Posts Tagged ‘power’

When I wrote the blog post on my top 5 list of features in Office 2007 I mentioned INK for Office 2007 as one of them and one of the reasons I like it so much is that you can use it in PowerPoint to create very nice mind maps that blend beautifully your own handwriting and powerful images that you can find on the internet. It is very important in the mind mapping process to have the freedom to write and draw on your map by hand and so expressing your creativity. That is why no mind mapping software has yet been able to substitute your hand in this highly effective and enjoyable activity, although iMindmap is very good and the closest to fully hand drawn mind map in my view!

Anyway, although drawing your own images is important in mind mapping, in a subject like Physics accuracy and clarity are also important. That is why using images that can be pasted on PowerPoint together with branches and words handwritten using INK (which you can find on the bottom left corner in presentation mode, or on the review ribbon, if you are using a Tablet PC) can be a very powerful tool. Well, pasting images from the internet can also save a lot of time and still make your mind map very beautiful and articulated.

I made the mind map in the above video to help my A-level Students to understand Magnetic Fields, but then it occurred to me that they would have probably been confused by it without an explanation of “my mind”. So, I decided to narrate the mind map to them! I did that in class, but I also recorded my explanation using Community Clips, so they could download it from our VLE and use it for revision any time they wanted (I would love to be able to say I can picture them with their earphones on the bus listening to my mind map on their iPods, but I can’t).

Anyway, that was the mind map and the idea was that they would have narrated the next mind map I made and the third one they would have both created and narrated. We had a very professional sounding narrator who would give a really hard time to any BBC presenter, but I didn’t think it would be fair on him to display his voice to the world without asking.

I hope you have enjoyed reading and listening to this post and that you will start using mind mapping with your classes too, if you haven’t already!

Any feedback is welcome. Thanks!

A couple of days ago Microsoft has launched Office Web Apps and this is great news for Educators. In fact, this is a great tool to enhance collaboration in the classroom, at home for collaborative projects that go beyond teaching time and even to collaborate with other classes worldwide!

Not only you can create and edit Word, PowerPoint, Excel and OneNote files directly from the browser, but you can also edit in your desktop where you can use the full functionality of your installed Office packages! And what about those pupils who haven’t got Office 2007 or 2010? It is no longer a problem, because they can edit from the cloud, directly from their skydrive. Basically all they need is to link their existing email (which could be their school email) to a Live ID.

If you thought this was great, keep reading (and watch the video below)  because Office Web Apps also allow you to share your files with whoever you want and multiple users can contribute to the files simultaneously, e.g. edit the same spreadsheet the whole class is using!

I can’t wait to use this great tool with my pupils, but to be more effective with it I have created an Online OneNote Notebook (that anyone with the link can see) to share ideas on how we can use these fantastic tools in Education. However, to make your contribution I have to invite you, so please get involved an ask for an invitation by sending me an email at:

Don’t miss the chance to share, as it is by sharing that you get a better understanding of how to maximize your effectiveness as a teacher and learner!

Please, share this blog with as many people as possible!

Have you ever read a superheroes comic? Watched a superheroes cartoon, or at least watched one of the great Marvel movies? I bet you have done one of these at least once. If you ask you pupils, most of them would go to the cinema to watch these films as soon as they are out and would really enjoy them! What a great opportunity to get some Physics in it.

You might think, what Physics? Superheroes defy Physics and would just reinforce silly misconceptions. And that’s where we need to ask a different question, i.e. what would need to happen in this situation, or with this superhero, to be physically possible?

A good example is X-men 3 (DVD only £3 in Tesco). You can use this very popular film to introduce Momentum. The Juggernaut has a very cool power, i.e. “If he builds any momentum, nothing can stop him”. This sentence is in the maximum security lorry scene, when the Juggernaut gets freed. This power can be used to generate interest in momentum. The Juggernaut had to be confined by being tightly bound with extra strong metal restraints, so you can immediately ask: “What do you think momentum depends on?” Obviously, he cannot be allowed to move, or we would build momentum and become unstoppable. So, momentum depends on the velocity of the Juggernaut. What else then? Well, just look at the guy! He is massive, so momentum also depends on the mass of the Juggernaut. Great you can now introduce the momentum equation.

In the last fight you can add juice to the lesson and make momentum really memorable, although you might also want to mute the rather unkind name this villain gives to Kitty. Here the Juggernaut is featured in an amazing scene where he smashes through lots of people, heavy vehicles and walls, so again you can reinforce the concept by asking what causes the Juggernaut to build so much momentum. Get the kids to think about different ideas, e.g. is it his speed? He doesn’t seem particularly fast when he goes through walls, so it must be his mass. But, although he’s very big, he doesn’t really look like a huge giant. What should happen in the Juggernaut body to make this physically possible? Well, he probably has the ability to change the density of molecules in his body, so that his mass increases greatly and he can build enormous momentum and smash into things.

When he eventually tries to crash into Kitty and the “Cure” , they dodge and the Juggernaut (who actually is quite stupid) crashes into the wall and falls unconscious, because the “Cure” is the boy who has the power of taking away the powers of any mutant who is near him. So, the mass of the Juggernaut must have become less here…

I hope you like this idea and you will share other ideas on the Physics of Superheroes. Please, let me know if you will use this idea and how your pupils responded to it!