LearnLab

LearnLab is an online presentation platform that enables teachers and lecturers to combine PowerPoint presentations with interactive questions. You can easily upload your PowerPoint slides, and organise them. You can add slides with interactive questions that you would otherwise  have created with a Student Response System such as; Socrative, Mentimeter, Smart Notebook Response System, or Kahoot.

The advantage of LearnLab is that you do not have to switch between programs for content and interactive questions while presenting.

LearnLab offers nine types of content. The basic content is uploaded from PowerPoint presentations, the other eight are shown below.

Advantages of LearnLab over Socrative and Mentimeter

  • Combines PowerPoint (1) content, and (2) interaction, through questions and responses in one program.
  • LearnLab combines the variety of questions, and visualisations of the responses that can be found in Socrative and Mentimeter.
  • LearnLab offers the possibility to work with a two-step interaction, namely first the question and thereafter participants can cast their votes or ‘like’.
  • Some new multi-media features are available, such as upload of a picture by the participants which can thereafter be rated.

Disadvantages of LearnLab

  • Editing of content, such as font and layout, is limited.
  • You cannot present a picture with the question.
  • The videos in your uploaded PowerPoint presentation do not work any longer, so you have to create new slides for them in LearnLab.
  • You lose all animations, hyperlinks, actions that were built in the PowerPoint.
  • You have no control over how to stop and close a LearnLab session. You can activate a new lab session, but it remains unclear which lab session you have activated and how to deactivate it.
  • Participants cannot delete sessions themselves. They remain visible.
  • Participants have to open a browser, there is no App available for answering the questions like with Socrative.
  • LearnLab does not provide the option to let participants work through questions at their own pace.

Conclusion:

LearnLab is a nice and useful tool for presenters and lecturers, because it can enhance interaction and participation. For use in a classroom it is important to realize that the tool supports teacher-centered learning, not student-centered learning.

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Critical on Maps

Rotating globe
Why all maps of the world are wrong. Or in other words: Why do all maps of the world present a wrong, distorted image.

Why do we use maps? How can we present the globe in two dimensions? What challenges do we face?

Start with the first video and than move on to the second one. The latter is spoken fast and uses a wider, more scientific vocabulary.

The only correct representation of the world is a globe. Every projection serves a specific purpose. It’s interesting to explore the different projections and their use and purpose throughout history. It appears that projections and perpectives change over time and place and are culturally bound.

To get a good impression use the tool ‘The True Size. This tool makes it possible to drag a chosen country over the world and compare its (true) size with that of other countries. Visit the website  https://thetruesize.com

This topic can be addressed from many different angles: geography, politics. history, mathematics, ethics….

World Atlas App

logo atlas AppThe World Atlas App is a comprehensive educational app for geography. Position maps, flags, and data for more than 240 countries and territories of the world are available. Data from wikipedia is attached to the App. The App is suitable for secondary and higher education students.

The free edition offers political maps with regional units and comprehensive economic and statistical country data for all African countries.  For extensive information on all countries in the world and for the complete Quiz function, the full version must be purchased.

See also Maps of the World,which is more suitable for primary and lower secondary students.

 Purchase  Basic version : Free

 Full version :  $ 4.00  (approx.)

 Hardware  iPhone, iPad, Google Play/Android
 Requirements  iOS 9.0 or later, Android 4.1 or higher

Maps of the World App

Maps of our World App describes itself as a geography quiz. yet, the App is more than a quiz, it is a training tool on topographic features such as countries, capitals, other major cities and rivers.ains etc. In addition it shows information on countries. The maps are highly clickable. The free version is very useful, shows mainly political maps, and is so far free from advertisements. The full package offers fysiological maps as well.

Many Apps that claim to offer World Maps have a strong focus on the USA. The App Maps of our World is a genuine tool for more than just the USA.

It ia a user friendly App which is a great tool for primary and lower-secondary students to train there knowledge on the position of countries and cities in the world and some main features.

For more extensive geographic information see the World Atlas App.

 Purchase  Basic version : Free

 Full package :  $ 12.99

 Hardware  iPhone, iPad
 Requirements  iOS 9.0 or later

New York Times

The New York Times App offers quality articles that can be used in class, be it in arts or science classes. The download is free of charge and includes FIVE free articles per month. These can be shared, thus used in class.

The articles are possibly relatively long for students with English as a second language. However, the topics cover a wide spectre, from art, human interest, politics to technology.

 Purchase Basic subscription $1.88 per week for education
(students and     teachers)
Free App with 5 free articles per month
 Hardware iOS, Android, Kendle
 Requirements App

Eyesight Problems and Social Media

Research in Asia shows that in the big cities 90% of the students leaving school have to wear spectacles due to myopia (nearsightedness). The reasons given are too much hard work for school and far too little exposure to daylight and lack of time spent outdoors.
Recent research in The Netherlands shows a steep increase in myopia (nearsightedness) among 20 year old students (Klaver, 2017). Myopia is the eye disorder with the most rapid increase in prevalence worldwide. In 1990 only 5% of the school leavers in The Netherlands suffered from myopia. In 2017 this has risen to 50%, and this is likely to increase. It develops in childhood, with a peak incidence between the ages of 13 to 15 years. Myopia developed in childhood cannot be reversed.

The main reasons given for the steep increase is the frequent use of social media on smartphones and iPads, and og computers in general. Children use their eyes too one-sided, namely for nearsight mainly. This results in eyes that change shape to accomodate for this effort. Another negative side-effect of the use of digital devices is the fact that the eyes become too dry. We blink only 10% of the normal amount when watching at a screen.
Other causes, related to the use of digital devices, are a decrease in hours spent outdoors and the decrease in exposure to daylight. In childhood the eyes need both daylight and the exposure to farsightedness.

How can we reverse the myopia epidemic?

Researchers and experts on eyesight have developed a rule-of thumb.

20-20-2

After 20 minutes working on a screen

Take a break of at least 20 seconds

Spend at least 2 hours a day outdoors

Additional smart rules for parents and teachers to prevent myopia and other eye problems are:

  • Young children (< 6) should not work more than 20-30 minutes a day on a screen.
  • The SmartBoards in classrooms should be turned off regularly.