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Next Level Video – Asterpix

I love the way in some videos you can click on images or text on the screen and they are interactive- taking you to URLs or different portions of the video. I really feel that in education, and elsewhere, this has amazing potential. Making text interactive through hyperlinks changed the world so doing the same thing with video is likely to have some real power as well. I’m not a big fan of Flash so I had explored a few of the Quicktime options (mainly Livestage Pro. The software creating these movies is fairly expensive and has a pretty steep learning curve. Not ideal for education or for encouraging student/teacher use (or me for that matter and I like this stuff). Enter Asterpix (I know, with a 12-3-07 launch I’m late to the ball). This online service (registration required) allows you to add clickable links to movies. It plays nicely with Youtube and gives you and embed code. See example above. While it’s not quite as slick as I’d like- it makes up for it in terms of ease of use and pure getting things done. I’m very happy. There’s something to be said for just increasing the amount, as well as adding different formats, of data in videos and then there are a lot of creative options you could […]

Assessment: The Remix

A couple posts caught my eye recently, and I suddenly found a surprising connection. Both deal with remixes. The Last Supper–The Leftovers Remix We all know the iconic Last Supper. We probably know more about it because of Dan Brown, and it is very recognizable–especially in Western Culture. There was a rush of interesting recasting of da Vinci’s painting a couple weeks ago around the web-culture blogs I read. (via Neatorama) (via BoingBoing) (via Neatorama) I thought this might make an interesting art project. The students take an iconic picture or symbol and recast it somewhere else. You would want to have a rubric for the project that asked the students to consider the icon and it’s features and note or create subtle connection to the original in their own remix. The students are not simply spiting up terminology. They are emulating or playing with the original. Sugar Bear–The Fuzzy Remix (via BoingBoing) How does Sugar Bear go from sweet sugar fiend to environmentalist? That is the question you would pose to your students. For the more analytical students, this assessment piece is a dream come true. Students would exam a series of remixes of a single icon. Their task is to research the culture each new version is introduced to. Students would dig for clues from culture that shape […]

Exhibit and Data Visualization

The kind and brilliant folks at MIT have come out with a new Exhibit API that allows for more flexibility and power. The bonus is that it looks good doing it. I’ve now revised my Google spreadsheet fed history example to use some of the new power. It’s here if you’re interested. In the end I opted to mimic their new presidents layout (much like I mimicked their old presidents layout). This time I had a better reason than pure ignorance of the API (I now have impure ignorance after all). Their new layout is really right in line with what I’d like to focus on this year- data visualization/interaction. The new layout has the map right their with the time line. I like that. Time and location on one easy interactive page. Add in their option to sort and hide/expand sets based on the data you define and you’ve got something really powerful that will help students make connections. A simple example is if I restrict my set to show only “explorers” then suddenly in the map and the time line things change. I notice explorers were mainly earlier and than none were born in the Americas (obvious to you and I but maybe the spark some kids need). Then I switch map views and I see that explorers […]

Google Earth – The Next Level

I found this KMZ file the other night. It’s really the greatest Google Earth file I’ve ever seen. It’s tracking bird flu but it’s doing it through, time, space and evolution. It creates a three dimensional representation of the changing aspects of the virus as it moves from carrier to carrier and place to place. There’s a video showing what it can do and explaining things here. The source file is over here. Why am I so impressed? Mainly because it’s a perfect representation of data visualization. It shows a completely different way to use Google Earth. Who would have thought to use a geography program to track the evolution of a virus? This kind of convergence is amazing and examples like this can lead to some amazing connections. It can also lead the way for other creators to start using this application in different ways.

Online Media God–400+ tools for creating content

When I was issued my Dell laptop for my new high school tech teacher position, the first thing I noticed (moving from a Mac) was the lack of media content creating/editing software. “Well, I’ll just have to work this year to collect a group of web-based programs that will do the job,” I resolved. Luckily, the folks at Mashable have done it for me. In fact, they have put together the most comprehensive annotated list of sites I have seen to date.  Take a second and check it out.  I’m convinced even the most knowledgeable media editor would find something new on this list. via Neatorama

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New Internet Safety Video

This is part of a class I’m working on for our students. The idea is to start each lesson with a “hook” video that will capture their attention and introduce the concept we’ll be covering. This one uses a bunch of short clips from popular (and not so popular) videos to show the power and influence that Internet video can have. The emphasis at the end is that you can either use this power wisely and possibly become a hero or screw things up and become mocked for “generations to come.” For the teachertube version the direct link is here. >>>>Edited to remove ebaumsworld reference on one of the videos- Thanks Chris and I’m working on a possible Ninja intro (time allowing) The sources for the video are listed below- “Dr.” Wix Dramatic Prarie Dog Lonely Girl 15 Numa Numa David Elsewhere – Kollaboration 2001 AskaNinja.com OK Go- Here it Goes Again Mentos Guys Star Wars Kid Spider Man This Land is Our Land – Jib Jab Hillary Clinton Impersonator

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.

Yet Another Reason Your Filter is Useless (or neat trick to post to jaiku, wordpress or twitter)

The first part of this post is actually useful. The second part is just me venting about the wrong application of time and energy that is, all too often, school filtering. So I started using Jaiku (like Twitter but with the ability to aggregate all your feeds and a few other neat tricks). Jaiku was blocked pretty quickly at school as a personal/dating site for some reason. I’ve stopped trying to guess the rationale behind certain things. I’ve been using Jott. This free service that allows me to call a number, say who I want to send the message to, dictate and that person (mostly myself) gets a text email of what I said and a link to the audio file as well. I highly recommend it.) Driving to work listening to net@night about egorcast which allows me to use Jott to post text to jaiku, twitter and wordpress– all with a simple phone call. So now I can post to a blocked site without even typing. Now if I could touch text with my phone imagine the fun I could have. This is the kind of flexible communication that schools are trying to stop. It has always been a losing battle but more so as phones and free services take it to the next level. I’ve heard way too […]