Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Doodle4Google - are your learners drawing doodles? Closing date 22 October

Have you entered the Doodle4Google South Africa competition with its great prizes on offer? The closing date is October 22nd. Drawing these doodles could be a great end-of-term activity for your class. Read the following letter from Google South Africa 

"Dear Teacher

Would you like your student’s artwork to be viewed by millions of South Africans on the homepage of www.google.co.zaWould you like your school to benefit from a R100 000 technology grant?

Then we would like to invite your school to take part in the Doodle 4 Google ‘South Africa of My Dreams’ competition, which offers school children across South Africa the chance to design a Doodle to appear on Google.

At Google we use the homepage logo designs, Google Doodles, to celebrate different people, events or special dates. These Google Doodles are usually created by our web designers and represent important cultural occasions. However, this year we would like to open this special space up to the designs of South African school children between the ages of 6 - 17 years.

As we celebrate 20 Years of Freedom in South Africa this year, we are asking learners to create a Doodle around the theme ‘South Africa of My Dreams’. We have a host of local celebrity judges lined up to shortlist their favourite Doodles, followed by the South African public casting their vote for the final winner. This Doodle will then be shown on the 2  December 2014 on the homepage of Google.co.za for all South Africans to see!

To take part, visit the Doodle 4 Google website, download the competition entry form and get your learners Doodling. Learners can take part in the competition by Doodling as a homework assignment or you could have a Doodle day , as a classroom activity.

Submit the entry forms online or post them to us no later than 22 October 2014For more information visit our website at ww.google.co.za/doodle4google,where you’ll find all details of the competition and inspiring lesson plans that will make it easy to integrate the initiative into your daily teaching. 

We look forward to seeing your Doodles portraying our beautiful country.

Good luck!
The Doodle 4 Google team"

Friday, 26 September 2014

Nokia’s Mobile Maths platform can be accessed from your Smartphone

The great thing about Nokia mobile maths is that this platform, which is for Grades 10 – 12 Maths students  in South Africa, is available on any Internet-connected mobile phone, tablet or PC, and is “zero rated” for use on the MTN and Cell C networks. the sole aim is to help South African high school pupils to better master the subject of mathematics.


Access to the Nokia Mobile Mathematics (MoMaths) portal has been “zero rated” on MTN and Cell C, which means that learners don’t pay for the data they use while accessing the service.
Now that the end of the year exams are on the horizon, the 10 000+ CAPS-related exercises of varying difficulty can be used for revision. Learners can also collaborate with others, compare achievements and get guidance on how to progress.

Photo taken from the MTN blog

The new service is fully browser-based and works on any phone, tablet or PC without needing to download an app. After a quick sign-up process, students can practise problems in a number of categories like finance, trigonometry, calculus and statistics.
While working on questions, learners can read background theory, see examples of solved problems and engage with others. Points are awarded for successfully completed exercises and, if a learner chooses to, they can share their points and compete with other students. Research suggests the MoMaths programme can improved the maths score average by 14 percentage points.

photo taken from The Guardian
This service was piloted in 2009 with various groups but now it is free to the public. This is an offer that every Maths learner should take advantage of. This is free Maths practice at your fingertips. Not only is this a great service but the good news is that learners will be able to access this service for as long as they want without incurring any cost.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Tips on how to create great videos using the online video-creation tool, WeVideo

Submitted by Fiona Beal
Digital Storytelling is all the rage currently. One of the online tools that one can use to create a story is WeVideo.  WeVideo has several pricing plans one of which is a free plan.


I am particularly interested in this application as it is one of the Apps that integrates with Google Drive.  Richard Byrne has written about this feature in a post called ‘Create Videos Online with WeVideo in Google Drive’.


What is WeVideo
In a post on WeVideo Richard Byrne from Free Technology for Teachers says ‘We Video is a collaborative online video creation tool. In the video editor you can upload your own media clips or use stock media clips to produce your video. The video editor provides tools for trimming the length of display and or sound of each element you add to your video project. What makes WeVideo collaborative is that you can invite other people to create and edit with you. WeVideo offers four different user plans. The free plan allows you to upload your videos to YouTube and Vimeo but does not allow local downloads.’

I have been getting the WeVideo tips for getting started sent to my email box and here are some of these ‘Getting Started’ tips.

#1: What is a digital story
This initial video shows you five tips to create a digital story:
1- Start with an idea
2- Write your story
3- Create a storyboard
4- Research and gather elements
5- Build your story


#2 Storyboard editing.
WeVideo has 3 editing modes and this video shows you how to edit in storyboard mode.


#3: Editing using the timeline mode
This is the second WeVideo editing mode.This video shows you how to edit in advanced timeline mode.


#4 WeVideo- Hub (media & project management)
This video explains the project managing hub. This is the place to manage projects, manage media, publish videos, settings and more.

For anyone wanting to get started and explore WeVideo their blog has three posts that look very exciting: Personal Narrative & Digital Storytelling with WeVideo [Part 1] [Part 2] [Part 3]
This definitely seems to be an application to try out with classes at a school.

More information about WeVideo
WeVideo Academy: http://goo.gl/C0JYRg
WeVideo blog: http://blog.wevideo.com/
WeVideo Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/wevideo
WeVideo YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/wevideo

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Create a Google site from scratch…in minutes!

Submitted by Fiona Beal
Recently I saw a Google+ post from Google for Education that said ‘Make a Google site in minutes’. This immediately caught my attention as I imagined it would take a mush longer time than that.  The post in question said that all one needs to do is follow the six steps listed below. I tried it and, quite honestly, it IS as simple as that!

What is a Google site?
A Google site can be seen as an interactive website that is quick and easy to create without any knowledge of HTML. It is a quick way   to make information accessible to others.  A group can work together on a Site to add file attachments, information from other Google applications (like Google Docs, Google Calendar, YouTube and Picasa), and new free-form content.

Why use a Google site?
Sites are great for class websites, student eportfolios, private discussion boards with parents, group projects, research projects and more. 

Video tutorial on creating a Google site
At our first Google Summit in South Africa we were privileged to have Chris Betcher from Australia presenting. He is well-versed on creating Google sites and here is his video tutorial ‘├Źntroduction to Google sites’.


Text-based tutorials on creating a Google site
The following two really superb tutorials can be found on Chris Betcher’s own Google site called ‘Summit stuff’ http://goo.gl/Y2Nrel.
  • Designing Google Sites: Part 1
  • Designing Google Sites: Part 2
Google Sites Examples
Click on the following image to be taken to a page of Google Sites examples to copy


Monday, 22 September 2014

Getting started with Office 365 #6: Technical stuff – software required by Office 365

This is the sixth post in a short series of Office 365 posts which have been written by Microsoft South Africa, taking you through getting acquainted with Office 365. They are available in the Microsoft Provisioning Guide. See http://bit.ly/1yllgDU

Office 365 requires the following software:
- The current or immediately prior version of Internet Explorer, or the latest release of Chrome, Firefox or Safari.
- Any version of Microsoft Office in mainstream support.

Google Chrome
Latest version can perform all browser-related tasks

Latest version can perform almost all browser-related tasks

Latest version can perform almost all browser-related tasks

Mobile Devices
Not included

Internet Explorer 10
Dependent on Operating System - must have Windows 7 or 8
Windows server 2012, 2008 and Windows 7
32-bit version can be used for all Office 365 tasks
64-bit version can be used for almost all Office 365 tasks

Internet Explorer 9
32-bit version can be used for almost all Office 365 tasks
64-bit version can be used for most Office 365 tasks

Internet Explorer 9
Windows 7 or Vista SP2

Internet Explorer 8
Windows 7, Vista SP2, XP-SP3 (32 bit), XP-SP2 (64-bit)

Internet Explorer 7
Not supported

Office 2010 Service Pack 1
(Service Pack 2 Recommended)

Windows 7, 8, Vista SP2, XP-SP3 (32-bit), XP-SP2 (64-bit)

Office 2007 with Service Pack 3
Windows 7, 8, Vista SP2, XP-SP3 (32-bit), XP-SP2 (64-bit)

Office for Mac 2011
with Service Pack 3

Mac OS X 10.6 or later

About Firewalls
To download and install some updates, Office 365 desktop setup needs to connect to the Microsoft Update service. However, in some networks, access to sites and services that are outside of your company’s firewall are blocked by the system administrator. If you cannot access the Microsoft Update service, you need to contact your system administrator for assistance.

Getting started with Office 365 #5: Upgrading from your free trial to the full version

This is the fifth post in a short series of Office 365 posts which have been written by Microsoft South Africa, taking you through getting acquainted with Office 365. They are available in the Microsoft Provisioning Guide
  • Once your domain has been verified as a bona fide education establishment you will be able to convert your trial into the full version when your 30 day trial comes to an end.
  • Go to your dashboard.
  • From the left-hand menu, select purchase services.
  • Select the option for Office 365 plans for education.
  • You will be taken to the screen where you will be able to enter the number of licences for each type (faculty and student). You will see that the licences are free. Select the number of licences you think you will need.
  • Add these to your cart and go to the checkout area. You will not be charged for these licences.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Chromebook #4: Apps for the Chromebook

Submitted by Fiona Beal
One of the great things about using Google Drive and in partivular the Google Chrome browser, is that the list of education apps that integrate with Google Drive  is growing daily. These apps are available from the Chrome webstore. They make a Chromebook really come alive in a classroom setting.

Holly Clark writes a lot about the Chromebook so I thought I would make a start by installing the apps she suggests for the Chromebook in her blog post ‘Chrome Apps perfect for the Chromebook Classroom’  These are apps which, she says, can make student thinking visible.  I have just noticed that she has used a Thinglink interactive image to explain the apps and what they can do in a classroom setting. Click on the image below to be taken to Holly’s interactive image.


Thursday, 18 September 2014

Chromebook #3: Create a Pinterest board to store your Chromebook Internet finds

Submitted by Fiona Beal
Now that I have started using a Chromebook I keep seeing great articles about them on the web. One of the best ways to keep a record of those articles is to create a board in Pinterest and store all the wonderful sites you come across. I did just that! Click on the image below to be taken to the Pinterest board entitled ‘├çhromebook posts’.


Chromebook #2: Finding relevant Chromebook tutorials

Submitted by Fiona Beal
I started to look for some tutorials on using Chromebooks and came across this fantastic collection of three tutorials shared via a Thinglink interactive image! (Note to self: must make much greater use of Thinglink). These are tutorials provided by the ICT Co-ordinator at a school known as Saddleback. They are provided in three levels - beginner, intermediate and advanced -  each with its own test and certificate.  Click on the image below to be taken to the actual interactive Thinglink image which will take you in turn to the tutorials.


This is a great way to get to know Chromebooks. Thank you to Andrew Moriates from Saddleback School for sharing so generously.