Computer Buddies

Go to ISOCS Class 1, 2, 3's  blog for the story of our Computer Buddies first project.  Ms. Katter writes:

"After personalised invitations from Class 1,2,3, we happily received a visit from Class 6,7 for the first ever "computer buddies" session. There was a lot of learning and a lot of fun, with the students from Class 6,7 proving to be fantastic teachers. 

We reviewed some of the important basics, turning on the computer with the new password, correctly turning off the computer and saving our work. After the students took self portraits using the webcam, they started to explore the program  PhotoFiltre

This is where the laughs began, as the students were able to do all sorts of crazy things to their original picture. They let their imaginations go wild, with pink hair, tiaras, snowflakes and fun dots all over their face. The inaugural "computer buddies" session was a huge success and we look forward to future visits. A warm thank you to Mr Berndt and Class 6,7 for their knowledge, patience and fun instruction."

You'll find a series of photos on her blog post recording the event.

Presenting like a designer

One of my web colleagues has created this slide show for his 8th grade class, which is looking at presentation forms.
"We’ve looked at different presentation styles such asTEDIgnitePecha Kucha and RSA (and RSA Animate). Next week they’ll begin focusing on slide design and to prep them for this, I’ve created the slideshowbelow, based on the popular book by Garr Reynolds." (link)

He's shared his slides, and I embed them here for ISOCS staff and students.

What color is this? in 9 languages

This morning,  Flowing Data sent me to look at What color is this? in 9 languages.

"The color-wheel..." contains 4,000 colors (we collected many more, but didn’t want to crash everyone’s browsers). Mouse-over the color-wheel to see the names of the colors in nine different languages, with translations into English. You can also filter by language using the search box and country flags, so you can see the differences between where Russians vs. Chinese vs. Japanese see red."


Search for a color, and then click on the flags, and you can see the differences between countries.


The authors (Dave Oleson and Dawn Ho ) write that "On the whole, it looks like countries have extremely similar conceptions of color. Type “blue” into the search box, click on the different countries, and you can see the overlap. There are outliers though. Some narrower colors – such as “purple” – are used much more in Japan than in Russia. The use of certain modifiers such as “light” are used pretty uniformly across the color spectrum in English, but much more prevalently in the Blue-Green region in Japanese."

Click through to their website and see the whole article, and the download links. 
Beyond the data possibilities, playing with the color "wheel"on this site could be an interesting way to improve your vocabulary in another language.  Subtlety or nuance in color names is often low on the priority list of new words to learn.  But if you're an artists, or you like to buy clothes (!) it's a very important part of your vocabulary.

Startrails Timelapse

Another in our series of Seeing the Unseeable:

"Startrails Timelapse Carolina from Daniel Dragon Films on Vimeo.
‎"Startrails Timelapse Carolina"
Filmed at Huckleberry Knob and Salvo, N.C.; the far eastern and western edges of North Carolina.
Print of the main image available here: http://fineartamerica.com/featured/perseid-smoky-mountain-startrails-daniel-lowe.html
This is what I did with 2 years worth of static star timelapses that might have otherwise went unseen.
If this gets a decent amount of views, then I'll follow up with a tutorial on how to do this in After Effects."

"These scenes are created by stacking a sequence of long-exposure, high-resolution digital photographs in Adobe After Effects and allowing each photograph to linger on the screen for a short duration of time before fading.
The resulting “Startrails” video captures the actual motion and apperance of light; nothing has been added with respect to computer generated graphics.” (link)

Click through to http://danieldragonfilms.com to see more of Daniel Lowe's work.

New Page for this blog

There's a new Page on this blog (see the tabs under the blog title), which links directly to a new curation site I'm experimenting with - Tech News for ISOCS, published weekly on Monday morning.

I'm using Paper.li:

"Paper.li is a content curation service. It enables people to publish newspapers based on topics they like and treat their readers to fresh news, daily.
We believe that people (and not machines) are the ones qualified to curate the content that matters most. We also think that these same people can greatly help their own communities to find their way through this “massive content world” we live in. We’re here to help!
Every day, around the world, millions of articles are featured on Paper.lis, benefiting millions of readers. We are just at the beginning of an exciting new adventure and we think we’re on to something good.
We love the semantic web, we respect our content creators, we strive for simplicity, and we thrive on feedback." (link)
What's the new page for?  Every day I come across so many interesting things I would like to share with the students and staff at ISOCS - I bookmark some of them on Diigo, I write about some of them on this ICT blog, I add some of them to our unit wikis at Wikispaces and link to them in our PYP Planners, and send links by email to particular people I hope will find them interesting, too....but there is still so much information!  Videos, images, blog posts, research papers, maps, news feeds, info-graphics...So I have created Tech News for ISOCS as one more place to try to corral  and focus interesting "stuff" from the web.
Screen Shot
I'm curating a few other Paper.li sties, too.  One is Learning with iPads; another is The Medieval World

The Art of Web (or Blog) Design

This is video, The Art of Web Design,  is for the Middle School students at ISOCS, who are beginning to create their own blogs.


Published on Sep 20, 2012 by 
The explosion of the internet over the past 20 years has led to the development of one of the newest creative mediums: the website. Web designers have adapted through the technological developments of html, CSS, Flash, and JavaScript, and have mastered the balance between creativity and usability. Now with the advance of mobile, the greatest websites have taken user experience and responsive design to the next level, and continue our evolution from print to a digital world.

Mysteries of Vernacular

This post is for Mr. Phil's Class 4, 5, 6, which is looking at Ancient Civilizations and what traces of them we fine in our modern times. Here is a series of short, artfully crafted stop-motion animations explaining the origin of individual English language words.

"In its final form, Mysteries of Vernacular will contain 26 etymological installments, one for each letter of the alphabet. Each episode takes more than 80 hours to create between the research, construction of the book, and animation. If you find yourself charmed, please consider making a donation.  to mysteriesofvernacular.com"

Mysteries of Vernacular: Hearse from Myriapod Productions on Vimeo.

Mysteries of Vernacular: Clue from Myriapod Productions on Vimeo.

Mysteries of Vernacular: Pants from Myriapod Productions on Vimeo.

Staying Legal and Fair

Yesterday I wrote about Pinterest.com - Today I'm introducing you to a site with a very similar name, but quite a different purpose: Photopin.com.  I read about it this morning on The Book Designer blog, and discovered I had bookmarked it sometime ago, but not used it.

"PhotoPin helps bloggers find photos for their blog and makes adding them to their post fast and easy." (link)

Screen shot

I did my usual sample search for pictures of a cat. Here's a screen shot of only 3 of the screens of results.
Screen shot

Mousing over a picture reveals two choices: you can click on "preview", or "get photo".
Screen shot
When you click on "get photo", a window opens with a thumbnail of the photo and a link to the original photo's page on Flickr, a list of all the sizes available with the download link, and the html code needed for attribution.
photo credit: ucumari via photo pin cc

This is a great tool for anyone looking for images to use. The search results give the possibility to filter the images based on Creative Commons licensing, a must if you intend to use someone else’s images legally and fairly.  I've written before (here and here) about Creative Commons photos, and how to find and use them.

Photopin.com is a simple tool to use. The trick, of course, is imagining what word/keyword/tag to search for when looking for images to illustrate abstract ideas, because the results will also depend on how Flickr members chose to tag their photos.  Try using Photopin.com to search for [unity] or [responsibility].  To guide you, you will  need to have some broad design ideas for your whole project in your head, some idea of your audience, and  how you want the image to relate to the text or speech you will associate with it.
(For help in this area, I strongly recommend you follow Presentation Zen

Imagining how to use Pinterest

You may have heard of a web site called Pinterest.  You may already have an account, and be actively using it, the way its creators imagined:
"Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes." (link)

I'd heard about it, but hadn't begun to think of the educational possibilities until I saw these pinboards: Education Apps, iPad Apps for Administrators, iPhone/iPad Apps for Art Teachers, Apps for OTs

Pintarest was meant to be a photo sharing site, I think - not your own photos, but photos you find on the web.  But the photos you pin link back to their web page, so it is really a social bookmarking site.

The other day, Mashable wrote about a very clever leverage of Pintarest's possibilities  by non-profit organizations working for social good.
"The fictional Pinterest profile of Ami Musa, created by UNICEF, features the less-than-luxurious desires of the 13-year-old girl from Sierra Leone, on a board called “Really want these.” Instead of scrumptious-looking dessert recipes, Musa has pinned an image of hands holding plain rice. Rather than an artfully tiled hot tub, Musa has pinned a rusty faucet." (link)
Screen shot
I looked at the other Boards and Pins that the story featured, searched a little farther, and decided to share a handful of sites for you to explore:
Pinterest for Non-Profits

Looking  through these boards and pins, thinking about your classroom, projects, students, areas of interest, etc., will probably spark ideas of how you could use Pinterest in your teaching or, if you're a student, in your research, collecting, bookmarking, sharing, etc.

For example, although Nonprofit Ads, Posters & Infographics is part of the Non-Profit Organizations Board, an art teacher is going to see beautiful, powerful examples of graphic design to show students; a math or economics teacher is going to find infographics full of data; a PYP student thinking about the Exhibition may find examples of action to investigate further, a PYP or MYP teacher is going to see a very visual way to capture resources and share them with students....go investigate!
Screen shot

Impatient Problem Solving, or Math Makes Sense of the World

In my reading this morning I came across this TEDX video:


"Dan Meyer asks, "How can we design the ideal learning experience for students?" As a part-time Googler, a provocative blogger and a full-time high-school math teacher, his perspective on curriculum design, teacher education and teacher retention is informed by tech trends and online discourse as much as front-line experience with students.

"Meyer has spun off his enlightening message -- that teachers "be less helpful" and push their students to formulate the steps to solve math problems -- into a nationwide tour-of-duty on the speaking circuit.
"I teach high school math. I sell a product to a market that doesn't want it but is forced by law to buy it."Dan Meyer"

This video doesn't have to do with only math, and it's not just for teachers - you can think about any subject area through this lens, from any vantage point.  Teachers can think about teaching, and students can think about finding or analyzing questions, and thinking about problems in general.

Math teachers will enjoy exploring the side bar of Dan Meyer's blog.

Screen shot

Flickr CC Attribution helper

This post from Alan Levine alerted me to a Chrome extension I've been waiting for.  There's been such a one for Firefox for a long while, and I'm very glad to see this for Chrome.

The Flickr CC Attribution Helper, installed in your Chrome web browser, will create two windows in the side bar of a photo page in Flickr, containing the text, and/or the html attribution you need for a Creative Commons licensed photo. 

(Click on the image below to see it full sized)

Screen shot of http://www.flickr.com/photos/isg-online/7988350244/in/photostream/
This should become an essential tool for all the students (and staff) at ISOCS who will be looking for Creative Commons licensed photos on Flickr to use in their work.  Citing a photo correctly will be simple cut and paste.

For the photo on the page shown above, the copying and pasting the text citation results in

cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo by keepps: http://flickr.com/photos/isg-online/7988350244/

This could be used on a PowerPoint or Keynote slide, or in a Word Document, for example, where the photo can be copied and pasted, or downloaded and inserted.

The html results in  the photo plus the attribution, shown below:
cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo shared by keepps

This could be used for adding the photo to a blog, a web page, or anywhere that carries html code. 

Thank you Alan Levine  for your hard coding work!

Gmail and Google Calendar Tutorials for Beginners

For the Middle School students:

Published on Mar 4, 2012 by 
An overview tutorial of Gmail for beginners using the 2012 Gmail interface.
Gmail Topics Covered:

Navigating within your Gmail account
Accessing your Gmail settings
Setting up your Gmail signature
Composing messages in Gmail
Receiving messages in Gmail
Working with labels in Gmail
Creating custom labels in Gmail

Presented by Anson Alexander from http://AnsonAlex.com

Published on Jul 12, 2012 by 
A video tutorial on Google Calendar for beginners covering the following topics:

Navigating within Google Calendar
Changing Views in Google Calendar
Creating Events in Google Calendar
Creating Event Reminders in Google Calendar
Inviting Guests to Events in Google Calendar

Presented by Anson Alexander from http://AnsonAlex.com

Google Earth fractals

I wrote before on this blog about fractals, which I find fascinating.  This morning the Google Earth Blog pointed to a post on Geography Education about Paul Bouke's gallery of views of the Earth, from Google Earth, of fractal patterns on the landscape.  Below each picture is the KMZ file for you to download, so that you can open the image on Google Earth for yourself.

Here is an example, from Spain:
From http://paulbourke.net/fractals/googleearth/
Go to the gallery and view the 40 other beautiful, and often surprising, photos. And if you find another as you fly over the landscape using  Google Earth, send it to the gallery.

Using other people's work to create your own

This photo was uploaded to Flickr yesterday by a Canadian colleague. It gives me a perfect opportunity to illustrate the idea of Creative Commons licensing choices for our ISOCS students and staff.

This is the photo Darren uploaded to his Flickr account, and the text he provided under it:

Slide created bdkuropatwa  Darren Kuropatwa
Quote Source: Scott Mcleod  dangerouslyirrelevant.org/2012/08/26-internet-safety-talk...

Photo Credits:
cc licensed ( BY NC ND ) flickr photo by princess toadie: flickr.com/photos/toadiepoo/1215888335/
cc licensed ( BY NC ND ) flickr photo by Laura Nagle: flickr.com/photos/lauranagle/5168586517/
There's a version of the slide  in French here.

The words in the picture are from the last point in Scott Mcloed's list in "26 Internet safety talking points".  

Here are the steps involved in using someone else's work, legally and honorably, 
Choose words that are not yours originally, but are licensed for re-use, or are in the public domain;
Screen shot from  http://dangerouslyirrelevant.org/2012/08/26-internet-safety-talking-points.html
You'll find it at the very bottom of the page.

Choose a photo that is not yours originally, but is licensed for re-use, or is in the public domain,
Photo Credits:
cc licensed ( BY NC ND ) flickr photo by princess toadie: flickr.com/photos/toadiepoo/1215888335/
cc licensed ( BY NC ND ) flickr photo by Laura Nagle: flickr.com/photos/lauranagle/5168586517/

Combine them (, i.e., "re-use them")
Share your new creation, giving credit to the original source and creators, as required by the original licenses, and licensing your own new creation according to the licencing requirements of your "raw material'".

When clicked, this license will open to

Screen shot of  http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/deed.en 

How do you feel about your own writing, photos, drawing, music, etc.  Are you willing to share?

Interactive sites for Ancient Civilizations

Several recommendations from friends and colleagues for the ISOCS Class 4, 5 and Middle School History classes:

Write like a Babylonian
Screen shot of  http://www.penn.museum/cgi/cuneiform.cgi

My monogram  in Cuneiform
If you want to know more about Cuneiform writing, watch the first two videos in this playlist, and visit the British Museum web site:

If you'd also like to be writing as an ancient Egyptian, use this hieroglyphic translator.  Guess what this Hieroglyph means.

Screen shot of  http://www.egyptvoyager.com/hieroglyph_translator.htm 
Or use this heiroglyphic Print Machine:
Screen shot of  http://www.eyelid.co.uk/hieroglyphic-typewriter.html 
(Do you think using a hieroglyph writer like these is really writing in an ancient language, or only looks like it?  are the concepts behind the languages the same?)

Find the font at  http://www.dafont.com/theme.php?cat=704 

The British Museum Young Explorers
Test your skills, knowledge (and bravery!) in Time explorer - the new adventure game from the British Museum.
Travel back in time to explore ancient cultures and rescue precious objects from imminent disaster.
Screen shot of  http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/young_explorers/play/museum_run.aspx 

If you're more of a hands-on Ancient, visit the Mummy Maker interactive page on the BBC History site.

Conversation with a whole new set of people

This morning I've been reading 100 Ways to Use Facebook in Your Classroom, on Edudemic.  Under the Resources heading, I followed the link to "Museums and more: Help your students follow along with local and international museums, art galleries, exhibits, and more for enriched learning on Facebook." and came to a page from TeachingHistory.org with links to the Facebook pages from these museums (among others).

I investigated each of these pages, and found many interesting and visual bits of information, including a link to  this video shared by the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). I watched it out of curiosity, because I have a personal interest in Wright's architectural history.  I was struck by this sentence towards the end of the video "...(through this collection) Frank Loyd Wright is entering into conversation with a whole new set of people..."

Intreagued by this corner of Facebook I hadn't encountered before (I know, I'm late to this party!) I was curious about other art museums, or museums in general on Facebook, and found this web page: http://www.musesphere.com/Facebook/ with links to scores of world-class museums' Facebook pages.  Some pages are merely static presences, but many are vibrant windows into the collections and activities in the museum, updated several times a day. (Useful to have Google Translate installed in my browser, offering  to translate web pages from whatever language the museum posts in.) If you're interested in a particular area of the world, or of art that isn't on that list, try a general Google search with the term [Facebook] and your interest - you'll find hundreds more listings.

I think all these Facebook pages are enabling "conversation with a whole new set of people..." -  web visitors having conversations with museums, and museums having conversations with  their visitors, physical and virtual.

Historical blends of time and place

One of the most enjoyable things I do with  my iPad is experiment with layering photos.  There are several neat little apps that do only that (Layover and Photos, among others), in as may variations as you have time for in your day...for example, 
Father and son

A bed of snowy hills

I was very interested in Shawn Clover's photos I saw this morning on PetaPixel, of San Francisco, blended between images from the 1906 earthquake and today.

screen shot of  http://shawnclover.com/2010/10/01/1906-2010-the-quake-blend-part-i/ 

In the two parts of his story, Clover writes about the process of locating, and sorting through, thousands of historical photos, deciding which ones would work for his "blended photos" project, determining the exact spot where the photographer had stood, and then travelling to those locations to see it were possible to stand in the same spot today, to take the "same" picture (focus, angle, etc) of a radically changed view.
screen shot of  http://shawnclover.com/2010/10/01/1906-2010-the-quake-blend-part-i/ 

His pictures are subtle, stunning, and give the viewer a creepy historical incite into the permanence, yet fleetingness, of time and place.

Visit Clover's pages for Part 1 and Part 2, to read how he produced the photos, and see each of the pictures full size.

Seeing yourself as a blogger

This post is for our staff, who continue to develop their blogs, and for the Middle School students, who will soon find themselves blogging.

As I read  Eight Ways To Build An Audience For Your Blog on Larry Ferlazzo's blog this morning, I thought of our teachers at ISOCS, who work hard at developing the content and writing style of their blog, and also of our Middle School students, who are about to embark on blogging.  In Summary, he suggests that bloggers

* Write for yourself, not for others.
* Use other social media to develop an audience for your blog, but don’t primarily make it about you.
* Always give credit where credit is due, and help others look good.
* Asking for reader feedback is good, but make the request “genuine.”
* Write about practical classroom issues.
* Leave thoughtful comments on other blogs and then expand those comments into your own blog posts.
* Write often.

Click through to his blog to read the whole post, and investigate the links included there.

The next post in my RSS reader was "The question should be: Why are you 'not' blogging" from Alan Levine.  In his rambling, stream of conscious sort of post, he muses about the reasons people often give for not blogging, and deals with each one, describing why he blogs, and how he goes about composing his blogs.

"...So for me, blogging is not about writing for other people (though with syndication and truly open networks, it is a benign and beneficial side product), it’s really for me. Not to be found or anything, but for me to be working out ideas in a visible space– it just makes sense to me. Why would we not be all doing this?"

I recommend this post to you, too.  As he says, even cats can blog.

photo by  Tabbymom Jen
The third item in the morning's reading that pushed me to write this post was finding this video in a blog post by Tasha Cowdy, a teacher at Yokohama International School.  By including it here, I'm not insinuating that our staff and Middle Schools students are beginning writers!  But I do think that Tasha's post and video can be viewed as a metaphor for developing bloggers.  In her post, "What writers do",  Tasha writes, 

"Over the last two weeks we have been thinking about some of the processes involved in writing. We talked about how many writers tell a story using illustrations....We wondered where writers got their ideas ...At the moment the children are focusing on writing about things from their own lives -things that really happened to them, or things they are thinking about, because it is often easier to write about things one has experienced first hand...."

I'll alter her words a little to say that "All the children bloggers are at different developmental stages. Our writing sessions are open-ended so that all children bloggers can engage at a level that is developmentally appropriate for them. "