Archive for March, 2014

RSA becomes more extroverted by celebrating introversion

Susan Cain’s book on introversion has struck a chord with many educators and reminded us to look more deeply at those students who don’t always catch the eye. In this lovely RSA animation one of her examples is nicely celebrated.


App Review: OCR (not the exam board)

For those of us that still have photocopied sheets lying around that we always keep meaning to type up then this is a godsend. OCR or Optical Character Recognition has been steadily improving and there were some good online sites and software out there before the app revolution. Now however the process is so much easier. A quick picture of the requisite page taken with your ipad then run the image through Textgrabber or something similar and suddenly you have an easily manipulable block of text. Great for typed student essays too. However where I find myself most using it is when there is a terrific bit of text on the kindle app that I would love to cut and paste, suddenly, nearly as quickly, it can be clipped and put into a document for my students. I’m sure there are legal ramifications but it is so much easier than photocopying then photoshopping to develop a new resource.

App review: Chirp at half the price

The latest app that I’d like to highlight for school use is the very wonderful Chirp. Chirp bills itself as an audio QR code which makes a lot of sense. I see it as a hugely useful tool for sharing links and notes with large audiences, think parent’s meetings, whole school assemblies, lectures or staff meetings where the presentation will be wanted by some in the audience. The video below shows it in use.


The week before last I spent two inspiring days in Manchester at the iThinkThereforeiLearn and¬†iThinkThereforeiPad events. Both of the days contained plenty of great material to bring back to school that would pay dividends across the different departments. What was perhaps most impressive though was the positivity and questioning of technology’s role in the classroom. It seems that the protagonists at the cutting edge are far more critical of what technology’s limitations are but are also showing huge creativity in working within these limitations to improve pedagogy.
A few gripes though, of course, I felt the keynotes were too broad in their scope, focusing on a generalised vision of a future in education that wasn’t news to me nor anyone in the room. There wasn’t enough hands-on material to really get our teeth into, and there wasn’t nearly enough interaction and networking. A TeachMeet would have addressed this effectively, as would a pronounced twitter presence in advance of the event. These are small gripes though and the event as a whole deserves to grow.


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