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Thanks for reading:)

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Word Clouds

A word cloud is an image made up of words with prominence assigned to words that are used more regularly. For example an essay about Seamus Heaney which is pasted into a word cloud tool (like tagxedo or wordle) might give preference to the words Seamus and Heaney as they are likely to be most commonly used in the essay. Below are two examples of word clouds.

Word clouds are a great visual for the classroom. They can be used for any topic being taught and students can really get involved with making them. The can be printed out and put onto the classroom walls.

tagxedo – http://www.tagxedo.com/app.html

wordle.net – http://www.wordle.net/

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Mind Mapping!

A mind map is a diagram used to visually outline information. A mind map is often created around a single word placed in the centre, around which associated ideas, words and concepts are added. They are used for brainstorming and are similar to spider-diagrams. Back in the day they used to be drawn into copies or on the black/white board.

So, not content with an auld shhhtick a chalk, they’ve (the ICT gods) come up with lots of mind mapping tools for us to use on our PC’s, laptops, tablets and smartphones! Here are the details of some, there are loads!!

  1. bubbl.us –  https://bubbl.us/
  2. mind mup – http://www.mindmup.com/#m:new
  3. popplet – http://popplet.com/
  4. coggle – https://coggle.it/
  5. wisemapping – http://www.wisemapping.com/

A lot of these mind mapping tools are very similar. You set up a mind map on the screen which can then be saved as an image/jpeg.

The following link is to another blog which has numerous detailed examples of how these tools work and what they look like when completed: http://5j2014msodwyer.wordpress.com/tag/mind-map/



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The ICT Classroom

When using ICT in the classroom it is vital that the teacher can easily view exactly what their students are working on. It only takes a few short seconds for students to click into inappropriate material. With software like AB Tutor the teacher can see everything their students are doing on their own computer screen. The teacher can also set up an alert system for particular websites so if any students go onto these site the teacher will be alerted to this and can then block the student from accessing it.

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Google Apps…..appy days!

Everyone should know about this little gem! This is an amazing tool for any teacher or student.

Google Apps is a service from Google providing independently customisable versions of several Google products. It is a form of web-based file storage and is also known as ‘software as a service’. It features several Web applications including Gmail, Google Groups, Google Calendar, Talk, Drive, Play, Docs, News, Wallet and Sites.

Google Apps is available in three ways:

  • personal (includes advertisements)
  • business (pay annual fee)
  • education (free with no advertisements)

Google Apps for Education is free and offers the same amount of storage as Google Apps for Business accounts.

Why is Google Apps so innovative for education:

  1. Communication – it allows for simple communication between users in many different ways (gmail, google talk, video chat, google forms).
  2. Productivity – it has tools for producing written work in many different ways (google docs, spreadsheets, presentations).
  3. ICT skills – google apps allows users to create and develop web pages using google sites.
  4. Collaboration – one of my personal favourites with Google Apps is that it allows users to work together on an assignment. Others can contribute or view your work depending on the access you grant them.
  5. Storage – all your google apps files are stored centrally. Not only is the finished document saved but it also saves a record of different versions of the document! Yes, you read correctly!! You will never loose another piece of work ever again!! This also means, no more excuses about memory sticks breaking or laptops dying mid (unsaved)essay.

Sharing Options

Owner – has full control over the document.

Collaborator – can edit the document and can also remove or add more people to the sharing of the document.

Viewer – cannot edit or add and remove people, they can only view the document.

Visibility Options

Private – only people granted permission can access the document. Sign-in is also required.

Domain level – everyone with a variation of one domain and a password can access. For example mary@dcu.ie and joe@dcu.ie can access with a password.

Link – anyone with the link/url to the document can access it without a password.

Public – this is available for public viewing on the web, domain, link or password required.

The potential this has for students inside and outside of school is immense.


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Make the most of your 140 characters!

With only 140 characters to tweet, and with some url’s being very long, you’d be forgiven for thinking this is a big problem.

However some clever clogs has come up with a very clever way to shorten these url’s to make tweeting easier.

Bitly is awesome! Click here to have a go of shortening your own url’s! Simply copy and paste the url into the box at the top of the page and press the shorten button and hey presto…………….. http://bit.ly/1d6JCAr this is the shortened link to my blog!

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The dreaded Tweet Machine!!

Having been introduced to blogging for both personal and educational use we were now moving onto the Big Boy in the world of Web 2.0! TWITTER, tweet tweet! We had been told that this was coming and if i’m honest, I was dreading it. I had managed to keep my social networking to a minimum on the book of faces to date and I was happy with my miniscule digital footprint. Twitter was a giant footstep into the land of giant footprints that I was very dubious about to say the least. I felt like this guy……………..

Before your time?? GOOOOOOOOOOGLEIT!!!

Anywho, I decided, against my better judgement that I would believe my Web 2.0 master when he said that twitter was the most revolutionary web 2.0 technology and that it was going to change my life. BRING IT ON!

So what is twitter? Twitter is like a blog but less detailed. The technical name given to this I believe is micro-blogging. This consists of quick updates usually containing a very limited number of characters.  In essence, micro-blogging is for people who want a blog but don’t want to blog. So you would think that twitter would suit me then;)

Although Twitter may have started as a micro-blogging service, it is grown into much more than that. With the ability to follow people and have followers, and the ability to tweet from your mobile phone, Twitter has become the perfect social messaging tool.  Twitter is a great tool for quickly communicating a message to a group of people.

Twitter is a technical auld thing when you look at the nitty gritty details of it. Here’s a list of a few techy things to know about twitter:

  • A Tweet: a message that is 140 characters long. It can include links to images, blogs, videos etc.
  • Twitter handle: this is your twitter username or ID. All twitter handles begin with @.
  • Hashtag: # this is what a hashtag looks like (for those who do not know). It is used with a keyword or an unspaced phrase following it and it is used to categorise tweets into groups. Hashtags are not the property of the creator, others can have the same hashtag.
  • Lists: are an easy way of organising your reading on Twitter. The lists allow you to categorise Twitter accounts by common subject or theme. You can have 500 accounts per list and 20 lists in total.
  • Follower: These are other accounts that are following your account.
  • Following: These are the accounts that you are following.
  • Tweetdeck: is an interface with customisable columns that can display your Twitter timeline, mentions, direct messages, lists, trends, favorites, search results, hashtags, or all tweets by or to a single user. Tweets can be sent immediately or scheduled for later delivery. The following link will show you what it looks like – tweetdeck layout
  • Trending: signifies a topic or event which is currently popular and much discussed online.

With all of this knowledge in hand, what can twitter really do that is so great? Well what I found good about twitter was the connections you can make. By simply following a few people in your industry or area of interest you can partake in some very interesting conversations. I found the #edchatie discussions on Monday nights to be very interesting. It was very insightful to see the opinions of such a wide variety of people, principals, teachers, NQT’s, unemployed teachers, teachers who have changed careers etc. Where else would you get the opportunity to converse with this group of people in a meaningful way. I also found some really interesting articles people posted on twitter. When you are following a large number of people with a common interest it is great to see what resources and tips they have.

All in all, I like twitter. I will be keeping it on after my masters is finished (not sure if the same can be said for this blog!!)

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