Apps

Recently, trying to think of how to incorporate web2.0 technology into the lives of students without feeling like it’s always to do with homework or a specific task.

With exams looming on the horizon – I noticed a few apps which were Starbucks pick of the week which could helps students during these next few weeks!

Starbucks pick of the week is free for that week (then usually they go back to their full normal retail price). Due to the app only being free for the week it was a great incentive for students to download the apps that week as opposed to taking their time to downloaded which usually ended up in students not downloading the apps and trying them,

Some of the apps  which the students and myself tasked ourselves to try are outlined as below.


Streaks

It helps you turn the little goals in life into good daily habits. It is a great way for example to get into the habit of practicing a new language for ten minutes each day. I would highly recommend Streaks for anyone who is trying to encourage students to get into the habit of doing ten extra ten minutes of a particular subject which they need work that little bit harder at. 

http://streaksapp.com/

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Pause

Pause has fast become an app that has I been able to use in both in the classroom and outside the classroom. It is a simple, yet very powerful app. It allows you to take a moment to pause, collect your thoughts and start afresh. Furthermore, when teaching meditation this app is a great app for students to download and use at home. Some students have said they feel they are more focused as they are able to take five or ten minutes out in the evening time and meditate. One other great feature about this app if you are pitching it to students is they are following the instructions and light while meditating which will help them to focus if they feel they will not be able to meditate at home. 

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Storybird

 

 

storybird

 

web2.0

 

Storybird is a Web 2.0 Tool which is an excellent tool for encouraging literacy and creativity in the classroom.


 

In a learning scenario, “starting with pictures” is powerful: it stirs the emotions while it engages the brain and jumpstarts students into their text, avoiding the blank-page syndrome. And it’s effective.

blank page

 

As stated on their website it allows students to overcome blank page syndrome which they can suffer when they feel pressured and overwhelmed when trying to think outside out the box when it comes to essay writing and creative lessons.

 


 

Visual storytelling for everyone.

A platform for writers, readers, and artists of all ages.

As storybird is free to use and an accessible platform for all ages it could encourage students and family to create a story – which allows students families to feel more connected in their students learning.

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Also, it allows for communal projects and collaborations between both students and classes. This cross over can led to a library of books which can be sold and published if it’s wished through the paid feature to download and sell a book created. This incentive to allow students work to be sold and publish work can not only build up the students and schools portfolio but raise much needed funds for schools.


 

A massive attraction of Storybird is that it can be used with any devices, whether it be a phone, a tablet, a laptop, a netbook or a school computer.

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One other feature which I would encourage when using storybird is the use of paragraphs. For History and English paragraphs play a huge part in the layout of essays and the overall presentation/impression mark.

 

 

 


 

no collection data

One other feature of storybird which makes it very attractive in a classroom and school setting is due to the simple fact that it’s a private website no data is collected. A rising problem with websites is the collection of data and the risk this poses for users in the future.


 

Also, incase you missed this little bit of information earlier – it is free to use!

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For more on storybird check out these resources!

                                                                                                                    prezi logo https://prezi.com/kmgpwvqpwde7/introduction-to-storybird/

 

Mental Health – Ireland

While using TwitterDeck earlier this week an interesting article cropped up.

The world’s happiest countries have been revealed and drum roll please as

ireland

Ireland

top 102

was in the top ten (despite the weather)!

little things

Ireland has officially been listed in the top ten happiest countries in the world according to new research released earlier in the year (which focused on 142 different countries).

The Legatum Institute in the UK has unveiled their annual Prosperity Index and Ireland has been listed as the tenth happiest country in the world.

Web 2.0 tools – Project 252

web2.0

I have blogged previously about http://project252.donenda.com/index.php.

Just an update to tell you that there has been 574 contributions and counting! Can you think of any or learn from any contributions made previously?



Exciting news – project252 is doing a throwback thus you can add any Web 2.0 tools which you have come across before and think is worth sharing!



Also, as a further update  up to 613 contributions – all welcome at

and

Last week for 2015 – all letters/numbers welcome at !



 

Gamelan music

Changing the blogs up a bit recently!

Technology in the classroom is essential! However, a human touch never go amiss!

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Today I have been blessed with an interview wit a new type of music that I have not come across before  music! Additionally, it can be incorporated into technology in the classroom.


 

Please note musician name has been omitted for various reasons, blogging is a public sphere.

What is Gamelan?

Gamelan is a type of music from Indonesia that  is from a particular island from javanese, central Javenes. It’s a very specific type of music as its regional music.

It’s played on a percussive instrument but is tuned. To a western ideology its gongs and xylophones but actually it’s tuned percussion played with mallets and gongs

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The music is played by an orchestra (group of musicians) but is usually played for puppets.

Did you say puppets?

Yes, wayang (puppet show) is used for ritual and ceremonies and the gamelan accompanies.

Wow. Can you tell us anything more about the Gamelan?

Each set is made specifically thus no two Gamelans are tuned the same. Also, each Gamelan has its own birthday.

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You cannot wear shoes when playing the Gamelan as you have to show a huge amount of respect due to the nature of each gamelan being unique.

How are Gamelan made?

Gamelan are made by people who are trained in hand carving and decorating. This makes them even more special to play and listen to.

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They don’t use western tuning. They use a slender and pelog   tuning system – to tune the instrument.

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You can play by pitch. It’s not what you would be used to. A Gong marks the end of each phrase so you have to pay attention to the Gong.

Is it difficult to play if you’re playing by pitch?

Yes, it’s difficult as it’s not 4 or 8 beats.  Arguably you are meant to be able to play every Gamelan – theoretically you should be able to change instruments and play any in the room as you learn by listening.

Nice when you play – you play as a group and pay attention to each person – listen to their part, your part. It can lead to improv sessions.

Pause…..

Generally men play the music and women do the puppets.

Oh! Why is this?

Songs are difficult for women to sing due to the fact that they traditionally they have been tuned for male voices thus this has created challenges for western countries learning Gamelan as female voices are higher.

How would you promote this in a school?

Learn music from a different culture, not only because it’s fun. Today’s world is changing and mixing. Though Gamelan doesn’t sound necessarily right on the ears due to different tuning systems – it can be a little flat or sharp. It’s also a good way to appreciate music of a different culture is to play it as it opens up people to understanding.

Caption for promoting this in a school could be “Not reject but embrace”.

 

If you wish to listen to Gamelan – try this!

 

 

 

 

Educational Blogs – Positive Impact

Today we live in global society were we can connect with people all over the world. We can hear about stories in a matter of seconds thanks to technology. This world of information has progressed into our classrooms. I think this blogging is an excellent resource as it allows students to bring their subjects to life and hear first-hand accounts. (Juan Cole: Blogging Current Affairs History, 2011)

The importance of blogging in the classroom is evident where students now could be hindered if they don’t have a technological background.

The OCED http://www.thejournal.ie/computers-intelligent-students-oecd-use-2330906-Sep2015/ report highlights that Irish students only use internet 18minutes in class per day as opposed to 25minutes. There is a fluster of concern that the internet shouldn’t be used in classrooms yet looking at how the digital strategy https://www.education.ie/en/Publications/Policy-Reports/Digital-Strategy-for-Schools-2015-2020.pdfhas been rolled out last week it’s easy to forget that technology is still very new to the world. Though it has become a part of our daily lives, it’s still relatively knew.

Additionally, connectivity and blogging allows for supporting collaborative learning amongst students and teachers. The educational resources that can be exchanged and learned from each other far outweighs the concerns of the OCED report. Additionally, it has been noted in several critical responses that the OCED took a narrow approach.

Blogging is critical for schools in order to encourage literacy and numeracy in schools if taught and used in a sensible way. It will be of benefit for future generations.


Academic Journals

Juan Cole, Blogging Current Affairs History, Journal of Contemporary History, Vol. 46, No. 3, At the Crossroads of Past and Present — ‘Contemporary’ History and the Historical Discipline (JULY 2011), pp. 658-670.

OCED Report Response: http://www.thejournal.ie/computers-intelligent-students-oecd-use-2330906-Sep2015/

Digital Strategy Schools: https://www.education.ie/en/Publications/Policy-Reports/Digital-Strategy-for-Schools-2015-2020.pdf