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Andrew Field

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Everything posted by Andrew Field

  1. Marvellous news - sounds very good indeed. Any documentation or guidance that you can share to allow others to reach your heights?
  2. Whilst this advice is, of course, extremely useful, Nielsen himself has now adapted and changed his ideas. Thus is it quite dangerous to look back at articles from a number of years ago. His more recent articles, whilst still pushing the same concepts are quite different. This reflects the way the Internet has developed. For instance, he published a very influential article entitled 'Flash 99%' bad: http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20001029.html (2000). He was then recruited by Macromedia (the makers of Flash) and subsequently altered his views. He claimed that this was because of significant steps Macromedia implemented following his advice. As with all experts he also has his doubters: http://experiencedynamics.blogs.com/site_s...sable_is_j.html This quotes another famous self-opinioned phrase of his: I've found Nielson's articles really helpful - but if you visit his site is it really a model of good practice? The greatest issue for websites, no matter what their purpose is accessibility. If you take the time and trouble to make your website accessible to all users, making sure it adheres to web standards, you make a website that is better for everyone. http://www.w3.org/WAI/ Use of CSS for control of the site design, separating it from the site content is a key area. This benefits everyone - aside from the poor designer tasked with changing an existing site to a CSS-based design. Search engines even promote your site in their listing if you have an accessible CSS-based design - this is because their search tools can find your content more easily. In terms of accessiblity it is a major challenge to get your website Bobby approved - but the journey to do so is well worth it. The Bobby Approval system seems to have developed further now, but its goals remain the same. Test your site at http://webxact.watchfire.com/ Rather than Nielsen, I feel it is much better to focus on organisations such as http://www.cast.org/ In terms of generic webdesign, the best resource I have ever come across is 'The Design of Sites'. http://www.designofsites.com/. The authors of the book don't attempt to make sweeping judgements about websites, rather they look at the roles different websites try to fulfill, and then they provide ideas and guidance how to best do this. Again though - it's a pity they don't stick to their own guidelines - if you click 'Resources' on their website while using Firefox it doesn't work because they've missed part of the html code off the end of the page. A good educational website provides interesting, engaging and useful content that is accessible to all. Simple as that.
  3. I agree entirely - and one of the beauties of Macromedia Flash is that extensive audio (and indeed video) can be integrated into a quiz or exercise. This is well within the realms of a dedicated teacher. What I'm trying to do with my simple free program is to illustrate how easy it is for teachers to generate their own content for Flash. Exercises produced using Flash can be used online or offline. Obviously I'm biased towards what I've created for my own uses, but my program will allow anyone to generate their own quiz for a website in about 5 minutes. 1. Load the program 2. Add your questions 3. [Optionally] customise the look or settings 4. Press generate - hey presto. The ease of such things then hopefully encourages people to explore my more commercial offerings such as the Penalty Shootout or Walk the Plank generators.
  4. Indeed - but none of these provide what my quiz generator does - the ability for anyone of any technical ability to generate their own Flash quizzes. Anyone can integrate them into their website far more easily than existing quiz programs. Hot Potatoes is indeed excellent, but the above quiz creator is something a little different. Do try it out and you'll see.
  5. Breaking news on the BBC website: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/4597503.stm
  6. These aren't quite ready for use yet, but I've released a beta version of my Multiple-choice quiz generator program. This program is completely free for all teachers and educators as long as it is used in a not-for-profit way. It allows anyone to generate their own Flash quiz just by entering questions. You can customise the colours and how much time to provide for each question, and you can even include accompanying quiz text to support the user. It has been designed to make it as easy as possible for anyone to create their own quizzes - you can easily create a quick 5 question quiz to use at the end of a lesson, or to place at the bottom of a webpage to act as a brief interactive revision exercise. I'm giving it away for free for two reasons - one I want everyone to benefit from the potential of such activities and two I want people to be able to explore the power and potential of my more-advanced pay-for ContentGenerator programs. There are still bugs to sort out before it can be released properly (currently you have to enter the seconds for the timing before the quiz works correctly), but a free beta version can be downloaded from my ContentGenerator.net forums. Read more about the actual program here - http://www.contentgenerator.net/multiplechoice/default.asp Feel free to try it out!
  7. Well, you can see what I'm talking about even though I didn't phrase that section correctly. What I'm suggesting is that from my persepective - as a history and ICT teacher who is very interested in new teaching ideas and methods - I feel you are in danger of missing out from a massive range of potential by narrowly focusing upon debates about historical topics. You can do this as a matter of course on this forum. I'd suggest striving to achieve the very cutting edge pedagogy and practice that will be of practical use to history teachers as suggested in the E-Help seminars. Interest from journalists would not seem to be incredibly vital when you have full funding and incredible potential at this stage. The interest from journalists will come when you've developed the leading-edge practices over the years of the project. Just an opinion from the very far sidelines though, feel free to ignore.
  8. What is your E-HELP project really for though? Surely it is all about empowering teachers to make effective use of ICT - sharing the knowledge and ideas. Debates about conspiracy theories aren't particularly relevant to those in the classroom day after day trying to come up with inventive and exciting ways to teach lessons. Surely it is of primary importance that you focus upon your target group and then get your wide range of subject experts to support you in this venture. There's a danger that doing the latter first will mean that you lose focus of your primary aims. Not trying to belittle this work at all - but I think your EHELP priorities need to be upheld. Thousands of teachers will be interested and attracted to a collection of useful and practical ideas for teaching. To be honest, I think you will turn teachers away in their droves if the project becomes focused on conspiracy theories and the like. Teachers want a collection of innovative, exciting and practical resources that have proven benefits in the classroom.
  9. Just in case anyone is interested I've recently updated the site much more with revision activities for students as they rapidly approach their exams. http://www.reviseict.co.uk/ Lots of revision activities, games and quizzes are avaiable at: http://www.reviseict.co.uk/revision/ It was only a quick creation, but I've also setup a simple past-paper question activity that encourages students to enter their ideas, and then compare this with model answers: http://www.reviseict.co.uk/revision/exampractice.shtml
  10. Agreed. Was it Blair who refused to have a live debate in the usual question time format or was it all of them? I was interested to hear Blair's comments about Gordon Brown. Maybe it is now election strategy on the part of Labour to give the impression that Blair will be gone soon <{POST_SNAPBACK}> Blair refused to have the live debate - the other two had wanted to do so.
  11. See hear ( ) http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.ph...indpost&p=22389 Completely agree with Juan Carlos - the software is very good. It is what I used to create my seminar that you were all forced to listen to. Since then I've had students using the software and they find it very easy to use.
  12. That has been created in Captivate - the software I've recommended to you! It comes directly from Macromedia ( / Adobe) rather than being a separate entity like the one you mention. http://www.macromedia.com/software/captivate/
  13. Have you not stumbled onto the magic of teaching - why teaching is such a good profession? I obviously wouldn't say I love my students, but introducing new concepts, skills, ideas and discussions - instilling the love of learning and discovery - is this not the key part of teaching? Thus would it be fair to suggest that teaching is the answer!
  14. We actually use a slightly different service where the RSS is pre-packaged and doesn't need to be processed on your own site: https://ssl.bbc.co.uk/syndication/html/registration/ Our school website is on a very limited server that cannot handle .php and suchlike, so we use this method instead.
  15. I you are interested there is a good article on http://www.Sitepoint.com about RSS. Get off your RSS (not my title, I hasten to add).
  16. Best feeds to try out with are the BBC feeds - they very clearly link to their feeds and there is one for each section of the news. The BBC link I gave above is very useful.
  17. I'm developing my ReviseICT.co.uk at the moment and am soon to add a range of simple revision quizzes to help students revise key ICT concepts. I've updated the home page so it makes all the resources more immediately available - including the introductions to flash and the guide to making a website. However, I've been quite pleased with the news feature I've introduced recently. Designed to offer students an opportunity to see how their learning is actually directly linked to the 'real world' the page displays the latest 'ICT and technology' news from a range of sources. I've added this news so it dynamically appears on specific pages across the site and have also introduced a more in-depth news page: http://www.reviseict.co.uk/news.shtml [N.B. It takes a few moments to 'gather' the latest news when you visit the page] What may be of passing interest is the way I've been able to do this. It doesn't work perfectly yet, but it is quite clever. The news is kept up to date because it makes use of RSS (Really Simple Syndication). This is a very simple way of allowing webpages to display up to date news and information from other sites. The BBC provide an excellent overview of the concept on their site - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/help/3223484.stm Many sites now provide an 'RSS feed' that allows anyone to make use of their content. However, a website owner cannot just upload an RSS feed to their website as it will not be correctly formatted. The site uses an additional php script called RSS2HTML. The RSS2HTML script takes the rss feed and displays it in an accessible format on this website. It hopefully works really well. The main pages of the site are set to display the six latest stories from The Register and the three latest stories from BBC Technology News. However the news page displays a much wider range of ICT and technology news from the leading online news and information sources. Give it a try - the tool seems to be a really effective way of making use of the growing number of RSS-feeds that are available. Nearly all major websites now provide an RSS-feed.
  18. Andrew Field

    Windows error

    Really? http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/03/23/apple_osx_bug_fix/
  19. This sounds really useful John, is part of his content generator package? thanks again, Ed. <{POST_SNAPBACK}> Hi - this isn't part of something I will sell - the storyboards will be available for free. It isn't technically software at all - it is more a 'web application'. You can see the current progress at http://www.schoolhistory.co.uk/storyboards/. I have yet to complete the work because I want to redevelop the activity using Flash 7. As most schools now have this installed I will attempt to make some progress. It will be relatively easy to develop new storyboards in the future, but I don't plan to create hundreds - it will be much more appropriate to provide a few carefully prepared and constructed tasks. I also need to be careful about image copyright and suchlike. Nevertheless it might, for example, be possible to have digital video as a storyboard backgrounds in the future.
  20. No to be funny, but you must realise this is actually a compliment from a moody teenager. You have got to them, made them reach a conclusion. You can then deliberately 'mis-hear' their comments and reply with over the top and gushing thanks for their views. "Thank you so much - it was great to hear you think it will be a hit" The fact students are noticing that you have a site is really positive. Most certainly do not be put off my a couple of mouthy students who see it as their duty to put your work down. Point of having your own website - simple - it extends your ability to be a teacher, enables you to continue offering help and ideas 24 hours a day, provides you with added 'reach', offers opportunities for collaboration and extension of your work and ideas. It also provides something interesting every day in your 'inbox'.
  21. Sounds like the ideal solution - video will obviously be ideal for the presentations that actually took place on the day. You simply need to find the best balance to enable an individual who wasn't present to gain as much as possible. You will be establishing the new 'standards' for things like this so it will be good to explore the range of possibilities. One thing you might like to look at is Breeze software - http://www.macromedia.com/breeze - this is soon to be used by exam boards in the UK to disseminate information. This would produce presentations a little like my one, but recorded at the time. It could perhaps be used to enable an online meeting to take place as some sort of follow up to an event.
  22. The 'smaller' seems more than good enough to me. If you are streaming files you'd want to make them stream as quickly as possible. I'm on a fast connection and even this one did take quite a while to load up. I think any larger files would be even more prohibitive. This one is fine. What you could also offer is the ability to download the presentation to watch, as well as viewing it online. Aside from technicial issues might I raise a question about the purpose of the videos. From the one I've seen above, this appears to show people watching, and gradually falling asleep to a presentation I think you could achieve just as much with a few stills and perhaps have the link to the actual presentation? Obviously presentations that were given directly during the event will be of much more direct use.
  23. I also feel online presentation software will have a major role to play in the future. Macromedia's Contribute software (http://www.macromedia.com/contribute) makes it simple to put together a presentation with audio commentary. Macromedia Breeze also looks very interesting (and expensive) - http://www.macromedia.com/breeze/ - of the experiences I've had with Breeze users can be involved in an online presentation which can then be recorded and streamed for use in the future. However, these are just tools - how the tools are used is the main issue.
  24. Thank you very much for all the positive comments about this seminar. It must have been a little odd to have my voice booming out from the presentation. I suspect the most welcome aspect was the ability to pause and forward the presentation if desired. My intention - which I hope has been achived - was to provide some explanation of the materials I have already developed and then make a few suggestions about what would be possible yet exciting in the future. The basic ideas for 'the future' were: Collaborative mind-mapping - enabling students to put a mind-map together in the same way forum posts are made. This would combine the accessibility of mindmapping with the dynamic communication of forums Online video editing - in relation to student presentations - enabling students to access and edit video resources online through the use of Flash technology. The key aim here would be to remove the tiresome and challenging setup issues and focus students' attention on the historical use of video content Interactive investigtions - merging 'commercial' standard presentations together with current decision making exercises. Producing effective ICT-based historical investigations but with a far more attractive and dynamic front-end. Yet rather than a 'flashy front end' the goal has to be student control and student freedom The aim was also to identify 3 levels in which such things - as any content produced with this project - can be used. Firstly simply by creating the resources you develop a freely-available leading-edge resource to use in teaching. Secondly the development process itself is interesting - students developing their own versions (especially of the interactive investigations) gain ICT and, most significantly, historical skills through the creation process. Thirdly if the development and creation process is carefully documented with clear guidance and support it becomes even more useful. Other teachers and students can develop their own versions and the resource thus evolves further. We should be celebrating the fact that many students are more advanced in their use of ICT than their teachers - if students are engaged in the learning process their enthusiasm and skills offer even more opportunities for effective teaching and learning. Differentiation by collaboration? Perhaps. Such things as I've suggested above can be used by one student or one class in a single location, but become much more effective when used in a collaborative way. Of course, the above ideas are not hard nor fast suggestions but I hope the presentation put forward a few key ideas that can be adapted and made use of in the production of any effective eLearning materials.
  25. Perhaps slightly cheeky, there is also my own range of software that I am developing at http://www.ContentGenerator.net/ Currently anyone can purchase my Penalty Shootout generator, my Walk the Plank generator and my Interactive Diagram generator (iDG) for extremely reasonable amounts. I am a few days away from releasing free versions of my software to enable any educator to develop their own simple quizzes and match-up exercises. These will be free to anyone who makes their quizzes freely available to others. In the future I plan to continue to make entertaining eLearning activities available for educational use. Please feel free to explore http://www.ContentGenerator.net/
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