Mindshift – Great Professional Learning

Mindshift LogoI love the website MindShift. “MindShift explores the future of learning in all its dimensions. We examine how learning is being impacted by technology, discoveries about how the brain works, poverty and inequities, social and emotional practices, assessments, digital games, design thinking and music, among many other topics.”

MindShift is a wonderful resource for professional learning. If you’ve not found MineShift yet make it one of your goals to visit and explore in 2016! Follow MindShift on Twitter (@MindShiftKQED) or subscribe via email and you will find new articles and resources from their wealth of brilliant writers and commentators. By reading an article or two each week and taking time to think about and explore the topic in more detail you will expand your knowledge of contemporary educational issues and grow as an educator, no matter if you’ve been doing it for 3 weeks or 30 years!

Sometimes it’s an article that articulates just what you’ve been thinking, or something that provokes you to think deeper about an issue. They are easy to share with colleagues and will ensure that you keep learning about learning!

Bay CuriousInteresting Find! – MindShift works in collaboration with KQED, Public Media for … Read more...

Exploring Explore.org

Exploring Explore.org

I can’t remember how I got to it, but at some point this summer I discovered explore.org. Explore is a website (and App) jam packed full of webcams about animals and nature, films, photos and information on a huge range of topics.

“Explore is for everyone who enjoys learning new things and understands that education is a lifelong pursuit. To that end, explore provides a variety of educational resources — from articles to films and photographs to interactive maps — to encourage everyone to “never stop learning.” We like to think of ourselves as Sesame Street for adults.”

The first webcam I saw was trained on a place called Brooks Falls in Alaska where brown bears come to fish. It still doesn’t stop being amazing that we were able to watch bears roam freely from nearly 4000 miles away! (Probably a good distance to keep…) Then we clicked on lots of other webcams and were inspired by all of the wildlife we could see from all over the world and also domestic rescue animals we saw being looked after.

Beluga Whale watchingOne evening I was also lucky enough to click in at the right time and be … Read more...

Pendulum Waves and Metronome Sways

Pendulum Waves and Metronome Sways

Two really cool things that got my curiosity going recently…

Pendulum Waves
This I saw at the science centre in Newcastle in the ‘Do Try This At Home’ show using pots and pans. It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever, ever seen! The whole audience was spellbound. I’ve made it a project to create one in the garden with tennis balls… Here is a video of the same experiment – keep watching!

“Fifteen uncoupled simple pendulums of monotonically increasing lengths dance together to produce visual traveling waves, standing waves, beating, and (seemingly) random motion.” Harvard Natural Science Lecture Demonstrations

Then searching around for instructions on how to set one up I saw that someone had created a pendulum wave with bowling balls – and hooked it up so the balls hit tubes and created sounds!! Brilliant!

Metronome Sways
Chatting about the pendulum wave to my colleague Martyn, he told me about the metronome synchronisation experiment. This is super cool – metronomes placed on a foam platform and set off at random eventually end up ticking at the same time. Amazing. This led to all sorts of conversations with scientific family members about buildings and bridges… … Read more...

Reflections on the world outside my window

Reflections on the world outside my window

I’ve just seen one of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring videos I think you could ever see and it has moved me so much I want to share it with everyone!

Flicking through tweets from @curiositydotcom one caught my eye – Feel what it’s like to fly over Earth aboard the ISS in this stunning time-lapse video”. Time lapse videos really interest me and so this got me curious. 

[kad_youtube url=”http://youtu.be/GOAEIMx39-w” maxwidth=600 ]


To me that is just breathtaking. That’s our world – a ball in space! I’ve looked up at the stars before and tried to imagine our place in the universe, but this just blew me away. It also makes you ask questions like, how on earth do they figure out how to build a space station! Just how does that work?! How is it possible? It really incredible, and it’s cool to be inspired to think about these things.

So to NASA, David Peterson, Don Pettit and all the other people who have ever worked to make the space station possible and bring it to the people back on earth – thank you. I didn’t think I’d ever see anything like this.… Read more...

The importance of having fun

‘The Piano Staircase’ is one of my favourite videos. It shows that fun really does make a difference! It’s a wonderful example of exciting curiosity and exciting curiosity! The video comes from TheFunTheory.com – an initiative “dedicated to the thought that something as simple as fun is the easiest way to change people’s behaviour for the better”.

The quote below by Oswald Shallow beautifully sums up why having fun is so important:

Choose to have fun. Fun creates enjoyment. Enjoyment invites participation. Participation focuses attention. Attention expands awareness. Awareness promotes insight. Insight generates knowledge. Knowledge facilitates action. Action yields results.

Enjoyment and satisfaction are their own rewards. It’s this enjoyment that makes you want to do things again – not any certificate or medal or other carrot there might be further down the line. As the quote says anyway, fun = results! (Not to mention the added health benefits.) 

Sometimes you hear people say that they’re having too much fun and must get back to work. Well, if you’re having too much fun – keep it up!… Read more...