Wednesday, December 24, 2008

What Child is This

Merry Christmas everyone. I just thought that I would wish everyone holiday greetings with this little ditty. Enjoy your time with your families and keep it safe on the roads (if you have to travel).

P.S. I know that this video is aweful, but that is kinda what makes it awaesome.

Monday, December 15, 2008

50+ Digital Storytelling Tools - For Free!

Google is awesome. It just lead me to this awesome wiki created by Alan Levine.

It has 64 different digital storytelling tools. Tools that are free. Tools that he has tested to make sure that they work. Tools that he has posted examples that he made. Awesome. I will be busy for days, no weeks trying them out.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Mac Loses

So I finally got to play a little bit with one of our school's Mac laptops (apparently everyone else shares as poorly as I do). I figured that I would try to create a time lapse video just like I did in Windows Movie Maker (see the post here). There were a significant number of swears, throwing things, curses, threats, and finally tears before I finally got Windows Movie Maker to work - but iMovie still lost.

DISCLAIMER - (Stuff the Lawyer made me put in)
I am not a Mac user. This is the first significant experience I have ever had with a Mac. I don't really know how to use them. But I did approach the project with an open mind.

I had guides up on the screen (of my PC that is). I pressed buttons. I slid sliders. I attempted to right click. I read help guides. Then I gave up. I was unable to create a time lapse video with iMovie. I did not find iMovie to be as intuitive as I expected. Windows Movie Maker made more sense to me. This might be because I am unfamiliar with Macs but I had never really used Windows Movie Maker before either.

The good thing about the Mac? No cussing and swearing (I did try this in school with little ears around). That and it never crashed.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Time Lapse Holiday Cheer

Well I finally got it to work. My time lapse video works! Windows Movie Maker was painful to work with - but it did work. I shouldn't complain about a free tool - but I am going to. My computer crashed three times while trying to make the movie. Converting the photos into a video in the program was actually quite easy (read about how to do it here). Title and credits were easy to add. However I almost gave up when I tried to save the video. I could save the project quite easily but had problems trying to save it in a format that could be played in any other player. Turns out that I am not alone in having this problem. I think that the problem was that my computer did not have enough memory. I finally got it to work by lowering the output video quality. Thanks to the people who gave me any help getting Windows Movie Maker to work.

I took the pictures with a little Logitech webcamera that my school division bought for me. It did not handle the low light in my living room very well (as you can see). I think that it would work fine in a brighter room. I used the Microsoft Powertoys program Webcam Timershot to take a picture every two seconds. This guide pointed me to the tools I needed. It also showed some other methods that also looked good (both Mac and PC). Next time I try this I will use another camera - maybe a hacked Cannon camera like in this post.

I guess that I should also point to Dean Shareski's post Supper's Ready in 80 Seconds that originally gave me the idea.

My next step is to try to recreate this video (using the same pictures) on a Mac in iMovie. I will let you know how the process compared to Windows.

Skittles and Bits (Again)

Another day, another tech meeting, another head full of ideas. Today we talked about digital citizenship - what is it, what does it look like ("What does it smell like when it goes wrong" - Terrel Hill), and how to teach it.

True to some of the new pedagogical teachings it was not a stand a deliver day - it was collaborative. 25 people working together on one Google Document. We all edited it at the same time (that was an fascinating exercise). I liike that tool.

My thoughts - we all think along similar lines - at least when it comes to education. No running in the halls. When a bunch of teachers get together to create a policy we first think about what behaviors to ban/limit/control. Our Digital Citizinship curricum started out looking like that. (I am not innocent in that regard.) It didn't stay that way - we moved onto more constructive thoughts.

All in all, another great day.