Saturday, April 17, 2010

iPad in the Classroom

Thanks to one of the teachers at our school we were able to get our hands on an iPad for a day this week. The video below shows year a 1 student playing with the Dino Mixer app.

The iPad was smaller than I thought it was going to be and surprisingly light. It feels sturdy enough and the screen brightness was excellent.

Clearly there is scope for using these in schools - like the iTouch you turn them on and they work - no need to log on to a network or phone a technician when your desired network drives don't appear. With ever increasing options for sharing work to and from them they appear to have a number of uses within the classroom.

One issue may be that the iPad looks to be a consumer tool, how will schools be able to use it to allow students to create and produce. Hopefully we can come up with some ideas before we start buying a few next year.

The Day Before Inspection - A Reflection on the Week Ahead

So tomorrow's the big day, our OfStEd inspection begins. I thought I'd jot a few thoughts down prior to the event and then see how things develop during the week.

First thing to say is that I'm looking forward to the week. This will be my second OfStEd and it will be very different to the first one. At that point in time OfStEd was still reimageing itself after the days of Chris Woodhead when there was a real feeling in schools that inspections were a vehicle for criticism and little else. I was also a Deputy Headteacher in a large primary for that inspection and the pressures were very intense as I had wide-ranging responsibilities.

The pressure for this inspection is much less - OfStEd is much more focussed these days and whilst it can still be forthright in it's opinions (see Zenna Atkins!) in general they stem from a desire for improvement rather than any kind of hidden agenda.

Whilst the preparation has been demanding, from my own point of view I feel safe in the knowledge that what I do is interesting, challenging and relevant. The top OfStEd category is of course, outstanding. For any school achieving a grade of outstanding it's a testimony to the hard work of staff as a whole. I could never describe my work as 'outstanding' - not because I'm not confident in what I do, it's just not in my nature! It's a personality thing.

In any case, the pervasive nature of ICT within the curriculum means that the work students carry out within their ICT lessons as a whole is now only a small part of their ICT experience in school. In short, KS2 students spend 45 mins a week in the lab but should be spending much more time using ICT in authentic ways within the curriculum. So any comments on ICT within Kellett will hopefully reflect that.

An aspect of inspection which I think is very useful is it gives staff an opportunity to reflect upon their practice and pedagogy and look at what real learning is going on in their classrooms. The greater attention to detail in planning can help to focus ideas and move things forward. I know it has for me!

The evaluation schedule of OfStEd (see illustration for word cloud) talks a lot about schools using new technology but it's not clear what it means by this. PCs aren't new, nor is Microsoft Word or PowerPoint, or e-mail for that matter. What new technology might they see next week? Well, from a personal viewpoint if they come and see me they're going to see Y3&4 students using Google Sketchup to investigate tessellation & symmetry, and Y5&6 creating computer games for students to use within the curriculum. Both of these could be described as "new" technology don't you think? The Sketchup module is a progression for us, moving this excellent software down through the school, from the creative, design activities we use in Y6&7 to activities rooted within the Mathematics curriculum.

The Y5&6 module will be using 2DIY, by definition it's new because we've only had it for six weeks! This is definitely an example of how in a 21st Century classroom the teachers should be learning alongside the students - already the students have had more time on the software than me so we'll definitely be exploring together.

So that's me sorted, don't know how it will go down with the inspectors but I know the students will be engaged and challenged - I don't think you can ask for more.

What might they see elsewhere? It's difficult to find the time to work out what everybody's doing - it's easy to get wrapped up in making sure you will be ok - but I am expecting them to see;

Web 2.0 technology being used. Year 6 will be leading the way on this - having already used Primary Pad and Glogster (as well as Guitar Hero!) they will be collaborating online using Mind42 and Shelfari - hopefully the inspectors will clearly see here how new technology can impact upon learning - now that is outstanding in my mind!

Games as a stimulus for writing. Having used Rollercoaster Tycoon, Year 5 will be tackling a range of writing activities stemming from their time creating their own theme parks.

Laptops New technology? Not sure, but they will hopefully see that as a school we are committed to mobile learning.

Multimedia. They should see students constantly expressing themselves through audio, video and images - our relatively small resource of digital cameras, Flip video, Vado video and TTS Digital microphones will be as popular as ever during inspection week.

Nintendo DS - Year 2 will be using DS consoles and the game Nintendogs as a stimulus for their classroom activities. Inspired by the work of teachers such as Anna Rosvoll in Scotland this module is one of the things I'm hoping to get to see in the next couple of weeks - I'm fascinated to see how it goes.

iTouch - we love them! They work - immediately! Our small team of iTouches have proven to be very popular and have already impacted upon learning. I have no hesitation in describing Katrina Hall's work in Y1 using the iTouch as outstanding. These appear to be booked out for most of the week - I just hope we can find time to recharge them!!

So that's just a flavour of what's going on and what the inspectors might see. There's lots more too, Chinese Studies will be using laptops extensively, as will other year groups, and PE will be using digital video to analyse their work.

Do I have any misgivings or concerns about the week ahead? Well, if the school network falls over that could be problematic, but not much we can do about that. There will always be technical niggles, iTouch apart, ed-tech hasn't got to the light bulb stage yet (switch it on and it works) - but dealing with that in the classroom is part and parcel of the job - whilst it's true our support structures are stretched I've never been in a school that admits to having too much technical support!

What else... if I was honest I'd have to say that the National Curriculum is not exactly an inspiration for embedding authentic technology within the curriculum. Our move towards ISTE is a reflection of our desire to be more creative in our work and also to focus upon the professional development of our staff. I hope they see that reflected in what we do.

So, what would I like them to say about our use of technology?

I'd certainly like them to say that we are innovative in our approach, I'd like them to note that technology is being used for creative purposes as well as problem solving and that although research type activities and basic software skills are still part of what we do they are no longer the core.

That we are beginning to come to terms with what it means to enable our students to become responsible and active digital citizens in the 21st Century - we still have a long way to go on this but so does everybody!

I'd like them to highlight that some staff are prepared to work outside their comfort zone (no matter what that zone is) and commend them for it.

They should take note of staff who are developing themselves professionally through sharing and collaborating with teachers outside of their own school - this is a key characteristic of outstanding teachers in the 21st Century and a part of the ISTE standards for teaching staff.

I would also like them to highlight the outstanding (there, I said it!) progress we have made in the past couple of years, we've really moved technology along during that time. But at the same time it's important for them to be clear that we still have a huge amount of work to do, or in the words of Scott McLeod...

"I'm not sure you appreciate how far you still have to go."

Good luck to all my colleagues this week.

Monday, March 29, 2010

6024 Reflexion and Experience

Got to say that I really learn a lot, the interaction was quite useful, and also I liked the interaction with other students. I learn also not only from my own experience, but from the interaction with my other students in the group.

I saw lot of detail and updated information, and good explanation and examples. After this course I felt more confident about understanding using technology towards education in a more pedagogical direction.

Thanks Bob!

P.D. Would like to have all the note in advanced, so I could read them on the week and be able to participate and contribute more.

Web 2.0 Expo

For all the people who want to follow up with the latest of web 2.0, visit this site:

Evaluating What Really Matters in Computer-Based Education

Interesting research papers about e-learning evaluation:
Academic motivation
Effective dimensions of interactive learning on the World Wide Web

The Cultural Adaptation Process (CAP) Model: Designing E-Learning

Enhancing experiential learning in higher education

Monday, March 22, 2010

Mobile Learning in Education

Year 1 students have been using the application DinoMixer on the iPodTouch to enhance their study of dinosaurs. Students mixed up their own dinosaur and then added an image of themselves dressed as paleontologists. These were then added to a PowerPoint and students then voiced over their stories and descriptive writing - some also used Wordle. The author of the app also gave us permission to use the images in our work.

They also used the mobile phone app Qik to livestram a dinosaur hunt from outside the school back to the whiteboard in the classroom. Although the 'mobile' aspects of this project were relatively minimal the impact upon learning was considerable.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Thoughts on the CETL Learning Space

4IT Guys will post their reflections and comments here on the CETL Learning Space.

The idea is to think about the teaching techniques within the room, but it's also important to look at the learning that takes place. How does the learner feel in this space? Does the provision of a clearly expensive and 'different' room effect the self-esteem of the learner and add motivation?

In my opinion the room hugely affects the motivation of student learners; it feels like a special space that the University has invested large financial resources in and so makes the student feel 'special' about their learning space and this may impact upon their own investment in their work. In education we talk a lot about making learning spaces motivational through the use of displays, environmental text etc to help promote learning and this room certainly adds to the motivational factor!

A long time ago in the UK, I attended a presentation given by Prof Stephen Heppell on Schools for The Future. Heppell's thoughts on learning spaces are always worth reading and his work in this initiative can be seen here.

Group research topic: How IT infrastrcuture can affect teaching and learning in education

Observation 1: In our previous classroom

IT infrastructure: A screen and an overhead projector
Comparing with tradition infrastructure: A blackboard

Interaction is still limited. For example, in a classroom of size 30, the teacher can ask 1 student to present some idea in front of the class. All other 29 students are just watching that student. Using the computer and the screen, students can participate using animation, sounds and even Web 2.0 applications.

Observation 2: In our new classroom

IT infrastructure: Many screens surrounding our classroom

Reflection: IT infrastructure can affect teaching and learning in education.
1) Encourage group discussion.
2) A bigger screen is installed in each table, which allows the group leader to present ideas to other groups

Comments on the main areas of research on and with ITE

My opinion on main areas of research on and with ITE:

== How to narrow the gap between the theory and real practice in ITE? ==

I have been studied in Hong Kong from kindergarten to master's degree level. After I graduated, I have been working on tertiary education in Hong Kong for about two years. I observed Information Technology was introduced to the classroom since in the middle 90s. Here are the comments I would like to summarize on the main areas of research on ITE, particular in public school system in Hong Kong.

According to my observation, the government invested lots of money on IT hardware. Nowadays, every classroom in public school should have installed a computer with broadband connection linked with an overhead screen projector and a speaker. For software, the government also encourage teachers to learn Information Technology. However, for most of the hardware installed, the utilization is very low.

In public schools, except computer related subjects, Information Technology is seldom used to present the course materials. Although many cutting-edges and effective Web 2.0 teaching tools are evolved, most of the teachers still stick to the PowerPoint presentation, which is proved not attractive enough for students in a classroom.

I feel there exists a big gap between the theory of ITE and the education in my real life. Some teachers are keen on introducing new IT to their classrooms, but there exists lots of resistance, including lacking IT support, lacking funds to buy software which are effective for teaching and lacking time to prepare new teaching materials. I think exploring the way to narrow the gap is one of the future direction. For example, how government policy can be proposed to leverage the gap between the theory and the real practice? How to encourage teachers to prepare Web 2.0 teaching materials and bring them in their classrooms? How to let students to adapt to the new mode of teaching and learning?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Web 2.0 Tools Prezi

Here's a nice Prezi featuring a number of useful Web 2.0 tools - BabelWith.Me is a new one for me, which I haven't seen before - I'd like to try that out;

Saturday, March 13, 2010


I have created my 1st slidecast. The slides will turn automatically in line with the narration. I sync the audio with the slides of the talk by the two actors. Students who did not have the chance to attend the talk can use this slidecast for preparation before watching the Cantonese opera in theatre.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Voki: A free, animated avatar

According to the voki page:

Voki is a free service that allows you to create personalized speaking avatars and use them on your blog, profile, and in email messages.

Evaluation of the product:

I have made a simple animated avator. The system supports many different language, so I can type in Chinese. The system generates voice based on my input text. The graphics are attractive and I think this tool can be integrated to teaching materials for children or teenagers.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Web 2.0 Tool - Wallwisher

Wallwisher is an online post-it site which allows users to post stickies to a wall. This resource can be used in a variety of ways.

Teachers are beginning to use Wallwisher as a means of allowing lots of students to post simultaneously.

Lee Kolbert from Palm Beach Cafe gives a brief outline of how the site works below:

Tom Barrett'ss blog in the UK is crowd sourcing requests for ideas on how Wallwisher might be used in the classroom context. Here is the Google Presentation giving ideas on how to use the site;

Here is our Wallwisher - please add your own ideas:

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Facebook group as e-learning platform

I have created the above facebook group as e-learning platform for the HKU General Education course on Cantonese opera art. I am testing the usage of its components (such as Wall, Discussion, Events). You can go there to take a look but NOT to join the group.
Feedback are most welcome. Please post your comment below.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Digital Story

The following is a digital story using vuvox as an interactive tool for presenting slide show stories in a fast and interactive way.

Monday, February 22, 2010

My RISAL tag clound

RISAL account name: hkpeterpeter

RISAL tag cloud: (will add more tags later)

A Digital Story - ICT INSET Day

This digital story is a record of our recent ICT INSET Day at Kellett School. The day focused on 21st Century Learning with sessions on creating wikis, games based learning, social bookmarking and the use of Voicethread.

Images from the day were uploaded to Animoto and stock site music was included. Animoto then synched the images and the sound to create the movie. The final movie was then uploaded to Vimeo.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Learning Object - Globe Unwrapped

My learning object is Oxfam's Globe Unwrapped, which is a series of whiteboard presentations looking at mapping and projections - here's a screencast of me using the initial pages:

The site allows students to manipulate and transform the globe into a 2D map and looks at the differences between the projections, with the capacity to overlay and compare.

Here's the link!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Tag Cloud

Here's my tag cloud from my Delicious account; All the tags appear at least 5 times in my account.

I use Delicious as my own personal bookmark repository but also use it to distribute web resources to students, who are shown how to use tags to access the sites I have prepared for them.

Other alternatives such as Diigo are also available.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Macromedia eLearning Objects

Looking at eLearning objects that can be re-used for creating interactive applications I found a great solution from Adobe:This Learning object can be integrated into moodle, using the moodle extensions for flash, then the rest is start customizing they way you want to apply the features of the object for the learning experience (Using flash). This object creates a flash application that can have interactive questions with multiple selections, close answers, answers using drag and drop of objects. Since it's flash the application can easily embed video and sound as a support for the interaction.

I posted a demo for a Spanish learning application, it's not complete yet, but you can check it out an look how the elearning object works here select the "ejercicios botton" have fun!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Dual coding

"The dual coding theory, a theory of cognition, was first advanced by Allan Paivio of the University of Western Ontario. The theory postulates that the human cognition consists of two subsystems that process knowledge simultaneously, one processing the verbal objects and one dealing with visual objects. The two systems have different functions; the verbal subsystem processes and stores linguistic information whereas the visual subsystem processes and stores images and pictorial information. While the two subsystems can be activated independently, the interrelations and connections of the two systems allow the dual coding of information."


Combining Visualization and Interactivity

The advancement in Web 2.0 and general web technologies means that the net can offer a much wider range of visualisation and interactivity than was previously possible. This means that it is possible to enagage different learning styles through actively providing resources that cater to them.

Some examples are featured below:

Voicethread, as previously mentioned is an excellent resource. Here is a project undertaken by Grade 4 students presenting on their school;

Voicethread allows users to interact and add their own comments (if permissions are set to allow) which makes it useful for online collaboration as well as global, flat classroom projects.

Another excellent set of tools that fall into the category of Visualisation and Interactivity concern collaborative whiteboarding. These tools allow students to work collaboratively on projects, usually of a graphical nature. allows users to invite emailed friends to collaborate

Another useful site that has a similar use is; Although not as visually attractive as Imagination Cubed it allows for more interaction between users via text, video, and audio chat. goes even further, offering users not only collaboration, but the ability to embed media within presentations. adds the extremely useful ability to work collaboratively, but also allows the embedding of Google Maps.

As Web 2.0 impacts upon the wider publishing world, major media outlets such as the BBC and the New York Times invest in technologies which allow viewers to interact with news reports. A recent example involved the tragic death of Georgian Luger Nodar Kumaritashvili at the Vancouver Winter Olympics. The NY Times reported on the incident and included the following interactive visualisation to enhance understanding of how the accident unfolded;


Voicethread is one of my favourite applications. Whenever anybody askes me about it I direct them to this video. Unfortunately, due to the strange way in which TeacherTube runs it's site, I haven't found a way of sending the video to non-members, so I've embedded it here instead!

Harvesting the Web!

What multimedia do I use?
Look at

Active, Interactive and Receptive

Session 3 Wordle

Here's a Wordle of Bob's Session 3 PowerPoint.

Wordle: MITE 6024

Mind Maps

From the mind maps presentation, I liked the point of view of the Tame Tigers group, the idea about being inclusive with all the teaching theories is important, each type of approach has its place in learning.

Weblogs as e-learning platforms

This newsletter article depicts my key ideas on weblogs as e-learning platforms. In fact, this is what we are doing for this course (MITE6024)! Such collaboration among learners for building up a weblog is a kind of CONSTUCTIVISM.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Mindmapping in the Primary Classroom

Nice little article on using Mind maps in Primary Classrooms - using 2Connect, which is paid software - the ideas could be used in any of the free resources, such as

Here's the article!

Mind Map

This is our Mind Map on Learning Theories. You can use the menu to scroll around and zoom. It is created using

Learning Object _ Webquest

This learning object is a webquest designed to help students understand learning theories. As such the object helps learners construct knowledge regarding the subject by asking them to visit a selection of resources prior to formulating a presentation on implementing new pedagogies in a school setting.

To be continued...

Activity: Evaluate a web site named "Animated GIF"

Website - Animated GIF (click to visit the original website)


This web site is an excellent introduction about the method to create animated GIF for secondary one students. Despite using a few colors, it is attractive.

The course materials are well organized. It contains a course outlilne, the course objective and followed by the course materials. The course slides are prepared using Flash-based animation and they are attractive and viewable online. The exercises and FAQs are also helpful for students reviewing the materials they have just learnt.

One minor problem about this website is that the course materials are designed with instructivism in mind. Students have less flexibility to work based on his/her imagination.

Activitiy 2

Reviewing at examples using IT for educational manners, the following example illustrates the creation of a blogs to learn about waste recycling. The project inspires an online interaction about the students experiences on waste reduction on their daily life.

I look at the beauty of this example that not only uses IT as a learning environment, but also gets the student involved with the community promoting green education and a positive impact in our planet.

If more schools follow this example, the future generations will bring a greener future to our humanity.

Understanding understanding.

Understanding the way we learn, allows me to understand the process of cognition, from the traditional methods to more innovative approaches. From each stage of development, like early child hood to adults, there are different ways that education is embedded in our minds. My reflection is on rediscovering this essential ways of thinking and using education in a way that I can apply them when I teach to kids and adults.

Sunday, January 31, 2010


I've been meaning to try Glogster for a while, but PCCW filtered it within our school. Recently though, they've changed their (flawed) policy and it's now available. Glogster now has an education account, one free and a premium, so I've signed up for the free one and will have a play.