Friday, December 21, 2012

What is a troll?

I occasionally get asked 'What is a troll?' and 'How do you deal with them?' so...

Troll ~ 
  1. A mythical, cave-dwelling being depicted in folklore as either a giant or a dwarf, typically having a very ugly appearance.
  2. The action of trolling for fish.
Fish by trailing a baited line along behind a boat: "we trolled for mackerel".

Urban DictionaryOne who posts a deliberately provocative message to a newsgroup or message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument.

I'm sure every blogger will come across the troll at some point. On social media platforms such as Twitter they are even more prevalent yet hide behind their self justifying anonymity. Sometimes we take the bait they throw at us and other times we try to ignore their petulant whining. 

Teachers will meet trolls not only online but in the staffroom too. Some call them bullies others call them names that will remain unmentionable on this blog. I've met a few and exchanged posts and tweets with more, all are the same breed: attention seeking trouble makers. At first, dealing with the troll only leads to more trolling. 

Recognising a troll is quite easy
  • They are usually anonymous and pride themselves in their anonymity
  • They have bios that laughably explain why you are the fool for thinking they are a troll
  • They start arguments for no reason
  • They blame everyone for everything except themselves
  • They see you as the reason why everything is going wrong
A few steps to take when you encounter a troll

  • Never take the bait
  • Never try to reason with the troll
  • Don't engage in their mediocre nonsense
  • Block them
  • Ignore them
  • Report them as spam
  • Don't fall into the trap that they are trying to demonstrate a valid viewpoint
It's troll blocking season, clean your timelines, flush your followers and enjoy a troll-free festive holiday :-)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

YouTube Analytics as a Maths resource

YouTube analytics 

YouTube provides a fantastic analytics section for every video you upload and the information it provides could be a great resource for Maths and calculations such as:

  • Reading Graphs - line graphs and pie charts are used
  • Percentages
  • Estimations
  • Time
  • Problem solving 
Depending on the information you are looking at you can download it as a CSV file providing opportunities for spreadsheet investigations.

Have you used YouTube analytics in your teaching?

Friday, December 14, 2012

My Top Tech of 2012

Even though there are a few days remaining, 2012 has been a fantastic year for technology  in teaching and learning. And what better way to celebrate it than to give you my top tech of 2012. This list, which has no particular order, demonstrates the technology I have found to be the most effective for raising standards in teaching and learning.

  • Airserver is an over the air receiver for Macs and PC's giving you a similar experience you would get with an Apple TV but for a fraction of the price. It has been indispensable in my classroom and will remain to be so.
  • Edmodo has been a firm favourite for the past 2 years and continues to impress me and my class. It fits perfectly into the 'Virtual Learning Environment' category yet costs nothing. Why schools pay for VLE's is beyond me when Edmodo is so much better.
  • The iPad is simply the best tablet device bar none. No other tablet offers as many apps for educational use nor gives users the power to create content as easily. iMovie and GarageBand are two outstanding examples of content creation apps that make iOS devices stand out.
  • Code Academy is genius. Anyone can learn to code through easy to follow, step by step lessons that will have you coding in no time. I intend to make use of this more throughout 2013 with my class.
  • X-Ray Goggles, provided free by Mozilla, lets you see how web pages are put together and lets you tinker with the underlying code. So easy and instantly effective. Great fun and a perfect tool for teaching.
Chrome Web Apps 

  • Chrome web apps have really lit up my class this year. Math, English, Geography, Music, History, Art, Science: every subject is catered for and the apps are perfect for teaching and learning.
  • Google + has become an essential part of my daily excursion into what's happening across the world of education and technology, hangouts have been improved and are fast becoming a perfect communication tool for groups across the world.
  • Raspberry Pi is a 'cheap, accessible, programmable computer' that has made my class go 'WOW!' It's a stunning device that has so much promise. 2013 will be the year it makes inroads into many more schools.
  • Skitch is the perfect screen capture annotation tool that has now become integrated with Evernote. I have been using it since it came out as a beta tool and it has always been my first choice for capturing images.
  • My last  is not technology in the hardware sense but without him I would miss so many great ideas, tips and suggestions for using technology in the classroom. My last top tech for 2012 belongs to Tim Rylands and his fantastic contribution to teachers and learners everywhere on his blog. It is a wealth of magic and a perfect starting point for any teacher looking for that extra something for their classroom.

I'll look forward to hearing about your own top tech list for 2012.