|Today I have been working on Activities and Puzzles to Improve Thinking Skills, which is the free mini-pack for June. It’s a long time since I last worked on this pack, and I had quite forgotten how good it was.
It’s tempting to think that a freebie will have been produced on the cheap, but actually the team lavished love on this particular project. The ideas in it are fantastic, but what really stood out when I revisited it was the quality of the artwork. I’m not in the habit of writing knocking copy, but today I shall break my own rule. Take a look at these two illustrations, and compare them with what you find in photocopy masters from any other company. They’re just gorgeous. Click on either illustration to see a larger version.
This particular pack was illustrated by Liam Powell, and I am delighted to see that he still has several Chalkface examples featured on his website. If you have an educational project that needs real quality illustration, I just can’t recommend Liam highly enough.
When Galileo challenged religious orthodoxy with science, he was shown the rack. When Prof. David Nutt did it, he was merely shown the door. So that’s progress then.
I don’t normally use this blog to promote Chalkface products, but I think I might be permitted a small boast on this occasion. We have by policy always produced drug-education materials that educate in a balanced way that respects your students’ intelligence and does not fall for the government’s Daily Mail-inspired hysteria. See for yourself.
You probably already know that Phorm is a nasty, sneaky way for ISPs (including mine, Virgin) to voyeuristically peek into everything you do online. A while ago I (and 21,402 others) signed a petition to the Prime Minister asking him to prevent this gross invasion of privacy. Here is his full reply, but to save you reading it, here’s a precis: “Go stuff yourselves. Signed, Gordon.”
Congratulations to Katharine Wright of Colonel Frank Seely School in Nottinghamshire on winning our Textbook Mode Authoring Competition with Au Café. Katharine, your bright red iPod is already on its way to you.
This is the introduction to the task: for best effect snap it to full-screen and play it on your whiteboard before setting the task itself.
I ranked the Au café task as number one because it provides student so many different ways to learn and have fun: respond to a video, create a menu, create a logo, write a dialogue or comic strip, research jobs, and create a collage. Gale Sperry
The use of challenge questions to stretch those who are keen or who are more able is good to see because this is something it is easy to forget when using ICT. Hannah Mohon
Good use of a variety of media but this example, in my opinion, is best because it uses the additonal features to support the construction of interesting, relevant and student-centred tasks. For example watching the Animoto montage and then noting down all the examples in French – this is a realistic and useful task, leading onto further learning. An excellent illustration of how to combine rich-media with useful assessment tasks. Andrew Field
The judges were
- Gale Sperry, Englewood High School, Colorado. Prolific Yacapaca author (e.g. American Literature).
- Aidan McCanny, Assistant Advisory Officer for eLearning and ICT, Southern Education and Library Board (SELB).
- Ralph Holmes, Langley School, Norfolk. Winner: Author of the Year 2008.
- Hannah Mohon, Huntcliff School, Saltburn-by-Sea. Runner up: Author of the Year 2008.
- Andrew Field, Neale-Wade Community College, Cambridgeshire and EffectiveICT.co.uk.
- Krystie Alleaume, Ultranet coach at the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, Victoria, Australia.
My thanks to the hard-working judges, and to everyone who entered. I was really inspired by all the different techniques I saw tried around the basic theme of Textbook Mode. For me, it really validated the hard work the team (most particularly Sasha Kostin) put in to make this feature a success.
I am really pretty chuffed with new capabilities of Yacapaca free-text tasks, and I think you will be too. You really can create sophisticated interactive resources in minutes, with no training.
To stimulate your creative juices, I’m offering a prize of an iPod shuffle for the best resource produced by the end of Feb. OK, so it’s only Shuffle, but that’s not the point. This one’s a Yacapaca shuffle and it comes with a great story about how you won it.
Here is what to do to win the iPod:
- Watch the screencast to learn how to use Textbook Mode.
- Review the sample from the video: Maths G&T Extensions. By the way, I really did create that from scratch in 5 minutes; the video is completely uncut.
- Review my other demo, Geological features in the landscape.
- Create your resource. Incorporate images, embed videos or slideshows… let your imagination be your guide.
- Tell me about it, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org before March 1st. Remember to tell me what colour iPod you want!
The judging panel will be made up of experienced Yacapaca authors. Their criteria for selecting the winner will be that it best combines fun and teachability.
I am only expecting a few entries for this competition, so you have an excellent chance of winning. I’m already looking forward to seeing your entry!