Saturday, April 28, 2007

TeacherTube: The best ideas are often the simplest

I wrote about TeacherTube in a recent post (Who are you calling a tube?). At the time I wasn't sure how useful it would be. Since then I've spent a bit of time looking at some videos and came across something that shows the value brilliantly. It's a series of short videos from a teacher called Jennifer Gingerich that demonstrates a great educational use of iMovie. She calls then Riddle iMovies and it is worth starting at Step 3 so you can see what she creates and then going back to Step 1 and Step 2 to see how easy they are to make.

It is a really simple idea that children will pick up easily. I suspect that if you demonstrate how to create one most children would be able to go off and have a go themselves with little extra help. As far as I can see you could use this idea to help revise just about any topic. Show children what to do, give them some graphics (or help them find their own) and in next to no time you have an exciting and useful activity that produces a class load of fun riddle iMovies. I love it!

I decided to have a go myself, just to check it's as easy as Jennifer makes out. Although my riddle (and picture) is fairly duff, I can confirm it is easy to do... and fun. :-)

Update: Rats! This was working last night... but my pictures are just flashing up and then disappearing now. I'll try re-saving at a higher compression and then re-post later today.

Update 2: Compressed it a bit more, uploaded it again and I think it's working now. Be honest... was it worth the wait?

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

I'm wanted...

...but do I want them?

I received an email yesterday an (edited) extract of which I show below:
Our editors have handpicked your blog based on the interests of our members. If you would like m*L*t to syndicate your blog you have nothing further to do. If you do not want us to syndicate your blog, kindly respond to this email and let us know.


As an added incentive for having your blog published on m*L*t, m*L**t will provide bloggers a javascript feed to place on their site. The feed will show all users from m*L*t who have subscribed to your blog.

The benefit of the javascript to you is that any of your readers that join m*L*t via your site will be credited to you as a referral and you will earn money based on their level of activity. It is a great way to promote both your blog and m*L*t.
{I've starred out their name - didn't see why I should give them free publicity.}

wall of spam
wall of spam,
originally uploaded by chotda
My gut reaction was to say no. Unsolicited, it felt like spam. They were offering to make me money from my blog... but I'm not interested in charging. The lack of detail about who they are and why they had chosen me made me feel a bit uneasy too. Also, I didn't like their assumption that it was OK to re-purpose my work and that I had to opt out rather than them asking me to opt in. So I said no.

I went and had a look at their site anyway. I found David Warlick's 2 cents blog there, so maybe it is OK. However, my visit convinced me I didn't want to be a part of it. Main reason is that they seemed to have a separate commenting system, so that people could be reading my blog and commenting on it without actually ever coming near my blog! As far as I can see... that's a silly idea.

Of course I may be missing the point. Perhaps it's a really good system and I'm just being a grumpy old analogue kid rather than a new world digital man. If I'm missing something, please let me know.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Who are you calling a tube?

I lost the plot a bit on the blogging front. A combination of illness, holidays and poor time management. Strangely, although I have not made time to blog, my Flickr addiction has continued unabated. (Hmm... I'll need to think about why that is.) It's not that I haven't thought about things I want to blog - I just never seemed to get round to it.

Tigger the movie
Tigger the movie,
originally uploaded by DavidDMuir
What at last prompted me to get back on the saddle was all the news reports yesterday about Alan Johnson's speech at the NASUWT teachers' union conference. Essentially he was having a go at YouTube (or at least that's how the media presented it). Given the recent comments (well relatively recent comments) from Gordon about YouTube's failure to respond to complaints (backed up in the comments from others including Neil Winton). I wonder if England's education secretary weighing in will make any difference? I suspect YouTube will continue on unaware.

What concerns me about the reports however is the way it is presented as a technology problem with "solutions" being suggested such as giving teachers powers to confiscate mobile phones. Hmm!

However, two more positive notes to finish on. Firstly, and at least two weeks behind the blog pack, I recently discovered TeacherTube via a video and blog entry from Cool Cat Teacher. Check it out. I'm still not sure if TeacherTube will take off but it is an interesting idea. Sort of, "If you can't beat them..."

Secondly, for some positive YouTube uses, how about this human beatbox flute player that my daughter came across. Enjoy. :-)

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