How long does it take?

I’m on holiday in Rhodes at the moment and I love how there’s little notion of time in Greece. Today I decided to get the bus into Rhodes town. It’s about 50km or so from the fishing village of Pefkos where I’m staying.
Rhodes town
I headed down to the local bus stop in the village. There wasn’t a timetable so I waited not knowing when (or indeed if) a bus would turn up.
After half an hour or so a bus pulled up.
“Where are you going?” asked the Greek bus driver.
“Rhodes town.” I replied.
“Get in.”
“How long does it take?” I enquired.
He shrugged and looked at me as if I’d asked him to explain Einstein’s theory of relativity – through the medium of modern dance.
I got on the bus and persevered: “An hour? Roughly how long?”
Again, he looked at me with a mixture of pity and humour – the kind of look he probably reserves for tourists.
“I’ll shout you when we get there.” He offered, trying to be helpful.

Charming anecdote Scott, but what does any of this have to do with using technology in teaching and learning? You may well ask.
Well, nothing really, except it reminded me of a conversation I had recently with a friend at work about timed activities. Whether it’s for a short group discussion or something else we often say to learners “I’m going to give you ten minutes to do X, Y or Z” and probably use nothing more than the clock on the wall or our watch to time it.
And that’s perfectly fine, there’s nothing wrong with that at all. However, if you want to add a sense of fun you might want to vary it now and then by using sites like the online bomb stopwatch or the theme music from the popular TV show Countdown to add a sense of drama.
Right, back to the sunbed!

A closer look at Screencast-O-Matic

As free screencasting tools go, Screencast-O-Matic is my favourite. It features as number 27 in the Top 100 Tools for Learning poll of 2015 and is an easy way to create fairly short screencasts (15 minutes or less) to help reinforce key topics with learners. If you haven’t done one before a screencast is typically a video recording of all, or part, of your screen that’s accompanied by an audio or video narration. It’s ideal for demonstrating what you are doing on your computer, such as a software demo or web search, a presentation run-through or is even being used by some organisations as a means of providing formative and summative feedback to learners. Continue reading

Using iMovie to create engaging video

“I do enjoy making videos, even though they are long days and very hard work.”
Tanya Tucker, American country and music artist.

Without doubt, making quality video is a painstaking process, and I can’t deny – to do it right takes time. Having said that though, there’s something very enjoyable about crafting a short video; editing the scenes, adding the music and so on, that makes it very satisfying. I don’t know whether that’s the creative, geeky part of me talking or it’s something else, but making short videos for others to enjoy can be immensely rewarding. Continue reading