World of Sand Challenge – Problem Solving, Inquiry – and fun.

“Salt and water combine to form salt water, which sinks below pure water. Heating up salt water causes it to split back into salt water and steam. Steam rises and condenses, eventually forming water droplets. Plants drink water and grow, but die if exposed to salt water. And that’s just three of the nineteen materials available for you to draw.” – World of Sand

What I’ve discovered most about my students in this Gifted program, is that they want challenge. Not just any challenge, but a challenge that doesn’t have just one answer, but a myriad of possibilities. They want a challenge that can be done, and re-done over and over, with different results or possibilities. They want to create the challenge, to ask the questions, and to discover solutions. The epitome of inquiry?

Today, one of the students finally got to implement HIS challenge. Details posted on his blog post – “World of Sand Challenge” (A comment on his post would result in a  smile).

Using the REFLECTION app on the SMARTBOARD along with the iPad app World of Sand, he demonstrated how to combine the elements, tools and chemicals to create reactions. Once the students had a chance to practice, he set specific guidelines: Acid, Liquid Fire and Acid to be set as “automatic” – in that order. The problem? Combine the other elements so that these elements/chemicals do not touch bottom of screen.


Here is one student explaining their result. I feel humbled to be part of their learning journey.

Controlling computer with the iPad or iTouch

Many of us are moving away from the typical “Powerpoint” type presentations into a more dynamic and interactive mode of presenting.  I first saw Will Richardson (a few years ago) present his keynote using the “treetab” function on Firefox.  Although the “Treetab” function was not the context of presentation, I clearly took something from that that he may or may not of even intended. He demonstrated and discussed the tools and applications (of his presentation)  in real time and interacted with the audience. But he still had to be at the mercy of his computer. Walking around the room was out of the question. As I jump forward a few years,  now as an instructor in a Faculty of Education, my lessons are often also a demonstration and accessing websites or demonstrating tools such as Smart Notebook and I am generally forced to be in front of my classroom (or close to my computer), something that I often preach against. I have tried the “tablet” thing but I have a lot of trouble writing or interacting with a screen while looking at a different screen. It never worked well for me.
I imagine that using this tool could promote interactivity when working with, for example, Google Tools in the classroom. Students could be anywhere in a classroom, or lecture hall and participate by control the screen with their device.

Today, Kyle Tuck, the IT Manager for the Hamilton Campus at Brock University showed me how to control my computer with the iPad – not just as a remote, but to REALLY control the computer.

So here it is….

On Computer:

–       On System Preferences, go to sharing – turn on ‘Screen Sharing’

–       Click Computer settings

–       VNC viewers may control screen

–       Give it a password

On iPad /iTouch/ iPhone

–       Download app VNC light

–       Go to configure

–       Add new

–       Find IP address on you mac

–       Put in the password you gave it (on your computer)

–       Mac Server “ON”

–       Click Connect