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27 February 2012

Sharing with Educreations

One of our ISOCS students shared this with his teachers - you can read a little about the assignment here.

Educreations is a free iPad app, that makes it very easy to create and share audio and visual "lessons" or works, ideas, creations, etc.
"Educreations is a recordable interactive whiteboard that captures your voice and handwriting to produce amazing video lessons that you can share online. Students and colleagues can replay your lessons in any web browser, or from within our app on their iPads. Check out the "Showcase" on our homepage or the "Featured" tab in our iPad app to view some great lessons that other teachers have created with Educreations." If you don't have an iPad, "You can also create lessons using our online whiteboard, which works in any browser that supports flash. Just log in to your account on our website and click on the "Create a New Lesson" link to launch our online whiteboard."

The app has provisions for teachers to create "classes" of students, who can share a lesson, and schools can create Profiles on the Educreations web site.

Graham's poetry lesson was embedded here with permission.

26 February 2012

Goodbye Miss Kirstin!

One of our teachers is leaving this week - here's a farewell card from Animoto for her.

What's so interesting about frozen water?

Switzerland has been in the deep freezer until a few days ago, so ice has been an interesting and timely subject, though we've seen too much of it.  ISOCS Junior Primary Class was investigating water until recently, so when I saw these videos about ice, I wanted to share them here.

The National Purblic Radio (US) program Science Friday recently posted this video, as a part of this broadcast.


The Secret Life of Ice from edvard brun on Vimeo.
Everyone knows ice is white and clear and sometimes blue. I discovered when I was working with small slices of ice sheets in polarized light that it also has a secret life -- a gorgeous spectrum of rainbow saturated colors. It also has some amazing hidden structures that shift and grow and shrink as the ice is freezing and melting. I put together a short sequence of the most dynamic transformations. Visit www.timeframesvideo.com to view more from this collection.

While you're looking at ice, watch this video from another Science Friday show, "Ode to Ice"


 "Ice can be hard to get a handle on, literally and figuratively. It can be cloudy or clear, as hard as concrete or as soft as a snowflake. Ice experts Erland Schulson, head of the Ice Research Lab at Dartmouth College, and Shintaro Okamoto, founder of Okamoto Studio in Queens, New York, have staked their livelihoods on the slippery material. We asked them what fascinates them about frozen water."

Click through to the Okamoto Studio web page, if you want to see some stunning ice sculpture.

24 February 2012

Sound Sculpture Created from Paint

More in our "Seeing the Unseeable" series 

On one of my favorite photography blogs, PetaPixel, last week I saw photos that Martin Klimas had taken of paint in the air - Sound Painting Photographs with Paint and Speakers.
Klimas "spent six months photographing portraits of sound by playing music through a speaker that’s crowned with paint. Klimas dials up the volume and then photographs the paint coming alive from vibrations caused by the sound waves."
Screen shot from PetaPixel.com
There's a video on Vimeo of how to create  pictures like these :

making messes from Chad Westover on Vimeo.Shot and Edited by students at Arizona State University Polytechnic in the Graphic Information and Technology Program, part of the College of Technology and Innovation

The science is explained in this video, and is followed by the commercial for Cannon color printers which commissioned the work:

Canon Pixma: Bringing colour to life from Dentsu London on Vimeo.
With a little searching on the Internet, I found other pictures like these:

Screen shot from Flickr.com
 Click through to the Flickr page and see all of this Colorful Sculptures set.

Screen shot from Flickr.com
Click through to the Flickr page and see all of these "Water Figures" photos from the artist who created the Cannon video.

20 February 2012

Recorders and iPads

For the ISOCS students who have been learning to play the recorder, and who have an iPad 2 at their disposal

I saw this app, Recorder Master,  on one of my iPad review sites this morning.  What caught my attention was the way the player controlls the game - "... the sounds you play control the game play. This awesome game is the perfect introduction to music. The game is activated by a regular recorder (or flute) and by touch." (link)

Uploaded by  on Feb 1, 2012
JoyTunes Recorder Master iPad app for practicing the recorder by using the actual instrument as the controller to an exciting iPad game.
Apple's Staff Favorite and #1 Music Game in the UK.

Here’s an App Store link for Recorder Master; it’s a free app.
The app has received very favorable reviews.  Here's a bit of the review from iApps for Teachers:

"I found the game to be very entertaining. As I said before, the idea is brilliant, and I’ll add that the execution is amazing. I found the app to be very responsive to the notes being played. I would have loved to have a game like this when I was learning the recorder all those years ago. The theme and animations of Recorder Master are familiar, and it works very well. If your child is learning to play the recorder, pick this application up. The newest updated provided a new map that changes the scenery, and focuses on the notes C, and D. I have no doubt JoyTunes will continue to update Recorder Master with more content,  and for the price of free, you cannot go wrong. Next stop- Our Favorites list."

It turns out this is not the only music game this company makes:

18 February 2012

10 (or 11) Computer Skills

This morning I read a blog post by David Andrade, who writes the Educational Technology Guy blog.  He wrote,

"Earlier this month, I wrote "10 Important Skills Students Need for the Future." After reading a few articles about specific tech skills, I thought I write what I think are the 10 Important Tech Skills Students Need."

Here are the 10 skills he lists.

 1. Internet Search - students need to know how to do a proper internet search, using search terms and modifiers. This skill is needed for school, work and life in general. 

 2. Office Suite Skills - students need to now how to create, edit, and modify documents, presentations, and spreadsheets. Businesses still use MS Office for the most part, but iWorks, OpenOffice / LibreOffice, and Google Docs are all getting more popular. They all work similarly so the learning curve when switching isn't that big. 

 3. Self learning of tech and where to go for help - knowing how to search a help menu on software or hardware, where to go to find user forums for help, and where to find the manual for technology is a huge skill that many do not know about. 

 4. Typing - yes, typing. I can get much more work done since I know how to type, than people who don't. It's a skill that is necessary for any kind of writing 

 5. Social Media - how to properly use social media for school and work, how to protect yourself on it, the issues of cyberbullying, connecting with others in your profession (PLN). 

 6. Netiquette - Internet/Email/Social Media etiquette - proper way to use the internet, write professional emails, use social media in relation to your job (not complaining about the boss). 

 7. Security and Safety - antivirus, spam, phishing, too much personal information sharing, stalkers, and more are all issues they need to know about. 

 8. Hardware basics and troubleshooting - knowing what different parts of technology are called, how to make minor fixes, and how to do basic troubleshooting for WiFi, networks, OS won't load, etc. 

 9. Backup data - with all of the data that students create for school and work, it is important to back it up and have access to it at any time. 

 10. Finding apps and software - how to find, evaluate, and use apps for school and business. Also, how to find quality, free alternatives to paid software, apps and services.


11. Copyright and Citing Sources - students need to understand copyright laws and rules, how to cite a resource, and how to integrate someone else's work into their's properly.

I think these aren't just skills for students - teachers should have these skills, too.  For that matter, anyone who uses a computer should know these things.  How are you doing with these 11?

If you want to find out more about any of these categories, click back to the original article for links to more posts about each section.

Photo source: Jenn and Tony Bot on Flickr

12 February 2012


I've been playing with an iPad app from Boinx Software, with the interesting name of "You Gotta See This"

The app creates collages of images that you take by slowly moving the camera around in 3D space. The resulting images are somewhat similar to what is called "panography" or "Hockneyesque" (after the artist David Hockney).
"You Gotta See This!" uses the gyroscope of the iPhone 4, the iPod touch (4th generation) or iPad 2 to determine the camera orientation while you record and positions the images it takes accordingly on a flat surface to create the spacial collages.
There's a tutorial on YouTube:

I think it's more interesting than a standard panorama shot or an image produced "by hand" with a photo stiching software, because of its use of the gyroscope in iOS5 devices.

"Panography, or Joiners, is a photographic technique in which one picture is assembled from several overlapping photographs. This can be done manually with prints or by using digital image editing software.
Panographs may resemble a wide-angle or panoramic view of a scene, similar in effect to segmented panoramic photography orimage stitching. A panograph is distinct because the overlapping edges between adjacent pictures are not removed; the edge becomes part of the picture. Panography is thus a type of photomontage and a sub-set of collage." (link)

You can make panographs "by hand", with an "ordinary" camera: Directions are here, here, and here.

There's a (traditional) Panography Group on Flickr

Create your own planets

This morning I read a blog post that caused me to spend a few hours that had been planed for another use, messing around with "Street View Stereographic". San Francisco-based web programmer Ryan Alexander has created a web app that creates a “little planet” using photos from any Google Street View. Type an address in the search bar, or choose a place on the map with the yellow "Street View" man on the right side of the screen, and the app creates a "tiny planet" from the Street View image on the left side.  This is a fascinating way to explore your world, and view familiar scenes through a new optic. You will probably want to save your creations with a screen shot.  (You can read about it at Wikipedia.)

Screen shot of http://notlion.github.com/
Click image to view full size
I've been experimenting recently with another way to create tiny planets - an iPad app called Tiny Planet, which produces photos like this:
Photo by keepps

When I had Adobe PhotoShop installed on my computer, I made tiny planets "by hand". (See vimeo.com/5547102 or ruleofthirdsphotography.com/small-planet-effect-4-easy-st... for directions.)
Photo by keepps
You can see thousands of these photos in the Flickr Groups  Stereographic Projections,

Photos+Picasa+Movie Maker+Music+Vimeo=Video

There's a new video up on the ISOCS Junior Primary blog, made by Miss Christina.  She created it by making a slide show from her photos with Picasa, then exporting it as a movie. Next, she chose music from Kevin MacLeod's incompetech.com site, which she used under a Creative Commons: By Attribution license. She chose a segment titled "The Path of the Goblin King"
Screen shot of imcompetech.com

Using Windows Live Movie Maker, she added the music to the slide show-movie, and voilà! it was ready to upload to Vimeo and copy the embed ode in her blog post.
Screen shot of vimeo.com

Screen shot from blogger.com

08 February 2012

A Google a Day

Do you believe in learning through play?  Do you believe that "Practice makes perfect"?  Do you think you're pretty good at finding information on the Internet?

You (and your students) might be interested in the Google a Day puzzle.
Screen shot from splash screen at  http://agoogleaday.com  Click on the image to see it full size  

"There is no right way to solve it, but there's only one right answer. A Google a Day is a daily search puzzle that can be solved using your creativity and clever search skills on Google."

Screen shot from splash screen at  http://agoogleaday.com  Click on the image to see it full size

For example, this puzzle
"What single state is home to all of the following U.S. cities: Madrid, Toronto, Cincinnati, Denver, Hartford, and Norway?" 
would have been solved by
"Search [U.S. city Madrid] to find that there's is a Madrid in Missouri and Iowa. Search [Toronto Missouri] to find nothing, but [Toronto Iowa] to find a U.S. city. Repeat searching with Iowa for the other options to confirm that the answer is Iowa." (link)
Screen shot of  http://agoogleaday.com/#date=2012-02-07
Click on the image to see it full size

There is a Google Chrome App for the Google a Day, and a gadget for your iGoogle page, or other webpages:

Cross-posted at Triple A Learning IB Blogs

07 February 2012

A Day Made of Glass 2: Unpacked and AR

This post is for the ISOCS Senior Primary Class which is looking at changing materials (glass) and soon, exploration.  I would file this under "What is left to explore?"

I found this video on the iPad Creative blog this morning.

Uploaded by CorningIncorporated on Feb 3, 2012
http://bit.ly/xITx1H - Watch and share "A Day Made of Glass 2: Unpacked," to see how Corning's highly engineered glass, with companion technologies, will help shape our world. Take a journey with our narrator for details on these technologies, answers to your questions, and to learn about what's possible -- and what's not -- in the near future

Towards the end of the video, the guide says
"How close are we to this?  Well, it's do-able now, but not to this scale, and not at an affordable price. Further innovation in manufacturing is needed to get us there on a broad scale...This is a story about ubiquitous displays, open operating systems, shared applications, cloud media storage and unlimited bandwidth.  We know there are many obstacles  to be overcome before what we've just seen can become an obtainable, reliable reality..."

I'm particularly attracted to mobile augmented reality possibilities for historical investigation, something like the children in the video use in the National Park.
"Augmented reality (AR) is a live, direct or indirect, view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data.... Augmentation is conventionally in real-time and in semantic context with environmental elements, such as sports scores on TV during a match. With the help of advanced AR technology (e.g. adding computer vision and object recognition) the information about the surrounding real world of the user becomes interactive and digitally manipulable. Artificial information about the environment and its objects can be overlaid on the real world." (link)

"Modern smartphones with camera, positioning (global positioning or GPS), internal compass and device orientation sensors, such as the iPhone 3GS or 4, have made mobile augmented reality possible. Several applications use these possibilities to overlay imagery on the camera view. A user activates such an application and looks through the camera to observe added reality. Currently the most widely used applications of augmented reality browsers are Layar (www.layar.com), Junaio (www.junaio.com), Wikitude (www.wikitude.org) and Acrossair (www.acrossair.com)." (link)
(Read more: Augmented Reality and the Museum Experience | museumsandtheweb.com)

You won't find dinosaur-sized screens yet, but if you have an iPhone, iPad or other smart device, you can have augmented reality experience now.
Have you seen:
"...Streetmuseum gives you a unique perspective of old and new London whether you’re discovering the capital for the first time or revisiting favourite haunts. Hundreds of images from the Museum of London’s extensive collections showcase both everyday and momentous occasions in London’s history, from the Great Fire of 1666 to the swinging sixties. Select a destination from our London map or use your GPS to locate an image near you. Hold your camera up to the present day street scene and see the same London location appears on your screen, offering you a window through time. Want to know more? Simply tap the information button for historical facts....."
Streetmuseum Londonium
"...Key Roman sites in London, such as the amphitheatre at Guildhall, are brought to life through augmented reality video – produced by HISTORY™ – which re-enacts scenes of Roman London against today’s modern backdrop. Soundscapes also allow you to listen to the hustle and bustle of the forum or the sounds of ritual incantation at the Temple of Mithras. (AR mode only available on iPhone)..."

"Does AR add something to a museum experience or does it becomes the experience itself? What do we gain from looking at a composite digital/real world through a mobile phone and what do we lose? In the case of archive photography there is a thrill to be had by looking down the barrel of history whilst standing in very same spot from which the original image was captured." (link)

05 February 2012


A post on by Richard Byrne on FreeTech4Teachers last week reminded me about Wiki Summarizer.  I decided to see if this might be a useful tool for ISOCS Senior Primary Class, who are about to launch into an inquiry about exploration.

Looking at the Summarize Wikipedia article tab, I put "exploration" into the search bar, and saw this page open:
Screen shot of wikisummarizer.com
Click the image to view it full size
There is a choice of three views - Visual Summary (shown above), Tree View, and Keyword Cloud.- By clicking on the " signs, you can open up more information:
Screen shot of wikisummarizer.com
Click the image to view it full size
But if I use the Search Wikipedia tab, with the same keyword search, I see these results:
Screen shot of wikisummarizer.com 
Click the image to view it full size
Mmmm....not the results I thought I might find.....and the results are not links back to the original articles in Wikipedia.

If I choose the Keyword Cloud option, the words are "clickable", and the whole cloud can be embedded:

Test this out by clicking on "Orex Exploration", and see what you find.  Wait - before you click, what do you thin (an) Orex is?  Do you think WikiSummarizer would be a useful tool?

04 February 2012

Poetry Friday -- A Leaf Can Be.....

For the Middle Primary Class at ISOCS, who are inquiring into Poetry.

On the Year of Reading blog's Poetry Friday post this week I found out about A Leaf Can Be, by Laura Purdie Salas. Illustrated by Violeta Dajiba

"In a rhyming text, accompanied by luminously illustrated pictures, Laura Purdie Salas explores all the things a leaf can be throughout the seasons."

"A leaf is a leaf.
It bursts out each spring
when sunny days linger
and orioles sing.

A leaf can be a...
soft cradle
water ladle
sun taker
food maker
tree topper
rain stopper"

"...I want to pair this book with A Sock is a Pocket for Your Toes by Liz Scanlon and have students compare and contrast the way these poets crafted their metaphors...In fact, this book is a great example of an extended metaphor..."

I urge you to read the entire post at "A Year of Reading" here.

Uploaded by  on Jan 7, 2012

A leaf can be a...Shade spiller...Mouth filler...Tree topper...Rain stopper....Find out about the many roles leaves play in Laura Purdie Salas' poetic exploration of leaves throughout the year. Beautiful art by Violeta Dabija. A Leaf Can Be... is published by Millbrook Press, 2012.

This book has been widely reviewed in the world of Children's Librarians and Science Teachers. One of them, Simply Science, wrote this:

"Spare, simple verse follows the many ways leaves contribute to nature and life in this lovely, appealing picture book. The job of leaves changes with the changing seasons and the book traces these events with Salas’s lyrical poetrytext. Soft greens wash the pages until the seasons change and Dabija’s mixed media art makes the book lovely and soft, inviting the reader into a gentle, and sometimes not so gentle, world of nature.
Back matter includes specific facts and examples of each of the word choices used. The book also has glossary and further reading suggestions."

03 February 2012

QR Codes and Paper Docs

I'm sharing this video for several of reasons:

  • I think the animation at the beginning is a great way (for students) to get a quick overview of the history of transmitting (written) communications.
  • I think the use o QR codes on documents stored in the cloud might be an interesting step forward, or at least sideways, from sharing through a site like Google docs.  From this video, it looks like it is not a way to work collaborative, as you can in certain conditions on a Google doc. but it looks like an interesting idea for sharing "fixed" docs, like a PYP Scope and Sequence, or a school's Mission and Vision statement.
  • I'm going to do some experimenting:

screen shot from http://www.tagmydoc.com/ (click on the image to see it full size)
and here's the document you would see if you scanned the Qr code:

(The original source of this table was a blog at 3.bp.blogspot.com, which no longer exists)

Cross posted on Triple A Learning Blogs 6 Feb 2012

02 February 2012

Changing Materials with Hands

Hands from ISOCS on Vimeo.
As part if their unit of inquiry into changing materials, the ISOCS Senior Primary Class made Plaster of Paris casts of their hands.