Reflecting on the EDUTech course


Image from Morgan meddygarnet on Flicker at

Initially being filled with trepidation as the idea of doing another course after school and over 3 weekends – I have found that I have enjoyed coming to the classes, (if I am honest and willing to admit my geekishness I have looked forward to the classes). The stuff I have learned is absolutely directly applicable into my classroom and in my preparation. The stuff we have covered that was not completely new gave me an opportunity to stretch my ideas, push my boundaries.

Having said that I have just looked down at my aims again and found that I have not really done too much of what I set out to do… I am not yet a google ninja, and I haven’t yet found the electronic assessment tools that would be useable in IB classes…. But I am re-energised to go and do those lofty aims and I have been given tools to help me, from my colleagues, or out of necessity in order to complete the required assignments. I feel I had reached a plateau and was sitting enjoying the view, now I have seen a new peak to scale and been given some new boots to make it manageable.

The support network set up will certainly help; The screen casting is going to be fun; Google ninja will be easier now that I know that Eric will do it alongside me; as for assessment tools – i was outside having a break form screen time and happened to mention to David C that i was doing this tech course which started a conversation ending with him offering to help me find them… So maybe there has been a little progress in that one!

In summary, I have had fun, I have learned a lot and I am ready to learn some more….what more could you want!



Here is my screen cast. I decided to do a screen cast to support my 12th grade biology students learning about the heart at the moment. It looks at how the heart beats and how that beat is controlled. I used a powerpoint presentation that the students have so that they can relate the screen cast directly to their class.


This is a follow up blog to James Dobble’s Post.

I liked the idea of more use of info graphics so I went to find some that would be useful to a very visual learner like myself and I could use in my classroom to teach ESS or IB biology and found the following great ones:

If the world were 100 people…

Jack Hagley made this one! found at but originally from

BY  found at where there some really great ones to take a look at…

Teaching for the future

(Image from ‘Dangerously irrelevant’ – Scott Macleod – Copy right stipulation – “Using and sharing materials from this site All of materials on this site are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported copyright license. “)

I was browsing and came across this……Three trends that define the future of teaching and learning…. a sensible (to me anyway) post that kinda fits my aims as a teacher. The article stresses the idea that we are not going to become obsolete as foreseen by Aldous Huxley’s brave new world and be replaced by automated Hypnopedia; our role will have to change from the ‘front of the class, batter that knowledge into their brains’ style that characterized most of my childhood school experiences (Latin declensions….Amo, Amas, Amat….. label the parts of the heart…… now do 50 solving quadratic equations problems following the exact procedure i showed you on the board) into facilitating the development of collaborative skills and team work, (by working collaboratively as teachers), using technology and the encouraging the students into the creation of technology (including  the skills to make judgments about selection of appropriate technology), and the use of “blended learning” –  combining tradition teaching with computers.

There are some great links in the article to jump off to, such as:

Teacher tube

Classroom 2.0



There was another article that came to mind as I read the blogpost which looked at what it is that Employers want from their new entrants which nicely matched the altering emphasis onto skills based learning.

The top ten skills graduate recruiters want

1. Commercial awareness

2. Communication

3. Teamwork

4. Negotiation and persuasion

5. Problem solving

6. Leadership

7. Organisation

8. Perseverance and motivation

9. Ability to work under pressure

10. Confidence

From – read the whole article here

New Kid on the Block – Making Movies – a vocation?

This is a video designed at letting students that are new to the school know what to expect on their first day at school. It was made by Tom, Carmel and myself.

We had such fun! We were tasked with making a video and decided to use iMovie to create a short clip to show a new student what to expect on their first day. (What a relief it was to me to have 2 really creative minds in the team!) We made a story board, grabbed the iPad and went out to play at being George Lucas. The filming was the easy bit…..

Our story board required split screens which I had not done before, but with a little research on Google that wasn’t a problem – Go to the iMovie button on the taskbar then Preferences and click on Show Advanced Tools. Then place one of the clips onto the project area, then grab and place the second clip on top of it. this makes a window appear that asks how you would like to place the clips, we chose ‘side by side’. Easy huh? A bit of fiddling and we figured which one ended on the left of the screen and which on the right. The rest of it was pretty standard iMovie stuff, adding a Ticker-tape banner on the bottom and music. Here is a useful site for learning the basics. Then play!!!

A word of caution though…. if you don’t want to be frustrated to the point of pulling your hair out make sure you have a computer with a good amount of RAM otherwise it is extremely difficult to place the music, clips or banners where you want them with any precision without lag.

The next thing I have to learn is posting videos onto my blog! When I figure that out I will replace the picture at the top of this post with the video we made.

‘Engage me or enrage me’ or ‘Bore me to the Core’


Steve Evans –

Students are bored in our classrooms….. Is this always such a bad thing?

I am not disagreeing with what Marc Prensky has to say. My sons are avid game players, they know more about Italian history from playing assassins Creed and more about the social and economic implications of going to war from playing Civilization than I certainly ever did at their age, or at my age now for that matter. When I teach about genetic modification the Students talk about Bioshock. People learn from games. Our students learn team skills from MMOs, they learn communication skills from Minecraft multiplayer games, their interactions with their friends and peers don’t stop when they leave the school gates but continue till they log off and go to sleep. One of ISMs Transdiciplinary skills is communication – a thing we value so much that we put posters up encouraging it in many classrooms, our students develop it for fun at home with their mouse and their microphone. As for creativity, our students now build cities that work (if only SIM city was around when they weren’t planning Manila.) build houses and palaces and whole civilizations. We don’t assess it – maybe that is why we don’t call it education! (ok that was facetious.)

Dr Teresa Belton argues that there is room for boredom in the classroom in an article written by Hannah Richardson of the BBC. Boredom also allows creativity, with freewheeling brains there is room to explore your interests. NeuroScientist Susan Greenfield argues that boredom encourages the development of imaginative play,

One of the points that interested me from Dr Belton and struck a chord was:

“boredom could be an “uncomfortable feeling” and society had “developed an expectation of being constantly occupied and constantly stimulated”.

But she warned that being creative “involves being able to develop internal stimulus”.

“Nature abhors a vacuum and we try to fill it,” – Hannah Richardson (

I wondered as I read Marc’s article about a sense of entitlement to be entertained. “You don’t entertain me so I won’t pay attention”. I wonder if this is universally true in all schools or is an artifact of city life.

Creative commons….

Wikipedia-logoLooking for good images, and Compfight isn’t delivering specific enough related content? I was, so i checked out Wikipedia (‘oh no’ I hear you say!) But wait, how is it different from google image search if all you are doing is getting an image that you are then going to have a discussion about? But you can do it ethically! If you find the nice specific image (with detail enough for HL IB subjects if that is what you need) and it shows under it “Wikipedia commons” check out the usage agreement and it could be ok or tell you how to make it ok…..

Screen Shot 2013-09-14 at 10.19.03 AM

Am I a twit? Part 2

Maybe a little. Setting up the account was a little frustrating “find 5 people……(ok I can manage that)….now find 5 more……(now that is pushing it)……. now follow 5 more…(you what?)…(come on let me get in!). 

Now I have to do some ‘gardening’. I’ll find a few people who already use twitter and see who they follow. But, what if they have ‘I like my privacy’ issues like me, isn’t it a little creepy to ‘follow’ people. When does following become stalking? I guess when the person sets themselves up as a leader. 

I hope comfort comes with familiarity. My first experience has confirmed some of my prejudices, such as when the people it offers me for following are the likes of Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber. But as I get into it the idea of seeing just who Richard Dawkins is arguing with now and what bee does he now have in his bonnet I can see some of the veneer of enjoyment. The next task is to make it more work oriented, hopefully gardening out some of the weeds and selecting the bloomers will help.

Am I a Twit?


I don’t “do tweets”. I don’t facebook either for that matter. I think it has something to do with being a private person – I don’t want everyone to know what I feel about the eggs and bacon I had for breakfast. And partly because of my obsessive nature; when I read a book I have to read every word, take into account every punctuation mark, consider every paragraph ending, read between each line as well as on each line.

When I see tweets on web pages they are droll, about what he or she is wearing or what inanity they said…. it doesn’t grab my attention, who cares how Miley danced – now there is an example of why I don’t feel comfortable with the twittersphere – the emotional turmoil that is going on in relationship break-ups or “ooooh did you see who went to the restaurant with her?” between young 20 somethings seems to fascinate the world; can’t they sort their issues in private or does it have to play on the world stage for all to see and judge. I remember when we used to call people ‘gossips’; when did gossiping become fashionable let alone acceptable?

Can I get over this? My colleagues are tweeting and ‘following’ and getting ideas and finding resources that help. I really should get on the band wagon. But this is where my Obsessive attitude to reading trips me up, I would have to look at all the suggestions, read every work click every link, watch every animation, when would I get time to lesson plan, make my own resources that are matched, even tailored, to my teaching style. I love making my own resources, why get someone else to make them for me?

While I am in rant mode, what about face to face communication, I can do that, I quite like doing that, why should i replace it with hash tags and electronica?

Ok so I will have a go. There are barriers that need to be broken down or at least made a little less obstructive.