Saturday, March 26, 2011

Fun On Friday #106: Wedding Video

I know this feature is called "Fun On Friday" but it can't always be frenetic and crazy. Sometimes you have to be able to sit in a deck chair and look at the scenery:

I've featured a lip dub video in Fun On Friday before (Fun on Friday #58: Lip Dub) but I think this wedding one is special. Other lip dubs feature students who have the time and the deranged inclination to do this kind of thing (e.g. LIPDUB - I Gotta Feeling) or one or two people who can practice in the comfort of their own bedrooms. But for this wedding video, the organisers somehow convinced the entire wedding party to join in. Everyone - including the embarrassing uncle, the batty aunt, the cute nephews, and even granny! (I especially like the "Faster than the speed of light..." chap's performance. I'm guessing he's an uncle.)

Do you know of any other examples of lip dub that have come from a surprising source?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Fun On Friday #105: You Don't Bring Me Flowers

I was in two minds about this video. I thought it probably should feature in my music blog but it is so enjoyable, I thought it was perfect for a Fun On Friday too. In the end, Fun On Friday won!

Thanks to QI Elves for bringing this to my attention.

Monday, March 14, 2011

More about the SCILT event

First an apology - I didn't do a Fun On Friday last week. Sorry! No excuse other than tiredness and stupidity.

This is a follow up post to Listen, Speak, Read, Write, Web! On Saturday morning, I took part in a flurry of Twitter messages about this SCILT event. As a result, I received the following from John Johnston:

I have mentioned EDUtalk before. It is a stunningly brilliant idea and so easy to use but I seem to forget to record audio on a regular basis or I record audio but don't get around to posting it. On Saturday, however, I managed to do both and posted the recording to EDUtalk.

And just because I can, I'll cross-post it here too. It's about time I got back to podcasting!

Would you like to hear more podcasts? If so, what sort of things would you like to hear?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

SCILT Event - Listen, Speak, Read, Write, Web!

Joe Dale talking to Primary and Secondary teachers about enhancing creativity and raising standards using ICT. Some great ideas using free software and free web services (such as Voki).

Some simple, but very powerful, ideas. If the pupils in the participants' schools get half as engaged and excited by the activities as the teachers at this course, there will be a load of excited and engaged pupils in Modern Language classes over the next few weeks!

For example, one of the simple ideas involved using Audacity (other audio editors are available!) to record pupils speaking in the target language. Joe showed how the teacher could model a short phrase and get the pupil to repeat it, then the teacher says the next phrase and that is repeated and so on until the whole message is recorded. The neat trick is that only the pupil's voice is recorded, so when it is played back they just hear themselves saying the whole passage. Brilliant!

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Talks For Computing Teachers - Mobile Software Engineering

Professor Rod Murray-Smith Speaking at the first Glasgow University Talks For Computing Teachers

Not just mobile phones but can include arrange of devices including technology such as RFID. The Glasgow research group and course looks at aspects such as ubiquitous computing and mobile HCI.

Mobile Internet becoming increasingly important, for example in 2008, mobile broadband overtook fixed broadband connections. in the developing world, the difference is even more pronounced. It is a rapidly moving area which makes it difficult to keep up with the pace of change. For example, Android OS for phones came from 0% to 25% Market share in a ridiculously short time.

What makes developing for mobile technology different? One key aspect is context. Mobile technology tends to be used in areas where there a many distractions (e.g. noise) and where you cannot give it your full attention. Battery life is also a problem. You may be able to develop a stunningly useful application but if it hammers battery life it is likely to be rejected. (Battery life seems to be the weak link. Processing power and memory are growing but nobody sees a huge leap in battery technology in the near future.) Data charges can also be problematic and mobile applications should aim to be parsimonious in relation to downloading data.

Important not just to try and replicate desktop application. Mobile applications need to be simpler and more focused on the key information. (Compare for example a standard web page with a mobile web page.) Other constraints on programming for the mobile environment are limited memory and large fingers controlling small screens. Current generation of programmers have learned to program in an environment that effectively has infinite resources. It can be a good discipline therefore to learn to program in the restricted environment of mobiles.

Impact on human life. Worth reading Natural Born Cyborgs by Clark. See also Microsoft advert - Really?

Mobile technology is increasingly using sensor based interactions using accelerometers, GPS, cameras, proximity, etc. For example, Shoogle, developed at Glasgow to provide a way of interacting with email.

Talked about Anglepose, a method of calculating angle and orientation of the finger used to control a touchscreen. Shows how you can create "virtual sensors" which opens up new possibilities in how we interact with devices, e.g. your finger could be used like a joystick.

Augmented reality - building a digital overlay on the physical world. Example was given of the difference between vehicle navigation (where audio directions are highly desirable) and pedestrian navigation (where audio directions are generally unwelcome), so other methods of giving directional information is necessary.

Large number of videos from Glasgow University that shows what their students are doing with mobile technology. A useful resource for schools to show pupils what Computing Science is like. The jobs Market for mobile developers is booming. Tools are available, such as Flowella that allows pupils to crate interactive prototypes without having to code the mobile device.

Mobile browsers are now based on WebKit. This allows you to develop rich mobile web applications which give cross platform development possibilities.

Interesting possibilities exist in the area of mobile devices interacting with other devices in the environment. Cheap devices, such as the Kinect, also open up interesting possibilities. Augmented reality applications, such as BuildAR make it easy to develop virtual reality applications. App Inventor from Google is also a tool to support mobile application development.

{Comments: Really interesting night. The talk filled in detail on, and gave examples of, current and future developments. Also some great ideas for classroom work, e.g. BuildAR and App Inventor. Really interesting to hear the contrast with the car industry where it can take seven years for ideas to find their way into cars. In contrast, mobile phone developers are building the future and can see their ideas in action within months. - DDM}

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Fun On Friday #104: Human LCD

This is in danger of being more than a day late, so short and sweet. A fun YouTube video.

Goodness knows what they are saying but I like the way they are not just showing different colours but that they have built dance routines into the sequence.