Sep 06

Thanks to Peter Murray from Apple for hosting the session at Mt Lawley Senior High School in Perth, Western Australia today. It is great to see so many educators interested in the learning that can occur through the communicative and creative potential of Macs.

Here are links to the tools I did a show n’ tell on today - I’d just like to remind you that some of them are still in beta ;-)

PixelmatorPixelmator, the beautifully designed, easy-to-use, fast and powerful image editor for Mac OS X has everything you need to create, edit and enhance your images. (Update: this software is in locked beta - thanks Brett and Steve)
Pixen Pixen is an innovative graphics editor for the Mac. Pixen is like a very powerful MSPaint or a simpler, more agile Photoshop. And best of all, it’s Free!

Kahootz Kahootz is an eduational Software application that allows students aged 5-18 to create their own 3d content. Share designs with schools around the world.

PhotoPresenter PhotoPresenter offers many gorgeous styles to create animated slideshows with amazing effects.

Jing Jing: the concept of Jing is the always-ready program that instantly captures and shares images and video…from your computer to anywhere.

VD Virtue Desktops allows you to achieve similar to what Apple Spaces will do when Leopard arrives in October.

Skitch Skitch is the Internet age’s Camera and it Rocks! The best screenshot tool in the world from the team that brought you ComicLife.

PixadexPixadex is to icons, what Apple’s iPhoto is to images. Pixadex lets you import, organize and search huge numbers of icons quickly and easily.

MacSaber MacSaber uses your Mac’s sudden motion sensor to detect movements, fast and slow. As you move your laptop, MacSaber plays varying levels of Light Saber sound effects, from a waving sound to exciting saber crashes. :-)
If you’d like a beta invite to test Skitch contact me here:
http://paulreid.id.au/

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Sep 02

Funny how so many software companies are having freebie give-aways these days to get attention - but it is not often an expensive 3D world/object creation tool is released for free. Bryce 3D is available for free download until September 6. This will be of interest to high school teachers looking for a way to extend students who have a taste for 3D design through use of Gamemaker and their own gameplay. I suggest Bryce because it is the interface is relatively simple and intuitive when compared to other 3D programs like Lightwave and 3D Studio Max. A number of content packages that offer pre-built models of things like scenery and people are available, including a free starter set inBryce 3D interface conjunction with this offer.

Bryce works on both PC and Mac platforms. Getting free copies is relatively simple: download a copy from DAZ Production’s page. Then you will need to create an account or have students create them, then once you’re logged in, the registration link Bryce gives you will create your registration code.

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Jun 08

I was quite surprised when one of my students recommended me the DigiKid blog. This DigiKid ‘Brad’ (quite possibily with the help of his DigiDad), may very well be an archetype of one of Mark Prensky’s so called “digital natives“. One day we watched one of the Brad the Digikids vodcasts at the end of a Year 5 class. In this video DigiKid demonstrates the ability of his PSP (Portable PlayStation) to detect free and open wireless networks (these are common in the USA especially around public libraries) in his neighbourhood. While I made it clear that I didn’t condone this behaviour, some students gave up 5 minutes of their lunchtime engaged while I explained a little about how wireless networks work. On the flipside when I tried to explain the significance of this new technology in the staffroom afterwards, I lost most of my fellow “digital immigrants” within about 30 seconds - admittedly it is quite boring to the uninvolved! Check out the DigiKID PSP wardriving episode here.

Marc Prensky’s idea about “Digital Natives and Immigrants” help me clarify my suspicions about the differences between the generations:

Today’s students are Digital Natives. They are “native speakers” of the digital language of computers, video games and the Internet.

So what does that make the rest of us? Those of us who were not born into the digital world but have come to it later in our lives are, compared to them, Digital Immigrants. And as we Digital Immigrants learn – like all immigrants, some better than others – to adapt to their environment, we always retain, to some degree, an “accent,” that is, our foot in the past. The “Digital Immigrant accent” can be seen in such things as turning to the Internet for information second rather than first; in reading the manual for a program rather than assuming that the program itself will teach us to use it; in printing out our emails (or having our secretary print them out for us – an even “thicker” accent); or in never changing the original ring of our cell phone. Those of us who are Digital Immigrants can, and should, laugh at ourselves and our “accent.”

But this is not just a joke. It’s very serious, because the single biggest problem facing education today is that our Digital Immigrant instructors, who speak an outdated language (that of the pre-digital age), are struggling to teach a population that speaks an entirely new language.
Source: http://www.hotlib.com/articles/show.php?t=Digital_Natives_and_Immigrants

More of Marc’s writings on the positive effects of video games can be found at www.marcprensky.com/writing/default.asp.

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