Xtranormal Heroes

The Senior Primary Class has been using Xtranormal to make animations telling about their investigations into Heroes and Role-Models. The class used, among other resources, our Heroes and Role-Models page to find about about different people, and consider why they led notable lives.

In the process of creating these animations, students explored the joys and the difficulties of working with an online application, how to get a computer generated voice to read the sound you had in mind in your script, (punctuation and spelling -or phonetic spelling- are important!), and that one must save one's work before leaving it.

Here are the published animations so far. There are several more in the editing stage. As they're completed, I'll add them to this page.

By DM http://www.xtranormal.com/watch/7817747

By DM http://www.xtranormal.com/watch/7817537

By ? http://www.xtranormal.com/watch/7817593

By CW http://www.xtranormal.com/watch/7817531

By DM http://www.xtranormal.com/watch/7803323

By AS http://www.xtranormal.com/watch/7829357

By ? http://www.xtranormal.com/watch/7829783

By ? http://www.xtranormal.com/watch/7829823

By ? http://www.xtranormal.com/watch/7829891

Numbers and 0

For the Middle Primary Class, which is doing a lot with numbers:

"The story of numbers is the story of civilization. Terry Jones ("Monty Python's Flying Circus") goes on a humor-filled journey to recount the amazing tale behind Indian numerals."

20 things I learned about browsers and the Web

Go to http://20thingsilearned.com/ and read the book "20 things I learned about browsers and the Web". Here's a screen shot - I'm sorry I can't embed the book here!

Teaching Kids Real Math With Computers

Watch this video, and see what you think - how are you learning math in school?

"http://www.ted.com From rockets to stock markets, math powers many of humanity's most thrilling creations. So why do kids lose interest? Conrad Wolfram says the part of math we teach -- calculation by hand -- isn't just tedious, it's mostly irrelevant to real mathematics and the real world. He presents his radical idea: teaching kids math through computer programming."

The transcript of the video is here,

"Conrad Wolfram is the strategic director of Wolfram Research, where his job, in a nutshell, is understanding and finding new uses for the Mathematica technology. Wolfram is especially passionate about finding uses for Mathematica outside of pure computation, using it as a development platform for products that help communicate big ideas." Read more about him at this link. His web page is here, and his Wolfram Demonstrations Project page is here. You might be especially interested in the "Kids and Fun" page.  Try this counting game on the web page.  You can download it to a Windows PC, too.

How shall we display digital art?

The Middle Primary Class had a brief encounter with digital art on Thursday, as they created their own works, and saved them with screen shots to their own computers. I'm interested in what Hockney* says in this interview, about how to share digital art, and how to have an exhibition of it:

You can read more about the exhibition at this article on CNET News, and see another video about the show on this page from BBC's TV program Click.

You can also listen to a chapter of the Digital Planet podcast for 2 November 2010 about this show.
at this page, and read more about it at these pages:  David Hockney: Fleurs fraîches, David Hockney: Fleurs fraîches: Fondation Pierre Bergé - Yves Saint Laurent , BBC News: David Hockney's instant iPad art.

What do you think would be the best way to exhibit our digital art?

*"David Hockney (born 9 July 1937) is an English painter, draughtsman, printmaker, stage designer and photographer, who is based in Bridlington, Yorkshire, although he also maintains a base in London. An important contributor to the Pop art movement of the 1960s, he is considered one of the most influential British artists of the twentieth century." (link)

Out my Window

You may have encountered the idea of "Out my window" as an icebreaker, or a photo contest, or story starter, but you've probably never seen it in this format.

"Out My Window is one of the world’s first interactive 360º documentaries. Delivered entirely on the web, it explores the state of our urban planet told by people who look out on the world from highrise windows.

It’s a journey around the globe through the most commonly built form of the last century: the concrete-slab residential tower. Meet remarkable highrise residents who harness the human spirit — and the power of community — to resurrect meaning amid the ruins of modernism.
With more than 90 minutes of material to explore, Out My Window features 49 stories from 13 cities, told in 13 languages, accompanied by a leading-edge music playlist." (link)

Watch the trailer below, and then go to the website and explore.  (Be patient, it might take time to load the page.) As you move your mouse over the different parts of the screen, new pictures and sounds will load to tell the story of the people living in the apartment you're "visiting".

"Out My Window" at http://interactive.nfb.ca/#/outmywindow

Thanks to Dan Colman for the tip.

Vocabulary with Prezi

Wait for the Prezi to load, then use the arrow to play it.

Forwards, backwards and opposite

I found these two videos this morning while I was working on digital storytelling material.  First comes this award winning political ad from Argentina, written by Ricardo Lopez for the Argentinian Political Party Recrear. It won the Silver Lion Award at the Cannes Film Festival in 2006. Don't click away in mid stream - watch it to the end:

There are many spin-offs of this video, one of which is from Penguin Books. The same conditions apply here - watch it all the way through, no matter how difficult it may be:

"This video was prepared by the UK branch of Dorling Kindersley Books and produced by Khaki Films (http://www.thekhakigroup.com/). Originally meant solely for a DK sales conference, the video was such a hit internally that it is now being shared externally."

The creators of the Penguin film (Khaki Films) had, in their turn, been influenced by this one,which they had seen on YouTube:

"This video was created for the AARP's  U@50 video contest by a film student attending Columbia College in Chicago. It placed Second."

Do you think you could write lines like these, to be read backwards and forwards, each direction producing  completely opposite effects? What are the pieces you need to note down before you begin to assemble the "puzzle"?

We Tell Stories

More for our Storytellers:

"Penguin UK digital publisher Jeremy Ettinghausen discusses the "We Tell Stories" project, which aimed to tell stories using innovative online formats. The project broadcast stories live online as authors wrote them and utilized tools like Twitter and Google Maps."

Visit the "We Tell Stories" web site and explore the stories. These are not specifically "children's Stories". I couldn't find any "adult content", but the stories are for the general reading public. Authors are Charles Cumming, Toby Litt, Kevin Brooks, Nicci French, Matt Mason, Mohsin Hamid, and Naomi Alderman.

The story referred to in the video that uses Google Maps is The 21 Steps, by Charles Cumming, and  Slice, by Toby Litt, is written as 2 blogs.

Perhaps you will start with the 6 Classics. On the Fairy Tales page, for example, click on the link to the right of the page, "Read the story" and begin to enter information. In the screen shot below, you see that I've named the King "Olaf", and the peasant's daughter "Yolanda".
Partial screen shot from the Fairy Tale

Now I have to choose "What animal will be most helpful to you against the King?" and what they will be like.

Partial screen shot from the Fairy Tale

Penguin has some other interesting ideas for digital books.  If you have an iPad, you'll be interested in this demonstration of iPad "books":

Further reading: First Look: How Penguin Will Reinvent Books With iPad


For the Middle Primary Class, which is doing a lot of counting: