Thursday, 31 May 2007

The story behind the TaLe

As many of you know, I have been fortunate in recent years to 'network' very widely in Geography education circles. This has brought me in contact with some leading practitioners of ICT in Geography but also in a wide range of other subjects. All manner of electronic resources, recommendations and advice are passed on through this network. I use many of them but lose many more as it's difficult to devise an efficient system for storage and retrieval.

Hence this blog which I hope can serve a dual purpose. It will provide me with a way of cataloguing electronic resources related to teaching and learning but also allow me to pass on ideas as I receive them.

For the time being, I have set it up so that it is available on the Internet through its url but not publicly accessible. It is, therefore, entirely 'in-house', and does not purport to represent the school in any way. Ideally, it should evolve into a collaborative exercise with more registered 'authors'. Perhaps a teaching and learning wiki would offer more scope? These are certainly areas we could explore if enough people are interested.

Anyway, here are my first offerings...... (click images to link)
Sounds 'sad' and unpromising but there is some good video material beginning to accumulate on a vast array of subjects and topics.

Here, for example is one which appeared today. It is 7 minutes long and 'Offers two views of life in America in the 20's. The first half looks at the Boom with the second half contrasting this with racism and lynchings. Music in the background is from the Jazz Singer (first half) followed by Strange Fruit.

And here you can learn from another Teacher Tube video how to use Excel to make large posters for the classroom.

The next application is a bit of freeware called Formulator Tarsia, from the Hermitech Laboratory . Originally designed to create maths problems, it has a number of cross-curricular applications. Once downloaded and installed, it is relatively simple to use. You can choose from three types of puzzle - jigsaw, dominoes and card. I managed to produce quite a complicated parquet jigsaw in about 15 minutes.

If you like mind mapping/brainstorming, then you might like (click image to link)
It produces printable mind maps in seconds.

Finally, some time ago I saw a piece of software called Comic Life which really impressed me. It allows you to produce comic-style pages using a combination of text and images. Until recently, it was only available for Macs. Now, however, you can download a beta version of Comic Life for Windows . Starting with a blank page, you then drag in a template with frames which can be moved. To this you add some images as the background, speech bubbles, shapes and some groovy text shapes which can be changed and customised from a wide range of options.

Used judiciously, I think it would produce some interesting worksheets.