Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Natural History Museum visits Leicestershire

Snibston Discovery Park near Coalville is always a great place to visit – especially until the end of October 2010. They are hosting a fabulous photographic exhibition from the Natural History Museum.

The stunning displays of wildlife photographs from around the world are truly amazing – these pictures just can’t do the display justice – but they may give a quick taste.

snibston pictures1

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Microsoft Teacher Boot Camp

Better Late Than Never

I managed to get along to the first day of the teacher boot camp in Reading in August. I’ve been meaning to write something about it since then.

In addition to the specific materials, ideas and products which  we worked with, there were a few technologies also added in during general discussion. Here are just a few of them.

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Easy ways to cause trouble

Who would have thought it?

number balloons breaking pole

Here’s a fascinating problem I saw in a school today.

The current teacher is constantly re-calibrating their whiteboard.

Here’s why. These number balloons were attached between the pole for the projector and a wall.

Unfortunately, this is an old school building and the projector pole is coming down from a 20 foot high ceiling. When I took the balloons down I was very surprised at the weight of the rope and balloons.

‘Give me a lever long enough and I’ll move the world’ – the levering effect of the balloons on such a long strut has been to BEND the pole! This is a serious piece of steel tube!

Do you have any similar stories of ‘good ideas’ that caused horrendous problems?

Future of Technology in Education 2010

A Report from the Ministry of Truth*


The Future of Technology in Education meeting gave some great insights and ideas into – well – the future of technology in Education! (Some of the sessions were quite heavily focussed to Higher Education and didn’t appear to fit too well with primary schools, so this is a summary of a summary).

For some time I’ve felt that the lines between IT in the commercial sector, voluntary sector and education are blurring. The speakers today confirmed this – and also added the home sector in the mix.

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Using Autocollage to Make a WordPress Heading

Make the header bar stand out


Many of the themes in WordPress allow you to add your own image bar to give the site a feel to better suit you.

Autocollage is a great tool for making those image bars. I cover how to get Autocollage free if you’re a teacher here (and there are some instructions there at the same time).

The task is easiest broken down into 3 steps – get the pictures, make the collage then make the heading bar.

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WordPress and Free Software Session

Part 2 – The Free Software Bit

I intended to run through some of the free software and ideas I’d picked up at the Microsoft Boot Camp and from one of the delegates from the Google Teacher Academy. It didn’t quite work out that way.

During the Microsoft Boot Camp, we were reminded of some of the free stuff available when you become a member of the Partners in Learning Network. I’ve subscribed to it now for over a year and in my experience have received very few follow on emails (maybe one a month)


We looked at this during our session, and I’ve covered it in some detail in a previous blog post – Initially here with add on notes here and here

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Microsoft, Wordpress and Videos

Never the twain

Do you have the video upgrade option from WordPress.

I use it on this blog – the reason? By hosting the videos with the site itself, then any user can see all of my content. To simply link to video feed channels may be problematic, as these video feeds are often blocked inside schools.

So things were working just fine until we started using Community Clips to capture screens and make instructional videos. Community Clips is an excellent free resource from Microsoft, but – I added this video on July 13th


So ‘about a couple of minutes’ has become ‘about a couple of months’.

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Safe Image Searching

And the copyright has been sorted out as well

 The National Education Network Image Gallery has a mass of useful images, videos and audios for you to use in schools.

 It’s been pointed out to me that sometimes the search methods can be a bit ‘challenging’. There’s also very little to help you navigate (if there is, I couldn’t find it). So – here goes.

On the Teachers Page of the gallery is a very instructive document on how to download images and find either by browsing or by using the advanced search.

So – what about the basic search button?


Let’s see a few terms – I know my daughter put on a picture of a red squirrel. So let’s see what that gets ..


Not really.

Changing our search term to


Gives –


When you have the display on screen, the slideshow button gives you a slideshow of your search results.

A potential use in a school?

Pick a subject – for example Thames.

When the results show, select slideshow,then use one of the transition options and adjust the timing – this could make a great introduction to a subject – or even – ‘do you know what it is yet?’


Could your colleagues benefit from easy to access, safe images? How much more powerful will the gallery be if more people add material to it?

Is your disk filling up?

And you don’t know why?

Pocket digital cameras can quickly create monster video files. The original video of the Canadian Freight Train is 221Mb – from a pocket digital camera!

You could always browse your way through Windows Explorer and just figure it out – or you could download a fabulous free tool called SequoiaView and let that help you figure it out.

Here’s a pretty picture of my disk usage. I’m about to replace my hard drive anyway – that will be a future blog post – so it’s time to clear out the junk. But where is the junk?

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Roman Roads on Leicestershire Warwickshire Border

A piece of history – any information board? No!

I saw a twitter request t’other day for any royalty free pictures of Roman Roads – as I live quite close to a major Roman junction I went out and had a look.

On the edge of the parish of Claybrooke in Leicestershire there is the crossing of 2 of the most important roads to the Romans.

The A5 (also known as Watling Street) ran from Holyhead to Dover, whilst the Fosse Way runs from Exeter to Lincoln.

high cross

also marks the division of these two –

leics road sign               Warwicks Road Sign

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