Wednesday, 25 April 2007


Tomorrow morning I fly to Glasgow and then to London in preparation for Architecture Network Center conference.

This is a 2 day conference. The first speaker is Hal MacLean of Clever Atom.

After looking at his blurb I realised that we could bracket the 2 days with some basic technologies.

First I Goggled him and found his Blog. This give me a lot more background information about him and his outlook. It told me that we thought along similar lines.

I then emailed him and introduced myself and suggested some simple collaboration to exemplify what we were both talking about.

He replied very quickly and positively.

I called him and we talked.

I setup a Wiki for the event and after.

I have now setup a Marratech Room (Private, sorry but I will record it) which I plan to use for 2 S1 pupils to demonstrate their use of Sketchup and the island history project.

I think this will have a huge psychological impact. A small island school telling people in London what they are doing creates a huge change in mindset for the pupils. Who knows maybe a change in mindset for the Architecture Educators as well.

I think it would be great if anyone could keep an eye on procedures and maybe ask questions or make observations? I think making people realise that this has a much wider audience then the immediate would strike a cord too.

The first workshop starts tomorrow at 9-30.

Myself and Tassy will be on from 11am till 1 then again from 2 till 3.

Though I hope the Wiki will have a much longer lifespan

Sunday, 15 April 2007


I see from CNET News that the first OLPC Devices have been given into the hands of the end users.

From Blog Pics

What a brilliant concept the OLPC is. It allows large scale Creation, sharing and using of educational resources.

I have read much about this project from the beginning. It has had many observers initially laughing and then attacking the project. Some were very well thought out questions but others were ......... infantile at times.

In terms of what we plan for our pupils ........ well I think the model is quite different. Though I have been watching closely to see how they solve the similar problems we have.

What do you think of the OLPC?

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Friday, 13 April 2007

Architecture Centre Network -ACN

From Blog Pics

At the end of this month I am off to London. Myself and Tassy Thomson from The Lighthouse. We have been asked to run a workshop for Architecture education staff from around the UK.

This is not the first time myself and Tassy have worked together. In fact we are old friends.

The invite came about from working on a workshop last summer in Finland courtesy of The Alvar Aalto Institute. Where we developed resources to allow young people to explore the built environment. I suggested using ICT (no surprise) to record what the young people experienced.

Therefore we have asked to give examples of cheap ways of using ICT to work with young people.

One thing I am keen to do is to get the pupils on Islay to get involved. I have ask 3 pupils to demonstrate the use of sketchup/Google earth via Video Conference and a bridge to the Internet.

Tassy has suggested getting the participants to come up with an educational project proposal using the skills introduced during the workshop and getting feed back from the pupils on Islay. I think this a great idea. It has several outcomes. The first and most obvious is that the participants will take away some real and practical but to me the idea of pupils on a Scottish island telling people in London how to do something and having their opinion listened too is a huge psychological switch. This will boost the confidence of the pupils and make the big city people think wider in how and who they work with.

The app's we will introduce are:


Sketchup 3d modeling app which can place buildings into

Google Earth

Picassa Cataloguing app but has some simple image editing

The Gimp full blown image editor – Shame about the name

Audacity – powerful sound editor

Freemind – mind mapping app

Photostory – simple app to create sound, image based video

Westpoint Bridge Design – engineering bridge solutions

Pre installed Windows


Pre installed Apple




Useful websites no particular order General use for using mobile ICT Great to start off on how to Cemetry Scene Investigation Pupils investigating their own community I love this way of working Picked this up at BarCampScotland Bridge engineering site Lots of uses to link to the curriculum understanding creative commons of course! A great example of a wiki a space to create a starting wiki Maybe for the participants on the day


So what have I missed out on? Anything I should add in?


Wednesday, 11 April 2007

UMPC Text Entry

I have found some great video's from Craig Pringle from New Zealand. It shows some of the use of text entry on a UMPC

Another interesting thing which I picked up was in PC Pro Magazine. A small filler on the fact that the writers at the magzine have been buying Graphics tablets to use with Vista PC's. The reason for this is that Vista has tablet ability built in. Therefore they get full inking with a cheap graphics tablet



I have been looking for a way of adding highlighting to web pages for a while now. In PowerPoint (or any office app) the inking is built in to Tablet XP.

From Blog Pics

After much searching I found M2's Screen Ink. I have been using it for about 3 month's now.

It is a great little app but it has not been developed since 2003. One of the best things I have found about it is when it is used in 'Live' mode you can add ink on top of video's or animations. This makes using web pages in class, with the wireless projector, much easier. I can add emphasis where I want as I talk.


Sunday, 1 April 2007

Second Opinion

John at Sangaig has made a point I have been pushing for a long time now.

John has been using the Gyration Mouse and Keyboard System and say's that he will not be recommending any more IWB's for the upper school. Though I agree they have a great place in the lower primary classes.

This is my experience as well.

I have been using the Logitech Bluetooth Mouse and Keyboard for quite a while now. and have always liked the freedom. It is the basic way of interacting with a class via a projected image. This took me onto the Interwrite ClassPAD.

This is a great way of getting the an intermediate level of interactivity into the classroom. It has dedicated software and can, again, be used from anywhere in the classroom.

We are now moving onto tablet PC's and wireless projectors to allow interactivity from anywhere in the class and full wall projection, if you want it. Have a look at a previous post.

The fully interactive class will be when the pupils have UMPC's, the teachers have tablets both connecting to the network and the projectors wirelessly.

Not far away now .......


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