Need I say more?
Today is my first day lecturing "grown up" people!
I've stood in front of numerous classes and taught them (even shouted at them!) but never taught a group of 3rd year teaching students before.
And not just one group - 5 groups merged into 3 sessions in one day. Talk about throwing me in amongst the lions!
It's a different challenge for sure - I mean, for a start when you talk to the groups they stop and listen! How is that for different to a classroom - no one messing around at the back, no one not wanting to be there, and everyone interested in what is being said.
Could get used to this and never want to go back to the classroom...
Update: I survived the three sessions, had some positve comments and went home exhausted. I haven't spoken to a "class" all day for a long time!
Oh - and we have glandular fever striking at home at the moment, so I am now playing doctor during the evening and through the night, so no rest for the next few months.
Just after I began working on the Writers for the Future project, I had to start to use templates within Dreamweaver when I was redesigning the look of the resources within the eTeachers' Portal.
Well, I'm back at it again!
Before we launch Dragonsville to the public in less than a month, we are going to tighten up the site by improving the graphics, and putting all the content inside a template.
Templates and a redesign. Oh happy days!! :-))
Well I am back – for the morning! Then I am off again into another school.
I had a successful visit to a school in Lincolnshire, and worked with two classes on the Dragonsville project.
The Nesta Futurelab conference on Digital Dialogues was fascinating. Kathy Sykes from the University of Bristol, and well known for her science programmes on the BBC spoke about ways to bring schools, science centres and the media together to enhance the opportunities for learning. It’s just a shame that at the moment schools and unions are moving away from trips and visits simply due to the “sue factor” from parents (read about it here). She also spoke about the need to train children in the process of discussion before they are able to effectively discuss. This is also true of adults of course.
One of the case studies I attended was talking about software called ‘Virtual Puppeteers’ created by Squid soup. It allows children to mould characters in virtual clay, and move them around a virtual stage to create animation. The potential for using this in literacy lessons is huge – the first thought is play scripts. Not only could the children write their own scripts, they would then be able to bring them life and produce their play. Although at the prototype stage at the moment, this stuff is looking good, and with the sound effects provided by ‘I am the mighty jungulator’ freely available sound software it will be immense. I’ll be watching this closely as it develops.
Another interesting discussion was about researching children researching the world. Viki Bennett from Bristol City Council had been studying a group of pre-school children for a while. She spoke of watching a child who had created a digital version of some lavender and had projected it onto the wall. After trying to smell the image, and being told by another child that it was only an image, the child said “It’s realer than real”. In fact it turns out that children are more interested in looking at an image of an object than the object itself. (Reminds me of the scene in Total Recall where the house wall has a digital image of outside rather than a window).
Perhaps one of the most interesting talks was given by Pierre Dillenbourg of the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, who spoke about face-to-face communication and computer-mediated-communication. He broke down conversation into four groups – scheduled, intended, opportunistic and spontaneous – and discussed how you could use email / messenging for the first two types, but that opportunistic and spontaneous discussions were more likely when you went to the coffee machine and bumped into a colleague. In fact his whole speech was a study into distance working.
So - a long two days, but it's given me a lot to be thinking about in terms of the future direction of literacy and dialogue within the classroom.
I'm off on my travels again for the next few days. There might not be many entries.
Tuesday I travel to Lincolnshire to visit a school involved with the Dragonsville pilot.
Wednesday and Thursday I am in Sheffield at the Nesta Futurelab Digital Dialogues conference.
Friday I am back in Nottingham, but out at another school working on Dragonsville.
So the ofdoe preloader idea was a no starter. But it should have worked. And so this morning I took a look at it.
It does work! - just not how it is meant to. You see, it is a seperate Flash movie that finishes quickly and then loads the main movie while that still isn't ready.
However, by putting the preloader as the first scene within the main movie, and then getting it to load the introduction movie (this plays while the main movie loads) it seems to work now.
I say seems to - I tested it on the superfast University connection and it looked fine, but I need to use a dial up account to really check it.
In the meantime the revised version is here
(This post was edited April 15th when I moved the activity to a new location)
I thought I was getting better at Flash...
I thought I knew what I was doing...
I thought I would be able to make a preloader for the Ofdoe game...
I thought it worked when I tested it using a fast connection at the University...
I thought it still worked when I tested it at home using a 1Mb cable line...
And then I went to visit my mum and tried it on her dial up...
It doesn't work! :-(
Back to the drawing board then
We've opened up the voting for the latest chapter (chapter three) of our collaborative story within the Dragonsville project. The quality of writing is superb, and it seems that the children involved are really getting into story writing.
It's a shame that chapter four is the last chapter, and everything has to be pulled together with the characters reaching the end (this must be sooooo annoying for anyone who can't get into Dragonsville as you have no idea what we are talking about!), however as soon as we announce the successful chapter four, we will open the site to the public and invite you all in to meet the dragons of Dragonsville.
The trickiest part was getting the "who/where/with what" area working.
It took a fair while to sort out the "if they choose this and this, then do this........" code side, but in the end I got there, and feel great for making it work.
As I promised before, its on the experiments page in my area.
Who would have thought that 3 months ago I had no idea about Flash, and now I can't get enough of it!
(This page was edited on April 15th when the activity was moved to a new location)