140 character limit on each twit. Sounds like an ideal constraint to me. Challenge to students: summarise today’s lesson in one twit. Provide a copy of the blank above to each student…

Paul Constant has written a review of twitter as a series of twitter posts (via Now, what I want to [...]

An unusual application of fractions

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

Image detail taken from a scan of a notebook opening on Kyle Gann’s Post Classic blog.

I’m just beginning to replan my teaching of fractions… I’ll have to get some simple music examples in there somewhere.

Mobile Broadband Coverage

Monday, July 13th, 2009

OFCOM have published comparative maps of mobile broadband coverage (Jan 2009) showing various providers for the UK.

t-mobile 3G above…

3G coverage.

No brainer, if you live in Scotland, you need a wired connection. What surprised me was the fractal holes in the Birmingham conurbation area on t-mobile (my current web’n’walk modem) and the contrast with 3G, the [...]

Copyright free images

Sunday, July 12th, 2009

Image*After and MorgueFile are Web resources where you can find and download high resolution photos for use in PowerPoint presentations or Web pages. MorgueFile’s name comes from the archives kept by newspapers and the Police of old photographs. You can used the ‘advanced’ search page in Flickr and specify only images with a Creative Commons [...]

It doesn’t matter

Sunday, July 12th, 2009

“... why am I completely incapable of putting non-verbal marks on a page so they do the same? What neural channels are so blocked that my ducks don’t just look wonky, they look like scribbles? Why does eye-mind-hand work about as well in me as I contemplate a teacup or imagine a tree, as it [...]

Is Google making us Stupid or Smarter?

Saturday, July 11th, 2009

Two articles from The Atlantic

Is Google Making Us Stupid by Nicholas CarrGet Smarter by Jamais Cascio

Both reference Proust and the Squid by Maryanne Wolf.

Chrome OS and toasters

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

Computers should be like toasters, they should just work for years and then when they stop working, you should be able to pop out and buy a new one. Toasters don’t need backups, and a major cause of problems with computers is loosing data (which may include family pictures and purchased music as well as [...]


Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

Virtual learning environments: an evaluation of their development in a sample of educational settings is a report from OFSTED that looked at 18 college VLEs, with ‘reviews’ of 5 more.

“We found that the exploitation of VLEs at curriculum level resembled more of a cottage industry than a national technological revolution.”

Of course, if you want a [...]

Geoff Petty’s Active Learning Pyramid

Sunday, July 5th, 2009

The crux of the problem. Active learning is known to be more effective than receiving information, but we don’t use the active tools in Moodle. Geoff Petty gives out a large number of handouts on the downloads page of his Web site. The pyramid above was found in the Word file called Active Learning Works, [...]

East Side images and quotes

Sunday, July 5th, 2009

This Red Herring post is about the images used in the Stance section of the presentation. I have strong views on PowerPoint, and prefer to use mainly images with a few words and diagrams.

Nietzsche was fond of his schreibkugel. The Friedrich Nietzsche quote is taken from Friedrich Kittler’s book Gramophone, Film, Typewriter, Standford University Press, [...]

Alan Staley: characterise Moodle courses

Sunday, July 5th, 2009

Professor Alan Staley is Head of the Learning Technology Development Unit at BCU. He has introduced Moodle as BCU’s VLE and has used the introduction of a VLE to encourage more active styles of teaching and more focus on pedagogy. I attended a JISC West Midlands Regional Support Centre user group meeting some years ago [...]

Diana Laurillard and the conversational model

Sunday, July 5th, 2009

Diana Laurillard is professor of Learning with Digital Technologies at the London Knowledge Lab. Laurillard wrote a very influential book called Rethinking University Teaching, published by Routledge, second edition with updated examples and a few modifications was released in 2001. Roger Rist has provided a brief summary of the conversational model from which I [...]

Interface for web site

Friday, July 3rd, 2009

“Despite my passion for software I’ve been very interested in being outdoors and blending better my physical presence with the real world. If I could I’d prefer to just spend all my time outdoors; doing work such as annotating the real world with appropriate meta-data.”Anselm Hook’s use this interview

Anselm Hook’s personal site has colour coded [...]

A Red Herring

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

Spawning a new category to host extra material, references and context for a talk I’m doing next week.