7 articles Tag PD

Slowmation Workshop

At our annual professional development day, I hosted a double session on Slowmations. Slowmations are stopmotion animations, but instead of taking 20-30 photos to make 1 second of footage, you only take 1-2 photos per second. This makes the final movie more jerky, but much less time consuming and accessible to students of all ages.

Here is the detailed handout on how to make a slowmation. Click here to download it.

Below are some great examples of slowmations that teachers in the workshop made:

This is Todd, Eb and Susan’s tsunami slowmation. It looks super fun and I’m sure their children would LOVE to make an animation like this themselves.

Jens, Tony and Gregg on how to use a rowing machine. This one is interesting as it’s the first slowmation that I have seen use real people. I think their’s is very polished and came out great!

A great chemistry slowmation by Antoine and Cameron:

This is a great video from Shauna and Bruce in the math department. I love that they have really made a possibly dry topic very interesting and engaging.

As you can see, the animations can be used for a range of purposes, age groups and subject. Get your students making slowmations in class to really engage them and solidify the concepts learned in class.

I am also planning to present on this same topic at the up coming Association of German International School conference in January. I’m really looking forward to turning some more teachers onto the powers of using slowmations to really solidify understanding of a range of topics.


For me, I love to customize EVERYTHING I own. I think that’s how I became competent on computers, because I would go through all the menus and customize everything to exactly how I want it.

During my middle school ICT class, I’d like my students to customize their computers, to make their workflow more efficient. Here are some videos outlining how to customize your computer:

Customizing Windows 7

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Customizing Firefox

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How To Make A Booking On Google Apps

EDIT: This is video is actually wrong, this shows you how to do it from an admin account, to see how to actually do it please click here.


This is a very quick video to give and introduction to or a refresher to how to make a room booking with your Google Apps account. It does seem quite cumbersome but once you get the hang of it it is actually really powerful.

(Sorry for going so fast, I figured it was a video so you could stop and start it as needed)

Apple Distinguished Educator 2011 Applications Being Accepted

Last year I was lucky enough to be selected for the first Apple Distinguished Educator program to run in Japan. I was honored to be selected and proudly attended the weekend workshop in September. During the weekend we were introduced to our rolls and responsibilities as ADE’s as well as getting the opportunity to meet and get to know other ADE’s from all over Japan.

If you would like to become an ADE of 2011, Apple recently opened up applications for it’s Japan class. Click here to lodge your application.

JASCD TIOM Slowmation Presentation

On Saturday I presented at JSACD (Japan Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development) Try It On Monday professional development day at the Apple Japan headquarters in Hatsudai, Tokyo. I presented on Slowmation and it’s benefits in education.

It was a great one hour session, with two groups making their very own Slowmation video and learning a lot about the amazing features of Keynote and iPod Touch’s.

Here is the video from one of the groups. With all the props being pre made, this took the groups about 30 minutes to create which was a great effort.

Tokyo Edutech

I have been discussing with a close friend Christine Usyak from YIS, about getting all of the ICT related staff in the international school around Tokyo together for a formal meeting. We have discussed this all school year and never really got around with distractions from the many side projects we have both been doing.

We decided we needed something after seeing how successful the librarians in the Kanto Plains have been with initiatives such as Sakura Medal and job-a-likes. So finally this Spring we decided to turn our vision into reality.

We had our first Tokyo Edutech meeting on Saturday the 22nd of May. We had over 14 participants from more than 7 school on the day and covered some excellent topics. We set futures goals for the group and shared a lot. It was hugely successful, much more than we expected and I personally can’t wait for the next one on October 1st at Nishimachi International School headed up by Shaun Kirkwood.

Make sure you make it down to the next meeting. For full information, sign up, future meets, minutes of events, etc. visit:


Google Docs Updates

Google Docs is an option that I have encourage my students to use all year. It’s a great way to collaborate all your documents, they are always available (they can never be left on the wrong computer, wrong software, wrong version, left on a USB drive, accidentally deleted, accidentally lost, etc.) plus the collaboration aspect is a great way to share documents. As a teach, students can share the document they are working on with you and you can see their progress over the course of the assignment. I have also been encouraging the staff I work with to use it more as well for all of these reason and more such as the form development tool, which allows you to create surveys, tests, feedback forms, etc. I used this with great success in a recent series of PD sessions I delivered. I used a form to sign up to the workshop, a for to give feedback and a form to see if a follow up session would be needed and what areas would be best to be covered in these sessions.

However, when presenting this PD, I came up with a list of downsides for Google Docs. Limited formatting options, problems with layout when importing documents, etc.

I was very excited when I saw, only a few days after I presented this, that Google Docs has implimented some new, great features that help address this and more. To see all of these in action, have a peep at this video:

So how do you use Google Docs at your school/in your classroom? Any great ideas worth sharing? Any downsides?