360 Degree Classroom Video

We’re looking to get more classroom video for a variety of reasons and that led to a demo from Teachscape and their Reflect product. It’s a decent idea, 360 degree video of the classroom and another camera with a specific focus. You can’t see anything about the quality in the demo videos. One major warning flag is that they don’t have any video from the product. No obvious prices. Let’s just say it’s really expensive, really expensive. Expensive enough that I can’t remember the numbers properly because my brain filed it under crazy. It looked even more insane when I happened to find the Sony Bloggie. I’d never heard of it but it seems pretty similar to the Flip and it has an attachment for 360 degree video. There’s also some interesting ways to hack it to get higher quality 360 degree video out. All for $170. If I was going to spend the money that Teachscape wants for their unit, I’d want quality like Yellowbird. This stuff is slick and interactive (you do have to fly in a team from the Netherlands though). I’m also playing around with the idea of trying one of the 360 degree lenses on a 5DMKII and seeing what I can do with the video.


Science Video Contest

This is a pretty nice little video1 explaining entropy while at the same time giving tips on how to create a good science video. It’s made by Small Mammal who makes short videos for people like NPR. And the whole thing is part of a science video contest for Ars Technica that you can submit to here. -via Boing Boing 1 There is a pre-roll Canon ad.

Simple, Possibly Effective

In honor of Halloween and returning from the blogging dead, I offer up this post (and so I have an excuse to use the picture above). I don’t blog much. Never have been consistent. The new job is making it easier to be worse. Lots of ready excuses. I recently found myself only looking through my FFFFound RSS feed and neglecting a lot of other things. It was easy to do. The education stuff made me nauseous and I’d never get to do the pop culture stuff that I liked, so why bother. In an attempt to remind myself of the things I like about the internet and education (and to remind myself to blog and share content intelligently) I made this aggregation site with the FeedWordPress plugin. It links in all my Delicious additions with a certain tag, my blog posts, and anything I star in Google Reader. So I’m not doing extra work (a tag here or there) but I am providing a single place/feed for a certain audience- in this case ITRTs who work in HCPS1. This kind of aggregation has some real potential for schools and sharing resources that I’ve rarely seen harnessed. But, more than anything, this will help make me focus on what I am reading and how I am sharing content. I want […]

Random Media

Stuff I’d like to use in class. 25 Word stories – slightly longer than some earlier examples of text restriction but good stuff none the less. “Houston, We Have a Problem,” by J. Matthew Zoss. I’m sorry, but there’s not enough air in here for everyone. I’ll tell them you were a hero. from Hint Fiction The NY Times terrorism euphemism generator – English teachers could have a lot of fun with this one as well. Explaining the Internet to a street urchin flowchart – so many things to explain to so many different audiences. Tin man logo

Obligatory Waiting for Superman Post

The University of Richmond and a few other community groups organized a free viewing of the movie and then hosted a “courageous community conversation” following the movie1 Since I was haranguing people in person last night, I figured the least I could do was extend my efforts to the Internet. In case you haven’t seen it,Waiting for Superman is a long infomercial for charter schools. I would encourage watching it if- you love when things are simplified and polarized for maximum controversy you are looking for clips to use in your own charter school infomercial you want some stats to throw around in conversations The two options the movie gives are staying with union-based failing public schools or going to magical charter schools which guarantee success2. The fact that we have many “failure factories” in non-union states is ignored. There is no mention of any charter schools failing. I went into this figuring that even if the movie sucked, it would at least get people talking about education. I was mistaken. This movie simply provides a scapegoat for people who want one and it does it in a way that makes this conversation even more emotional. In the live conversation, I probably came across as angrier than I was. The fact that a woman felt compelled to hug the guy […]


Mediocrity 2011 – Car Names for Vocabulary

This is one of those easy options for vocabulary. I thought of it when I saw the 2011 Mediocrity commercial embedded below. Essentially, they pick one of the vocabulary words and use it as a car name. The students would draw up a one page ad1 (with relevant copy) for the car that plays off the word they choose. It would certainly be more fun with word you wouldn’t normally associate with cars. I’d make sure I posted these in the room for future use. You wouldn’t do it all the time but it’d be one of those options I’d have for my students to pick from. I’d make an ad for the Abstinence that shows just a frame and chastises you for wanting doors, seats, etc. 1 A video seems like overkill



I went and saw one of my former students in jail this past weekend. Hakeem has been sentenced to 23 years with no chance of parole. He was arrested when he was 17. He still looked like the 6th grader I knew. Same smile. A number of new tattoos. I wasn’t sure how this was going to go. I’m not good at small talk under normal situations. The stakes are raised when you haven’t seen the person in about 6 years and they only have 30 minutes of contact with non-prisoners a week. The poor reception on the phone didn’t help anything but Hakeem seemed happy enough to see me that it didn’t seem to matter. We talked. Apparently I need a hair cut because he thinks I look like Tom Brady. Hakeem also let me know that half my class is now in jail. He listed too many of those kids and what they were arrested for. It’s not like I’m totally naive, I figured a number of those kids would end up in jail but each name I heard knocked me down another notch. The whole thing has been eating at me more and more. So many people failed these kids.


Neuromancer Afterward

I should be able to cut and paste this from the Neuromancer ebook1 I have on my freaking iPhone but I can’t. So here is the hand transcribed passage that reminded me of edupunk and surrounding nonsense. Not sure if the parallels qualify as irony but it’s at least interesting. …but others (including many who’d never gone near a a science fiction novel before in their lives, nor should they have) took what came quickly, to be called cyberpunk far more seriously that they should have. Nasty remarks pelted like rain on the hard, bony heads of the more oafish supporters and detractors alike, but there was no inconsiderable fun in that. Everyone loves a fight when no one loves the fighters. The speedy commodification of cyberpunk™ within and beyond the genre, however, was what peeved far many more, notably Gibson, who remembers seeing “Cyberpunk Trousers” advertised in a store window during his first trip to Japan, a decade ago. Countless incompetents and ghastly old hacks keen to cash in on the main chance wasted no time churning out hot jack-in product, ephemeral as toilet tissue, memorable as restaurant flyer. A number of innocents and miscreants gainfully employed in other metiers were inspired as well, God help them, to produce creative work of similar worth in the spirit of the […]

“Small People” Limited Time Offer

As an English or foreign language teacher I’d be all over the “small people” quote by BP Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg. It’s not going to be useful much longer so act now. Questions: Should this comment make people mad? What did he mean? What should he have said? It’s a beautiful entry to arguing about word choice, synonyms and nuance. In this case, one word really mattered quite a bit. It might be fun things like have students reword famous quotes/sayings using synonyms to make them offensive or otherwise rob them of power. “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” becomes “A chopped up house, will fall down.” Minnesota’s “Land of 10,000 lakes” becomes “Our state has a lot of standing water” After you get them written, you could have them post them in some way and students could try to figure out what the original quote was. Another bonus was I found that I could search MSNBC video by certain keywords- in this case, small people. It highlights those words in a transcript and shows the points in the time line where the words occur with colored dots for the video. A really nice way to quickly get where you want.