My Top 10 Book Recommendations Sep 2017

Below is a list of books I’ve read & highly recommend. If you choose to read any of them, please make use of the links provided, as Amazon then makes a contribution to the up keep of the site.

Thanks

 

 

 

1.  The 20 Time Project:

How educators and parents can launch Google’s formula for future-ready innovation

 

 

2. The Second Machine Age:

Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies

 

 

3. The One World Schoolhouse:

Education Reimagined

 

 

4. Sully:

My Search for What Really Matters

 

 

5. Long Walk to Freedom: 

The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela

 

 

6. Daring Greatly:

How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

 

 

7. Unschooling Rules:

55 Ways to Unlearn What We Know About Schools and Rediscover Education

 

 

8. The Alchemist

 

 

9. Collapse:

How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed: Revised Edition

 

 

10. How the Scots Invented the Modern World:

The True Story of How Western Europe’s Poorest Nation Created Our World & Everything in It

 

 

11. Books I want to Read in the next Year

 

Google Draw – Creating Cartoonified Drawings

Introduction

Want to know how to Create awesome Cartoonified Drawings, even if you can’t draw? Then Google Draw is the tool for you. By working through this simple tutorial you will be able to go from the picture on top to the drawing below in under 2 hours.

 

 

 

Step 1 :  Sign into the Chrome Browser, your name  appears in the top right hand corner.
Step 2 :  Locate Drawings inside of Google Drive and open a new blank document.
Step 3 :  Install this chrome extension called Color Picker.
Step 4 :  Locate a picture you want to Cartoonify.
Step 5 :  Open the video below and follow the instructions.

 

Bonus Tips to make everything easier:

  • To Zoom without distorting, use Ctrl Alt + (zoom in) & Ctrl Alt – (zoom out) , to trace more accurately.
  • Always close your shapes , don’t draw unbounded regions.

Sharing your drawings, so everyone can see them

Once you have started your drawings, share them for everyone to see by taking the link to your drawing and posting it in the comments below. Remember to change your sharing settings so that “Anyone with the link can view”.

Examples from my class

 

 

Teaching a Computer to “See Things” by Doodling

 

Introduction

Recently I came across an awesome tool that google released to assist in creating the world’s largest doodling data set of common objects. I used it in my weekly ICT lesson with Grade 8’s & 9’s and was surprised by how much they enjoyed it. We also managed to have a brief discussion of what a neural network is and how researchers  are trying to use them to teach computers to recognise common objects.

Neural Network – “A computer system modelled on the human brain and nervous system.”

Outline of Lesson

  • Begin the lesson by asking the class if they know what a neural network is?
  • They probably wont, then ask if they have ever heard of AI?
  • Most will have, and some will even want to tell an interesting story about what they’ve heard.
  • Explain how one of the challenges for AI is getting computers to recognise common objects.
  • One type of solution is to have a massive human generated Database to compare things to.
  • And today we are going to make our contribution to that Database.
  • Begin use of Google’s Doodling Tool
  • The learners normally enjoy using the Tool for at least 30 min.

If you feel like you could offer any suggestions for improving this lesson , please leave a comment.

 

GeoGuesser – What an awesome way to learn about the Geography of the World

Introduction:

Recently I came across an awesome game called  Geoguessr for helping students learn about the Geography of the world. The basic structure of the game is as follows. An image of a place in the world appears on the screen and you then have to drop a pin on a map to guess where you think the location is. As you progress in the game, you start to get better at interpreting clues hidden in the pictures. I can’t think of a more exciting way to learn about the cities of the world and be exposed to the variety of settings the world has to offer.

Geoguessr

 


Fynbos – turns out it’s quite interesting!

 

Introduction 

Towards the end of 2016 I attended the Mountain Club of Cape Town’s Leaders training weekend at Du Toitskloof Hut for their Outreach Program. The weekend was a lot of fun and I learnt a great deal. But one session in particular stood out for me – the one on Fynbos with Wendy Hitchcock . I decided to record what stood out for me in the  session in the hopes that I could  reuse some of the techniques myself in future. Below is a description of the session as best I could remember it.

 

 

Session with Wendy Hitchcock on Fynbos

When we arrived for the session Wendy started by introducing herself and then asking us to sit quietly for a few moments and take note of the sounds and smells around us in Nature. She also had a collection of plants she had picked from the nearby bushes,  together with large sheets of paper with labels like Big Leaves , Small Leaves , Waxy Leaves etc.

Our first task as a group was to sort through the collection of plants and put them onto the piece of paper that corresponded to their main characteristic. Wendy suggested techniques to determine these characteristics like blindfolding a group member while asking them to touch and describe a plant or smelling a plant and describe its smell and so on … It was a really sensory experience and I cant remember being quite as observant about plants before. We continued on like this for a while sorting the various plants into categories.

 

 

Some of the plants wouldn’t fit neatly into any particular category and so were placed into an unsure category. After the initial sorting was done, Wendy initiated a conversation about the sorting and then continued on to the topic of how to classify things. Names such as Restios, Geophytes , Proteas , Ericas and lots of terms I was only vaguely familiar with were introduced. For someone who hikes a lot,  I have been pretty uninterested in plants and this informative session really changed my basic outlook. I really got a sense of the adaption of plants to their environments and how interesting they are. Wendy then allowed us to write up any questions we had about plants onto sheets of paper and addressed them in conversation with the group.

Our last activity was to go on a walk and observe the different plants we had discussed. Wendy had brought along field lenses that allowed us to look at plants on a much smaller scale. Most of them were just inexpensive jewelry lenses but showed remarkable detail once you help them up close to a plant. I liked them so much I bought one on the spot from her.

 

Summing Up

I really wasn’t expecting to enjoy the session as much as I did and it really highlighted the effect that an Educator can have on a group when they are extremely knowledgeable and passionate about their subject matter. I really liked how the whole session was done outside under the trees and how natural learning in that environment felt. I feel challenge to get my classes outside more to create some similar experiences.

 

How to create a Personalised Learning Portfolio

 Goal

Create your own digital learning portfolio showing evidence of your individual learning path.

Definition

A Personal Learning Portfolio is a virtual, personal space that serves as a dynamic planning tool, archive, profile, and showcase of an individual’s lifelong learning experiences, goals and achievements. It is created by the learner, controlled by the learner, and is on a platform of his or her choice. Though the tool is geared to be an open tool that records the digital footprint of the individual, the learner controls who has access to any section of the portfolio at any given time.

Definition Credit

Explanation Video

Possible Content:

ArtsWorks , Writing Pieces , Video Clips , Audio Recordings, Projects, Books read and reviews of them, Online Courses or Programs , Blog component, Social Campaigns, Growth Filled Experiences, Leadership Roles, Projects Initiated , Volunteer Work , Places you’ve travelled or want to travel , Interviews with Interesting People , Vlogs ….


Examples

Tools you could use:

 

When signing up to create an account with one of these tools, rather select the option to “Sign up with Google” than creating an account from scratch. This means you don’t have to remember different passwords.