Sunday, May 29, 2011

Fun On Friday #114: Animation

Now I know this is late but I couldn't have posted this on Friday because I only got the Dundee Degree Show 2011 (Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design) on Saturday.

There was a lot of good stuff at the Degree Show this year and the usual collection of odd stuff but it was mostly mostly impressive. (As an example of the odd, at one point I looked out a window and saw a hole in the ground surrounded traffic cones. I wondered if it was art or just a hole in the ground. Anyone want to guess which it was?) As before though, I really liked the animation work. The animations are short and the ideas could sometimes do with a bit more work but the art and animation is of a very high standard!

There is a website which groups all the animations together, the Animation 2011 site, and you can not only watch the videos there but there are also links to the production blogs for the projects (I assume these were part of the assessment?) and often links to the students' own websites. Some of the animations are also posted on YouTube which means I can display one of them here:

Across the films there is a mixture of hand drawn and computer animation techniques but it was interesting to see the sketches and life drawings at the exhibition that showed where the work came from and how the ideas came to life.

What do you think of these films and what's your favourite animation?

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Fun On Friday #113: Cup Of Brown Joy

An extraordinarily late Fun On Friday again and one that's slightly self indulgent since I was originally just going to send this to Daughter Number 1. I hope, however, that this rap from Professor Elemental on the joy of tea will appeal to some of you:

If you enjoyed that, there is a Professor Elemental website where you can access more in the same vein as well as details on how to purchase polyphonic recordings of his material. Or you could head to YouTube where you'll find many more videos including Fighting Trousers, which is Professor Elemental's dis tune aimed at Chap Hop practitioner Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer.

And talking of Mr B, why not try Straight Out Of Surrey:

What do you think of steampunk rap Or chap hop? It has opened a whole new world of musical fun for me!
P.S. I should say thank you to Mitch Benn and his wonderful comedy music podcast for introducing me to Professor Elemental and to Dave Major, a chap I met at the Apple Distinguished Educators' conference for telling me about Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Fun On Friday #112: Rush

I'm going to see Rush in concert at the SECC tonight, so a couple of fun Rush videos seemed appropriate.

First up some unseasonal advice from Geddy:

Next, Rush meet Rock Band:

I love that I read an interview where Neil claimed that he was doing the right drum part and that it is the game that was wrong!

Saturday, May 07, 2011

ADE Sharing our passions

What are you passionate about? Let me rephrase that... What are you passionate about... in an educational context?

This was the question we were asked to respond to at the start of this afternoon's session. We were asked to write down on a slip of paper the one thing we we most passionate about. The end point we were aiming for was to form groups around things we were passionate about. I thought the way we arrived at that point was interesting:

1) Write down what you are passionate about.
2) Swap your slip of paper with someone else.
3) Get up, move around the room and when told find a partner to talk to.
4) Swap the slip with this partner and then between the two of you, assign a score to each idea. You have seven points to share between the two ideas, so as a pair, you might give one idea a six and the other a one. or if they are more similar, give a three and a four. Write the score on the back of the idea.
5) Move again, find a new partner again, swap slips again. Decide how to distribute the seven points again.
6) Do this five times, so you will have seen five different ideas and assigned five different points.
7) Add up the scores on the back and the most popular ideas will have the highest scores.
8) Take the top ideas and form groups around them.

Interesting way of forming groups... At least I thought it was interesting!

ADE Workshop

Finding out about iPad apps. These were recommended by educators in the room.

iMotionHD : Let's you create and share time-lapse movies. Great for science.

TelePrompt+ : Teleprompt utility.

Popplet (or iThoughts) : Kind of a memory map utility.

RAG : Random Activity Generaltor from John Davitt. Look for LEG online too

Museum of London Street Museum : GPS location used to deliver history info s you walk round London.

IFiles : Getting photos on and off iPhones and iPod Touches through desktops. (Alternative solution was described which involved putting stuff on a shared drive.)

Bambuser : You can stream live video onto the web.

EasyChinese : Flash card type app. Easy of use is outstanding.

Epic Citadel : Graphic adventure. Used as stimulus for other work. screenshots taken of the game and brought into Popplet. Great stimulus for writing - especially the boys. Also can use green screen to put children into the scenes.

GarageBand and Voice Memo : Record feedback to pupils and sent by email to pupils. Also links to QR Code of the recordings that are linked to particular spaces.

Photo sync : send photos wirelessly from iPhone to iPad or other iPhones.

Neu.annotate : Write on top of PDF files and then email it back And it's free!

GB Road Atlas : A big map! Also free

Proloqo2Go : Text to speech app

Audioboo : Fantasticly easy way to share audio.

Color : Like Twitter for photos

Thumb jam : easy way to produce music.

Six strings and OM Guitar ... But they have kind of been replaced by GarageBand!

Seline HD : A futuristic music interface. Select a drone and then play music on top of it. Can export music.

Percussive : Good samples of various percussion instruments.

Wella apps from the Wella website : Great for the science side of hairdressing.

Puppet pals : allows people to practice speaking for example speaking on phone or role play.

ABC Pocket Phonics and ABC Tracer : Writing apps.

ADE Challenge Based Learning

Everyone is a learner.

The importance of creativity. The tools are out there to allow people to capture stuff. Learners need a studio to work with the stuff the capture. finally they need a display space. This used to be the fridge - child brings work from home and it is stuck on the fridge with a magnet. In digital age, that display place is online - Facebook, YouTube, ... What's interesting is that these display areas are (often) social and so the creators can get feedback and suggestions from the community.

The classroom of tomorrow today: Six Design Principles

1) 21st Century Outcomes
2) Relevant and Applied Curriculum
3) Informative Assessment
4) Culture of Creativity and Innovation
5) Social and Emotional Connection
6) 24/7 Access to Learning Tools

Students dropped out of high schools were asked why they dropped out. Number one answer was not that they were bored but rather that nobody cared about them - nobody in school or at home.

Challenge Based Learning

Starts with a big idea - global in scope. Example given was Resilience. Start with an essential question, building on resilience the question was how can we better support each other? Narrowed again to produce a single, actionable challenge, e.g. help a community recover from a disaster? A set of guiding questions are then produced that guide the learning process. Then guiding activities (stuff I missed) and Implementation followed by Reflection.

{Curses - I had a lot more on this but it seems to have been swallowed and lost by the painfully slow wifi here!}

ADE Accessibility

Apple are proud of their accessibility features. In particular that the same features work across the range (e.g. The same gestures used on a trackpad work on the iPhone).

Many of the accessibility features are useful beyond the accessibility audience, for example the screen Zoom option is great for presentations and because it can zoom right down to pixel level, it is interesting for Computing/Art/... Voice Command is also worth playing with (we were encouraged to use the undocumented tell a joke feature!).

The Voice Over feature is something they are pleased with. A fully featured screen reader which describes everything on the screen. The speed of the voice can be increased and still it is intelligible. Useful also for some other types of learning difficulties. Braille keyboards can be hooked up (with no additional hardware or drivers needed - it is built-in to the OS and it is free). Up to 32 keyboards can be hooked to a single device so a teacher can communicate with a whole class of pupils at the same time.

Also talked about Proloquo2Go where an app replaces the need for an expensive text to speech device.

Two websites where you can get extra information and email support: special education and accessibility.


(Live capture of presentation)

European Council of International Schools

The ECIS launched an iTunesU presence on the 16th of April this year. The target audience is both learning materials for pupils and professional development material for teachers. For example, a Maths teacher has produced video/animated answers for International Baccalaureate past papers with audio explanation. As well as giving the answers, they also showed pupils how to check they had the right answer.

As a result, they have flipped the class. It used to be that the teacher would do the theory at the start of the lesson and set the pupils to practice for homework. Now the homework is to access the podcast with the theory as homework and then do the practice in class. This means the teachers spend a lot more time with working with the pupils.

Because iTunesU is self policing, people do check the content and errors are corrected. There is now a ratings and comments mechanism and people do leave comments.

Friday, May 06, 2011

ADE: Creativity And Technology

Katie and Nathan from Flitch Green

Creativity and Technology at the heart of learning. Everyone is a learner. The whole community is involved and collaboration is the key. When the pupils heard Katie and Nathan were coming to speak to the ADE Institute, they decided to create a movie to show us what learning in the school is like.

They also showed us some of the creative responses they've had to open ended homework. They also have a daily challenge time where they can choose a challenge to tackle, who they will work with, and how often they try each challenge. They don't want children to be constrained by age or anything else. An example of a whole school task was to make a film where questions about fractions are answered through the medium of dance (I think!). Example was children learning about fractions by counting the beats in their song.

ADE - 1:1 Learning with iPad

Cedar School of Excellence

Talked about the impact of every child being given an iPad. Showed the iPad band that performed at Christmas nativity. They have the potential to plug up to 50 iPads into the sound system with virtual iPad instruments.

They thought deploying the technology would be the end of the story but realised the pedagogy, technology and the curriculum all have to work together and feed off each other.

It is a small school and Fraser described how the demand for IT equipment was outstripping the supply. They initially thought they might get laptops but they had concern about battery life and charging issues. When they heard about the iPad, they realised that was the technology they wanted.

Deployment: they gave iPads to teachers in May and let them play with them until August. They were given credit to spend in the Apps Store so that the apps we chosen by the teachers not imposed by IT department.

"Use the iPad everywhere it is appropriate and nowhere it is inappropriate."

Easy mobility leads to easy collaboration. It takes away the hurdles placed in the way of accessing technology, such as going to a special room and leads to "Casual Computing".

Another great example was a piece of writing produced by a dyslexic child. It was full of spelling mistakes but was fairly solid. She recorded her self speaking it over a soundtrack and it was a very moving and powerful piece of work.

Moved onto examples of of use in art. Brushes app: Digital art gives pupils a big undo button which encourages experimentation and creates confidence. This confidence seems to transfer into traditional art mediums. The success in the digital world makes them realise they can do it and therefore try harder with traditional media.

ArtRage app: Simulates real art materials, e.g. Use tubes of paint and pallet knives or pencil work.

Type drawing: creating pictures with lines of text.

Also talked about Mashups, Flowpaper and ASketch. Described how quickly the pupils take to the apps.

Also used for drawing support, for example using the iPad as a light box to draw from (without associated printing costs). Also can trace over an image then delete the original to see the shapes. Also, Art Grid allows grids to be super imposed on an image (square grids or rectangular to supportbdistortion). Can play an animation of image as it is built up stage by stage which the teacher can then talk through the process.

Sketchbook apps - Moodboard and Moxier Collage. The teacher had to limit home much work they handed it! Teacher also used it to support field trip - she put images from an exhibition on Moodboard and challenged them to find the work and add four bits of information about the piece.

Image manipulation to generate ideas. For example take a photo of a pupils work and then render it in pastel, or reverse the colours, or do it as pop art, or... Can easily explo Issas in a very short time, for example, photograph their work and try different backgrounds.

Critical Studies, e.g. Art Authority and Art Puzzle HD. Gives access ton a huge range of images by loads of artists. They can magnify, check clarity, range, colour... They can arrange an artist's work in chronological order and see how they have developed.

ADE Inspirational Stories

Abdul Choham

The future is not what it used to be...

ESSA Academy had a very poor reputation and was on the verge of being closed down. Most of the pupils come from very poor areas - some of the most deprived areas in the country.

A new Principal was appointed and had the approach that "All will succeed". He wanted all pupils to leave with at least five good passes and that they would be prepared for the future. A number of changes we made. one was, they would move away from being a school where children are batch processed according to date of manufacture. Wanted to move from school to learner. Education is not "done to" the pupils but "done with". They wanted to move from organisation to response.

One of the first things they did was get an iPod Touch for every pupil. At first this was viewed with suspicion. People thought they were trying to bribe children into attending. One of the key things they did was engage with parents. They showed them what the devices could actually do. This had a major impact in the community.

There were things he expected and things he didn't. He was not prepared for the Creativity that the devices generated. He was thinking about the networking problems and the support infrastructure. The pupils took them and used them creatively from the off. For example Business Studies students trading on eBay and making a profit. Another boy, who couldn't speak English created flashcards on the iPod by searching Google in his native tongue for images, e.g. image for toilet, for dinner time, for pen... The pictures aloud him to communicate with the teachers and to learn the English for the pictures he found. Other children saw what he was doing and started doing the same thing with their language. The school subscribed to GCSE podcasts which were well used by students.

Staff did not all take to it so easily but are using it for admin (e.g. accessing Student Information Management systems) as well as teaching. In a sense, not doing anything they couldn't do with laptop/desktop but the ease of access, the always on nature, means that they can get straight to the required function without any fuss.

Even the ease of email means that pupils not only asked questions or raised problems but might just send a "Thank you".

They ditched their VLE and used the email, Edmodo (for bulletin boards), Dropbox to share documents and AirPlay to share video.

The costs are thought to be about 18p per day per student. Savings were made on folders, printing, paper. For example before iPod Touch - over 1,000,000 pieces of paper were printed. In the first year of iPods, this was halved. Huge increase in attainment. Now 99% got five Grades A*-C.

ADE Learning With Apple

Innovation in Education. (Live capture of address)

The learning comes first, the technology is just the tool. Students in education today must be prepared for the world stage. Not just teaching about technology but rather how technology can help us to learn.

Evolution of education. If the question can be answered by Google, perhaps we are asking the wrong question. Engagement becomes the key. As an educator, I have to become a "master learner".
"...if we teach today as we were taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow." Dewey (Possibly paraphrased!)

Collaboration is a positive thing. Successful universities don't just have researchers that collaborate with two or three others in the same institution but with researchers in other institutions around the world.

Mobile Learning. "Children can be searched for knives, drugs and mobile phones!" Governments are keen on saving cost and they think eBooks is a way to do this. Typically though, where the eBook is just a PDF of a paper book, all that happens is that the cost of printing is shifted to the end user!

Mobile solutions has an impact not just on the IT budget but can save money elsewhere and can have a positive effect on the learning environment in ways that are not obvious. For example, by reducing the weight of children's backpacks!

Content is key. See for example iTunesU, Khan Academy, apps, ... Talked about the interactive Narnia book as being an example of a Bronze Age app but points to the possibility of a Golden age to come.

Transforming classrooms. Industrial age classrooms were education for the masses. Being transformed to personalised learning and from isolated to connected.

ADE Institute: Opening Sessions


The ADE Institute is an opportunity to meet people from eight different countries who are motivated, excited and knowledgeable. We are encouraged to share our projects and look for opportunities to work with others.

There will be opportunities to hear success stories and to work with others.

What is an ADE? They are advisors, authors, ambassadors and advocates.

Trusted Advisors: often in an institution, you are the person people come to for hop and advice.
Authentic Authors: creating and sharing materials. sharing not just with the ADE community but with the world through blogs, the web, iTunesU, whatever...
Global Ambassadors:
Passionate Advocates: know thhe power of the technology and we should nurture creativity.

We will be working in groups and producing things during the institute but we will continue to maintain contact and take the programme home with us.