Pokemon Go (and never come back?)

img_3510Pokemon Go is everywhere. It’s been in the news, discussed and dissected in blogs, highlighted as an e-Safety concern for children, advertised in Churches, created additional workload for emergency workers, provided work for ‘professional‘ Pokemon Go hunters and has helped discovered a dead body. Oh, there’s even some people playing it. The summer of 2016 will be remembered for, technology speaking, the release of Pokemon Go. I haven’t heard this much fuss about an app since, well, the last big app.

Whatever your thoughts about Pokemon Go, it has certainly caught the imagination of young and old, male and female, technophiles and technophobes everywhere. Now that it’s been downloaded more than 500 million times, the simple question is “was it worth it”? Did all the debate and endless speculation about the game just encourage more people to download it? Did its innovative use of Virtual Reality really change the gaming landscape forever? or will it be another Angry Birds, a highly successful game that quickly lost its appeal? Read more…

Olympic Virtual Reality: Rio in 3D

Beach Volleyball in Virtual RealityDuring the 2016 Rio Olympics, the BBC are broadcasting a number of events, live, in 360° Virtual Reality. Fancy a front row seat at the Olympics? Want to immerse yourself in the fun and excitement of sitting with the crowd? Interested in testing a new way of experiencing sport? If your answer is “yes!” to any of these questions, join me this summer while I test this service during the Olympics. I’ll report my findings on this blog later in the summer. If you are interested in this experimental Olympic Virtual Reality service you’ll need some equipment…Read more…

Flipping puzzlED? EDpuzzle is for you!

edpuzzle-logoIf you’re a teacher then I suspect that you will have asked your students, at one time or another, to watch a video on YouTube. We all know it’s a great place for resources but using it for homework tasks comes with problems. How can you prove that a student has actually watched the video you’ve set? How do you know that they carefully watched the video and didn’t just give it a minimal amount of attention? Or, worse, they just pressed play and then walked away (or got distracted by other more interesting looking videos?). There’s never been a way to ensure that the video you have set as homework is given just as much focus as some traditional paper based homework task. I’m pretty certain students love it when teachers set them a ‘watch a video’ task as part of their homework. No writing, no test and an sanctioned opportunity to get online (where so much procrastination can take place!). Watching a video often doesn’t seem like ‘real’ homework to students as it’s too easy to complete and similar to their normal online activity. Parents may also object to the ‘watch a YouTube video’ as homework. To them, it may not seem as academically rigorous as researching or reading and then writing findings in an exercise book. Step forward EDpuzzle, a great video flipping tool which ensures that your carefully sourced and vetted video is not just watched but is also interactive for your students.Read more…

Gullibooking: the Fever of Facebook Fiction

Don't Panic: GullibookingGullibooking. My Facebook feed is full of it. If you use Facebook then you’ll be familiar with it even if you’ve never heard or noticed it. It’s extremely tall, lighter than a nano-atom, a curious shade of beige and quite possibly hacking into your bank account and ordering 25 copies of Fly Fishing, by JR Hartley, right now. Worried? You should be as fluffy cats, all fast food outlets and quite possibly Donald Trump’s pet guinea pig are all at risk if you don’t take note right now! Gullibooking – it’s all a load of…Read more…

Rate My Teachers: the lost ‘rate’ in moderate

sad-smiley-face-computer_ver1Had a bad day at work? Has a colleague annoyed you? If so, why not write a review about them and vent, anonymously, your feelings online? No? I’m glad to hear it, but that’s just how one website does work – Rate My Teachers. This website offers students and parents the opportunity to reflect and provide feedback on teachers in their school. On the face of it, I agree that it sounds like a good idea, an opportunity for prospective and current parents to find out exactly what students/parents think of a school and its staff. However, having recently re-visited the site it doesn’t take long to see that is more of a haven for unadulterated venom rather than a place for balanced views and opinions of teachers.  I quickly signed-up to be the ‘moderator’ for my school thinking that I could filter out the obvious trolling of some staff, delete feedback for staff who had left and remove some of the more grotesque comments. Much to my surprise, the moderator has very little influence or editing rights. That is, unless you become complicit in the murky world of teacher feedback yourself…Read more…

Teachers: Remove YouTube Adverts Easily

YouTube AdvertsYouTube is a vast and growing resource which is tapped daily by teachers everywhere. There are so many fantastic videos which can help explain a topic, provide a clear visual demonstration, show an experiment, tackle a political issue, carefully present a controversial issue etc. in way that is often not possible via traditional methods i.e. the teacher talking to the class. It is a resource that rightly deserves to be a prime place for educators to search for content to use in their lessons. Of course, there are two problems with YouTube when using it in the classroom: the adverts and the comments. These can often be highly distracting and, sometimes, inappropriate. I recently rediscovered a helpful online tool that helps me remove YouTube adverts and comments.Read more…

Get Ready for OneNote in the Classroom

OneNote LogoAre you thinking of using OneNote in the classroom for the first time? If so, excellent! It’s a fabulous piece of software which has the potential to revolutionize the way students access, store, annotate and develop their work and ideas. I’ve gushed about OneNote on this blog previously stating that “OneNote has completely revolutionised how I work“. I still stand by these words and having used OneNote successfully for the past year, I recently introduced the software into my classes. It’s been a bumpy ride and there have been moments when I honestly felt like taking a hammer to several personal devices. I’m here to share my experiences and give you a few tips on how to get the best out of OneNote if you’re using, or planning on using, OneNote in the classroom for the first time.

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