Follow www.kevindajee.com

Follow www.kevindajee.com

Greetings to all my readers and followers. Please could you visit my new WordPress self-hosted site at www.kevindajee.com and subscribe and follow. My apologies for not posting sooner. I have been busy writing as always but I have also been working on developing a self-hosted site and I am pleased to announce it is finally now up and running.

I look forward to connecting with you all again and of course welcoming new readers!

Please let me know of any issues with the new site, and any feedback as always is much appreciated.

Regards

Kevin Dajee

@KevinDajee

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Addiction & Something Extraordinary

Addiction & Something Extraordinary

By Kevin Dajee

Who would have thought that an innocuous jar of pickles could cause such destruction? He died quite swiftly; I recycled the jar and ate the pickles. I sat there, a phone in one hand with the dating app open and a pickle in the other. It’s completely a love/hate relationship and they have somewhat of an addictive game-like property. At times, looking for love and affection was also becoming more and more like online shopping where I choose my next order. I used to have a thing for origami, the control and manipulation and how a simple ordinary piece could become something extraordinary with a bit of effort and precision. That was then and so I simply substituted one addiction for another. Sure it’s completely superficial, with fickle relationships and a dead date for my efforts. He was just another that I could not control nor could I manipulate, he was like any other so far- disappointing and just very ordinary. A jar of pickles however, well, each time used never ceases to amaze, and that with concerted effort and a well-timed and placed delivery it transforms into a thing of beauty, an extraordinary tool. They say that the human skull shatters like glass after a headshot. Well, I can confirm that a glass jar of pickles can crack a human skull, sometimes the skull cracks before the jar- pretty extraordinary I would say! Maybe I have indeed found my newest addiction?

Online Learning Tools- Quizzes

Online Learning Tools- Quizzes

There is a vast array of online learning and game-based learning tools 16395-technology-in-the-classroom-web-2-0-resourcesthat are freely available and which teachers can use to encourage engagement, participation and a sense of fun into the classroom- using these tools together with a smartphone, mobile device and tablet can create greater engagement using a medium students enjoy and are often familiar in using. Such advanced technology at your fingertips and the improved response rate of the technology and software provides the teacher and students with more opportunities to utilise devices that can be embedded seamlessly in  a lesson. Tony Stark would approve I am sure!

Teachers can create an interactive and dynamic classroom environment using, for example, online quizzes to test a student’s knowledge and also generate a bit of fun competition in class.

There are a couple of quiz based online learning tools that I am using and that appear useful, but I am yet to realise the full functionality of these, and each time I try one out I’m thinking of different ways to use them. In its simplest form though, I am using them as a quick fire test or quiz in order to test the basics of a topic being studied and to aid in the preparation of exams. Quizzes can enable you to test student knowledge using different question styles including multiple choice, checkboxes and true/false so that you and a student can gain a quick insight into whether in the least, basic information is being retained from a topic.

I am mainly interested in speed of use and data response in these as well as how quickly quizzes can be generated. I have used the following 3 quiz based tools in various ways, so they are recommended but I shall provide further details of how I am using some of them in a future blog post:

Kahoot!

http://www.getkahoot.com Kahoot! is a free game-based learning platform that makes it Kahoot 1fun to learn any subject, in any language, and on any device. I am using this quite a bit and I am also aware of colleagues using this to gain quick fire test type information about understanding on certain topics. I really like this site and the fact that it is extremely easy to put together a quiz to share with students in class, factored with the ease of use on mobile devices makes this a winner for me! Look out for a future blog post by me on this one!

Goconqr

www.goconqr.com Provides free online learning tools and signing up allows you to goconqr-logocreate Quizzes, Mind Maps, Flashcards, & Notes Encouraging students to sign up allows you to create a group and invite each of your students to become a member. I have not used to the full extent but I can certainly see myself using a bit more of the variety of tools this site has to offer.

Socrative

I like Socrative, but I find that it is somewhat time Socrative- Logoconsuming at times to generate questions to use in a quiz, but once you do the use of real-time questioning, result aggregation, and visualization, giving you instant insight into levels of understanding is extremely powerful. It is Socrative- Teacher & Student Logoalso mobile device friendly in the sense that both teacher and students can download applications on their phones.

The instructions for using any of the above 3 tools are available on their sites and appear straightforward.

So give online learning and game-based learning Quizzes a go if you haven’t already. The technology is so much better in classrooms now and most students are equipped with mobile devices that such quizzes and activities are much easier and responsive to use.

If you are using anything else in terms of online quizzes and other online learning tools please share and comment.

The Revision Showcase

The Revision Showcase

As we approach the summer I find myself once again looking forward to well deserved holidays and the usual latest Marvel cinematic experience. Avengers Age of UltronFor myself and many other teachers and learners it will also be the time to look towards ways of using the time effectively in the run up to the impending summer exams. As this time once again approaches, I find it only right to reflect on a really marvellous event that occurred in my Psychology classes during the last 4 weeks before the exams last year. I had previously ran a mini-revision showcase in December as it was roughly the half way point of the course and with an internal mock assessment looming when students got back in January a December Revision Showcase seemed well timed. So with the same motivation and drive by learners and myself, and just like a Marvel Cinematic movie sequel of blockbuster proportions (I’m thinking Avengers here!), we brought back the Revision Showcase for April to help prepare for the summer exams. as-psychology-revision-showcase-edit

I organise 2 each year (December and April) for each class and there is no precise method of conducting the session. For my classes though it consisted of learners completing their revision notes and bringing them into the lesson; a type of show and tell. Learners would display their work in front of them on tables or posters on the wall. Learners demonstrate a variety of ideas in revision strategies and it is a real insight in how learners actively revise.

Some ideas learners showed: there were the usual condensed notes, typed up notes, cue cards, and mind and ideas map. What I was pleased to see were learners using a learning resource they have on them all the time: their mobile phones and tablets. With these devices some learners photographed their written or typed notes and kept them on their phones in their gallery to view at anytime, some learners presented their revision notes as a recorded audio notes on their phones that they would playback to themselves.

After learners had displayed their work, all learners were then given a few chocolates each and some pieces of paper or post-it notes. The activity involved learners moving around the class placing a chocolate on the revision notes that they liked most as well as also leaving positive notes on pieces of paper as to why they liked the revision notes. Some learners and with permission, also took pictures of notes they liked. It also gave me a chance to go round with my mark book, talk to each learner and make notes about each learner and their revision strategies and progress. All this took place with music being played in the background (my taste of Jimi Hendrix and The Beatles did not go down so well, so democratic process amongst the class meant current chart music is what the DJ had to add to the playlist). This took approximately 40 minutes and culminated in a wider feedback session at the end whereby each learner would be asked to pick out at least one idea to try out based on what they have seen during the activity.

I have found this activity serves several purposes:
(1) To encourage learners (and giving them a bit of a positive push) to get their revision notes completed nice and early so then they can revise directly from these and then focus on exam question practice.

(2) Giving learners the opportunity to learn from each other.

(3) Allowing learners to show off and showcase their efforts and work.

(4) To provide the teacher with an idea of how the learner revises and allows the teacher to check progress with regards to revision and offer further advice.

(5) Allow the teacher to discover the varied revision strategies students use.

(6) If timed well, it can be effective in preparing for an upcoming mock exam and would allow the learner to determine if their revision notes are good enough. Changes in revision strategies can then be made in preparation for their next mock or ‘actual’ exam.

As in any well made Marvel movie, the final result is a culmination of hard work and effort and ongoing testing and revision of strategies. Preparing and taking summer exams and the final result is no different.

Revision Showcase; if you have yet to try it, just give it a go, it may help learners work towards achieving their own summer blockbuster!

Psychology Quote of The Day

Psychology Quote of The Day

“Out of your vulnerabilities will come your strengthPsychology Quote Logo

– Sigmund Freud (1856 –1939) was an Austrian neurologist, now known as the father of psychoanalysis. He created psychoanalysis, a clinical method for treating psychopathology through dialogue between a patient and a psychoanalyst. He is recognised for introducing concepts about the unconscious mind. Freud is one of the most influential figures in the history of psychology.

The What, Who & When of Horror Films: Cooties (A Preview)

The What, Who & When of Horror Films: Cooties (A Preview)

cooties posterWhat is the Film? Cooties

Who is in it? Elijah Wood, Rainn Wilson, Alison Pill, Jack McBrayer, Leigh Whannell, Jorge Garcia, Nasim Pedrad.

Who is the Director: Cary Murnion and Jonathan Milott

Who is the Writer?  Leigh Whannell and Ian Brennan

When do we get it? September 18, 2015 

What the hell is it about? “I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only make them think.” Wise words indeed from a great philosopher. I am a big advocate of this particular quote by Socrates in my line of work and practice. As a psychologist and as a teacher I can plan for most things that would allow me to understand and nurture the young eager minds that I encounter each day, and offering both food for thought and intellectual nourishment is key to the profession.

However, what if a zombie-like apocalypse hits and I’m faced with learners who are now incapable of rational and independent thought and are no longer present on the register to be intellectually nourished but instead are now eager and hungry for my brains? That’s where the horror movie comedy ‘Cooties’ can help!

We all know what Cooties are right? No…? Well in true teacher form, here is some information before we dig a little deeper into this long overdue release of a movie.

‘Cooties’ is a pseudo-germ and fictional childhood disease used as a rejection term, typically used in the USA and Canada, and is similar to the term known as the dreaded ‘Lurgi’ as more commonly used in the UK. A child is said to “catch” cooties through close contact of an “infected” person or from a person of the opposite sex of the same age. Often the “infected” person is someone who is perceived as “different”, such as being of the opposite sex, shy, or who displays peculiar behaviours or mannerisms. The phrase is most commonly used by children. Usually it is a phrase that little boys accuse little girls of having and vice versa E.g “now you’ve got girl cooties“. It is typically used in the context of a tease or playground taunt either in a cruel or playful way. However……… it has a more ‘real and deadly’ meaning in theCTS_003765.CR2 context of the following film.

In Cooties, A band of teachers must fight for their lives when a mysterious virus hits an isolated elementary school, transforming the kids into a feral swarm of mass savages. It’s a zombie comedy movie about kids who become infected with a virus and turn into bloodthirsty monsters. It’s teachers versus students, with Wood, Wilson, and Pill fighting for their lives against cannibalistic youngsters at the educational establishment known as Fort Chicken Elementary. The film hilariously seems to demonstrate that kids can literally turn into little monsters. It may even provide some preparatory advice for teachers who may encounter such an apocalyptic scenario in their place of work!cooties-still 2

There’s a fun comedic cast and I am definitely looking forward to seeing Jorge Garcia (yes….Dude! The awesome Hurley from LOST!). The trailer seems brilliant and a lot of fun!

If the name of one of the co-writers sounds familiar, that’s because you have more than likely viewed his material before. Leigh Whannell is already known for writing films directed by his CTS_000582.CR2friend James Wan, including Saw (2004), Dead Silence (2007), Death Sentence (2007), Insidious (2011) and Insidious: Chapter 2 (2013). Whannell made his directorial debut on Insidious: Chapter 3 (2015). Whannel wrote the first installment of Saw (2004) , co-wrote the second and third installments of the franchise, and appeared as the character “Adam Stanheight” in four of the installments. In Cooties, Whannell again plays another character “Doug”, a socially inept science teacher.

The horror comedy marks the feature film directorial debut for directors Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion. Cooties had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in 2014 but CootiesPoster_(1)_1200_1729_81_sfailed to find a 2014 general release anywhere. For some time we have been awaiting news on a proper 2015 release. Since premiering at Sundance the film has undergone reshoots and is now delivering a new ending. Cooties opened The Stanley Film Festival in April 2015. For horror enthusiasts out there, The Stanley Hotel, is the location that inspired the Overlook Hotel in the Stephen King novel The Shining. 

It now seems that the best we shall get is a limited release for Cooties, and through a video on demand service beginning on September 18, 2015, courtesy of Lionsgate’s new distribution service Lionsgate Premiere.

I do like a good horror comedy that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and if there are zombie-like beings served with some disembowelment and brains, and teachers taking down zombie students that’s even better! Let’s hope the movie meets expectation and is as entertaining a film as it sounds and that we are treated to seeing both conclusions when the film eventually arrives on DVD and Blu-ray.

QR Codes: How to use those Strange Looking Square Designs in Education

QR Codes: How to use those Strange Looking Square Designs in Education

qrcode.29605084KevinDajeeTwitterYou see these strange looking square designs everywhere these days: cereal boxes, discount coupons, newspapers, posters, and adverts. Attending a recent comic-con event I was surprised to see QR codes in quite a few places that allowed me to scan and access further information about my favourite films and TV shows without needing to type in long web addresses. I even saw someone with a QR code tattooed on their arm next 2015-04-27 23.03.34to an image of a Xenomorph (from the Alien film franchise), unfortunately I did not get close enough to scan it and I am still curious as to where the code would have taken me! It is this feeling of curiosity and self-discovery in using smartphones to learn information that I wanted to bring to my teaching and learning environment.

So what are QR Codes? QR codes (where QR stands for Quick Response) are two-dimensional barcodes that can be read using devices such as smartphones, tablets and laptops. They can link directly to websites, videos, articles, social media pages and much more. All that is needed is a camera on your device and a QR code reader which can be downloaded for free as an app.12-QR-Quote-TonyVincent

The fact is that most students (especially  those aged 16-19 and adult learners) own mobile smartphones that can read QR codes in seconds. So, how can these little black squares be used in education and aid the techno-friendly teacher?

They are very easy to generate. To create a QR code linked to online resources, you only need to copy and paste the address of a web page or video link into some QR generating software. I tend to use qrstuff.com for online resource links and videos. However, for simple text based content that you would like being linked to a QR code you can use goqr.me. For Audio Voice based content- you can use qrvoice.net. With some software, you can change the colour schemes of the QR codes as well and in some cases even the shape and pattern.

Once you have produced your code, you can then transfer it to your teaching resource, leave it on the interactive whiteboard for students to scan, or print on the material of your choice.

I have found that using technology that students actively use like QR codes and Smartphones can create extra engagement and a sense of curiosity and discovery. There are lots of ways QR codes can be used, and with creativity the possibilities are infinite. Most recently in the teaching of Psychology, I have successfully used them in the following ways:

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Learning Stations- Placing codes in different areas of the room or on tables, these will take students (can be in groups) to different online activities, videos or content. Students gather and note down information and discuss findings.

Quizzes and Questioning- Inputting a series of questions and answers within codes in a treasure hunt type activity, in which classtools.net can be used.

Use as a Resource Link in work booklets and handouts: linking students to examples of essays, videos, mark schemes, articles and instructions to a task

Provide Extension Assignments- A great way to provide optional activities for students who want to excel is to simply put the code on an assignment and let them follow it to the extension activity or question.

Incorporated in Posters and information handouts- Placed at school/college events and promotional material.

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As teachers we don’t necessarily want fancy gizmos or expensive and complex software; time and efficiency is important to us. We have an opportunity to utilise resources that we generally already have access to inside and outside of our classrooms:

Smartphones & QR codes- Together they are simply another tool in your teacher’s toolbox which can create some interesting lessons!

If you have any further ideas of how QR codes could be used please share!

Kevin Dajee (Follow on Twitter & Facebook)