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January 2007

iPhones in education?



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.

FlipClip: one more for the web2.0 tool-belt



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. 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 I am finding these web2.0 tools and their real world products a lot of fun.

[This post was cross-posted on AusMacEd]

Digital Chalkie 2007…. to be continued



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

“Inconvenient Truth” declined by Mobil funded US science teachers



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 If you are unable to locate this DVD in your school in the next few weeks I suggest you contact Jackgreen International:

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.

My evolving Second Life



Well, having solved some of my bandwidth issues (now I have 60Gb monthly limit!) I have been able to better use my time in Second Life and really started to establish a presence.  SL is a real bandwidth slurper.

Like many newbies I wandered aimlessly around the SL world seeing what I could see, and trying to make sense of the things I could touch.  In Second Life, as in First Life, not everything is as it appears.  I found myself falling foul of pranksters who offer freebies that have embarrassing little scripts attached.  I finally secured some land - well I have a loan of some land under the Campus: Second Life program.  I might have to look into establishing an educational consortium to buy an entire island - perhaps WUGPWA will be interested.   I wonder how long before we get an ECAWA island?

I’ve set up home on the corner of my parcel of land - I have great views and a nice work space and living area.  I have flat screen panels that stream video and news updates to me as well as great little conversation area and a huge rug on the floor to relax with friends.  Upstairs is a lounge and outdoor setting.  Way up in the sky is a Skybox where friends can meet and play with their appearance or try out new objects.   I’ve modified a couple of objects to act as teleport platforms – one as an internal lift and another between home and the skybox (although that one sometimes needs the ESC key to finalise the process!)

I’ve a big empty building that I’m hoping will be used as small auditorium for presentations (might have to reduce the number of prims in use on the parcel though).  Down the other end of my block are a nice little gazebo and a duck pond.  There are a few water features and some plant and animal life.  The weather is still unpredictable. A crackling fireplace, some music upstairs, an annoyingly chatty parrot make it seem both more peaceful and chaotic.

I’ve started to modify scripts and can play about with the appearance of existing objects - including adding scripts and new textures.  My skills in building from scratch are a bit rudimentary - but I think given time I might come to grips with it all.

Presently my SL home is quite realistic in appearance and that’s something I might want to change over time as I come to understand the possibilities of new metaphors.  Why go to a virtual world and recreate the real world - I suppose mainstream theatre and film also fall into the same pattern.

My SL home has started to come alive for me - and people are dropping by to visit.  My list of friends is growing and I’m getting more invitations to interesting events.  The purchase of my new computer recently has given me the ability to email to and from my work space in Second Life.

Kim's Corner

The basic understandings I’ve started to come to terms with in relation top education are that there are fantastic opportunities to display information in ways that require understanding and critical appraisal.  Also, the use of role can be incredibly powerful in developing a rich engagement.  I’ve found a couple of interesting educational sites and a nice little theatre - people in SL are so kind and generous, offering to share the use of their spaces and helping newcomers find their way about.  If you drop by Kim’s Corner then be sure to visit these locations:

A useful book download is “Learning Spaces” – Diana Oblinger (ed) (20Mb)

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Locations of visitors to this page
Recent Comments
  • 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!
  • 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
  • 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!