Thursday, May 29, 2008

Visualers- get them out of the closet (or cupboard)

Some schools have been slow in their adoption of visualisers and in many settings the visualiser is most at home in the cupboard. This is a shame, as it can offer a lot to the teacher and learner. At best it can allow the whole class to see a piece of writing, which can be jointly edited and celebrated. All this without the need for scanning or typing up on the IWB.

My other favourite use of the visualiser is making the small book into a big book! This is so simple and so under utilised. You just stick the small paperback, library size story text or science textbook under the visualiser and instantly everyone can see what your talking about.

When plugged in via USB to the computer and linked to SMART, Movie Maker or the supplied screen capture application, then the kit becomes even more versatile. I can then capture pages from books, this works best with multi-modal work, where the image is as important as the text. These can then be annotated over and/ or used in a notebook presentation or in activities such as sound spotting, i.e placing sound files over different areas of an image of people or animals, which when clicked on will reveal what they're thinking. This can be another form of capturing a brain storm.

Recently I worked with a school where teachers were working on plants and growing cress seeds. We used Smart notebook to take a picture of the seeds from seed to germination to green shoots.These images were then available for the children to sequence on screen as an electronic plant diary, they could also see very clearly the stages of growth, without some manes of capture the stages leading up to fully grown would have been forgotten or difficult to recall. Of course we could have left the visualiser running over a few days to capture a movie of the seeds growing. I have done this before with the digital microcope but this software resizes the screen and then restricts you working on other applications.

The Visualiser Forum
This organisation has been set to help promote the effective use of visualiser technology in schools. They are keen to lobby for more funding for visualisers in school and to identify and share examples of good practice. If you want more information on using a visualiser then you can contact Dave 'Mr Visualiser' Smith from Havering who is the chairman of the forum, a teacher and a keen collecter of visualisers, he is rumoured to have over 7 in his garage!

Visit the Visualiser forum today and stick it in your reader/igoogle page for ideas, inspiration and all things visualisery

Ewan won a visualiser at the raffle at Teachemeet and wants to give it to a good home.

Yesterday Ewan wrote on his blog:

And the best suggestion on how to use it over the next week will get one. On my continuing posts from last week's adventures, I must let you know about something I won.

I never win anything, so I was quite excited to win one of the new generation of visualisers at the TeachMeetcharity raffle, courtesy of the Visualiser Forum, represented by Dave Smith. You know, the ones you see in lecture halls and being used by Edward de Bono during his talks.
Basically, though, it's sitting in London, waiting for a home with someone who would use it far more frequently and far better than I would. I want to give it away.
To know who would use it best, I'd like to open up the opportunity to my blog reading colleagues in the UK (simply for ease of getting hold of the thing) to write a quick comment on this post telling me how on earth you would put this visualiser to use in your context. Feel free to email the blog post address to colleagues and put in a group effort, on several different comments. The best one - for me - wins.

If you want some ideas you might want to check out the new Visualiser Forum blog, a community blog pulling together ideas from kinds of disciplines and levels. Currently, the large pristine box is sitting in an office just off London's Central Line and, ideally, you would be able to pick it up from there. In the meantime, tell me what you would do with this.
We wait to see who will be picking it up, but on a check this morning there were 5 comments on the blog.
Visit Ewan's blog and read some of the desperate pleas to take the kits away, there are some really good ideas, but you might have a better one!


Visualiser, Document Camera fan said...

Thanks for highlighting on the uses of visualisers. Check out this website for more uses:

Stefan said...

Good Job! :)

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