cell phones

Selfie – word of the year

Monday, December 9th, 2013 | trends | Comments Off

It was recently announced that the word of the year 2013 is selfie.

What is a selfie?  It is defined by the Oxford Dictionary Online as:

… a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.

We’ve all seen people taking selfies.  A picture is needed to complete a profile for a social medium or blog or other online engagement, and the easiest way to do so is to turn your cell phone around and snap.

The word selfie was first used in 2002 in an Australian online forum, and has steadily gained popularity until it was so widely used (both the word and the action) that it became word of the year in 2013.

A selfie in progress

A selfie in progress

It is wonderful how language evolves – new words are born every day and ubiquitous technology is accelerating the process.  Now that it’s the word of the year, teachers will have to accept selfie when a learner uses it in an essay.

I wonder when LOL and b4 will gain the same acceptance.

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There Was a Teacher

Thursday, October 11th, 2012 | education | Comments Off

With apology to Sir J C Squire, I reworked his poem, There Was an Indian, as follows:

There Was a Teacher

There was a teacher, who had known no change,
Who taught content within her comfort reach
Using books.  She heard a sudden strange
Beep-clicking noise: looked up; and gasped for speech.

For in her class, where she had ruled before,
Appeared on desks, by magic, small machines
With blinking lights, and knowledge in their stores
And nimble thumbs that follow prompts on tiny screens.

And she, in fear, this teacher all alone,
Her hands forgotten chalk and board,
Her lips gone pale, a heart gone cold as stone,
And stared, and saw, and did not understand,
A cell phone reigning now as lord,
Clasped firmly in each learner’s hand.

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CAPS: using cell phones to assist teachers and parents

Saturday, January 14th, 2012 | education | 1 Comment

As thousands of young South Africans start a 13 year journey from which they will emerge in 2025, the question on many lips is: will the outcome be any different from the class of 2011 as yet another adjustment is made to the national curriculum?  It is not only the learners who face the new academic year with trepidation, but  educators too as they implement the National Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS) for Grades R to 3 and Grade 10. Other grades will be implemented in 2013 and 2014.

Cell phones – the gateway to enhanced learning

What is CAPS?

Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS) are single, comprehensive, and concise policy documents to replace the current Subject and Learning Area Statements, Learning Programme Guidelines and Subject Assessment Guidelines for all subjects listed in the National Curriculum Statement Grades R to 12.  ( http://www.education.gov.za )

Teaching a curriculum that has been revised, changed, amended, adapted and reworked a number of times in the past 17 years, educators may rightly be concerned about how they will adopt the new system in their class in 2012. “Don’t despair; help is at hand!” says Kathy McCabe.

Kathy McCabe, CEO of Radical Learning, a training and skills development enterprise and software developer operating throughout South Africa, has developed a new product to support educators in implementing CAPS using cell phone technology. Says McCabe: “We have designed simple, effective daily lesson plans for teachers to use in maths and literacy from Grade R to Grade 3. With the companion product, a weekly homework activity schedule, parents too can keep up to date with what their children are learning.  Much needed support is available at the touch of a cell phone button! All that a teacher or parent needs is a cell phone that can access the internet.”

With cell phone penetration in South Africa at almost 100%, this aid to CAPS support is accessible to educators, learners and parents in even the most remote rural areas. Teachers can engage parents’ support by sending a cell phone message informing them of the homework schedule a week in advance. “The CAPS curriculum will be executed in such a way that all teachers around the country will be teaching the same concepts at approximately the same time. This makes the Radical Learning “teach CAPS” material practical and accessible for educators in all provinces.” says McCabe.

To try out these free samples online choose the website for the relevant grade:

Grade R – http://www.teachcaps.co.za/r

Grade 1 – http://www.teachcaps.co.za/1

Grade 2 – http://www.teachcaps.co.za/2

Grade 3 – http://www.teachcaps.co.za/3

For more information on “teach CAPS” contact Kathy McCabe at kathy@radicallearning.co.za or send an sms to 072 048 1089.

Post written by Ingrid Graham                                                                                                                                           Ingrid Graham Consulting      (+27 82 492 1873)       ingridg@xsinet.co.za

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SMS speak translator

Saturday, February 5th, 2011 | Tips | 2 Comments

If your teenage son sends you a text message and you don’t understand his SMS speak, there is hope.  Go to this translator, type in the obscure message, and you’ll have it translated!  Perhaps easier than learning to decipher it yourself.

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Communication trends

Saturday, February 5th, 2011 | communication | 13 Comments

Technology accelerated the pace of globalization – the result is a much smaller world, they say.  The advance of technology made travel easier and communication faster, so that the illusion of a smaller globe is created.

It seems as if technology, while making communication easier and faster, also has other effects on the way we communicate.

“Can I send you an e-mail,” one person asked.

“No, rather text me – I will get to it quicker than to my e-mail,” another replied.

The e-mail – long hailed as a technological wonder – is fast becoming yesterday, while the SMS is the flavour of today.  Doesn’t matter if the SMS (short message service) restricts you to only a few words – who needs a long message if a short one will do?

Blogging is also changing.  During the time of troubles in Iraq the world was alerted to what was happening there through blogs.  This has changed – eye-witness reports of events in Egypt are brought to us through Twitter.  We have now moved to micro-blogging as a way of receiving the news of the world.

Why use 140 words to report on something if you can do it in 140 characters?

What’s next?  We moved from long reports to a few words to a few characters.  How short can we get?  How low can we go?  The bit?

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Mobile phones for teaching?

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011 | Cartoons | 3 Comments

Created by Kobus van Wyk using  www.makebeliefscomix.com

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How can I cope with cell phones in my classroom?

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011 | communication, technology | 1 Comment

When the use of cell phones in the classroom becomes a problem – because its use is viewed as distracting to learners – some schools ban its use altogether.  You can imagine how learners resist this restriction.

Most learners in schools – even the poorest ones – have cell phones in their pockets or bags.  Efforts to curb the explosive use of these devices are bound to be countered with learner schemes to use them in an illicit way.

Isn’t there a better way to handle the situation?

How about using the fascination of learners with their cell phones to improve learning?  This can be done if innovative ways are found to harness the phones in the hands of learners as teaching and learning tools.  This approach has many apparent advantages:

Learners already own cell phones – you do not have to buy technology devices for them.

You don’t have to introduce technology into the classroom – it is already there.

Since the instruments are the property of learners, you don’t have to protect equipment against vandalism.

Children love their cell phones and are keen to show off what they can do with them. 

Pilot projects are under way to determine practical applications of mobile phones in the classroom.  A few simple uses are already evident:

By sending an interesting text message (SMS) in a target language to learners on a regular basis (even after school hours) their literacy is enhanced.  Imagine how you could build the vocabulary of your class.

Mobile ‘novels’ are already available where learners receive bite size instalments.

When learners use the camera function of cell phones, they can record images of science experiments, or other visual displays, for future revision.

Some vendors of educational software are developing programs suitable for classroom use.  With a cell phone a learner can see and hear, without disturbing the rest of the class.

The ubiquitous use of cell phones makes them ideal tools for teaching and learning.  Keep your eyes – and minds – open for developments in this area in the future.

For more technology tips for teachers click here.

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I am not so young anymore – won’t it be difficult for me to become skilled in the use of classroom technology?

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011 | technology, training | Comments Off

If you are a senior teacher you may be concerned that your ability to acquire new skills – particularly technology skills – is not what it used to be.  “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks – I am too old to learn modern technology,” you may say.  Don’t allow clichés to control your destiny!

Do you really believe that you are too old to learn – or is it just an excuse? 

How did you feel a few years ago when cell phones were introduced? 

Some said that they would never use them … but eventually they capitulated and agreed to carry a mobile phone.  “But only to receive calls,” they said.  Soon they were making calls too, and it did not take long before they started sending text messages – now they can’t imagine how they managed before without an SMS.  Over time these older folks discovered other functions of the phone – taking pictures of their grandchildren, browsing the internet and even becoming active on social networks.

Does this sound familiar to you?  If you conquered a cell phone, you can conquer classroom technology.  The technology available to you for teaching is not much different from a cell phone – you will be surprised how many functions are the same.  In fact, you will discover that cell phones are powerful teaching and learning tools!  It all depends on how willing and eager you are to learn.

Many teachers in their fifties, sixties and seventies have already mastered the use of different classroom technologies and now proclaim that they can’t imagine life without them.  If you are a life long learner, this is what you will do – continue to learn new things as they come your way.  Your age is not the limiting factor when it comes to becoming skilled in new technologies, but rather the extent of your willingness to move outside of your comfort zone.

While you are still able to teach, you are not yet over the hill.  The education system needs your experience, passion and commitment – and above all, your example.  When you master the use of technology, you are setting an example to the new generation of teachers.

For more technology tips for teachers click here.

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Did you know young children are sexting?

Thursday, October 21st, 2010 | internet | 1 Comment

What children can do with their cell phones

This comic strip was created at MakeBeliefsComix – go there to create your own.

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SMSing while you walk may land you in the dwang

Sunday, July 19th, 2009 | communication | 4 Comments

Be careful where you click is sound advice for people who surf the web.

Be careful where you step is likewise good advice for people who are writing an SMS while walking in the street.  A teenager in New York was so engrossed in sending a text message that she did not see an open manhole – and fell into it.

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