Social Bookmarking in Plain English Video

[kml_flashembed movie="" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

Download .avi file version here.

For a food loving person like myself a web tool called was too good an opportunity to miss! is a must have web tool called a social bookmarker. It radically changes the way you browse the web and share good links with other users.

Setting up a free account is very straight forward, but choose an username that you are happy to share with other people. Then download the software including buttons that will display on a google toolbar.

Everytime you find a useful website add it to your list. You need to give it one or more tag names. This will enable you to sort through all your links. If it is a popular site with other users you will be given a suggested list of how they have tagged it.

Why bother using
The main advantage of using over just using internet favourites or bookmarks, is that your list can be accessed as a web page wherever you are.
It is also possible to add your list to a personalised google homepage or onto a google desktop sidebar.
With a bit of fiddling around, you can add your list to a blog. You can see mine displayed as a cloud. The tags with the most links are in a larger font.
Lastly, you can share your list with other people. To view my list go to and type in the username communicty, or click here

Global Messenger 12

This term’s Global Messenger is based on the theme of Earth Hour (29/3/8) and Earth Day (22/4/8) . Did you know that an average person uses 57 acres of natural resources per year, but the Earth’s biological capacity is only 41 acres per person.

Multimedia Resources
All the videos below can also be saved as file downloads from communICTy videos.

Download Title
Earth Hour – Turn your lights off for 1 hour on 29/3/8
global warming ad1 – So what if the affects of global warming will be irreversable in 30 years
global warming ad2 – What is the biggest threat we face in the world today
Global Wombat, All is One – Everything you need to know about how to get along on earth for the next million years.

Going Green.ppt – A presentation on green statistics and how to do your bit to save the planet.
[slideshare id=149923&doc=going-green-1193737361217716-3&w=425]

Notre Dame Sites
Going Green – an elanguages project with links to resources, forums and a poster activity.
ND Sheffield Environmental Site – Live webcams and weather station data

Global Footprint Quiz
Footprint quiz global – You can select any country in the world
Footprint quiz USA – A younger child version, more USA based

Green Online Games
Energy Hogs
Science Museum Games

Other Useful Sites
10 facts about renewable energy
Do the green thing resources on energy, climate and waste
GreenPeace EfficienCity

Oxfam, Climate Change Resources
Science Museum Energy Site
Solar Power Facts

Global Dates
29/03/08 – Earth Hour. People and organisations around the world are going to switch off their lights at 8pm local time. A great activity for your students to try at home. Also see video
22/04/08 – Earth Day. Some good teaching resources and Earth Day TV

Google Generation As Researchers

JISC initiated a study involving a combination of examination of data from longitudinal studies and new research to see whether the “Google Generation” (post-1993) approached research tasks in a significantly different way to people from previous cohorts.

They define six types of behaviour:

  • Horizontal information seeking. A form of skimming. “Around 60 per cent of e-journal users view no more than three pages and a majority (up to 65 per cent) never return.”
  • Navigation. People in virtual libraries “spend as much time finding their bearings as actually viewing what they find.”
  • Viewers. Users spend typically four to eight minutes looking at e-books and e-journals. “New forms of ‘reading’ are emerging as users ‘power browse’ horizontally through titles.”
  • Squirreling behaviour. Research shows academic users “will squirrel away content in the form of downloads [but] there is no evidence as to the extent to which these downloads are actually read.”
  • Diverse information seekers. One size does not fit all, in terms of attributes such as gender or status.
  • Checking information seekers. “Users assess authority and trust for themselves in a matter of seconds by dipping and cross-checking”.

The report suggests “There is little direct evidence that young people’s information literacy is any better or worse than before.” However, it finds important themes:

  • The apparent facility of young people with computers “disguises some worrying problems.”
  • “The speed of young people’s web searching means that little time is spent in evaluating information…”
  • “Young people have a poor understanding of their information needs and thus find it difficult to develop effective search strategies.”
  • They tend to use “natural language rather than analysing which key words might be more effective”.
  • Faced with a long list of results, they find it difficult to assess relevance and “print off pages with no more than a perfunctory glance at them”.

Although they begin to focus on the use of “virtual libraries”, many of the insights have wider implications, such as:

“Children (especially) tend to make very narrow relevance judgements by considering the presence or absence of words exactly describing the search topic: as a result they miss many relevant documents and end up repeating searches. Information seeking tends to stop at the point at which articles are found and printed, especially for younger users, with little regard to the document content.”

They also examine some of the suppositions about the Google Generation (p18-20), finding many are myths. For example, “They prefer quick information in the form of easily digested chunks, rather than full text” is just as true of older people. The researchers brand the idea that “they are expert searchers” a “dangerous myth”.

The report goes as far as to question the whole notion of a Google Generation:

“A 2007 survey by Synovate finds that only 27% of UK teenagers could really be described as having the kind of deep interest and facility in IT that the label implies. The majority (‘average Joes’, 57%) use relatively low level technology to support their basic communication or entertainment needs and there is a substantial residuum of 20% (‘digital dissidents’) who actively dislike technology and avoid using it wherever possible.”

To summarise, “Our overall conclusion is that much writing on the topic of this report overestimates the impact of ICTs on the young and underestimates its effect on older generations. A much greater sense of balance is needed.”


From Naace Newsletter 8/2/8

A new survey by online polling company YouGov Plc, on behalf of RM, underlines just how technology is changing the way young people in Britain learn.

This year’s RM “School Gate Survey” questioned 1,501 11-16 year olds across Britain, and examined their thoughts on the impact of IT on their learning and the value they place on it.

The results
93% of 11-16 year olds with computer access at school surveyed do at least some or all of their homework on a computer/ laptop.
78% of these prefer doing homework on a computer or laptop to pen and paper
50%  of 11-16 year olds surveyed would like to spend more time learning at home
49% own their own laptop or PC
77% use the Internet every day
93% of 11-16 year olds surveyed feel that technology has helped them to learn more

The results of the research found that 93% of 11-16 year olds feel that technology has helped them to learn more and 78% of those with computer access at school said they now prefer doing their homework on a computer or laptop rather than on paper. Further, 93% of respondents do at least some or all of their homework on a computer.

The survey also revealed the extent to which young people are engaging with the Internet, with over three-quarters (77%) of those questioned using it every day, and 21% using it once or twice a week. This is supported by the fact that half (49%) of the respondents own their own laptop or PC.

With this access has come a desire for enhanced flexibility in where young people learn, and a dissolving of barriers between home and school. 50% of those young people surveyed voiced a desire to spend more time learning at home.

Other technologies
Young People’s engagement with technology doesn’t stop with computers. New technologies and social networking sites are widely enjoyed, with 60% of respondents using Facebook/ Myspace and/ or Bebo, 66% playing video games, 69% a mobile phone, 65% an MP3 player and 51% using a digital camera. There is a strongly expressed interest in using these for learning, with 30% saying they would like to use video games to help them learn, 20% an MP3 player and 18% social networking sites.

When asked what aspects of learning they thought would most help them get a good job in later life, a majority (70%) chose technology, backed by having a supportive family (83%) and a good teacher (84%).

Computer Games in Education

Download Title

I’m starting to gather resources for students to create their own computer games.  So far the most popular one I’ve found is Scratch.  I’ve also found some teaching resources to go with it.

I’ve made a wiki page to gather information, links and teaching resources.  If anyone wishes to add some ideas, either post a comment below or request to join

CommunICTy eNewsletter 3

Just in case you didn’t get what you wanted for Christmas, here is the next edition of my ICT enewsletter. It was great to meet lots of you at ICTnet East and at BETT. To view this newsletter as a blog post click here.

Flashmeeting Video Conference 31/1
As a follow up from ICTnet East, I promised to organise a flashmeeting to demonstrate how it works and give ICT practitioners a chance to share some ideas. It will take place on Thursday 31st Jan from 20:00 – 21:00. Anyone is welcome to participate, but places are limited to 25. For more info click here.
Resources Update
7.1 MyTree – This SEAL project on creating a powerpoint presentation about describing your personality has proved really popular. We’ve now made a short video to explain the project in more detail.

8.3 Searching the Web – This project uses the contrasting themes of life and safaris in Malawi as its focus. There is an assessment task at the end in which students review two contrasting websites. I’ve also added some short films about Malawi.

9.4 Digital News – This project enables students to plan a storyboard in powerpoint and then save the slides as .jpgs and import them into movie maker. I’ve added some examples videos. I’ve also made simple life cycle and gantt diagram for them to do plan the whole project.

To visit our entire KS3 ICT SoW, some KS4 resources and lots more, visit

Useful Sites
Online stopwatch – a flash based countdown timer that can be used online or downloaded. – a visual search engine that shows thumbnails of websites as search results.
Etwinning – Help on how to set up a virtual link with another school, or contact the eTwinning Ambassadors for some free advice
Exploratree – Futurelab’s new thinking guides website.
Bridgebuilder 2000 – Free download simulation software. An excellent cover lesson.
QCA, new KS3 ICT PoS – Explains the revised curriculum in terms of concepts, processes, content and attainment targets. Useful definitions of terms.
Digital Video CPD
The Machine is Us/ing Us – This video explains web2.0 is revolutionising the Internet
Shift Happens – How the evolution of computing is influencing our own evolution (or right click here to save).
Do schools kill creativity – Sir Ken Robinson makes a profound and entertaining case for an education system that promotes creativity.

In the Pipe Line
Assessment for Learning resources for KS3 ICT including pupil tracking using Excel markbooks.
Digital Film Review unitRevising unit to enable students to create and analyse film review data in database, then create audio film reviews using audacity.
Internet Safety resources being developed by Pip Cartwright to teach the issues including digital videos

Just for Fun
Zombies in Plain English
– Watch your back, Zombies can appear where you least expect them!

Teacher Networks – Networking Teachers

The Typical Teacher Network and The Networked Teacher are two diagrams created by Alec Couros from the Faculty of Education at the University of Regina as part of his doctoral thesis to signify the different ways in which teachers network in the 21st century.

The challenge is to train teachers to become active contributors to these new networks instead of simply passive observers!