Playing with CoolText

3 01 2012

Playing with CoolText

I know that this is quite an old site but CoolText has become quite a valuable web 2.0 tool for me lately. During the holidays (while spending time with the family, playing boardgames and finding interesting projects to do) I have been working on creating an eResource Centre on Education Queensland’s Learning Place (sorry only teachers and students in QLD, Australia can view) using a tool called EdStudio. A neat tool that works in a similar fashion to Glogster and creates pages for teachers and students to access resources, tools, activities, etc. Anyway, one of the limitations I have found is the lack of creative heading for the pages. That’s where CoolText fits into all of this.

CoolText allows you to create logos and buttons to use on your own site without any cost or limitations as to where you use the picture files it creates. Apart from the ads (which are often a necessary evil) this site is perfect for creating great looking headings. You can customise headings or buttons in a variety of ways and then download or embed the picture into a blog, website or for QLD teachers into an EdStudio.

To sweeten the deal you can also download some pretty cool fonts from the site as well.

Definitely a good tool to have under your belt.

Great Book: Pencil Me In

4 12 2011
“So I’m left with this gray middle zone, confused by the reality that pencils can be really powerful both for progress and regress”

I have been interested in EdTech for a number of years now and have tried integrating it into my classes with varying success. I love to explore people’s thoughts about the new age of digital technology and how it is changing and will change educational practices. Of course this is becoming clearer and clearer with the continuing expansion of OneSchool and the Australian Curriculum.

However, as we take this journey towards integrating technology in the classroom (could one day digital technology become as normal as pencils?) it is useful to consider how technology is integrated and the issues and possible dangers that this could also bring. This is probably why I love the above quote from the book Pencil Me In by John T. Spencer. This book is an allegory and exploration into digital technology integration focusing on the experiences of one teacher in the 19th or early 20th century who is struggling with integrating pencils into the classroom. This story brings to light some of the struggles and difficulties of integrating any new technology into education. It is written in a light-hearted though thoughtful way and as the main character struggles with his desire for “all students to have a pencil” and what that means pedagogically.

A well thought out book that will entertain and possibly inspire.

Keeping Myself Organised with Web 2.0 Tools

14 11 2011


Above is a mind map that shows the web 2.0 tools that I use to keep myself organised, and sometimes it actually works. One of my main aims with Web 2.0 tools is to make sure that each has a specific purpose. There are too many Web 2.0 tools lurking on the web to try and use them all. These few above though allow me to collect, process and store quite a few different resources including webpages, photos, correspondence, chats, documents, web tools, etc.

These tools also allow me to connect with a variety of people in different ways. I am a fan of Google Hangouts for the personal qualities. However, I also like Skype as an alternative to the home phone with a few extra features. I still use both Twitter and Facebook. Twitter is good for collecting and sharing links with a wide audience as tweets are usually publicly available. Facebook is more for me as a way to connect with family, friends and groups.

There are many ways to use Web 2.0 tools as many of them are quite flexible to suit your need. The trick is to find the right ones for the purpose that you need them for.

Are there any Web 2.0 tools that I haven’t included that you just couldn’t live without?

World of Warcraft free up to level 20!

29 06 2011


Flying in World of Warcraft

Photo by blossomsK –

Found on MTV Multiplayer website, World of Warcraft is now free-to-play up to level 20. This is great news for any schools that are thinking of using WoW in the classroom as previously there was only a 10-14 day trials. This change is also good for teachers who have been curious about what the fuss has been about this game. Called the Starter Edition, you can download it from the Blizzard site.

Not sure how WoW is being used in the classroom or looking for ideas of how it could be used. Below are a small selection of ideas and thoughts on using WoW in the classroom.

World of Warcraft Raids the Classroom
Hey Jude blogpost
World of Warcraft in School wiki
WoW in the English class

Pinning Your Tabs – Google Chrome Feature

28 06 2011

Since it is holidays in Queensland (AUS) I have decided to spend some time catching up on some podcasts, especially my favourite, The EdTech Crew. If you haven’t tapped into this great resource, it is definitely one of the best podcasts in the area of edtech out there, and Australian as well. Anyway, while listening to the interview with Tom Barrett I heard mention that you could “pin” tabs in Google Chrome to look at later. Now I am not sure about you but when I listen to a podcast or attend a webinar I often end up with so a massive list of links , some that I want to quickly check and others that I want time to check at the end of the session. The thing I like about pinning is that I can quickly pin resources to the side that look interesting and need more time to look at at a later time.

To pin a tab in Google, it’s as simple as right clicking on the tab that you want to pin and select Pin Tab. The tab will then become a small tab (only the picture showing) on the left hand side of the currently open tabs.

Definitely a useful feature that I will be using more and more.

“Seen enough for the last time…” or Lost in Translation

20 06 2010

Earlier today I was having a nap since I have been battling with a cold/flu for the last few days. While I was lying in bed I decided to make a voice recording using QuickVoice on my iPhone about an idea of what to include in a wedding photography form. After recording a couple of recordings I thought I would send one (unfortunately 30 seconds is the limit) and get the app to convert my recording into an email. Previously I have found this quite successful, however because of being sick and tired the recording is a little more humorous then I was going for. After reading this my mind went straight to the infamous meme “All your base are belong to us…“. I am still trying to work out who Stacey and Caroline are!

Seen enough for the last time…”

“Seen enough for the last time was that I should actually find out who the ___ ring bearer is. What is the general the graduation(?) of the actual ceremony itself so many years and I love you all. What happens during the day. So what time I am start getting dressed Stacy(?), Caroline(?) there. They wanna ___ the place of the ceremony and then Stacy(?) can you ________ turn up to the reception”

The post was suppose to remind me to find out who the ring-bearer is on the day (had a surprise when the page boy walked down the aisle with someone dressed in medieval clothing to give the ring to the bride and groom), to make sure that I have an basic itinerary of the day with where and when the different parts of the day were happening. Instead I received a mildly suggestive but humorous reply.

Lucky I didn’t send this to anybody else but myself.

Blogs and Wikis in the Classroom

9 06 2010

Today I presented my first lesson using blogs and wikis to a year 9 SOSE class. The students have been learning about renewable energy sources and so for the last few weeks of term I would get students to use the power of blogs (personal reflection) and wikis (collaboration) to come up with a viable renewable energy source and design a poster to help promote it. Unfortunately this task is not as authentic as I like to do but it does allow me to experiment with using blogs and wikis in the classroom.

I decided that the best platform at the moment to deliver this unit is through Education Queensland’s Learning Place as a secure and safe place for students to post their ideas. Hopefully one day I will use a more transparent hosting site to allow at least comments from parents or other classes in Australia or around the world.

The first lesson went well however. The students are happy to be using the tools to reflect and communicate. A quick question revealed that almost all of the students have a Facebook account and use it regularly.

The one surprise was how the students wanted to not only write in their blog but to add colour, emoti-cons and pictures to their writing to give it a more personal flair, which got me thinking about using Gloster at some stage.

All in all it was an ejoyable though tiring lesson. It has kind of reignited my desire to help schools to incorporate ICTs into the classroom more by example and support.