My last-minute #nurture1314 post :-)

Felix Felicis
Felix Felicis – also called “Liquid Luck”, is a magical potion that makes the drinker lucky for a period of time, during which everything they attempt will be successful.
Image from Rebekah Hughes via Flickr

This is my contribution to #Nurture1314 initiated by @ChocoTzar and pushed forward by @rlj1981 – it’s been a very busy, exciting and fast paced year and I’ve really enjoyed reflecting on it.

13 reflections from the past year and 14 to look forward to (in no particular order).

13 things from 2013:

  1. Dresden. We changed flats and we now live in the best city of the world: Dresden. A very important lesson: changing flats during the hottest days of the summer with a girlfriend pregnant at 6 month is NOT recommendable.

    Dresden, GER 2013

  2. Father. I became father of a little girl. As it is my first time, everyday is still a little adventure and she already knows perfectly how to twist me around her little finger.
  3. University. I finished my PhD about the use of IWB in physics. A very good feeling to close that chapter. 


  4. School. I started to work at school to complete my “Referendariat” (kind of 2 year practical period) and become a fully qualified teacher by summer 2015. 

    2013-06-20 09.55.19

  5. TeachMeet. It was the first time for me presenting some stuff at a TeachMeet – and not any TM, it was at BETT 2013 in front of a lot of teachers. This was definitely a highlight for me. 


  6. #ukedchat. Engaging with #ukedchat and presenting the first time at TeachTweet to show that I’m not just “taking ideas” but also can give something. 


  7. GDrive. Starting to experiment with student feedback using Google Drive forms – very easy and with surprising results. Helpful for reflecting on my teaching and astonishing to see how my students perceive their lessons with me. 
  8. Blogging. I wrote 17 posts in my blog this year, often with help from my friends who offer their time to correct the biggest mistakes.
  9. Twitter. It’s my second year on Twitter and I’m preferring it to Facebook. One important lesson was followers are NOT (automatically) your friends, nor does following mean that you agree or even support the message of the person you follow.
  10. Camera. I really love my Casio Exilim ZR 400, not only because it’s able to capture high-speed-videos – it also makes pretty good pictures. It has become a constant companion.CIMG0390
  11. High-Speed-Videos. They are cool, they are fascinating and they could be used in the science classroom. My posts about how to make them generated some positive reactions and I hope some readers will try it themselves.
  12. #EDchatDE. This hashtag is the German equivalent of #ukedchat with a fast growing community of German teachers. Answers are provided in English and German – so everybody is welcome to participate! It takes place weekly on Tuesday between 20.00 and 21.00 (German time, 19.00 till 20.00 UK time), you can find more details here.
  13. Sharing. I started sharing my materials via Flickr, this Blog and other resources (like Dropbox). I benefit from a lot of people who share their ideas on their Blogs or on Twitter, so I think it was just fair to give something back – even it is as little as what I can offer.

14 things I’d like to do or learn in 2014:

  1. PhD. Get my PhD published as a book to get the official doctoral certificate. Should be done by end of January at the latest.
  2. Student Feedback Systems. Write an article about the use of student feedback systems for a German physics education journal. I will also write about the usage of these in my own lessons in the second state exam thesis.
  3. Model Boats. Finish my biggest model ship and use some time to drive the two finished ones on the lake.

    2013-01-17 18.04.07

  4. Learning Platform. Introducing a learning platform to my school. The internal network to share material is fine, but there are more things I’d like to do!
  5. BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). Persuading our school leadership team that the use of smartphones in physics should be allowed – and if not, doing it anyway.
  6. Blogging. Keep on blogging. But definitely reduce the requests for help. One reflective post per week would be great.
  7. Arduino. I had already a first go on Arduino but I’d like to explore more possibilities – at the moment this kit is just lying around.2013-01-17 21.13.55
  8. Responsibility. Stop trying to feel responsible for everybody and everything.
  9. Focus. I’m interested in a broad spectrum of topics, but I need to force myself to focus on fewer things. Otherwise I’ll go crazy in 2014 🙂
  10. Time Management. Optimise my time management, especially in free hours at school. The goal is that I don’t take too much work home and can enjoy my little family.
  11. Latex. I used Latex to write my PhD and it doesn’t just look much more professional, the writing is a bit like coding.
  12. Friends. Due to the very exiting 2013 we didn’t have much time to meet our friends, this is something I’d like to work on in 2014.
  13. Spending less time with my smartphone. It’s tempting to check mails, read the news or check some apps. I’d like to use these little moments of spare time to interact with the people around me – this is a much better way of investing my time. And it’s a lot more polite.
  14. Reduce moaning. During the last few months, I spent a lot of time moaning about different things, mostly related to our educational system and the bureaucracy or stupidity within. It’s not worth the time.

I’d like to thank Dughall and Emma, who generously offered their time to proofread this last-minute post. All left mistakes are my fault 🙂

So this is my list with 13 things I think I did well in 2013 and 14 I would like to do during 2014. I’m curious to read your #nurture1314 list 🙂

Connecting Smart Notebook 11 with Dropbox

If you’re using the the Smart Notebook Software you are surly aware of the possibility to organise your content in the Gallery. If you’d like to share objects you created you can use the Smart Exchange platform – but be honest: How often are you doing this?

A few days ago I discovered a nice and easy way to share your gallery with other people. The biggest advantage: Set up once, it will automatically synchronize the gallery between all the people using it – without the need to upload/download something manually.

What you need to do:

  1. Create a folder in your Dropbox where all the files will be stored, like “Gallerie” in my case.
  2. Connect your Smart Notebook Software with Dropbox. Open the galleries tab, click the toolbox and choose “Connect to Team Content”. Chose the folder you created in step 1.!smart_notebook_1smart_notebook_2
  3. Reorganize your gallery, if needed. For example, I decided to drag all personal created content in the shared gallery while the “standard” content, coming with the software, stays where it was.smart_notebook_3
  4. Share your Dropbox folder with other persons or simple use it as a backup, everywhere and every time available. Another person (or yourself, if you use more than one PC) just need to open Smart Notebook and add team content the same way.

I think this could be very useful for this scenarios:

  • Using a gallery collaborative between different teachers and/or schools
  • Backup and everywhere available access to the gallery if needed.

Basic physic – resources for Interactive Whiteboards | Grundlegende Physik-Ressourcen für Interaktive Tafeln

The Standard Book of Spells – another basic resource you may need in class 😉
Image Craig Grobler via Flickr

My colleague René (he’s new to Twitter so please follow him!) and I decided to make some basic material we used at our teacher trainings accessible.

They are all created under a Creative Commons License and can be used in the classroom, edited, shared or whatever you like to do with it. The only limitation is that the material is not allowed to be used in a commercial way! In the following sections you’ll get a quick overview and were to find these materials.

Mein Kollege René (neu angemeldet auf Twitter – bitte unbedingt folgen!) und ich haben uns entschieden das Material, dass wir  in Lehrerfortbildungen nutzen, zugänglich zu machen.

All diese Materialen sind unter der Creative Common Lizenz erstellt und können im Unterricht benutzt, bearbeitet und geteilt werden. Die einzige Einschränkung ist, dass dieses Material nicht kommerziell genutzt werden darf. In den folgenden Abschnitten gibt es einen kurzen Einblick in diese Materialien und wo diese zu finden sind!

Slow motion and time lapse videos

We started to create slow motion videos to demonstrate simple but fascinating (at least to us ;-)) effects. Therefore I created a Youtube channel where you can find the videos we uploaded already and new videos will appear as soon as possible.

You can find the channel here and further posts about slow motion videos (and how to make them) here, here and here.

Wir haben begonnen Slow Motion Videos aufzunehmen um einfache aber faszinierende Effekte (zumindest für uns ;-)) zu veranschaulichen. Dazu habe ich einen Youtube-Kanal eingerichtet, wo alle bisher erstellten Videos zu finden sind und neue Videos demnächst erscheinen.

Der Kanal ist hier zu finden, weitere Posts über Slow Motion Videos (und wie man sie erstellt) finden sich hier, hier und hier.

Wiring symbols

To draw a circuit diagram within a software for IWBs can be time consuming so we decided to make a collection of the most needed wiring symbols. They are all 80 x 80 pixels large and have a transparent background. You can download them as/for:

Einen Schaltplan mit der Software für interaktive Tafeln zu zeichnen kann sehr zeitaufwendig sein, deshalb haben wir uns entschlossen eine Sammlung der gebräuchlichsten Schaltzeichen anzufertigen. Diese sind alle 80 x 80 Pixel groß und haben einen transparenten Hintergrund. Man kann sie herunterladen als/für:

Light bulb

Pictures of physical experiments (or parts oft it)

It wasn’t easy for us to find adequate and free-to-use material for physics lessons. So we decided to capture and adapt (transparent background) a lot of different parts and experiments from our laboratory. You can download them as/for:

Es war nicht einfach für uns adäquate und kostenfreie Abbildungen für den Physikunterricht zu finden. Also haben wir eine Menge unterschiedlicher Teile und Experimente aus dem Physiklabor aufgenommen und bearbeitet (ausgeschnitten, transparenter Hintergrund). Man kann diese herunterladen als/für:

Experimentiergerät Generator 1
Electric generator

If you’d like to help translating the correct names for symbols or parts of the experiments we would share the original files via Dropbox or somtheing else! Every feedback or comment is welcome!

Wenn du helfen möchtest die korrekten Bezeichnungen für Schaltsymbole oder Teile der Experimente zu übersetzen, würden wir gern die Originaldateien per Dropbox o.ä. teilen! Jedes Feedback oder Kommentar ist willkommen!

Build your own low-cost slate! | Baue dein eigenes low-cost Slate!

The Making of Harry Potter 29-05-2012

The wand – your tool to create something magical. Well, unfortunately I’m not Mr. Ollivander – but maybe I can show you something different?

Der Zauberstab – dein Werkzeug um etwas magisches zu erschaffen. Na gut, unglücklicherweise bin ich nicht Mr. Ollivander – aber vielleicht kann ich euch etwas anderes vorstellen? 

During this years BETT Show I spotted a product I noticed already last year, and after my TeachMeet experience (read more about this here) I felt ready for a little present to myself. The idea of the E-Pen is simple: You have a Pen (transmitter) and a little receiver you can clip on a writing pad. The receiver can record your handwriting so can send it to your PC (via Bluetooth or USB-cable) and convert it to digital text or shapes. Nice, but how’s this related to a Slate?

If the receiver is connected to the PC via Bluetooth you have a “mouse-mode” which turns your Pen into a wireless mouse. If you move the pen over the writing pad it’s hovering, if you tap with the pen it works like a “click”.

So what you basically need to do is:

  • Install the software and driver on your PC
  • Connect the receiver via Bluetooth
  • Choose a writing pad or a similar stable surface

What you get is simple but useful: A wireless mouse shaped like a pen – and you can write with it (normal lead) or use it just as a mouse (“blind” lead). If you have tried to write or draw with a mouse before you know which difference that makes!

Receiver, E-Pen, Leads (normal and "blind") and case with USB-cable
Receiver, E-Pen, Leads (normal and “blind”) and case with USB-cable

Während der BETT Show habe ich ein Produkt entdeckt, dass mir bereits letztes Jahr aufgefallen ist und nach dem TeachMeet (mehr dazu hier) war ich reif für ein kleines Geschenk an mich selbst 😉 Die Idee hinter dem E-Pen ist einfach: Man hat einen Stift (Sender) und einen Empfänger den man auf eine Schreibunterlage klippen kann. Der Empfänger kann die handschriftlichen Notizen mit diesem Stift aufnehmen und später können diese auf den PC überspielt (über Bluetooth oder USB-Kabel) und in digitalen Text oder Formen umgewandelt werden. Schön, aber was hat das mit einem Slate zu tun? Wenn der Empfänger per Bluetooth mit dem PC verbunden ist, gibt es einen “Maus-Modus” der den Stift in eine kabellose Maus verwandelt. Bewegt man den Stift über die Schreiboberfläche so schwebt der Mauszeiger, tippt man mit dem Stift wirkt das wie ein “Klicken”.

Alles was man zu tun hat ist:

  • Installieren der Software und Treiber auf dem PC
  • Den Empfänger per Bluetooth verbinden
  • Eine geeignete Schreibunterlage finden

Was man bekommt ist einfach aber praktisch: Eine drahtlose Maus in Form eines Stiftes – man kann damit schreiben (normale Mine) oder ihn nur als Maus benutzen (“Blindmine”). Wenn du vorher schon einmal versucht hast mit einer Maus zu schreiben oder zeichnen weißt du welchen Unterschied dies macht!

The fixed ActivSlate XR with new (cheap) power supply
An example for a Slate from a big IWB supplier

What are their advantages compared to other slates?

  • Cheap in comparison with Slates offered by the big IWB vendors (BETT offer for this version: 70 Pound)
  • Usable interdependently of a IWB-vendor (if you have one)
  • Pen and receiver are rechargeable with a USB-cable
  • You can see what you write, the Pen offers a normal lead and a “blind” lead which you can change quickly.
  • You can create worksheets, hand them out to pupils and they can write answers in which appear on the IWB – the writing area just needs a little bit of try and error!
  • Important for me: It’s small and easy to transport compared to other solutions!

The disadvantage is that the battery (receiver) works just a few hours while connected via Bluetooth (exact measure will follow). Besides this the working area is restricted to the width and length of a A4-paper sheet in upright format (see picture below).

Write pad with Receiver, E-Pen and Laptop. Text written appears 1:1 in IWB-Software
Write pad with Receiver, E-Pen and Laptop. Text written appears 1:1 in IWB-Software

Was sind Vorteile verglichen mit anderen Slates?

  • Günstig im Vergleich mit Slates die von den großen IWB-Herstellern angeboten werden (BETT Angebot für diese Version: 70 Pfund)
  • Nutzbar unabhängig vom jeweiligen IWB-Anbieter (sollte man ein IWB haben)
  • Stift und Empfänger sind wiederaufladbar mit einem USB-Kabel
  • Man kann sehen was man schreibt: der Stift bietet eine normale Mine ebenso wie eine “Blindmine” welche man schnell wechseln kann.
  • Man kann Arbeitsblätter erstellen und an Schüler austeilen, welche diese dann am Platz ausfüllen und der Text am IWB erscheint – Die beschreibbare Fläche zu finden erfordert etwas Probieren!
  • Wichtig für mich: Es ist klein und leicht zu transportieren, verglichen mit anderen Lösungen!

Der Nachteil ist, dass die Batterie (Empfänger) nur einige Stunden durchält wenn dieser per Bluettoth mit dem PC verbunden ist (genauere Messung folgt). Abgesehen davon ist die Arbeitsfläche auf die Breite und Länge eines A4-Blattes im Hochformat beschränk (siehe Bild unten).

So what do you think about this tool? Do you know similar tools? Then please let me know 🙂

Was denkst du über dieses Tool? Kennst du etwas vergleichbares? Dann lass es es mich wissen 🙂