Friday, April 30, 2010

Fun on Friday #69: Crowd Sourced Movies

Last week, I posted a link to some animated movies. However, as was pointed out by Chris in her comment, creating stop-motion animation is a very time consuming process. I quoted in my reply the chap who did the Michael Jackson video who said his five minute animation took him "About 2 1/2 weeks, 4 or 5 hours a day." That's a lot of time to invest in producing a five minute video! Can you imagine producing a feature length movie?

Perhaps the solution is to crowdsource the whole thing. ...And that's what Star Wars Uncut has done. They took Star Wars: A New Hope (which despite George Lucas' best efforts, I still think of as the first Star Wars movie) and split it up into 500 clips, each 15 seconds long. People were then invited to recreate up to three 15 second clips.

To give you an idea of what people did, here are two of my favourites:

Star Wars Uncut - Scene 302 from Doug Vander Hoek on Vimeo.

Other favourites include Scene 7 (Lego animation and a fantastic explosion), Scene 8 (a brilliant interpretation involving Ninja Turtles as the Rebel Forces) and Scene 349 (a cartoon with a surprise cameo appearance at the end).

My only problem is, I can't decide if this is crazy, or a work of genius. What do you think? And, what's your favourite scene?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Are the phones to blame?

What ever way you look at it, the recent Peter Harvey case is both disturbing and tragic: for the boy who was injured, for the other pupils in the class, for the school and for Mr Harvey himself.

The NASUWT has called for "tighter controls on the use of mobile phones in schools" (see the BBC report: Case prompts mobile crackdown call). In a quote reported in same BBC news item, the union's general secretary says:
"What we had in that classroom was an explosive situation of a combination of a teacher who was in a fragile state, of pupils who were set to exploit that fragile state and mobile technology that acted as a catalyst to make the whole situation escalate extremely quickly."
Up to "...exploit that fragile state" I was in broad agreement. I'm not convinced though that the absence of mobile technology would have changed the outcome. Pupils have always exploited weakness. Pupils have always egged each other on so that pupils within a mob behave in a way that they wouldn't if they were on their own. I remember classes acting like this, deliberately winding up a teacher, when I was a pupil and there wasn't a mobile phone in sight. (Mostly because they hadn't been invented!)

That the behaviour of all concerned was unacceptable (and I include the school authorities here) is beyond dispute. That mobile phones are the catalyst of such behaviour seems less clear. However, I'm just guessing. I have no evidence to support or refute my assertion. But I suspect that the NASUWT's has no real evidence for its claim either.

Does anyone know of any evidence one way or the other?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

TeachMeet SE 2010 - First thoughts

Compared to last year's TeachMeet, this year's was a much quieter, smaller TeachMeet Student Edition. In retrospect, it was not a good time of the year for many secondary teachers and coming straight after the school's Easter holidays meant we lost a couple of weeks where we could have built up some advertising momentum.

112/365: The Panic Puppy
Originally uploaded by DavidDMuir
However, a positive aspect was the number of presentations from students; four presented this year. I think it was a good night and I hope it was useful for those who did attend. If we can get that level of commitment to presenting from students next year but with more people in attendance, we will have a belter of an evening.

This year saw the introduction of the Panic Puppy or the Dalmatian of Doom! (Stand-in for Hurl the Camel.) However, otherwise we pretty much stuck to the standard pattern.

Once again, I found chairing the TeachMeet and odd experience. I wasn't able to concentrate properly on what people were talking about, didn't get to chat to people as much as I would have liked and felt that despite my best efforts to keep everything spinning, I still managed to drop some of the plates. In particular, although Smart Technologies (one of our sponsors) was featured at the start of the meeting, I forgot to thank them again at the end... and I should have mentioned CPD Scotland too. {Note to self - write that sort of stuff down in future so you don't forget!}

I'll try to pull everything that was presented together in a future post but until then, you can watch the flashmeeting and have a look at the stuff I talked about:
  • MP For A Week: This will feature in a future post but in the meantime, here's my Prezi.
  • Poll Everywhere: The free account lets you collect up to 30 votes - perfect for a class.
  • Screenr: A free, online screencast recorder that's linked to Twitter. See the demonstration I recorded to get an idea of what it does.
  • Bollywood Subtitles: Didn't have time to show this but, given the number of subtitled spoofs of Curriculum for Excellence rants there are, I thought people might want to have a go themselves. Here's one I prepared earlier.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

"I've got a new job..." Jokes

This is how we have spent the weekend. Making up "I've got a new job..." jokes. Have you come across this idea yet?

Originally uploaded by robpatrick
It's a simple idea. The jokes have a common format of question and response format - a bit like knock-knock jokes. Also, like knock-knock jokes there seems to be an almost infinite variety of responses and puns are often at the root of the humour (assuming you find the concept humorous).

The baseline joke, the one that defined it for us and sets the standard that the other jokes will hopefully exceed, is as follows:
Person 1: I've got a new job.
Person 2: What is it?
Person 1: I'm a dustman.
Person 2: How's that going for you?
Person 1: It's rubbish!
See how it works? Some of our favourites so far are:
Person 1: I've got a new job.
Person 2: What is it?
Person 1: I'm a tailor.
Person 2: How's that going for you?
Person 1: So-so.

Person 1: I've got a new job.
Person 2: What is it?
Person 1: I work in a laundry.
Person 2: How's that going for you?
Person 1: I'm cleaning up.

Person 1: I've got a new job.
Person 2: What is it?
Person 1: I'm a miner.
Person 2: How's that going for you?
Person 1: It's the pits!
Surely you can do better than that. Leave your New Job jokes in a comment and a special Perrier no-prize will be awarded to the best.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Fun on Friday #68: Music and Animation

If I don't get my act together soon, I'll need to change the name of the blog to FunCompBlog.

Animation had featured a few times in this blog (e.g. Fun on Friday #57: Who's in charge here?, The BEds Get Animated and Fun on Friday #27: SAM Animation) as has music (e.g. Fun on Friday #58: Lip Dub and British Sign Language).

Today's Fun On Friday (brought to you as is becoming traditional on Saturday) brings animation and music videos together in 10 Best LEGO Music Videos on YouTube.

My favourite is the OK Go video:

Perhaps I like it best because I am familiar with the original (see Why weren't my PE lessons like this?) but I think it is particularly well done. My only problem is that it finishes after one minute.

What's your favourite? Do you know of any others? Are you inspired to try something like this with a class?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Fun on Friday #67: On My Way (Very, VERY Belated)

This is not a review of MP For A Week. Thought I'd get that out of the way before my sister complains again. I said I'd review the MP For A Week here... and I will but I think it deserves more than a hurried, very belated, fun on Friday Sunday.

Thanks to Daughter Number One (who was clearly playing with YouTube when she should have been swotting) I now present for your enjoyment, IZABO and the video for their song On My Way:

Brilliant! I've seen that sort of thing done with still images but not with video.

Anybody fancy having a go at creating a video like this with a class?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Fun on Friday #67: Sneeze (Belated... again!)

This game is sick... for just about any definition of "sick" you want to choose!

Sneeze: You are a virus infecting humans. Survive by making your human host sneeze and infect other humans. Infect the target percentage of the population to reach the next round. (Quote from Routes website.)

The Routes website says it has been developed in association with Channel 4 and the Welcome Trust. The site says:
The other games are worth a look. Let me know what you think of Sneeze and tell me what you think of the other games.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Persistent Spammer

I have turned on comment moderation, hopefully temporarily, while I wait for a particularly persistent spammer to get bored and go away. Hopefully normal service will be resumed shortly.

However, if he keeps going at the current rate (it must be a bot that is bypassing the word verification system somehow) I may have to go nuclear and turn off comments for a while.


Friday, April 02, 2010

Fun on Friday #66: Passion Week

This seemed appropriate for Good Friday: map overlays of the movements of Jesus during Passion Week. It comes in two forms, a Google Map overlay and a Google Earth markup file.

This comes from the ESV blog post: Geography of Passion Week where they admit "Obviously we don’t know the exact location of many of these events...", but they add, "...this map gives you a good idea." It is worth going to the ESV post to get more information about the two overlay links given above. A search on their blog reveals other similar ideas, e.g. Google Earth: Paul’s First Missionary Journey.

These two ideas may not be much use to you but you could use the idea in all sorts of ways. For example, trace the journey of a character in a novel, a (more interesting?) variation on the dreaded "What I did on my holiday" essay, trace a historical event, log the locations visited on a school trip, ...

If you create anything, be sure to let me know in a comment.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Initial Teacher Education and BectaX

I attended the bectax conference yesterday and although I wasn't sure about going (I wasn't sure I would have much to contribute) I thoroughly enjoyed myself! Still not sure I had much to contribute but there was a fantastic group of people gathered there and it was an interesting conference for a whole bucketload of reasons.

Getting stuck in
Originally uploaded by Mr Ush
I've added "writting about bectax" to the expanding list of stuff I'll get around eventually, however, I wanted to strike while the iron was hot on one topic...

The purpose conference was described as:
BectaX will congregate the very best thinkers and doers from education, digital media and policy.

Together they will find pragmatic solutions to aid the transition towards 21st Century schools in a connected world.

As the various issues were discussed, a few people said that teacher education was important. As a teacher educator I agree but would like some idea of what people think initial teacher education can do to prepare teachers of the 21st Century to work with pupils of the 21st Century.

Before you start to make suggestions, I am aware that initial education is a partnership between universities, local authorities, schools, teachers and probably a good few others too, so universities shouldn't try to do everything. However, I am really keen to know what you think the key aspects are that courses of initial teacher education should address. So, without further ado, here's the question I'd like you to have a go at:

What are the key things that a student teacher should know, understand or be able to do, so that they are prepared to start working in 21st Century schools in a connected world?

And, to focus your mind, you are not allowed to suggest more than three!