Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Soungle is one of the sites mentioned in Tom Barrett's presentation on using Search Engines in the classroom that I blogged about recently. Soungle is a free site dedicated to collecting various sound samples. You search for the sound you want and if they have it you are able to download it and use it in your projects free of charge.

My media students now have this bookmarked on their computers. It's great to be able to quickly find a simple sound or background noise for a video production.

Good resource to add to your bag of tricks.

[via ICT in My Classroom]

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Using Google Docs in the Classroom

I've been exploring Tom Barrett's web site and came across this presentation on using Google Docs. Wish I had seen just the first two slides before I attempeted to teach a collaborative document to the kids. In case you don't know there are limits on the number of individuals that can collaborate at the same time. I believe it is around 10 for a doc. Barrett points out it is 50 for a spreadsheet. So, an entire class can practice working on the same document at the same time.

Once again lots of good ideas. You should be able to find at least one you could use in your classroom.

[image captured from "twenty one interesting ways to use Google Docs in the Classroom";]

Monday, September 28, 2009

Ken Robinson on School Kill's Creativity

Wonderful TED lecture on how Schools kill creativity. Funny. Thought provoking. A few quotes to wet your appitite:

"Children starting school this year will be retiring in 2065. Nobody has a clue.....what the world will look like in five years time. Yet we are educating them for this."

"Creativity is as important in education as Literacy and we should treat it with the same status!"

"If you aren't prepared to be wrong, you'll never come up with anything original."

If you liked this talk, you might also enjoy this article, Transform Education? Yes, We Must

, by Ken Robinson.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Monty PythonYouTube Channel

If you are constantly referring to, linking to or just a fan of Monty Python clips, I just discovered they have created their own Channel with better quality video than most of what you can find on YouTube. Here is what they say posting all their clips:

For 3 years you YouTubers have been ripping us off, taking tens of thousands of our videos and putting them on YouTube. Now the tables are turned. It's time for us to take matters into our own hands.
We know who you are, we know where you live and we could come after you in ways too horrible to tell. But being the extraordinarily nice chaps we are, we've figured a better way to get our own back: We've launched our own Monty Python channel on YouTube.

No more of those crap quality videos you've been posting. We're giving you the real thing - HQ videos delivered straight from our vault.

What's more, we're taking our most viewed clips and uploading brand new HQ versions. And what's even more, we're letting you see absolutely everything for free. So there!
And for fun, here is the Parrot Sketch.

[via BotJunkie]

[Image captured off off]

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Search Engines in the classroom

Was preparing for a short demo on Google for my multimedia kids the other day and thought I would look around for some new ideas and content. Clicked over to Larry Ferlazzo's excellent site and found a link to Twenty-three interesting ways to Use Search Engines in the Classroom put together by Tom Barrett.

One idea I'm going to try soon is kind of the reverse of a scavenger hunt. Rather than give the kids a topic and have them create a search to find the item or subject, reverse that and give them a picture of what they are going to find. They have to figure out the search criteria. Sounds like a fun challenge.

Check it're bound to find one thing you can use!

[via Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…]

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Card Sort

Some of my web design students are going to tackle a re-design of our school site soon. One of the problems of building a big site is how to organize it. Most of us have had the experience of going to a site and then struggling to find the page we want. It's organized, but not in any way that is logical to us. A Card Sort is one way to look at how things should be organized from a user point of view.

Create a stack of cards with one page of your website on each card. Have potential users divide the cards up into logical stacks. Then create a label for each stack. The stacks help you create an organizational tree for your site and the labels become your navigational system.

I'll be trying this out with my students.

[via iLibrarian] [Image captured from Card Sorting:]

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Cure for Color Blindness

I'm color blind. Color deficient. Or as one of my teachers said in regards to my work coloring: "Doesn't follow directions well." Or as my wife often says: "Change those socks, they don't match."

I didn't find out I had a problem seeing color until my physical for college. They had to run a color test and I failed. I couldn't see anything in those damn dots. Suddenly it became clear to me why I had a hard time matching clothes and why I couldn't ever seem to pick out the purple crayon from the box. Some careers were closed to me. I couldn't be a policeman because I wouldn't be able to correctly identify the color of the getaway car. Graphic design....not a good idea. Electronics with their color coded wires proved to be a challenge and caused more than one mishap. Didn't seem to hamper me in becoming a Social Studies teacher other than those map assignments. Kids always figured out I had a problem when I would talk about the country colored red and it was really purple.

Occasionally I will wonder what the rest of the world sees when they look at a painting. How a garden looks different to me than to my wife. But really, I don't much think about it. Then I saw this article about the success scientists have had in generating color sight in color blind monkeys. They are so encouraged by the results that they are looking to obtain permission for human trials.

I find myself oddly elated that maybe, just maybe, I will get to see purple.

[image: "twenty six"; author: 2inches; March 7, 2006;; [Creative Commons: Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic]

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

3 point lighting video

Found this video from Izzy Video on 3 point lighting. I like it because it so clearly shows the effect of each of the three lights: key, fill and back. Just discovered Izzy Video site and will be exploring it a bit in the days to come. Looks like there may be a more interesting content available here but majority is available for members only.

Three Point Lighting - The best home videos are here

Monday, September 14, 2009

LIttle Big Love

Here's a wonderful stopmotion done on a do-it-yourself budget but with fantastic results. Take a look at the slides which detail out the storyboard and the sets that went into the production of this piece. The picture above shows how he used a miniature train track and car to build a dolly for his camera.


I am so going to steal that idea to use with my students.

Little Big Love from Tomas Mankovsky on Vimeo.

[via BotJunkie]

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Kangaroo Guy

The Kangaroo Guy has posted a commentary on using Kangoo Jumps.

Part 1:

Watch the rest of his videos on Kangoos at his YouTube site.

Replacing Kangoo parts

Rasmus has made a YouTube video showing how to replace the soles and clamps on his kangoos. I went onto the official Kangoo Site to see what instructions they had available for this process. I copied a diagram from the site to show how they suggest you put the clamps on. They show only a screwdriver. Rasmus used a screwdriver, a wrench (to use like a lever), brute force, patience and a few kids running around. Although I think the kids are optional.

I think I might add a few bandaides....cause I figure the first time I try this, there will be blood!

He is using a lot more force than the diagrams imply. I am wondering if anyone else out there has found an easier way to get the clamps onto their boots? A better tool? A better method? If so, let me know and I'll mention it here. This kind of information is helpful for all of us in the Kangoo community.

Thanks to Rasmus for sharing his process.

Part 1

Part 2

[Image captured from YouTube Video: Part 2 - Howto exchange Kangoo Jumps T-SPRING TS Pro6 and sole for model KJarmstrong XR:]
[Images of boots captured from Kangoo Site:]

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Onwards: Running animation

Onwards is a great animation by James Jarvis and Richard Kenworthy of a simple character running . Beautiful examples of perspective. How to animate a moving character. Just a wonderful animation. I'll use this as an introduction to animation in my classroom.

I love how this piece captures the internal feel of running. If you've ever been a runner this film will make you want to put on the shoes and head out to the road.

Onwards from AKQA on Vimeo.

Here's a short interview with James Jarvis, one of the animators, where he talks about the project and running.

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

[via Neatorama]

[Image captured from the video Onwards]

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Of Muppets and Men

Of Muppets and Men is a 1981 documentary about the Muppets. If you've never seen shots of what goes on behind the puppets to create the magic, here is your chance. Seeing the human actor behind each of the puppets is a little surreal. There is a glimpse into all parts of the show. Lot's of fun.

A companion book to the show is available that is out of print but still available used if you are interested. The show has been broken up into six parts all available on YouTube. I linked all six on this post. Enjoy.

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five

Part Six

[via Monsters and Rockets]

[Image captured from video: Of Muppets and Men]

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Better video in 30 seconds....

Here is a short video showing how just some simple changes in lighting and setting can make a huge difference in the final product. I used this as a starter for my media class a few weeks ago and it led to some good discussion and then some fun experimentation. It's a keeper for me. (Unless I a few of my students make their own version....)

How to make your video a billion times better! (in 30 Seconds!) from Jim Shealy on Vimeo.

[via Instructables]

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Kangoo Boots Informational Site

I keep thinking other Kangoo jumpers will post information about the boots, their experiences, their routines, etc....but still not much out on the web that I can find. This site was one of the first I located when I first heard about the boots and it has some tips and tricks. Doesn't seem to get updated all that often, but it's a place to start if you are trying to decide if these odd looking shoes are right for you.

Kangoo Jumps (Maintained by Elvis Payne. Note this is not the official Kangoo Site)

Kangoo Boots--how well do they hold up?

Rasmus, in Denmark, has put a 180 km (roughly 110 miles) on his Kangoos with long runs and lots of off road workouts. Here's a link to his video showing where they wore out and what parts he is going to replace.

His evaluation: Don't expect to get more mileage than a pair of running shoes but he still loves running in them and is going to replace the worn parts. Plan on replacing parts more often if you run off road. (Hope I paraphrased you correctly Rasmus ;-)

Thursday, September 3, 2009


Yesterday's post reminded me of a contest ZeFrank, a popular blogger, ran last year called, YoungMe:NowMe. Essentially, you find an old photograph of yourself as a child or a baby and then recreate the exact pose with you as an adult.

I think this would be a great idea to use with a class of kids who need a digital photography assignment. Or a fun staff activity. Or just fun for the sake of having fun. I am trying to get my family interested in doing this for all the adults. Then I want to take the results and put them in a photobook. I'll let you know if they say yes and maybe post some of the results.

The shot shown at the top was the winner.

[Image captured from YoungMe:NowMe site]

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Imagine Finding Me

Chino Otsuka has a unique collection of photos. She took old snapshots from her childhood and Photoshopped her adult self into the scene. The gallery is called Imagine Finding Me.

I loved these photos and of course while looking wondered if my students could pull this off? I think this could be another interesting project for a photography or multimedia class. Students would have to give some thought to lighting. Clothes. Shadows. Scratches.

It could be fun for kids. Fun for me to grade.

[via Monsters and Rockets]

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Snorricam: Body Camera Mount

Here is a Instructables project for an armature that keeps your camera pointed at you. I had never heard of a Snorricam until I saw this post, but had been playing around with tripods to get a similar effect. (See related posts below). This takes that concept one step further.

Who needs a camera man when you have a Snorricam?

This shot of a professional Snorricam rig is the setup they used in Requiem for a Dream.
Below is a short video made with the DIY Snorricam showcased in the tutorial. They get several interesting camera angles here. After watching the video, I thought, "Oh yeah....I could use one of these." I really love the shots they get of the actor running. Also the shot of the actor getting up from the ground is very different from the shot you'd get using a static camera.

I found another video (not by the builders featured here) showing some examples of Snorricam shots. This piece has a person on a swing, a back view and another shot of someone running. Once you see an example, these shots are easier to pick out from feature films. Take a look at this Wikipedia article to get some references to movies where this technique was used prominently.

Finally, here is a video showing the details of the construction. I am wondering if this rig could be lightened by using pvc pipe? Looked online to see if anybody had tried this, but no luck. I also ran across a couple of references to the look being effected by where the camera is mounted on your body. It makes a difference if the support rod is attached to your waist versus your chest. On the professional models, it looks like you can adjust this aspect?

Now if I only had an enterprising young student who would build one for some extra credit?

Related Posts:

[Image of DIY Snorricam captured from the Instructables Post:] [Image of professional Snorricam was captured at William Wilkinson:]