Simile – Exhibit – Tutorial v.4

It took a while but I put together a fairly lengthy tutorial on how to make an Exhibit site that gets its info from a Google spreadsheet feed. It’s complete with tutorial files and a number of screencasts. I’m not sure it’s out of beta yet but I’m inviting anyone who’s interested to check out the tutorial and let me know if I’ve done anything stupid or made absolutely no sense in any portion (which is likely when trying to describe how the different view options work). I tried to include a rationale for using the project with Millennials as well as step-by-step directions to get a basic working copy up and running. The customization piece was a lot harder to do w/o specific requests to cover. If you want to know how to do anything I didn’t cover feel free to contact me and I’ll throw up some more video. The link is here. I’d appreciate any feedback- good or bad. Thanks, Tom

Simile Exhibit Project – VA History SOLs

So I finally managed to get Exhibit working. Which is pretty impressive considering I’ve been working on it during NECC and I’ve failed a few times before. The site is up here. The death locations aren’t correct right now but I welcome any feedback you’d care to give. I think it has some really interesting potential in enabling students to interact with and see relationships between different types of data (geography/time/facts/eras). Plus it looks pretty, is interactive and you can click to sort/categorize everything on the fly. I used the same layouts used in their Presidents example. I took what they’d done and changed categories, some css etc. to create information that was more relevant to what we have to study. It was something of a hassle to get this done but I think it was worth it and I’m working on creating a basic template to allow teachers to put the data into a Google spreadsheet and drive the site through that. Here’s a short video showing what it can do. Click here if you can’t see anything below.

Who says Jaiku is useless?

Bouncing Ball, originally uploaded by baslercast. It’s just another tool and it makes possible some quick connections that lead to bigger things. Connections are good- no matter how trivial they might seem. Last night I noticed Basler bookmarked the same water balloon catapult I did. I mentioned that in a comment. He responded with a flickr link to a water balloon launcher they made for physics last year and then I found the picture above, in which students took a photo and then explained the physics demonstrated by each picture (description below). What a cool idea and it seems to be part of a larger AAPT photo contest. It shows the period of time during which a ball was compressed against the ground after being thrown towards it. During the period of time which the ball is compressing on the ground, the ball’s kinetic energy is transferred into elastic potential energy. The ball is also dissipating some of its energy which results in the ball not bouncing back to its original height.

Web 2.0 Hits the Streets–Graffiti Report Card

Does this sound familiar? You’re driving downtown and see a piece of graffiti that doesn’t quite “tickle your fancy” (as the kids say). You pine to yourself, “Man, I wish I could leave some feedback for that artist. If this were on The Web, I could simply leave a comment.” Well, pine no more. I give you the Graffiti Report Card. Seriously, it excites me to find an example of such a fundamental characteristic of our internet bleed out into real life. It might be fun to create a stylized sticky note template (similar to this one) that would allow students to give feedback on all sorts of things (behavior, performance, product, compassion). Link (via BoingBoing)

Other Uses for Comic Life

I’ve been using Comic Life for a while now (which is probably pretty obvious to anyone who reads regularly) BUT I’m trying to help get a site license approved for the county so I made up two quick examples of other types of uses today and figured I’d post them. If anyone has done anything cool with Comic Life and feels like sharing some examples of student or teacher work I’d appreciate it. The history example hits on SOLs 6c and 6d dealing the Revolutionary War and why the colonists won. This example is meant to show how it can make relatively dull vocabulary work more entertaining. Sure, could do something similar in Word BUT the key is that Comic Life makes this both very easy and very fun. I seem to recall that fun things work better with kids.

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Whirligig MyMap Evolution Continues

So I’ve added a lot more to the Whirligig map since last time. It turned out to be an awesome choice for this project. Talk about a project that requires a close reading! I spent more time with this short book than I care to admit to. Almost everything in the Whirligig was accurate. It’s worth checking out the San Diego area for pure insanely psychotic detail and there’s some fun links scattered throughout as well as some great CC photos from Flickr. I crammed the map in below using MyMapsPlus which allows you to put the maps you create on other sites. It’s better in the larger view here. The interesting thing I mentioned to kids was that all the photos were from the actual places. I briefly presented the file to students in three classes and tried to stress that this was all real and it seemed to add an some additional dimension to the novel (I’m hoping next year they make their own files). The students seemed to like what this added to the book and it led to some good questions and some wasted time. Some of the kids couldn’t handle the blood alcohol calculator I linked to. There was also a decent amount of students looking up their houses. I don’t have a problem with […]

Seal Generator

Click and create official looking seals (no bad puns please) of various sorts. It’s easy, quick and fun. You can also order them on magnets which could make for some fun games and ways to decorate your classroom (or house). You can have a lot of fun with this in History and English for sure. I made up one for edubloggercon 2007 just for kicks. I’d like to see emblems for Greek gods, different literary characters, accurate presidential buttons, commemorative badges for battles etc.

Copyright

I have some how found myself on our district’s copyright committee and we’re redesigning our whole course for teachers. It’s been pretty interesting and I only occasionally want to kill myself. Luckily, I’m with a bunch of ninja librarian copyright experts who are handling all the heavy lifting while I make jokes. The site is up here (but not finished) if you’re interested. There are some odd comic style scenarios I’m making as well. They are at least marginally funny although I realize I have a Comic Life addiction but I’m seeking help. Click to enlarge

Greek Gods Sell Out

A wonderful English teacher (soon to be librarian) at my school, Mrs. Clark, is combining Greek gods and advertising techniques for a final project. Essentially, the gods will be shilling for various products related to their divine powers. I made up some sample ads for her using Garageband and Comic Life (the kids don’t have it but we make do with Word). The samples, which are based on student work in previous years, are below if you can find a use for them. Oddly, I did something similar when I taught. The focus was on advertising the gods though and the students were the ad executives. The kids got this intro- The gods on Mount Olympus are a conceited bunch. They have each hired an advertising executive (that’s you) to create a full-page newspaper ad to publicize their talents and abilities. The gods are also a vengeful bunch. If you don’t make your god appear to be the most exciting and intriguing god of all, you might end up in Hades or pushing a stone up a hill for eternity. However, if you do a good job, you could end up vacationing on Mount Olympus and having ambrosia for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It went well and they liked it. It’d be a fun project to do now with the […]