Showing posts with label research. Show all posts
Showing posts with label research. Show all posts

Friday, 4 October 2013

Where do you build your PLN?

PLN (Personal Learning Networks) have grown in prominence and importance tremendously over the last few years and with good reason. They are a great way to extend your professional network beyond your physical environment and tap into a huge wealth of knowledge about your profession. This makes them one of the most effective autonomous means of developing your own teaching in a way that is most immediate and relevant to your ambitions.

Building an effective network though, is dependent on knowing the right places to go, which tools to use and how best to use them. With technology changing and new tools developing so rapidly, this can be a challenge to keep up with.

With this in mind I have launched this quick research survey to find out where you prefer to build your networks and what the pros and cons of each of those networks might be.

Please feel free to add your suggestions, pros and cons, and vote for the ones you find most useful. You maybe asked to register when you submit and idea, but you can just click on the X in the top right hand corner of the window and continue.

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I hope you find this information useful and continue to build your network.

Related links:


Nik Peachey

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Explore The Past Online

I spotted this interesting tool this morning. Take Me Back To is a search engine which can locate information from a particular day in history.  It searches for a range of things from the date you enter, from popular songs and movies on that day, to news, fashion styles and advertisements.

All you have to do is type in a date and click on 'Go' and it will generate your results.

You can try it from here.

Powered by

This is potentially a great tool to use with students.
  • You could show results and see if they can guess the year / date
  • You can get students to research a date and make past tense sentences about it.
  • You can get students to find out what was happening on the day they were born.
  • You can get students to compare results from two different decades.

There are a few things you need to be careful about though
  • The search doesn't work so well when you tart going further back than the 60s
  • In the section that shows magazine covers, it sometimes shows the cover of Playboy magazine and students could possibly click through to the site from there, so be careful about letting younger learners or teens access the site.
Despite the potential problems, I still think Take Me Back To is a really interesting site to generate materials for language work in the classroom.

I hope you find it useful.

Related Links:

Nik Peachey

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Pros and Cons as Web Based Research Tasks

I'm always looking for handy tools that students can use as follow up tasks to online research and Pro | Con Lists certainly looks like a good one.

The site enables students to collect together the advantages and disadvantages of a particular subject and create a list of each to see how they balance out.

Here's an example one on Solar Energy

As you can see, at the top of the page is the list of pros and cons,

and below it is the balance of the results.

When creating the list students can also add to or reduce the influence of some factors and balance emotional and rational factors of each too.

It sounds complicated, but these are very easy to produce. Just register and log in and go to 'Create a list'. Give the list a title, select the topic and add a description. You are then ready to start adding the pros and cons.

Each of the pros and cons added has a default weight of 3 in both the emotional and rational settings, but students can click on the numbers to increase or decrease the weight if they think the pro or con is more or less significant.

Once they have completed their lists they can publish them or share them through a range of social media platforms.

Visitors to the lists can then leave comments or agree or disagree with each of the individual pros and cons in the list, simply by clicking on them and voting.

To see how this works I've created a short Pro and Con list on the topic of Interactive Whiteboards. Feel free to comment and suggest more pros and cons.
I think Pro | Con Lists is a great way to follow up web based research activities and would work really well combined with something like Mashpedia.
  • Students could go to the Mashpedia site and search for information on something like wind power, solar power or even different political parties or sporting teams, then use the information they find to create their list of pros and cons.
  • Once the lists are created they could share them with other students and vote on whether they agree with the pros and cons.
  • Students could also use the site to brainstorm pros and cons before they do research. This would get them thinking about the subject first and they could then look back at their own lists and see how they could change or modify them.
What I really like about the site is that it gets students thinking and evaluating the power of their arguments too.

It would be nice if the lists could be added to by visitors, but that doesn't seem to be possible, but I still think this is a really useful tool and one that can be used to create research based reading and listening tasks.

I hope you like it and find it useful.

Related links:


Nik Peachey

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Create Authentic Web Based Research Tasks With Mashpedia

I've just discovered Mashpedia and I have to say I really like it. It's a combination of a search engine and an encyclopedia. It's very simple to use, you just type in a search query and hit search.

The site will then generate a page of information links about your search topic. It collects information from multiple media and different sources from books, blogs , text images to video and even Twitter references.

Here's a couple of example pages I created, just click the titles to see the pages compile themselves.

This is a great tool for creating reading and research tasks for students, based around authentic materials. It creates genuine web based reading tasks that demand that students assess clues to text content from multiple sources before exploring the links, then read or watch for gist to check relevance before reading / listening more deeply for specific information.

The pages will always create similar though not identical content so don't create very specific reading and research tasks, make sure the tasks are general and more generic.

Here are some possible reading / research tasks you could use which would work for most topics:

  • Get students to look at the information and use it to create a quiz on the topic. They find information that interests them and write questions to quiz the rest of the class.
  • Set students to find 5 - 10 facts about a topic. You could stipulate some of these need to be negative aspects and some positive to make it more challenging.
  • Get students to search the page and decide which of the sources it links to is the single most informative or interesting.
  • Get students to research a topic and create a multimedia poster about it using text, images and video embedded. You could use something like Glogster for them to show their results.
  • Get students to research a topic and create a short documentary or news report about it. If you have access to a video camera you could video their presentations.
Of course you still have to be careful with younger students as you can't control what comes in to the page, and also expect much less of lower level students and set them quite simple tasks, perhaps as simple as pulling out some images and describing them etc.

This is a great way to generate web based reading tasks from authentic materials that students can access in an authentic way. I hope you find Mashpedia and these suggestions useful.

Related links:

Nik Peachey

Thursday, 14 May 2009

The Digital Research Tools Wiki

The DIRT (Digital Research Tools) wiki is a fantastic resource that I stumbled upon a couple of days ago. This is how the site describes itself:

"This wiki collects information about tools and resources that can help scholars (particularly in the humanities and social sciences) conduct research more efficiently or creatively. Whether you need software to help you manage citations, author a multimedia work, or analyze texts, Digital Research Tools will help you find what you're looking for"

In fact this is a bit of an understatement, as the wiki is a fantastically rich source of information and links to a huge range of tools that will be of interest to almost any educator.

Here are just the first few categories:
Within a few moments of starting to search I had already fond this really nice tool for creating slide shows from Diigo bookmarks

I think it could probably take me the rest of the year to search through and write about all the interesting things on the site.
Really fantastic resource. You can't fail to find something useful on DiRT.

Related links:

Nik Peachey