Wednesday 18 February 2015

Can you Diig it?

Not sure what has happened to me, this is the second blog post in a very short space of time, it must be the excitement I am feeling this year!

OK, back to the musically titled blog posts (with apologies to the Mock Turtles...)

Some of this excitement has come from finally taking the advice of +Fiona Grant and using Diigo more. I can hear people out there saying "I've been using that for ages, why the excitement? Silly man..." and yes, I might be late to the party, but I have taken the time to sit down and use this a bit.

An issue I have had for a while has been Google's bookmark system and synchronisation. In a word, painful. How many times did I sync bookmarks only to find all of my bookmarks (about 2000+!) duplicated, sometimes several times over. Sorting this mess out was time-consuming and more than a little exasperating (it happened quite a few times too). The problem occurred from creating folders for the bookmarks. The solution I found was to only create bookmarks and folders in the bookmarks bar directly. However, how to sync between home and work accounts?

I started by using Xmarks, which is great, but takes some time to synch and occasionally hiccups and restores a version of the bookmarks that had already been changed (probably more operator error than anything else!)
Then I found Diigo. I can store all of my bookmarked sites in my library, which is tagged and fully searchable, accessible on all devices and the service I have chosen (at the moment) is free. I say at the moment as I can see the benefit of paying for additional services.

My only problem now though, over 2500 sites already bookmarked via Xmarks and Google, which means I have to open them all and put them into Diigo... 

Tuesday 10 February 2015

Google Classroom = Awesome!

First post of the new year, and my new role as R & D bod, looking into cool digital solutions for the school. We have started the year with a massive push on Google Classroom, encouraging all Junior school teachers to get the students to log into their class, even if that is as far as they take things. And just to add icing to the cake, the mobile apps have been released and are brilliant too. Happy days.My own thoughts are that my website is starting to look like it could be obsolete if this carries on - there is no stopping Classroom, it is taking over the educational world one classroom at a time. My tutor class Facebook page has had its' death knell sounded already, and we have not even got through week 3 yet. I am also playing with Remind (formerly Remind 101), more of this in another post (two in a week, is this even possible??)
What has really also blown me away, I set homework as an assignment, giving the students a week to complete the task. I have received 4 pieces of work, marked and returned them already on the same day. I chose to use the grade of 1 on the posts which purely allows me to monitor which students have completed their work, and who might need chasing, but the overall interaction with students is great.
It appears that there is a lot of interest in Classroom in the school ( as well as globally ), and for the best hints and tips, as well as a cool infographic, you should check out Alice Keeler's site and blog, she really knows her stuff. There are at least 45 tips for using Google Classroom! (I must give a public big thanks to +Alice Keeler for her part in helping me get my head around some data analysis stuff too!)
So, this will be a continuing topic as I play with Classroom more and more. I'd tinkered a bit before, but boy am I having fun with it now!