Archive for December, 2014

2014 End of Year – Best of the web by Zapatou

Saturday, December 27th, 2014

Judging from this 2014 YouTube compilation, Luc Bergeron (Zapatou) is a bit of a fan of falling, sliding and dancing.

Oh, and stunts.

2014 web of webe

Is 2014 when the GoPro camera and selfie stick reached the YouTube tipping point?

Free Moodle 2.7 Manual (364 pages of Moodle goodness)

Monday, December 22nd, 2014

Moodle 2.7 manual

Jaswinder Singh has knocked out a 364 page guide to Moodle 2.7.

I have had a quick skim and it’s a bit wordy, but in general it looks like a good reference (and it’s free), so thank you Mr Singh.

Weekend funny – 21 “Then and Now” Ads That Show The Awkward Evolution Of Our Favorite Tech

Saturday, December 20th, 2014

This just makes me feel old

(found via Neatorama)

2014 End of Year – Top 10 item pedagogical innovations

Friday, December 19th, 2014

Britain’s Open University has released a report describing 10 innovations that ” are already in currency but have not yet had a profound influence on education”.

It’s an interesting range off stuff, and if you are pondering something new for 2015, or just want to know what the terms mean, Id’ recommend having a read of the report.

  1. Massive open social learning
  2. Learning design informed by analytics
  3. Flipped classroom
  4. Bring your own devices
  5. Learning to learn
  6. Dynamic assessment:
  7. Event-based learning
  8. Learning through storytelling
  9. Threshold concepts
  10. Bricolage

While you’re in the mood, another similar report you could have a look at is the 2014 Horizon Report which “describes emerging technologies likely to have a large impact over the coming five years in education around the globe”.

I will note (as I always do) that “Games and Gamifaction” continue to be stuck in the “Time to Adoption 2-3 years” (guys, maybe it’s time to give it up).

describes emerging technologies
likely to have a large impact over the coming five years
in education around the globe. T

Learning Spaces and learning results

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

I am a fan of flexible teaching spaces that allow for collaboration and active student participation, but this article highlights a common problem in learning and teaching research i.e. the lack of standardized detailed definitions of teaching approaches.

How can we comment on the effectiveness of the room or technology without a commonly understood description of what was being done and to whom.

In this case we are talking about “active learning, multimedia-enabled classrooms and swivel chairs”  !!?!?

To be fair the article does provide more detail particularly around demographics, but it still doesn’t give us enough information to identify if the outcomes are due to the room, or the teaching approach, or the charisma of the teacher (among many other things).

The company responsible for the equipment in the rooms found “a statistically significant correlation between classroom configuration and student engagement” (vendor results should always have a grain of salt added).

Ball State found their students “believed they were more likely to attend class, engage with their classmates and finish with better grades, but their academic results haven’t necessarily matched their enthusiasm.”

If engagement aids retention, then this could be a good outcome regardless of results. Maybe students are getting the same results but understanding more. Maybe they are getting the same results with less effort.   Maybe the assessment does’t focus on the things that an active collaborative environment fosters.

Anyway, the article is worth reading.

End of year list time – Top Google searches

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

Your personal priorities may differ.  I will admit to searching on Conchita Wurst, the bearded transvestite who won Eurovision (because a bearded transvestite won Eurovision!?!) and I only searched on the World Cup after that guy bit the other guy (my game is Australian Rules football, the game the angels play – but only the tough ones).  I never searched for Frozen (pre-teen gender politics isn’t really my area and my sons have unfortunately out grown Disney movies).

As a global snap shot this seems about right.  A mix of important , social and trivial.

Global Trending Searches:

  1. Robin Williams
  2. World Cup
  3. Ebola
  4. Malaysia Airlines
  5. ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
  6. Flappy Bird
  7. Conchita Wurst
  8. ISIS
  9. Frozen
  10. Sochi Olympics

6 apps that block social media distractions

Monday, December 15th, 2014

Probably not the most timely post given that our exams are over, but maybe it’s something that will improve your holidays.

As mobile initiatives and social media implementation gain steam in college and university courses, the biggest complaint among educators is lack of student concentration—and students agree.

Industry has taken note with the creation of apps that block students from certain sites deemed unnecessarily distracting.

See the descriptions here

Here’s the list

Self Control

This what you missed on YouTube in 2014

Saturday, December 13th, 2014

YouTube Rewind 2014

Weekend funny – Famous First Lines Re-Written For The 21st Century

Saturday, December 13th, 2014

Famous First Lines Re-Written For The 21st Century


Free K-12 Educational simulations

Friday, December 12th, 2014

I recently became aware of a free resource site called PhET. It picked up an award in the awkwardly named competition  Wharton-QS Stars Awards 2014: Reimagine Education.


PhET provides fun, free, interactive, research-based science and mathematics simulations. We extensively test and evaluate each simulation to ensure educational effectiveness. These tests include student interviews and observation of simulation use in classrooms.

This is a bit like the Australian Government site, Scootle, which was originally called the Learning Federation back in the 90’s.  There are a number of free resources on the Scootle site, unfortunately you need to be at an Australian school to register.

Luckily there are nearly 1,600 publically available creative commons resources.


There was another winner, PaGamo, but it is in Chinese and only accessible to students and teachers in Taiwan.