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Friday, 24 April 2009

Earth Week

During the week of April 20th, 209, the ABC celebrated the Earth, Claudia Lars and Salvador Salarru√© as a part of both Earth Week, and National Reading week initiatives. Through a series of Earth friendly workshops, students were ablet to participate in making recycled paper, using recycled materials as covers, building recycled bottle walls, finding carbon footprints and planting a tree.  Students and teachers who participated had a great time and learned a great deal about taking better care of the Earth. These activities ran simoultaneously to El Salvador's National Reading week which spotlighted the lives and works of two famous Salvadoran writers, Claudia Lars and Salvador Salarru√©. To read more about the weeks activities and view photos and videos, please visit the LRC Website.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Graphic Apps to Add to Your Toolkit!

I was wandering throught Twitter again today, after being informed I had a new follower-yes! Anyway this lead me to this newly resurrected blog on teaching with comics which of course got my attention immediately after all the work we have done with ToonDoo this year. Well I couldn't help myself I scanned the posts quickly and immediately came up with 3 new tools I just had to have!(Plus I left a comment about ToonDoo). The first of the tools is called Xtranormal and it allows one to create 3-d videos with a range of simple tools. It is a freebie and very user friendly which of course makes it even more special for those of us who teach. Another great tool is Block Posters, (once again it is free) which allows users to upload and slice images which are then dowloaded in PDF form for printing out as pieces of a larger poster. Finally, I have downloaded ComicLife for Mac from Plasq.com which is initailly free and allows users to create comics with photographs from their computers.

I have included a couple of examples below.

Xtranormal Link (having trouble with the embedding code)



ComicLife

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Control With Bots

It always amazes me how much I learn from my children. This Easter holiday my boys of 9 and 10 introduced me to their latest craze-Incredibots! This website allows users to sign up free, save and embed their creations. With a bit of guidance from my 9 year old I was able to explore a bit and found that kids creating their bots can use a variety of shapes, joints and movement commands to build and manipulate these robots. There is a lot of trial and error and critical thinking involved in this. I think this free applications (which does accept monitary support for those wishing to help out)  may have a lot of potential for learning.

Below I have embedded one my son did(The instructions on screen and robot start position to the left). It is a bit of a game really. I have also embedded my first try-very basic. Click play and use the a and v and arrow keys to see what it does. I still need to work on it as one of the components tends to tip over when in operation!

Thursday, 2 April 2009

TwitScoop etc.

One of my favourite web 2.0 tools is wordle which allows you to generate tag clouds by copying and pasting text into a box, or by enterring the url of any blog, feed, delicious account, web page ....

Recently in my wanderings, I came across a podcast on k12onlineo8 that mentioned Twitscoop which is a part of Twitter. Now you can use twitscoop to monitor an ever chaning tag cloud of the hottest topics of the moment. This cloud is continually morphing and if you click on a tag it shows you who tweeted it with the tag in context, as it takes you to those tweets.

Just come across Doug Belshaws TwitterFlock which he generated on TwitterSheep, did my own, of course nothing in comparison-really a sad little flock! I keep telling myself I need to get into Twitter more! Anyway I have also just discovered Twitterfall, which allows you to use a tagged search to generate a cascade of tweets which are constantly updated! Neat!

Has it convinced me to use Twitter more often? Hmmm, not yet. While I see the value of it as a discussion tool during conferences etc...I lack the actual network that would make this really valuable. Who's fault is that? Why mine of course, I need to get it together and begin building!