Archive for the ‘ILT’ Category

Ninjawords dictionary

Sunday, January 17th, 2010

Online dictionary has no adverts and is fast

Post to twitter from command line

Sunday, January 17th, 2010

Works in the Mac OS terminal, and on Linux if you install curl.

#! /bin/sh
curl —basic—user “username:password”

—data-ascii “status=`echo $@|tr ’ ’ ‘+’`” “” > /dev/null

Update of something I found from 2007, when twitter was using a different [...]

Free Mind

Monday, November 30th, 2009

Useful freeware mapping tool


Friday, November 20th, 2009

“An organization that wins by exercising power starts to lose the ability to win by doing better work. And it’s not fun for a smart person to work in a place where the best ideas aren’t the ones that win.”

Paul Graham, via daring fireball

I’m getting serious about mobile platforms. I need to decide [...]

Scientific Poster Links

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

Students on science degrees usually learn how to present findings in the form of a ‘poster’. A science poster is a special kind of wall display invented so everyone who attends a conference can present their results even though there is not enough time for them all to speak. MS PowerPoint (and OpenOffice Impress) can [...]

B for listen to me!

Thursday, October 8th, 2009

I’ve already blogged about the Most Important Key When Presenting with PowerPoint. The next most useful is the B key. Press the B key while presenting, and the screen goes black – your audience have nothing else to look at except you, and that means that you can get a hearing no matter how zappy [...]


Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

Computers have windows and some way of pointing at things on the display. Mobile devices are moving over to touch sensitive displays with ‘gestural’ commands. Here is some pre-history…

Ivan Sutherland’s SketchPad demonstrated by Alan Kay. Sutherland’s PhD supervisor what Claude Shannon, and he in turn supervised Kay’s research. Alan Kay contributed to the development of [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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, [...]

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 [...]

Summer: Mobile technology

Sunday, June 28th, 2009

I hate to admit it, but the future is probably with small portable devices rather than Web Books.

Classifying Moodle courses

Friday, June 12th, 2009

Just a way of looking at Moodle courses that Alan Staley described during a Moodle User Group meeting some time ago.

Blogs, Twitter and wikis

Monday, June 8th, 2009

Just a few sentences on each. A draft of some staff training material.

Wolfram Alpha

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

A search engine for Maths. You can type things like “y = (x+1)(x-1)x” or “weather Birmingham UK 2008” and get graphs and data. You can type a search term like “x^3 – 2x = 10” and the system will solve the equation exactly or approximately and draw graphs.


Friday, May 15th, 2009

“The crux of the problem lies in the assumption that any program executing on a system on the user’s behalf should have the exact same abilities and permissions as any other program executing on behalf of the same user.”
OLPC wiki entry for bitfrost

Nice page on the security model built into sugar, the operating system [...]

Plain Vanilla

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

Vanilla is a simple and rather basic forum script that runs on a Web server and needs a MySQL database and PHP (MySQL 3.23+ and PHP 4.1+). I had an instance working in about 5 minutes. The very basic functionality can be extended using plug-ins. In particular the rather ace autolinks plug in will automatically [...]

MoleTV test: tree diagrams

Monday, April 27th, 2009

Uploaded the screencast about tree diagrams to MoleTV as a test of their system and embedding. I just uploaded the original .mov file I made using iShowU on my iBook. I’ll try a .mov converted from an .ogg file recorded on Ubuntu later, shame there is no direct support for .ogg files. MoleTV converts to [...]

Pebblepad at Thanet College

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

Thanks to Geoff Rebbeck for telling us how PebblePad is used in his college. PebblePad is a rich system, so I should not have been so surprised that the way its being used at Thanet is so different to the way I’ve seen the system for assessed portfolios.

College tour

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

The new building has IWs in each room (240+ across all the campusses), with PCs in teaching rooms. Staff do not have laptops, staff PCs are allocated to staff rooms. There is a campus wide wifi for students so they can use their own laptops – the students authenticate and are taken to a landing [...]


Monday, April 20th, 2009

I’m attending an unconference tomorrow at Gloucester College. This event is supported by a community page on the social networking site, I’ll link to that when the event is over. Ning is easy to use as a participant and provides a range of tools (photo, video sharing, automatic generation of slide shows from photos, [...]

Web book in classroom

Thursday, April 9th, 2009

Modem connected web book allows students to see YouTubes and encourages them to use blog between lessons.

Roll out the barrel

Sunday, April 5th, 2009

Lens aberrations clearly visible on cheap compact digital camera

Anyone for tennis?

Monday, March 30th, 2009

“For those uninitiated with Layer Tennis, the premise is simple: two players trade a Photoshop document back and forth, each player has 15 minutes to iterate on the previous “volley” however they see fit. The matches are played live on Friday afternoons, and people follow along and comment via Twitter. It really isn’t about winning [...]

Mobile Slideshare

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009 is a landing page on Slideshare for mobile phones. The resolution of each slide is reduced to 240 by 180 (still in horizontal mode). I noticed that slides with white backgrounds and sparse content did not always render properly (big black blocks on some slides obscuring the image, as if the writing was ‘missed’ [...]

Graph grids

Sunday, March 15th, 2009

Useful online graph paper generator allows you to save PDF files with a choice of grids

New camera

Sunday, March 8th, 2009

Fujifilm Finepix J12 point and shoot makes nice classroom pictures. Battery has to be removed for charging.

Record My Desktop

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

Ubuntu repositories contain this program, it does what it says on the packet

ogg test

Saturday, February 7th, 2009

Record my desktop from the Ubuntu repositories produces a screencam video of your Ubuntu session

CSS comments in MSIE v6

Sunday, February 1st, 2009

MSIE v6 ignores the two forward slash style comments in CSS, and Firefox and Safari don’t. You can have different styles on different browsers…

Sunday, January 18th, 2009

ScreenToaster is now out of beta testing, and a lot of the sharp edges have been rounded off. ScreenToaster is a Web application that allows you to make screen videos of what you are doing on your computer and share them with others.

I’ve just used it to provide a series of videos of how to [...]

Personalised learning

Monday, January 5th, 2009

Individual attention?Self-directed learning?Tailored Curriculum?None of the above?

The BETT 2009 homepage has a poll on the right hand side of the page. After some deliberation, I went for ‘tailored curriculum’ and found myself in the majority (a fairly unusual position for me). I was dithering over ‘none of the above’ for some 30 seconds or so [...]

Pure Data: Visual programming of sound

Monday, December 29th, 2008

Simple metaphor, cross platform, open source

Screen design slide deck

Monday, November 17th, 2008

Contrast, repetition, alignment, proximity

Action button settings in PowerPoint

Sunday, November 9th, 2008

8 minutes on how to link slides together and build a menu in PowerPoint.

Maps of US election results

Thursday, November 6th, 2008

areas of the states projected so that they are proportional to the number of seats in the electoral college. By Mark Newman

Opening the curriculum firewall?

Thursday, November 6th, 2008

Will Richardson

Agregation test

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

Have a look at

I’m testing how the aggregation of feeds into ELGG blogs works.

Anyone else going to ELGG meeting in Brighton on the 1st of December?

Screen Toaster Beta

Tuesday, November 4th, 2008

ScreenToaster is in Beta but still creates smooth animations from my Ubuntu box

Blogging for teachers: links

Monday, November 3rd, 2008

Answering some questions from today

Blogging for teachers slide deck

Sunday, November 2nd, 2008

Just a few slides on what, why, who and how

Video: words of wisdom

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

“If I were to do it again I might well go down the road of using students as actors, shooting very short scripts and using my digital camera to film. The results would be very different and not so generally useful, but it would be less of an investment in time.”
Chris Jackson – skills for [...]


Friday, October 10th, 2008

Free geometry software


Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

Bob Staake screen cam…

Using old software

Tuesday, October 7th, 2008

Using older software because it is familiar and does what you need.

Thursday, September 4th, 2008

Using illustrations to convey concepts can save time and can support students who have a visual orientation. Drawing a visual representation of a set of ideas or a process forces you to think in a different way compared with linear text. A project run by several Universities in Europe has resulted in the Web [...]

gOS – getting there

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008

gOS is a version of Linux that is intended to be easy to use and designed around what most computer users want to do (Web, photos, music, e-mail, documents). The distribution is based on Ubuntu, in turn based on Debian, but the gOS people have made an honest attempt to make the desktop easy to [...]

Passing notes outside class

Monday, August 18th, 2008

“Many of the students we spoke to are making some use of their own tools to socialise and network in personal and public spaces, and in doing so are actually supporting their learning in that they use these tools to communicate and share information and resources between themselves and their peers, even though they did [...]

All on the same big page or lots of different pages?

Wednesday, July 16th, 2008

What do we put in front of people’s eyes?

Ways in

Saturday, July 12th, 2008

Staff development: some reasons why we need to get serious about online learning as well as the mouse clicking

NeoOffice for Mac OS X

Sunday, June 29th, 2008

NeoOffice is a build of OpenOffice that integrates with the Mac OS X desktop much better than OpenOffice does.


Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

Make tag clouds from text

Spreadsheets to talk about

Saturday, June 21st, 2008

The humble spreadsheet can encourage students to talk about doing mathematics. Ideas and investigations you develop are futureproof. The ‘small laptops’ that are becoming more common allow more flexible use of class based pair and group work.

Ubiquitous computing

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

The multimedia capture device we all carry

Creative writing blog

Thursday, May 15th, 2008

Teaching Creative Writing blog by Susan Lee Kerr

Blogging about teaching

Saturday, March 15th, 2008

Feedback from the InTuition Spring 2008 article

Class blogs screencast

Saturday, March 8th, 2008

How to use and why you would want to

Web client: Aleutia E2

Tuesday, March 4th, 2008

Low power PC bolts onto the back of your LCD panel and provides Web access and basic wordprocessing and office.

Podcasting from the Asus

Sunday, March 2nd, 2008

What do the built in microphones sound like? Not too bad, a bit low on the treble but reasonable sensitivity. High pass filter in Audacity sorted it.

Cheap laptops

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

Windows or not?

Encyclopedia of Life

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

We like this…

Explaining Web applications

Thursday, January 24th, 2008

How to explain what VLEs, eportfolios and such things do

User stories: teacher

Monday, December 10th, 2007

How about this as a synopsis of the role?

User stories: adult student

Sunday, December 9th, 2007

Scoping a portal for a college

Excel 97 arithmetic

Thursday, September 27th, 2007

Microsoft foobar

Pedagogical templates

Saturday, September 1st, 2007

A series of course designs from the Institute of Education

Dynamic graphs

Saturday, August 25th, 2007

Scatter diagram with draggable data points demonstrates line of best fit issues

Keynote 08

Tuesday, August 21st, 2007

You can use KeyNote 08 to make screencasts


Wednesday, July 25th, 2007

Cross platform tape slide package for the Interweb thing

Blogs in FE

Monday, July 9th, 2007

It is that time of year again – some text I wrote for an online conference on blogging.

Seashore image editor

Saturday, June 16th, 2007

For Mac OS X, cocoa native based on the Gnu Image Manipulation Program

Hot Potatoes

Friday, June 15th, 2007

How to install the well known quiz generator on Windows XP

Skype homework

Sunday, June 10th, 2007

Migrants are big users of communications technology

Modifying Oddmuse

Thursday, May 24th, 2007

Oddmuse is a wiki script written in perl. It is based on the Usemod wiki script, but can produce valid xhtml. Oddmuse does not need a database, page data is stored in text files.

To get a wiki running on a Web server that runs Apache (1.2 upwards) and that can run perl cgi scripts, you [...]

Bespoke HotPotatoes

Tuesday, May 15th, 2007

Quiz program for individual student support

Sage or guide?

Sunday, May 13th, 2007

I’m both in different parts of the lesson. I think that many people assume that PowerPoint use implies Sage role, and I was trying to provide counterexamples.

Charles Nelson takes me to task in my post about PowerPoint in a post on his Explorations in Learning blog as follows
“One point that needs to be considered a [...]

PowerPoint Big Question

Saturday, May 12th, 2007

What is appropriate, when and why?

The Learning Circuits blog has posed this question about PowerPoint, with some detailed side questions. My answers below. See also Clive Shepherd’s answer on his Clive on Learning blog. I like the example slides put up by Jay Cross, especially the little chap ‘reading’ a technical manual upside down! In [...]

Test from ScribeFire

Saturday, May 12th, 2007

Testing the ScribeFire blog tool, a plugin for Firefox. You can post to blog directly from Firefox, and you can upload pictures using the WordPress image upload script.

The HTML produced by the rich text editor is familiar to Firefox and Mozilla users, full of line break tags. At present, there appears to be no [...]

Blogging to teachers

Sunday, May 6th, 2007

Using a blog to get views before a staff development event.

Scribd test

Tuesday, April 24th, 2007

Document sharing site, will this be useful?

DIY elearning

Monday, April 16th, 2007

Get a blog going, use flickr and TeacherTube, just do something

Moodle 1.8

Sunday, April 1st, 2007

Latest stable version installs easily on hosted server space


Thursday, March 29th, 2007

YouTube for teachers uses ‘post anything, the community decides’ model for inappropriate content.

PowerPoint timelines

Monday, March 12th, 2007

A list of names, each name appears and disappears in a three second cycle

Digital literacy

Saturday, March 3rd, 2007

What do we need to teach people about computers?

Blowing off the dust

Saturday, February 24th, 2007

Being a little subtle can pay off, and not just with IT support

Neuroscience and learning

Thursday, February 22nd, 2007

Do the findings actually help you design activities?

Digital ethnography

Monday, February 12th, 2007

Michael Wesch and students producing remarkable stuff

Local wiki

Sunday, January 21st, 2007

Installing Apache and UseMod on Xubuntu

Slideshare – half way there

Sunday, January 14th, 2007 lets you share slides. Imagine if you could record sound and time transitions…

Test from Flock

Friday, January 12th, 2007

The social browser has limited blogging tool built-in.

Blogs in education 2

Friday, December 29th, 2006

Mohamed Taher has assembled a nice page of links

Trying and using

Sunday, December 10th, 2006

Jason Fried’s short blog post is all about communities of practice

48 things to do with an interactive whiteboard

Wednesday, December 6th, 2006

From JISC North West. Value added over projector?

Photos now on Flickr

Sunday, December 3rd, 2006

Kodak EasyShare C310 for quick snaps

Classification of VLE courses

Wednesday, November 29th, 2006

Alan Staley gave a talk at the Moodle User Group meeting today. He showed one slide that struck me as being a very useful way of explaining the various ways of using Moodle to teachers. This simple (well, simple when you see someone else explain it) diagram provides a classification scheme for VLE courses.

Paparazzi App for Mac OS X

Monday, November 27th, 2006

This small app allows you to enter a Web address and then save a PNG graphics file of the whole page – screen grabs that are a couple of thousand pixels high.

Kubrick with white background

Saturday, November 25th, 2006

Change two image files in the default WordPress theme to produce a white page area with sparse header image. I wanted a high key look with plenty of space and no ‘boxes’.

Planning summary

Tuesday, November 21st, 2006

YouTube screencast of RBL session 5 deals with distance travelled, the planning and milestones for resource based learning projects, the way I intend to use progress reviews to support participants in carrying out their project plans, and some quick hints on a piece of writing that is due in shortly. The screencast took two takes of about 7 or 8 minutes to produce. The visuals are simply the slides I will use in the f2f session anyway.

Probability screencast

Sunday, November 19th, 2006

9 minutes and 46 seconds on basic probability, including the probability scale, expected frequencies, mutually exclusive and independent events, possibility space diagrams and even a without replacement problem. All aimed at a GCSE Intermediate group. The .mov file was produced by ‘presenting’ a PowerPoint while speaking a commentary recorded using iShowU screen cam software. YouTube provide the hosting and convert the .mov to a Flash movie.

Delete key on iBook

Sunday, November 12th, 2006

Option-Backspace does deleting…

YouTube version of screencast

Sunday, November 12th, 2006

The screen design screencast MOV was uploaded to YouTube. I’m now waiting for it to be ‘processed’ so that the video can be watched.

Screen design in RBL

Sunday, November 12th, 2006

A screencast made on Mac OS X using iShowU and Video2SWF to produce a flash movie with synchronised sound.

Embedding a YouTube video

Sunday, November 12th, 2006

Just a trial of the tags for embedding. This post should show the Tiny Dot video about the scale of the solar system posted by saulatali79.

A crop from a lessig slide

Friday, November 3rd, 2006

Intellectual property rights may damage innovation and split markets. Lessig explains using the Google Book Search as an example, through the medium of a presentation with sound track.

Journalism Project

Monday, September 18th, 2006

In previous years, we have used a collective blog for journalism students with the tutor acting as editor. Perhaps it is now time to encourage NCTJ students to set up their own blogs on blogger or similar and self-publish (with safeguards for the College).

E-learning notes

Thursday, September 14th, 2006

Download a 34 page handout that describes the various ways in which a teacher in an FE College in the UK might support students using various ICT/ILT/e-learning facilities. This is a draft, and I’m starting with the text and then adding photos, screen grabs and Web addresses later. Some of my colleagues will actually scan a handout like this and read parts that attract their attention.

Interactive Whiteboards

Tuesday, September 12th, 2006

What is an Interactive Whiteboard? How can I use it? A description of the two main kinds of whiteboard (‘hard’ and ‘soft’ or membrane boards), and the two main modes (screen annotation and whiteboard).

PowerPoint: three viewpoints

Sunday, September 10th, 2006

MS PowerPoint makes it easy to produce screens with a mix of images, text and embedded sound and video clips. Microsoft have included a set of ‘slide layouts’ based on bullet points and screen-width text containers. Both Tufte and Godin are critical of these templates for contrasting reasons.

PowerPoint for screen based packages

Monday, September 4th, 2006

PowerPoint allows you to associate actions with buttons and other objects on slides. You can switch off the slide transition and use PowerPoint as a system for producing screen based learning packages. This 12 page handout covers the basics…

Supporting students through e-mail

Friday, September 1st, 2006

Staff development notes: I may turn these into a script. Just a few points on how to use e-mail effectively with students.

G24 launched

Tuesday, August 29th, 2006

PDF newspaper free download from Guardian Unlimited

River of News

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2006

Minimalist pages show just the news stories as they update

One projector with networked PC

Sunday, August 20th, 2006

What to do if one arrives in your room

Customised images

Thursday, August 17th, 2006

Some web applications that let you choose and customise pictures

An activity for teachers

Tuesday, August 15th, 2006

a bit of that reflection and story writing…


Tuesday, August 15th, 2006 provides relatively cheap wiki hosting

One laptop per child?

Saturday, August 5th, 2006

Learning through play

Blackboard patents LMS…

Friday, August 4th, 2006

Keith patents breathing…

Video podcasting a course

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2006

Richard Treves has analysed a free course on Google Earth and found that ‘build it and they will come’ does not always work

Interaction in large classes

Monday, July 31st, 2006

Inexpensive ‘technology’ to get all students responding

Loop the cable when holding the mike…

Sunday, July 30th, 2006

How to reduce cable noise…

MoodleMoot 2006

Friday, July 28th, 2006

Milton Keynes and the Open University go moodling…

Teach yourself with Google?

Monday, July 24th, 2006

Can students teach themselves using the Web?

Common denominator of bloggers

Monday, July 24th, 2006

It may be the technology

GCSE Map finished (well, begun)

Thursday, July 20th, 2006

Now I have the topics mapped, it is time to start adding bits of content

Geometry Applet: Triangle

Saturday, July 15th, 2006

Draggable triangle with perpendicular height

GCSE: Algebra map

Friday, July 14th, 2006

Time to start putting some content in soon

MSIE Beta 7

Wednesday, July 12th, 2006

Tabbed browsing and RSS feeds in a side bar…

Calendar wallpaper

Monday, July 10th, 2006

Photoshop and then copy paste a calendar in

Seeing your content through someone else’s eyes

Saturday, July 8th, 2006

Winner of recent BBC redesign contest does a Being John Malkovich

e-learning or just doing the job these days?

Thursday, July 6th, 2006

e-learning definition used by OFSTED very broad and includes ILT/ICT

Flash: Consolidation

Wednesday, July 5th, 2006

This timeline is all my own work and I didn’t look at the textbook… Lesson 2 and 3 applied to an animation showing how the area of a parallelogram is calculated…

WriteRoom: minimal text

Monday, July 3rd, 2006

Hog Bay software provide a small app that turns your iBook or MacBook into an Alphasmart with built in hand heater

email: plus addressing

Sunday, July 2nd, 2006

External mailing lists and registrations can be a source of spam. Use plus addressing to keep tags on where the spam is coming from

Tinderbox: GCSE map

Thursday, June 29th, 2006

Tinderbox from Eastgate systems allows rapid development of complex web sites and a visual map of ‘emergent structure’ of a teaching task

1 Gigabyte on the Web

Thursday, June 29th, 2006

1 Gb storage for files on the Web.

Online learning

Wednesday, June 28th, 2006

Just some notes for colleagues for a training session

Flash Lesson 2: Animation using motion tween

Sunday, June 25th, 2006

If you have any version of the Flash Player from 5 upwards installed on your browser, then the yellow and blue grid above should show a blue square and a red triangle moving around and changing their opacity.

The animation loops once and then stops, and the frame rate is 15 frames per second. According to [...]

Learn to Write

Thursday, June 22nd, 2006

Being able to express thoughts in writing is key to any career

Flash Lesson 1: drawing tools

Thursday, June 22nd, 2006

Flash Journalism by Mindy McAdams, lesson 1. Why is a maths teacher using a book aimed at journalists?

Videos of experiments

Thursday, June 15th, 2006

Sound track acts as anchor to video

What is a VLE?

Sunday, June 11th, 2006

4 minutes and 15 seconds on what a Virtual Learning Environment can do for you

Blogs and VLEs

Saturday, June 3rd, 2006

Does the blog act as a gateway to the VLE or does the VLE contain the blog?

Digital speech recorders

Saturday, May 27th, 2006

Cheaper digital speech recorders can’t produce CD quality but may have plenty of uses in the classroom – just put an external mic on!

Moodle at shefcol

Saturday, May 27th, 2006

Moodle at Shefcol according to Julia DugglebyBlogging by meSeb Schmoller’s fortnightly mailing is now published by typepad. Seb is inviting guest contributions, and I was honoured to be asked to contribute. I wrote about using blogger as a way of getting colleagues interested in online support. My contribution meshed in with Julia’s about the next [...]

Lectures on demand

Friday, May 26th, 2006

“Some lecture classes have 250 students, so I question the effectiveness of a didactic lecture for an hour.”
Dr Bill Ashraf will be distributing lectures by podcast soon in place of live lectures in a theatre. In groups of 250 plus I can see his point: no one ever asks a question in a group of [...]

Flash Journalism!

Tuesday, May 16th, 2006

Not tabloid hacks with fast habits but a book about how to use Macromedia Flash to make Web based news stories. One included exercise is about synchronising sound with image transitions: flash lessons here we come…

Tuesday Whiteboard: reflections and edges

Tuesday, May 16th, 2006

We were looking at finding a value for the intercept of a straight line graph when the scale of the graph made it difficult to have an X axis that started at zero – we were setting up and solving a simple equation within a context.

This second whiteboard processed using ScanR was taken in [...]

Monday Whiteboard

Monday, May 15th, 2006

The photo above shows one of today’s whiteboards as imaged using my Olympus Camedia point and shoot – the images are 1600 by 1200 pixels. I resized the image above using Photoshop Elements with bi-cubic resampling. No other adjustments have been made, the flat image is typical of this camera. A quick e-mail to [...] ordinary whiteboard to web

Sunday, May 14th, 2006

Scanr is a Web service that claims to “convert photos of whiteboards and documents into searchable PDF files”. The ‘searchable’ bit applies to pictures of documents with typed text (see later). The service certainly makes converting fuzzy badly lit images of (ordinary) whiteboards more readable. The ‘whiteboard’ function can also be used to convert [...]

Moodle on a stick

Wednesday, May 10th, 2006

Moodle 1.53 and 1.6 can be ‘installed’ on a USB stick. Just make sure the drive letter assigned to the stick stays the same on each machine

Pictures for PowerPoints

Monday, May 8th, 2006

Yotophoto is a search engine for copyright free or free use images

Simple Sound

Tuesday, May 2nd, 2006

Anyone got recommendations for simple digital sound recorders?

Bodmas Moodle

Sunday, April 30th, 2006

Re-installed Moodle 1.53 stable

Tuesday, April 18th, 2006

Anyone going?

Inspiration Version 8.0

Tuesday, April 18th, 2006

Inspiration now does Buzan style mind maps in addition to the more flexible free symbol maps provided previously.

Flash from PowerPoint

Monday, April 3rd, 2006

Open Office 2.0 can export PowerPoint presentations as rudimentary flash animations

Blogs in education: podcast

Sunday, April 2nd, 2006

Script and MP3 of a short talk on blogs in education

Presentation Zen

Sunday, April 2nd, 2006

Blog about presentations

Preview in Mac OS X

Tuesday, March 28th, 2006

Preview allows you to cut diagrams out of PDF files and save them as PNG or JPG files

Superposition of two sine waves

Monday, March 27th, 2006

Spreadsheet shows effect of adding two phase shifted sine waves

Straight line graphs

Sunday, March 26th, 2006

Pop some graphs on the gcse blog and ask for the equations by e-mail?

City centre land use

Saturday, March 25th, 2006

Google Earth and data handling activities

Google Earth

Friday, March 24th, 2006

Google Earth for Mac OS X

Textwrangler: remove blank lines

Sunday, March 19th, 2006

To remove blank lines from a text file in Textwrangler, you have to run search and replace, tick the ‘use Grep’ option and then search on the pattern ^r. Replace with nowt and the effect is magic. A boon to the ‘everything in one big text file’ advocates.

The pattern < /?[^>]> can be used to [...]

GCSE Mind Map

Tuesday, March 14th, 2006

Put the whole of GCSE Maths where you can see it

Netscape 8

Wednesday, March 8th, 2006

Netscape 8 for Windows has a spyware/adware scanner built in

OpenOffice 2.0 on Mac

Thursday, March 2nd, 2006

OpenOffice is an Open Source office application produced with a large amount of support from Sun Microsystems. Because the application is open source, you can burn CDs and pass copies to students (or anyone!). Students have downloaded the package and used the Impress presentation component to produce presentations – laptops are often sold with [...]

Calculating with large positive integers

Sunday, February 26th, 2006

The demonstration version of Reduce for Windows (scroll down page when it loads) – a computer algebra package – can be used to factorise large prime numbers (and polynomials!) as a way of demonstrating the properties of large numbers. Interactive sessions on a projector (the fonts are a bit small but there is no [...]

Mac OS X exploit

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006

Note added 6 March 2006 :: It looks as if security update 2006-001 addresses these two issues, at least as regards Safari and Mail. I picked this one up through software update some days ago.

Its hassle Apple week, with a ‘drive by download’ exploit appearing and being reported on the front page of the BBC [...]

Hot Potatoes

Wednesday, January 11th, 2006

Quiz suite written by esol teacher is at version 6 and getting seriously useful

Writing about charts

Friday, December 16th, 2005

Excel on projector helps provide rapidly updated charts to trigger discussion

Wikis in school

Wednesday, December 14th, 2005

MeatBall wiki page about educational uses of wikis and other links

Planet transit times 2006

Sunday, December 11th, 2005

The transit time of a planet can help you find the planet in the sky and can help plan observing trips

Pie charts

Sunday, December 4th, 2005

MS Excel or any spreadsheet on a projector with whole class questions

Digital divide: Southern Africa

Saturday, November 19th, 2005

Some projects in Southern Africa aim to reduce the impact of the digital divide

AlphaSmart 3000 arrives

Saturday, November 12th, 2005

Minimal instant on keyboard usable on trains and allows capture of text in meetings and in odd corners of time.

Essay planning with PowerPoint

Saturday, October 22nd, 2005

MS PowerPoint can help you plan writing – forces focus on structure

Blogging for classes

Wednesday, September 21st, 2005

A simple blog can act as a diary for a class.

Moodle local

Monday, September 19th, 2005

Moodle runs OK under Mac OS X apache with MySQL 4.0.2x- just needs graphics library

Forum user administration

Sunday, September 18th, 2005

Gossamer-Threads forum is free to non-profit organisations and has good user management but without bulk upload. Discus Pro costs about £70 but has user creation by spreadsheet.

Central England Temperature

Sunday, September 4th, 2005

Temperature records kept from 1659 to present day allow trends to be identified

Tinderbox hybrid template

Wednesday, August 31st, 2005

Tinderbox allows a quick and dirty HTML export template and the construction of a course web site in a very short time

GUI Gallery

Tuesday, August 30th, 2005

Industrial archaeology in the cyber age? We need to preserve the appearance of the older user interfaces and this site does it well.

The nice thing about…

Tuesday, August 30th, 2005

Some links on learning theory

MS Excel dynamic graphs

Sunday, August 28th, 2005

Use the ‘forms’ toolbar in MS Excel to link a slider control with a cell. Then you can make ‘dynamic graphs’. Projected onto a screen, you can ask students to predict what the result of a change is going to be.

MS Excel simulation

Saturday, August 27th, 2005

Download a spreadsheet that simulates breeding 60 fruit flies
The spreadsheet simulates the results of breeding fruit flies (F2 Generation – Second Filial?) where the expected outcome is a simple 1:3 Mendelian ratio of vestigial winged flies to winged flies
The screen shot above shows an anomalous result – a chi-squared statistic well above 3.84, the critical [...]

4 colour theorem

Thursday, August 25th, 2005

Try using 4 colours to colour in some maps – harder than it looks

Interactivity on Web pages

Wednesday, August 24th, 2005

Java applets and some DHTML Javascript can be used for educational purposes- and you don’t have to code a line


Monday, August 22nd, 2005

Analogue synthesisers – a hoot with op amps and noise

$100 laptop

Sunday, August 21st, 2005

Nicholas Negroponte’s latest idea for improving education

Blogs and forums

Saturday, July 23rd, 2005

Some differences between blogs and forums – blogs might encourage student involvement more by being less of a ‘performance’ but forums might be better for a structured activity

Cookies and privacy

Friday, July 15th, 2005

That ‘no entry’ sign causes lots of trouble

Copyright free images

Sunday, June 19th, 2005

LaTiS Centre Image Archive from Essex University

Thanks for this resource – about 400 free pictures. Mostly .jpegs and around 400 to 600 pixels wide with white backgrounds.

Online map creator

Saturday, June 11th, 2005

The original Online Map Creator Web site provides an online interface to the GMT package
Planiglobe is the new simplified interface – faster but currently has few options

The original OMC has been around for years and will plot contours of ocean depth and continental height. You can pull the plots down as PS files or [...]

Floppy discs in Open Access centres

Sunday, May 22nd, 2005

Download a handout for students on organising folders in My Computer. Saves all that stress with failing floppies.


Sunday, May 22nd, 2005

“Alternatives to the ‘monolithic’ VLE, including public domain and open source VLEs, are emerging strongly. Some, such as ‘blogs’ and ‘wikis’, are completely different avenues to electronic publishing and collaboration and can be relatively inexpensive. Although UK universities seem to be surprisingly reluctant to spend less rather than more money on technology solutions, one can [...]

Open Source Software in Schools

Friday, May 20th, 2005

The Becta report based on an ‘oportunity’ sample of schools using Open Source software to varying extents compared to schools using commercial software (i.e. Windows servers, desktops and Office) has now been published (publication was delayed during the General Election).

The BECTa press release has a good summary
The full BECTa report Open Source Software in Schools [...]

Piles of paper

Tuesday, May 17th, 2005

Paper has a function and the paperless office isn’t going to happen. Looking at how people use paper might lead us to understand where IT solutions might work well.

Virtual Manipulatives

Saturday, May 7th, 2005

The Natioanl Library of Virtual Manipulatives for Interactive Mathematics is a Web site with a large number of Java applets that invite students to explore Mathematics problems. ‘Manipulatives’ is the US term for things like Cuisenaire rods and Dienes blocks.

The Java applets are mapped to the US curriculum based on ‘grades’. I have used [...]

Estimation Game

Friday, May 6th, 2005

Java game speeds up estimation with three digit whole numbers.

A Hole in the Wall

Monday, May 2nd, 2005

“Within three months of opening up of the Internet kiosk, it was found that the children, mostly from the slum, had achieved a certain level of computer skills without any planned instructional intervention. They were able to browse the Internet, download songs, go to cartoon sites, work on MS Paint. They even invented their own [...]

Processing 1.0 β

Thursday, April 28th, 2005

Processing is a programming language and environment for people who want to program images, animation, and sound. It is used by students, artists, designers, architects, researchers, and hobbyists for learning, prototyping, and production. It is created to teach fundamentals of computer programming within a visual context and to serve as a software sketchbook and professional [...]

Children using the Web…

Monday, April 18th, 2005

The NFER has a long term project (started in 2002) tracking students’ experience of citizenship education. The most recent report is referenced as follows….CLEAVER, E., IRELAND, E., KERR, D. and LOPES, J. (2005). Citizenship Education Longitudinal Study: Second Cross-Sectional Survey 2004 Listening to Young People: Citizenship Education in England (DfES Research Report 626). London: DfES

The [...]

Audacity sound editor

Friday, April 15th, 2005

Free sound editor available for download
Versions for Linux, Mac OS X and Windows
Can edit MP3s and .wav formats
Can record from microphone or other sources supported by the computer
Supports a sound programming language called Nyquist
Possibly the best icon I have seen for an open source program – wouldn’t mind getting the T-shirt!
I have this idea of [...]

The Teddy

Tuesday, April 5th, 2005

“Teddys would be with their user for their entire lives. They would change in shape and form to match the growing sophistication and interests of the person, but each time someone got a new model Teddy, the information from the earlier version would be transferred to the new. As a result, Teddy would always retain [...]

5 by 3

Saturday, January 29th, 2005

Take on the world with a stack of 5 by 3 index cards – one way to get Web sites sorted before clicking on the Dreamweaver icon when building a moderately complex Web site.

This page describes card sorting techniques to help plan Web sites. Ideally card sorting can help define content – not so much [...]

5 things to do with a forum

Tuesday, November 30th, 2004

I’ve been using a simple robust Web based forum with a number of students studying an ICT module on an Applied Science course – students include 16-19, mature full time and mature evening class students. Teaching is primarily face-to-face but with online follow up.

I used the Gossamer Threads forum as it is free to non-profit [...]

Fax your MP

Sunday, November 21st, 2004

Fax your MP is a simple service that does what it says. You can fax your MP from a computer connected to the Internet. You just

type in your postcode
the database comes back with a page about your MP and links to recent votes and speeches
you can then type in a fax (or e-mail if the [...]

PROPS online newspaper system

Tuesday, November 9th, 2004

PROPS is an online publishing system designed to mimic the workflow found in a small newspaper. Journalists can write stories which can be assigned by an editor. A story can be tracked through first, second and third re-writes and finally added to an ‘issue’ of the newspaper. Issues can be final (ie published) or staged [...]


Sunday, November 7th, 2004

MindGenius is a ‘mind mapping’ software tool for making ‘bubble notes’ or ‘mind maps’ – visual diagrams that allow you to explore the links between ideas. Many teachers in humanities subjects use ‘mind maps’ to motivate students doing essay plans and so on. I’ll be using one to help forensic science students produce a report [...]

Decode this…

Sunday, October 17th, 2004

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jbex va cnvef
hfr n gnoyr bs crepragntr serdhrapvrf bs gur yrggref [...]

Why keep it simple?

Sunday, October 17th, 2004

I suggest you use a very simple page design and navigation for course sites
In my opinion, that means…

** a home page that acts as a course diary

** a contact form

** a page with downloadable files such as the scheme of work

the course diary should have carefully chosen links added each week at the top of [...]

Some ideas

Friday, October 15th, 2004

The ILT category has just a few ideas that have worked for me. The emphasis is on

things that require little preparation other than the teaching plan
30 minutes a week rule
ideas that increase interaction between students in the classroom
ideas that keep students in touch with teachers, peer group or the material in the periods between class [...]

Using a guestbook to post links for students

Friday, October 15th, 2004

You can use a simple guestbook script (such as Big Sam) to post links and a brief description of what was covered each week for students, especially evening students who come to College once a week and who will inevitably need to miss lessons now and again.

The best strategy is to use a script [...]