Edmodo.com Using a Social Platform in the Primary School

I have been using edmodo now for a while and find that it's very simple to use and a real hit with the children. The most common remark being " it's just like Facebook". Not quite.

The children love it and are on there daily sharing their links links to games (mostly Sploder.com links to their home made games) and chatting in a safe environment- the language being used is excellent if a little short.

We have tried to encourage the use of proper grammar and not use this: !!!!!! or ????????? or "what the..." which is a commmon phrase here in Asia schools (they know the word that comes after it so they should not be using the phrase at all!

We currently have a Moodle setup at our school that is really never used and pretty defunct - this seems the perfect ticket. I just hope that Edmodo's business plan incorporates importing iCal (and others) to their systems or some kind of 3rd party cross app ingenuity that will really get the party moving. 

If you're wondering what is going on here then look at the comments from Simon Haughton about it too.

This helping guide should be pretty helpful too. The below embed is in HTML 5 so hit the link if you can't see it.

As much as I like Edmodo I kind of feel that there isn't much in the way of expansion in an education context. Moodle, as we know is a little clunky and filled a void of affordable LMS, Edmodo fills a void that is NOW using a Facebook skin but out of our (general) control (ICT folk baulk at this).

Please, don't get me wrong, I like the whole premise but am waiting for the day when the money pot is dry leaving us high and dry - and those who have advocated its merits - even higher as we've pushed it as a LMS to our devoted colleages.

Personally, my staff enjoy the links and guidance I give them, but this could be too much should Edmodo one day say (a la delicious.com) "Yeah, we love your enthusiasm but we're done; so and so has bought us for 140 gadrillion Dollars" = Angry teachers. The knock-on effect would mean that our teachers would think twice about hitting the link I give them. 

So, in summary, I am going to make this plain and clear to our teachers and maintain that should they want to stay with Google Apps then all is good - just make sure that parents know which platform you're going with.


QR codes for School Newsletters and Google Chrome Web App Store for Schools and Educators

Tis post is from the most recent newsletter sent out to teachers at my school, The Taipei European School.
You might be here from the QR code in the newsletter - if you are then great! If not then why not check out the links below to see how the QR code can help you out.
A QR code is a type of bar code without the bars. Instead they are squares and allow text and other data to be interpreted where a object needs to access digital data. Google Goggles (Android), Pic2shop, Red Laser (iPhone) or Shopsavvy (both) are good applications to use to access other QR codes and bar codes on packaging. The bar codes can then give a slew of information appearing on your phone's browser.
So, the Newsletter info that can't be linked directly is below.


The Reception children have been enjoying using  games to learn about control and logical thinking in a program we use at school. They have also been using paint to control shapes and tools that are the basis for transferrable skills.

Year 1

The children have been making books as part of their typing and word processing. To make this a fun way to type and with purpose we use ArtisanCam.co.uk to make books. This time we tied it in with their trips to the Temple and the Museum. To make a book go to: goo.gl/Np6Z

Year 2

The Children have been making comics as part of their word processing and transferable skills—copying and pasting. They too used Artisancam.co.uk to make an online comic. Want to make a comic too? Go here: goo.gl/g2TMf

What you can do at home

Install the Google Chrome Browser (that we are using in Primary instead of Internet Explorer) now has a Web App Store. What this means is it allows other web-based applications to be installed directly to the browser and run from inside it. How does this benefit students? There are lots of Educational applications, books and tools either free or to buy—a little bit like you do on your phones. Go to

Reception and Nursery Children

Sesame Street ‘Sounds Around Town’ application gets children to use the keyboard and control the mouse in any way they want. goo.gl/GE4Gq 
The PBS app for kids. Find this at goo.gl/9CQau 

Year 1 and Year 2 Children

Meegenius is a great place to listen and interact with books. Use it at the Chrome store too go here to enjoy them with your child. chrome.meegenius.com/
ICT in the Juniors has been as busy as ever with lots of projects taking place. Most notably the introduction of two laptop trolleys each with 25 laptops. The second has just arrived 

Year 3

In Year 3 the children have been loading, editing and creating sound using the laptops and the portable microphones. They have been making melodies on thing called a ’Tone Matrix’ then recording them through the headphones, editing them in Audacity. Tone matrix online here: goo.gl/meHr or the iPhone/ iPodTouch app here using this QR Code:

Year 4

More great work in Year 4 this coming month in the style of Julian Opie; a famous artist in the UK. He draws in a cartoon style. So we’re using Artisancam.co.uk, print screen on the keyboard and editing in Paint.Net.

Year 5

Year 5 have begun their Word Processing topic combined with a DTP project. They are writing stories in the style of Paul Jennings at www.storybird.com and using the new DTP (creately) web apps on Google Chrome. To make their book covers. Eventually they’ll read them aloud and we’ll post them to the Vimeo.com/taipeieuropeanschool channel.

Year 6

Year 6 are working on Scratch from MIT. It’s a free programming program for kids. Instead on controlling stuff we’re using it slightly differently this time. We’re making animations of explorers and adventurers past and present. 

What you can do at home

You’ll need Google Chrome for these applications. Very good and fun! Parents read this: 20thingsilearned.com/
Year 3: To help your children further understand that they can make music online: goo.gl/L63oW
Year 4: go to www.psykopaint.com to turn photos into art
Year 5: Online Museum only in Google Chrome: chrome.fraboom.com/
Year 6: Kodu from Microsoft. Possibly the greatest game maker ever made. goo.gl/L85b (need xbox controller)

What Is Google Wave, Anyway? New E-Book Explains

 I know this may seem like cheating and quite possibly plagerism, but as I've dropped the original source links in here I suppose I could be O.K. Below, I saw this little article via @teachpaperless and my Google Reader feed. It outlines the new Book from Gina Trapani that was first mentioned on TWiG (leading to her embarrassment of a server out of memory crash) - the embarrassment is purely a compliment to her popularity as a leader in Tech Media.

The TWiG podcast #14 is here

I received a Wave invite and looked at it and poked around with it but to honest, until the invites I have sent, I can't see what to do with it. It's bit like Twitter in the early days - What am i doing? Well, not a lot. It wasn't until all the links and people of my ilk joined the fray and the links came abouding and the question carried higher merit. So, I am reading the book below at the moment together with this helping hand.


Published: November 2, 2009

Google Wave has generated a lot of interest in the past few months, despite most people I’ve talked to being unclear about what the service is, and how to use it. I confess that after I finally got an invitation, I was somewhat perplexed when faced with Google Wave’s minimal interface.

Tech writers Gina Trapani and Adam Pash have created an online e-book, “The Complete Guide to Google Wave,” which does an excellent job of explaining what Google Wave is and how it can be used. The book provides step-by-step instructions on how to get invited to the service, what to do when you get there, and how to make the most of it.

For those of us who are used to skimming the highlights and jumping around in technical manuals, I strongly suggest that you read the book — at least the first couple of chapters — in full. It’s not that long, and will give you a working knowledge of the service. I suspect that web workers will find Wave to be a very useful collaboration tool once we get used to using it.

The book is written in a clear, straightforward style, and is sprinkled with helpful and sometimes humorous quotes like this one from Wave user Andy Baio: “I keep pushing the New Wave button, but it never plays Depeche Mode or The Cure.”

An electronic version of the book will be offered for sale beginning in November; it’s unclear whether the online version will continue to be available once the book comes out. So if you’re interested in Google Wave, this is an excellent time to learn more about it. But you may need some patience; the book’s web site has been very slow, as I suspect it’s getting more traffic than the authors expected.

Are you using Google Wave?


Splash Up

There I am thinking "How am I going to get a new background and theme to this 'ere site. I want a new theme and really kick this thing off by the end of the summer holidays (incidentally it means no travel plans!). So there I am thinking what mac freeware is there to use for picture editing.

I was racking my brains for an app that I could either use in VMware as a Windows app or a download either a windows or Mac app. So ancient in my thinking. Web 2.0 really has thrown a wealth of opportunity and availability fr this arena.

SplashUp is taken from the SketchUp name (I would imagine) and is marvellous. A lite weight version of Paint.net where you can use layering and magic wand to edit and add elements. Brilliant! Of I go then and edit the image without having to downoad or install.