A great Website

A new partnership between Microsoft Corp., the Smithsonian Institution, and TakingITGlobal will help teachers integrate project-based learning to teach their students core curriculum content, as well as problem-solving skills and social responsibility, by having students team up with other students around the globe to solve real-world environmental challenges. This month, teachers from around the world will find the first Shout challenge, which addresses the issue of deforestation. Each challenge will kick off with an online event for teachers and students featuring Smithsonian scientists.

Once teachers start a challenge, they’ll be able to connect with millions of other educators, access related curricula and best practices, and connect their students to others around the globe though online collaboration. “When students and teachers are connected with one another using technology, cultural and language barriers disappear, and a space can be created for deep, meaningful [online] collaboration that helps drive positive social change,” said Claudine Brown, director of education at the Smithsonian Institution. “Shout will harness the power of technology to connect the Smithsonian’s vast research and education resources with education leaders.”

Check out SHOUT!


Next batch of iPad apps

Pocket pond – this is a pretty cool app for little kids as they can interact with the fish, add dragonflies and swat them, which the fish then eat, and they start all over again by adding dragonflies. Some adults also like this...

Toy story – read the book or play simple games etc- well nice app.

Iwritewords – good for 4-5yr olds for letter and word tracing with nice art work and animation to keep their attention.

Alphabet tracing – similar to Iwritewords but for slightly younger 3-4 yr olds in limited amounts: follow the little train to learn letter tracing.

Word magic – 5-8 yrs, complete the missing letter(s) with increasing difficulty but quite entertaining, keeps them going

Marble mixer- 4yrs to adult, good for single or up to 4 players, really simple marble game lilac the old days. Fascinatingly authentic motion.

Labyrinth 2 - Roll the ball by tilting the iPad, some tough puzzles which make this iPad app really good for developing hand- eye and some fine motor coordination.

Where's Wally- good for 5 – 10yrs maybe older, deceptively interesting by searching out Wally but also the wizard and other hidden treasures etc.

Pinball HD – this is good old pinball with 3 choices of machine. Two swipes locks the screen so it doesn't move for all those who get quesy with the ball- following view.

Osmos – high school physics students to adults as this is a relaxation game too, very nice graphics and music. This is compulsory for iPad owners, should come with it as unlike pinball (which I like), Osmos uses the iPad's technologies properly.

Quick graph - good for senior maths, function mapping and therefore active learning.

Planets, skyORB, or moon globe: all have some great zooming in on moon or planets, with the formers having a 3d star map with planets which have a compass orientation. Personally I take the kids outside in the dark so they can line up the stars in the sky with the iPad and then put names to the planets. It shows then the movement of the planets which is hard to otherwise see and learn about.

Google earth.

HistoryMaps, but must be on wifi as they download as you click on your choice, great range of old maps of lots of different types, you can zoom in etc.

Pocket weather, AU HD version, great to check out the forecast and the radars etc, lovely presentation in contrast to the clunky text-based BOM.gov.au

ABC, BBC, AP NEWS, all of those are good for the top news, etc.



A new web based / iPad mind mapping tool

It is still in beta at this stage and there is a free "lite" version on the iPad App store.



Now that the iPads are now almost all out I thought it would be a good idea to give you a list of some apps that could be usefull if you are choosing to use them in your classrooms. All of the descriptions have come from iTunes. I wont post pricing as it may change at anytime.

Alphabet Fun Learning the A-B-Cs was never like this. Alphabet Fun makes the most of Multi-Touch technology on iPad to teach kids letters, numbers, and colors. They’ll swipe through colorful images and easy-to-read text. They’ll trace over letters with their fingers right on the iPad display. They’ll even write entire words. Kids think it’s a game. Parents think it’s educational. Everybody wins.

Math Magic - Don’t you just love how much your child has improved in adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing? You never get tired of hearing, “Can I do math?” from your six year old, do you? Of course you don’t.

Star Walk is a winner of APPLE DESIGN AWARDS 2010 for technical excellence, innovation, superior technology adoption, high performance, and outstanding design! Star Walk is installed for demonstration on iPads at Apple Stores! Try it out in the shops! Enjoy NEW Picture of the Day and Bookmarks sections, share your astronomy observations via Facebook and Twitter! iPhone best astronomy app *Featured by Apple - Best Apps of 2009!* is now available for iPad! On a bigger screen starry night sky looks fantastic with 3D graphics and one of the user-friendliest interfaces ever. Star Walk is your personal planetarium that can answer to all your curiosities about the sky! For anyone who is interested in stargazing, amateurs or professionals Star Walk makes discovering more than 9,000 stars, planets, constellations, messiers as beautiful and easy as it has never been before!

National Geographic's World Atlas HD - Designed specifically for the iPad, National Geographic's World Atlas HD puts our best maps in the palm of your hand. Unlike other map applications, the National Geographic World Atlas HD utilizes our highest resolution, press-ready images, providing you the same rich detail, accuracy, and artistic beauty found in our award-winning wall maps and bound atlases. The app is preloaded with 3 different styles of world maps, down to country-level detail. With an internet connection, you can continue zooming through continent-level maps to detailed Bing maps - close enough to see your home!

Dictionary.com and Thesaurus.com - The free Dictionary.com app delivers trusted reference content from Dictionary.com and Thesaurus.com, including nearly 1,000,000 words and definitions and 90,000 synonyms and antonyms. No Internet connection is needed. The app also features audio pronunciations, similarly spelled words and Dictionary.com’s popular Word of the Day that is enjoyed by millions of people.

Wikipanion - Accessing Wikipedia has never been faster and easier than with Wikipanion, designed for easy, search, navigation and display of Wikipedia entries. Streamline your browsing with history grouped by visit date, and bookmarking that not only bookmarks individual entries, but individual sections within an entry.

Miss Spell’s Class is an original word game that lets players test their spelling skills against the most commonly misspelled words on Dictionary.com. Players must quickly decide whether each of 20 words is spelled correctly or incorrectly, as speed and accuracy count to get to the top of the class!

ArithmeTick - How fast can you add and multiply? Solve math problems against the clock! ArithmeTick is a challenging math game where you solve addition, subtraction, multiplication and division problems! The objective in ArithmeTick is to solve as many problems as possible before time runs out. You are awarded up to 10 points and additional time for each correct answer. A practice mode is also included to help sharpen your math skills! With five difficulty levels, ArithmeTick is perfect for kids and adults!

Read Me Stories - A new talking picture book EVERY DAY teaches your child new concepts, new words and how to say them. Your child can practice reading - anywhere, anytime - while you’re driving, shopping in the grocery store, or having a quick coffee at your favorite cafe. Our books are fun and entertaining - so your child will look forward to reading their new book, every day! Imagine that - your child reading a new book everyday! You can spend quality time with your child while teaching them the core skills of reading and speaking that are so necessary for every child in today’s modern world. Bedtime reading will become something extra-special. Or, you can have a break while your child practices reading. With our books in your pocket, that can be when and where it fits into your day.

VideoScience - Science Class Experiments brought to you by Science House and featuring Science Teacher Dan Menelly, winner of the NSF Einstein Fellowship in Cyberinfrastructure! These videos are 2 to 3 minutes in length and demonstrate the steps of simple science experiments. The experiments are designed to inspire and excite kids of all ages, with very little set-up time and using only low cost materials. So whether you are a public school teacher, private school teacher, or home school teacher; we hope you use these videos and the many more on our website to ignite the scientific passion in your kids.

MobileTeacher - an application that complements the Mathletics web site. Mathletics is used by more than 7000 schools worldwide and allows teachers to customize tutorials and guidance according to the progress and skill of individual students. The product takes away much of the administration of teaching and with the iPad application now available, teachers can monitor and update progress in real-time.


How Toons

What it is: How Toons is like an Instructables site for kids. Kids learn through cartoons and videos how things work and how to make things. This is kind of a How It’s Made website for kids. Topics include science, space, nature, events, and a how to section. The cartoons illustrate a concept and accompanying videos expand on the concept.

Tips: How Toons would be a fun RSS feed to subscribe to as a class!


What and how are we teaching?

This is a poem, written by Scott McLeod on his blog 'Dangerously irrelevant - technology, leadership, and the future of schools' is a challenge to parents and teachers who are frightened of the way technology is being used in schools. I challenge you with it too!

Don't teach your kids this stuff. Please!

dear parent



board member

don't teach your kids to read

for the Web

to scan




don't teach your kids to write


pen and paper aren't going anywhere

since when do kids need an audience?

no need to hyperlink

make videos



no connecting, now

no social networking

or online chat

or comments

or PLNs

blogs and twitter?

how self-absorbed

what a bunch of crap

and definitely, absolutely, resolutely, no cell phones

block it all

lock it down

keep it out

it's evil, you know

there's bad stuff out there

gotta keep your children safe

don't you know collaboration is just another word for cheating?

don't you know how much junk is out there?

haven't you ever heard of sexting?

of cyberbullying?

a computer 24-7? no thanks

I don't want them





you know they're just going to look at porn

and hook up with predators

we can't trust them

don't do any of it, please


'cause I'm doing all of it with my kids

can't wait to see who has a leg up in a decade or two

can you?


ActivInspire hint 17 - tickertapes

I have just uploaded the newest AI hint about tickertapes to Google Docs (thanks Dave for the help overcoming the technical difficulties). It can be found here.


ActivInspire manual by Karen

This is a link to the ActivInspire Manual that I created at the beginning of this year. It is a very large document so I wouldn't advise downloading it (it is also found on the T drive under IWB).
ActivInspire Manual v2


Interview with a robot

New York times national correspondent Amy Harmon and Brent McDonald have a conversation with the Bina48 about what it's like to be a robot.



play thing or legitimate learning aid?

Having had the iPad for 3 days now, I have found it gets used more as a play thing than a 'work' aide! My children and husband want to play games all the time and have corrupted me by showing me 'labyrinth' and 'angry birds'. This weekend I will need to ensure I discover all the 'teaching and learning' functions and think about how they would apply at school. I haven't created a dropbox account, so that functionality is still unknown.
I will share more when I have more to share :)



The latest procrastination-tool-of-choice in schools is called “Wikiracing,” it challenges players to connect the dots. The rules are simple: Pick a starting page–”Helen Keller,” for example. Then pick a second target page, the more disparate, the better–”lucky bamboo,” say–and see who can get from the first to the final page fastest, solely by clicking on links embedded within the pages. It turns out, you can get from the deaf and blind author to the popular houseplant in six clicks: According to Keller’s Wikipedia page, the Japanese were especially fond of Keller. The “Japanese people” page leads to the “Japan” page, which contains a reference to the oldest known Japanese folktale, “The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter.” And from there it’s quick clicking to “bamboo” and finally “Dracaena sanderiana“–the “lucky” variety. Winners are determined by the number of pages visited on the way to the final destination (fewest clicks wins), or players can race against the clock. Other variations require players to begin on different, randomly selected pages and race toward the “Jesus” page…

For rules and description...