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30 January 2012

How strong is your password?

This morning I read a very interesting post about passwords by Geoff Duncan, on Digital Trends.  It made good reading, especially amid all the discussion about Google's new privacy settings. (I urge you to click here to read the whole article.)

"You use passwords every day to access things like your phone, your email, and social networking. But are you really keeping yourself safe?...

...If there’s one thing people associate with modern technology, it’s passwords. They’re everywhere, and most of us use them for dozens of things every day. Yet most people are shockingly indifferent about their password security. Most of us probably know someone who uses the same password for everything, from their computer and email to their Facebook and bank accounts — and that password might be something as obvious as their birthday or the name of the street where they grew up. And we also probably know someone who has a sticky note on the side of their monitor labelled “Passwords” (in red, double-underlined) with a list of everything from Twitter to Netflix just sitting in the open for anyone to read."

Mr. Duncan goes on to describe the ecology of passwords: obscurity versus complexity, how and why passwords are broken,  common errors in judgement when choosing passwords, and the necessity of changing them regularly.  He gives very useful advice about creating, using and storing passwords.

"The Holy Grail of passwords would then seem to be a password that is complex enough that it is impractical to crack using automated techniques, yet easy enough to remember that users don’t compromise security by storing or managing them unsafely."

Lastly, he reminds us that no password is safe.
"Perhaps the most important thing to remember about passwords is that any password can be cracked: It’s just a question of how much time and effort someone is willing to put into it. The tips here will help reduce the odds your passwords will be rooted out by random attackers and even friends and family, but no password is completely secure. If secure access to a service is very important to you, consider looking into various forms of multiple-factor authentication to further reduce the chances of unauthorized access."

Click here to read the whole article.

photo credits: formalfallacy @ Dublin (Victor) via photopin cc, Secure password of the week cc

Privacy with Google

Unless you live under a rock (without Internet connections) you've heard about Google's new Privacy Statement.

On 26 January 2012, Google posted this on it's Public Policy blog:
"A lot has been said about our new privacy policy. Some have praised us for making our privacy policy easier to understand. Others have asked questions, including members of Congress, and that’s understandable too. We look forward to answering those questions, and clearing up some of the misconceptions about our privacy policies that first appeared in the Washington Post. 

So, here’s the real story:

  • You still have choice and control. You don’t need to log in to use many of our services, including Search, Maps and YouTube. If you are logged in, you can still edit or turn off your Search history, switch Gmail chat to “off the record,” control the way Google tailors ads to your interests, use Incognito mode on Chrome, or use any of the otherprivacy tools we offer.
  • We’re not collecting more data about you. Our new policy simply makes it clear that we use data to refine and improve your experience on Google — whichever products or services you use. This is something we have already been doing for a long time.
  • We’re making things simpler and we’re trying to be upfront about it. Period.
  • You can use as much or as little of Google as you want. For example, you can have a Google Account and choose to use Gmail, but not use Google+. Or you could keep your data separate with different accounts -- for example, one for YouTube and another for Gmail.
For more detail, please read the new privacy policy and terms, and visit this site to learn more."

Click through to Google's Good to Know website, and click on the Manage Your Data choice.  Work through all the links on the left side of the page. If you access your Google Dashboard, remember that the new Privacy Settings won't show up until after 1 March 2012.

Uploaded by  on Oct 13, 2011
Tips and advice on how to make sure you're in control of the data you share online. To learn more about your data online visit Google's Good to Know website www.google.com/goodtoknow

If you want to read more, see Mashable's post here, The Washington Post here, or Discovery News here.

Books in stop-motion

Are you one of the 2,550,967 people who have seen this video in the few weeks since it was uploaded?

Uploaded by  on Jan 9, 2012
After organizing our bookshelf almost a year ago (see the video below), my wife and I (Sean Ohlenkamp) decided to take it to the next level. We spent many sleepless nights moving, stacking, and animating books at Type bookstore in Toronto.

Sean Ohlenkamp, his wife and 27 volunteers spend many, many nights, rearranging the books on these shelves, and taking one photo at a time to create this stop-motion animation.  It all started with the video below.

Uploaded by  on Jul 12, 2011
This weekend we decided to organize the bookcase. It got a little out of hand.

I was interested to see what other work this team has created, and found the following:

Uploaded by  on Jul 20, 2011
New commercial I just finished for the Toronto Zoo's endangered African Penguins.  Also, be sure to check out http://www.SayItWithPenguins.com

Uploaded by  on Feb 26, 2011
One of 5 spots I created for the Polar Bears at the Toronto Zoo
So, how did they do that? Would you like to make your own stop-motion videos? It's not hard, but it's a very, very long process!

This is an older video, but the stop-motion process is very well explained.  Photojojo has a good page of instructions, too, using iMovie.


Uploaded by  on Jan 18, 2008
This is our new updated lego movie tutorial! We will take you through the basics of sets, filming, and editing stop motion movies. In this tutorial we use Windows Movie Maker to edit, but even if you have a different editing program there may still be some helpful tips.

29 January 2012

Edward Lear

This post is for the Middle Primary Class at ISOCS, who are investigating poetry.

Photo from Wikipedia
"There was an Old Man with a beard,
Who said, 'It is just as I feared!
Two Owls and a Hen, four Larks and a Wren,
Have all built their nests in my beard!'"

(From A Book of Nonsense, by Edward Lear)

Today is the anniversary of the death of Edward Lear (12 May 1812 – 29 January 1888), an English artist, illustrator, author, and poet, renowned today primarily for his literary nonsense, in poetry and prose, and especially his limericks, a form that he popularized.  You can read about his life and work on Wikipedia.

You can read Lear's "Nonsense Songs, Stories, Botany and Alphabets" on The Children's Library web page or at Project Guttenberg, and also download it as an epub file, for a Kindle, and several other e-book formats.

You can listen to a recording at Librivox.org,  download the mp3 files, or subscribe to them in iTunes.  (There's also an iPad app.)

One of the best known of Lear's poems is "The Owl and the Pussycat"

From "The Owl and the Pussycat"
Listen to a sample of the Librivox recording here (Read by Adrian Praetzellis):

Saturday, 12 May 2012 will be Lear's 200th Birthday.  There are several events planned - if you would like to celebrate, consult the Edward Lear Home Page, "A Blog of Bosh".

23 January 2012

The Future Belongs to the Curious

This morning I read a post by Ewan McIntosh, titled "Design Thinking 2: Immersion - don't give students a problem to solve..."

I immediately thought about our upcoming Exhibition with the Senior Primary Class at ISOCS, and the conversations some of us have been having about its structure, guidance and format.

Here are the 3 videos included in the post, along with 2 others that are part of the Brisbane Design Thinking series. Some of them may look like they're aimed at teachers, but watch them with the understanding that we are all teachers, and we are all learners.

The Future Belongs to the Curious from Skillshare on Vimeo.
From the moment we open our eyes it fuels our existence. We are on a mission to remind everyone to never lose your sense of curiosity or wonder. Long live learning!

Uploaded by TEDxTalks on Nov 18, 2011
Ewan McIntosh is CEO of NoTosh Limited, a startup that works with creative industries on the one hand, and then takes the processes, attitudes and research gained from working on those projects to the world of education, providing schools, districts and Governments all around the world with ideas, inspiration and research on how to better engage teens. Ewan and his team are all about engaging people, whether they're voters, customers or kids in a classroom.

Design Thinking Brisbane from Danielle Carter on Vimeo.
Introduction Video on Design Thinking in School- working with Ewan McIntosh and Tom Barrett on action learning project 2011.

Immersion from Danielle Carter on Vimeo.
First stage in design thinking process.

Synthesis from Danielle Carter on Vimeo.
The second stage in the Design Thinking process.

"The key to success, and the differentiator compared to other problem-based learning approaches? Students, not teachers, work out the challenge they want to solve." (link)

This is a hot topic in the PYP Exhibition world. What would our Exhibition be like if the students planned it all?  Would the allowed  6 weeks be enough time (and what could we do if it wasn't)? What might such an Exhibition look like? How would we record it?

21 January 2012

Learn how to skateboard

This is for the Middle Primary Class at ISOCS, who were recently investigating force and motion. There was also a live interest in skate boards.


A post on App Advice features an app with a Know Skateboarding web site that gives skate boarding lessons. An advantage of having an iPhone app with tips and videos is that you can have it with you (in a protective case)  as you practice on your board.

This video is both a review and an advertisement for the app, and at the end urges you to rush over to the app store and buy it.  But there is also a free "lite" version.  Give it a try first.

screen shot from http://www.knowskateboarding.com/
Does the app help you understand about the force and motion laws that govern skateboarding tricks?

Fresh Water

This is for the Junior Primary Class at ISOCS, who are investigating water.

Uploaded by  on Dec 6, 2010
On December 6th, 2010, CEMEX presented "Fresh Water: The Essence of Life" at COP 16 in Cancun, Mexico, which shows how Earth's freshwater supply and ecosystems are in rapid decline and require immediate action to better protect and manage one of the world's greatest natural assets.
For more information on the 18th edition in CEMEX's Conservation Book Series please visit: http://cemex.com/qr/mc_pr_120610.asp

 I saw this video on 148apps.com, in a post titled Disney and Conservation International Team Up To Use Where’s My Water For Fresh Water Education Campaign   If you have an iPad, click through to the link, download the free "Where's my water?" app and participate with  Disney Friends for Change and the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund, who are making a $50,000 donation for the "Every Duck Counts" campaign.

19 January 2012

Augmented Reality on your plate

Are you bored with your dinner?

Uploaded by  on Jan 10, 2012
"A World Exclusive -- New for 2012!
English Hedgerow, a contemporary chintz design, comes to life with Augmented Reality
Experience the world's first augmented reality ceramics - as the tradition of Royal Winton Fine Bone China meets the latest 3D animation technology.
See and hear life in an English hedgerow as the sun rises - bask in its calm and be replenished by its simplicity. Amid the brambles, beech and dandelions, a busy bullfinch tends to its nest. As a fly buzzes in the oak and hazel, a caterpillar curls in the grass and a butterfly flutters through the hawthorn and stitchwort ...
Created by referencing flora and fauna occurring in natural English hedgerows, the modern Chintz pattern, designed by Andrew Tanner with Jason Jameson and James Hall, is brought to life by an app created by Unanico Group. An iPhone, iPod or iPad transforms the classically-inspired design into augmented reality, unashamedly bringing chintz into the digital age!
Experience it for yourself. Simply download the free English Hedgerow app to your iOS handheld device, point the rear-facing camera at the pattern and watch the story develop on your screen, changing and interacting as you move the camera around the design.
To find out more, visit http://www.unanico.com/ehh.html"

Go to the iTunes App store and download the English Hedgerow app for iPad or iPhone.  Then go to http://www.unanico.com/ehh.html and open the plate pattern on a new tab, so that you can see the full plate design.

Follow the directions on the iTunes store page:
1.Depending on the English Hedgerow pattern’s position or plane, choose “horizontal” or “vertical” on the selection screen
2.Point the rear camera at the English Hedgerow pattern, avoiding glare
3.The animation will begin
4.If the animation disappears, check the English Hedgerow pattern is within the onscreen outline

Make sure your sound is turned up.

This has got to be one of the cooler silly things to do with an iPad/iPhone.  But think of the possibilities!

"The Artist"

From a post on The Teaching Palette this week I learned about the YouTube Channel of Sotheby's, the art auction house, where you can see 158 videos about all aspects of the fine arts "business".

The Teaching Palette featured this video, "The Artist", which I think is a good place to start. You can watch the entire video, along with others in the documentary series, "The Collector", "The Rostrum", and "The House" on Sotheby's Your Art World site.

Uploaded by  on Sep 26, 2011
"Start where it all begins - with The Artist. Enjoy an inside view of the creative process through the eyes of four of the world's most intriguing and innovative artists: Jeff Koons, Ronald Ventura, Cai Guo-Qiang and Amy Granat."

The videos on the YouTube channel seem to be mostly introductions to, or moments from art auctions (For example, you can watch Picasso's "L'Aubade" be auctioned for $20,000,500.00)

10 January 2012

Playing with similes, fonts, colors and images

In December the Middle Primary Class at ISOCS used the BlackText website to make portraits of themselves, using poems they wrote to describe themselves.

I was wondering how the same site would do to make images of similes (because that's what the Middle Primary Class at ISOCS is talking about in their poetry unit right now. So I did some experiments.
  • First, I opened a Word Pad document, pasted the text of the poem the class read with Miss Judy, and then eliminated all the punctuation and lines.  We learned that this was a quick way to make text usable for copy and paste on the BlackText site when we did our portrait projects.   When I was done, the poem looked like this:
A Red Red Rose O My Luve like a red red rose That's newly sprung in June O My Luve like the melodie That sweetly played in tune  As fair art thou my bonnie lass So deep in luve am I And I will luve thee still my dear Till all the seas gang dry my dear While the sands o life shall run And fare thee weel my only luve And fare thee weel awhile And I will come again my luve Tho it ware ten thousand mile
  • Next, I went to PhotoPin , to  find a picture of a red rose. I found two I thought might do, so I downloaded them, and copied the photo credit text, and pasted it onto my WordPad page, so I could use it later.  
screen shot from PhotoPin
  • I went back to the BlackText page, uploaded my photo, pasted in the poem text, and began to experiment with font size, color, etc.
screen shot from BlackText.com
I made a lot of versions, but decided I liked this one best

Created at BlackText.com   photo credit: DartmoorGiant via photopin cc
Click on the image to see it full size

That was fun, so I decided to use another site we've used before in class, Wordle.  I already had the text prepared, so I pasted it into the text window on  the Wordle site.
screen shot
Then I began to experiment with the results.
screen shot from Wordle.net

I decided I liked this one best:
screen shot from Wordle.net


For the Middle Primary Class at ISOCS, who are thinking about similes and poetry.

After I read Miss Judy's post about similes, I went to Flickr Poet to see what I could see.

I asked it to show me "Love is like a rose".
screen shot
Click image to se it e full size

I clicked "Show Story" again, and the pictures changed.
screen shotClick image to se it e full size

Sometimes it takes several tries to get a string of photos that makes sense, or is acceptable.
screen shotClick image to se it e full size
Flickr Poet is pulling up photos according to the tags that people have given to their photos on Flickr.  That's why the photos for both "life" and "is like" are often a little odd.   Results tend to fluctuate wildly between random and deeply meaningful.  What pictures have you taken that you could label with the tag "is like" ?

Go to Flickr Poet and give it a try.

(Flickr Poet is linked on our unit wiki, too.)

08 January 2012

Inquiry and ducks and trash

Recent news stories about debris on Canadian West Coast beaches arriving from (possibly) Fukushima (visit this noaa.gov page to learn more) reminded me of NPR's story last spring about the rubber ducks washing up on the west coast of North America in the spring of 1992.  This morning I read a short post from an IB colleague, Patrick OSullivan, which sent me back to listen to the  NPR story again, about the writing of Moby Duck, by Donovan Hohn. (Read an excerpt here)

Patrick quoted a paragraph from the prologue of the book, which he himself had read on the blog of a colleague, who introduced it with  "Anyone interested in inquiry, science, adventure, toys, teaching, the environment, high seas, mysteries, and basically anything else will need to pick up this book for a great summer read."

"Follow one line of inquiry and it will lead you to another, and another. Spot a yellow duck dropped atop the seaweed at the tide line, ask yourself where it came from, and the next thing you know you're way out at sea, no land in sight, dog-paddling around in mysteries four miles deep.  You're wondering when and why yellow ducks became icons of childhood.  You want to know what it's like inside the toy factories of Guangdong.  You're marveling at the scale of humanity's impact on this terraqueous globe and at the oceanic magnitude of your own ignorance.  You're giving the plight of the Laysan albatross many moments of thought."

Well, as a PYP school we're very interested in inquiry, where one question leads to another. The New York Times review of Moby Duck lists a handful of  Mr. Hohn's guiding questions in this inquiry for us:
"Where did the toys come from? What were they made of? What would they look like after spending more than 15 years as castaways? What kinds of people make flotsam hunting their favorite pursuit, and how are the battle lines drawn between conservationists and environmentalists, litterbugs and industrial polluters? How much cargo vanishes at sea? And if it floats, how and where will it travel? What kinds of weather events occur underwater, and how well do we fathom them? How are the perils faced by huge, U-shaped post-Panamax cargo ships different from those that have always bedeviled sailors? And, since Mr. Hohn was an English teacher, how might Melville fit into all this?" (Read the whole review by Janet Maslin, "The Siren Song of the Bath Toy")

The reviewer goes on to paint a picture of Mr. Hohn as an inquirer:
"... “Moby-Duck” makes him sound genuinely open-minded, inquisitive and eager to expand his own understanding of the freakish event on which he’d grown fixated. And he was eager to enhance his secondhand ideas about how the world works with firsthand images and experiences, which he eagerly incorporates into “Moby-Duck.” (link)

Uploaded by on Apr 8, 2011
"Questions can be like ocean currents...wade in a little too far, and they can carry you away.  Follow one line of inquiry and it will lead you to another and another..." (D. Hohn, c. min 4:40)

04 January 2012

Teach yourself to write computer code

"Codecademy, a startup that uses interactive online lessons to turn anyone into a computer programmer, has signed up 97,000 students in less than 48 hours for its New Year’s resolution class Code Year. That’s more than twice as many students as were enrolled in the 150 U.S. computer science undergraduate programs that the Computer Research Association surveyed last year." according to an article on Mashable.

The Atlantic Wire describes the course as a cross between Math Blaster and Foresquare.

The course is free.  Add your name to the email list at Codecademy, and new programming lessons each week by email.  This video gives you an idea of how the web site works:

Uploaded by on Dec 14, 2011
The VERY BEST way to learn HTML and Javascript coding!

03 January 2012

Protect yourself from photo-chemical changes

This is for the ISOCS Senior Primary students, who are inquiring into changing materials. Some of you might be in the hight mountains, and others on warm sunny beaches, but in either case, we do not want any material changes due to photo-chemistry.

Uploaded by periodicvideos on Jan 3, 2012
The Professor - donning his clip-on shades - is at Bondi Beach in Australia for a discussion about sunscreen.

Words With No English Translation

Following on from my last post, Seeing and Naming Color, and the unforeseen difficulties of writing poetry.

I read about Alain Levine's web tool to randomly generate some words that have no English Equivalent
Screen shot of http://lab.cogdogblog.com/nowords

Screen shot of http://lab.cogdogblog.com/nowords
Play with his page, and/or go straight to the sources:
15 Wonderful Words With No English Equivalent
French Words With No English Translation
20 awesomely untranslatable words from around the world
10 Words That Can't Be Translated into English

What words do you know that don't translate (as a one word) from one of your languages to another? 

Alain Levine's post page explains how he wrote the code to create the page, with screen shots and instructions. If you're interested in writing pages "from scratch", you should definitely have a look.