Monthly Archives: June 2014

Worth a read 06/27/2014

  • Children take to technology like fish take to water. Even as debates rage over how much technology we should let our children use, it comes down to one inescapable fact that the society of today and tomorrow is totally driven by technology. The impact of video games on children is well-researched.
    Let’s question – can we be Luddites in a world that is also tapping into children as design “partners” for innovation? Or should we embrace the best of technology and use it to strengthen their literacy and cognitive skills?
    Which are the creative technology skills we should encourage children to learn? Maybe, these five (though, feel free to suggest your own in the comments)…

    tags: comics cartoon apps moviemaking games mindmapping KDSBytes collaboration writing

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Worth a read 06/26/2014

  • “There two missions of this site. The first is to make available to the public the highest quality and most reliable historical data on important economic aggregates, with particular emphasis on “nominal (current-price) measures, as well as real (constant-price) measures. The second is to provide carefully designed calculators (using these data) that explain the many issues involved in making value comparison over time.

    The data have been created using the highest standards of the fields of economics and history, and they are rigorously refereed by the most distinguished researchers in the fields. Beginning with the United States and United Kingdom and following with Australia, Japan and China, we will continue to add series from other countries using the same high standard.

    The emphasis on nominal measures distinguishes this site. This attention is important because to comprehend a past transaction or asset, one must begin with the contemporary value of the item. To make this valuation meaningful, it must be measured against the value of the appropriate economic indicator in that year. To understand the valuation from another year’s perspective, one must carry that measure forward against the changing value of the indicator.”

    tags: economics measurement value calculator KDSBytes

  • “Eleven-year-olds running a classroom? That could sound outlandish to some elementary school teachers, but not to Joe Jamison, or “Mr. J” as he is affectionately called by his fifth-grade students at Lawrence Intermediate School in central New Jersey.

    “There is a feeling of excitement in the small classroom, decorated with inspirational quotes and bright educational paraphernalia. The kids sit at the edge of their seats, waiting in anticipation; they are eager to show their findings after spending an hour researching and putting together a presentation about a quote that Mr. J projected on a whiteboard at the front of the classroom: “The rights of the individual should be the primary object of all governments.” In groups, they were asked to figure out the significance of the quote, using only their critical faculties and a few laptops.

    This activity is part of Mr. J’s bi-weekly SOLE session, a freestyle learning period revolving around a topic, quote or question. SOLE, which stands for Self-Organized Learning Environment, is a concept drawn from 2013 TED Prize winner Sugata Mitra’s wish in which he offered up a new vision of education that combines the vast resources of the Internet with children’s innate sense of curiosity. The School in the Cloud, as he calls it, is a global experiment in self-organized learning. SOLEs let kids puzzle through big questions and ideas on their own, teaching each other in the process.”

    tags: SOLE teaching learning students self-directed learning network learning KDSBytes

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Lesson “hooks”

Short videos can be a great “hook” or starting point for a lesson. Used judiciously a good video can provoke debate and discussion leading to creative problem-solving or critical thinking.

But where to find the perfect video? Youtube can be a gold mine but finding the perfect video that is suitable for use in primary or secondary education can be a challenge.

Luckily there are some expert curators out there, carefully selecting and contextualising video and sharing what they find to make our task of finding the perfect video much easier.

Here are a couple of my favourites:

Geography Soup

Geography soup is a Vimeo channel of

short films curated for Geography teachers to use in the classroom. Every one is chosen for its ability to take us slightly off the beaten track & to inspire us to learn & understand a little bit more about our planet & how we interact with it. Each film is a starting point to a lesson, a topic, a line of enquiry & a learning journey.

Titles range from Masaai life through a child’s eye to The world outside my window – time-lapses of earth from the International Space Station to Kilauea Volcano 2014 Time Lapse. Like all Vimeo channels you can browse alphabetically, by date added, or popularity.

The Kid Should See This

The kid should see this: cool videos for curious minds of all ages has heaps of fascinating videos categorised into science, technology, space, animals, food, music, art and animation. Curator and  blogger Rion Nakaya says

There’s just so much science, nature, music, art, technology, storytelling and assorted good stuff out there that my kids (and maybe your kids) haven’t seen. It’s most likely not stuff that was made for them…
But we don’t underestimate kids around here.

There’s so much fascinating stuff on this site it’s hard to know where to begin and new videos are added daily. Luckily everything is well-categorised and tagged making  browsing easy and you can save videos to easily access them again from the same computer. Warning – you could lose hours on this site!

If anyone can explain to me how How to create chocolate out of nothing works I’d be most grateful!


As you might suspect, Numberphile is a collection of videos about numbers, made by Brady Haran with the assistance of academics and other people passionate about maths. The videos are short and quirky and it’s easy to see how they could liven up a maths class. Numberphile has a cute visual index or you can choose to see a text version to search by topic. Numberphile is supported by the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute(MSRI), based in Berkeley, California.

Numberphile - Videos about Numbers and Stuff


TED-Ed Original lessons feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. More than just videos to use as hooks, TED-Ed has lesson plans built around the short videos. The lessons are divided into watch, think (multiple choice and/or open-ended questions), dig deeper (additional resources to explore), and discuss.You can use a lesson as-is or customise it to your own needs. There are lessons for all subject areas including the arts, philosophy, science and technology, health, and social studies. There is plenty of interest here for all teachers but you can also become a registered user and build your own lesson around any video found on Youtube.

iPad news and views 06/24/2014

  • “via MindShift

    With the thousands of educational apps vying for the attention of busy teachers, it can be hard to sift for the gold. Michelle Luhtala, a savvy librarian from New Canaan High School in Connecticut has crowd-sourced the best, most extensive list of appsvoted on by educators around the country.

    “I wanted to make sure we had some flexibility because there’s no one app that’s better than all the others,” Luhtala said. Some apps are best for younger students, others are more complicated, better suited for high school students. Many apps do one thing really well, but aren’t great at everything. Still others are bought, redesigned or just disappear — so it’s always good to know about an array of tools to suit the need at hand.”

    tags: apps iPad KDSiPad

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Worth a read 06/24/2014

  • Lesson plans using Google apps products. Categorised by product, subject and level.

    tags: GAFE google apps lesson plans classroom activities KDSBytes

  • Directory of newspapers from around the world, categorised by country/state/city/language. Features today’s front page from selected newspapers and ranks selected country’s newspapers by circulation.

    tags: newspaper KDSBytes

  • “Do you ever feel stuck in a rut while planning your language classes? Perhaps you spend a lot of time lecturing at the white board, use the same activities with different vocabulary for every unit, or rely on teaching students grammar because that’s how you were taught. No matter your “go to” activity, we are all much more engaging when we vary our activities and make them relatable. If the speaker is engaging, a good lecture every now and then is enjoyable. However, when faced with daily lectures, students dread class, and hence, learn less. So why not mix it up?

    When dreaming up new activities, our main focus should always be authenticity. If we make activities genuine, our students will be much more inclined to participate, acquiring new knowledge through the process. Many language teachers think that being authentic means decorating their classrooms with flags and other souvenirs collected through their travels. But true authenticity comes from the activities we use during class time, leaving an impact on the communicative skills of our students.”

    tags: KDSBytes language classroom activities

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Worth a read 06/21/2014

  • “PBL (Problem Based Learning) has long been an important aspect of my teaching programme. This term in my Year 6 Mathematics Class we have been learning about Fractions and Decimals. After doing some learning about how to use and manipulate them effectively and developing an understanding of chance, the students have been set a problem based around filling a gap in the market.

    The students were set a problem based on filling a gap in the market. The problem was: “The educational board game market is severely lacking fraction, decimal and chance based games to support learning”.”

    tags: KDSBytes Project Based Learning maths

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Social bookmarking with Diigo

Have you ever been at school and wanted to share a great site you’ve found but realised the link is saved on your computer at home? Or had a computer “meltdown” and lost all your bookmarks? Or remembered that you’ve saved something but can’t remember anything specific to help you locate it in your enormous list of bookmarks? Are your bookmarks out of control?

Social Bookmarking might just be the answer – it will help you get in control of bookmarks and access them anywhere on any computer or device.

So how does social bookmarking work? Basically when you find a webpage you’d like to save you use a button that’s been added to your browser to save it, adding tags (words or short phrases that describe the site used to help organise and find your bookmarks later), a description or other comments and then save. That’s it, the bookmarked site will now be available to you from anywhere where you are logged into the bookmarking service, including on apps for phones and tablets. A useful feature of most social bookmarking sites is the ability to import your existing bookmarks from your browser to get you started.

Diigo is one social bookmarking service. There are others but a few of Diigo’s features make it stand out.

This video gives a good overview of setting up a Diigo account and bookmarking a site.

When saving a site Diigo also allows you to organise it further into a list or to share to a group. Even better, Diigo allows you to highlight text on a website and add comments (in the form of “sticky notes”) on the page itself. These highlights and comments will be on the page on any computer so long as you are logged into Diigo as well. You can choose to make your comments private or share them with other Diigo users and you can choose whether or not you want to see comments from other Diigo users on sites. These features open up some interesting possibilities for using Diigo as a teaching and learning tool.

This video shows more about highlighting and sticky notes:

This video explains the Group feature.

Diigo V4: Collaborate~ Create a Group Knowledge Repository from diigobuzz on Vimeo.

Here’s another from a teacher librarian who is “addicted” to Diigo!

I’ve used Diigo for years and I can’t imagine how I could keep organised without it. You can check out my Diigo library here.

So what are you waiting for? Sign up to Diigo now!

Worth a read 06/19/2014

  • Google is a technology giant that provides a huge variety of services, many of which are free. Gmail, Google Drive and Google Hangouts can be used without paying a dime. Instead, pay by providing information about yourself, which Google can use for advertising. Though it started in search, the lion’s share of the company’s profits come from ads.
    You’ve likely noticed this already. Search for a new car and suddenly, as if by magic, ads from local car dealers begin to appear. But how much does Google really know about you, and should you be concerned? The answer may surprise you.

    tags: google privacy data KDSBytes

  • “There’s just so much science, nature, music, art, technology, storytelling and assorted good stuff out there that my kids (and maybe your kids) haven’t seen. It’s most likely not stuff that was made for them…

    But we don’t underestimate kids around here.

    Smart, conversation-starting, “not-made-for-kids, but perfect for them” videos that you can watch together, curated by Rion Nakaya with help from her 3 & 6 year olds.”

    tags: Videos KDSBytes

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Worth a read 06/17/2014

  • Formative assessments are simply little gauges or indicators of how students are progressing towards a learning goal. It could be anything from a simple conversation to something like a clickers or response via a website. It is the formative assessments throughout learning that give us the indication we are headed down the right path with our learning or whether we should take a right turn to get back on track. The use of the formative assessments help teachers understand where their students are and, more importantly, where their teaching is. Had I used formative assessments, I would not have had to take another week breaking things down with the Periodic Table. I could made my adjustments along the way.

    tags: formative assessment KDSBytes

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.