Friday, October 29, 2010

Excellence Gateway

Sometimes we forget the useful things in life, so just a reminder that there is a massive amount of material on the Excellence Gateway website.  Sadly it is not always easy to find it, so here are some of my favourite links.

The Ofsted Good Practice Database provides some of the best resources for improvement.  I particularly like the section on Actions for Qualilty Improvement covering the processes related to the Learner Journey.

The Subject Learning Coach resources are more difficult to find but the materials are still available here.The link will take you to the original "Blue box" content nd for more recent material try clicking on Recent Releases.  Incidentally the website for the SLC programme has moved and is now hosted by the Excellence Gateway.

Talking Teaching, Training and Learning is a useful activity based on 10 pedagogical approaches.  Again, difficult to find, but the trick here is to use the Quickfind service and scroll through the complete list of links.  You will find many other activities and resources that are useful for your CPD sessions.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Augmented Reality

I've been doing some work over the summer on the use of Augmented Reality in teaching and learning.  Part of that has been looking at the possibilities associated with the growing number of social networking sites devoted to location tagging using smart phones.  Here are some examples of what I mean.

Layar  lets me choose layers created by sponsors to find information related to my geographic location.  Like most of the tagging applications the results are overlaid on to a camera image and as I move the camera so the results change to reflect my new position.  This is good, but the exciting part for me is being able to create my own layar and share my own tagged locations with others.  Using Layar's Message Central I can select a 3D object, attach it to a location and include a message.  When another user is within range they will be able to see my messages.  Something for organisations to think about - perhaps a simple way of publicising an event at their campus, or giving short information to visitors.

Another application, Junaio,  does something very similar.  But this time I can attach a photograph, weblink and message to the selected object and location.  This makes the message more useful in making links to appropriate websites,  Junaio say that the application now works on Nokia Symbian devices, Android devices and iPhones.

But the application that is really exciting for me is Toozla. Rather than attach a written message to an object, this application lets me record a short audio message and tag it directly to my current location.  Now I can reflect on what I see around me.  Geographers, historians and enviromental studies people take note.  This is really cool!  Toozla is available for an even larger range of smart phones than Junaio - see the full supported list here.