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30 January 2011

Working on the Web

Wait for the Prezi to load. Click on the navigation triangle, then mouse over the window, and click on "Full Screen". Use the navigation arrow at the bottom of the screen to move through the presentation.

23 January 2011

4 Seasons in 2 Minutes by Eirik Solheim

I've written before about time-lapse photography - it fascinates me. I think it must be because, like  macro photos, we're able to see the world in a way that's impossible in real life.  Even if we stood at a window for a year and continually looked  at the view, we wouldn't remember it like this:

"A true timelapse made from more than 3500 high resolution images shot from the same spot during all of 2010. Music by Magnus Gangstad (thephilterlounge.com)."

Eirik Solheim describes how he made this video: "I placed my old SLR in our window in January last year. Hooked it up to our home server and gave it power through an adapter. Then I used software to control the camera. It has snapped one image every 30 minutes for one year now. Both the Mac and the Camera was hooked up to a UPS as well. I have lost a couple of images due to some computer crashes and camera crashes. But in general the system has been remarkably stable and given me more than 16 000 images to play with." (link)

You can see another version of this video, and read more about how he selected the pictures to use in this version, on his website.

Time lapse videos are most interesting when they show us a change or process we're familiar with, but which take too long for us to watch continuously.  Here's 12 hours of tide at Scots Bay, NS, in the Bay of Fundy:

Have you watched flowers growing?

Or food decomposing?

(Don't be put off - watch it all the way to the end.)
This photographer  writes:
"This is probably my most extensive time-lapse project yet. I Placed the fruit and vegetables in a large tub in the storage area under my house and took a picture every ten minutes. The playback at 30 frames per second took too long and was not as exciting, so I used a quarter of the pictures, making it 1 picture every 40 minutes. This video spans 74 days. The growth at the end of the video is from the potato. Also, the hundreds or thousands of little specks you see buzzing around are fruit flies. I used my Canon PowerShot S3 IS and GBTimelapse software on a laptop. I used Sony Acid Music Studio to make the accompanying music." (link) He has a page with more of his time lapse projects on his website.

22 January 2011

Google Science Fair Opening Event - Spencer Wells

What is science? What is exploration? What were they in the past, how are they changing, and what will they be like tomorrow? Watch this video and get some ideas.

This video is  a recording of the presentation by Spencer Wells, a geneticist and National Geographic Explorer, at the opening event of the Google Science Fair on January 11, 2011.

16 January 2011

Using Google Translate

I've been thinking about ways a computer can help a non-English speaking student at our school to express herself and understand others in class.  One of the obvious tools is Google Translate, but I didn't know how many ways it can be used until I started exploring it:

I knew about the Google Translate web page, where you can paste a text and see it translated into another. (Always remembering that  the translation is perhaps not 100%, and that some languages are translating better than others...)

I didn't know that now you can listen the translation being "read" to you. I read this post at MakeUseOf.com, which suggests exploring the "beatbox" or "listen" function by pasting in this text and translating it from German to German, then clicking on the "beatbox" button.

Sometimes this Beatbox or Listen button appears for more ordinary translations, and sometimes it doesn't.

By enabling a feature in your Gmail, Google Translate will offer to translate text for you, within your email window. Read Here’s how for enabling translation, and then go to the Labs page of your Gmail settings and enable the Message translation feature.  Here's how it will look in your email:



On the Communicate page, you can read more: "While in Gmail, you can also have a multilingual chat with your pen-pal from overseas. Add the Google Translate Chat Bot to your conversation and break down the language barrier."

Invite de2en@bot.talk.google.com  and en2de@bot.talk.google.com  to your friends list in Google Talk to translate to and from German. " If you're using the Google Talk Gadget, you can also get your conversation translated by inviting a bot to a group chat with a friend."


This page describes many more ways you can use the Google Translate function, one of which is using Google Translate in Google Docs to translate entire documents.

You can also search across languages.

You can use the Google search bar to translate text.  Paste Translate this math problem is too hard to German into the bar, and you'll see
Google Toolbar is an add-on for IE and Firefox, which will translate web pages for you. Chrome automatically detects languages, and offers to translate those other than the language you specified in your browser settings.

How does it work?


If you get tired of doing really useful translations, watch this video:

Google - Translate for Animals from Superglue on Vimeo.
April Fool's Day viral featuring a revolutionary new phone application

15 January 2011


Throwing Water

For the Middle Primary Class, and their investigation of water. We've been considering watercolor paints, but we hadn't thought of sculpture.

Water Sculpture from Shinichi Maruyama on Vimeo.
Art work by Shinichi Maruyama

Composited by Tetsushi Wakasugi

If you find this interesting, go to the artist's web page, http://www.shinichimaruyama.com/ where you'll find many more intriguing photographs of water captured in beautiful, unimaginable forms. Bruce Silverstein is his gallery in New York - you'll find more about his work there.

Photo by Nathan Rein
Shinichi Maruyama was born in Nagano, Japan in 1968, graduated from Chiba University in 1991, where he majored in image engineering, studied emulsion and developed his passion for photography.  He started his professional career in tokyo in 1993 and in 2003 moved to New York "in search of more global opportunities. specializing in splashing and energetic movements within shots, maruyama has become highly sought after for his expertise in this field expanding his career into europe in 2005." (link) Read more about his career on the Living Design web page.

"The only art series of mine that has been inspired by Japanese traditional calligraphy is Kusho. As a young student, I often wrote Chinese character in sumi ink. I loved the nervous, precarious feeling of sitting before an empty white paper, the moment just before my brush touched the paper. Those childhood moments have undeniably influenced my work in that series, however, my respect for the Japanese ability to find the beauty in the imperfect (the essence of wabi-sabi) is the main source of inspiration that is found throughout all of my work." Read the rest of this interesting interview by Nicole Pasulka on TheMorningNews web page.

Kusho is the japanese word for 'writing in the sky'. The video below is about the midair interplay of black india ink and water. the phenomenon that Maruyama captures-two liquids colliding the millisecond before they merge into gray. (link)

KUSHO from Shinichi Maruyama on Vimeo.

Information sources for this post:
Open Culture
Design Boom
Bruce Silverstein
New York Arts
Living Design

11 January 2011

Google's Science Fair

This morning (9 am EST, 11 Jan 2011) Google will be announcing its global, web-based Science Fair "Google is looking for the brightest, best young scientists from around the world to submit interesting, creative projects that are relevant to the world today."  CERN, Lego, National Geographic, and Scientific American (which all have education activities of their own) are partners in this event.

Here's the teaser:

Here's how to enter:

Participants must be between the ages of 13 and 18 years old, so that lets us out - we're a Primary School.

But I think this Science Fair will offer a very exciting model of how students, teams, and classes might collaborate through the Internet, regardless of  age or subject areas.  While you watch the second video, "Google Science Fair: How to enter", you'l hear what is expected of participants:
  • Participants can work alone, or in a team of 2 or 3
  • Participants must have parents' or guardian's written permission
  • Participants will create a project web site which can be shared with your team
  • The project must include photos, spreadsheets, and video or slides
  • Participants should make their project site "as robust and interesting as it can be"
There are many projects on the web in which students and classes participate together, across the globe, not least among them the Flat Classroom Project. It will be interesting to see how the Science Fair develops - it isn't really a collaborative project in the sense that all the participants are working together on a common goal, other than to present an expo. But the idea of many small teams, working through the Internet, within a common format, will be pulled together by platforms that can be seen by anyone in the world, is a powerful vision.

Follow developments on  Google's Science Fair Channel on YouTube and the Science Fair website.

05 January 2011

School Tech: 6 Important Lessons From Maine's Student Laptop Program

Laptops at ISOCS - photo by keepps 
This is an interesting story, especially for ISOCS, where every student has a laptop.

"When students at Skowhegan Area Middle School decided to undertake a study of the town’s history, they departed from traditional readings and paper writing. They instead made podcasts about historical landmarks that cumulatively produced a walking tour, recorded interviews with town elders and created websites for local farmers. Like the 225 other middle schools in Maine, every seventh and eighth grade student has been provided with a laptop computer, making projects like these accessible.

“It’s just a part of how we do business now, and in some ways we’re starting to take it for granted,” explains Michael Muir, who helped design the leadership development program for the initiative that brought one-to-one computing to Maine. “It’s very exciting because it’s now a part of the culture of teaching middle school in Maine … that all the kids have laptops and you teach with technology, and it’s exciting because it’s no longer the new thing.” (link)

The 6 Lessons are
  1. Treat Technology as a Tool, Not a Curriculum Area
  2. Think Differently About Teaching
  3. Decide to Do It, Not Pilot It
  4. Concentrate on Current Curriculum Initiatives at First
  5. Support Teachers as Much as Possible
  6. Make Technology Part of Teachers’ Everyday Language, Too
Maine has long been a model of excellence in 1:1 programs - some of the most inspiring teaching examples and teacher thinking, as well as student work, has come out of Maine since 2002.  Read the whole article at: School Tech: 6 Important Lessons From Maine's Student Laptop Program

For the folks at ISOC: Where do we need to improve?

01 January 2011

Understanding backwards, and living forwards

"I am looking forwards, thinking back times"
  by Hamed Masoumi on Flickr
"Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forward." (Soren Kierkegaard) In that end of the year mood, here are two lists, to help us.

Looking Back - Time for those "Year in Review" or "Best of 2010" posts.  Here's my (very short) list of favorite lists:

The Art Teacher's Guide To The Internet
ideas, tools, and resources for teaching art and design in a post-digital age
Year in Review: Best of The Art Teacher’s Guide in 2010 by Craig Roland

The Teaching Palatte
The 10 Best iPhone and iPad Apps for Art Teachers 2010

Landscape, Nature and Travel Photography
Top 10 "Top Photos" lists

CNN - Social Media
How the iPad changed 2010


"Venerable" by jenny downing on Flickr
Looking Forwards -And for the "looking forwards" predictions, here are some interesting posts:

5 Predictions for Mobile in 2011 from Mashable
Tablet mania, photo and video sharing...

21 Things That Will Become Obsolete in Education by 2020 from the Daily Riff
Desks, language labs, homework, computers as we know them, organization by grades...

Predictions for Google's 2011 from Google Operating Systems
More free storage, Google will learn to embrace Facebook...

’11 the year of the QR Code from U Tech Tips
"These little black and white 2dimensional bar codes are going to start showing up everywhere." Read Jeff's suggestions about how to use QR in the classroom.

The Future Of Work: How Jobs Change in the Next Decade from WebWorker Daily
"...chaotic, distributed and ad-hoc teams of people, along with blurred organizational boundaries, would become the norm for most modes of work."