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.

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)

The Babadook (2014): A manifestation of grief and mental illness

The Babadook (2014): A manifestation of grief and mental illness

Please Note: Some readers may consider the below to contain spoilers. Babadook 1

I have wanted to write this up for sometime but found myself still thinking about the Australian horror film, The Babadook (2014) and the multitude of levels the film works on. I was not scared or terrified by what Jennifer Kent wrote and directed here, and that’s down to the years of watching all manner of horror and finally being de-sensitized by most things I visually see in film. But I was however fascinated about how the film put across a visually terrifying representation of the manifestation of mental illness.

The film tells the tale of a single mother, Amelia (played by Essie Davis), struggling to raise her increasingly violent and disturbed son, Samuel (played by Noah Wiseman). Samuel’s father, Oskar, was killed in a violent car accident as he was driving Amelia to the hospital to give birth to their son. The anniversary of her husband’s death coinciding with her son’s birthday has caused Amelia to avoid celebrating Samuel’s birthday on the day for years. This, among other behaviors, is a manifestation of the subconscious resentment she feels towards her son. Cue some Freudian psychology here maybe? Continue reading “The Babadook (2014): A manifestation of grief and mental illness”

Paraskevidekatriaphobia- A Phobia That Some Will Experience Today

Paraskevidekatriaphobia- A Phobia That Some Will Experience Today

The superstition surrounding Friday the 13th is actually a combination of two separate fears- the fear of the number 13, called triskaidekaphobia, and the fear of Fridays. The fear of Friday the 13th, is called paraskevidekatriaphobia and is also known as friggatriskaidekaphobia.friday-the-13th-the-final-chapter-part-4-movie-poster

When I think of today’s date, I think of one of my favourite horror film franchises (with Friday the 13th Part IV: The Final Chapter being my favourite of the series).

However, for others there is a fear of today’s date that appears ingrained in Western culture. As Stuart Vyse (A Professor of Psychology) suggests “If nobody bothered to teach us about these negative taboo superstitions like Friday the 13th, we might in fact all be better off.”

Simply put, this is just a number and just a day like most other days and any superstitious belief or fear is a cognitive thought process that is irrational. The fear here is that of expectation and so is a ‘cognitive bias’. People who have a fear of the day would be very aware of all the negative things that occurred on Friday the 13th but would be less inclined to note the positives. People pass on their belief to others and associate negative aspects to this day; superstition is further perpetuated through the media.

So don’t fret too much, the day will be like any other, bad things and good things and everything in-between will occur in the world. To pass the time maybe, you could also watch some Jason Voorhees down at Camp Crystal Lake!

Psychology Quote of The Day

Psychology Quote of The Day

“It seems that the necessary thing to do is not to fear mistakes, to plunge in, to do the best that one can, hoping to learn enough from blunders to correct them eventually.”Psychology Quote Logo

– Abraham Maslow (1908 – 1970) was an American psychologist and founder of the school of thought known as humanistic psychology. He was also best known for creating Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, a theory of psychological health based on fulfilling innate human needs in priority, culminating in self-actualization.

Human Mind and Behaviour: Learning & Writing about New Things

Human Mind and Behaviour: Learning & Writing about New Things

Hi everyone! My name is Kevin Dajee; I am a Psychologist, Teacher, Writer, Researcher, Husband, Father, Zombie enthusiast, Fan of Horror, Sci-Fi and Comic books; Confirmed Geek and fulltime Raconteur. I have worked within clinical settings and lectured within Universities in the UK and have published research articles in peer reviewed journals.

Why do we do the things that we do? Are we really just a product of either nature or nurture? Is the concept of free will merely an illusion? The study of human mind and behaviour: how and why we think, feel, act and interact individually and in groups and perceive stimuli in different ways demonstrates how something we often take for granted is actually one of the most complex machines on Earth. psychology-design-resize-1-serpia.jpg

I enjoy learning and writing about new things especially within my discipline of psychology and so one function of this blog is to share written articles and insights mainly related but not necessarily exclusive to just psychology. I do have a diverse and varied interest in many things.

Please find me and follow me on Twitter, Facebook and this WordPress Blog to keep up-to-date with my posts. I look forward to writing more and hearing from you all.

Thanks for Reading! @KevinDajee