Jan 29

The big question is - will schools be buying them for Wi-Fi (802.11b/g) access during excursions and outside work? You bet - at least those with money will. It wasn’t until I came across this video, I understood what the web community is so amazed about. Kindy kids will be able to understand and operate that GUI! This montage from Rojo sums the combination up for a visual spatial learners like me:
iPhone new

Unfortunately, being able to access rich media via the school WiFi network changes the boundaries for school ICT resources yet again. With the new wireless capabilities of hubs like AirPort Extreme digital portability enters yet another dimension - can our school infrastructure and systems keep up? This sort of change in expectation displays the need for scaleable network and storage solutions. Instead of portable notebook trolleys will we see racks of iPhones in the library? I’ll check back on this post in 2008 to see where we are at.

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Jan 28

Flipbooks This online service called FlipClip takes short-video clips and transforms them into small flip books traditionally the domain of quirky gift shops. This is an interesting way to share and preserve short clips your students make in the physical world - great for clay animation made with iStopMotion or for clips with subtitles in iMovie or Windows Movie Maker (NB: WMV files aren’t web2.0 friendly - AVI seems ok). Basically you upload 15 or 30 seconds of video to the website and select a book size. They print out several frames from your video and assemble a book which animates when flipped. Check out a short video clip here. Surprisingly they aren’t very expensive considering they are personalised. Pricing works out to AUD$11 per book, and $13.40 for postage. A bulk order of 25 books can be sent for the postage price of AUD$34. Some technical info from the FlipClip website:

The ideal resolution for a FlipClip is 640×480, and there are some great cameras available now that will record movies at that resolution or higher. Although FlipClips can be printed from any resolution video, short clips (under 30 seconds) at 320×240 or 640×480 are optimal. Frame rates aren’t as important, so you can safely record at 10 or 15 frames per second and still have a great looking FlipClip. FlipClips.com currently restricts the size of file uploads to 25 Megabytes, so you may want to edit your video’s length and, if possible, compress it before uploading. FlipClips are intended to be used for movies, where flipping the pages reveals the motion.

I can imagine they would look amazing with a slow motion clip such as this. As a recent recipient of some nifty cards from moo.com I am finding these web2.0 tools and their real world products a lot of fun.

[This post was cross-posted on AusMacEd]

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Jan 26

Digital Chalkie mascotHappy Australia Day Digital Chalkies,

Just a short note to look back at the success and tell you about some new features. With the small successes we’ve had this year, Digital Chalkie will continue in 2007.

A big thank you to all of the posters and commenters for taking the time to join this collaborative effort to discuss ideas and best practice as we do our best to combine education and technology effectively. I’d like to single out Brad Hicks for his efforts in supporting the webcasts, and Kim Flintoff for his many varied and interesting posts. If your blog isn’t mentioned in the blogroll at the bottom of the front page please let me know.

I may not have the time to contribute as much with my new position at DET. So if you are inclined to take up the batton please feel free to post or comment on topics related to life as a ‘digital chalkie’ by following the simple how-to.

Posting to the blog is a good way to get eChalk ideas and interests out on the web beyond the walls of an email list. The best aspect of this independent group blog is the connectivism it provides. I’ve enjoyed the collaborative opportunities that have come from it and dialogue with colleagues interstate and overseas. If you’ve got some ideas you’d like to share please get involved.

Some success have been:
- there are currently 80 posts and 123 comments, contained within 19 categories.
- 53 educators from Australia and beyond have signed up to take part via posting ideas or making comments
- mentioned in a couple of top 100 edublog lists here and here
- nomination for best group blog in the Edublog awards
- 5 live webcasts run by Brad and Paul with various Australian and International guests

To get 2007 started I’ve added a few subtle features in the hope of enhancing the interactivity between authors, commenters, and readers:
- option to subscribe and notification by email of new posts
- the ability to subscribe to postings by email using a Feedburner service (see the left sidebar)
- a multi-user editable wiki (using the fabulous wikispaces) to start gather a simple list of links for educators using ICTs
- links from comments can be directed to that commenters blog
- links to authors blogs, aussie blogs and international blogs at the bottom of the main page (suggestions most welcome)
- “Snap” visual previews for links inside posts - web2.0 gimmic or useful visual triger - you decide!

Warm regards,
Paul Reid


Jan 25

UPDATED POST: via information by Ellen Finlay (ScienceVictoria):

“An Inconvenient Truth DVD offer to all Australian Secondary Schools

Paramount Pictures have announced that all Australian secondary schools will receive a free DVD copy of ‘An Inconvenient Truth’. The DVD will beInconvenient Truth released today and Jackgreen International with Jon Dee will be faxing every secondary school in Australia with the offer to receive the free DVD. The school will only need to fax back their contact details and mailing address on the bottom of the original fax.

As well as the DVD, schools and students will be able to access study guides designed by ATOM (Australian Teachers Of Media) to accompany the DVD and will be given access to an interactive website hosted by Jackgreen and Channel 10 with tools to enable students to calculate their carbon footprint. Standout schools will be recognized in a Channel 10 feature event based on the commitment of students and their families to make changes to reduce global warming.

This sounds like a fantastic opportunity for schools and science departments. Whether you agree with the contents or not, the movie is an excellent basis for debate and further exploration of facts.

More information can be found at www.climatecrisis.net. If you are unable to locate this DVD in your school in the next few weeks I suggest you contact Jackgreen International: www.jackgreen.com.au

This article determines that US Science teachers will omit one side to the global warming debate from the curriculum, because of Exxon Mobil funding. The company behind Al Gore’s film had decided to make available 50,000 free DVDs to the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA). But Science teachers said they saw “little, if any, benefit to NSTA or its members” in accepting the free DVDs.

Still, maybe the NSTA just being extra cautious. But there was one more curious argument in the e-mail: Accepting the DVDs, they wrote, would place “unnecessary risk upon the [NSTA] capital campaign, especially certain targeted supporters.” One of those supporters, it turns out, is the Exxon Mobil Corp.

That’s the same Exxon Mobil that for more than a decade has done everything possible to muddle public understanding of global warming and stifle any serious effort to solve it. It has run ads in leading newspapers (including this one) questioning the role of manmade emissions in global warming, and financed the work of a small band of scientific skeptics who have tried to challenge the consensus that heat-trapping pollution is drastically altering our atmosphere. The company spends millions to support groups such as the Competitive Enterprise Institute that aggressively pressure lawmakers to oppose emission limits.

Source: Washington Post 2006/11/24

Australian Jo McLeay has some links to other edubloggers discussing “An Inconvenient Truthhere. Watch the trailer here.

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