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31 July 2011

New Faces at ISOCS

Look carefully at this picture - something strange has happened to some of our students....it might have to do with kittenfaces.com.

28 July 2011

Exploding Rain

More the Middies who looked closely at water and energy, and the Juniors, who investigated air.

This morning I was checking my YouTube subscriptions, and found this intriguing video from New Science.

"Tibetan singing bowls produce a haunting sound but they can also make droplets dance on the water's surface. Ripples are formed when the edge of the bowl is skimmed with a mallet, deforming its surface. If the water waves are excited enough, droplets are ejected." Read more at New Science TV.

The article on the New Science website explaining the video links on to this one (from July 2009), "Myth of raindrop formation exploded", about "exploding rain drop research".

After a brief description of the history of rain drop research, the article relates how Emmanuel Villermaux , at Aix-Marseille University in France, and his colleague Benjamin Bossa at the University Institute of France in Paris have come to think individual droplets inflate and then explode to create the smaller droplets so common at ground level.

"The pair got the idea from the unusual but well known transformations of fuel droplets travelling at high speed in diesel engines. As they travel, drops flatten from a sphere into a pancake-like disc; this catches passing air and inflates like a liquid parachute that eventually explodes in a shower of smaller droplets."

Below is a brief video of this happening. (Unfortunately, there is a strange advertisement before the rain drop video.)

26 July 2011

4 Ways iPads Are Changing the Lives of People With Disabilities

I read a post this morning on Mashable, by Zoe Fox, "4 Ways iPads Are Changing the Lives of People With Disabilities"
Screen shot of http://mashable.com/2011/07/25/ipads-disabilities/

The post describes the learning journey of a 3 year old with Cerebral Palsy, and how his iPad has helped him:

"When he turned two, his language, cognitive abilitity and fine motor skills were diagnosed by a developmental specialist as being at least 12 months behind. Then Noah got an iPad.
Four months later, his language and cognition were on par with his age level. His fine motor skills had made significant leaps."

His father is co-founder of a website called SNApps4Kids. It is "a community of parents, therapists, doctors, and teachers who share information on how we are using the iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch and Android devices with children who have special needs. We have found these mobile devices to provide accessibility for children who may have been previously disengaged from the world because of challenging language, motor, or other developmental delays. Given the rising number of apps on the market and the diverse skills of children with special needs, parents have found each other to be one of the best resources for choosing apps to enhance everyday life for our children. While our group is primarily parent-driven, our efforts are naturally collaborative with the people who help our children develop particular skills — therapists and educators." (link)
Screen shot of http://www.snapps4kids.com/

If you have a tablet device, or are thinking of buying one, click through and check out the site, especially the Find an App page.

25 July 2011

19 July 2011

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

(I posted this on  the ISOCS Library Media Center blog, too - it's a case where the line between "book" and "ICT" is so blurred, it's disappeared!)

This morning I read an exciting post at A Year of Reading about "The Fantastic Flying Books of Morris Lessmore. "THE FANTASTIC FLYING BOOKS OF MR. MORRIS LESSMORE is an incredible story that seems to change things when it comes to what is possible with multimedia storytelling. First of all, it is a great story. I sighed when I finished and I watched other people sigh at the end too. It is a great story about the power of books and reading and the art (without the animation) is pretty incredible. The animation and the multimedia effects make the book and the story even better." (link)  Click through and read the whole blog post. It will make you want to "read" the book yourself, and if necessary, buy an iPad 2 to do it with!

The plot summary describes the book this way:
"Inspired, in equal measures, by Hurricane Katrina, Buster Keaton, The Wizard of Oz, and a love for books, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore is a poignant, humorous allegory about the curative powers of story. Using a variety of techniques (miniatures, computer animation, 2D animation) award winning author/ illustrator William Joyce and Co-director Brandon Oldenburg present a hybrid style of animation that harkens back to silent films and MGM Technicolor musicals. Morris Lessmore is old fashioned and cutting edge at the same time." 

Have a look at the book's website, for more plot description, photo galleries, some fascinating  "making of " videos (see one of these, below), etc.

Here's the book trailer:

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore iPad App Trailer from Moonbot Studios on Vimeo.

The book is available from iTunes and from the iTunes App Store.

Moonbot Studios, in Shreveport, LA (USA) describes itself on its Vimeo page as "a place where outstanding individual talents come together to bring extraordinary entertainment to our clients and our audiences from an array of media platforms."  I'll agree with that!

The Making Of Morris: Part 3 (Thousands Of Books) from Moonbot Studios on Vimeo.
Part 3 of a 9 part series of " The Making Of The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. " Expect Part 4 July 1, 2011.

18 July 2011

The Arithmetic Revolution

Listen to National Public Radio's Weekend Edition broadcast segment Fibonacci's 'Numbers': The Man Behind The Math. "Weekend Edition "Math Guy" Keith Devlin tells the story of this arithmetic revolution in his new book, The Man of Numbers. Numerals 0 to 9 had been around in Hindu and Arabic cultures for centuries, but the problem was, Europeans didn't really do business with the numbers."

On the post page, you can read the transcript of the interview, download the mp3 file, read an excerpt from the new book, and see pages from the original Liber Abaci.

Google+: The Complete Guide

Curious about Google+ ?  Have a look at Google+: The Complete Guide over on the Mashable blog (posted 17 June 2011). It covers everything, and  includes all the Google videos. Starting with "Why Should Someone Use Google+?", moving on to "Getting Started", and then exploring each of the features in Google+.

16 July 2011

The rolling shutter effect

For all my iPhone-owning, guitar-playing friends:

Text from the YouTube page:
I just happened upon this trick when testing what it was like filming from inside my guitar. *Note this effect is due to the rolling shutter, which is non-representative of how strings actually vibrate.
• You must have the strings brightly backlit to get the camera to capture at such a high frame rate (pure conjecture). You can see how the effect fades when the buildings come into view.
• Use a pencil
*This was used with the front facing camera, try the back camera, it may capture better!

Here's another video, that shows the same "Rolling Shutter" effect:

This is a still image, which shows the effect:

cc licensed ( BY NC ) flickr photo shared by jasons_show

"Virtually all consumer grade digital cameras, including cell phones, do not take the picture instantly when you push the shutter button. Instead, they quickly scan over the CCD CMOS sensor from the top left to the bottom right, like the electron beam in an old CRT television. This is called rolling shutter capture. This scanning process is fast, but sometimes it's not fast enough." (TUAW)

Try taking pictures of very fast moving objects (airplane and helicopter propellers, fans, bicycle wheel spokes, etc.) and see what the camera captures.

You can read more about rolling shutter at Wikipedia, and at TUAW.

03 July 2011

Visiting Schloss St. Andreas - the book

The Middle Primary Class as produced a little book telling the story of what we learned on a class visit to a stone structure (the Schloss St. Andreas, in Cham). You can preview all the pages below and on Blurb.com.

As with our Yearbook, this was a collaborative effort.  I took the pictures, the students wrote their reflections about the visit on our unit wiki, and the class teacher (Judy Firkins) and I edited it together. We previewed it with the students on the interactive white board before we published, and they made additions and corrections.  They also delighted in recognizing their own words.

The book is published at Blurb, with free Booksmart software.

Obvious to you. Amazing to others

Here's a video for the "How We Express Ourselves" folder:

Obvious to you. Amazing to others. from Derek Sivers on Vimeo.
Outtake from the book "Anything You Want" - by Derek Sivers

The script is online at http://sivers.org/obvious

02 July 2011

ISOCS 2010-2011 Yearbook

Our new yearbook is available online at Blurb.com
The book is a collaborative effort  - all the staff contribute photographs, the students write their own text. We put it together with Booksmart software from Blurb,  and share the editing process at staff meetings with the interactive whiteboard.

School families arrange their own purchase online.  Paying with a credit card, in the U.S. dollar (US $), the Canadian dollar (CAD $), British pound sterling (₤), the European Union euro (€), and the Australian dollar (AUD $)  (Look for the drop down menu at the bottom right corner of the page to specify your location and the currency will automatically convert appropriately.), families arrange their shipping preferences, and voilà! the books arrive at their door (or wherever they chose to have them shipped). Each book is printed as it is ordered.

We published a second book last week from the Middle Primary Class - "Visiting Schloss St. Andreas", and two more books are in the editing stage: the second edition of the Middies Blog Book, and "Visiting the Museum für Urgeschichte(n) Zug".

If you have photos or pictures to share, or a story to tell,  consider producing a book. The software is free, and the process is very interesting.

When one publishes a book at Blurb, there is the option to add a bit of profit to the selling price...all the ISOCS books are sold at cost - no one is making any extra money from these sales!

We wish you all a good summer holiday, full of reading, writing and publishing!