Saturday, 29 December 2012

The old year is going

The end of the year is close and it pertains to sum up the days gone by.
I do not pine for the year that is coming to an end and I do not write new year resolutions.

Everything I feel has been said about a hundred years ago by Ella Wheeler Wilcox.

Made with
Happy New Year to all!

Friday, 7 December 2012

Computers - friends or foes?

Recently I attended an award ceremony for the best teacher blogs 2012 organized in Latvia.
Yes, my blog was chosen as one of the best (so far, I'd like to add, because I am sure a new wave of talented and insightful bloggers will appear in no time).
While the recognition of my work was gratifying and inspiring, the discussions which followed the event made me think about the fragile reputation of technologies and computers, in particular.

It seems there are still lots of teachers who would gladly ban computers from students' lives blaming the machines solely for the kids' deteriorating physical bodies.

I get irrationally defensive when I hear vehement assertions that computers are to be blamed for the generation of weak, unfit children and their inability to perform well in sport or other physical activities. It reminds me of another popular culprit - PowerPoint, which is held responsible for all unsuccessful, unprofessional, boring presentations.

While I admit that computers can have a negative effect on two things - handwriting and eyesight, I can not get rid of the feeling that we would like to make computers account for physical laziness, inert lifestyle, too much eating, too few walks, parental neglect, lack of interests.

We forget to acknowledge that the use of computers develops young people's brain, their ability to cope with unexpected situations, their decision making skills, their reaction rate, their dexterity after all.

I don't even dare to hope that the time will come when schools here will approve of the flipped classroom method in teaching. That would be one straw too many...

I'd really like to hear your opinion. You can write in Latvian as well.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Snowflakes, real and digital

Today I was a kid playing with online tools and creating snowflakes.
Because it is winter. Because Christmas is coming. Because it is snowing...
Flitting spots of white
Lighting on dead flower stalks:
Winter’s butterflies.
                            / "Snowflakes" by Susan Gundlach /

There are lots of tools, I tested just some of them. It was a pleasant and creative process and the only problem with some tools was the lack of the saving or downloading feature. If you really want to save your snowflake, make a screenshot.
This would be a great activity for younger students. A teacher can make a competition for the most beautiful snowflake and ask them to vote online for the best or put them on the class blog. Students can make and send a virtual postcard with their snowflake.

Cut and enjoy! This website lets you download your flake.

Snowflake Designer
The website is designed for kids, so it's safe and friendly.

Snowdays Snowflake generator
Easy to control your creative process because you can see a real-time preview of the flake you are cutting.

Snowflake Workshop
A beautifully designed site.

Create a snowflake
When the flake is ready, you can make it rotate in 2D or 3D and just admire its beauty.