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21 April 2007

April Newsletter

New MirandaNet Visual Learning Working Parties

- The 25th Anniversary of Inspiration Software

Our long-term partners Inspiration Software are announcing their 25th Anniversary this week. MirandaNet would like to congratulate them on the quality of the software which supports constructive and visual learning. To celebrate they have created a web site offering free new online resources to help educators incorporate Inspiration®, InspireData™ and Kidspiration® into their teaching and learning. These resources include new resources such as the InspireData Quick Reference Cards, multi-lingual examples and lesson plans. Use this URL to download the materials.

If you are going to join any of our working parties below and write up a review or a case study for the web you qualify for any of these titles free. Email me and I will tell you how to reply.

- Inspiration Working parties

We are now planning two more groups; Visual Learning and Visualising Data. We have a few face-to-face meetings which are webcast, but we also work online so that all members can belong. If you are willing to write up a case study or a software review as a member of the group you are given a free copy of the relevant software.

Reports on the three working groups are below: Mapping Inspiration, Visual Learning and Visualising Data.

1. Mapping Inspiration – resources to download
Jane Finch, a MirandaNet Fellow, is an expert member of our Mapping Inspiration group. The first publication to come out of this group is her Visual Mapping project which gives some good examples of how mapping can be used in teaching and learning.

The map can be found here under Visual Mapping Project.

2. Visual Learning – do you have resources to share?
As a result of our work in multimodal mapping, MirandaNet have been invited by NAACE to develop a knowledge base for teachers at Key Stage Three to provide resources to get them started quickly. Please let me know if you have resources to offer or would like to start creating some.

On this URL you will find an Inspiration map outlining the areas where we think computers can help. The following theme leaders will be coordinating the resources:

Display technologies: John Cuthell
Creating resources designed for visual learning: Jane Finch
The interactive web in Visual Learning: Theo Keuchel
Images in Visual Learning: Theo Keuchel
Communicating visually through animation: John Cuthell
Visualising Data: Christina Preston
Creating Maps of ideas: Michael Smith and Nigel Riley
Games in visual Learning: John Cuthell
Visual Narratives: Christina Preston

The website will be arranged so that teachers have four buttons to press

Why should I know this?
How can I use it in my classroom?
What do I need to get started?
Where can I find other resources?

The leader of your strand will tell you how the information is to be sent in. Please let me know if you can participate online. A forum will be running for everyone who is interested whether you can offer resources or not.

3. Visualising Data – new ways of presenting information?
One important strand of the Visual Learning theme is about presenting data in a more flexible and more visual way. The Mapping Inspiration group were very impressed by a demonstration of this program. We have decided to set up a new group dedicated to making data collection and presentation more lively. A key aspect of this will be setting up practice-based research projects in classroom and involving the students in the research.

Please let me know if you want to participate in any of these groups by the end of April.

Be Very Afraid
Some news from Stephen Heppell

Those of you who already know about the annula "Be Very Afraid" event will be pleased to hear that BVA 2 and BVA 3 are both online – as high quality but very compressed Flash movies – from:

Everyone has their favourites, but mine include:
The Grey Court students talking about the impact of a "classroom of the future" on their learning and relationships with teachers. Their project is VERY impressive too, but it is interesting to reflect that they both came to the UK four years ago without any English...

Or the fab podcasts on healthy eating from kids in Essex - while we worry about diet and overweightness, they are getting on with their solution - and 1,000 or so teachers watch their podcasts too.

Or the Castle Manor children's effective weekly video broadcasts via YouTube and podcasts to the whole school - who needs assembly? – that a host of parents watch (search for CMTV in YouTube ...)

Or the children's Grammar Rap from BVA 2 - I just love the way the girls wanted to sort out the boys grammar problems - but a great illustration of project based learning.

or.. well, you chose you own favourites. There is a podcast stream too, of course, and a DVD, but I thought you'd all find the website handy - the movies do play and download VERY quickly, and the student's work is very indicative of what is happening in many, many schools. Be very afraid!

Augmented Reality at the Tower of London

Some news from Mechelle de Crane
Teachers can now create Create-A-Mediascap by Future Lab Mediascapes (M-scapes for short) are augmented reality learning games that teachers can design by incorporating sounds, clues, and images into students's handhelds to align with various destinations. Hence, teachers can digitally tag locations. GPS technology and M-scapes work beautifully together. Check out the following video about M-scapes from HP Labs at the Tower of London. In the Tower of London, students with M-Scape games are able to participate in a historically-based storyline in the actual footsteps where events took place. Students can free a virtual prisoner if they so choose and plot their escape. However, students have to be smart about it or they may get locked up...virtually anyways. ;)

Check out this video about M-scapes from HP Labs.

Teachers can now create Create-A-Mediascap by Future Lab.

Also, check out the Teachers Area.

For more information click here and here.

Supercomputing & Special Needs
More news from Mechelle de Crane

Recently I was asked to co-lead the SCO7 Learning & Physical Challenged Education (LPCE) program along with Zaida McCunney of the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory for the the International Supercomputing SC07 Conference LPCE to empower Learning & Physical Challenges (LPC) grades 7 - 16 faculty/educators, special education professionals, and students to apply computational science across a variety of content areas in classrooms. Why engage Learning & Physical Challenges Education institutions? It is because LPCE students frequently show combinations of the traits that provide innovations and insight - attributes needed in high performance computing (HPC) and the applications that high performance computing supports. The intended impact goes beyond LPCE participation in the conference, to foster collaborative relationships between faculty and students at LPCE institutions and research scientists at major research centres by increasing the amount and quality of computational science education at LPCE programs. Here's the link to the main page for SC07. Or please join us here.

MirandaNetters will be interested in a video display (a first for us) which we have placed near the top of the Home Page: it captures a wonderful moment when a student knows that he has made a breakthrough in his learning.

Three Videos on Technological Change

Ray Tolley sends us this useful information.

The Fischbowl "Trilogy" of Presentations

I’ve recently come across three quite profound videos which I think should be circulated to all teachers – or at least to all schools!

Go to this page link to download in whatever format you require. I downloaded them for my own use quite successfully as Windows Media files.

ICT CPD at Naace – correction

I left Margaret Danby, a senior MirandaNet Fellow, out of the brief report on our role in Naace in our last newsletter. Sorry Margaret. Your invaluable session on evaluation of ICT CPD and your contribution to the panels was very welcome and is fully reported in the longer report above.

Contributing to the newsletter

Members are warmly invited to send articles, reviews, resources and comments for inclusion in the newsletter. Remember also that you qualify for a Fellowship if you send us 2,000 words or a multimodal equivalent on an ICT subject that will interest educators.
Hope to hear from you.
We have a full list of new scholars this time. Get in touch with them if you have something in common.

Do you suffer from Wilfing?

The other day I was looking for something via Google, when I realised that I had forgotten what it was, although the other things that I found out on the way were really VERY interesting. And then I remembered the ‘wilfing’ syndrome, so of course I googled wilfing, found a reference to it in Wikipedia, but then found that the article had been removed! But it’s still there in cache, and this is what it says, or said:

On April 10th 2007, newspapers and other media reported on what was described as a "new Internet phenomenon" known as "Wilfing", or "What Was I Looking For" also named after major wilfer Wilf Duggan. This is characterised by people erratically browsing the Internet, perhaps browsing for completely different topics than originally intended.

The newspapers were reporting on research done by the UK pollster Yougov, who surveyed 2,412 adults and reported that two thirds of British workers spend time "wilfing", often losing two working days a month to aimless browsing.

There also seems to be a gender disparity in the phenomenon, with men being more likely to "wilf" than women. The area in Britain with the highest percentage of "Wilfers" was Scotland, with 63% admitting to "being distracted some or all of the time when online for work or study reasons".

I found this even more interesting than what I’d forgotten I’d been looking for in the first place. Now I’d always thought I was basically of English extraction, with a touch of Irish from my maternal grandmother’s side, but perhaps that branch of the family was originally from Scotland? Could be. Must do an online search…
Francis Howlett

New Scholars

Helen Dupree

I am currently ICT subject leader at our school although the role is going to be shared between our 4 standards leaders soon. Our school is very forward thinking in ICT and we are working towards the ICT Mark at the moment. My biggest project is promoting the use of our LGfL learning platform using Digitalbrain. I manage an RM CC3 network with 90 stations with a wireless network for our notebooks. I also teach the whole ICT curriculum while the teachers have PPA time. I am studying for a degree with ultraversity - now part of Anglia Ruskin University - in Learning, Research and Technology. Your case studies have been very useful to me in my research which is what prompted me to join. This degree is taking all my time at the moment but I would like to get more involved when that is finished.

Chrissy Kelly

I'm in my second year of training of my 2 year ICT BA Hons with QTS Status (secondary). Currently for my dissertation I am researching the use of ICT in Art and Design, investigating the role of ICT capability enhancing creativity.

In my previous life, I have a background in Systems Analysis, working for not for profit organisations developing paper-based systems to electronic. Also I have an experiential counselling qualification that is of great benefit to me whilst on my second placement in a school classed as having “challenging” circumstances. I have to say I am thoroughly enjoying the placement if not a little exhausted.

My interest in ICT has evolved over a number of years and all my skills have been self-taught up to the age of 30 when I decided to do a HND in Information Systems.

Having a teenage boy, I am kept up-to-date with the latest gizmo and gadget! The land of my space and beebo are no stranger to me.

When qualified and employed within a school I hope to become involved in developing a Virtual Learning Environment, ICT Co-ordinating across curricular as well as some mentoring of individual pupils, oh and teach!

Greg Loney

As principal of Big Hill Primary School, I have led the school for many years in a range of ICT areas. Most recently, we have trialled the interactive whiteboards at our school. We continue to incorporate ICT into regular teaching and to utilise the IWB's as an essential tool in everyday teaching. Our work in Integrated Inquiry and Performing Arts also enables the IWB's to be used in a variety of ways. My award as a High Performing Principal in 2006 has enabled me to focus on IWB's, pedagogy, space and school leadership in my designated project. The link between these areas is vital in school improvement and in particular in improving outcomes and opportunities for students. School design is a hot topic in Victoria with the large injection of funds into schools designed to consider space, pedagogy, ICT and leadership. My experience in working in the School Resources Division in 2006 enabled me to be involved in the formation of guidelines to shape the Building Futures policy. I remain interested and committed in this area.

Ian Mursell

‘Mexicolore’ is a small, long-established, independent, artefact-based teaching team on Mexico and the Aztecs for schools and museums throughout England; to date the team have worked with around 125,000 children in over 1,500 primary schools alone since 1980, as well as in major national museums, including the British Museum, Museum of Mankind and the Royal Academy of Arts. Mexicolore also hosts an educational website which has recently been selected by the British Library to be archived as one of a small number of ‘documentary heritage’ sites that will form part of the new UK Web Archiving Consortium project. After 27 years of what the Royal Academy has called ‘inspirational’ workshops in schools, the core team intend to establish Mexicolore as a registered Educational Trust in order to ensure the long-term continuity of their educational work, which is now expanding into new areas such as videoconferencing, teacher training, interactive resource production, prison education, school linking, and support for community education projects in Mexico in areas where the Aztec language (Náhuatl) is still spoken by between 1 and 2 million people. Videoconferencing has opened up a whole new world of possibilities with schools physically 'out of reach', but it’s the long-term international possibilities that really excite: linking a UK school with a Mexican school AND an archaeological team at work in the field; researching and devising a simple performance based on triangular input from schools in three countries and languages, such as the enactment of an ancient legend in English (UK), Spanish (Spain) and Náhuatl (Mexico)...The team’s vision is that of helping to create, nurture and support an international (and interactive) learning and teaching community focused on Mexico and Ancient Mesoamerica, in which all the participants – University Professor, field archaeologist, teacher, actor, village elder, school pupil, musician, anthropologist, researcher, volunteer, translator, writer, linguist, librarian, artist, web developer, student… - can share inspiration, encouragement, wisdom and creativity.

Catherine Spooner

I have been teaching in Mexico City for the last 14 years. Although I came here as a PE teacher I have now changed to Primary and I currently teach Year 6. Personally the development of the Internet during this time has allowed me to keep in touch with family, events and developments in education. The ability to take part in distance learning programmes contributes to one's own 'lifelong' learning. For my students I see ICT as motivational, intrinsically interesting and a way to develop real understanding of many concepts.

John Tranter

I am working at a large International School in South East Asia and have the responsibility for managing the development of ICT at the school. I am currently interested in research about the benefits on one to one portable computing programmes in Secondary School.

New Members

Khafidza Nurul

I'm Nurul Khafidza from Malaysia. I have made further study in educational technology. I want to get more knowledge about the latest ICT and Education news.

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