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October 2006

Victorian Education Knowledge Bank

12

October

I’m having a look today at the Victorian Education Knowledge Bank 2006 Online Conference - October 11-13: Stories from Teaching in the Digital Age. They are using software call Elluminate (which is Java based) to allow attendees to take part online via audio chat, text chat etc - similar to a Skype conference. But it has a lot more features built in and works on Mac and PC. Of particular interest are live desktop sharing, video chat, ‘the ability to put ones had up’, and see a fellow participants profile. I am going to be dramatic now and say this is a groundbreaking leap for professional learning in Australian education. Anyone interested can join up. I’m particularly interested in the use of these tools to provide engaging geographically disparate professional learning. Register here and listen to the introductory welcome here. The Knowledge Bank 2006 Online Conference…

….. explores how education networks are creating and sharing knowledge. The conference features a great line up from school presenters to e-learning experts and covers topics ranging from online competencies to digital literacy, blogging and podcasting.


Green WiFi

08

October

This is quite a good site especially if you are interested in a school project of this nature. This will only appeal to some people but I thought with our ‘Sun’ it might be possible for some people. Whether through Science, T&E, Math, etc or if you are interested in developing a community project especially in a country town that has limited access. There are many applications whether providing internet access or just communication between computers, PDA’s and even bluetooth devices in a closed network. The site can be found here. Here is an abstract from the site:

‘Green WiFi is committed to providing solar powered access to global information and educational resources for developing nation K-12 school children striving for knowledge in a digitally divided world. There are approximately 3 billion people under the age of 15 living in developing nations. 42 percent of the developing world’s population is below the age of 15. Green WiFi was founded on the principle that the welfare of our world is dependent, in large part, on providing these children with free and open access to the world’s information.’


Levelator - podcast audio level enhancer

05

October

New software called Levelator may solve the tricky fluctuating audio level issue many teachers with limited equipment face. It automatically adjusts the audio levels within a podcast to account for variations in level between speakers. Drag-and-drop any WAV or AIFF file onto The Leveler’s application window, and a few moments later you’ll find a new version which just sounds better. The application is available for Windows and OS X - it’s free (for non-commercial use). From the website:

Have you ever recorded an interview in which you and your guest ended up at different volumes? How about a panel discussion where some people were close to microphones and others were not? These are the problems the post-production engineers of Team ITC solve every day, and it used to sometimes take them hours of painstaking work with expensive and complex tools like SoundTrack Pro, Audacity, Sound Forge or Audition to solve them. Now it takes mere seconds. Seriously. The Levelator is unlike any other audio tool you’ve ever seen, heard or used. It’s magic. And it’s free.


Keynote (Apples Presentation Software)

01

October

As part of Apples iWork software Keynote has come a long way over the past couple of years and I thought it would be good to share some of the diferent ways it has been used at my school. Many school Apple users do not have iWork as they are provided with MS Office but we are finding over time, that more students out of choice are using Pages instead of Word and Keynote instead of Powerpoint. Keynote definately is a favourite with many of our students so much so that I discovered that our electronics students have started drawing their circuit diagrams in Keynote. Trust students to find a little niche use for a software not really conceived for this application. On further investigation I found that their teacher decided to follow their lead and now it’s widely used. They are able to use the line and shape tools quickly and precisely with the alignment tools helping them and the adjustable freeform line tool for tricky stuff. The circuits can be grouped and easily scaled. It can be printed to different scales to match their PCB (circuit board).

Our Visual Art Teacher in photography came up with another novel use where students took photographs of body parts and made stick people and then after cropping the body parts placed them over the stick body parts creating photographic stick people and then animated them by playing a fast slide show. It is possible to animate it better by saving each slide as an image and importing into iMovie as you can have much faster frame rates in iMovie. However as an introductory task this was great fun for students and developed many skills.

Besides using it for presentations, digital portfolios, etc, I have found it a great asset for creating variations of vodcasts. My media students often use it to turn static media into moving media to import into their iMovies. In case you are not aware it can open powerpoints and export in many formats such as pdf, a quicktime movie, powerpoint file, png images, swf, HTML and to iDVD to be part of a DVD. Definately a worthy piece of software and if you have Apple OSX it is well worth purchasing.


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  • Melanie: Thank you Kim! I will definitely check out this link and see the developments for higher education on the SLED.
  • Kim Flintoff: We have been using Second Life in a range of situations. Built a Wound Care Clinic with Curtin University for training nurses about wound care and the relationship between hand-washing and infection in a...
  • Melanie: Hello Paul, I am wondering, have continued to utilize SecondLife? Do you find that it has better user-friendly features? Do you find that your courses are easier to teach in this format? Is the VLC classroom a...
  • Melanie: We may agree to disagree on the instant gratification society term, however when you look at new social network devices that are connected to mobile devices – there is an urgency that is attached to those...
  • Kim Flintoff: "instant gratification society" - I'm not sure I'm part of that society. Educational institutions do not make decisions - people do. Which people in educational institutions will cling dearly to email? Email...
  • Melanie: I agree that email is outdated in most settings. However, many educational institutions will cling dearly to email due to the aspect of "waiting before sending." Email is still a resource and an appropriate tool...
  • Maryjane: This is incredible and we need to spread it to school districts. It was posted two years ago and I've not seen new policies or classroom innovations happen since then. People are afraid of what the kids might do....
  • Suzanne: I cannot help but think that this trend, while reflecting archetypal youth rejection of all things "adult," is also related to the digital immigrant/digital native thing. The young are very flexible, very willing...
  • Maryjane: This made me laugh outloud. School districts are still discussing whether they'll give access to students for email; do all their business by email instead of walking next door and talking to someone; and wonder...
  • Nick Smith: This video was exactly what I needed/wanted to hear. As a student working towards being a teacher, I find it great to not only revolutionize teaching, but to re-invent it all together. One woman mentioned...
  • Scott Merrick: Hey there, feel free to unpublish this comment--it's more or less for your own info: This is to let you know that Digital Chalkie has been nominated for Blog-o-the-Month at the Blogger's Hut on Second Life...
  • Laura Seabrook: I have one other question, which I can't find answer to on the Murku wiki (no doubt the answer is right there and I keep missing it) - where/how does one get it?
  • Laura Seabrook: Murku looks really interesting (and I shall definitely try it), though the examples could do with some improvement, as per my comments above. Positioning can be important - see the Blambot article at...
  • Kim Flintoff: Murku is designed to facilitate the construction of comics based on content in a Second Life TM, ie SL, environment. Murku will be of interest to those who have always dreamt of creating their own comics but...
  • Laura Seabrook: Actually there was a typo in my previous comment. I meant to write wouldn't be, not would as far as being the first to do an SL comic. I discovered Plywood shortly after starting my own, which can be found...
  • Kim Flintoff: Hi Laura, The example in the article wasn't intended to be a highly refined product - it literally took me 60 seconds to create with some random images grabbed from my hard drive. The points you make about...
  • Laura Seabrook: I started doing Second Life comics late in 2007 ( though I didn't use Comic Life - rather I drew bits, used screenshots and put it together using PaintShopPro and Fireworks (for speech balloons etc). I knew...
  • michael chalk: Great stuff Paul .. lots of good points here. You are right about the ABC - they're really leading the charge into the new era of digital participation aren't they! My favourite thing they do is the way they...
  • Ken Allan: Kia ora Kim! I don't think it is anything to do with HOW we communicate. It is more to do with how kids see email. It is simply to do with the age-old feature of youngsters avoiding ANYTHING that is associated...
  • Aaron Fisher: This is very cool! It is amazing how those principles from long ago are relevant today, just in different forms. Students do learn better by doing, no matter the subject. We teachers need to do a better job...
  • Julie Carney: Thanks for this post, and for posters like Paul who have linked and commented on resources for educators to use. As is the case with most things, it seems the right combination of educator/program/developer...
  • Debbie: I, too am upset that this website has been taken off-line. My special education students loved it, and I knew I could always find an activity geared their levels and abilities. I hope that it will soon be running...
  • Andrew Westerman: Each LO costs $20 000. So, if 20 students use that learning object for 0.1 of an hour (6 minutes), that's 2 student / hours @ $10 000 per hour. If 2000 students use that LO for 0.2 of an hour (12...
  • Cathy Nash: Learning Objects are one of the tools in a good teacher's toolbox. It is simplistic to lay them aside as past it. A poor teacher can make a pencil look dull and a great teacher may just achieve great things...
  • Suzanne: I am so upset that this site has been removed, however I fully understand why. My Year One children and my pre-primary children loved using the site and it catered for all ability levels in my class. i do hope...
  • Julie: I am sorry that Rainbow Maths has been forced off the web. My daughter loved it so it is missed. Any idea when Jenny may put it back on the web with added security measures to prevent it being copied etc?
  • Jen Zupp: I totally agree with Jenny's reason to take it off. I have spent thousands of hours keeping my website up which is pretty much a directory of quality websites I find online. If I had created a masterpiece like...
  • Kristy Dickson: I agree with Paul, $20 000, $80 000, or whatever they cost, kids are losing interest. I think they have their place for a bit of drill and practice occasionally, but I wouldn't pay for them. Motivation and...
  • Ingrid: I'm distraught that rain forest maths is not available. My 3/4 kids loved it. My kids loved it and it is so easy to cater for their abilities with the different levels. Anyone know if there's a chance it will be up...
  • Azam Ali: my kids love this site, they come on rainforest to learn. Anyone trying to stop kids education is playing with our future. Shame on people who are greedy for money and dont care for the future.
  • Bryn Jones: Channel 4 in the UK has £50million to develop new media content. Ewan McIntosh has some role in it as Digital Commissioner for Scotland. Jobs open now! http://www.4ip.org.uk/
  • Thomas Goodwin: Paul Reid has pointed educators in the right direction (create and collaborate) however he started from an incorrect premise; The Learning Federation's Digital Resources are completely different from the...
  • Patricia Corby: Phew, what a terrific wealth of useful info here! Thanks Paul. In reference to this comment "They need to move from static to dynamic in form" as an overall comment it is relevant but being fair some are...
  • Paul Reid: If everyone's Math is correct the Teaching & Learning Federation pays $20k for jpeg pictures Learning Objects! eg these ones shown here http://www.thelearningfederati on.edu.au/for_teachers/what...
  • Janice Millard: its not fair that my class can't go on rain forest maths because of other people copying we were going to do a test on it but it was closed down my class was very upset not very happy!