Am I growing or just surviving? Building reflection through RescueTime.

Am I growing or just surviving? Building reflection through RescueTime.

At the end of a workweek I often find that I’ve spent five days moving from one pressing issue to the next like a pinball. In this post I explain my process for breaking this cycle and regaining control over how I spend my time. RescueTime automatically analyses how you spend your time. It tracks how long you spend on different websites and applications on your computer or phone. This is a good start if you want to get an idea…

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Use a forum for class discussion

Use a forum for class discussion

I used boardest.com to collaborate across schools on a discussion of a taught text. This is a small site with an educational section that makes it more school-friendly than the likes of Reddit and Voat. I gave some simple instructions and let the students take over.    

Your habit app is killing your habits!

Your habit app is killing your habits!

Thank you to Kathy Stawarz and Ian Renfree at UCLIC for carrying out research to inform this post. It’s only January and already you’ve failed your New Year’s resolutions. Perhaps you even took the next step and downloaded a flashy habit tracking app. Chances are, you were hoping for a roadmap for your journey to a better you, but ended up more lost and frustrated than ever. Let’s have a look at a few common features of habit apps and…

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Some thoughts on the art of apps for change

Some thoughts on the art of apps for change

  To begin, I’d like to take up the call from Amid Ayobi‘s paper and expand the path of phenomenological investigation in HCI (Human-Computer Interaction), by examining its foundations. It is the mark of popular art that its artistry remain out of conscious focus, bringing us closer to ‘pure experience’. None of us want to see the stitching on Gandalf’s beard. The problem with aspiring to pure experience of the artwork is that this interaction is necessarily passive and the experience,…

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Whose data is it?

Whose data is it?

These days just about anything – from your toothbrush to your toilet seat – can generate data about you. This new information revolution is already being touted as a force that will transform education. We can turn Data from the troll under the bridge to a magical helper, serving brand new insights about your students. But as with any blog post that begins with “these days”, things might be quite a bit more complicated than they first appear. I completely…

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Teachers, stop rewarding your students!

Teachers, stop rewarding your students!

You’re not going to like this but you need to hear it. The kids you teach don’t benefit from the institutional bribery you are facilitating. The Educational Endowment Foundation (UK’s biggest funder of educational research) released a recent study on motivation across more than sixty UK schools. The Year 11 students were split into two groups and a control group. Group 1 got the offer of £80 but had money deducted from this incentive if they failed to meet targets….

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Some things I learned at the Learning Disability Worldwide conference

Some things I learned at the Learning Disability Worldwide conference

Mind maps are marvelous for all your learners 1. A review of all the good studies on mind maps and comprehension showed that they improve students’ understanding of a text. Get all your students to fill in a mind map once they’ve read something, whether it’s a textbook page as well as a novel. Some teachers also got students to create ever growing mind maps as they went along in their reading. A separate study showed that it works with maths too!…

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Spice up your literacy with Story Wars

Spice up your literacy with Story Wars

        It’s hard to get thirteen-year-old boys excited about alliteration or subordinate clauses. Of course the best way to teach grammar is the best way to teach anything:  you have to get them to follow or break the rules in “real life” and then to reflect on the impact. For us English teachers, real life is sometimes hard to find. Story Wars comes close. I’m excited about Story Wars because It’s social (and competitive) It’s light and flexible It’s set…

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Cut the stress of essay planning with Trello

Cut the stress of essay planning with Trello

      Trello is an app that quickly creates cue cards / index cards on a virtual cork board. We can use Trello to organize any project, including an essay. Of course if you prefer, you can use real index  cards for this instead. Setup Once you’ve set up a Trello account, create a new board and name it with your essay question. Click “Add a list…” and title this column “Quotes”. Now dump every single quote you can…

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