Click here to access this blog in a mobile version.

26 December 2009


Joao Alves, a member of the  Images4Education Diigo group, bookmarked Sprixi, and I clicked through to investigate - what an interesting site!  It looks like it could be a very useful school tool.

Go to Sprixi, and enter a keyword or two for the image you'd like.  Here's a screen shot of my search for "cat" pictures. I chose the one that looks like a child's drawing.

Look at the grey bar under the picture, and the greyed out text under the bar.

The 4 columns let you choose what size you want to use - choose the largest if you're going to print, and one of the smaller ones if it's for the web.  Check the information about the image.  For the picture I'm looking at, I can see that

  • the title is  "my cat"  
  • the photographer is  " admin " 
  • I found the picture "via Sprixi.com." 
  • I can use the picture if I give credit with a link back to the author, because the 
  • Image is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution licence. 
  • The image's size is 422 x 388 pixels."
Click on the green "USE" tab, and an extended window opens:

Here you'll see the URL of the picture, so that you can link directly to it, a "Download the Image with credit" link so that you can download the picture to your computer, with the right information you'll need to give credit to the photographer included as part of the image, and more information about the Creative Commons license of the picture.

When you click "Download", the image is saved to your computer, with a grey bar across the bottom which gives all the necessary photo credit information.

The automatic inclusion of the photo credit will make it very easy for students to post images correctly. I think that having to read about the credits in the download step will help them become aware of what they're doing, too, using someone's image correctly, and giving credit.

Sprixi's FAQ page  says that Sprixi is different because
"Sprixi is "purpose built" to help you choose and use an image quickly and easily. Sprixi is not about tagging or commenting on images, and it is not about browsing a million photos. Sprixi is about finding an image that is useful to you, now."
Sprixi is somewhat of a social crowd-sourcing site, too.  You can't leave comments or tags, but you can vote on whether or not the site is giving you the images you thought you'd see, or that are useful to you:

"How does Sprixi learn? What do you mean by "usefulness"? 
"Sprixi tries to sort images by usefulness - how useful you find an image for that topic.
Images are sorted automatically just by people using Sprixi. Images you click on, rate, use, download or upload are given a usefulness rating. You can also vote for the usefulness of images by clicking on the yes, maybe and no buttons. Votes from registered users are given a heavier weighting."
(I took the screen shots for this post with Screenpresso, a widget that takes the screen shot, provides some some basic editing tools,  and will send the picture to email or Twitter)

22 December 2009

Our Known Universe

Dan Coleman,  at the Open Culture blog, features a new video by the American Museum of Natural History on YouTube.

"The Known Universe takes viewers from the Himalayas through our atmosphere and the inky black of space to the afterglow of the Big Bang. Every star, planet, and quasar seen in the film is possible because of the world's most complete four-dimensional map of the universe, the Digital Universe Atlas that is maintained and updated by astrophysicists at the American Museum of Natural History.
"The new film, created by the Museum, is part of an exhibition, Visions of the Cosmos: From the Milky Ocean to an Evolving Universe, at the Rubin Museum of Art in Manhattan through May 2010. "
If you're interested in knowing more about the Universe, String Theory, and AstroPhysics in general, watch The Elegant Universe videos. The Elegant Universe was a 3 hour mini-series from NOVA, on US Public Television. At its home web page you'll find articles and interviews, slide shows, interactive activities, and downloadable resources about "eleven dimensions, parallel universes, and a world made out of strings - it's not science fiction, it's string theory."
"One of the most ambitious and exciting theories ever proposed—one that may be the long-sought "theory of everything," which eluded even Einstein—gets a masterful, lavishly computer-animated explanation from bestselling author-physicist Brian Greene, when NOVA presents the nuts, bolts, and sometimes outright nuttiness of string theory."

You can explore a related idea at the "Powers of 10" web page.

15 December 2009

Can you make snow?

Well, more precisely, can you make snow, one flake at a time? Try it at http://www.snowflakeworkshop.com/
First you will see a brief history of snowflake study, and then instructions.  Here's a screen shot of your workspace:

Pick up the pencil at the top with your mouse, and draw on the folded paper.  The shapes you make are what will be cut out, and be the holes in the snowflake.  When you're finished, pick up the scissors with your mouse,  and your snow flake will be created.  You can save it, email it, or take a screen shot of it.

Here's a screen shot of my first snowflake:

13 December 2009

Control your robot from your keyboard

At the EXOBOTICS web site, you can build a robot, and then make it dance.  Choose your body parts by pushing the red button at the right moment, and then the Go button to create your robot.  Then use the mouse click, space bar and numbers to make it dance. (The music is loud, you might want to mute it while you work!)  Here's my first robot:

Thanks once again to The Generator Blog for the link

12 December 2009

Talking photos

Looking for something fun to do over the holidays? Check out http://www.pqdvd.com/talking-photo.html and create some interesting "talking photos". You can use the photos provided on the site, or upload your own.  Then choose a greeting for your photo to sing.

Here's some of the ISOCS kids in  picture from the first snowy day:

blogmyspacedvd to ipod video convertertalkingphoto, dvd to psp convertertalkingphoto, dvd to zunetalking photo album

Hat tip to Gerard at The Generator Blog for the link.

11 December 2009


Frank Curkovic, an art teacher at the International School in Yokahama, writes in his blog about one of his 6th grade students, Kaden. Kaden presented a PechaKucha in Tokyo before a large audience, describing how his art has evolved since 2nd grade.

PechaKucha is a format that allows 20 seconds for each of 20 slides.
"PechaKucha Night was devised in Tokyo in February 2003 as an event for young designers to meet, network, and show their work in public.
It has turned into a massive celebration, with events happening in hundreds of cities around the world, inspiring creatives worldwide. Drawing its name from the Japanese term for the sound of "chit chat", it rests on a presentation format that is based on a simple idea: 20 images x 20 seconds. It's a format that makes presentations concise, and keeps things moving at a rapid pace". (link).

 Watch and listen to his presentation here full size on the PechaKucha web page.

kaden presentation

I think PechaKucha is a very interesting format through which to learn presentation skills.  It's fun to learn PowerPoint and Keynote - there are lots of animations, colors, templates, etc. to experiment with.  But they can't all go in one presentation!

And there's lots to learn about good presenting: who is your audience?  how will your slides be seen? what's your overall message? etc. But you can't waffle on and on....your audience will fall asleep and forget that you were ever there.

The PechaKucha forces you to think hard about your slides, and refine your thoughts until they fit the format.

Kaden has done a remarkable thing in his presentation - he has managed to slim down 5 years of creativity to fit on 20 slides and about 6 minutes. He gets his audience interested in his talent and development, and leaves us enthusiastic, and curious, and eager to learn more.

05 December 2009

play with this!

Click on the arrow to play my music:

This is from a web site called iNudge, where everyone can create music. You can add to what I made in this little box, or go to the web page and create your own.

  • Select 1 of 8 different Sound Patterns from the small Matrixes icons 
  • Use your mouse to draw notes on each 16 Step Matrix.
  • For each Pattern, adjust Volume, Mute, Clear, or set Audio Pan from Left to Right.
  • Click on the Tempo numbers and click up or down to change the overall Tempo.
  • Get & Share allows you to Send Mail, Get Link, Get Embed code or Spread in communities.