iPad Apps – Epic Citadel

epic-citadel1Many of you may already be aware of Tim Rylands, “an extremely gifted and inspirational teacher, with a love of the creative potential of technology and an excellent rapport with his pupils”. Tim really inspires pupils to be creative through the use of technology and you can see an example of one of his presentations on his website.

Tim is a great fan of using virtual worlds to inspire creative story telling and one of these worlds is Epic Citadel. This is available free on the iPad and you can see Tim’s use of it about 5 minutes into the Learning Without Frontiers presentation. The tools that the children used to make their presentations are also relatively cheap and really inspire children to learn.

If you are interested in using this sort of technology in the classroom but you are not quite sure where to start then why not contact me?

Using YouTube to embed videos in your blog using an iPad

One of the problems with publishing videos on your blog is making sure that the video can be seen from all platforms. If you publish a video directly from an iPad it may not play automatically on a PC and vice versa. One way around this problem is to publish your videos via a third party site such as YouTube or Vimeo (Vimeo has the advantage of not showing adverts!) In this article I will explain one way of embedding videos in your class WordPress blog by uploading them to YouTube.

You will need the following:

  • a WordPress based blog eg PrimaryBlogger
  • a school or class YouTube account
  • an iPad with the iMovies and WordPress apps installed

First, make your movie in iMovies. This could be a simple video of someone reading aloud or a sophisticated movie that has been considerably edited. Once you have your movie, go back to the main iMovie projects screen, select your movie, click on the share icon and select YouTube. You will be asked to sign in, enter your username and password (these will now be stored) and you will arrive at the Share Project screen. Here you can fill in details about the video – remember not to reveal any details that you shouldn’t. Under Privacy I strongly recommend that you select “Unlisted” – Private would mean that no one else would be able to see it, Public means that it is listed for everyone to find. When you have completed this click on “Share” and the movie will be exported to YouTube. This may take some time depending upon the size of the movie and your connection speed.

Once uploaded, you will get a screen offering a number of options. I suggest you click on “Tell a Friend” and that you email yourself the link.

Open your email, copy and paste the URL into your post and then add the following text directly to the end :

?rel=0

So that it looks something like:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6A9h0ADLoAQ?rel=0

This extra bit of text makes sure that no adverts or suggested videos appear after the video has finished.

Publish your blog and the video should now be visible from most screens.

Books or e-books, that is the question

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In Star Trek: The Next Generation Captain Jean-Luc Picard has a preference for paper books over digital books. Science fiction has now become science fact and we have access to small e-book readers such as the Kindle, and other tablets that we can read books on like the iPad that I am currently blogging from. The advantages of these devices does seem quite obvious to some of us – they are small, have long battery life, can carry huge numbers of books and documents including dictionaries, thesauri, text books and novels. It is easy to search for words or phrases and you can usually annotate your work. Added to that is the excitement and enthusiasm they can produce in students.

However, there is now some suggestion that Captain Picard may have something in his preference for paper based books. People who read paper may actually remember more! In an interesting blog post Maia Szalavitz suggests that there are issues in remembering not only what is in the book but also the names of characters. She concludes that "more studies will likely show what material is best suited for learning in a digital format, and what type of lessons best remain in traditional textbooks".

I wonder what Captain thingumabob would have to say?

Art Resources – Aviary

I’ve been meaning to search out some good online art tools for some time and then, today, a fellow blogger has produced a blog with some examples of art tools that can be used effectively with Interactive Whiteboards. My particular interest was in finding art tools that pupils could use from home as well as in school so that they could continue to work on projects. So over the next few weeks I hope to provide some of my suggestions.

My first offering is Aviary. The main Aviary page provides a basic photo editor which is very straightforward to use but it also includes a more advanced set of tools including a photo editor suite (Phoenix, Peacock and Talon), a design suite (Raven, Falcon and Toucan) as well as an audio package (Myna and Roc) – you might notice one reason I was attracted to this suite in the first place, the birds! There are some good tutorials that are graded according to your ability, a Hall of Fame with some stunning examples of what can be done with this suite including some animations.

If you click on the Education tab you will find “a safe, private environment to use the Aviary tools with your students”. First you will need to set up a teacher account for your class and then add students.  Next you can create projects for your class with start and finish dates and a description of what you want them to do. Pupils can then login and work. Although it is a private environment the teacher can extract a bit of code for any of the produced artwork and embed it into the school website or VLE so that the work can be viewed by anyone. See the example of me!
.csharpcode, .csharpcode pre
{
font-size: small;
color: black;
font-family: consolas, “Courier New”, courier, monospace;
background-color: #ffffff;
/*white-space: pre;*/
}
.csharpcode pre { margin: 0em; }
.csharpcode .rem { color: #008000; }
.csharpcode .kwrd { color: #0000ff; }
.csharpcode .str { color: #006080; }
.csharpcode .op { color: #0000c0; }
.csharpcode .preproc { color: #cc6633; }
.csharpcode .asp { background-color: #ffff00; }
.csharpcode .html { color: #800000; }
.csharpcode .attr { color: #ff0000; }
.csharpcode .alt
{
background-color: #f4f4f4;
width: 100%;
margin: 0em;
}
.csharpcode .lnum { color: #606060; }

I’ve played with a number of the tools so far and I have been impressed with the range of editing tools and the ease in which I can produce new works. I’ve not used it with a class yet and, as you can see, I am not an artist so I would welcome any comments from you if you have used it

Noggin the Nog

The other day I was reminiscing with a young teacher about children’s TV of bygone eras. I was surprised how many of the old programmes were admired by a younger generation. I then remembered Oliver Postgate’s amazing Smallfilms especially Noggin the Nog. There is a lovely tribute to Oliver and his films on the Dragon Friendly Society website.

A year or two ago a friend of mine introduced his KS2 pupils to Noggin and showed them how to do this sort of animation and now that I have been reminded how wonderful the stories are I thought I would share the ideas with you.

There are some good websites for introducing Noggin including the following:

Creating animations like Noggin the Nog used to be very time consuming with the camera technology available at the time. With modern computers, cameras and software it is much easier though it can still take some time. Successful animation in the classroom requires careful planning. Pupils need to tackle something that is achievable in the time available and with the resources at hand. To do a project like Noggin the Nog it may be an idea to get the whole class involved in producing a short storyboard and then splitting the story into short episodes that small groups can work on. Each short episode can then be stitched into the main story.

There are lots of suitable software packages available that can be used to do this sort of stop frame animation including:

These software packages will work with most USB webcams and with some more sophisticated cameras. The most versatile webcams I have come across so far are the Hue webcams which are webcams on a flexible neck; the best range of cameras are the Sanyo Xacti (but their tripod bush is right next to the USB connector – derrr!)

If you would like to discuss animation in schools further, would like training or help with an after school or holiday club involving animation do please contact me.

http://rcm-uk.amazon.co.uk/e/cm?lt1=_blank&bc1=000000&IS1=1&bg1=FFFFFF&fc1=000000&lc1=0000FF&t=redkitcom-21&o=2&p=8&l=as4&m=amazon&f=ifr&ref=ss_til&asins=B001LEGDEG

And of course, you mustn’t forget Ivor the Engine! 

ToonDo

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Using Film in Education

Using Film in Education – Yorkshire Seminar

Friday, March 18, 2011 from 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM (GMT)

Bradford, United Kingdom

A seminar for professionals working with young people in schools and communities demonstrating how film can radically improve how you engage with young people and impact on their learning.

Location: National Media Museum, Pictureville, Bradford, West Yorks, BD1 1NQ

http://www.nationalmediamuseum.org.uk/PlanAVisit.aspx

Date: Friday 18th March 2011
Time: 11:00 – 15:30

Attendance is free but places are strictly limited.